Our Ongoing Paleo Success Story



I have about three days before the start of my Summer semester, so I wanted to take a little time to update the blog. Even though I haven’t updated in some time, I still get emails from people asking questions and curious about how everything is going and I really appreciate that.

Anyone who has read our previous blog posts will know that Amanda, after suffering 3 miscarriages, became pregnant again last year. For 6 years we were trying to conceive and start a family, and after switching to paleo she became pregnant twice within just a few months. I attribute the success of becoming pregnant to positive changes in our hormones as we moved to a natural, gluten-free diet.

The fact that after 6 years, we successfully conceived twice in such a short period of time was pretty amazing. And while the first paleo pregnancy unfortunately did not end well, the second turned out very well indeed.

I’d like to introduce you all to our baby girl, Ava, and what has been taking up most of our time for the last few months:

 

paleo_pregnancy

 

We’ve been having a blast with her. Her pediatrician says that she is completely healthy. She literally impresses us every day with how quickly she is able to learn new things.

I’ve been wanting to add this post for a long time to let anyone else in a similar situation know that if wanting to start a family is something you really want to do, you shouldn’t ever give up. We have had some very painful times, but our daughter makes them all worth it.

I don’t know if switching to paleo will guarantee you will have a baby.

I can guarantee that if you do start eating naturally, you will almost certainly lose weight, you will almost certainly be healthier and you will definitely be in a much better position to not only conceive but to have less problems with your pregnancy.

And then you might just end up having a paleo success story of your own.

 

conceiving_whole_foods

 

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For Dinner: Lemon Pork Chops with Asparagus



Lemon Pork Chops and Steamed Asparagus

Simple.

You know what I find really amazing?

How a simple meal like the one we had tonight can fill me up and keep me full for hours.

Prior to switching to the Paleo diet I could have had a King Size Whopper meal from Burger King for lunch, another for dinner, and still be starving.

Now I’m eating smaller portions but I’m much more satiated than I ever was before. It’s really like my body knows that it’s getting what it needs.

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Chips

Are you in the mood for a quick and easy snack?

Are you craving the salty crunch of regular potato chips but can’t bring yourself to blow your diet?

Good. We don’t blame you.

Instead, why don’t you give these a try next time you’re in the mood for snacking.

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
Sea Salt (Optional)

Preparation:

  1. To begin, you want to grease the skillet you’re going to be using with the coconut oil.
  2. Next, take your sweet potatoes and wash them well. You can skin them or leave the skin on as we did here.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes in thin slices. A food processor works great for this, but we’re doing it the old fashioned way.
  4. Drop the potato slices in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes and then flip them.
  5. Cook the chips on the other side. Reduce heat if necessary so they don’t burn.
  6. Continue cooking until the chips take on a firm, crisp texture.
  7. Serve on a fancy picnic plate and enjoy.
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Recipe: Toasted Squash Seeds

Roasting Squash Seeds

Toasting Squash Seeds

Over the last few weeks I’ve posted a couple meals I’ve had with spaghetti squash. We try to follow the mantra of “waste-not, want-not” as much as possible. We hate throwing things away. That mantra carries over to cooking as well. Anything that can’t be consumed is composted.

There are no thrown out leftovers in our house. Leftovers are always consumed, sometimes even at the expense of eating a more appetizing food at the time. Food near expiration is used before rotating in new stock. Nothing is thrown out.

So when we make spaghetti squash, we end up with quite a collection of squash seeds — seeds that are quite delicious as long as you spend a few minutes to prepare them.

Sure, you can go out and pay $2.00 for a small pack of seeds at the store, or you can spend a few minutes and make them (healthier) at home, yourself.

Ingredients:

Squash Seeds/Pumpkin Seeds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Preparation:

The basic process in toasting squash seeds is:

1) Separate the seeds from the pulp. This is definitely the messiest part of the job. If you’ve ever cut open a pumpkin you know what a thick gooey mess the pulp is.

Toasted Squash Seeds

Golden Squash Seeds. Yum.

2) Put the seeds in a small bowl and splash with EVOO and a dash of Sea Salt. It’s fine if there is still a little pulp on the seeds. It will crisp and cook off when you put it in the oven.

3. Place seeds on parchment paper and toast for 10 minutes at 375*F until golden. We used a small electric toaster oven for this so we didn’t have to fire up the big gas oven.

In the end you have a snack that is both very healthy and very paleo. You can also try substituting the sea salt for a variety of spices to make other delicious flavors of seeds.

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Third Fasting Blood Sugar Test

On Tuesday, Amanda went in for her third (!) test for gestational diabetes (GDM).

Her first test, where she had to drink 50 grams of glucose and they measured her blood sugar an hour later she failed. That brought on a “comprehensive test” which was supposed to tell us definitively whether or not she had gestational diabetes.

For the comprehensive test, they made her drink 100 grams of glucose and measured her blood sugar three times for the next three hours. She passed this test, but still was made to have dietary counseling and go in for yet another GDM test, even though this “comprehensive test” was supposed to tell us one way or the other if she had GDM or not.

Well, Amanda’s third test results are in and, of course, she passed. They made her take her blood sugar after fasting overnight and it was 78 mg/dL. The normal range for fasting blood sugar is anywhere from 65 to 95, so she was perfectly in range. Then they made her eat her breakfast at the doctor’s office and drew her blood two hours after that. Her second draw was 87 mg/dL, which is still in the normal range. The doctor said that he would consider anything over 120 mg/dL two hours after eating as high, but hers wasn’t anywhere near that. That’s the good news.

But despite passing the third test, and despite passing the second “comprehensive” test, the doctor is making her come in two more times for two-hour fasting blood draws. After that, if she passes, he says he will “lay off” as he was obviously astute enough to recognize we were getting irritated coming in and paying for tests for seemingly no reason.

Does this seem crazy to anyone else? Why are we being forced to prove that we don’t have GDM even after the tests say everything we are doing is completely within range?

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Paleo and Gestational Diabetes

So far, everything is going well with our pregnancy. All of our ultrasounds are showing that the baby is growing well, and she’s being very active.

We had a bit of a concern in that our doctor made Amanda take the 100 gram glucose test to test for gestational diabetes (GDM). We weren’t sure how her body was going to react to that after being on paleo for so long and not consuming sugar.

The test was administered by not having her eat for 12 hours, and then drink 50 grams of a glucose, and then they would test her blood sugar an hour later. According to the nurse practitioner, she failed this test pretty badly. Her blood sugar had to be under 140 mg/dL, but hers was 179 mg/dL.

Based on that, they scheduled her for a more comprehensive three-hour test where they make he drink 100 grams of sugar and then test her blood sugar every hour for three hours. She passed this test.

Even so, they made her see the nurse practitioner to “discuss her diet.” The GDM diet is based on eating a lot of carbs with a lot of fiber. Oatmeal, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and the like. But because we are deciding to stick with our diet (carbs mostly from fruit and vegetables) they are making us go back in for another test where she has to bring her breakfast and have her blood sugar measured before and after she eats.

It seems pretty silly to us. It seems like we are being a bit singled out by the medical staff. Surely there are people who do much worse things during a pregnancy than eat natural foods, fruits and vegetables?

I’ve done some research, and it seems to be pretty common to fail the GDM glucose tests while on the paleo diet. I’m not sure how accurate those tests are, but it makes sense that if you aren’t commonly eating sugar, it might not be the best idea to drink 100 grams of it within 5 minutes and see how your body handles so much of this substance it isn’t used to dealing with.

Good news? We had our 3D ultrasound and she’s gorgeous. :)

 

4d ultrasound

 

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So, how are things with you?

It’s been an eventful number of months for us.

Anyone that has read our previous blog posts has read about our difficulties we have had with our pregnancies. Shortly after the last post I made, we had another miscarriage — our third. I had posted before how I thought that changing our diet enabled us to get our hormones back in check and was probably responsible for the pregnancies. We had tried for many years without becoming pregnant, and then suddenly two pregnancies in just a few months, something seemed to be different. We could now get pregnant, we just were having problems after that.

The third miscarriage was rough on us. We had been to the OBGYN and even heard the heartbeat of our baby just a few days before it happened. It seems that it wasn’t meant to be. I did not want to come on here and write about it again. It was depressing. I didn’t feel like coming on and cleaning out the hundreds of spam comments this blog receives each week. I just kind of gave up on it.

In April of this year, Amanda got pregnant again. We were nervous. We had been through it before, and were hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Our three prior miscarriages had occurred right around 6 weeks. We waited for the 6 weeks mark. Then 7 weeks. Then 8 weeks. And as time went on, our nervousness waned and turned into excitement. Months passed without incident. We heard our baby on the doppler and saw the baby growing on the ultrasounds.

As I write this, Amanda is 6 months pregnant. We’re expecting a little girl named Ava at the end of the year. Here’s her pic:

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Surf and Turf

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. I’m not looking forward to getting old anymore, but it was a great day overall.

I had to work, but Amanda and I were able to go out and eat at Colton’s steakhouse in Russellville for lunch. We both had the sirloin tips which were awesome. Colton’s is one of the few places around where we’re able to eat real food that isn’t breaded or covered in some form of questionable sauce.

For dinner Amanda had bought “crawfish” from the butcher and rib-eye steaks.

I always thought crawfish were small, brown or red, freshwater shrimp — but these things she brought home were gigantic.

Basically, what I’m saying is that I have no idea what these are. They were labelled as ‘Fresh Canadian Crawfish,’ but some quick Google Images pictures leads me to believe they are, in fact, lobster based on their size and the size and shape of the claws. Do they have enormously oversized crawfish in Canada? Anyone know?

how_to_cook_crawfish

Preparation was as easy as steaming them in a little water, butter, and a few slices lemons.

They were served up with a rib-eye steak (rare), and a baked potato with butter. (Yes. A potato. In case you weren’t aware… Some guy, who does some TV show, said they were OK to eat again.)

paleo surf and turf

After dinner Amanda whipped out a paleo ice cream cake. Amazing, right?

primal birthday cake

Cake recipe will be posted once she gives it to me.

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Recipe: Deer Steak and Artichoke Hearts

Artichokes, Deer, Lemon Juice, Onion Powder

Luckily, we have plenty of access to fresh deer — living in the country in Arkansas and all.

So I like to find new things to do with it.

I made a quick marinade for this deer steak. The steak was marinated in fish sauce (you can find it in Thai foods section) and white vinegar. I only used 1 teaspoon of fish sauce and about 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar. It sat in the marinade for about 8 hours. The vinegar helps make the meat less ‘gamey.’

I cooked the steak in a frying pan on the stove at medium heat. It wasn’t a very big steak, and we were splitting it, so as it was cooking I cut it into thinner slices. When it was nearly done, I sprinkled 1 tsp. of onion powder on it.  In total, it cooked approximately 15 minutes.

Honestly, I never used to like deer. And if I didn’t know it was deer before I cleaned the meat, I would have guessed it was beef just from the taste.

The artichoke hearts were quickly fried in a couple of ounces of lemon juice (to taste) and a pinch of sea salt.

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Training Injury

bones in the foot

This may come as a shock to a few of you (I know it did for me!), but there are a lot of bones in the human foot… And it doesn’t take much to break them.

On the return trip from Thanksgiving I suffered an injury which led to the fracture of a few of my toes on my right foot — arguably my favorite foot. I think that anyone who hasn’t had broken toes would be surprised how frequently you use your toes and how painful they can be once they are broken.

Here’s a couple of photos of the damage, and my foot has been swelling and changing color every day to where a full 1/2 of my foot is some shade of bruised.

Warning, almost graphic: Top, Bottom

It puts a bit of a damper on training since, for most exercises, you must be able to stand to perform. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to handle that one.

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