These Paleo Mother’s Day brunch recipes will help you create the best Mother’s Day brunch menu for that special woman in your life. These Paleo recipes are all easy, and a lot of them are even Whole30! Whether you’re treating your wife to an unexpected breakfast, hosting a brunch, or making something tasty for your own mom, there’s plenty of Paleo Mother’s Day recipes to choose from here!
Mother’s Day is all about celebrating all of the amazing women in our life. But one of my least favorite things is fighting the crowds at restaurants. I’d much rather spend quality time with them! That usually looks like cooking, because who doesn’t love to have a special meal made just for them?
Especially if you’ve got a mom, a best friend, or a wife who will be making their day a Paleo Mother’s Day brunch affair, or is maybe doing a Whole30, these Paleo Mother’s Day brunch recipes are going to give you some good inspiration for ways you can show your love through thoughtful, good-for-you food!
These Paleo Mother’s Day brunch recipes are easy enough for a husband to do, or quick enough for you to do if you’re hosting the brunch this year! If you’re doing a Whole30 over Mother’s Day, I’d skip looking at the bottom dessert section!
Paleo Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes & Breakfast Recipes:
I’m not a veterinarian, and this is based on my own research, experience, and nutritional advice from my vet. This is in no way intended to be a detailed instructional guide on what to feed your furry friends. Please do your own research prior to changing diets and consult with a professional in pet nutrition.
I’m going to start off by saying that this is a touchy subject, with some not-so-fun to read content. Pet parents, much like the regular kind of parents, are passionately protective and invested in their animals. As they should be. However, this often means extremely strong feelings and opinions towards things that relate to their pet – i.e. nutrition, and emotional responses to opinions that differ from our own. We all want what’s best for our furry babies, and this is what I feel is best for mine, not yours.
Just because this is what *I* do and why I do it, does not mean you love your own dog any less. Nor does it mean you’re doing something wrong. Just like the diets you and I eat, there is not one right answer. This is simply my opinion, my experience, and findings. Take it or leave it but don’t take it personally. We’re all in the same boat and on the same side here.
And just of note, I only joke about my dogs being “paleo puppies”. Regardless of the buzzword, it’s about them eating a biologically appropriate diet and I could care less about the term used to describe it.
If you have watched even one of my Instagram stories, you’ve likely seen Olivia. My “first born” best friend who happens to look a lot like an Australian Cattle Dog / Pit mix. I found her (more like she found me) when she was a 9 pound, underweight puppy found behind a dumpster, fresh off the transport van that had arrived at the shelter from Alabama. I haven’t spent a day without her since.
She loves Home Depot, hanging out on patios in the summer, and won’t let a baby leave her sight or her side when there’s one around. My bed is always warm and my lap is always covered in dog hair. Basically, she’s the best.
At one of her early puppy vet appointments, I asked about the scaly dry spots where the hair was gone on her paws. The vet told me it was “probably allergies to something and nothing to worry about unless it gets worse.” I was a teensy bit annoyed that we couldn’t find out what it was before it got worse, because my puppy was only 4 months, I was already feeding her a grain-free diet, and I didn’t think she’d appreciate living the rest of her whole life being irritated by allergies. A minor annoyance, sure, but it was there nonetheless.
Fastforward to early spring. The snow was melting and the gross rotting ground was finally coming out from it’s hibernation. My curious and determined 6 month old dog managed to find a dead mouse next to a building during our walk. She proceeded to eat it even though she knew exactly what the word “no” meant as it came out of my mouth 18 times.
I didn’t think much of it afterwards, aside from not letting her give me kisses. Until she got really sick. Turns out dead mice that have been killed from a type of mouse or rat poisoning were offed by the active ingredient, an anticoagulant. This can remain in their system and get passed onto whatever eats it next. AKA: Olivia. Anticoagulants are blood thinners that prevent blood from clotting, causing internal bleeding when ingested in toxic doses.
Long story short, she got extremely sick and was treated with the anticoagulant antidote, Vitamin K1, for 30 days, along with calcitonin to stimulate hormone production to treat high blood calcium levels. On top of that, she got worms from the dead mouse and was given meds for that.
Throughout this whole process that month, she had constant loose stools. I mean constant. Even after the worms were dealt with, and per the vets recommendation, she had been eating boiled chicken and rice. About two weeks into the K1 treatment, she got so dehydrated from the 24/7 loose stools she needed IV fluids. The vet told me the loose stools should start clearing up in the next week now that it had been about three weeks since her rodent snack.
They didn’t. The vet then suggested switching back to her normal dog food now that the treatment was over and her blood test came back normal. My poor girl wouldn’t touch the dry dog food after we switched back. She began not eating anything as she figured out if she didn’t eat, she didn’t have accidents all over my house. I was sitting on the floor trying to hand feed her kibble by kibble. The food in her bowl would go untouched for 2 days until she ate some, just to have more loose stools. We tried a probiotic to normalize her digestive system. Anti-diarrehals. A different brand of dog food. Putting it in toys. Etc. It was horrible. And expensive. And not working.
I decided to go back to the chicken route, because at least with that she was eating. This whole time I had been spending every free minute researching. It started with looking into rodent poisoning in dogs, and snowballed into how dogs digest and metabolize medications, then from there I found myself researching commerical pet food, biologically appropriate diets and how both affect the health of our pets.
My mind was blown. Everything I was reading made so much sense. If I was choosing to eat in a way that worked for my body, not against it, why would I not have made that connection to my dog sooner? If humans have seen insane rates in obesity, diabetes, heart failure, allergies, intolerances, kidney disease, digestive disorders, pancreatitis over the last 30 years due to our diet, is that why our pets are experiencing all time highs of these conditions too? Research told me YUP.
Turns out 1 in 400 dogs are diabetic. Most indoor cats die from kidney disease. More dogs and cats have allergies than ever before. Dogs are developing arthritis at younger ages, and 50% of dogs in America are obese. Sounds familiar.
The Commercial Pet Food Industry:
Back in 1931, the first commercially prepared dog biscuit hit the shelves. Pet food companies actually had a hard time getting consumers to purchase dog treats in grocery stores. Pet owners were really weirded out that they could buy prepared food products for their dogs. We adapted, and were soon buying our dogs their canned meat in grocery stores too.
Now, in 2018, it’s kind of shocking to hear that dry food might not be the healthiest thing for dogs when that’s what most of us have always known. But, really, kibble is a relatively new development. It wasn’t until World War II, when meat and tin that was being used for canning was redirected to the war effort, that we started finding ways to process dog food. Companies had to figure out how to mass produce food to make it shelf stable in a bag. 70% of the tin America was using prior came from Japan, so as you can guess, wet canned pet food was out, dehydrated processed kibble was in.
And I mean, super in. The pet food companies quickly realized how much cheaper it was to create a product that was highly processed that they could still market as food, despite the lack of nutritional value. Again, sound familiar? This time period was also when processed food for people became a thing.
The commercial pet food industry is basically just like the “people food” industry. In America, it’s a $65+ billion dollar a year industry, which is dominated by a just a few monsterous corporations that own and distribute under a ton of different brand names. For example, Mars (yes, like the candy bar) owns 41 of the pet food brands that are sold in common pet stores, including Iams, Pedigree, and Banfield (so yes, this mega corporation also profits from the Banfield vet clinics). Nestle owns just under that, some of those brands include Beneful, Friskies, and Purina. Smucker’s is responsible for Natural Balance, Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Nature’s Recipe and a whole bunch more.
Pet food is Nestle’s second most profitable business avenue, behind pharmaceuticals. Of this $65 billion dollar industry, Nestle accounts for 23.1% of the pet food market, and Mars comes in first at 23.4%. The next three competitors make up almost another 50%. The top corporations have been systematically buying up all the smaller independent companies over the past four decades. Yes, the FTC is allowing it, and no, it doesn’t help us or our pets.
Production and Ingredients:
As the industry started discovering cheaper and cheaper ways to keep the cost low and profit high, they moved further and further away from quality production processes, sourcing and ingredients.
Here’s what the pet food industry looks like now.
The FDA’s “25%” or “Dinner” rule allows pet food with the name “dinner” or “formula” (along with the word “nuggets” and a handful of other terms) to be only 25% of the named product on the bag, such as beef or chicken, and says that the named product is likely to be the third or fourth ingredient on the ingredient list. The FDA only requires that a pet food contain 3% of the product on the label if the product name says “with“. Even more troublesome to me is that the FDA allows packages that say “chicken, beef, salmon or lamb flavor” to not even include that meat source. “Organic” can be plopped on the package if only a measly 3% of the product is organic. If a pet food as been rendered through chemical processing, the word “natural” can still be put on the package. Companies can put “vet approved or recommended” on packaging as long as they have a veterinarian on-staff, no independent (unpaid) vet needed.
What the what?! Oh, and what does rendered mean? So glad you asked.
Pet food is mostly made up of animal parts that us humans wouldn’t eat. In fact, almost all commercially and mass produced pet food is explicitly labeled unsafe for human consumption. The FDA only allows about 50% of a cow to be sold to us folks on two legs. The rest of it, the parts even a cheap hot dog doesn’t want, gets sold by the slaughterhouse to a rendering plant which is then sold to pet food corporations.
Rendering facilities basically take anything that is *technically* allowed by the FDA, and grind it up so it can be sold to you as a meat “by-product” or “meal” on your pet’s food label, such as beef or chicken by-product or poultry meal.
Meat by-product is not the fleshy meat of an animal. It is instead the utters, intestines, stomach, feet, lungs, etc. The word “meal” means rendered. Every single AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials, the organization that sets the pet food standards with the FDA) ingredient they define that includes the word ‘meal’ includes the word ‘rendered’ in the legal definition.
A big issue here is that rendering facilities are largely operating like it’s the Wild West, doing what they want to within the wide open compliance polices from the FDA. The rendered meat we’re being sold as protein for our pets isn’t just the undesirable parts from cows and livestock. Independent rendering companies collect and process half of the poultry and livestock that die from diseases or accidents. And the FDA says that’s cool. A compliance policy directly from the FDA website: “Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
You read that right.
By law, diseased, dead and disabled livestock, roadkill, zoo animals, animal scraps containing tumors or abscesses, expired meat from restaurants and grocery stores with the packaging still intact, and euthanized animals can all be ground up in the rendering plant and sold under the current pet food standards.
There’s even a nickname for this in the meat rendering world – 4D meat. The four d’s are dead, dying, diseased, disabled. Nice.
I know you’re thinking that there is just NO WAY pet food companies or rendering plants would process animals that have been euthanized. And pet food companies claim they don’t. But sad news. That’s probably not the case.
Already in 2018 there’s been a recall on dog food from one of those big ol’ companies I told you about because the FDA found pentobarbital in the food. Pentobarbital is the most commonly used euthanasia drug, and was the cause for numerous pet food recalls last year (2017) and many over the last two decades.
Just this month, Ohio became the first state to propose legislation that would prohibit the use of euthanized animals in pet food and prohibit the use of euthanized dogs and cats in pet food.
2017 FDA inspection – “Hey there’s pentobarbital in this pet food (page 1), and while we’re at it, please stop having your employees cut raw chicken parts on the spare building lumbar laying around and get rid of the birds that are nesting in the rafters of this processing plant (page 2)”
Other toxic ingredients that have been found in commercially processed pet food include melamine, listeria monocytogenes, cyanuric acid, propylene glycol and already since the start of 2018 (in three months) there’s been 16 recalls. One of the most notable recalls in recent years resulted from 17,000 reports to the FDA of sick pets, in which 20% of them died from acute renal failure. The cause was from melamine, a chemical used in plastic production and fertilizer, that was found in the wheat gluten and rice protein that pet food companies purchased to use as protein in the food as a cheaper alternative to real meat.
Another way the corporations cut costs (and nutrition) from their pet food products is to use cellulose as a filler. Cellulose mixtures basically resemble sawdust and is made up of low quality byproducts from the grain and agriculture industries (again, things that can’t be used in human food and would otherwise be waste material, like peanut hulls, fractions of rice, straw, pulp from pine trees). This inexpensive filler is used to create artificial volume and bulk up the quantity of food. AKA: they can make more food for less money.
Cellulose is marketed as fiber on pet food bags, however, it’s insoluble fiber. Meaning it can’t be digested by our pets and basically just makes their poop bigger because none of it gets digested and there’s no nutritional value.
Other additives commonly added to pet food include pelleting agents and binders, proteinaceous adhesives such as casein, toxic preservatives to extend the shelf life to 12+ months like BHA (banned in other countries – still legal in the US), BHT, ethoxyquin and propylene glycol (in dog food), synthetic antioxidants to keep it from turning rancid, sweeteners to improve taste, artificial colors to improve appearance, petroleum derivatives to improve texture, drying and curing agents, among many others.
Propylene glycol is a less toxic version of antifreeze and was being used in both dog and cat food until it was recently found to cause anemia in cats. It’s since been removed from cat food, but is still being used as a preservative in dog food.
” … 90 percent of pet foods out there contain totally inappropriate ingredients that are not nourishing and actually create low-grade inflammatory processes, diabetes and obesity. All the same health issues occurring in the pet world are occurring in the human realm in terms of overall health. But additionally, these pet foods are rendered, [which means]… not approved for human consumption. On top of the inappropriate ingredients in pet food, if people really knew the quality of food they are feeding their pets, they would be totally appalled.” – Dr. Karen Becker
Last year the USDA removed all animal welfare related information from it’s website which included information about inspections of facilities, food violations, along with dozens of other topics such as research labs.
A study done on 21 different types of commercial dog foods found that 10 out of the 21 were mislabeled. 8 of the tested dog foods were found to have a protein source that wasn’t listed in the ingredients, 2 that listed venison in the label didn’t have any at all, and instead contained a different protein source altogether, and of the 12 dog foods tested that were labeled as gluten or grain-free, 5 of them contained gluten.
All of this information started to make it really hard for me to feel like I was making informed decisions when it came to my dog’s diet.
What is Biologically Appropriate?
A biologically appropriate diet simply means a diet that is appropriate for that species. For dogs and cats, that means a diet that is high in protein, fats and moisture content, and low in carbohydrates, and looks like the nutrients they would be naturally consuming if given the option. In a nutshell, it means raw or lightly cooked food. When you look at it from the big picture, in every other situation, all other animals are eating food that’s species appropriate, even zoo animals get fed the foods they should be eating. It’s only livestock, pets and humans that are eating a diet that looks nothing like our natural diet. We’re collectively suffering from it, while the corporations that make both our Kit-Kat Bars, Hot Pockets, and our pet’s food are doin’ just fine.
So, for example, we know that cats are strict carnivores, yet all dry food needs to have a large percentage of starches to hold it together. Same goes for our dogs. We’re feeding them this even though they can’t properly process large amounts of carbohydrates. In a 2012 study, 3 different types of dog food was offered to 51 dogs of 5 different breeds. The three types of food included one that was high in protein, one that was high in fat and one that was high in carbohydrates. Every single breed self-selected the food lowest in carbohydrates.
Another major issue is that dry food only has about 12% moisture, which is pretty far from the 70% our pets need. High moisture content in an animal’s diet is necessary to prevent organ dysfunction, like kidney failure. This is especially problematic in cats who can’t make up for what their diet lacks by drinking tons of water like dogs do. This is a direct correlation with the rising amounts of urinary problems and kidney disease seen in cats over the last two decades.
What I’m Now Doing:
For starters, within 2 days of switching Olivia to a raw food diet, her constant loose stools had resolved and she was eating normally again. When I told my vet that the following week at her next appointment to recheck her blood levels, he looked at me like I had 2 heads.
I asked him why he didn’t think raw food was a good idea. He couldn’t tell me much, as he admitted he didn’t know much about it except that he was concerned with the risks associated with bacteria in the food. Basically, he was worried about food poisoning. Which, I pointed out, is a risk all of us take by eating and that safe food storage and handling is usually the key. I also mentioned that after a month of Olivia crappin’ all over my house, needing IV fluids and 5 trips to the vet, a 24 hour bout of food poisoning seemed like a vacation (I was totally kidding). However, he remained pretty silent and then I said that I felt like the risks of her maybe getting food poisoning didn’t outweigh the almost certain consequences of eating a poor diet for her 12+ years with me (please God, if she could live to 100 that would be cool).
The only other explanation of his opinion he produced was that it would be harder to include the necessary nutrients by feeding raw food and it would be easier to get them from kibble because the companies add them during processing. At that time this just didn’t make sense to me. I would rather spend a bit of extra effort finding what I needed and giving it through real food than opt for a product with tons of things my dog doesn’t need just so they get the nutrients they do. The vet I found next not only assured me that the nutrients my pets need can be consumed through their food, but guided me in making sure they were getting everything they needed.
Then, during that initial conversation, I asked the vet, the same vet who couldn’t come up with a different solution during Olivia’s 30 Days of Diarrhea, if he had any better ideas or other suggestions. At which time he told me he did not, but does not recommend feeding her a raw diet. Alrighty. I called around the next day and found a few other vet options who knew actual information about raw feeding and could support me with my choice to do it. The next vet I went to told me that the stomach acid in dogs kills off any bacteria in raw meat (because they naturally are meant to eat raw meat) and the likelihood of any food borne bacteria surviving the harsh pH level in their stomach is next to zero.
My now-vet clued me in on why there isn’t enough research on either sides of the fence – little to substantiate that dry kibble is healthy or that raw food is unhealthy – because most pet nutrition research that has been done has been juuuust enough to swing in favor of pet food industries, who are the ones funding a majority the studies on pet nutrition. It’s almost an exact replica of what kind of tactics happen in the human food industry (the one that had “research” to prove that low-fat products were good for us for decades), and what happens in the pharmaceutical industry. No one but the big corporations can afford to do a massive study, and the big corporations who can afford it won’t because that runs the risk of threatening their profits if it turns out largely filler-based products aren’t the healthiest option.
3 months after that experience, the raw scaly patches on Olivia’s paws had hair covering them again. Our cat has stopped puking on my carpet. Life is good and once I got the hang of it, it’s not nearly as overwhelming or expensive as I originally expected.
*I am in no way saying that all vets who endorse processed pet food are wrong or uninformed in their opinion or do not have your pet’s best intentions in mind. In fact, I think they all have our best interests in mind. I am simply giving my experience, which prompted me to do more research to find a different vet that was a better fit for me – much like a second opinion from a physician.*
It is critical you know what you are doing. Throwing down only ground beef every day is not the way to do it.
I am not going to give an exact and detailed guide to what I feed my dogs and my cat. Yes, dogS. We added a Charlie to our family when he needed a new home after Hurricane Irma this past fall. My animals are different weights than yours, and therefore require different amounts. Do your own research and/or find a vet who is educated on raw feeding, integrative/holistic nutrition. Honestly it’s crazy to me that we’re even calling feeding what your dog should be eating holistic, but okay.
The general idea is that the ratio should be 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bone. Some people balance every meal twice a day, while others do it over the course of a week (balance over time) being animals nutritional needs can be met appropriately that way. Dogs can eat and digest raw bone, and it’s incredibly good for their teeth and oral health.
Supplementation of things like salmon oil, fish oil or coconut oil are generally given at some point in the week. Chicken feet are an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Types of meat should be rotated out. I generally rotate beef, chicken, pork, bison, turkey, and venison. Eggs and their shell are nearly a complete food source and loaded with calcium and vitamins. Organ meat, such as liver, is extremely nutrient dense in small quantities and can be purchased easily from butchers, and even most grocery stores.
Options like lamb leg bones, chicken or turkey necks and feet, cow kneecaps, marrow bones, are all great choices for bones and they’re usually really inexpensive at the local butcher being they’re commonly things that won’t get sold to the average customer. Search for places in your area that might create the raw food in the proper ratio for you, such as Woody’s Pet Food Deli if you’re in Minnesota. Talk to butchers and get a bulk discount, or stock up at the store when there’s a good sale. Get a deep freezer so you can use it to save even more money.
My dogs both took to raw food immediately, as did our cat, but do your research on how to transition your animal to raw food prior to doing it. Talk to a vet, especially if your animal is elderly or has chronic medical conditions already as this might not be a helpful change. Know what to watch for and what to expect.
Some things that will probably (likely) happen is that your dog might have loose stools the first few days while their digestive system adjusts and no longer has such heavy amounts of unnecessary fiber binding everything together. Your pet will drink much less water than you’re used to. This is totally normal! Raw food has a really high moisture content which means your pet no longer has to compensate by drinking tons of water. You’ll notice your dog doesn’t have the classic “puppy breath” anymore.
Your pet’s poop will also be smaller than you’re used to because your pet is digesting and using almost all of the food that they are consuming. This is a good thing. The stool will also end up turning white and crumbling into dust after a few days outside because the contents are natural and decomposable. A few weeks after eating a raw diet, you’ll notice an increase in shedding. Much like humans when they switch to real food, your dog will go through a detox of sorts as well. Shedding all of the dead hair is part of it. Soon your pet will have a softer and shinier coat than ever before.
Finally, people will either be really weirded out when they hear what you feed your pet, they will be really critical or, they’ll be really interested. When it comes down to it, we all want to feel like we are doing our very best for our pets. We want them to be healthy and safe and not everyone has the same opinions on what that means to them. Other people’s ideas don’t mean that yours are wrong for you. Just like my idea on what to feed pets doesn’t make it the right option for you.
Do what you think is best and your animals will love you for it!
If you live in Minneapolis, or are just here for a visit and are looking for some healthy AND delicious places to grab a bite to eat, you’re in luck. The twin cities area has an awesome restaurant scene. And with that, a really great selection of health focused options. Finding Minneapolis Paleo restaurants isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Finding Paleo restaurants in Minneapolis, Whole30 dining out options, or just something you’ll feel good eating isn’t hard here. We have a variety of places that care about where your food is sourced from, and believe good food should be good for you too. This guide will make finding your options even easier!
This is probably the cutest little place ever. It’s one of my favorite Minneapolis Paleo options for getting brunch with the girls, or a nice date night. They offer farm-to-table meats and veggies, sourced from Tangletown Garden’s Farm in southern Minnesota. They even offer CSA boxes, and this is where I get mine from!
They don’t have anything explicitly marked Paleo or Whole30, but because the menu is mostly all healthy, it’s really easy to make a simple adjustment (such as no hollandaise or toast), and boom. Your breakfast scramble is good to go!
French Meadow is another one of my favorite restaurants in the Minneapolis area. Whether I’m doing Whole30 or not, I go here a lot. In the summer my dog Olivia and I sit on the patio, I come here early to sit at the bar along the window for breakfast and to work, I’ve had my birthday dinners here. I just love it.
My favorite way to get a good Whole30 or Paleo meal here is to order the turkey burger. I simply get it without a bun and on a bed of greens instead. I skip the cheese and mayo, ask for extra guacamole and have myself a delicious turkey burger salad!
Agra Culture is an awesome option for any type of dietary guidelines you may be following. Their menu is SO GOOD, and every single menu option is marked as Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, etc. Fun fact: this was the first place in the Twin Cities to have menu items labeled as Paleo! Woo!
They also have my favorite bulletproof coffee in the area, and a really nice patio. You can’t really go wrong here! It’s technically not a Minneapolis Paleo option, as it’s exact location is Edina. Us Minneapolis people know it’s basically south Minneapolis, though.
LOVE this place. While nothing is clearly labeled Paleo, they’re always so accommodating. My favorite thing to get is the chicken tacos, sans tortillas and sour cream. I get them on a bed of romaine and add extra salsa and guacamole!
During daytime hours, it’s a casual type cafe where you order at the register, and then at night it becomes a full-service restaurant. It’s rare that a month goes by where I don’t meet my girl friends here for lunch of dinner, or my boyfriend and I don’t come here for breakfast. His favorite thing to get is the breakfast burrito, but there’s tons of ways to customize a breakfast order to make it Paleo!
Just go here. It’s delicious. It’s a really great option for a Minneapolis Paleo date night, because it’s a little classier, but it’s also a place where you can get something on the healthier side, yet your S/O can still find plenty of options if they’re not following the same dietary choices you are. It’s a win win.
All the cuts are grass-fed, and there’s plenty of gluten-free and paleo side options. You’ll leave here full and happy. I promise.
This is an entirely gluten-free restaurant with a ton of options you can make Paleo by making teeny tiny substitutions, like “no cheese, please”! I mean, they even have beef Bolognese served over spaghetti squash. Does it get more Paleo than that?!
They have seasonal offerings and just tons of things you’ll love. It’s also owned by a female holistic dietician so, obviously, I’m even more fond of it.
Braised green beans, piles of pulled meat, cabbage salad with mint. Sign me UP. Brasa serves only local, organic, free-range, pastured, basically- all the good stuff. I’ve never taken someone from out of town here (Paleo or not) and had anyone leave disappointed. Ever.
Barbette is a fun spot to go for some good, good food. They have vegetarian options, along with grass-fed beef, free-range pork, chicken and eggs. Mostly all sourced locally. And again, the food is delicious.
Good Earth uses only the best ingreidnets and focuses on organic suppliers and local growers. Their food never has ingredients or meats that contain hormones or antibiotics, or come from factory farming. My favorite thing to get here is the bison burger, without the bun!
Birchwood is in one of my favorite neighborhoods in South Minneapolis – Seward! They serve organic, free range eggs and local organic produce. It’s one of my favorite spots for breakfast. While it does get crowded on the weekends, it’s still worth it. But you’ll probably only catch me there in the summer on a weekday, soaking up the sun on the patio or near the back near the garden.
This is another place that you’ll be able to find what you need, while those who you’re dining with will be more than satisfied with their options too. WSK is a favorite in my house. The caramelized lamb belly lettuce wraps and pickled veggies that they make in-house are delicious. So good in fact, that I’ve tried to recreate it at home. Still never coming close to WSK, though.
The menu at Common Roots changes frequently, but they’ve always had a ton of great options each time I’ve been there. I spent a lot of time here last summer sitting outside with my pup and drinking (too much) coffee and sharing the Paleo-friendly sweet potato fries with my dog. Common Roots is right down the block from French Meadow, so if you really can’t choose, you get to go to both!
Crisp & Green – Customized salads!
Red Cow – Burger sans bun!
Seward Co-Op & the Wedge Co-Op
Ecopolitan – Raw, vegan options with good juices and smoothies
There’s a bunch of options here to make sure you can still be a foodie even if you’re not eating loaded cheese fries and chicken and waffles at the cool Minneapolis restaurants. We have tons to offer beyond Juicy Lucy’s and I hope this restaurant list helps you find some Minneapolis Paleo options you’ll love!
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Vital Proteins. After taking their collagen for over a year now, I feel fairly confident in saying I’m a self-proclaimed expert on all of their gut healing, protein packed products. But I also know that it’s totally overwhelming when you don’t know where to start, or are trying to pick out which product would be right for you.
This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins. I’m happy to work with a company I love, use and believe in so much! Thanks for your support here on the blog and your support for Vital Proteins!
Unless you’ve experimented with the different products, it can be confusing to know what product to start with, how to use it, when to use it, why to use it. Here’s my big ol’ guide to answer all of those questions about some of my favorite, most often used Vital Proteins products!
The products here are all ones I personally own and use. These Vital Proteins products are Paleo and Whole30 Approved! While Vital Proteins does offer products with whey protein, I choose not to include those into my diet, so they’re not ones I can speak to the benefits and uses of, though I’m sure they’re equally as high of quality as these ones. They have tons of awesome dairy free options that I love, which are the ones you’ll see explained here!
That being said, all Vital Proteins products are:
Free from “flavorings”, which is rare to find these days!
Free from artificial sweeteners and stevia, also rare to find these days
Free from thickeners, gums, fillers, emulsifiers such as soy lecithins
Contain real ingredients made from real food
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, the lining of organs, our digestive system, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, and nails. So, yeah. Basically everything. Collagen makes up one-third of the total protein in the human body. It’s made from amino acids, all of which give the aforementioned organ systems (skeletal, circulatory, digestive, endocrine (skin), muscular systems) structure, strength, and elasticity, among other things.
As we get older, our body’s natural production of collagen decreases, which is linked to wrinkles, weakening of joint cartilage and decreased mobility and flexibility, and a whole host of other issues.
It’s not only for people concerned with wrinkles though. Collagen has a diverse range of uses and benefits, and because it’s a naturally occurring protein, it’s incredibly versatile and useful for various needs. Our hospitals are now even using collagen bandages to promote skin cell growth for trauma and burn victims. How freakin’ cool is that?!
Why add a collagen supplement?
So we know WHAT collagen is now. But why would it be right for you? Let’s discuss a few of the reasons you may want to add collagen into your daily routine. By taking Vital Proteins daily, the results you’ll experience include better skin, healthier nails, more hair growth, increased joint mobility, better digestive health, just to name a few.
The added protein is really helpful for those who may have a difficult time getting enough protein in, have an aversion to meat in the morning, or are looking to stay fuller a bit longer than they normally would from their breakfast smoothie or bulletproof coffee.
In terms of a protein powder, Vital Proteins is the cleanest, most natural one you can find. Why? Because the protein is one your body makes naturally. The ingredient label is JUST collagen and real food ingredients. Most protein powders out there are really scary when you read the label, full of ingredients and proteins made in a lab that your body has to work hard to process. Not the case with Vital Proteins collagen.
Collagen helps with muscle recovery from workouts, and is incredibly helpful for those with joint pain. People who have shoulder, knee, back, ankle issues due to age, injury or past surgery can see a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility after supplementing collagen daily. I’ve heard so many stories, and have my own about how Vital Proteins has dramatically reduced or done away with joint pain. After taking it for a year, this has been the first winter my ankle hasn’t given me issues in the winter after I broke it (badly) a few years ago.
Those concerned with hair loss from aging, weight loss or after having a new lil’ baby will also reap the benefits of collagen because it makes your hair grow like weeds. Along with your nails. Of course, check with your doctor before adding any supplements while pregnant.
Collagen (especially in the form of gelatin) is also beneficial for those with leaky gut, Crohn’s, IBS, and digestive system issues. Again, speak with your doctor before beginning any new supplement. I’ve heard so many success stories about adding collagen from people with digestive issues. Especially gelatin, it helps to coat the lining of your digestive tract and makes digestion easier on your system.
There’s numerous other benefits, like clearer, healthier looking skin, deeper sleep, improved athletic performance, stronger bones and connective tissue, improved circulation, I could go on, but let’s get to the good stuff.
This is the product you want to start with if you are new to collagen peptides. This Unflavored Collagen Peptides really is unflavored, and it’s super versatile. I add it to my coffee every morning, and to my homemade salad dressings to add more protein to my salads. Don’t worry though, they can be added to practically anything.
It dissolves easily into hot and cold liquids such as smoothies, tea, coffee, juice, sauces, soups, scrambled eggs, casseroles, baked goods, salad dressings, chia seed pudding. Seriously, anything. This is the easiest product to use and Vital Proteins has done a great job (in my opinion) on making this a product for everyone to be able to get the health benefits they’re looking for.
There’s also a few ways Vital Proteins offers the unflavored collagen peptides that I love. Beyond the canister option they offer, they have to-go packets that I use often for traveling. They also have the collagen in capsule form. I think it’s a good option for those who would have an easier time adding it to their daily routine if they already take other vitamins or medications in the morning. It’s also less expensive, if that’s one of your concerns. But remember, investing in you is something you’re not going to regret.
There’s a long list of health benefits that come with using Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin. Gelatin is a a form of collagen, but is processed differently than the Unflavored Peptides. The main difference is that unlike the unflavored peptides, gelatin dissolves into hot liquid but gels as it cools, giving it a different way to use it in your cooking.
It still has all the same benefits collagen peptides (hair growth, healthy skin, increased joint mobility) but may be better for those with digestive issues because it helps to coat and repair the lining in the digestive tract. Especially helpful for those with leaky gut, IBS and Crohn’s.
Gelatin is actually the unsung hero of the culinary world. It’s their secret to shiny glazes and the smooth emulsified consistency of a reduced pan sauce. Beef gelatin is even what restaurant chefs add to meatballs to give them the delicious and juicy texture we all love. It’s also way easier to work with than the other Paleo or Whole30 substitutions for cornstarch, like arrowroot flour and tapioca flour.
Plus it’s way healthier and more nutrient dense than a starchy thickener. It has 19 grams of protein per serving and it’s one of the most easily digestible sources of protein. It’s flavorless, which made it a really easy addition to my routine.
If you add this into hot soups or sauces, remember it won’t begin to thicken until it’s removed from the heat source and begins cooling. The benefits between collagen peptides and gelatin are quite similar, making this a really great product for those who will use collagen in their coffee or cook a lot.
How to use it:
Check out my tips for cooking with gelatin in this post
The Mixed Berry Collagen flavor from Vital Proteins has all of the benefits from collagen, plus a delicious natural berry flavor that adds probiotics and hyaluronic acid. Mixed berry collagen peptides has 20 grams of collagen and 18 grams of protein per serving, plus 100% of your daily vitamin C. It’s made with organic strawberries, organic blueberries, organic raspberries, organic acreola cherries, organic blackberries and no added sweeteners or junk.
Use this in your coffee, in smoothies, in homemade jelly and jam and in baked goods. Add it to salad dressings, desserts, energy balls, frozen fruit popsicles, tea, the list is endless.
This is another one of my favorite Vital Proteins products. Don’t let the chocolate in the name fool you, it’s chocolatey, but it’s still Whole30 Approved, which means it’s made with top notch ingredients and no added sugar. Just like with the previous flavor, you’re still getting all of the collagen benefits with the Dark Chocolate and Blackberry Collagen, just a lot more flavor! This one also has probiotics and hyaluronic acid.
There’s so many ways you can use it. There’s a berry mocha coffee drink I used to love from the Minnesota coffee chain Caribou Coffee. Obviously, when I started caring what was going in my body, this 600 calorie drink was out. Adding 2 scoops of the Dark Chocolate and Blackberry Collagen Peptides recreates that drink almost perfectly!
Besides coffee, it’s great in smoothies, baked goods and treats, and my non Paleo friends tell me it’s awesome in overnight oats.
This is another great product offering that Vital Proteins has. The coffee creamers come in three different flavors: vanilla, coconut, and gingerbread. This is a perfect option if you’re looking for a cleaner coffee creamer. There aren’t tons of flavored creamer options that are Paleo and Whole30, so this one might be worth a try for you! It adds convenience because it’s both the collagen and the creamer in one. The whole 2 birds 1 stone deal. I use these most often when I’m traveling because they have single serving packets!
You won’t see me using this product super often, because matcha isn’t my favorite thing to drink. I’d take coffee and one of these other products over matcha. BUT I do make matcha energy balls every once in a while, and for those who do love matcha, I think this is an excellent option.
Matcha has 137 times the amount of antioxidants that other green teas have, and Vital Proteins has paired that with 10 grams of collagen per serving in the same product. It easily dissolves into water and is super simple to use.
This Vanilla Collagen Peptides flavor gives you the collagen benefits, but with a vanilla flavor. It’s great in smoothies, blended into coffee, added to “nice” cream, etc. It’s made with REAL vanilla bean, and some people note that it leaves their coffee a bit gritty because of the vanilla bean. To that, I always think that I’d way rather have that and know my product is made with actual food instead of artificial flavors, but, to each their own!
Vital Proteins Marine Collagen works exactly the same way the unflavored collagen peptides do. It’s unflavored and dissolves seamlessly into both hot and cold liquids. You can use this product and the unflavored peptides interchangeably. The major difference is where the collagen is sourced from.
The Marine Collagen is what I recommend to vegetarians that still consume fish products, because it’s sourced from snapper fish, while the unflavored collagen peptides are sourced from grass-fed bovine.
One of my most favorite Vital Proteins products! If you do a lot of cooking, love soups, hate wasting broth in cartons, this product is for you. Vital Proteins offers bone broth collagen in both beef and chicken and it’s completely replaced the liquid cartons I used to buy. It’s in a powdered form, so you just add water. The ingredients are simply organic bone broth powder.
Whole30 Approved bone broth, or even just broth (especially beef broth) without crazy additives like soy and grain are HARD to find in the grocery store. That, and after opening it, it goes bad in 7 days. Which means I end up wasting most of it after I use the 2 cups I need and it gets shoved to the back of my fridge. This powdered bone broth lasts me a few months and saves me money in the long run.
Vital Proteins bone broth collagen is super gut healing and full of nutrients, but it also means I’m not wasting a ton of money by tossing out half used containers of expensive broth all of the time. And it cuts down on storage space, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and I know I always have some when I need it.
The Collagen Veggie Blend from Vital Proteins combines the benefits of collagen, with a super nutrient dense mix of organic veggies and fruits. It’s a great veggie replacement option that’s easy to digest for people with sensitive gut issues, picky eaters, and people who don’t have time in the mornings to sit down for breakfast.
There’s 3 servings of veggies and 1 serving of fruit in every serving, and it’s made with 11 different types of organic fruits and veggies. So, that means it’s an insanely healthy and easy way to add more nutrients, antioxidants AND collagen into your diet. Of course, it’s Whole30 Approved, but it’s even AIP friendly. Not enough of us sit down and go to town on mass amounts of veggies, and this product I really love for that purpose.
Use it in sauces, soups, smoothies, and hide it in recipes like applesauce, dips, energy balls, or just water!
Beef liver capsules are off putting to some people, but we know organ meat is consumed all of the time, and is insanely nutrient dense. This product makes getting those nutrients WAY easier, and makes it so that you don’t have to cook with a meat product that makes you squeamish. I promise you taking these capsules doesn’t look, taste, or feel any different than taking a vitamin.
These capsules do amazing things for your energy levels because they’re high in B12. They also help to support your immune system, metabolism and digestion. They’re all natural, and just like all of Vital Proteins products, are made with the highest quality ingredients and none of the unnecessary ones.
How to use this: add these capsules to your morning routine like you would with taking any vitamin or probiotic.
I hoped this guide helped you learn what benefits you stand to gain from adding collagen to your diet. I also hope it helped to clarify which products would be right for you and your lifestyle. By investing in Vital Proteins, you really are investing in your overall health. Out of the 4 collagen companies I’ve tried, Vital Proteins is the highest quality. It’s a product I, and so many others, swear by and soon after taking it you’ll start seeing results in so many different places of your life. From energy, sleep, your skin, your workouts, you name it- Vital Proteins is the most natural way and efficient way to positively benefit all of them.
This post contains affiliate links, though all products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.
I’ll be the first one to admit I totally skipped right over that Whole30 reintroduction element during my first Whole30. It wasn’t because I immediately grabbed the nearest bag of Fritos once the clock struck 30 days. And it wasn’t because I didn’t read the “fine print” about bringing back the foods I had removed. It was because my deep rooted, long standing food habits were not going to be fixed in 30 days. I needed more time on the program – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do a reintroduction. I just did it when I knew I could handle reintroducing dairy without it turning into a large pizza consumed while I sat on my bed alone.
The whole point of completing a Whole30 is to find out how to eat to feel your best afterwards. We do this by removing the potentially troublesome foods for a while, giving our body a break, and then systematically adding the food groups (dairy, gluten, soy, legumes, etc.) back in one at a time to evaluate. And yes, it needs to be one food group at at time.
Think of your Whole30 reintroduction like a science experiment with different variables. You wouldn’t throw all of your test chemicals (variables) into a tube at one time to see what they did to the water (experiment), now would you? How would you know which chemical it was that made the water turn yellow? Was it the same chemical that also made the water fizzy? Which of the four chemicals had no effect?
To make sure you know exactly what food is doing what, you’re going to do it one at a time.
Completing a reintroduction is crucial to what Whole30 calls “Food Freedom”. By taking the things you learn during the reintroduction phase into the real world, you’ll be equipped with all of the knowledge you need to make sure you feel as good as you did while on your Whole30. You can choose to leave out the foods that reintroduction showed you were harmful to you physically or mentally. And, you’ll be able to weigh the pros and cons of eating those foods anyway in a situation where you’re wondering if it’s worth it to eat something that makes you feel less than your best.
You won’t get this benefit of the Whole30 if you hit day 31 and “celebrate” your accomplishment by eating all the Chinese takeout, ice cream, Teddy Grams and margaritas you can manage. You get one shot at seeing how potentially problematic foods impact you.
An example of how my Whole30 reintroduction experience helps me make daily choices to continue feeling as well as I know I can:
I know grain does NOT agree with me. Not only does it make me immediately want to nap for 3 hours and mess with my digestion, it also leads me to wanting #allthebread and takes me down a slippery slope with cravings for more things than just bread. Because I learned those things during reintroduction, I choose not to make this a daily habit anymore like I did prior to Whole30. BUT, when I’m in a special situation, such as Christmas, I can know that “hey, grain really doesn’t make me feel good, this is what I know happens when I eat it, so are those symptoms worth having a piece of my Nana’s bread pudding today?”
This is the way I phrase the question every time I’m evaluating if I truly want a food that my Whole30 reintroduction told me my body doesn’t appreciate me putting into it. More often than not, I would rather skip the food and value feeling awesome over a meal that’s not so great, not so special, or available to me at any time I want it. But I can also use this question to allow myself to have the things that are special and worth it because I weighed the benefits vs. downsides and decided it was worth it.
So, how does Whole30 reintroduction work?
Here’s an example of how to properly reintroduce food after day 30:
Day 31: Continue eating Whole30 compliant, but add legumes to your day. Ways you can do this is by having hummus with veggies, a Whole30 compliant taco salad with black beans, peanut butter on your banana, soy sauce in your otherwise Whole30 compliant cauliflower fried rice. You’ll want to pay attention to how you’re feeling both immediately after, and throughout the next day. With that information, you can decide how much and how often (if at all) legumes should be added to your regular day-to-day diet.
Other legume options: peas, chickpeas, edamame, miso, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, or other bean varieties.
Days 32-33: Eat Whole30 for these two days, continuing to evaluate your experience after legumes.
Day 34: Continue eating Whole30 compliant, but add gluten-free grains to your day. Ways you can do this is by having white rice with a Whole30 compliant dinner, some corn chips with a lunch, or gluten-free bread for a sandwich with Whole30 compliant ingredients. You’ll want to pay attention to how you’re feeling both immediately after, and throughout the next day. With that information, you can decide how much and how often (if at all) gluten-free grains should be added to your regular day-to-day diet.
Other gluten-free grain options: corn, brown rice, gluten-free oats, popcorn, quinoa, buckwheat.
Days 35-36: Eat Whole30 for these two days, continuing to evaluate your experience after gluten-free grains.
Day 37: Continue eating Whole30 compliant, but add dairy to your day. Ways you can do this is by having a healthy yogurt option, cheese with your eggs or over an otherwise Whole30 compliant casserole, and adding creamer to your coffee. You’ll want to pay attention to how you’re feeling both immediately after, and throughout the next day. With that information, you can decide how much and how often (if at all) dairy should be added to your regular day-to-day diet.
Other dairy options: milk, sour cream, butter, half and half, condensed milk, cottage cheese.
Days 38-39: Eat Whole30 for these two days, continuing to evaluate your experience after dairy.
Day 40: Continue eating Whole30 compliant, but add grains containing gluten to your day. Ways you can do this is by having toast or a muffin with your breakfast, slices of bread or dinner rolls, or pasta noodles. You’ll want to pay attention to how you’re feeling both immediately after, and throughout the next day. With that information, you can decide how much and how often (if at all) grains containing gluten should be added to your regular day-to-day diet.
Other grains containing gluten options: crackers, tortillas, oatmeal, breakfast cereal, bagels, English muffins, pancakes, pretzels.
Keep track of how these foods affect you that day. It could be immediate, or hours later, or even the next day. Did you need a nap after grains? Was it harder to get out of bed the day after dairy? Did soy give you a headache and make your stomach feel weird? These will be different for all of us – but it’s so important for you to know what these foods do to you so you can go forward choosing when they are and are not worth it to consume!
Best practice to make sure your Whole30 reintroduction goes smoothly:
Plan out what things you’ll reintroduce. Don’t wait until the day of to decide, or you run the risk of saying screw it I’ll have whatever I want! So, write out which foods they will be and then you’ll have your list for the grocery store too.
It helps to keep track of how you’re feeling by writing it out as it’s happening. Even if it’s as simple as a note in your phone! This is helpful because as you get further removed from the 40 day experiment, it becomes easier to slide back into habits as you slowly forget how you felt when dairy gave you horrible stomach cramps and made you break out in pimples the day after.
By having these little notes to yourself, you’ll further enforce and engrain your new habits!
And you deserve these new habits you’ve worked hard for! You deserve to be feeling your best, on the Whole30 and after.
A tip that I’ve been telling people for what seems like forever now has been to freeze a few pounds of chicken in different marinades. This has served me so well while doing a Whole30, and while trying to make cheap and easy meals when I’m just eating healthy, clean foods. These DIY marinades are an inexpensive way to set yourself up for success.
We all have the days where coming home and cooking from scratch isn’t high on our priority list, even though eating healthy often is. Sometimes when it’s been a rough week, you just don’t want to cook. I hear you. That’s when having back up options like marinaded chicken come in so handy. Even better, with these you have a few options to choose from so you’re never going to get stuck making chicken the same way you always do. Again. For the 17th time this month.
First let’s talk about chicken breasts. Not all are created equal. These DIY marinades are written out for one pound of chicken. Depending on what size of chicken breasts you buy, that could mean 2, 4 or 6 of them to equal a pound. If you’re prepping a half pound, just divide the recipe in half.
On that note, you can’t ever go wrong with having more marinade than you need. It’s not a big deal if there’s a bit more oil in the bag per chicken breast, or a bit more tomato paste. It won’t matter once it’s frozen, defrosted and then cooked! Don’t stress yourself out weighing out chicken breasts and doing the calculations per ingredient. The good thing about DIY chicken marinades is that they’re DIY. Even if you’re eyeballing the spices, they’ll be good!
We’re all about convenience and making things work for you over here. This is also why I made sure to use staple products that most of us have in our pantry. You truly don’t need anything fancy to make healthy and simple meals.
Most of my pantry goods I get from Thrive Market. Which is basically a Costco meets Whole Foods. Healthy products at budget prices. You can read about my Paleo and Whole30 staples, or check out the sale they’re having for 20% off of your first 3 orders!
Now for the good stuff. The marinading process stops once these hit the freezer, and starts again once they begin thawing. These are good in the freezer for 3 months, so make sure to date the bags you use!
You want to give the chicken plenty of time to marinade before you cook them. It’s best to take one out of the freezer 12-24 hours prior to cooking.
You can then throw them into the slow cooker with the marinade for a few hours. You can make shredded chicken by putting them into the instant pot for 8 minutes. Or, bake them in the oven. Remember when we talked about how not all chicken breasts are created equal? This comes back into play here when we’re talking about baking times. If you have 4 chicken breasts that are 6 ounces, they’ll bake faster than 2 chicken breasts that are 11 ounces each.
For most chicken breasts, you’ll bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes. For larger chicken breasts, you’ll have to add (approximately) an additional 5 minutes.
Cooking times may vary, based on the size and weight of your meat. Make sure chicken is no longer pink, and has an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
Now that your chicken is cooking, it’s time to make the rest of the meal that simple too! Think about paring your chicken breasts with roasted or sautéed veggies. Cook up some fajita veggies for the fajita chicken, steam some broccoli or cook some cauliflower rice to go with the curry chicken, or add the Asian sesame chicken to a salad with cabbage, carrots and cilantro. Enjoy the balsamic chicken with easy mashed potatoes and asparagus! The options are endless, and it’s SO convenient to be able to just throw together a meal based on what you already have in the fridge.
These 6 recipes are surefire ways to ensure you’re not using marinades filled with junky ingredients, sneaky additives and sugar. If you’re looking for other good pre-made options, my favorites are:
This post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.
There’s so much excitement leading up to the holidays. I look forward to this time of the year for months before it comes. But, when you’re actually going through the holiday season, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the rushing around, overstimulated by all the places you’re going, people you’re seeing and things you’re juggling, and unmotivated with your health goals because you’re thrown out of your routine. The happiest time of the year can easily leave you drained and lacking the dedication you had to end the year strong.
This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins. I’m happy to work with a company I love, use and believe in so much! Thanks for your support here on the blog and your support for Vital Proteins!
There’s a few things I’ve learned to do to stay motivated through the holidays. While I love spending time with my family and friends this time of year, it’s important to me to not let my health and wellness suffer as a result. With all of the holiday traveling, cooking in places that aren’t your own kitchen and schedules that don’t look anything like a normal work week, sometimes you have to find the calm in the craziness.
The first way that I stay motivated to keep working on my health goals is by trying to keep my usual routine even when I’m away from home and my morning rituals intact even when I don’t have to be up for work. This really helps keep some structure to my days, and starts them off with my health in mind.
In order to do this, I make sure my morning routine is portable. Meaning I have everything I need no matter where I am to make my healthy coffee the way I’m used to so I’m not using Aunt Cheryl’s sugar-loaded peppermint creamer and starting the day with a healthy, real-food breakfast. Even if that means going to the store when I’m out of town to grab my favorite chicken sausages that I normally have every single day for breakfast at home.
Staying on track and motivated during the holiday season means I’m bringing my Vital Protein’s Collagen Peptides with me. I grab my on-the-go stick packs and don’t worry about missing this part of my routine that I’ve been doing for months now.
Another essential element to my daily routine is healthy activity. Even if it’s a long walk enjoying the fresh winter air, put on those boots and get out there! It doesn’t have to be a hardcore workout everyday, or even driving to the gym. Moving my body during the holidays, especially because it’s a stressful time of year, is SO important for keeping my motivation up. Even things like taking your little cousins or nephews sledding counts as a workout and healthy movement! Just do something.
When I stop moving for days on end, that’s when we run into trouble. Move around a bit every day so that after the holidays, you don’t have to get “back” into that routine or “find” your motivation again – because you’ve had it the whole time!
Another way I stay on track and don’t let the stress of the holidays overwhelm me and throw me off is by taking time for myself and doing nice things for myself. I know this is the season of giving, but it’s important to give to yourself too. This can look different for everyone. It could mean saying “no” to things that overextend you or don’t make you feel good, it could mean taking a long bath, or it could mean getting yourself that new workout outfit you wouldn’t ever normally buy for yourself.
For me it looks like dedicating time for myself each night by shutting of the TV, silencing my phone, finding a room I can snuggle up in alone and read a book I’ve been wanting to get to for a while. This gives me scheduled time to just be with myself after long days of being “on” around friends and family. It helps me refuel for the next day of festivities without wearing myself down too much.
I also like to use this time of year to incorporate some healthy meals to show my family and friends that eating well doesn’t have to mean chicken and roasted broccoli 5 times a week. Not only does this help open the dialog on health, but it also really helps keep me motivated because I can keep some of my meals full of real foods and not spend two weeks eating complete junk 24/7.
You can even turn it into a fun family activity on a cold night by making a healthy meal together instead of you just bringing a dish to your parent’s house. Although, either works! Everyone loves good food, especially if it doesn’t taste like they thought “health food” would. A great way to find some real-food holiday meal ideas is to download the Paleo Holiday E-book for free from Vital Proteins.
The Paleo Holiday E-book has 15+ recipes that help me make the holidays healthy and delicious. Paleo meals intermixed with the holiday indulgences keep me motivated because I’ve never 100% deviated from my health routine, making it easier to get back to normal when the holiday craziness ends.
Speaking of the end of the holidays, 2018 is right around the corner.
While I think New Years resolutions are often pointless, I do like to set my 2018 intentions now, before the holidays and before January 1st. It’s another way to keep my goals in focus and remind myself that I don’t have to let the last 2 weeks of December equal throwing caution to the wind. Deciding what I want my 2018 to be like helps me get through the holidays in the right mindset that promotes my health. Instead of having to get back to a routine and figure out how to dig myself out of the rut I created during the holidays, I’ll already be on top of my game because I’ve already been thinking about it!
Use the next few weeks to set your intentions for 2018 before we flip the calendar to January 1st and start working on them now. I promise ya’, this will help you not feel like you’re back to square one at the start of the new year. I really don’t like waking up January 1st feeling like I wasted the last 2 weeks and being stressed out by “New Years resolutions” I have to hold myself to the very first day of a new year. It just feels like punishment, and a new fresh start shouldn’t be!
A few of my 2018 intentions are to keep working on repairing my gut health. It’s been an ongoing goal and to set myself up for success this year, I’ve already restocked on my probiotic and signed up for beef gelatin (AWESOME for digestion and gut health!) and collagen peptides subscription. This way I’m taking the first step in making that happen because it’s already planned out, in motion and will basically arrive at my door next month.
Another intention I’m working on beginning already for 2018 is not letting activity and exercise be the first thing to go when I’m stressed or busy. I often can keep eating well, but kick exercise to the curb when I’ve got a lot on my plate. It’s how I know that I’m not dedicating enough time to myself and my health. Even if it’s just an extra walk each day with my dogs, I want to make sure that I’m not putting everyone else needs above my own in 2018.
The last one is to be more mindful and present as I go through the year. I want to keep working on not just going through the motions. Since losing weight, I’ve gotten to finally play an active role in my life and I want to keep experiencing things that help me learn and grow. I never want to start taking the things I can do now for granted.
Happiest, happiest of holidays from me and the puppies!
This post contains affiliate links, though all products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give Paleobailey.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.
It’s no secret I came across the Paleo way of eating completely by accident. That accident, however, totally changed my life and without it I’m sure I’d still be the 300 pound, extremely unhealthy and unhappy person I was prior. I would still be eating all the grains, having pain in my joints and increasing my jean size each year.
When I first started removing the processed foods from my daily diet, I had no idea what I was doing really. I had never truly dieted before and even at 300 pounds I knew I didn’t want to start either. This blog was far from being a baby idea in my brain and I really thought soy was a health food. I came across Paleo after completing my first round of Whole30.
I felt so good, and knew I had so much work to do in the way of changing my habits (i.e. binge eating and emotional relationship with food). After all, I’d been in this cycle for years since childhood. Even from a young age I struggled with childhood obesity and emotional eating, 30 days wasn’t gonna cut it. I started looking for something similar by searching things like “unprocessed natural food diet”, “no calorie counting real food diet” and “whole food recipes” and realized what I was looking for had a name.
I’ll say it again. I really had no idea what I was doing in the grand scheme of things. But I know whatever it was was working better for me than what I was doing previously. So I dedicated myself to learning and committing to it.
Through the months that followed I gained a lot of nutrition knowledge, lost a lot of weight and made a few mistakes along the way. Many of them helped me to learn more, understand myself better and make adjustments to my new way of eating when necessary. But, that being said, some of the mistakes are ones I (and you) could easily have avoided.
1. Not Eating Enough Fats
Being born to a mother who grew up when low-fat and fat-free was all the rage, I naturally inherited the same idea too. Growing up, our milk was skim, our butter wasn’t real and our cookie packages had a large fat free stamp on the packaging. So when I started only eating real food it was a huge adjustment to be eating so many fats and frankly, it made me worried.
As I started to realize that I’m eating a ton of food each day and getting hungrier than I should, I started to add in more healthy fats. I added half an avocado to my breakfasts, dressed my salads in healthy oils, opted for nuts or the other half of the avocado later in the day and stopped being so concerned with only using minimal amounts of animal fats, ghee or oil when cooking my meals.
I learned pretty quickly that I should have been doing this all along. I felt GREAT, had so much energy and was *gasp* still losing weight. If you’re not getting enough healthy fats you may be feeling hungry again soon after eating, experiencing low energy levels or an inability to concentrate – AKA brain fog. Try upping your intake of healthy fats throughout the day.
Check out my list of favorite Paleo resources for fore science-y information!
2. I Didn’t Get Support
I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this when I started out. You know how some people are like, really, really into telling anyone who will listen about their new diet? Yeah, I was exactly the opposite. I avoided the topic like the plague. I was extremely embarrassed of the state of my current health, and in my mind I thought if I told people they would secretly be thinking, “Ummm good idea. You probably should have done this a long time ago.” Between that, and not wanting everyone I told to know if I failed when I didn’t actually follow through with it, I decided to just keep it to myself.
And I did. It wasn’t until everyone started commenting on my weight loss that it became public knowledge that I was eating differently. While it worked out okay for me, keeping quiet was definitely a mistake I made that first year.
I wish now that I would have had people I could count on for support when I needed it. Having people in your corner to cheer you on, encourage you or even to vent to would have made making the adjustment from eating what every other person is eating (the S.A.D., Standard American Diet) to going against the grain (literally) and doing a total 180. I know now that if I would have mentioned it to my friends and family, many of them would have even joined me – which would have really helped back then when it was all so new and challenging.
Getting support in any lifestyle change is so crucial. Reach out to someone you trust, join some Facebook groups or hop on Instagram to find a community to lift you up. Starting my Instagram was the best thing I’ve done for myself. The love, community and friendships that have come out of that are just unbelievably positive.
3. Too Much Dried Fruit
Through the first year of eating Paleo, I had to get real honest with myself about the foods that were still problematic for my binge eating, emotional eating and bad habits. Even if the food choices were Paleo. For a while during that first year, I totally used the, “it’s Paleo so it’s okay” excuse and ignored the fact that I’m eating this dried mango by the pound.
Your body processes sugar from dried fruit differently when it’s consumed without the water content of normal fruit. And, you can quickly and easily consume WAY more dried fruit in a sitting than you’d be able to eat if it was a whole fruit. I mean, can you eat 5 mangos or apples in one sitting? Probably not. But in dried fruit you sure can.
Also, because this isn’t just about the nutritional value or lack of when it comes to dried fruit, and it’s also about substituting one habit for another – your brain doesn’t differentiate between cravings being a Paleo choice or not. I used to have a habit of eating peanut butter right out of the jar standing in the kitchen. That habit didn’t go away because I started eating Paleo. I just ended up using almond butter in the same exact manner.
So long story short, the mistake here is that I made the choice to ignore the foods that we’re mentally healthy for me even though the fell into the Paleo template. Paleo is just that, a template. To avoid making this mistake, honor yourself first and Paleo rules second. If you eat a pound and a half of Paleo breaded and fried BBQ chicken wings without thinking or stopping, don’t tell yourself it’s fine because it’s Paleo. The dried mango lesson applies to you too.
4. Being Too All or Nothing & Not Doing A Real Reintroduction
I’m a very all or nothing person in general. So when I saw the results that eating unprocessed foods based on just meats, veggies and fruit was having on my health and happiness, I doubled down on it. Hard. Because I was super duper strict Paleo girl, I never did a real reintroduction to find out which foods truly didn’t agree with my body. I knew that this was working and why rock the boat, right?
Well, I should have experimented and played around a bit with having things like gluten free items and high quality cheese if for nothing else but to just know for sure that those things are foods I could or couldn’t eat if I wanted to every once in a while.
Because I didn’t do that, I was wrapped up in being 100% Paleo, 100% of the time. While that really helped me a) get healthy and b) change my food habits, it also gave me a whole different set of habits that might not have been the most balanced. I went from being totally out of control with my eating at 300 pounds, to loving the control I had with my eating and not letting anything interfere.
I wish I would have taken a little bit of time during that first year to develop a mindful balance and tailored the Paleo template to work for me. After all, the Paleo template is a set of guidelines, not a strict rule book. I’d suggest really taking your time, making adjustmenets and making Paleo work for you, not the other way around!
5. Avoiding Social Engagements
While this was both a positive thing, and only kind of a mistake I made, I do wish I would have put myself in situations where I would have had to come up with strategies and solutions to deal with social engagements. Instead, I avoided all temptation and in the process isolated myself a bit that first year. Unless I could control the situation, I wasn’t going. Which, in hindsight, was okay for me because going to the bar and thinking I’d make a good choice would probably not have been a good idea back then. I’ve since come up with lots of strategies, tools and best practices on how to eat out and not be a total recluse because I eat so differently than the normal American.
That being said, if you’re finding yourself avoiding family things, I’d start small (aka, don’t go to a favorite pizza joint where everyone will be having beers and pizza until 2 am) and start with people you know really well and are comfortable with. From there you’ll start getting comfortable with how to explain what you’re doing to people, work on making adjustments to your order at a restaurant and begin learning how to deal with uncomfortable conversations with food pushers (ya know, the people who won’t let you out of their sight until you just have the caramel double chocolate brownies they made special for you!) at family events.
It gets easier with practice, and now that I’ve had lots of it, I can navigate these social engagements with ease, but I wish I would have started learning and practicing them sooner!
Overall, these “mistakes” could also be looked at as learning experiences and yours will be different than mine. Looking back, I know I could have done things differently or “better”, but they all served a purpose into helping me learn more about myself, about Paleo and healthy eating habits in general.
Let’s talk about Whole30 compliant drinks. The thought of not having my daily Diet Coke or my morning coffee pumped full of overpriced milk and sugar freaked me out when I first realized that those were out when I was planning my first Whole30. I thought I was going to be drinking plain ol’ water for the next month of my life and being bored to tears by the time the thirty days were up. Good news though! There’s lots of other options to quench your thirst while you’re doing the Whole30.
Flavored and Sparking Waters
There’s no less than 5,000 different types of flavored and sparkling waters on the market today. I mean, there’s an entire aisle of them at Target. Most of them are Whole30 compliant drinks, but as with everything else, read your labels. There are some brands that have additives that are O-U-T for the program. These are some of my favorite Whole30 compliant waters.
Polar carries flavored sparkling waters in large bottles or in cans, depending on where you’re shopping. They have no shortage of fun flavors and all of the seltzer water is made with just water, bubbles and natural flavors. Which is what you’re looking for when it comes to water choices other than tap for your Whole30 compliant drinks. Some of my favorite flavors are orange vanilla, cherry pomegranate, and cranberry lime. I’ve seen them at all major grocery retailers.
A popular and trendy brand, LaCroix is another Whole30 compliant flavored water company. They contain no sodium or sweeteners – just natural flavoring. A lot of people swear by these and have found it easy to get over their soda habit by drinking LaCroix because they’re that good. Like Polar, there’s a variety of different flavors and I have yet to meet one I don’t like. I don’t even like coconut, but I love the coconut flavored LaCroix. Explain that.
Hint isn’t sparkling water (although they do have a new line of fizzy options), but it’s a delicious flat water with, you guessed it, just a hint of flavor from a fruit infusion. They’re an official Whole30 Approved partner and offer up a really good alternative to plain bottled water. They also have fun flavors like watermelon, peach, and blackberry. These can be found at most Targets, Whole Foods, and some other local stores. I’ve even most recently seen them in Starbucks!
Other great water options:
Target brand, Canada Dry, the Whole Foods 365 brand, San Pellegrino.. and of course, regular water with fruit, cucumbers, limes or lemons! Coconut water is also allowed on the program, but only if you grab a brand with no added sugar or additives.
While these are obviously a little more hearty and filling than just water, I love keeping these ZUPA NOMA soups around for something refreshing and different to sip on. They also serve a dual purpose as a good snack, post-working mini meal, or on-the-go nutrition. All of them are Whole30 compliant drinks. Some of my favorite flavors are tomato gazpacho and cucumber avocado. If you haven’t tried these out yet, use code “PALEOBAILEY” to save yourself 15% off!
Same with the sparkling waters, there’s a hundred brands that you can enjoy on your Whole30. And, same with the sparkling waters, you have to be sure to check your labels out with kombucha. Not all are compliant. Check out GT’s, Humm, Brew Dr., or Kevita. Most of these are sold in stores like Target and Whole Foods. Or, if you’re up for a new hobby, try making your own at home!
Hot or Iced Coffee and Tea
Personally, I’m all for the iced black coffee. Probably because when I did my first Whole30, there wasn’t any Whole30 compliant creamer options except canned coconut milk. And that, well, that was too much work first thing in the morning. However, I know not everyone enjoys black coffee. While tea, flavored tea (check your labels!), and matcha are allowed, it’s just not the same as coffee for most of us. Luckily, there’s now creamer and other options for you during your Whole30.
A note about tea: not all tea brands or flavors are safe for your Whole30. Some brands have flavors that are totally fine and other flavors that contain rice flour, sugar and candied fruit! My theme for this post is quickly turning into “check your labels” but, well, check your labels. Some brands that are usually safe are Yogi tea, Choice, Good Earth, Numi, and Celestial.
Tip for ordering iced coffee from Starbucks: make sure you specify “no sweetener”, because they will automatically add it to black iced coffee! Another safe option is an Americano!
Make sure to check out the complete post for all of the Whole30 compliant almond milk and coffee creamers HERE
nutpods are probably my favorite coffee creamer. They’re Whole30 Approved and the company is just a GOOD company to support. Madeline (if I’ve met her once, I can consider us on a first name basis… right?) started her small business out of her need for a dairy free, additive free creamer and it’s since filled such a hole in the industry. They come in 3 different flavors – French vanilla, hazelnut and original. To be honest, I use the flavored ones in my coffee and keep the original flavor for cooking when I need to make sauces or add cream to soups. I love them.
Homemade Nut Milk
You can make your own nut milk SO easily and for a fraction of the cost of buying a healthy, Whole30 compliant option from the store. It’s a good way to be able to make your own Whole30 compliant drinks 100% at home. It’s always interesting to me how products that have LESS ingredients (like almond milk with you know, just almonds and water) cost a more than products with an ingredient list a mile long (like the almond milks with ALL. THE. ADDITIVES.). Logic says products with less things in them should be cheaper than ones with more things in them but apparently that’s just me.
ANYWAY. If you want to make your own at home, don’t be intimidated. It’s seriously a simple 3-step process. Soak almonds or cashews (or hazelnuts, etc) for a few hours, blend with water, drain with a nut milk bag and done! My favorite nut milk bags are from Ellie’s Best, only because they quality is so much better than a cheaper and thinner bag I’ve purchased in the past. Even after tons of cycles in the dishwasher, they’re still in good shape. You can get them on their website and save some money using the code PALEOBAILEY, otherwise they’re available on Amazon!
Sidenote: nut milk bags are also my secret to getting veggie noodles (like zoodles) that aren’t watery! I use the bag to squeeze the excess water out without them losing their shape!
New Barn is a brand that has Whole30 Approved almond milk that you can use for coffee creamer (or cream based soups, sauces, etc.) This is a great option with no scary or unnecessary additives. They’re available in Target and Whole Foods and other grocery stores that have decent healthy and natural food options.
Some other Whole30 Compliant almond milk brands to use are: 365 Unsweetened almond milk from Whole Foods, Blue Diamond almond and cashew blend, Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, Silk unsweetened almond milk and Silk unsweetened coconut and almond milk blend, SO Delicious almond milk, MALK unsweetened almond milk and Friendly Farms unsweetened almond milk from ALDI.
During my first round I would have never thought of adding bone broth to a Whole30 compliant drinks list. Now it’s one of my favorites. Bone broth is a nutrient rich option to sip on that lots of people love! Make sure to read your labels as some broths are packaged with ingredients you wouldn’t expect like MSG, autolyzed or hydrolyzed soy protein, calcium caseinate, and more. Yes, they actually put soy in broth. I know, it’s ridiculous. Bone broth contains minerals, collagen, gelatin, and amino acids which all result in loads of health benefits. Warming up a cup of broth is a really comforting drink if you’ve never tried it before.
There’s a ton of compliant types you can find at most grocery stores, so many I’m not going to list them all, or you might consider investing in one with added benefits from collagen. Vital Proteins offers both chicken bone broth and beef bone broth collagen. It comes in powdered form that easily dissolves in water and you can get it in a large canister to last ya a few months, or in individual packets for on-the-go sipping.
While this is definitely not an exhaustive list, there should be plenty here to get you trying new things and relieving your “water only” boredom. Products are always being developed, and the current ones can change how they’re manufactured at any time, so if you haven’t heard me say it enough yet, check your labels!
If you love or know of any other Whole30 compliant drinks that aren’t on this list, make sure to let me know in the comments so I can add it in! Enjoy and best of luck with your next round!
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We all know by now that sugar (the refined, processed kind) isn’t great for us. In fact, it’s not only just not great, it’s doing us harm. Luckily, we have a healthy, natural alternative that you’ll find tastes even better than the fake stuff. Yep, I’m talking about Medjool dates. This easy swap is full of health benefits that you’re missing out on by not kicking the sugar habit. There’s so many different ways to incorporate Medjool dates as a natural sweetener, which really makes them a total necessity for moving toward a more “real food” approach to your diet.
This post is sponsored by Natural Delights. All opinions are my own. I’m happy to work with a company I use and love! Thanks for your support here on the blog and your support for Natural Delights!
First, Let’s Talk Health:
Medjool Dates, when grown with care like from Natural Delights, are a non-GMO fruit with no pesticides or additives. They’re loaded with essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium and contain lots of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin K and vitamin A. They even have more potassium by weight than bananas, and higher amounts of antioxidants than apples and blackberries. All things you definitely can’t say about refined sugar.
Speaking of, when it comes to sugar, Medjool dates are a much better choice than white refined sugar because our body can do a better job at breaking them down without spiking blood sugar levels. Medjool dates are high in natural sugar. Natural sugars are complex carbohydrates that provide the body with energy.
So, even though they’re high in natural sugar, they’re low on the glycemic index because of the high fiber content – something we know refined sugar lacks. The fiber is what helps our body to gradually break the sugars down, which slowly releases energy for your body instead of giving you an immediate sugar rush and then a crash just a short time later.
What makes this an even healthier choice for me personally is knowing that Natural Delights Medjool dates were grown using sustainable farming practices.
There’s a ton of different ways to make the sugar swap and use dates in place of processed sugar. While Medjool dates are great for baking, making sweet treats or simply eating on their own, there’s a few other ways to use them that I don’t think are utilized enough. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat dates.
Add them to veggie side dishes for a hint of sweetness! Think roasted or sautéed veggies and get creative. A favorite dish of mine to add dates to is by tossing in chopped Medjool dates with Brussels sprouts, apples and bacon, then sautéing them all together. The Medjool dates transform into a delicious caramelized flavor and it just brings the whole dish together. There’s a reason they’re called nature’s candy, after all.
Pre and Post Workout Fuel:
Because Medjool dates don’t spike your blood sugar and give you sustained energy levels after eating, they really do make the perfect pre workout snack or post workout fuel. Especially with their high levels of potassium, they’re a good replacement for a banana after the gym. Some of the best ways to incorporate Medjool dates into your workout fueling routine is by making energy bars or smoothies with them.
This is an awesome tool that helps you build and customize your own smoothie depending on your fitness goals. From recovery, energy and meal replacement, this is a fun way to get new ideas to help you explore how you can use Natural Delights’ Medjool dates to help you fuel your activities. There’s even a nutrition calculator if you’re tracking macros for a specific nutrition plan.
Give Dinner a Sweet and Savory Flavor:
I love incorporating in chopped Medjool dates to my main dishes. Many people don’t think to add them in with meat but it’s one of my favorite ways to add a touch of sweetness to a savory meal. It doesn’t take much to have this affect either! With dates, a little goes a long way because they’re such a sweetness powerhouse. Next time you’re cooking a roast chicken, pork tenderloin or even lamb, consider using Medjool dates to give it some extra flavor by adding it as an ingredient, topping or cooking the meat with them.
Make a Medjool Date Paste or Syrup:
We just talked about cooking with Medjool dates, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by simmering them or blending them to make Medjool date paste or Medjool date syrup. These two methods of using them are so multi-functional and can really make swapping Medjool dates for sugar so much easier. Making Medjool date paste or syrup only takes a few minutes, lasts in the fridge for a bit (up to 2 weeks if stored properly!) and can be used in a variety of ways. From baking, spreading on toast like jam, making it into a sauce for chicken, adding it to homemade nut milk, to even adding it to chia seed or avocado pudding, Medjool date paste and syrup made from Natural Delights‘ Medjool dates are truly an all-purpose go-to sweetener.
Add to Coffee Drinks:
Not everyone loves black coffee. I get it. Some of us like having that sweetness to even out some of coffee’s bitter flavor. You don’t have to use sugary, artificially flavored sweeteners though. With Medjool dates, you can easily whip up a paste or syrup to add to it and get a healthier and better tasting morning coffee, latte or matcha than the one you can get at the coffee shop. Sweetening my coffee with Natural Delights’ Medjool dates is one of my favorite ways to start the day and know that I’m getting the added health benefits without skyrocketing my blood sugar. Say goodbye to your sugar packets or artificial sweeteners!
There’s at least a hundred other yummy ways to switch Medjool dates for refined sugar, but these 5 here are my most used, relied on and loved. I can’t even tell you the last time I had white refined sugar in the house. Finding creative and easy ways to use Medjool dates instead of sugar is such a healthier option for me and my family. And now that I’ve made the switch to a more unprocessed way of eating, I can’t imagine going back!
Do you have other favorite ways on using Medjool dates? Let me know in the comments how you incorporate them in your house!