Let’s Wrap Up 2013!!

Is it just me, or was my mother right when she told me that time flies by faster and faster the older you get? It sure seems to. It seems like it was just yesterday that it was January 2013 and I was getting engaged, shopping for a wedding dress, and searching for what good health is for me. Now, here we are 12 months later about to embark on 2-0-1-4, and I couldn’t be more excited for it! 2013 was a pretty amazing year for me, but I have zero doubt that 2014 holds so much more in store for me than I can imagine. 


My holidays were spent in good ole Ohio with my fiance and his family. Due to our travels, we both agreed that we would take a slight detour from gluten-free/Paleo while traveling. I’m pretty sure I will never do that again. This was our first major “cheat” since starting about 2 months prior. When I say we cheated – I mean it was all cheat. There was fast food, cookies, fried foods…..you name it, we probably ate it. Cheating on paleo wasn’t a big deal to me. It was the gluten that killed me. My fiance doesn’t have the gluten intolerance that I have. He just felt kinda gross and his stomach was a bit affected by it. I, on the other hand, was having some pretty severe back aches, along with my stomach being very unhappy with me. This is all on top of me getting a sinus infection, and my fiance getting one too just as I was getting over mine. I don’t doubt at all that the gluten was the culprit for all of it. We should not have gone full force back into “regular eating”. We have both been so excited to get back home and into our routine again, including returning to Paleo, and the gym for me. Use my example to learn without making the mistake yourself – if gluten really does affect you as much as it does me, don’t tell yourself it’ll be okay because you will be miserable. Those gluten-filled cookies are going to taste good as you chew them up momentarily, but guess how long their effects will last on your body? A lot longer. All that being said – here’s my take on getting setback…


We all fall off the horse now and again. What matters is how quickly you get yourself off the ground and back up on it. Bring it on 2014!!! I’ve got a wedding dress to wear!!!


I have a few exciting recipes I am trying out this week too. For today’s lunch for myself and the beau, I made a great shrimp salad. For New Year’s Eve festivities I will be making Paleo Nachos (version 1 or version 2), and may even try my hand at some Piggies in a Blanket. Then there’s Chicken Pot Pie, Fried Green Tomato BLTs, and even Empanadas! I’m even considering making these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Frosting too. Man, I can’t wait to try them all! 


So, take some time over the next couple days to reflect back on your 2013. What wonderful things have happened in your life? What even better things are awaiting you in 2014? I’d love to hear! 



What on earth does it mean to be “paleo”?!

It was only a few weeks ago that I was wondering this same thing. I didn’t even know what gluten was. So, let’s define a few things and help us all to understand what it all means.

The Paleo Diet is derived from how people ate during the paleolithic era, A.K.A. cavemen. If they couldn’t catch it, kill it, or grow it in order to eat it – it’s not paleo-friendly. There are a few things that you might think are paleo-friendly, that aren’t though. Grains of any kind are the biggest no-no when it comes to paleo. But they grow and are natural, right? Well, they have to be harvested and processed in order to become the final product we see them as. One thing you may not realize is a grain is corn. So, corn is not a part of paleo. No breads, chips, pastas, etc. that are made of any type of grain (wheat, corn, oats, etc.) are allowed. Rice is considered to be the least problematic of the grains and if you eat it on paleo, it is suggested that you use wild rice as opposed to other forms. Legumes are another no-no on the Paleo Diet. Legumes include beans, peas, and peanuts. A big grey area for some on the Paleo Diet is whether to eliminate dairy. Someone following the diet strictly will eliminate dairy (cow’s milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc.). Part of the reason for this is that many people following the Paleo Diet for allergy reasons will have an allergy or aversion to dairy. My body doesn’t really do well with a lot of dairy, especially milk. But, I don’t seem to see a problem when I use cheese sporadically, so we keep cheese in our diet some. It’s definitely not a daily thing though. One last thing that paleo omits is vegetable oil. You should stick to coconut oil and olive oil instead. So, at this point are you asking “What CAN I eat on Paleo?” Don’t fret. There are so many things that your mind is likely not going to consider that you can have until you start opening your eyes and looking at everything with Paleo eyes. You can have all kinds of meat, although a strict Paleo follower will stick to grass-fed beef, etc. I honestly have not committed that whole-heartedly yet. It is harder to find and more expensive, so that is up to you. Think of all the different kinds of meats – ground beef, steak, pork chops, roast, BACON (!!!), ground pork sausage, smoked sausage/kielbasa, chorizo, chicken, duck, lamb, all types of fish, shrimp, scallops….need I keep going? In addition to meats, you should eat lots of vegetables. In fact, your meat should accompany your vegetables, not the other way around. Just think of any veggie outside of corn and beans/peas. My favorites have been various salad/leafy greens, bell peppers, okra, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens…..I do love veggies. Fresh fruits are permitted, but just be careful that you are choosing fruits that are lower in sugar, especially if you are wanting to lose weight. Berries are some of the best fruits to have. Check out this link if you want to see where your favorite fruits fall when it comes to sugar content: Sugar Content of Fruit.


Ok, now let’s take a small step backwards. How does gluten or the lack of gluten link to the paleo diet? Well let’s define and explain what gluten is. Good ole’ Wikipedia defines gluten as “a protein composite found in foods processed wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye”. So, since the Paleo Diet eliminates grains, it thus eliminates gluten. But the Paleo Diet is more than just a gluten-free diet, of course. And why would one want to even eliminate gluten? Sure, it’s been a diet fad for a little while now, but there is a lot of merit in the medical reasons for choosing a gluten-free diet. If you read my previous “Welcome” post, you read some of my personal reasons for choosing a gluten-free diet such as linking gluten in my diet to headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, etc. My issue with gluten is more of a sensitivity to it. I don’t get physically ill like many people do. If you have any type of medical issues and you have been unable to link the cause behind them, try tracking your diet and your symptoms to see if they could be linked. If you think they might be, just try eliminating gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks. If it is an issue for you, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will feel the difference.


That’s all for today. Thank you for visiting, reading, and peeking into my life again. I truly enjoy sharing, in hopes that what I’m learning and doing can help someone else.


It’s amazing what you can do with a positive attitude. Make it a point in your daily life to dismiss negative thoughts and replace them with thoughts of affirmation and encouragement to yourself. Verbally tell yourself “Yes I can!” and mean it. Lift yourself up, because if you don’t, no one else will.


❤ Manda