Category Archives: nutrition

Beefy Soup

So many vegetables!

So many vegetables! I could just eat them raw.

I’ve been super lucky throughout my pregnancy. I’ve been very healthy through most of it. I’ve only had cravings for healthy food, mostly broccoli. I’ve been working on stocking up some pre made food for after I have my baby. I wanted to make something that would be great from before baby and recovery after baby. This soup is made with marrow bone broth and ox tail, along with a whole host of amazing vegetables. The extra iron and vitamins in the soup will really be beneficial for  any woman but especially the post labor woman in your life. After I made it I realized that I just and to have tomatoes! So I went back and added a few can of diced tomatoes, and some tomato paste. It really kicked up the heartiness of the soup. However, I don’t have any pictures of beefy soup 2.0 so just imagine how great it looks!


Beefy Soup

Bone Marrow Broth – go here for that recipe

7 ox tail pieces (give or take your own preferences)

1 medium onion diced

2 red bell peppers diced (about 2-2.5 cups for the next four ingredients)

1 small butternut squash diced

4-5 stalks of diced celery

4-5 carrots diced

a head of garlic chopped (yes a head, it’s recovery soup! garlic is good for that)

1.5 heads of kale ripped up.

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tsp hot peppers or cayenne (remember, recovery)

1 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp smoky paprika

1/4 tsp majoram

1/4 tsp savory

(2-3 cans of diced tomatoes and 2 cans of tomato paste)


meat, meat, meat, yummy meat

Frist brown your meat in a very large stock pot. Everything will be going into this pot eventually so make sure it’s big. I like to brown the meat because it adds a lovely depth to the flavor. These ox tails had a thick side of fat, so I started with that side first to render some fat to cook them in. See? I’m smart. Brown all sides, and set aside.

this is where delicious starts

This is where the magic starts. The bottom of the pan will have all sorts of meat and fat stuck to it. By cooking the onions, the moisture will help loosen up that deliciousness, giving that depth I was talking about. Cook onions until they are starting to become translucent. Note they are not actually browning, that’s the good stuff stuck in the pan adhering now to the onions. Lucky onions.

so pretty

When your onions are soft, add the squash and the red peppers. Keep temperature at medium high and occasionally stir vegetables. Cook for about 4 minutes.


Add in carrots and celery. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.


Add seasonings, meat, and broth. Look at all that dark rich goodness! Bring soup to a slow boil for about 15 minutes. Add in kale for last two minutes. You can also skip the boiling and cook on low for about an hour. When all the vegetables are soft and your meat is cooked through your soup is done. Now I said above that I decided this soup would be even better with tomatoes. I wish I thought of that first! Add about 2-3 cans of diced tomatoes and two cans of tomato paste when you add in your broth. It gives it a great rich color and really ups the flavor. But this soup was delicious just as it was, but even better with the tomatoes. I left the meat on the bones. It’s a preference thing. If you’d rather not have bones in your soup you can remove the meat after you boil it.


beefy soup

This makes a ton of soup. I planned on that because I wanted to freeze a bunch for post baby meals. This is a great fall/winter soup that’s super hearty and would make a great gift for a friend in need of a bit of an immune boost.


A Week of Meals

I have several friends that are new to paleo eating. In honor of them I will be posting my meals for each day. I usually eat twice a day with tons of water in the middle.

This was breakfast:

I had leftover zucchini noodles from meatballs last night so I thought they’d make a good breakfast. I served that with two eggs, some tomatoes from the garden and bacon. I made extra bacon and had a few slices as a snack in between.

This was dinner:

The unfortunate theme of dinner was “oops I burned it!” The cabbage and the chicken are both a little toasty. I had grilled chicken, braised cabbage, and raw zucchini slices. Again all the vegetables are from the garden.

I also had a few raw unsalted cashews, and a glass of kombucha (fermented tea) but that would make for a boring picture so I didn’t take it.

I hope that by posting my daily meals I can help inspire a few of you to try paleo too. It’s really not that hard. One of the biggest suggestions I have right now is to stop trying to find substitutes for your favorite grain food. Don’t look for a paleo bread or muffin. Instead think about making meat and veggies the star. Up there for I mentioned that I use leftover zucchini noodles. I just take a whole zucchini and peel it with a juiliane peeler.


I have 4 zucchini/summer squash plants that are producing about 3-5 large squash every day. I have eaten a lot of zucchini and squash lately. I’m going to have to start freezing some to make space for more. I’m so happy for my produce abundance!

The plants were so large I actually had to prune them back a bit. Those were all stalks of leave where you see the tubes.

I’ve eaten it in hash for breakfast.I’ve eaten it in noodle shape for dinner.

I’ve eaten it grilled at least 4 nights a week.

My cucumbers are also quite happy and productive.

Mostly they are eaten in salad. I’m looking for some new interesting ways to eat them because they don’t freeze well. Do you have any ideas?

My tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I can’t wait for those. I also have some peppers popping up. Peppers take forever though so I’m not really crossing my fingers for anything soon there.

With Lola on the pest control my collard greens and cabbage are coming back. Tonight I’m having my first harvest of collard greens in a few weeks. The caterpillars took their toll on the leaves.

I also am very excited about these.

They are weeds!

I started letting them grow two years ago because I thought they were pretty and I realized they were berry plants. This year they have had their first berries. These are not ripe yet but I can’t wait until they are!

mmmm homegrown.

Are you tending a garden? How are your crops looking right now?

It’s not that hard

From the good people over at

If I were to make an amendment to this it would be to change the ratio of animals to plants. More plants less animals.

Paleo Seminar

Crossfit Beaumont put on a great introductory seminar tonight about Paleolithic eating and different topics related to overall health and wellness. Of course I’m the annoying person in the front row asking a ton of questions. (It must be the teacher in me) I learned some really good information and refreshed myself on some topics I had forgot about. Clayton answered my question about fish oils, the ratio on back of DHA to EPA isn’t as important as making sure you get around 1000 mg a day. Brian and Neal talked to me about fat. Animal fat and vegetable fat are equally good, however, if you want to lose weight dial down your intake. Sean reminded me that sleep is vitally important to help with cortisol and stress. (End of school year chaos anyone?) Even learned of a place to order good grass fed beef. I’ve been putting off eating the free range and grass fed because of the price but maybe this is my chance to get on that healthy humane band wagon.

I think all the presenters did a great job. Thank you for sharing and educating us.

Although I’m not an actual crossfitter I’m constantly reminded of what a great and motivated community this is. This seminar on health and fitness is just one more example of that.  If you live in the Beaumont area I highly recommend that you take the free class on Saturday and see what the hype is about.

It should look like this, minus the top few grains and dairy.

On Insulin

Before we get ahead of ourselves, I need you to do me a favor- point your google at “hyperinsulinemia, disease” and I’ll be right here.  It’s ok, I’m patient.

Pretty scary, huh?

Diabetes.  Cardiovascular disease.  Alzheimer’s.  The dread Syndrome X…  and that was just the first page of results!

That’s where this story ends but I want to tell you where it begins and how it happens.


Simply put, insulin is a hormone that helps keep blood sugar in check.  Insulin tells your muscles, liver, and fat cells to gobble up the glucose (from carbohydrates and other sugars) in the blood stream and store it as fat by decreasing the ability of the pancreas to release another hormone, glucagon, which tries to lower blood sugar levels.  It is kind of a teeter-totter relationship

Insulin also works to direct the use of fat and protein in the body.  Insulin makes sure your muscles get the protein they need to maintain minimal homeostasis and that you store enough energy to get you to your next meal.  It does this in part by utilizing two different enzymes lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).  LPL spends its day hanging out on the membranes of different cells and grabs fat from the blood stream and then puts into whatever cell it is attached to.  If it is on a muscle cell, the fat goes into the muscle, if it is on a fat cell- the fat cell gets fatter.  HSL can be thought of as the antithesis of LPL; Where LPL looks to stockpile fat HSL tries to slim us down.  I bet you can guess the impact insulin has on HSL, so you won’t be surprised to learn that is only takes a small amount of insulin to completely derail the work of the lowly HSL enzyme.

Interestingly, sex hormones play a large part in where LPL collects in men and women.  Testosterone suppresses LPL activity and LPL tends to accumulate above the waist.  As a man gets older and produces less testosterone, the LPL is better able to snatch up the passing fat which then accumulates in that glorious belly so many men lug around.  In women, LPL accumulates mostly in the tissues below the waist, especially so during pregnancy.

LPL also helps us understand why exercise alone won’t make us leaner.  When exercising, LPL in muscle tissue takes center stage, allowing for the release of fat from adipose tissue which then provides the necessary fuel for the muscle. After working out, the LPL activity in fat cells increases in tandem with the protein demand from freshly worked muscle and our appetite gets a boost.   Insulin suppresses LPL activity on muscle tissue and not surprisingly, the more insulin we secrete the more it inspires the LPL on adipose tissue to store fat.

The more insulin we secrete the better able our adipose tissue gets at storing fat and just so we don’t run out of space to warehouse it all, insulin also helps create new fat cells.

In so many words, insulin makes us fat.

The Bitter Cycle

1)      You think about eating a meal containing carbohydrates

2)      You begin secreting insulin

3)      Insulin signals the fat cells to shut down the release of fatty acids (inhibiting HSL) and take up more fatty acids (LPL) from the circulation

4)      You start to get hungry, or hungrier

5)      You begin eating

6)      You secrete more insulin

7)      The carbohydrates are digested and enter the circulation as glucose, causing blood sugar to rise

8)      You secret even more insulin

9)      Fat from the diet is stored as triglycerides in the fat cells, as are some of the carbohydrates that are converted into fat in the liver

10)   The fat cells get fatter, and so do you

11)   The fat stays in the fat cell until the insulin level drops (Taubes, p.122-123)

Adiposity from a different perspective

Too often, we look at weight retention in almost moralistic terms- A person is fat because they are slothful and gluttonous.  How else can it be?  After our discussion concerning the insulin response in the body it becomes much less clear cut.

We aren’t fat because we are lazy and eat too much; we eat too much and are lazy BECAUSE we are fat.

Insulin tells our body to store store store. If insulin levels always remain elevated we are never really able to utilize fat or protein for fuel because they are trapped in the adipose tissue and muscle cells. We can’t even use any stored carbohydrates because insulin keeps them under lock down as well and the net result is HUNGER.

So we eat (but we never really get the nutrients that our body needs) and we eat some more.  It is like trying to cobble together 100% of our nutrients from 100 different meals 1% at a time.  This is often seen as gluttony but to be more precise, it is simply a response to elevated insulin levels.

If we aren’t getting enough energy from our diet the body really only has one choice- decrease activity level.  This is often seen as sloth but to be more precise, it is also a response to elevated insulin levels.

With elevated insulin levels the only nutrients our cells can actively use are new carbohydrates coming in, and the cycle continues on.

Thus, we get fatter and fatter, our energy level plummets, and it is all because our body is doing exactly what it is being told to do by the insulin response.

Works Consulted:  “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes


written by T

Paleo Lean Down Challenge

I’ve been thinking about paleo a lot recently because down south our spring is almost over. I have always had bad allergies during the spring season. I would live on allergy medicine. It was starting to get so bad that I thought I was developing asthma. I had inhalers everywhere, and was taking Singular.  This was not good. My mom has had asthma all my life and it has always scared me.

Well, about a year ago I started to eat a mostly paleo/primal diet. I noticed that I relied less and less on my inhalers and stopped taking Singular.

Then spring came. I have had no problems this spring. I haven’t taken any medicine or used my inhalers. I had two allergy attacks that occurred after rolling around with the dogs and rubbing my face afterward. 2 times. That’s it. I used to spend weeks in allergy mode and live on the allergy meds just to breathe.  Now I have no need.

If it has done this for me in just a year of eating mostly paleo (I’m not strict paleo, but adhere to it about 80% of the time. ) I can only imagine what it will do when I go strict. I’m joining a paleo lean down challenge this weekend. Strict paleo, no cheating. I’m really interested to see how good I’ll feel after that.

My hardest problems are strictly lack of will. I am a stress eater and will eat everything in sight when I’m upset. I work at a school where high carb and high sugar foods are everywhere. I have a hard time saying no to things like cheezits and cookies.

I feel really motivated to make this challenge work for me and finally lose those last 10 pounds I’ve wanted to lose. I’ve lost around 25 pounds in the last two years. I used to be a size 14 and I topped out at 190lbs. Now I hover around a 10 and 165lbs.  I have taken pictures and measurements with T and we are doing this challenge together. When we are done we will show you the results.

T is a certified level one crossfit trainer and works out about 3 times a week. I am a certified couch potato. I’ll walk the dogs or take in a Zumba class once a month. It will be an interesting view on the nutritional lifestyle that is paleo; especially when we put it up against the calories in and calories out mentality.  I don’t plan on limiting my nutritional intake. I will eat when hungry and keep it to meat and vegetables.

I can’t wait to share the progress with you. I hope it may make a few more converts in the process.