My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Tag Archives: Organic Food

I’m so excited to post about my recent experience Paleo Pen Pals!  They match you up with another member of the Paleo community which provides such a fun interaction with someone you don’t know!  Basically, all you have to mail each other a Paleo ingredient and make a recipe from it!  I remember having pen pals in grade school and being so giddy when I would receive a letter from them.  This giddiness was felt again when I received my Paleo ingredient from Tanya at Feed the Clan 🙂 Her recipe using the star anise that I sent her is here.

I was pretty nervous to do this because, while I love sharing recipes, I haven’t exactly really created many on my own.  Sure, I’ve deviated from other recipes by adding or changing some ingredients, but I haven’t really come up with anything from scratch.  After stressing out about this (#firstworldproblems), I realized that maybe I can still tweak something I know about.  After all, isn’t that how people come up with some recipes in the first place?

So…here is what Tanya sent me:

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Tanya told me the Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey was from a local source in her area, which I loved!  I was so excited to see how I could use this in a recipe!  When I tasted it, I was reminded of the red chili powder that my mom often used in her many delicious Gujarati (state in India) dishes.  I’m not sure if it’s very different from what we get at the supermarket in the states, but that was my experience with it.  So basically, this powder was infused into honey and was quite yummy 🙂

I had some home-grown cabbage at home, and my mom had brought some beautiful purple and white carrots from a farmer’s market.  So I decided to make a Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots based off a Gujarati dish I ate growing up.  Usually, my mom never added any type of sweetener or carrots, so I was curious about how this would taste. This recipe can also be made without the carrots.

Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots

1.5 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup shredded carrots

3 cups shredded cabbage

2.5 tsp Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp sea salt

Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan until they pop – this increases the mustard flavor in the dish. (You can also add sesame seeds to this if you’d like).  Heat oil in another pot or wok, and add mustard seeds and turmeric. Let it sizzle for a little bit so it’s mixed in well.  Add cabbage and carrots.  Mix this thoroughly so the turmeric covers the cabbage and carrots completely.  Add the honey.  Then cover until the cabbage is cooked but still a little crisp – about 10 min.  Add salt.

Finished product!

Finished product!

And VOILA!  You are done.  At first, I didn’t feel like I tasted the chile flavor.  And it still isn’t as strong as my mom’s, but the point is that it didn’t NEED to be spicy.  What’s really cool is that the honey flavor really makes it yummy and the spicy kick comes at the end.  This can be a great side dish with any meal.  You can also add some chicken, pork, or beef to this dish as well.  I’ve never done it, but I think it would be really great!

I hope you enjoyed my first real recipe 🙂  Paleo Pen Pals was such a fun experience that pushed me to be creative.  I will definitely be doing it again!

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No, I’m not re-launching my site or anything yet, but as my thoughts and experiences with my health journey evolve through the way I eat, move, and think, my vision for “Cutting the Cheese” has evolved as well.

Initially, my thought was to create a blog name that would be refer to Paleo and also be punny.  I think I succeeded.  I do have to give credit to a close friend that helped me out, so thank you Jasmy 🙂  Cheese is something I LOVE, so I thought it was a perfect fit! However, as I learned more about Paleo, I realized that, yes, in the strictest sense, dairy isn’t “allowed”.  But, as time went on, I stopped thinking of Paleo as a diet of restriction, and I started to see it as using food for nourishment.  So, given this change, I started introducing dairy in my meals. While I do feel some effects from dairy, I am unaffected in moderation.  So, I haven’t always had to “cut the cheese” out of my diet…however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to do it figuratively 😉

As I have I started looking at Paleo from a different perspective, I decided to re-brand my blog through a different lens.  I believe most of us know what “Cutting the Cheese” means as an idiom.  If not, feel free to find out here.  The the meaning is funny in the sophomoric sense that many hate to love.  It provokes laughter with a bit of discomfort – literally and figuratively 🙂

Recently, I started a Facebook page to go along with my blog.  I tend to post a few times a day to this page by sharing some personal experiences as well as sharing information that I find helpful from other blogs/pages.  Sometimes I share recipes or just general information about the Paleo way of eating.  However, as I have mentioned before, I do see Paleo as a lifestyle.  At the same time, I see eating processed foods and treating certain physical ailments with drugs, and not nutrition, as a lifestyle too.  Paleo aside, I feel there are  obvious sociopolitical conflicts that serve to profit companies that the modern world just accepts.  This makes me uncomfortable…very uncomfortable.  I didn’t want to believe it.  I don’t want to believe it.  But I have to believe it.  The Food Pyramid, FDA guidelines, GMO’s, yadda yadda are all politically and economically motivated and most of us either want to ignore it, minimize it, or simply believe that the government and big food companies have our best interests at heart. As an individual, I cannot solely change the current political, economic, or food systems.  However, it would be silly for me to not recognize the motivation and manipulation of these systems.  If everyone realized how they were being manipulated, they would probably be uncomfortable.

Another area I have felt passionate about is self-love when it comes to body image and what we think about ourselves.  I have definitely struggled with body image in many ways that I hope to share in future posts.  In the past couple months, I have been able to move past a lot of my insecurities and get to a point where not only do I love myself and my body more than before, but I have also realized that I was making excuses about why I didn’t think I was insecure in the first place.  Again, this was uncomfortable.  Loving who I am, as I am, is uncomfortable.  Do I have a Victoria’s Secret model body? NO.  Have I lost as much weight as I would have initially liked? NO.  A year ago, these answers would have made me very uncomfortable.  But, I’m happy to say, that I’m much more happy in my skin, as is, than before.  Does that mean I don’t want to lose weight or that I don’t think I would be as attractive if I lost more weight? No, not at all.  My priorities have just changed.  My goal is health first, and, as Jason Seib says, to look “hot by accident”.

Lastly, I have started to make some changes in my daily routine to include meditation, prayer, and asking for help when I feel I need support in my life.  Stress management is a huge part of lifestyle and if affects our bodies immensely.  Here is a great summary about stress and adrenal fatigue: The Real Deal On Adrenal Fatigue by Robb Wolf.  Making changes to daily habits is difficult.  After all the Merriam-Webster definition of a habit is “a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”.  So making changes in our busy, stress-filled lives, especially to slow down and let go of certain outcomes through mediation, prayer, or what have you,  is hard and uncomfortable, but it is also very beneficial.  I’m not talking about being a yogi and sitting on a mountain in lotus position.  These are changes you can make throughout the day in the comfort of your home, but, to do so, priorities have to change.

I’m evolving/re-branding this blog by pushing through uncomfortable barriers and becoming more aware, accepting, and comfortable being uncomfortable!  I still do plan to post recipes, etc to have some balance and fun 🙂

Enjoy and feel free to comment about this change!


Tonight I’m leaving for London and Paris for a couple weeks!  I’m so blessed to go on this trip and see a dear friend (the one who wrote this awesome post) get married, meet family, and simply enjoy different parts of the world!  I’m hoping to document some things and perhaps learn some food related ideas about each place while I’m there as well.

How will I stay Paleo on this trip?  Well, it will probably be hard as vacations are usually opportunities where I have failed.  However, I have equipped myself with some trail mix and grass-fed beef jerky from Gourmet Grassfed Meat!  I’m bringing these with me on the plane to snack on as well.    I’ll just do the best I can, and, most importantly, enjoy my time 🙂

Paleo Snacks!

Paleo Snacks!

I also wanted to talk about some changes about the content of this blog.  Somewhat deeper thoughts have been entering my mind through various forms of social media, personal life experiences, and discussions with friends.  This includes food policy, emotions and eating, the female body image, etc.  I definitely have some ideas about these topics, some that have been expressed before, and, perhaps, some new ones. I will say this now and again when I write these posts:  I am not an expert in..well…anything!  This is purely a journey of learning that I thoroughly enjoy.  Prove me wrong, challenge me, I welcome it 🙂  Getting my ideas out there helps me to grow and, hopefully, allows my readers (or maybe just 1 reader at least? hehe) to get a different perspective as well.

Aritey, that’s all folks…see you in a few weeks!


Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.

1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.

2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.

3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.

4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂

This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!

I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂

 


So…that might sound kinda weird right? Isn’t the Whole30 for 30 days? Well it is, but many people change it up after they have actually done a Whole30. I’m choosing 7 days because I know next weekend I will be in some situations where it’s inappropriate for me to eat meat, and, I really just need to do something right now.

So my Whole7 starts TODAY, and I really think it will give me a jump start. While I have mainly stuck to my new eating lifestyle, I have been sneaking in sweets here and there. A couple days ago, I went a little too overboard, and I felt awful at night and when I woke up – physically and mentally. Now I have the tools to help me in these situations as opposed to just feeling sorry for myself!

I just wanted to get my new commitment out in the blogosphere to keep myself accountable! Who knows, it might become a Whole8, 9, 21??? For now I will commit to a week and see how I feel.

That’s it for now!


So I have had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter for about…oh…well awhile.  It’s pretty hardy, so it hasn’t gone bad.  What have I been waiting for?  Well, I’ve basically been pretty lazy to bake it for an hour.  Last night, I finally decided to look up a good spaghetti squash recipe.  Pinterest and Nom Nom Paleo saved the day!  I found a way to just stick it in the microwave and VOILA!  It is ready for me in 10 minutes 🙂

Right – One half untouched after microwaving
Middle – Partially scraped
Left – The final product!

This was seriously the easiest thing I could have done.  All I had to do was cut it in half, brush some oil on it, add salt and pepper, and microwave it for 8-12 minutes!  Scraping it out took a little extra time for me (it was my first time…yes, I’m a spaghetti squash virgin), but it was fun!  It’s amazing how it all comes out in these beautiful yellow strands!  I was able to put it all into a tupperware.  I added some more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for seasoning.  I had a little taste, and it was great!  I especially loved the texture.

Ready to eat!

I’m SO excited to have this during the week!!  Easy, healthy, and delicious 🙂

 


Well, I promised some reviews about Pre-Made Paleo, so here is my first one!  Just to give a little background, Pre-Made Paleo is based out of Atlanta, and the head chef is Chef Richard Bradford.  Their meals are Whole30 Approved and they are designed to be prepared in 10 minutes!  The meals are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, and made without refined sugar.  The meats are grass-fed, grass finished, antibiotic and hormone free,  free range and pastured.  The veggies are hand-picked, locally sourced, and organic when available.  Overall, it’s quality stuff!

I contacted Chef Richard to see if I could try some of the meals and review them.  He responded quickly and was excited to have me try them!  For this review, I’m going to talk about the delivery of the meals, ease of preparation, portion size, and, last but NOT least, taste 🙂

Delivery

I asked for the meals to be delivered to my office because I’ve had a few things “disappear” when delivered to my place in the city.  It was delivered at 10:41am and left in front of my office.  Chef  I told me that the food would be on dry ice, so it should last the day.  I put it in my car after I left work, and I didn’t return home until 9:30pm.  I was pretty afraid the meals would be thawed out.  I opened the box, and the dry ice was like magic!  The food was perfectly frozen, and I threw them in the freezer right away.

Preparation


For my first meal, I decided to have the Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, Sauteed Kale, and Sweet Potato Salad.  The “standard” is to have one protein and two veggies, unless otherwise indicated on the protein packaging.  The food can be prepared on the stovetop or in the microwave!  This was very exciting to me, especially for lunch meals in the office.  Welp, my first meal was at home, so I did it on the stove top.  Here’s a video from Pre-Made Paleo’s site to demonstrate preparation on the stovetop:

Here’s are some pics to show my preparation.  As Chef Richard indicates in the video, right out the freezer, it takes 10 minutes to cook the meats, and the veggies take 4 minutes..  If the food is thawed, it takes half the time (5 minutes for meats, 2 minutes for veggies).

My first frozen Pre-Made Paleo meal!

Turkey in simmering water

Added my veggies after 6 minutes

Then I cut open the bags and drained the excess water from the packaging and served my lunch to myself 🙂

As for ease of preparation, Pre-Made Paleo gets two thumbs up!  It was super easy, unless you think boiling water is hard.

Portion Size

Well, here was my lunch. Does it look like enough to you?  Well, it does to me.  I was satisfied with the portions before, and after my meal.

Voila! My first Pre-Made Paleo Meal 🙂

Taste

So, no for the good stuff 🙂  Before I talk about taste, I can tell you that the turkey smelled AMAZING.  I couldn’t wait to eat it!  I took a bite of the turkey, and it was seasoned well and very tasty.  I will say it was on the dry side, and I realized I made a mistake by draining the water.  I kind of did that intuitively.  However, I added a few drops of water, heated it in the microwave for a little bit, and it was MUCH better.  I would say that the dryness was definitely attributed to user error 🙂  I really love sweet potatoes, and I was pretty excited to try them.  I would have to say that they were definitely a winner as well.  The kale was yummy as far as nutrient-dense greens go 🙂  It was very moist, not too salty, not too flavorless.

Summary

I would have to say that my first experience with Pre-Made Paleo was VERY positive.  It was delivered as expected, easy to prepare, and it was quite tasty!  I can’t wait to report on their other items (hint hint: they were equally, if not more delicious).  Remember, these are frozen, shipped, and prepared meals.  I can’t say I had any expectations set, but I can say that I was very happy with meal #1.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Chef Richard did comp these meals for me.  However, my opinions are strictly my own.  I was in no way influenced to review one way or another.

If you’re interested in getting some Pre-Made Paleo meals, follow this link.  If you are outside Atlanta and in the continental US, they have 5 meal options, including a 3 meals sample option to try it out.  If you purchase their 3 month option, each meal comes to $9.50. For 10 meals, each one comes to $12.50.  This includes shipping AND the meals, which is pretty economical when you’re on the go!  In my next post, I’m going to share about eating my first Pre-Made Paleo Meal at the office.

Also, feel free to follow my blog by adding your email address below the search bar to the right, so you can be updated when I have a new post 🙂



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