Tag Archives: Paleo

Immunity boost coconut mushroom soup

This fall my family has been amping up our intake of mushrooms in order to boost our bodies’ armor for cold and flu season.

After learning that Tufts medical researchers found that even white button mushrooms (cooked) can protect us against cold and flu, we’ve been trying out different ways to eat them.

Last night my husband made quite possibly the most delicious soup I’ve ever had. So here it is for your eating enjoyment.

This soup is dairy free, and could easlily be made vegan by substituting maple syrup for honey, and Paleo by leaving out the rice noodles. Bon appetit!

Ingredients:
1/2 oz dried mushrooms (I used shiitake)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 white sections of scallions (or a small onion, or 2 shallots), chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 medium carrot, diced
1 tablespoon dried lemongrass (I put it in a pouch I could put into soup and later retrieve, you could also use fresh)
~2 pounds fresh mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
3-4 cups of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Braggs or soy sauce
1 tablespoon (or more) of honey
1-2 tablespoons red miso paste (could be any miso; some people use red curry paste instead)
Some paprika
Some salt
Some pepper
1/2 package uncooked rice noodles

Optional garnishes:
Lime juice
Parsley
Bean sprouts

Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water for 20 minutes. Take out the mushrooms and chop, save the mushroom broth.
Heat the oil, cook and stir shallots/onions, ginger and carrot.
Turn up the heat, add the fresh and dried mushrooms, then add all the soaking liquid (mushroom broth).
Add coconut milk, veggie broth, soy sauce, honey, paprika, miso, salt, pepper and lemongrass.
Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Turn off heat, add rice noodles and let stand for 10 minutes.
Take out the lemongrass.

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Paleo Series Part III: Recipes and Resources

This is the third installment of a four-part series on the popular Paleo way of eating and lifestyle from a mama’s perspective. You can find Part I here and Part II here. Although Kate is not a medical professional or nutritionist, she’ll share her thoughts and experiences of implementing Paleo in her household. 

Paleo: a simple, whole foods way of eating that focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. It is also a lifestyle that places importance upon restful sleep, functional movement exercise, and interacting with and enjoying the outdoors.

A typical dinner for my family: veggie-infused meatloaf, a large salad, and roasted beets

“Good to Know” Paleo Tips for Success

  • At every meal, try to fill your plate with at least 1/2-3/4 of it with vegetables and the remainder of the plate fats and meat. If you’re trying to lose weight, watch your fruit and nut intake.
  • Eat fresh and local: shop your farmer’s market for the freshest produce and plan your meal around it. This will ensure that you’re getting the most nutritious bang for your buck.
  • Encourage your kids to help you shop for food, plant a garden, and cook meals. Sure, it might be a pain to have them “helping” in the kitchen, but you’ll foster their love of nutritious food.
  • Keep an “emergency kit” in your car or purse: fill a bag with raw nuts (think almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.), unsweetened coconut flakes, and nitrate free beef jerky (or make your own, it’s easy!)
  • Act like a caveman! Shoot for small spurts of high-energy activity. In other words, play like a kid: run some quick sprints, tackle stairs two at a time, squat, rough-house with your kiddos. Turn off the TV, get off the computer, and move, move, move!
Kale-Coconut Smoothie: Getting Our Greens with Breakfast, Toddler Approved

Kale-Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 leaves of kale, washed with spine/stem removed
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 can  of full-fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest brand)
  • 1/4 C frozen pineapple
  • 2-3 frozen berries (optional)
  • ice (optional)
  • water to preferred consistency

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in blender and blend for 2-5 minutes or until all of the kale is completely blended. Add water until you reach your desired consistency.
  • *Note: If you don’t normally eat kale, err toward a smaller amount in smoothie until your tastes adjust. However, the pineapple is what cancels out the slight bitterness of the kale, so make sure to include it! Spinach can also be substituted for the kale. If doing that, added 1-2 cups of spinach in place of kale.
  • Serves 1-2 people
Paleo Pancakes and Spinach Frittata

Our Family’s Favorite Recipe Links

Best Paleo “Spaghetti”: one of my favorite recipes to serve for my family AND for company. It’s that good, my friends! Play with the ingredients, experiment, and enjoy. You won’t miss regular pasta after having this. Vegetarians/vegans: leave out the meat, and you’re good to go!

Pancakes: We make this recipe EVERY.SINGLE. WEEKEND.  No joke, it tastes just like regular pancakes, minus the carb crash afterward. Need more convincing? Reference photo above. If you’re worried about sugar though, you can omit the added honey. Sometimes when we’re being really bad, we’ll melt (by way of a double boiler) a 1/2 bar of extra dark chocolate and mix it in with the batter.

Butternut Squash Soup: We make this soup every fall and it’s pretty much a tradition at this point to have it at least once a week. It’s savory, satisfying, and a bit on the spicy side.

Birthday Cake: We made this for our daughter’s first birthday, and let me tell you, the guests preferred it to the “regular” cupcakes I also made. Since I made it for my little one, I cut the honey in half and left out the chocolate.

Paleo Recipe Websites to check out: Nom Nom Paleo, Primal-Palate, and Everyday Paleo

On Pinterest: Check out Robb Wolf‘s two boards for further inspiration!

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Coming Up Next Week: I will be answering your questions about eating Paleo, so hit me up with your tough ones! OK, well maybe not too tough, but you get the picture. Leave a question in the comments below or feel free to leave it on our facebook page.

Kate loves eating delicious meals, but BIG SECRET, hates cooking. Who would’ve guessed? The last time she and her husband got together with friends, her Paleo cupcakes were an epic fail and she (guiltily) bought a gluten-free cherry pie to take instead. Sometimes her 16 month old spits out her meal, and Kate wonders if even the toddler gets that mama is not the cook in the house. 

Paleo Series Part II: Paleo for the Whole Family

This is the second installment of a four-part series on the popular Paleo way of eating and lifestyle from a mama’s perspective. You can find Part I here. Although Kate is not a medical professional or nutritionist, she’ll share her thoughts and experiences of implementing Paleo in her household. 

Paleo: a simple, whole foods way of eating that focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. It is also a lifestyle that places importance upon restful sleep, functional movement exercise, and interacting with and enjoying the outdoors.

Kale/Spinach Smoothie: A regular in our household

WARNING: Reading the following might result in improved health, more energy, and a desire to swing from a tree branch. Oh, and your kids will benefit as well! 

This morning my husband, my mother-in-law, daughter, and I shared a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, sautéed fresh squash from the farmer’s market, and cups of coffee for the adults (no cream/sugar.) Vivi wasn’t crazy about the squash, but tasted it several times, examined the texture, and eventually decided to enjoy her eggs without. She still seemed hungry, so I quickly blended up some raw kale, frozen fruit, coconut milk, and water. She gulped down three small cups.

This meal, while simple enough, met the complex and diverse needs of all of us. The low-glycemic index of the squash and eggs satisfied my diabetic mother-in-law. My husband, who seems to be always trying to slim down and get a six-pack (I support ya, sweetie!), appreciated the low-carb aspect of the meal, but felt satiated by the coconut oil used to cook the squash. And my daughter? Well at 16 months, a meal like this is normal, tasty, and unbeknownst to her, nutritious. When we eat Paleo as a family, every meal is a home run: nutritious, tasty, and satisfying.

Paleo is a total change of lifestyle and can be tough enough for adults. So often, there might be one person in a family eating Paleo, while the rest stick to what’s familiar. I want to assure you that it doesn’t have to be this way! But inevitably, there are usually two questions floating around when you mix Paleo and kiddos:

  • What does Paleo eating look like for babies, toddlers, and older children?

Paleo eating for kids is pretty simple: if you’re eating Paleo, they can eat all the same things as you. No more cooking two meals and loading the shopping cart up with “kid-friendly” options!

Babies and toddlers will naturally gravitate toward a more veggies/fruit/fat based version and less meat. My daughter will often refuse meat for a week at a time, while devouring everything else. Paleo and baby-led weaning naturally go hand in hand: think soft pieces of fruit and vegetables, egg yolks, homemade broths, and slow-cooked meats that are easy to chew for the baby who is at least 6 months old. Don’t forget the breastmilk…your cavewoman ancestors would be proud!

Independent toddlers will relish the opportunity to eat what their parents do, rather than something else that looks and tastes totally different. Having options to choose from will allow these headstrong babes to feel in control.

Older children might be a bit more difficult to get on board if they haven’t eaten this way previously. The best thing you can do is to only keep nutritious options in your home, make Paleo meals, and don’t worry about the rest. Kids are so resilient and adaptable: give them the chance to make healthy choices, and I think you will be surprised.

  • And is Paleo eating even healthy for kids? 

Immediate answer: YES! Do you know anyone who has ever become obese/sick/diseased while eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and high-quality meats, eggs, fats, and fish? Children thrive on this type of diet, and you may have seen something similar prescribed for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the GAPS diet.  The Paleo way of eating provides such a varied, nutrient-rich diet that allows a parent to relax about food choices. No need to worry if your little one is getting enough of one nutrient or another because, most likely, they are getting them all and in ample quantities.

However, there are two big issues that concern many parents: no grains and no dairy. Aren’t kids supposed to have both for the fiber and nutrients (grains) and the calcium and vitamin D (dairy)?

The short answer is this: kids will get all of the above nutrients from a Paleo diet. Vegetables and fruit provide ample fiber (yay poop!), leafy greens and nuts take care of calcium, and vitamin D can be sourced naturally from a short play session outside (step away from the Wii, my friends.) Instead of cow’s milk, my daughter drinks plenty of water, kale/spinach shakes, and an occasional cup of straight coconut milk. I’m pretty positive (at least 99% sure) that she is not only meeting the government’s snazzy RDA (recommended daily amount) of nutrients, but blowing those old-school recommendations out of the water. But if you want scientific charts, medical studies, etc., and not the word of some random mama on the internet, you can’t do wrong with reading a little Robb Wolf.

Kids on a Paleo diet are healthy, happy, don’t experience sugar-induced mood swings, and will typically sleep pretty soundly. If the warm and fuzzy image of your kids growing lean and strong on whole, nutrient-dense foods and plenty of play outside has you clamoring for more info, take a gander at these oh-so-helpful resources:

Books

  • Family-friendly recipes, “games” (OK, exercises) for the whole family, and great information: Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso
  • Looking for the science behind all this? (I’m with ya, sister…or brother.) Then look no further than biochemist, research nerd Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution

Blogroll

Who doesn’t love a good blog? (Ahem, TOBB.) Feast your eyes on these great internet writers:

And please, by all means, shoot your questions my way, and I’ll do my best to either answer them or point you in the right direction. Now go whip up a spinach smoothie, and get with it!

When Kate is not sharing a coconut-kale smoothie with her little one or planning/throwing together a Paleo meal, she enjoys writing about women’s issues, endlessly (virtually) redesigning her place a la Pinterest, and chatting with friends over coffee. 

Paleo Series Part I: Am I Really Eating Like This?

This is the first installment of a three part series on the popular Paleo way of eating and lifestyle from a mama’s perspective. Although Kate is not a medical professional or nutritionist, she’ll share her thoughts and experiences of implementing Paleo in her household. 

Paleo: a simple, whole foods way of eating that focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. It is also a lifestyle that places importance upon restful sleep, functional movement exercise, and interacting with and enjoying the outdoors.

Four years ago, if you would have told me that my life would mostly follow the above definition, I would have laughed. And perhaps protectively grabbed my energy drink and skittles. I thought regular exercise was for fanatics, and I assured myself that climbing the stairs to my apartment and walking my dogs was enough. Four years ago, I was newly married, in my early twenties, and totally unhealthy.

In 2009, while undergoing a battery of tests to figure out why I had no period and was nauseous/dizzy all the time (and no, definitely not pregnant), my husband kindly suggested we change some eating habits. He had heard of this “new” way of eating that looked back to our paleolithic ancestors who were relatively free of the modern diseases and ailments (such as Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and PCOS) that commonly plague many people today. I just laughed.

Soon after, I realized I had a soy intolerance which totally ruined my grocery and eating habits because, well, it’s in EVERYTHING. At least everything in a package or box. I started reading labels. Reading labels led to reading nutrition books and research articles. As the soy disappeared from my diet, so did many of the refined foods I was accustomed to eating, as well as the chronic stomach problems that had plagued me my entire life. Around the same time, my doctor diagnosed me with a prolactinoma, a benign hormone secreting tumor on my pituitary gland.

In early 2009, my husband and I began experimenting with eating Paleo and exercising regularly. I started having real energy again, no energy drink needed. I started feeling fully satiated by my food rather than having raging hunger on a sugar binging roller coaster of glucose levels. The chronic sinus infections went away, and I quit catching every illness that passed my way. My hormones levels balanced out from the medication. For probably the first time in my life, I actually felt healthy.

By January 2010, we challenged ourselves to eating 100% paleo for 6 months and even tried out Crossfit, that “are you crazy!?” high-intensity, competitive group workout that I swore never to do. I did it and loved it. When we found out we were expecting, we were elated. After years of messed up periods, fluctuating hormones and moods, I thought I would never get pregnant. It still seems like yesterday that I was sobbing in my car outside of 7/11 because the doctor said I would probably never be able to get pregnant naturally. She was wrong.

Today, my daughter is 16 months old, eats mostly Paleo and is thriving. As a family, we still focus on simple meals with tons of greens, some meat, and fat. Our daughter eats everything we eat, and I don’t make her special meals. Although Paleo and gluten-free eating are becoming more mainstream, we still get plenty of weird looks and questions. Regardless of what people think, we have eaten this way for 3 years and will continue to do so indefinitely. After years of feeling sick all the time, I finally feeling in control of my health and my life. I’m happy to say that it’s been over two years since I’ve needed to take medication for the prolactinoma, and we rarely, if ever, need to see a doctor.

Disease, sickness, and ailments plague so many of our family and friends that it seems commonplace to need medication, doctor visits, to be exhausted, and to never see an end in sight. This telling of my journey to better health was not for bragging rights, but as encouragement. It’s easy to feel helpless and unable to change aspects about your health and diet. But I can say, from experience, that the hard work does pay off in the end.

I hope you’ll continue with me in this series about eating Paleo. In my next post, I’ll focus on how to implement a Paleo way of eating with children, and answer some common concerns and questions. My final post will contain a few Boomerang Mama family favorite recipes as well as resources for getting started yourself. And please let me know if you have any specific questions!

Kate is a total foodie and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with her hubby Kirk and their little helper, Vivi. You can read more about their pre-baby adventures in Paleo-land on their first (and sadly, now defunct) blog Paleo Prerogative.