Paleo Granola: Grain Free Goodness

Paleo Granola Recipe

Why Paleo? Isn’t that some kind of fad diet?

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis at the age of 9. The condition I have is an autoimmune condition where my body essentially attacks my thyroid. Moderate exercise, a low FODMAP diet, and the elimination of processed foods all contribute positively to the management of this disease. Although I love traditional homemade granola, I also love feeling good in my body and calm in my mind. This means choosing a Paleo or grain free lifestyle.

Diet trends come and go just like fidget spinners and slap bracelets. Paleo is considered by many to be one of those trends. “I think I’ll keep my carbs” or “I love bread way too much” are often phrases associated with all things Paleo to nonbelievers. I love cheese, bread, cakes, and pies just as much as the next person, but my body is in disagreement. Paleo may be a trend for some, but it is essential for my health. If you have Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune diagnosis, or just want to get away from processed foods, I recommend the Paleo lifestyle.

Paleo Granola Tips & Tricks: Perfectly Imperfect

I generally use the eyeball it method to create recipes and this recipe is no different. The amounts listed below are approximate. It is perfectly okay for things not to be perfect so take this recipe as practice with imperfection.

I use coconut oil for my granola recipes because I love the taste and the health benefits of coconut oil. Prior to putting the granola mixture into the pan to bake, melt the coconut oil in a sauce pan. Melt enough oil to evenly coat the amount of granola you are making. If the granola looks too dry going into the oven, melt more oil. Eyeball it. The consistency of your granola will be your preference and we like ours crunchy, but not stuck together. Play around with the ingredients and the amounts to get the consistency and taste that is right for you and your family.

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Meatloaf Muffins: Mini Meat Cakes

Nutrient-dense Nourishment for the Mind and Body

These Meatloaf Muffins are paleo, keto, 21 day sugar fix and 21 day sugar detox friendly, and kid friendly!

Saturdays with the Skeeters Strength crew are for basketball, movies, games, puzzles, and meals together. Do you ever get tired of the same old meal rotation? That is EXACTLY how I felt this past weekend. I wanted something different and healthy without having to spend too much time in the kitchen away from mindful moments with my husband, our son, and our two dogs.

Enter on the scene: Meatloaf Muffins or Mini Meat Cakes as we like to call ’em! Meatloaf is a delicious winter meal, though it takes a looooong time to cook in the oven. These Meatloaf Muffins require only 10 minutes prep time and 35 minutes cook time– that way you can enjoy that movie or game without too much time away from your family.

Meatloaf Muffin Tips: Mix all of the ingredients together with your hands so you can ensure that the eggs is well blended with the meat and seasonings– my grandmother and mother would make meatballs and meatloaf this way when I was growing up and I have always enjoyed emulating this method. Measuring out each muffin to 1/3 cup will ensure that these meat cakes cook thoroughly and evenly. Be sure to drizzle BBQ sauce on top before putting them in the oven. (I used Steve’s PaleoGoods, PaleoChef Peach BBQ Sauce and True Made Foods, Ketchup Squeeze for a healthier spin to this traditional dish, though you can substitute with your favorite BBQ or ketchup brands. Before putting these in the oven, be sure to put a pan underneath the oven tray. Enjoy!

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How to Overcome Food Addiction: 5 Expert Tips

I grew up loving food. I was well-fed by my Italian mother. She cooked delicious meals for us all of the time. We would have a protein, a starch, a vegetable, and a dessert. My favorite meal growing up was chicken cutlets, Velveeta Shells & Cheese, spinach, bread with butter, and brownies or anything cake-like for dessert. I wasn’t a particularly active kid, so that was a lot of food for a young couch potato. I quickly became overweight and obsessed with food. When my parents would leave the house, I would jump on the opportunity to grab a glazed donut from the dining room table or some chips and cookies from the cabinet. I loved icing! I would eat entire jars of icing and knew enough to hide the evidence. I was around 9 or 10 years old when I became addicted to food. 

The doctors would tell my parents that my BMI was too high and they would try to make healthier food choices, though I traded my healthy snacks for Tastykakes and oreos at the school lunch table. By the time I was in college, I was big and hungry. I wanted to lose weight and joined one of those medically supervised weight loss programs where you eat pre-packaged “food” and drink “shakes”. I lost a lot of weight on this program–over 60 pounds. I loved being thin so much that I took not eating to the other extreme. It wasn’t long before I was labeled disordered and sent to nutritionists and therapists to cure me of my food addiction. 

Throughout my life until after the birth of my now 10 year old son, I struggled with all that is food and internalized this struggle as my fault. Having been told I had a disorder and an addiction that will always be a part of my life by “experts” in the field of eating disorders was a detriment to my health and well being. The truth behind my food addiction and my ability to overcome this addiction was not found in a label or a medication or a even a therapist. The truth was found in my ability to take matters into my own hands. 

I am going to share my 5 expert tips with you today that will help you overcome your food addiction. 

“I couldn’t cope with my feelings,” she said, “so I ate them.”

Trevor Butterworth, in a story by Christine Winter on a woman who had joined Overeaters Anonymous, The Chicago Tribune, September 1, 1975

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Homemade Granola

LJ’s GRR-nola

NUTRIENT-DENSE NOURISHMENT FOR THE MIND & BODY

I believe that food is meant to nourish our bodies and that what we put in our bodies is key to our overall mental and physical health. So often we eat out of convenience and impulse, though we forget that we have been given one body and one life. What happens when we choose highly processed foods over time? Well, a lot of really messy things start happening with our GI tract, mood, and health. There are many reasons why this happens, though let’s focus on nutrients for now.

Think: Highly processed = Energy-Dense

Whole foods/Homemade Foods = Nutrient-Dense and Energy-Dense

Eating foods that are energy-dense and not nutrient-dense over time leads to obesity, chronic disease, and poor gut health. We know that gut health is closely linked to mood. If we choose to eat foods that are nutrient-dense and energy-dense, we can improve our mood and our physical health. Who doesn’t love good home cooking anyway?

Mindful Meal Prep = Anxiety Reduction

We have a ton of time on our hands to do a lot of things that create more depression and anxiety like perpetually scrolling through social media and measuring our lives against the lives of the masses. We are never attractive enough, smart enough, successful enough or just plain old good enough. We can switch on Netflix and binge watch our favorite shows while we binge eat foods delivered to us by Uber, Grub Hub, etc. (And if you have an insomnia cookies nearby– well, that’s another post entirely :)). Maybe those aren’t your things– maybe you like to play video games. (They made that an addiction now, you know?) I’ve been there…my 10 year old son and I have definitely gotten lost in finding the best recipe to protect us from the cold in Breath of the Wild (you know who you are Zelda fans!). The reality for all of us is that we spend a lot of time doing things that are easy and convenient and impulsive which leads to a lot of time stuck in our heads and in our depression and anxiety.

I challenge you to keep doing exactly what you are doing in your life– AND to take a break from all that worry to make some granola. Granola is an awesome snack. It’s cheap, easy to make, and nutrient-dense when you make it at home. The smell of granola cooking your oven will be enough to have you baking it again and again. Sometimes we need a break from the screens and the drama to reset our minds. Make some of LJ’s Grr-nola this weekend. It goes great with a little IG, some Breaking Bad, Legends of Zelda, & of course, we can’t forget Fortnite (Chapter 2). – Rose

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