“Lynch mom”…that’s what all my high school friends called her, and we all loved her for so many reasons, not the least of which was: Her super famous chocolate chip cookies :O)
Mom made the best cookies ever. When we were sad, or celebrating, or excited, or getting back from a trip, or…well, you get it. She made a lot of cookies. She learned from a young age that food is the centerpiece of everything.”Chocolate chip cookies could heal the world”. She learned it from another amazing woman and awesome cook – my sweet gramma Carolyn, her mom.
In 1992, that amazing woman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and my mom and aunts took care of her during her illness. She only asked one thing of my mom: to quit smoking before she died. My mom and dad quit immediately. (We will NOT go into how that went ) That was April. In September, My sweet gramma was gone, and my mother’s heart was shattered. During my grandmother’s illness and in the year following her death, my mom did what she knew to do. She ate the pain away. In one short year, my mom went from 117 lb too-skinny pounds to close to 200. She was 34 years old, and had 4 kids still at home. Mom never showed her sadness to us, she just dove headfirst into making sure we had everything we needed…taking me back and forth to cheerleading practice, games, and competitions. Running my 2 little brothers everywhere for baseball and hockey. Getting my older brother ready for college. Worrying like crazy about my oldest brother in the Navy, and taking care of the house while my dad worked a million hours a week. She was a fantastic mom, but she completely stopped taking care of the one thing that was taking care of us…herself.
She tried to lose weight. I can remember several times asking if I could have something from the fridge and her telling me it was her “special food”. She would diet, lose some weight, then gain it right back. We’ve all been there…She was most successful on the Atkins diet (I know, shocker, right?), she never lost more than 20 pounds, and again she would gain it all right back. In talking to her just the other night, she said maybe she was still holding onto it from when gramma died. She told me in her whole 53 years, nothing has ever broken her heart like that and maybe she was just afraid to let it go.
Last March, my grandfather (her dad) passed away at age 89 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. (My mom had moved to Florida in 2000 to take care of him, before he finally went to live with my incredible uncle Mark until his death) Then, in June, my dad’s brother died suddenly of liver cancer at the young age of 59. Off to Michigan again, to be with the family and help my grandfather take care of my Dad’s mom (and only mom my mom had left). Gramma had been diagnosed with Lung cancer the previous Christmas. Finally, in August, just 2 months after Uncle Dan’s death, Gramma lost her battle with lung cancer. It was an extremely tough year for all of us, but my mom especially. She travelled back and forth from Florida to Michigan and Indiana to help out and attend funerals and she ended up completely exhausted. Finally, in November, she and my father made a decision that broke MY heart: they moved to Southern California. It was a decision that was made purely from grief and desperation, BUT that move turned out to be a very positive thing for them. It was enough of a change to jolt her out of her self-destruction. Plus, her friends Dawn and Bruce live there, and Dawn is a SUPER awesome trainer/nutritionist. She was going to get healthy. Little did I know, I was going to help!
I became fully primal/paleo in January 2011, and after feeling the best I ever had, I challenged my mom to try it out. In April, she did the 30 day challenge with me and lost an immediate 10 pounds. Oh yes. She was hooked, and did “pretty well” for the next couple of months, losing a few pounds …Then, after seeing her results and the results of some of my other family members, my dad jumped in head first. Now they were a team – and let me tell you about my parents when they “team up” – They are UNSTOPPABLE. Since June 1, dad has lost over 20 pounds, and now Lynchmom has lost 27 pounds. Her leg pain from a boating injury that has been aggravating her for 7 years is GONE. She can work out again. My favorite thing is when she text messages me with pics of food and says “Oh, yeah, I’m SO deprived…I’m gonna go struggle through this bacon wrapped goodness” or “ANOTHER POUND WOO HOO!!”
The best part is that she’s found her strength, and found herself again. I am so proud of my mom, and my dad for being the amazing supportive man that he is. They are an inspiration to all 5 of their children, children in law, and 12 grandchildren.
SO, there goes your “I’m just too old or too injured” excuse.
“Lynch mom”…that’s what all my high school friends called her, and we all loved her for so many reasons, not the least of which was: Her super famous chocolate chip cookies :O)
I don’t know about you, but I get a major cereal craving every now and then. Not at breakfast, usually, but sometime in the afternoon. I used to eat Kashi and Mini Wheats by the boatload back in the day, but when I changed over to the Paleo lifestyle, I simply wrote it off. I don’t really think about it much anymore, but today I was HUNGRY and only had about 5 minutes. So, I grabbed a bowl. I threw in:
- A handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
- A handful of slivered almonds
- A few (like 5) Pecans
- A few (like 15) raisins (you could use any dried fruit here, or none.)
- coconut milk
Yep, that’s it. I ate it with a spoon and I’ll tell you this – it was one of the best 5 minutes I have had recently. Although I wouldn’t exactly call this breakfast, I’d call it awesomeness on a spoon. If you get a hankerin’ for some cereal, this is the super duper easy peasy way to get it. I encourage mixing it up with your faves. oooooh ….If you leave off the milk you could throw this in a baggie and have trail mix. SWEET. ~ Cavemomma
Video Detailing my brother’s addiction to Paleo. Turn it up and watch to the end!
I woke up this morning with a thought: MMMMMMM Time for some hot black coffee, Sunday bacon and a garbage omelette. Oh, yes. Then another thought: I don’t remember ever being this excited to get out of bed for cold cereal, or worse – being out of milk so there’s either a banana or nothing for brekkie. Yikes. I lived that life. For YEARS. *shudder*
That is what kills me about this lifestyle. So many are stuck on the idea that it’s “just a fad diet” and my favorite “I couldn’t do that. It’s so RESTRICTIVE”. Um, really? Sounds to me like it’s the other way around. Before Paleo, I was stuck eating what the SAD (Standard American Diet) calls ‘breakfast food’. Now, I realize I need some protein and some fat every morning (or early afternoon, if I’m fasting), and I can even eat leftovers. Hey, if someone can call leftover cold pizza breakfast, I can certainly heat up some leftover CROCKPOT PULLED PORK or even CURRY CHICKEN. Omelettes are almost unlimited..hence the name garbage omelete..I whip up some eggs, and chop in some red bell pepper, throw in spinach, snip in some green onion, broccoli, shredded zucchini, nitrate/nitrite free uncured bacon and/or sausage….anything I have lying around is fair game. I cook my free range organic eggs in..wait for it…bacon grease. (GASP!) And heck, that’s just breakfast! How many times are we stuck eating the same ho-hum crap for lunch that we’re not really even enjoying? I literally eat something different every. single.day.
That’s not even the best part. Paleo is so much MORE than just the fantastic food I’ve come to love. It’s sleeping well – in a very dark, cool room ALL NIGHT LONG. It’s calm of mind and soul. It’s playing outside with the kids or the dogs. It’s feeling full of tons of energy and mental focus, which, let’s face it..is so needed with our full schedules. It’s not stressing and freaking out if I can’t get to the gym. It’s challenging myself to lift heavy because I can. Truly, it’s about getting back to the basics. The best part of Paleo, though, is the COMMUNITY.
There are so many amazing people who have discovered the same thing I have. That this isn’t just about being “on a diet”. It’s about fueling our bodies to function the way they were meant to - the way we evolved to function. And because we all ‘get it’, and we’ve all had medical, emotional, skin, stomach, sleep, energy and other problems that we’ve cured with this new way of life, and because we’re all so much happier, we SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE each other. It’s so easy to get caught up in the yuck of the world, but anytime we need reinforcement, the community is there. There are recovering alcoholics, food addicts, Type 2 diabetics, moms, women wanting to become moms facing infertility…the list goes on. Everyone is researching and trying to find REAL answers for each other. We swap recipes, stories, encouraging words, and blogs. We lift each other’s pages up in the community and encourage newbies to visit the other people’s pages. It’s not a competition, it’s a common goal: get as many people to find their way to the health and happiness we have and get past all the lies that have been shoved down our throats that are obviously NOT working and make more people fat,sick, and dead every year. We all want what’s best for each other, and for our families and friends. None of us get anything out of it except knowing that we’re changing the way people look at nutrition. I LOVE MY PALEO FAMILY.
I hope you’ll spend some time researching the Paleo/Primal way of life, and share your story with me. I’d love to share it with everyone else. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your healthy, happy life. Love~ Cavemomma
What it IS: It is a lifestyle.
I think it was Everyday Paleo (not sure though) who had an article about people complaining that “this wasn’t working for them” and I really liked her reply. Write down everything you put into your mouth. Take a look at it. You’ll be surprised.
I summed it up like this. And this analogy seems to give the men a little perspective. Think of your body and what you put in it like this: Sell everything you have. Go out and buy a $350,000 Lexus LFA. Fill the gas tank up with vegetable oil. Throw in a bag of sugar while you’re at it. Take it for its initial spin around the block. GASP, WHEEZE, SPUTTER…yea, then see what happens. Any guesses? You’d destroy the vehicle. It’d be useless. Worthless. Done. Dead. And you’d be left with nothing cause you sold everything to afford the car. Well, that’s the SAME THING you’re doing to your body. Once you destroy everything you have, you can’t get it back. Period.
I’m happy to say since starting this I’m down 23 pounds. (In ONE month!!) I have no idea about inches cause when I started this my goal was not for myself. However, I have dropped at least 2 sizes. I used to have insomnia something FIERCE. Now, I sleep great (kinda like before I had kids). My stress levels have dropped immensely. I used to snack on mini wheats (cause I thought they were healthy). Now I know better (I no longer have IBS either, in case you all wanted to know that). I could go on and on.
For me, the weight loss was a great side effect, so I call it. And so many ppl focus on JUST that which is why they fall for the “get slim quick” diets and pills. Skinny does not equal healthy. Did you all hear me? SKINNY DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY! One of my best friends is a toothpick. Everyone is so envious, “OMG you’re so skinny I hate you…” What they don’t know is that she dropped 80 pounds like a bad habit due to acid reflux and several other digestive issues. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. Her Mom thought she was bulimic. She literally lived on her bathroom floor. She still has the issues to this day (although under control with medication) and I keep trying to tell her that even though she thinks she eats healthy, she’s not and needs to change. But I’m not one to preach.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a pill popper. I hate taking medicine. I’d rather NOT have to take medicine for the rest of my life if I could help it. So, for me, feeling as great as I do after 30 days is the BEST part of all of this and I don’t wanna look back. I don’t think to myself, “oh that one small batch of vinegar fair fries, cotton candy, and an elephant ear isn’t gonna effect the scales THAT much…” What I think is, “I know how great I feel right now and if I eat that, I’ll wanna lie down and let the elephants trample me.” Kinda like going out and drinking way too much…the next day you feel like crap.
So that was the sum of my 30 days And it won’t end here that’s for sure. I hope it doesn’t end for all of you either.
All summer, we have complete control (for the most part) over what our kids eat, because they are at home and we only buy what we need and eat before we leave or when we get home. Once school starts, all bets are off. If you’re new to this, and you’re not sure what to pack for the monkeys (or your grown-up self), here are some of the things that my kids take. Note: I fill the fridge/pantry with options. They are to pack what they want, I approve when they’re finished. We don’t have garbage food in our house, so we’re pretty safe, although there have been some all-fruit lunches I’ve had to veto. Make sure they’re getting some protein, some fat, and a veggie/fruit. ANYTHING is better than a PB&J on processed bread or -God forbid- SCHOOL LUNCH.
Options available at our cave:
- Boar’s head lunchmeat (or any brand that is gluten-free and filler-free). My kids like turkey, chicken, and ham. They then roll up whatever they want inside. Lay lunchmeat flat, throw in slaw, cheese (if your family eats dairy), veggies, etc. I also make “ham rollups” like gramma used to make, but instead of cream cheese, I used smashed avocado and a green onion. YUM.
- Leftover ‘chicken nuggets’…If you need a recipe, check out my fried chicken recipe (here) and just use cubed chicken instead of whole breasts.
- Chicken Salad, Egg salad or tuna salad wraps – I use romaine lettuce or iceberg “wraps/cups, or just serve it in a tupperware bowl with a fork. Chicken salad recipe HERE.
- Hard Boiled eggs or Devilled eggs. Instead of mayo, we use mashed avocado or just a little coconut oil, plus some dill weed. It’s delish.
- Egg cupcakes: These we mostly use for grab-n-go breakfast, but I’ll throw a couple in the lunch cooler for myself to nom on if I get hungry (rare). I got the egg cupcake recipe from www.everydaypaleo.com
- Red pepper strips. My 4 year old tried these once and got mega-hooked. Red bell peppers are sweet, and the kids love ‘em. They’re also yummy inside a rollup.
- Grapes, Apple slices, berry mixed fruit salad, etc. Don’t forget to invest in tupperware/ziplock type containers. They’re cheap, reusable, and perfect for stacking inside a stay-cool lunchbox. Now they even have the separated all in one plates.
- Ants on a log: Celery stalks, fill with nut butter of your choice (not peanut) and set raisins on top like ants on a log Kids love this one.
- Homemade applesauce with cinnamon – HERE.
- Baby organic carrots, almonds, walnuts, and homemade trail mixes are all great options. Make sure you use no sugar added dried fruit for any trail mix.
- On occasion, I use Larabars. The kids love them, and they’re whole-food made. A little carb heavy for mom, but I’ll even grab one if I’m having a craving or didn’t pre-plan.
- Organic, gluten free beef jerky
- Butternut squash with coconut oil (or pasture butter) and cinnamon. This is absolutely my favorite!! Kids LOVE this.
- FINALLY, my new favorite: leftover cuddly coconut pancakes smothered with almond butter and sliced berries (Viola! PB&J ‘sandwich’!!)
I hope this gives you plenty of options. Remember: they don’t need a 7 course meal. Feed them a good, protein/fat heavy breakfast for good brain power, and they won’t even really be hungry til lunch. I put enough food in for lunch and their snack. Plus, this year I bought the lunchboxes with attached BPA free waterbottles, so there’s no extra sugary drink worries. Any other ideas you have are always welcome, we parents all need to stick together and help each other out Love ~ Cavemomma
Dear “I can’t”,
We have had a long and difficult relationship, and we’ve been through a lot together. Arguments, fits, and hatred for each other. I believe it is time to draw the line in the sand and just move on. Enough is enough. I know you are holding me back and I am tired of it. You have come between me and my goals too many times, and it doesn’t seem to matter to you what the goal is; working out, eating nutritious food, studying to get good grades, getting up at 5am to get things done, etc. You’re always in my way. NO MORE.
This relationship is nothing but a LIE anyway. It turns out, when I choose not to listen to you, I end up feeling a thousand times better. I accomplish feats of greatness and I believe in myself. I am stronger. I know you’re going to try to come back time and again, that’s just your nature. You should know that I have something new in my life. I’ve left you behind for “I CAN and I WILL.” These are your enemies, I know, but they lift me up and give me courage while all you do is hold me down. ~
So, “I can’t”, this is goodbye. Because I can. and I WILL.
I got the idea for this super quick and easy-peasy meal from my super awesome “suster in law”. Thanks, Sarah!!
This is so easy and quick, it can be prepared in just a few minutes any night of the week, and the leftovers can be used for soup, omelettes, and other chicken recipes the rest of the week. Nothing better than already cooked, super juicy chicken lying around easy meals later!!
- Several pieces of chicken. I used boneless breasts because I love white meat. (How many pcs will depend on how many you’re feeding)
- 2-3 eggs
- Coconut, almond, walnut, or macadamia flour. Don’t have any? Throw a couple handfuls of nuts into a food processor and chop til grainy.
- Sea salt, garlic powder, other spices you might like, and pepper
- Coconut oil (you can use others, but coconut is best as it has a high smoke point and tastes better than anything.
Instructions: (if you even call it that…so easy!)
- Beat the eggs in one bowl, put your ‘flour’ in another bowl
- Heat a large frying pan to medium, put a glob (official meaure) of coconut oil in the pan and melt.
- Coat the chicken pieces in egg then flour mixture and set in the pan
- Cover the pan (helps the meat cook through) for about10 minutes, turn, and re-cover the pan for about 10 minutes
- Cut the center of the thickest piece to check that it is cooked through
- Serve with a ginormous side of veggies or a salad
Easy, right?? My kids LOVED this. They like a lot of the stuff I make, but this seemed to be an exceptional WIN. yay!
Why Pannycakes? Cuz that’s what we called ‘em when we were kids. Oh, who am I kidding? My brothers and I still call them that. Pannycakes are awesome, and just because we are paleo doesn’t mean we don’t get a hankering for some every once in a while.
You’ll need a hot skillet – Cast iron is best- with some coconut oil for the pan.
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 c. of coconut milk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (Agave, organic raw honey)
- 1/2 c. coconut flour
- 2 medium ripe bananas
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
Mash the bananas in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs with a hand mixer til frothy. Add in the sweetener, oil, and lemon juice and mix til blended. Add the coconut flour and coconut milk, blend again until smooth, then add the banana mash and finish mixing. The mix should be thick.
Heat Skillet until hot and add coconut oil. Pour batter in small silver-dollar size cakes (keeping them small makes it easier to flip them). Wait until the edges are crispy, then flip only once. Serve with Berries and honey, or almond butter and honey, or any Paleo-friendly topping you desire. I ate mine plain they were so soft and tasty!
So, how do I feed a family of 6 a fully clean, paleo diet while working full-time and going to school? With a little planning, preparation, and of course, help from my cavekids :) They love to be in the kitchen with me, and it’s my time to teach them to cook, talk about why certain food is healthy for our bodies, and just spend time hanging out with my favorite people. Throughout the week, I see recipes here or there on sites like fastpaleo.com, everydaypaleo.com, civilizedcavemancooking.com, and many others (all on the “likes” section of my Facebook Cavemomma page) and I bookmark them – usually because I’m really busy going between job sites, so I’ll get them together later and print them.
Sunday morning, while we’re cleaning the house, I take note of what we already have in the freezer, pantry, and fridge, and begin making a meal plan from the recipes I came across mixed with some favorites of ours. After I have about 7-9 meals, I begin my grocery list, always including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I do NOT want to have to stop at the store every night for this or that – it’s time-consuming and expensive. We spend the day Sunday at the pool, beach, park, or just hanging out around the cave. Sunday evening, I go to 2-3 stores, depending on the week and the needs. I also stop by the local farmer’s market first for good local produce. I know this sounds awful, but if you have a plan, it truly isn’t. I make lists by store – Costco for the bulk items (mostly our business supplies, paper products, and bulk wild caught fish and chicken), then to whole foods for grassfed beef, local organic eggs and nitrate free uncured bacon, coconut milk, lunchmeat, and some on-sale organics, then SuperTarget for less expensive organics veggies and staples if need be. Sometimes I don’t need to go to Costco, and sometimes I only go to Target because it is closest and they do have a pretty great organic section where I am. Total trip: usually 2-3 hours. I can hear it now, in the worst whiny, nasal voice “but I haaaaaatttteee shooooopppiiiinnnnngggg” Yes, pumpkin, I know. Me too. But if you take the kids you can make it another fun learning experience – and mine keep me laughing and having a ball the whole time. Hey, I never said “a little prep is super easy!” I just said necessary. K? Good.
After we get home, we wash, cut, dry, and put away the veggies, bake the chicken, and start making some of the recipes we can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze. I bake and store spaghetti squash, make some meatballs, some sauces, etc. I post the meal plan on the fridge so there’s no decision-making or mind-changing. In my house, we live by “you get what you get, and don’t throw a fit”. Besides, we decided on these meals together, making it a bit easier. Today, I cooked 6 chicken breasts, a spaghetti squash, a big batch of meatballs, and a bunch of egg cupcakes. We can grab the eggs on the way out the door in the am, have turkey rollups, salads, and grapes for lunch, and I’ll plug in the meatball-filled crockpot before we leave and set it for 12 hours. Now, when I get home all tired, dirty and sweaty from work (sexy, right?), I will pull that spaghetti squash out, throw it in the micro, and pour the meatballs and sauce over. BAM! Dinner is done in less than 5. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have time for a shower before the kids baths, dishwasher, and washing machine use all the hot water. Score! (Plus, if I have school that night, my classmates prefer I have time to wash up;))
All that prep gets 6 people through about Wednesday. Perfect, because Wednesday nights are youth group nights for the kids, so I get 2 hours to myself to get a good solid workout and prep for Thursday and Friday without the “help”. Saturday we eat small meals through the day and we prepare a big dinnner together or go out to eat. We have been solidly Paleo/Primal for about 2 months (We weaned into this over about 6 months), and I can tell you it gets easier every week. I notice that we eat SO many different meals now, keeping it fun and tasty instead of the same tacos, spaghetti, and meatloaf week after week. We try at least 2 new things every week and we’re having fun with it. This lifestyle has become part of us. Tradition. We’re reaping the benefits in health, learning, AND time together. Yay!! I hope this helps you and your family! Soon, it is my intention to help families meal plan and make grocery lists..so, if you need help, hit me up! It’s why I’m here!