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As most of you probably know by now, the only fats you should be cooking with are saturated fats. Unsaturated liquid fats (vegetable oils and yes, this includes olive oil) are too fragile to cook with. DO NOT COOK WITH VEGETABLE OILS!! OK, now that my public service announcement is made, as a reminder some great fats to cook with are coconut oil, ghee, butter, palm oil, duck fat, lard, tallow, reserved bacon fat. Obviously, the healthier the source of said fat, the better it is for you.

I use coconut oil, butter and reserved bacon fat quite a bit. However both coconut oil and bacon fat tend to add their respective flavors to the dish. Not a bad thing, but I often prefer a flavorless fat so I can better control my flavors with herbs and or spices. Butter works great but it can often burn or turn brown. You can avoid this with ghee, but to purchase ghee can be pretty expensive unless you are clarifying the butter yourself. I find good old-fashioned lard or tallow make great options. However, the one obstacle to these is that I have yet to find either at my local grocery store. You can find them online, one great source is a company called Fat Works and I have ordered from them in the past.  You may also find either or both from a local company selling grass-fed or pastured meats. More than likely though you may have more luck purchasing the actual fat at a pretty cheap price or better yet you may be able to get that fat for free! Purchasing pre-rendered fat is certainly easier, but will of course cost more. Out of curiosity I reached out to the company we purchase our grass-fed meat from, West Loop Butchers to see if I can get my hands on some beef fat so I can render it myself as one of the owners is a good friend of ours.  To my delight Tom dropped a huge hunk of beef fat off for me later than day. Sweet! This is what I started out with. The next question was, what do I do with it now?

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This picture is the “After Photo” from the Murph Challenge I participated in this weekend at our relatively new Absolution CrossFit Gym. (I’m in the middle with the green headband) It was my first CrossFit workout since I found out I was carrying twins. It felt great to be back in the swing of CrossFit. Even though this is a new community to me, the familiarity of the workout and the support and encouragement from all our coaches and other participants made me feel like I was back where I belonged. This picture says it all right? All smiles after completing one of the hardest workouts the devious minds at Crossfit have ever designed. The Murph Challenge consists of running 1 mile, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats then running another mile. Since this was my very first work out back I decided not to go too crazy and do a “Half Murph”  which is: you guessed it,  1/2 mile (which I rowed instead on ran due to doctors orders) then 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 air squats then another 1/2 mile. This was against the advice of my husband and head trainer to do a 1/4 Murph. Not having done more than walk for exercise over the last 9-10 months, this was of course sound advice, but I felt the half was the least I could do to honor our fallen soldiers.

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As some of you may know from my last few (few being the operative word) I was pregnant with twin girls and struggling through being 42 (now 43 thanks!) and all the side effects that come with higher hormone levels and carrying all the extra weight around. Finding the energy to post anything was a huge challenge. I am now 1 month postpartum and from a fatigue point of view I have good days and bad days. Handling two is much harder than one; that is for sure! But we are learning as we go and it gets a little easier every day for the most part. Here is a quick shameless plug for just how cute they are!

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I know this post won’t be of interest to everyone but I feel the need to share it. As some of you may know from a previous post, “Pregnancy, Paleo and Pickles”, I am pregnant with twins and maintaining my Paleo diet as best I can. As my first trimester came to an end so did most of the nausea, and cravings for carbohydrates that I battled semi-successfully, meaning I incorporated a few more carbohydrates than I ate pre-pregnancy. I was able to keep it all organic, gluten-free and unprocessed. Toward the end of my second trimester, like with my first two pregnancies along came my least favorite test. The OGTT or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to test for Gestational Diabetes. I assumed that due to my Paleo diet any kind of diabetes would not be a concern for me. You can imagine my surprise when I received the call from my doctor’s office that I failed the 1 hour OGTT by one measly point and that they needed me to come in to take the 3 hour test. How could this happen?!!!! Must have been a total fluke. There is no way! I know I am not diabetic, maybe I should just refuse to take it. After all, there is no way ingesting a concentrated form of processed liquid sugar in 5 minutes was good for me or my babies in any way. However, what has been drilled into my head is that I am 42 and having twins. These 2 facts catapult me into the high risk pregnancy category. I sucked it up and went in for the 3 hour test which I dreaded. It meant fasting from dinner time the night before, chugging down an even more concentrated processed bottle of liquid sugar and having my blood drawn 3 times over the next 3 hours. NOT FUN!

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Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Um, um, um. What a warm comfort food for a cold blustery day. This Paleo version is Grain-free and Dairy-free (if you opt to not use parmesan cheese) and is always a crowd pleaser. For the side of mashed potatoes, see my mashed Cauliflower recipe.  This recipe makes a big loaf and should easily feed 6 people. I like to make it big so we have leftovers!

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  • Chronic headaches.
  • Chronic fatigue or lack of energy
  • Chronic nasal congestion.
  • Depression/Anxiety.
  • Chronic abdominal discomfort (including ulcers, constipation or diarrhea)
  • Chronic bloating and/or gas
  • Chronic pains in the body (joints, muscles)
  • Persistent allergies or asthma
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Skin problems (acne, rashes, redness, bumps)
  • Repeated or reoccurring bacterial or viral infections.
  • An inability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight no matter how hard you try. (Especially in your abdomen)

 

Do any of the symptoms above sound familiar to you or someone you know? Chances are the driving force behind these symptoms is inflammation, specifically, chronic inflammation.  Over the past 5 years I have become convinced the source of 90% of what ails us is caused at least in part if not entirely by the inflammatory diets we eat and lifestyles we lead. This is of course my opinion. It’s an opinion rooted in my own experience and my observations of those around me.

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One of the principal tenets of the Paleo lifestyle is to eliminate toxins from your food and your environment in general.  When stated simply like this, makes a lot of sense right? Who wants to live with exposure to toxins? What many find out when they endeavor to remove toxins from their lives is that it is a lot harder than it sounds. Part of the reason is that food and environmental toxins are numerous, hidden and in many cases unknown. The obvious ones like gluten, simple sugars, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, PCBs, etc. are known and relatively easy to avoid. Others are not so easy. This is particularly true when those toxins come in the form of relationships.

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Please forgive me. It has been a while since my last thoughtful post. Recently I wrote how life sometimes gets in the way of pursuing we want to do in order to accomplish what we must do. In the past 7 months I have moved twice, planned and celebrated my wedding and miraculously managed to get pregnant at the ripe old age of 42! Phew! I truly am exhausted…..and nauseous and craving pickles, among other things. :-)

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Paleo Cole Slaw

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Nothing says BBQ like cole slaw. I love cole slaw. The problem is the store bought stuff is made with all sorts of crap I don’t want put into my body. Namely soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup. This is my go-to, super easy recipe that wins rave review every time. The best part is, once you make the Paleo Mayo (which I try to make and keep on hand) this is super quick.

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Sometimes I wish the Paleo Diet was called something else. I for one identify with the term. I understand its relevance and appreciate the spirit in which it is named. But many naysayers use the name itself as a reason to bash it, ridicule it and dismiss it as a fad without ever understanding it for the lifestyle that it really is. Some of the common criticisms I hear are:

1. It’s just a new version of the Atkins Diet – This is categorically untrue, I’ll explain in a moment.

2. There’s no way we can know with 100% certainty what our Paleolithic ancestors ate so how can you build a diet around it. -No kidding?

3. The fruits, veggies and animals we eat today are different from what was available back then, so it’s impossible to really eat like a caveman.  – This is true to a degree but not all that relevant when you understand the spirit behind the lifestyle.

4. Our Paleolithic ancestors died very young. They never lived long enough to develop heart disease or diabetes. How do you know their diet would have prevented these diseases or not? – A lot of archeological evidence and current day isolated populations provides plenty of evidence to base a solid dietary theory on.

5. Eating all that meat is an unsustainable lifestyle and is bad for our planet. – A common vegan argument and no more unsustainable than their own diet.

6. Eating all that meat and fat is bad for you. – This is especially common among those concerned with high cholesterol issues.

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