We’ve been following this new way of eating now for almost two weeks and I thought I’d write down some of my early impressions, a la David Letterman style, counting down from 10 to 1:

10

Apparently, what we’re doing is more primal than paleo. Who knew? We haven’t completely eliminated dairy from our diet and may not. We’re doing this thing slowly and will see how things go. Along those lines, we’re also not being super strict about certain foods (bananas and green beans immediately come to mind). I’ve bought ghee and coconut oil but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to use butter every now and then. If I could buy ghee cheaper than what I’ve found online, I might consider completely replacing butter but it’s just not cost effective for our family. I am becoming increasingly convinced of the healing properties of coconut oil and will probably use that more as time goes on, but we’re still in the transition process right now.

aaron's apron9

Cauliflower is the Zelig of the vegetable world—no matter where you turn, there it is, pretending to be rice, potatoes, couscous—even pizza crust! I doubt I’m done with experimenting with it in spite of Liam begging me not to disguise a veg that he calls “the ghost white clone of broccoli,” {which he once upchucked on his dinner plate after being forced to eat it}.

8

When you’ve fed your children sandwiches and chips for their lunch for nearly a decade, it’s hard to switch gears and suddenly ask them to start consuming mass quantities of vegetables and fruit. To put it plainly: the kids are still occasionally eating banned foods for lunch. Today, they had hot dogs {no buns}, green beans from a can, and apple slices since they had no interest in the yummy {and huge} mound of lettuce topped with tuna that I served Loys and myself. I’m still working on planning more effectively for them but it’s hard since they are refusing to eat a LOT of the meals I’m preparing. I’m confident that when they realize this isn’t just a passing fad or something else that Mom will soon tire of, it will get better. “It *must* get better,” she whispered in a somewhat maniacal, pleading voice.

7

I’ve discovered that I have many friends who are also on this journey {they probably have been for a while and I’m just now noticing. Oh well. Better late than never!}. Being able to post about our latest food discoveries on Facebook or Instagram is fun for me—and apparently lots of other people, too. I guess it’s kind of like the newly converted ex-smoker: once you discover an improved way of life, it’s kind of hard not to talk about it and try to get other people to join you in your new happy place.

6

There are a zillion websites that have information on eating primal/paleo/ancestral–however you label whatever it is you’re doing. Some of my favorites {in no particular order} are: The Clothes Make the Girl, Nom Nom Paleo, Against All Grain, Elana’s Pantry, Paleo Parents, PaleOMG, Cooking Quinoa, Paleo Newbie, Civilized Caveman, and the Healthy Gluten Free Life. Most of these I discovered from friends online (see #7 above).

5

Various iPad apps, cookbooks, and e-books have also been enormously helpful. I don’t have time to go into those right now so stay tuned. {FYI, I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder for so long that I’ve now had to update the first paragraph twice, each time extending the amount of time we’ve been “following this new way of eating.” I’m bound and determined to post it today!}

4

Much to our collective surprise (mine, my husband, and my parents), it’s been relatively easy to stick with this. I for one haven’t felt hungry between meals at all with the exception of wanting to reach for something sweet whenever I start to yell at my kids. I’m a stress eater and just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean that those triggers are suddenly causing me to crave carrot sticks. I’m much more mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth now, though, so I’m choosing to reach for a bottle of water instead. A side benefit in being kinder to my self in this way is that it’s causing me to treat my stress triggers {which are primarily related to video games, which are directly related to my kids} more kindly, too.

3

I’ve made some amazing discoveries in these {almost} 2 weeks and here are my top two:  veggie spiralizers are fun little tools and you really, really can (!) make incredibly delicious ice cream with nothing but frozen bananas (see #10)! Oh yeah: the pizza in the photo at the top of this post? Primal friendly, super easy to make, and well received by my kids: the kitchen table trifecta! If I can ever get enough time to devote to writing, I’ll post more about different recipes that have been a big hit. Homemade larabars would make the list, as well as a really yummy chocolate coconut coffee cake.WP_20140109_001

2

It’s much harder than I thought it would be–and I expected it to be very hard. You really can’t underestimate the importance of planning {Plan to Eat is my new best friend}, especially if you live way out in the sticks like we do. Before I started, I investigated all of my resources: I knew where I’d have to go to get coconut oil, for example, or almond flour (not anywhere close, unfortunately). If you’re going to have to shop on Amazon, you have to always know what you have in your pantry so you can place you order in a timely manner. When you cook pretty much everything from scratch, it just takes longer and longer equates to harder, though not necessarily more tedious. Which leads me to…

1

The unexpected thing I’ve found in all of this is that it’s actually quite rewarding to stop whatever it is that you’re doing three times a day and take time to prepare healthy food for people you love. For me, this includes not only my immediate family of husband and three kids but also my parents. The extra time that meal preparation now requires is a constant reminder of why I’m doing this {because you can bet your booty my mind is constantly screaming “WHY AM I DOING THIS?!”}, and even though I do occasionally get frustrated at the mountains of dirty dishes and seemingly endless to-do lists of food prep, I’m enjoying the mindfulness of it all.