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BACON! Yup, it’s good for you.

3 Oct

So here’s the amazing NEWSFLASH:

Bacon is GOOD FOR YOU!

Ok, stop shaking your head.

Bacon contains fat- Yes. But it’s the good kind called monosaturated fat. The good-for-you, oleic acid, fat that can help lower bad cholesterol levels; the same fat found in olive oil. There are lots of studies that have revealed that eating a protein-rich diet in the morning (eggs and bacon), lowering your carb intake, and eating smaller meals throughout the day will in fact leave you feeling full longer, help you lose weight, and boost your energy. SCORE! Add in a good amount of exercise and you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off. DOUBLE SCORE!

Some people still think saturated fats are evil, and because of this misconception have banned bacon from their homes. GASP! However, fatty acid experts today say that saturated fat from natural sources like meats, dairy, and tropical oils (coconut, palm) are not detrimental for our health, but instead much better than the polyunsaturated and hydrogenated substitutes we’ve been recently using. I cook with coconut oil ALL the time and find it amazing, nutritious, and delicious. No, it doesn’t taste like coconut. Well, if you douse your food in it, then yes, it will taste of coconut. So just don’t do that. 🙂

Lots of people believe that starting the day with cereal or pancakes gives you a strong push to get through the day. However, this is not the case. “A breakfast high in carbs would promote carbohydrate utilisation throughout the rest of the day, whereas if you have a fat-rich breakfast, you (can) transfer your energy utilisation between carbohydrate and fat,” says Dr. Martin Young of the University of Alabama at Binghamton. He says the first meal of the day is what programs you for the rest of your day. So filling up on fat-rich foods is actually a good thing, not something to be shunned as it was in the past. You spend the day burning that fat. Loading up on carbs simply causes that dreaded insulin spike which causes you to store any fat you eat as opposed to using it the right and best way for your body. YAY for bacon in the morning!!!

Ok, but put down that pound of bacon you just reached for. We still need to practice moderation. Anything in excess is not good for you. Bacon has amazing benefits and so many misconceptions that hopefully this article can help clear up- however- eating an over abundance of it isn’t the smartest choice. Just add it to your weekly menu 3-4 times a week (along with dropping the excessive carbs and getting your butt off the couch a few times a week) and watch and see how your body thanks you 🙂

DISCLAIMER: Remember, I’m no doctor. This post is simply for information in a easy to digest (see what I did there??) way. For more information regarding high fat diets and how good they actually are for you (AND the precautions you still must take)- check out this article from Marksdailyapple.com.

Ready for some recipes???

Here’s a bunch of bacon goodness:

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/for-the-love-of-bacon/

Crispy bacon

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries (EEEEE!!! How good does that sound??)

www.health-bent.com/pork/paleo-bacon-wrapped-sweet-potato-fries

paleo bacon wrapped sweet potato fries

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

http://paleodish.com/2012/05/07/bacon-wrapped-mushroom-chicken-thighs/

Bacon Pesto Stuffed Hamburgers

http://www.amazingpaleo.com/2012/08/24/bacon-pesto-stuffed-burgers/

The 80/20 theory..

23 Sep

“It’s too much work.”

“I don’t have time.”

“I don’t have the will power to keep it going.”

Does this sound familiar???

photo courtesy of toptvstuff.com

Yea.. those are some of the most common phrases uttered by people who just can’t seem push themselves to make a change. I know those phrases well. I SAID THEM FOR FAR TOO LONG!

Here’s the coolest part about Paleo….there is this little, eensy weensy theory that we use (use, not LIVE BY) that says:

STRIVE FOR 100%…KNOWING THAT YOU MAY ONLY BE ABLE TO HIT 80%.

Life happens. Things come up. And situations don’t always allow us to be perfect cavemen(women). Ever since processed foods have been introduced into modern society, we sort of can’t avoid them depending on where we are. If we are always home, never leave, and never eat out- sure! 100% Paleo is a breeze. But that type of lifestyle is just not realistic for most people. We eat out and menus don’t always offer the best solutions (though most restaurants do! I have NO problems eating out now that I’m Paleo!)

Once of the things that got me on the Paleo train at first was the fact that there is this 80/20 theory that simply says you can abide by the Paleo lifestyle 80% of the time while 20% of the time you are non-paleo. If you hit the 80/20 ratio, you will still see excellent results…. more energy, weight loss, health benefits, etc. When I realized that I could change my life slowly, still eat the things I really wanted until I was ready to give them up, and I’d still see results?? I was in. Sign me up.

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Best thing about this is simply this: I don’t beat myself up if I have something non-Paleo. I don’t stop eating for two days because I had something that was  unacceptable to my lifestyle. I tell myself “80/20 Kristina. It’s all good. Tomorrow is another day.” I don’t stress. I don’t freak. It’s amazing. Because let’s face it- every once in a while you are faced with that delish Carvel ice cream cake for someone’s bday or a night out with friends during which you find the menu offers nothing exactly healthy. This is part of life and I’ll be darned if I lock myself up to avoid it.

So, those of you out there saying, “I just don’t have time.” Or patience. Or money. Or will power. Whatever it is you are using as an excuse- let it go. Paleo allows you to follow your own course and do it in your own time. There is no “bad girl” feeling if you go off course. And once you find the Paleo foods that you love, you will see how easy, quick, and delicious your meals become! I have never again uttered any excuses when it comes to our menu each week. We look forward to food shopping, planning our meals, marinating hunks of meat, persusing the farmers market, and cooking after work.

80/20 guys. Try it. I’m 99% right now, but certainly started 80/20! And every once in a while, I really work that 80/20 theory…. especially when I hit little Italy and Ferrara’s Bakery is calling my name…

Photo courtesy of culinaryfool.com

Let us know your thoughts and whether this 80/20 theory can help give you that little push. I know it did it for me 🙂

Paleo “Tortilla” Chips

16 Sep

Hope for guac and salsa is not lost!!

Enter Paleo chips.. tortilla style!

I’ve been needing a tortilla chip substitute in my life since I went Paleo and this recipe made my wish a reality… easy as pie too!

Paleo “Tortilla” Chips-

2 cups Almond flour

2 eggs (the recipe I found said egg whites only.. I said no.)

1 tsp oil ( i use coconut oil of course!)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper to taste

Mix together into a dough and separate into two balls.

Roll each ball out super thin between two pieces of parchment paper.

Score the flattened dough into desired shapes.

Bake at 325 for 15ish minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

ENJOY! Leave a comment below with your thoughts and how it went if you tried them!!

We’re Baaaaaack!

11 Sep

I know that sounded super exciting…and many of you are just dyingggg to know where we’ve been right??

Ha, ok, we are not THAT vain.

But we do know we’ve been absent for a while. Life sometimes gets hectic and takes a few detours from the path you had planned to be on…. For me, Kristina, that is completely the case.

I started Girls Gone Healthy with the idea in mind that I, along with some fabulous women, would help inspire others to get on the healthy train. I promised myself I would become healthy in a way that didn’t change my entire way of life. Promises Shmomises.

Enter Paleo.

Paleo has changed my life. It has driven me to focus on ME and not the fast paced world I live in. I tended to stress and allow myself to get swallowed up by… well…life. Now, I sit back, breathe, and enjoy every minute. Of course, I won’t pretend that I never stress because let’s face it- stress is a part of life. But ever since I began feeding my body in this way, my mind and emotions have had a total makeover. Oh yea, and I dropped 2 pant sizes. Yeaaa…so that helps 🙂

So basically, that is where I’ve been. Making this change has required a lot of time (very well spent cooking, baking, and reading!). I had to put the posts on hold for a bit because the Paleo lifestyle came at me full force as soon as I committed to it wholeheartedly. I had to hold on with both hands and take it for a ride. (So excited that my bf Curtis is taking this ride with me!!)  Now that I’m pretty much in love and ready to commit for life, I can get back to blogging about the journey. And oh what a journey it’s gonna be…

I hope that all of my non-paleo friends will stick around and still continue to support Girls Gone Healthy! I promise it will guide anyone and everyone towards health and happiness- even if you don’t want to go Paleo. This blog will not EVER force anyone to live a certain way- it will simply document our journey..and if you like what you read, feel free to give it a try.
So…….Girls Gone Healthy is officially back! So tell ya friends…tell ya wife… tell.. um… everyone!! Just keep truckin along with us and watch as we change our lives and hopefully change yours in the process ❤

What the heck is Paleo?? Mystery solved…

16 Aug

Paleo, paleo, paleo..

You hear me talk about it, allude to it, show recipes and BBQ’s all related to it.

BUT WHAT IS IT??

I’m not going to try and pretend that I’m the Paleo expert. I can only share what I have learned though some links and blogs you can visit. What I do know is this-

If you are looking for a way to feel better, look better, do better, BE better- then this is the lifestyle that will make it happen. Our bodies know what they need to build strength, muscles, immunity, and all that other good stuff that keeps us ticking. For millions of years, we have survived. Do you think it’s just luck that caveman could outsmart, sometimes outrun, and even kill animals far far larger than they were? Do you think they were dying of heart disease, obesity, or diabetes? The only real things killing off our cave brothers and sisters was injury (no doctors out there so unfortunately a small problem for us turned deadly for them) or being eaten by some ginormous beasts. According to my man, Mark Sisson (I’ll send you in his direction later!), if it had not been for these factors, many of our ancestors would have had much longer life expectancy. Wanna know why?

They had the most nutrient rich foods at their fingertips! Nothing processed or messed with. They ran, jumped, climbed, lifted. They basked in the sun soaking up that vital vitamin D. They had little stress related to work and the like. Their biggest stress triggers were fleeting- like making quick decisions whether to run or kill when faced with wild animals. Now, let’s be honest- no one REALLY knows how happy a cave man was or if they were relatively stress free. But based simply on looking at their lifestyles, you can see that they vastly contrast ours. In all the ways that matter- health, exercise, etc.

Paleo is a way of living that mirrors all these important life choices. We HAVE these choices- the cavemen didn’t. It was simply the only way of life they knew.  Nowadays, we have Wendy’s telling us that we should buy their grade Z meat burgers and greasy fries rather than bringing our own homemade lunch to work. We have zillions of commercials everyday that convince us (me especially- I am an advertiser’s dream) that we MUST have those chips, we NEED to drink that sugary juice, and oh my gosh we just HAVE to order that greasy garlic bread pizza from Pizza Hut (a commercial that once would have taunted the hell out of me until I picked up the phone- now, I have NO desire to eat that. At all). Unfortunately, we are surrounded by “choices” that make life easier for the busy, stress-filled person in today’s society. Makes it REAL easy for us to just pick up the phone and order take out or run by McDonald’s on the way home to grab some chicken nuggets (holy crap, have you seen what those are REALLY made of??) for the kiddies and a burger for us.

(Yup, that’s what is in your friendly neighborhood chicken nuggets. mmm)

We don’t realize how so many amazing options exist that don’t actually harm the crap out of our bodies. Too many of us are uninformed- I was one of them. We eat what we hear people telling us is healthy- whole grains, brown rice, etc. We go with the “norm” and think, hey it works for them. But Paleo teaches us something so different….

We learn that our bodies know they they need. Our digestive systems have not changed much in the past, oh, million years so we should be feeding it what it’s used to breaking down. When we shove processed food into our systems, our bodies sort of freak out. They know it’s not easily broken down and suddenly strange things begin to happen. I’m of the mind set that I’d rather know my body can handle what I”m giving it, rather than taking a chance with something that will only satisfy me for a moment, never really knowing whats going on once it gets inside.

Here’s what I’ve found out- the foods I have been eating, cooking, and baking since going Paleo are FAR more satisfying, less filling, and 100% more DELISH than what I used to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t changed EVERY SINGLE piece of my diet. I still eat so much of what I used to. However, little changes here and there are what make the difference. It’s simply knowing that instead of all the processed crap out there going into my body and wrecking havoc, I’m just eating the stuff that does GOOD in my body and keeps me in check. These foods are not only nutrient dense and beneficial, but they taste better than anything processed. Think marinated meats and fish, sauteed veggies, fresh fruit! What’s not to love??

Ok, so, that’s enough from me, the NON scientific one. I’ll direct you now over to some real experts to give you the skinny on this whole Paleo thing so you can really understand the health benefits. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Mark Sisson that I even understood or wanted to know about this lifestyle. But after reading the research, it all made perfect sense.

CLICK CLICK CLICK:

(These sites will educate you in what exactly Paleo is and HOW it benefits your body and your life. Be open-minded. There is a lot that may sound strange or wild to you- but trust science. And success stories!)

www.marksdailyapple.com

www.robbwolf.com

www.balancedbites.com

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.primal-palate.com

Now.. here are the sites (along with the ones above) that will make your mouth water! Even if you don’t think you are ready to make this leap, at least check out these sites to see the amazing, delicious meals that are at your fingertips!

www.fastpaleo.com

www.comfybelly.com

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.paleOMG.com

www.health-bent.com

There ya have it- Paleo. It may not seem like it’s for everyone. Especially for those who aren’t meat eaters or veggie loves. But take some time to read and learn- especially the success stories floating around out there. It’s amazing what Paleo has done for people and their health.

It’s so easy, a caveman can do it….. (yup, that just happened.)

Meet Krista!! My favorite cavegirl!

15 Aug

Hey friends!

Meet the amazing Krista! She introduced me to the world of Paleo and I wanted her to share her story of how she came to live this lifestyle.
In the coming days, look for a post on exactly what the heck Paleo is! I know lots of you are wondering…. I can’t wait to share the info with you so you can make some decisions with your own lifestyles and health. No pressure here. Never will be…just pure education that you can do what you want with.. for now…..

Take it away Krista:

Hello!!! My name is Krista and I am super excited Kristina has asked me to share my story for Girls Gone Healthy.
 
At first glance, I may look like an incredibly healthy person. However, over the past few years I have experienced changes in my health that finally required serious action. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hashimotos-disease/DS00567) and Hypothyroidism (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism/DS00353/). I wasn’t entirely surprised by this since “it runs in the family”. My doctor referred me to a specialist, who gave me a pill to take for the rest of my life, and all was well in the world.
 
Fast forward to the present, married my man, settled into a new house, started a side business (The East Coast Bride – http://theeastcoastbride.com) on top of being a teacher during the day with a flute/piano studio most evenings. As you can imagine, my diet and lifestyle were not at all healthy. With so little time, I ate mostly prepackaged granola bars, cereals (especially for dinner when I was too tired to cook), leftovers from restaurants and sandwiches. I never cooked, never baked, and ate vegetables a couple times a month, all because I was running myself ragged with staying on top of everything I had to do. I never thought twice about what I was doing to my body…or when I did, I didn’t have time to care.
 
With thoughts of starting a family, a new attention was brought to my health. I noticed that I was still having symptoms of hypothyroidism – fatigue, mental cloudiness, and irregular cycles. My doctor assured me I was fine because my blood levels looked good, but I didn’t feel fine.
 
Bring on the course of events that will forever change my life. It started with a massage from a new therapist, a holistic and spiritual woman named Shari. Towards the end of our session, we started talking about medications and how I took Synthroid for my thyroid condition. She mentioned alternative medicines, including Chinese doctors and acupuncture. I had always been interested, and since regular doctors weren’t of any help, I kept her suggestion in the back of my mind.
 
A couple weeks later (after my first acupuncture experience), I was reading a blog on natural fertility and came across a guest post by Liz Schau (http://lizschau.com/), a holistic counselor living in Texas. She wrote a two part series on her battle with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism (http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/healing-hashimotos/) and how she sent her disease into remission, naturally, by getting healthy, eliminating certain foods, adding nutritious foods, and treating her disease instead of masking her symptoms with a pill. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the article and the thought that I could cure myself without relying on medication everyday. I contacted Liz, and she started me on the journey of a lifetime.
 

I am not a doctor, nor am I going to bring you through everything that I learned from Liz (since it’s best to see a functional nutritionist to prepare a plan that’s best for you). I am, however, hoping to give you a new perspective on all the ways you can treat your body as your temple, inside and out. I look forward to sharing my experiences with all you girls going healthy!s

First ever Paleo BBQ- Heaven on Earth…

6 Aug

Just stoppin by to tell ya’ll (I think this “word” just works so much better sometimes.. this is what happens when you date a southern boy) about my wonderful paleo-fied day!

My beautiful friend Krista whom I’ve spoken a lot about- the reason I’ve begun the Paleo lifestyle- had a small bbq today for some Paleo pals and all I can say is- MEEAAATTTT.

We had some of the most fantastic meat I’ve ever had! It was pot luck style so we all brought some yummy treats. Curtis spent ALL day yesterday cooking pork shoulder to make homemade Paleo BBQ Pulled Pork! It was seriously amazing! He had to first make Paleo ketchup and mustard, which in itself is a feat. So impressed and excited that he’s taking such a liking to this new journey and lifestyle! He was so proud of his pork when it was finished and I think it sparked a whole new fire in him…. we spent time today looking for new Paleo recipes and snack ideas. He’s ready to make this change, which of course, makes it THAT much easier and more exciting for me 🙂

K, back to the BBQ…

On top of our delish BBQ pulled pork, the awesome Lisa and Brian made another type of pulled pork with red wine sauce/gravy which was mouth watering!! Lisa whipped up a huge tray of mashed cauliflower which honestly was OUT OF THIS WORLD! As a Paleo, I was def worried about missing out on mashed potatoes- creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes. Now, I have this delish dish and I would gladly replace mashed taters anyday! Our hosts, Krista and Brian grilled juicy chicken skewers with peppers and onions… the chicken was marinaded in a deliciously simple garlic lime marinade. They also grilled the most flavorful lamb with an another simple but perfect basil garlic marinade.  (forgot my camera at home so we snapped these with Krista’s phone- guess we were all toooo excited about meat to worry about fancy pics lol)

IS YOUR MOUTH WATERING???

That was just dinner.

Once we had room in our bellies, we brought out the dessert. Who said Paleos can’t eat dessert???

Lisa made moist banana muffins with dried fruit and dark chocolate chips- SUGAR FREE 🙂 She then made the most awesome “candy” that consisted of nuts, coconut flakes, and dark chocolate- SUGAR FREE 🙂 Krista rocked our world with Paleo brownies! So. freakin. good. Moist, chocolatey- oh yea- SUGAR FREE  🙂 Do you see a pattern here??? You don’t have to sacrifice dessert when going Paleo.. it’s all about replacing. Want something sweet? Exchange sugar for honey or maple syrup. And VOILA!

YUP… those are PALEO brownies!

So obviously, this BBQ was a huge success! I suggest anyone who is interested in trying to this lifestyle (it’s not for everyone and I’m certainly NOT pushing it on anyone- just sharing some of the exciting things I’m gettin into!) have a little get together like this and have friends cook and share. It’s a great way to try new things and hear about new recipes.

Happy Sunday ya’ll! 🙂