Friday, December 2, 2016

Paleo Tips, Tricks, & Hacks: Surviving the Holidays

     I had the idea some time ago to share tips, tricks, and hacks to help others who wanted to get into the paleo diet. We've been eating this way for a while, so we've learned a lot along the way, sometimes through luck, sometimes through sound advise from others, and sometimes through trial and error.

     With the holidays fast approaching, we decided that in our first video we would talk about our top 10 tips to holiday success. These tips are tried and true to get your through the holiday season with as little stress and as much healthy eating as possible. Within each tip, we share some of our favorite sub-tips to make it even easier.

Here is an easy list of our top 10 tips, in case you don't have 36 minutes to devote to the video right now.

10. If there is nothing wrong with you, and you are just eating paleo to be healthier, indulging over the holidays is okay.

9. If you want to stick to your paleo way of eating, be firm but not rude.

8. Make time to play. Enjoyment is what the holidays are supposed to be about.

7. Take time to rest. Your friends, family, and body will thank you for it.

6. Tell the food pushers that your doctor told you to stick to your diet.

5. Follow the 80/20 rule. It will allow you to treat yourself and still feel good about yourself.

4. Make your own sauces. Most of them are really easy and much healthier than store bought.

3. Make a travel plan. Don't just plan your route, plan your food, too.

2. Have a game plan, but don't be a slave to it.

1. Paleo-fy your family's favorite holiday foods!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Halloween Costume Reveal 2016: Five Nights at Freddy's

We did another Whole 30, but this time, we did it with a twist. Our Whole 30 had a theme, and that was Hot 4 Halloween. We started on October 1st and went to the 30th, so that by Halloween, we'd be done and looking good, or at least better. The bonus was that we got to wear the Five Nights at Freddy's costumes that we worked so hard on! This is the final reveal of our costumes and hard work, but if you want to see us vlog about our Whole 30 journey, click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Paleo-fy This! Pumpkin Pie Spice Ice Cream

This recipe was fun to create. I was inspired while walking down the ice cream aisle in my local grocery store. Fall is always full of pumpkin spice everything, and the ice cream section was no different. Ice cream in the fall? Sure, why not? Especially when you live in Alabama, and it is still pretty hot outside. We made a caramel sauce to go on it, and it was fantastic! You can find Vanessa Barajas's caramel sauce recipe here.


2 cans full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to a blender or food processor.

2. Run blender or food processor until blended.

3. Follow you ice cream maker instructions, or use the technique from the video.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Paleo-fy This: "Cheesy" Grits

You've seen this recipe on this very blog, and you can get it in my new book:

Paleo A-Z Challenge Cookbook

Now, you can see me make this and eat this. It's still just as delicious as the first time we made it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Release Date!

     The book is so close to being done, and I am psyched! As I've said before, this book will include the 26 recipes that I did last year for the A-Z Challenge. But you may be wondering what makes this book different? What makes this book worth the investment if I can get the recipes on the blog for free?

     I'll tell you. Some of these recipes are flat-out better. If you read the posts from last year, you know there were a lot of typos, some recipes that didn't work out quite right, and some bad pictures. Well, I'm proofreading better, reworking the recipes I didn't quite like, and retaking some of the pictures.

     Not convinced? There's also an introduction to the Paleo diet that I wrote with an eye toward humor and levity. It includes what you can and cannot eat to eat the Paleo way.

     Not enough for you? It contains four extra recipes, including my bone broth recipe, my favorite mayonnaise recipe (it's changed since I've been sending everyone to Melissa Joulwan's blog), and two never-before published recipes.

     Still not convinced? Well, each recipe now has nutritional facts! You can now see how healthy or unhealthy (I'm looking at you quesadilla) each dish is at a glance.

     So when is this wonderful book coming out? Barring any problems, it will be hitting Kindle Unlimited on October 5th of this year. So if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free! If you don't have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for the low price of $5.99!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mind Blown: Preservatives Make It Hard to Break Down Food!

     Have you ever read, seen, or heard something so simple and yet so mind blowing that you simultaneously thought, "Why didn't I think of that?" and, "Oh Em GEE!"

     Yesterday, I woke up at 3:30 am. Why? I had a dream that made my heart physically start to race, adrenaline began to pump through my blood, and I was wide awake. There would be no going back to sleep, even though it was my day off. I lay there for a good 30 minutes, just to make sure before getting out of bed and firing up the computer to do some reading while the rest of the house slept.

Image result for healthy gut bacteria     That's when I stumbled upon the fact that our digestive system has a hard time breaking down preservatives because preservatives are designed to keep bacteria from breaking them down!

     "Oh Em GEE!" How did I never realize this? It seems so fundamental. "Why didn't I think of that?"

     This makes perfect sense. If something is designed to not break down, and then we eat it, we will have a hard time breaking it down. While stomach acid and chewing our food well will help in the process, the rest of our digestive system is run on the process of bacteria in the gut breaking down food for the micro-nutrients we need. If the food is treated to be hard to be broken down by bacteria, our bacteria doesn't have much of a fighting change.


The Geek Family Kitchen: Snickerdoodle Apple Blocks

We made another video. The recipe is at Snickerdoodle Apple Blocks.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Geek Family Kitchen: Custom Undertale Shirt

It's our first video. We made fan art into a custom T-shirt. Sorry about the sound. Our next video will be better. Lydia drew the art. If you like the video, please like and subscribe to our channel. We have big plans in the works for crafts and recipes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Paleo Changes You: You Enjoy Nature More

Image result for mimosa tree     I remember that when I was little, I loved being outside. I spent most of my summers swimming because summers in Alabama are HOT! And I loved being outside the rest of the time more, but I loved playing in the dirt, especially after a good rain. Summer rains are the best because there are times when they come and go for days, really soaking the ground and turning the iron-rich ground around here to clay. I had a wagon that was filled with pots and pans, dishes and spoons. I loved creating recipes with clay, mud, colored sand, grass, leaves, acorn, and rocks. My home was out in the woods, and we had three different colors of sand: black (great for chocolate), red (great for strawberry and cherry), and white (great for vanilla). I would make mud pies, cakes, and cookies. I would create beautiful, inedible salads. Mimosas would provide an endless wealth of salad ingredients, beans, pink sprinkles, and coffee. I would make bowls of pine straw pasta covered with red mud and a few rocks. Some things never change ;)

     As I got older, I still enjoyed being out in nature, but I wanted nature to adhere to my rules. I wanted it to be a comfortable temperature. I wanted it to be a bit breezy. A light drizzle or rain was fine, as long as there was no thunder or lightning. I could walk or bike or swim for hours. I would still be walking, biking, or swimming long after everyone else lost interest unless I went biking with my dad. He would take me to this murderous trail to bike, and by the time we were done, I was a puddle of goo who needed a sport's drink and a good nap.

     Then I got into my twenties. Let's just say, things got bad, and I no longer enjoyed being outside as much. I would still go for walks, but I was hot and sweaty and felt as if I was being tortured. I hurt. I just wanted to stay in my climate-controlled nest.

     We've been eating Paleo for quite some time now, and I realized the other day while we were walking the dog in the early afternoon in the middle of August that being outside is not that bad again. I was just chilling out. I even mentioned to the kids how the heat wasn't that bad when the breeze was blowing. We walked about 2 miles, then took a very hot and exhausted dog back to the house. Then I headed back out the door for a few uphill sprints. Later I caught the news warning that we were under a heat advisory. Really? It didn't seem that bad outside.

     I've had more times like that than I've had where I just couldn't take being outside anymore. I still get hot and sweaty. Don't get me wrong. I just don't mind as much and don't feel as uncomfortable when I get hot and sweaty. I've noticed that I get bitten by mosquitoes less, as well. When you are able to feel good outside, you can really enjoy the sites around you. I love watching the sun rise in the mornings before I go to work. There was a time when I would not have even thought it would be possible to get up that early. I go for walks for the pure joy of walking and being in the sun. And while I still have a long way to go to being that carefree child who played in the dirt, I'm getting there. This past spring, I even jumped around barefoot in mud puddles with the kids.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

All Apologies Because Book

     I know I said I was going to try to write a post once a week since getting the new job. And it was a lofty goal. Then I got into my new job and tore my arms to shreds. Seriously, I could barely move my arms by the end of the day for the first two or three weeks. The benefit is that I went from being able to do 7 push-ups to being able to do 12. Yay! The downside was that my arms and hands would hurt so bad that I could barely lift or hold or type anything. Then the early mornings and the physically demanding work load made me tired and sleepy at the end of my work day.

     But those are not the only reasons I haven't been posting as much as I would like. When I have had time, I've been working on a cookbook that I'm hoping to get ready and up for sale by the first of October! I'm so excited! It will be based on the A to Z challenge that I participated in last year, but a few of the recipes have been improved, and there will be four additional recipes. I'm also working on getting my Patreon ready. I'm just working out the details on the rewards.

     Thank you all for your patience. I'm going to try harder in the future. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Paleo Changes You: Your Body Lets You Know Quickly When You Are Intolerant of Food

     Can I just start by saying that detoxes are not fun? Of course they aren't, but what does that have to do with this post? Well, a lot, actually. I enjoy talking about the benefits of Paleo and how delicious the food is, but I rarely talk about the downside, 1: because it only lasts a few days, and 2: because it stinks on ice!

     That said, when you first start Paleo, unless you go about it in a slow manner (i.e. introducing Paleo foods here, getting rid of non-Paleo foods there, little-by-little chipping away at your old habits), you will go through a detox period, and it will stink. You will have enormous cravings for the foods you are addicted to. You will have headaches and stuffy nose and skin breakouts and all the other fun things that go along with detox. But once you're past them, and you wake up to how good you feel, you won't want to go back to the old way of eating.

     And then you'll forget just how much of a difference you feel. It's natural. You'll think, "Eating bread didn't make me feel that bad. Drinking milk didn't make me bloated and gassy. I bet I could handle a small serving of baked beans. I miss them so much, and nothing compares." And you might be right.

     Then again, you might be wrong, and your body will let you know quickly. Recently my mom took the kids to a fast food place after my daughter's gymnastics lesson. She was in a hurry, and they were hungry, so she just ordered a chicken sandwich without the bun. She forgot completely that the chicken was battered and fried unless you specify otherwise.

     Victor got so sick from the breading that my mom was afraid he was going to coat the inside of her new vehicle with partially-digested sandwich. When they got home, Victor (my little one who never needed a nap, even when he was a toddler, who gets up bouncy and bright and argues about going to bed) got on the couch at 4:30 in the afternoon and fell asleep. He didn't sleep long, but he stayed on the couch the rest of the night. He couldn't eat his dinner. He just felt crummy.

     When you feel low-grade crappy all the time, it's hard to tell what makes you feel bad. I used to eat peanut butter almost every day. I also had mild rosacea that just wouldn't go away. Then I cut out the peanuts, and my skin cleared up a lot. Now when I eat something that I don't tolerate well, my skin flares up; my joints get stiff; I get bloated; all manner of little signs that I missed when I was eating stuff that I didn't tolerate well.

     How is intolerance different from allergy? Well, that's easy. An intolerance makes you feel bad in any number of little ways. Whereas an allergy can cause on the mild side: itching; on the moderate side: swelling, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, hives; and on the severe side: anaphylaxis or even death.

     So what are the signs of intolerance? There are so many, and they are so varied. Here's a list:
  • Forgetfulness
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional instability
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impaired coordination
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Melancholy
  • Nervousness
  • Nerve pain
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Violent behavior
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinusitis
  • Wheezing
  • Anemia
  • Chest pain
  • Edema
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat and pulse
  • Vein inflammation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Canker sores
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcers
  • Gas
  • Food cravings
  • Gagging
  • Gall bladder pain
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Arthritis
  • Swollen joints
  • Back ache
  • Neck ache
  • Muscle pain
  • Acne
  • Cracked skin
  • Clammy skin
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Bed wetting
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Menstrual problems
  • Ear aches
  • Failure to thrive (in infants)
  • Impotence
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Sneezing spells
  • Swelling of nose or around eyes
  • Ringing in ears
  Does any of this sound familiar? I'm sure it does. I know I had several on this list, and I'm not going to lie. It whomped! But now, unless I eat something that I know I shouldn't, or I get really stressed out, I don't have many days where I'm having to deal with these symptoms any more. YAY!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Turn Your Favorite Sandwich Into a Salad

     I hear it so often, I need a T-shirt. "I'd love to eat Paleo, but my family will never get on board with it." I don't understand this because Paleo is THE most delicious food I've ever eaten. I believe this statement to be the ultimate excuse because what people really want to say is, "I'm scared, and it sounds hard and like work, and I'm addicted to food that makes me feel bad, but I don't want to say that and hurt your feelings because you're so cute, and you're looking at me with your big, brown eyes. No, don't cry! Oh, dang! Fine. I'll try it." Look deep into my beautiful, bright eyes: "Try it; you might like it."

     I really do understand how giving up certain foods, especially sandwiches, can be hard and upsetting. They are easy, cheap, and fast to put together. Fresh tomatoes out of the garden? Why not throw together a BLT or a tomato sandwich? (This may be a Southern thing, but the difference is that a tomato sandwich is made with lots of mayo and black pepper. Lettuce and bacon are optional.) Hamburger meat? Shape it into a patty and throw it on a bun with accessories of your choosing (or not), and eat it with your face. Thanksgiving leftovers? Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and a side of sweet potatoes because we all need a good carb-induced nap after Black Friday shopping.

     But do we need to eat grains? According to all things Paleo and all Paleo authors, we really don't. They don't offer any nutritional value that we can't get from other, more micro-nutrient-dense sources. They contain anti-nutrients that keep us from absorbing nutrients from other sources. And they are highly addictive.

     So what's a food-lover to do? Why not make your favorite sandwich into a salad? I hear some of you, "But salads are so boring. They're not food. They're what you eat while you're waiting for food." Or, "I ate a salad last night. Well... it was mostly a crouton and tomato. Ok, it was pizza. I ate a pizza." But I believe that the best salads are inspired by foods we really enjoy.

     What about that tomato sandwich? Take those garden-fresh tomatoes, slice them up, make a homemade mayo-black pepper dressing, and put it all in a big bowl with some fresh leaves of a variety of lettuces. BLT? Add bacon. Roast beef and cheddar? Get grass-fed/grass-finished roast beef, chop it into a lettuce-y base, go Primal and add real cheddar, or dress with "Cheesy" Paprika Ranch Dip.

     In fact, some of my favorite salad recipes that I've created and shared on this blog were inspired by some of my favorite sandwiches. Hamburger Salad and Fang Gang Salad were both inspired by our families favorite sandwiches. So indulge your craving for your favorite sandwich without the bread. It's still fast, relatively cheap, and way better for you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Father's Day, 2016!

Debra McVay's photo.     I hope all of you out there had a great Father's Day. I know Ray did, even though his sugar was all over the place. He got Adventure Time: Stakes from Lydia and me, and he got Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales from the boys. I got some good pictures of Ray with the kids.

Debra McVay's photo.     We had our usual Father's Day fare: burgers with all the fixin's, sweet potato fries, and vegetables fresh from the garden. We also had some fried eggplant and some homemade pickles. My mom made the pickles and they are the magic pickles. They're made with apple cider vinegar and turmeric just to name a few of the magical ingredients. We napped and watched some of our favorite shows. We made crafts with the kids and just enjoyed the beautiful day. I even got out in the garden and gathered the massive zucchini that have grown there. Zucchini really get huge after a good rain. Some of them are larger than Ray's forearms. They could be used as a weapon. I've including a picture. That's a cup of pens next to the zucchini to show scale.

     We absolutely love zucchini. It can be used as a noodle substitute in traditional "pasta" dishes, "pasta" salads, and stir fries.

     We had hoped to get our first video up this weekend, but we had too much illness in the family over the last two weeks: first Ray with the flu, then Lydia brought home a sore throat/virus from band camp. Now Alex has it, so the video did not happen. Oh well. We are going to try to get that up really soon.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reducing Acid After the Flu

     Did you know that throwing up a lot, as you might when you have the flu, can cause your body to become too acidic? It's true. Just ask Ray. He had the flu last week, and that is why I did not post. I was in charge of keeping track of his blood sugar and giving him insulin while he was in charge of sleeping, running a fever, fighting the virus....and throwing up. A lot.

     When he finally started feeling better, he was still feeling terrible. He could barely eat, even after he got his appetite back because his mouth was burnt, his esophagus hurt, and his stomach was sending acid up to his heart level on a regular basis. This is something that diabetics are even more susceptible to. I'm sure you've heard of ketoacidosis. Maybe you haven't. It's where the body becomes too acidic and starts releasing ketones in the urine and breath in an attempt to balance the acidity. It's why some diabetics get fruity breath. They'be breathing out ketones It's very bad.

     Anyway, there are natural ways to reduce the acid in the body. The medical way is to pump you full of potassium. The natural way is to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially green veggies. So this week, we've been drinking a lot of green juices for breakfast, and it's amazing how good we've been feeling. We're doing the whole juice by placing cucumber, spinach, carrots, and an apple in a blender instead of through a juicer.

     A lot of times, people see the Paleo diet and just think that it's about eating meat. While meat is an important aspect of this lifestyle, it is not the only one. The true Paleo diet encourages eating lots of vegetables, both cooked and raw, and some fruit. In fact, most Paleoistas will tell you that at least 50% of your plate should be vegetables of any and all colors. In fact, I absolutely think we should change the image in our heads to imagining a variety of beautiful vegetables in all the colors instead of brightly colored candies when we hear "Taste the rainbow."

Monday, May 30, 2016

Paleo Changes You: Your Body Lets You Know Quickly When You Are Intolerant of a Food

Image result for fire     The year was 2013, and I was very unhappy. I had just gotten my second degree from Troy University. I had a promotion at work. I had lost 50 pounds. We were living in a nice place. My kids were thriving. My relationship was better than ever with Ray, but I was miserable. Every day, I itched. I scratched. My skin was in a constant state of irritation. I was diagnosed with rosacea. I had the worst flu that I'd had in a while. I absolutely hated the way I looked and felt.

     I was desperate for a change.

     Then I found a few different things to try. I did an elimination diet, and found out I was allergic to peanuts. And let me tell you, up to that point, I was enthusiastic about eating peanut butter. I ate it every day. I craved it. It was amazing how cutting out that one food made so much difference. I felt so much better. I looked so much better. The rosacea cleared up almost completely. I could breathe better. I wasn't always itching and scratching. My nose wasn't constantly running. Life became brighter and more wonderful.

     I was hooked.

     I started researching how foods affect our health, how humans were meant to eat, and I was amazed that it could really be that easy to feel and look better. And once you start feeling better, it becomes much easier to tell when a food throws you off and makes you feel bad.

     I've been doing some studying lately on Ayurveda. In this system of health care, they emphasize balance within the body. They talk about the importance of food and exercise on our health. They even claim that if your follow Ayurveda, you will not only get sick less often and be sick for a shorter duration, but you will also know when your health is out of balance because you'll be aware of something not quite right within your being. This is also the sort of results I've seen with eating Paleo.

     I believe this is a result of having far less inflammation. When you eat foods that were never really meant for human consumption, your body responds with systemic inflammation. Eat this way all the time, and all you experience is inflammation. Just remember, if it ends in -itis, it's inflammation: arthritis, sinusitis, gastritis, bronchitis, etc. But cut the foods out that cause inflammation, and your body has the time to heal and repair, instead of fighting the flames within. Once you get to a level where you're rarely inflamed, when you eat something that throws you off, you know it.
Image result for macadamia nut
     In fact, I had been reading where macadamia nuts are one of the best nuts you can eat because of their fat profile, and I saw a canister of them. I love macadamia nuts, so I bought them. After eating a small handful, my hands had swollen, my face was broken out, and my nose was so stuffy, I could barely breathe. I used to eat Ferrero Rocher about once every couple of months, and I'd eat about three at the time. While I'm sad that I have that reaction to macadamia nuts, I know about it, and I can choose to eat them and suffer (on rare occasions), or I can leave them alone and feel better.

     Personally, I'd rather feel better.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Movie Review: That Sugar Film

Image result for that sugar film

     I've been a big fan of Morgan Spulock's Super Size Me since it came out in 2004. It's one of those movies where I laugh; I cry; I know every line, every nuance, and yet, I can still sit through it again and again. Maybe that makes me weird, since it's a documentary, but there you are.

     So the other day, I was searching through my Prime Movies on Amazon, and I wanted to watch something compelling. There were many choices. I was the only one interested in watching TV at the time. Everyone else was busy, so I knew I wouldn't have to take anyone else's opinions into my decision. That Sugar Film was one I'd been wanting to watch for a while, but no one else seemed interested in, so I turned it on.

     Much like Super Size Me, the host and star of the movie takes us on an adventure into bad eating, but this time, instead of eating every item on the McDonald's menu like Morgan Spurlock did, Damon Gameau eats a "healthy" diet full of items that many people eat every day. His goal is to consume the Australian national average of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day without consuming any obvious sugar, such as candy, soda, and ice cream. After eating a diet where he gets his calories mostly from healthy fats, this is a big change for him. Above is a picture of him before and after, and that's with his calorie intake remaining the same and keeping to the same exercise program. Check out the trailer here:

     This is just as amazing a film as Super Size Me. I laughed; I cried; and I know I will watch this movie many times, as well. Not too far into the movie, the whole family had wandered in to watch as well, so you know it has to be good. While it doesn't specifically talk about the Paleo diet, it still showcases why all the sugars that people consume in the form of sweetened dairy products, breads, juices, and elsewhere are just not healthy and a huge contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. I highly recommend this movie.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Announcement: Big Plans

     You've probably noticed lately that I've been slacking a bit in keeping up with this blog. Okay, I've been slacking a lot. I haven't wanted to be such a slacker. I really had very good intentions. My problem was, I was so danged tired. I was working in a job that just took all my brain power, willpower, and drive and flushed it down the toilet. I was so tired and stressed that even though I was eating the way I've been eating in order to lose the weight that I've lost, I was gaining weight. And I would get home after a nine-hour shift, and I would fall asleep on the couch, wake up long enough to eat dinner, be a grouch for a bit, and fall asleep again while watching my favorite shows. Then I would get up, go to bed, sleep eight hours, get up, and do it all over again.

     Then I finally said, "Enough is enough." Okay, that's not true. I'd had enough some time ago. I've used what little energy I've had to search for a different job. Then I said, "Enough is enough." And now I'm out of there. And I have a job with a regular schedule, so I'm hoping I'll be able to update this blog every Monday.

     I still have a few more articles to do on How Paleo Changes You, but I'm also hoping to do some more recipes and article on the benefits of certain foods and updates on family and living Paleo. I'm also working on some digital cookbooks and Paleo party books that I'll be selling online. I'm also hoping to have some opportunities to make some videos featuring some of my favorite Paleo and Primal desserts, some exercise videos, and whatever else comes to mind. I might even *gasp* be able to get my Facebook page updated and get things rocking and rolling on some other social media sites. And I'll be regularly updating my other blogs, so get ready internet. I'M BACK!