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Happy Holidays!

Paleo + Life | Holiday Card

My youngest girl made this for me, with help from the oldest. I love it.

Oh, my – is it truly Christmas Eve? This month has been busier than I thought. In my mind I’ve written this blog post about 900 times already.

At at any rate, this being December, I have been busily running thither and yon. Celebrating my youngest girl’s birthday with a mega-sleepover (holy moly, little girls are nuts!), dealing with major flooding in our basement and getting ready for Christmas (grabby toddler equals no tree, at least this year). I have also been reading a ton of books and thinking about what I want to accomplish in the New Year.

First is a renewed focus on health. At the moment, I have a fierce sinus infection. At first, I thought it was a cold, but after a few days of painful swallowing I had to give in and see the doctor.
I’m quite glad that I did: it gives me the chance to combat this nasty sickness with both allopathic medicine (antibiotics and Sudafed) and some more natural means (lots of cranberry-ginger tea, probiotics to replenish the good gut bacteria, and supplemental NAC to loosen up all the gunk in my sinuses). I’m also trying to severely limit sugar, alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine. These are, of course, some of my favorite things about Christmas, which will make for an interesting holiday dinner.
(I expect I will compromise and have something with fruit and honey, on the theory that honey offers many health benefits as well as sweetness.)

I’m also looking at branching out a little from paleo. While the focus on the blog will not change — I like eating this way too much to give it up — I am intrigued and want to experiment a bit with some “paleo-adjacent” dietary philosophies. Specifically, I’ve just read The Adrenal Reset Diet and am intrigued enough (and like beans enough) to give it a shot. I will report back on that soon.

The other thing on my mind is a creative project of some sort. While I’ve passed the time in my life where I want to be famous — do all kids go through that stage? All of mine seem to — I do want to try some kind of creative project next year. The problem, as always, is more ideas than time. One thing on the list, though, is trying a video or two for the blog. Back when I watched TV on the regular, I adored watching TV cooks, and at one point aspired to be one. So video may be on the agenda for 2016. No promises, but I will keep y’all posted.

Finally, I want to reduce the clutter in my life. I know there are things in my basement that haven’t seen the light of day since we moved in to our house. It’s long past time for them to go! They say (whomever “they” are) that getting rid of things you no longer need or want makes room in your life for the things that you do. I sincerely hope that’s true. Even if it isn’t, I believe that the very act of making room will feel quite freeing.

Hmm. I started at Christmas, but have gone straight on to the New Year. While, as I’ve said I don’t do resolutions, I do like having goals. I look forward to striving toward these goals in 2016.

If you’ve got a goal you’d like to share, drop a note in the comments. In the meantime, happy holidays to you, whichever ones you celebrate, and best wishes for a smashing new year!

Making That Change


Shredded pork, sauteed greens and baked potato. A fairly typical — and easy — Primal dinner. (Trade the sour cream for ghee if you’re on a Whole30.)

I am continuing with the theme of resolutions today. I realized that in my previous post about resolutions, where shared my paleo intro story, I was so focused on encouraging paleo newbies to give it a try right now that I forgot a most important part: my resolutions for the new year, as a more experienced paleo eater. Now that the first blush of romance with paleo is over, what do I do to keep this a sustainable lifestyle?

Here, in no particular order, are my paleo resolutions:

Eat more superfoods.

While I love love love beef tongue and heart (recipe coming soon!), I have been rather irregular about incorporating these and other paleo superfoods like sauerkraut, seafood, and bone broth into my diet. My resolution is to have these foods at least once a week.

Up my vegetable quotient.

Dr. Terry Wahls, author of The Wahls Protocol and recovered MS patient, recommends that we all — yes, even those who do not have autoimmune disorders — eat at least nine cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
Nine! Can you imagine? Some days I’m lucky to get one. (I lean heavily toward protein, since I happen to like meat more than I do veggies.) When I am really on top of my game and paying attention to my food, I average about six servings a day.

My resolution: at least once a week, get nine servings in a day.

Learn to make a really good Paleo bread.

This resolution is more about the family more than me, but there’s certainly some self-interest behind this goal. While I generally prefer not to indulge, and while it may not be super strict paleo, I do think there is a place in a paleo lifestyle for the occasional loaf of bread, crackers, muffins, etc.

My resolution: create the best darn bread I can devise.
(I suspect this resolution will require the assistance of my very talented mama.)

Cook my way through an entire paleo cookbook.

I’ve always admired folks like Carol Blymire, who cooked her way through two foodie masterworks: The French Laundry Cookbook and the Alinea cookbook. While my ambitions are on a somewhat smaller scale, and I’m not certain when I will start, I think it will be lots of fun to make my way through a book and a challenge to expand my horizons a bit more. (Oysters, anyone? Shudder.)

My resolution: Cook every recipe in The Zenbelly Cookbook.

Dial in the paleo lifestyle.

That’s such an odd phrase, isn’t it? To “dial in?” I have a love/hate relationship with it. It sounds jargon-y, and more than a little pretentious, to my ear. On the other hand, it adds a tactile dimension that is often missing from our day-to-day lives, when so much of what we do takes place in “cyberspace.”

I want more tactile experiences in life. It’s part of why I enjoy cooking. The experience of preparing food centers me, helps ground me and makes me feel connected to my body. And in order to have these experiences, I need to take the best care of myself that I can, so I will be in good enough shape to enjoy them!

My resolution: Get more sleep, lower my stress levels, and strengthen my core.
(These are somewhat general, and I know specific and measurable goals are important here. I will need to define this piece more clearly before I undertake it.)

That’s it for me. I think that’s quite enough! I’d love to know what your resolutions are this year, paleo and otherwise. Feel free to share in the comments.


IFBC 2014: Traveling While Paleo

Page and Dornenburg, Foodie Royalty | Paleo + Life

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page giving the Keynote @ IFBC. Just *thinking* about their travel schedule exhausts me.

Note to my readers: This is a subsidized post, as detailed below. In exchange for a reduced conference fee, I agreed to write three posts about the event: this is the third of those posts. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Traveling while paleo is a whole new experience. I am something of a homebody, of course, and I can obviously ensure that my food is paleo if I make it myself. But sometimes, even a woman who adores cooking needs to step out of the kitchen. Here are a few tips I found handy while on the road:

Eat a good breakfast. I know, I know. I hear the dramatic teenaged scoff in your voice. But I’m here to tell you: your mom was right. Having a good chunk of protein at breakfast helped keep me going for a surprisingly long time. Since I didn’t stay at the conference hotel, I made sure to book a place that served breakfast. Both days, I had hard-boiled eggs which I wrapped in slices of meat, and fresh fruit on the side.

Don’t be afraid to leave and get what you need. My breakfast held me over for several hours – through the keynote and most of the second speaker’s presentation. Along about the time we broke for the third session, I was ready to gnaw my own arm off. Unfortunately, I had left my amazing, snack-filled “swag bag” at our hotel. When I learned that there was a Whole Foods Market near the conference, I left a cloud of dust in my wake. I made it back in time to catch most of the third session (a cooking demo by The Chef In the Hat that smelled divine).

Conference Snacks

Paleo-friendly snacks from WFM SLU

Think outside the box. Conferences and expositions tend to be absolutely filled with muffins, quick breads, doughnuts… y’all get the idea. I picked up a fruit & nut mix, some jerky, and (cough*two flavors of*cough) macaroons, which all helped to tide me over.

New school snacks are awesome, too. Many of the vendors who came to IFBC had perfect paleo snacks: Rainier Fruit Company carries pears, apples, cherries and blueberries; Pearls makes Olives to Go*(these are like fruit cups, but with olives); and Santé Nuts has really fresh-tasting roasted salted pecans*. Nutiva has a new macaroon-like O’Coconut* treat; I loved Zico pineapple–flavored coconut water*; GimMe Organic has roasted seaweed snacks* (my daughter likes the teriyaki flavor, but I prefer sea salt). If you tolerate beans, The Better Bean Company has some tasty varieties. And I can’t forget my beloved Theo Chocolate* which I’m certain is the taste of heaven.

Stay hydrated and stretch. I am a fiend about this, because I am stil nursing my youngest, but don’t forget to keep up your fluid intake. This will also have the value of forcing you out of a chair for bathroom breaks. Do a little stretch on your way; check out Paleo Secret’s Sitting Solution for tips on how to move and feel better.

We are definitely still learning how to manage paleo on the go, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this trip went. We talked about packing a cooler with cold snack foods that we might take next time; feel free to share any advice on that in the comments. What are your best travel tips?


* = Affliliate link.

Road Tripping: IFBC 2014

Note to my readers: This is a subsidized post, as detailed below. In exchange for a reduced conference fee, I agreed to write three posts about the event: this is the first of those posts. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Z's Car

My youngest girl, circa 2010, driving her ‘car’

If you’ve read my first post on Paleo + Life, from waaaay back in the day (aka early summer), you will recall that my goal in returning to the blogosphere was a search for community. I wanted to find ‘my people’ — folks who are crazy about food and/or interested in gluten- and grain-free cooking and/or who talk and think about food all the time and want to make it an integral part of their days/work/life. 

As part of that effort, I will be attending the 2014 International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in just a couple of weeks. It’s being held in Seattle, a few hours up the highway from us, and I am giddy with anticipation.

International Food Blogger Conference 2014 Seattle

I can’t say what I am looking forward to most at IFBC: the workshops on food, photography, and writing; the food I’ll get to taste while I am there (every review of this conference I have seen says the food is always fantastic); or just the chance to visit one of my favorite cities and catch up with our family who live up there. The conference is held quite close to Pike Place Market, too, so a pilgrimage to my favorite Seattle destination at some point during the weekend is a must.

I am already brushing up on my conference dos and don’ts (click here for general tips from The Curried Nut and Inspiration Kitchen; wine aficionados, check out One Girl One Glass One World). I’m also ordering business cards to exchange with other bloggers and setting reminders in my phone to stop, be still and enjoy myself. To take a moment to breathe and to know, really know, how very lucky I am to be in this place and have the chance to think deeply about something so dear to my heart.  

If anyone is going to attend, let me know — I would love to meet you! I am sometimes a wee bit shy (stop laughing, husband) but my inner extrovert is raring to go and I respond well to smiles, waves, and “hey, aren’t you…?”
If you are on the fence about going, note that bloggers receive a reduced price for the conference in exchange for writing three posts about it — a screaming good deal, in my opinion: the blogger price is a 76% discount off the regular cost.
I am so excited to make connections, to learn some new skills and get inspiration to make Paleo + Life better and better. Hope to see you there!

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