Two Winners, Two Truths, a Few Answers, and a Shout-Out

As usual, I'm a day late announcing give-away winners, so without further ado . . .

Congratulations Grace and Sherrie!

(I've got your email Sherrie, but not yours Grace. Will you email me? mollydunham at sbcglobal dot net)

No baby news from Annie yet, but she's got a fat stack of cloth diapers ready and waiting.

lunch at ikea

I discovered two truths yesterday while dining (at separate tables) with one tween and one teen:

1. Being embarrassed by one's parents is inevitable.
2. We all turn into our mothers eventually.

Sad but true.

Did you know that kids (and moms who eat kid's meals) eat free at Ikea on Tuesdays? Not that I recommend eating at Ikea. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't Paleo friendly.

Some of you asked what we eat on our Paleo diet, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to respond to a few comments from previous posts.

What's on our daily menu?

Meat, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, eggs, nuts, fruit (more for the kids, less for me and George). Did I mention vegetables?

For breakfast, I make sausage and vegetable frittatas, almond meal pancakes, ham and egg cups, sausage and cabbage, and sometimes we eat leftovers. Soup for breakfast is a great way to warm up on a cold morning. If we're in a rush, I eat a bowl of plain yogurt topped with grainless granola, or if we're out of granola, I'll top it with sliced banana, coconut flakes, and slivered almonds. One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast (or any meal!) is a baked sweet potato slathered with butter and a little cinnamon.

For lunch, I make George a large salad to take to work, topped with roasted vegetables, sliced meat, salsa, and guacamole. The kids and I often eat leftovers, and at least once a week I make a pot of soup which lasts for several days. When Aidan isn't interested in what I'm serving, I make him a plate of sliced meat, avocado, carrot sticks, some nuts and cheese, and a piece of fruit.

For dinner, I found a formula in a comment on Mark's Daily Apple which has proved invaluable: one meat plus three veggies. I plan and shop for a week's worth of dinners at a time following this formula. Here's a sample of some recent dinners:

Braciole, spaghetti squash, sauteed carrots and broccoli, arugula salad
Pork chops, braised cabbage, garlicky carrots, green salad with lemon dill dressing
Chicken Cordon Bleu (modified for Paleo), roasted butternut squash, arugula and pear salad
Shredded pork tacos served in lettuce wraps, grilled veggies, guacamole, salsa, roasted broccoli
Italian sausage meatballs in marinara sauce, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and onions, spinach salad

Yes, it's a lot of food and a lot of cooking every night, but it's such good eating! My husband no longer wants to go out for dinner, and I'm just as happy staying home and cooking. And I always look forward to leftovers for lunch. (I'll be posting recipes in the coming days for many of these dishes.)

Do we eat any dairy products?

Some, but not much, and less every day. Aidan likes to drink milk. Sometimes he adds a little vanilla and stevia to it for a sweet treat. We all enjoy yogurt on occasion. We use cheese sparingly in certain dishes, but I find myself omitting it quite often. I no longer put parmesan cheese in my lemon dill dressing and no one has noticed the difference (Avery just read this over my shoulder and said, "WHAT??? You didn't put parmesan in the salad dressing?").

I switched to coconut milk in my coffee (yum!), and I've started making almond and hazelnut milk again using my Soyabella. We occasionally indulge with whipped cream and sliced fruit for dessert. Avery loves to make whipped cream using our hand held blender with the whisk attachment. She flavors it with vanilla and sweetens it with either maple syrup or stevia powder, though I prefer it unsweetened. Sometimes we really indulge and buy ice cream, but only once or twice a month.

Are we depriving ourselves?

I've asked myself this question many times. Initially, the Paleo diet did seem like a deprivation diet. The list of things not to eat was so much longer on the list of things to eat. Yet I love the simplicity of the short list of "yes" foods, and I soon realized that all of the "no" foods were depriving me of the body, health, and energy I wanted. Eating "yes" foods (meat, veggies, nuts, eggs, healthy fats, fruit) gave me the power to say no to the "no" foods (grain, sugar, and unhealthy fats and oils).

Was it hard for the kids to transition to Paleo?

Hell yes. They were resistant. They whined and cried and begged for pasta and bread and cereal and tortillas. So we took it slow, gradually weaning them off of their former staples. Just as "yes" foods give me the power to say no to myself, they also give me the power to say no to the kids.

"Can I get a cookie at the store?"
"No, but we can find a recipe for a Paleo treat when we get home."

I include them in my meal planning, I give them options at breakfast and lunch, and I figure they're not really hungry if they don't eat what I serve for dinner. Having three vegetables on the table means they'll eat at least one of them. Surprisingly, they've discovered they actually don't hate a lot of foods they thought they hated. If anything, the Paleo diet has broadened their food horizons.

Another word which came up in several comments was Intuition. Intuition is exactly what brought me to the Paleo diet. I believe my body knew I needed more meat and veggies before my brain knew it. Getting rid of grain and sugar has allowed all of us to listen more closely to what our bodies are telling us to eat. I can't think of a better way to describe it than biofeedback. If we don't feel good after we eat a certain food, we eliminate that food from our diet. If we're craving a particular "yes" food, we eat more of it.

A few weeks ago I was craving full fat coconut milk, so for several days in a row, I mixed it with some frozen mango and shredded coconut and thoroughly enjoyed a creamy dose of healthy fat. My husband was experiencing a late afternoon crash most weekdays so I started packing him extra food to snack on. He eventually realized that the crash wasn't related to needing more food but was a response to the daily sugary treat he'd eat on the job. He stopped eating candy or cookies when they were offered and he started feeling better immediately.

For me, intuition is bound to my faith that my body knows what it needs, and I just need to listen closely. The positive changes I've seen in myself and my family strengthens my faith to continue on this path and reaffirms that it's the right way for us right now.

Whether you're interested in Paleo or not, I think you'll enjoy the recipes I'll be posting over the next few days. They're simple, nutritious and whole. Real food. Clean food. Good food. I need a place to keep them so I can find them when I need them, and this is a safe, convenient place. Much better than the scraps of paper with scribbled recipes cluttering my kitchen counter.

Finally, a shout out to a very talented friend who sent me a little something I love to wear:


I love my new ring from AG Ambroult. Thank you Amy!

Amy has some wonderfully elemental, hand crafted pieces in her Etsy shop. Avery has her eye on a leather and sterling wrap bracelet, just in case you're wondering what eleven year old girls who are embarrassed by their mothers are interested in these days.

Stay tuned for ham and egg cups.


  1. Dear Molly, I thoroughly enjoy hearing how your family is making this dietary transition. I decided to go vegetarian in July. Like you, I've found the key to my new lifestyle is embracing the yeses (yay broccoli, spinach and banana 'icecream'!). Thanks to your story, I'm thinking about trying life without gluten and refined sugars for a couple weeks in January to see how I like it. I look forward to peeking at your recipes. :D

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  3. As always..you are so smart and I love how you express yourself.
    I intuit a visit in early January. Get ready.

  4. it all sounds so great... and I am ready for a big change too, it's good to hear about how to bring the family along!
    but what about the BEER!??!?!?!?!

  5. I love my Paleo diet and you are inspiring me to keep working on my kiddos and husband. I had been vegetarian for years, but did not feel my best. Now I couldn't feel better, and others have noticed. Also, I had not scrolled down far enough and told my husband that I loved your ring. Very nice, indeed. It is good to have so many talented people we can call friends.

  6. Hello! I'm so excited to have stumbled upon your blog (while googling a grain-free granola recipe - I'm going to use yours with soaked nuts! Thanks!) I'm a mom of four (11, 7, 4, 2) who until this year was a full time homeschooler (we just moved to a district with Spanish immersion...otherwise I'd still be homeschooling. LOVE it.) I, too, recently went full out Paleo and brought the brood along with me. We started in July. The results have been UNBELIEVABLE. I'm in better shape than I was in college. My uber-supportive husband is down 35 lbs. and his blood lipids have TANKED. He has a congenital heart condition and is monitored frequently so we have before and after #'s that are mind blowing. As for the kids, they're thriving in a million ways and tummy troubles have gone away completely. I would never go back! Can't seem to get off my soapbox about Paleo, either. Such a simple change makes such monumental differences in all aspects of well-being. No brainer.

    Anyway, this is just a quick note to say how thrilled I am to have found someone doing what we're doing. I do feel isolated sometimes. I started a blog to document our journey, but it turns out, I've been truly awful at keeping up. I have 100 posts lined up ready to publish, but never find the time to put the final touches and tweaks on them. After the holidays, I'm going to kick it into gear. I've splurged on a lot of new Paleo cookbooks and gadgets recently and I want to publish my reviews.

    In any event, I'm looking forward to reading more about your Paleo journey. It is a bit of a conundrum because the time needed for blogging and the tenants of a Paleo lifetsyle are conflicting. But I believe it is so important to get the word out. It can be truly life changing. Thanks for posting!

    ps - vantiganloos: We sadly said goodbye to beer. But we've had fun discovering local wines, local hard ciders, and even local grain-free vodkas. :)

  7. I love reading about your journey to paleo and I can't wait to see the recipe for ham and egg cups. It's so great you have buy-in from your husband, and looks like the kids are in now.

    I'm having a hard time convincing my husband, so it's harder for me to stick to it. I hope he'll "get it" soon!

  8. I need to get back on the Paleo diet. It is a good one. The ring is gorgeous! Love it!

  9. You're inspiring this veggie-loving vegetarian to cook even more veggies! (Why did I never consider cooking a variety of veggies at dinner? I have a kid who loves certain veg, but hates many others. Giving him a choice would make life much easier, and the rest of us veggie-lovers would enjoy the spread. It does sound like more cooking, but it's simple cooking…)

    Hey, regarding sorting your recipes, have you tried Evernote? I started using it a few months back, and am a huge fan! It's a (free) way of organizing content, both from websites and your own typed notes. You can even make notes on web content, which I find myself doing on recipes. And then you can organize it all according to your own topics.

    I can, for example, add this post of yours to my new veggie-laden dinner inspiration file! :-)

  10. Oh man...I feel some inspiration coming on. It's funny, our dinners have always, for the most part, been meat and veggies only...no breads or starches. However, I can't say that for the rest of our meals. I want to do a little research on Paleo..sounds like what I believe in.

  11. Disclosure: I just skimmed this post.
    BUT...LOVE paleo, LOVE that ring! Oh my!

  12. I find these posts quite fascinating and am interested in learning more about your diet (with accompanying recipes as an added bonus). But I do have one question: do legumes (beans) fit into the Paleo diet or no? I get that they are a carbohydrate but most are high in protein and high fiber. Just curious...Thanks!

  13. cool molly! the granola is wonderful! looking forward to more recipes as they come.

  14. Yay! I'm so excited to win. And I'm intrigued with Paleo...

  15. Molly, your enthusiasm for Paleo has me intrigued. Since hitting forty, I am finding my body doesn't react well to foods that I would eat frequently and have been trying to modify my diet. This just might be the boost I need. looking forward to the recipes.

  16. Rachel - beans/legumes are typically a "no" food, but this article brings up some interesting points:

    Beans and Paleo Dieting?

  17. Molly, I'm looking forward to your recipes. We're about to undergo some sea change in our diets as two of my children's blood tests revealed a list of food allergies (including eggs for my son, boo!) and gluten sensitivity for both. One of the kids is really resisting the idea of changing his wheat-heavy diet. Thanks for sharing what's worked for you!

  18. Thank you for sharing your diet info! I've recently began suffering from idiopathic hives and I'm trying to eliminate so much from my diet (wheat, cheese, booze) but it has been so difficult and I've fallen off the wagon more times than I can count. Your stories have given me hope that while it can be difficult, it CAN BE DONE!



  19. well what a surprise to find my ring at the end of this fabulous post. Thanks for the shout out! :)
    ok...paleo...I read all about it to my husband and he is really resistant (the treat lover of the household). but I think I could gradually transition he and my kids over. But I think, for my family, the best thing is keeping paleo in mind with out going full monty. SO I'm planning my menu for grocery shopping tomorrow and I am very happy to grab some things off your sample list above. thanks for writing more about this. I'm fascinated. And hopeful.



email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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