Paleo Spinach Orange Smoothie

It’s Hump Day, y’all! That means we’ve reached the halfway point of the week and we’re ALIVE. Praise the good Lord almighty ;) I’ve been busy this week, between work, getting ready for a friend’s baby shower this weekend, cleaning the house, trying to catch up on laundry & maintaining some semblance of a hairstyle. On that note – can I get a holla for the topknot?! Seriously, whoever made that an acceptable style is my hero!

Since I’m about to run to work, let’s get down to business: the smoothie. This was a random creation I threw together one night last week since we had almost nothing to eat at the house (wife fail!) and we were starving. My husband doubted my smoothie powers (“I really think this is going to be gross”), but little did he know I’m a wizard when it comes to smoothies. Okay, wizard might be pushing it but it WAS delicious! SO delicious, in fact, that he even requested it the next day. Booyah! That’s what I call #winning. Here ya go!

PALEO SPINACH ORANGE SMOOTHIEΒ (makes 2 servings)

Yum!

Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 small oranges, peeled
  • 1 banana, ripe
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1-2 TBSP raw honey
  • Handful of spinach
  • 8-10 ice cubes

Put all the ingredients into a high-powered blender (we use our Vitamix & LOVE it!) and blend until smooth. Cuz it’s a smoothie.. see what I did there? ;)

ENJOY!!

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (search “theculturedcavewoman”).

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Basic Paleo FAQ

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet, simply, is eating non-processed, real foods. Basically, lean meats, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. It’s directly related to the way people ate years ago- hence the “caveman (or cavewoman) diet”.

What should I eat?

Meat options: (Grass-fed when possible) Lean beef, chicken, buffalo, turkey, duck, venison, salmon, redfish, snapper, tilapia, tuna, flounder, halibut, eggs, protein drinks (whey, hemp, etc).

Veggie options (eat twice as many veggies as compared to fruit): Asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green peas, kale, leeks, onion, parsley, parsnips, potato (in moderation), pumpkin, radishes, spaghetti squash, spinach, sweet potato, and many more! Be creative and adventurous!

Fruit options: Apples, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, guava, kiwi, mango, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes

Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts & seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, etc.), nut & seed butters, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil & almond oil

Milk/Dairy alternatives: Coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk (Personally, I love coconut or almond milk! Especially in smoothies!)

Flour alternatives: Coconut flour, almond flour, potato flour (to thicken dishes), tapioca flour, hazelnut flour, etc.

Fave Paleo snacks: Homemade granola (recipe coming soon!), olives, dried fruit, beef jerky, nuts & seeds, homemade paleo crackers (recipe coming soon!), pickles (my husband just loooves when I eat those!), green smoothies, plantain chips with salsa or guac, kale chips, etc.

I’m overwhelmed! Where do I start?

Start simply. Paleo can be super adventurous and super fun once you’ve integrated all of the changes, but you don’t have to learn how to cook duck and collard greens right this very second. So take a deep breath, step away from the ledge and allow your heart rate to return to a normal rhythm. Begin by weeding out the processed food you have stockpiled in your pantry- throw away (or give to a poor, starving college student) the crackers and garlic bread and brown rice and Spaghetti O’s. If you keep it in your house, you will eat it. So just don’t even go there!

Start buying some of your favorite fruits and veggies. Keep nuts and seeds on hand. Simplify your meals; If you try to be a Master Paleo Chef on day 1, there’s a high chance you’ll get burned out. Choose one new food to try every week- you might surprise yourself & actually like it! Retrain your mind and body on the meaning of “healthy eating” (Just because a label says, “whole grain” doesn’t mean it’s good for you!). Try some of the recipes you find on here. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. Smile! Because you’ve just taken the first step to living well, simply by taking the time to read this blog.

Any other tips and tricks?

Eating Paleo is only truly successful when you’re willing to be adventurous. And make mistakes. You can ask my husband- nothing makes my anger level rise faster than a recipe not turning out the way I want. BUT, the reality is, it’s going to happen from time to time. So laugh, throw it out and then go drown your sorrows in a giant bag of sour skittles (Anyone else? No? Just me?). But seriously, learn to ENJOY the process. Don’t pressure yourself to know all of the do’s and don’ts of Paleo overnight.

Also, learn the art of preparation. If you don’t prepare/plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, you will find it much harder to stick to the right habits. You don’t need to plan a month in advance (unless you want to, then by all means, go for it! And don’t forget to send me a copy of your calendar while you’re at it! ;)). I would, however, suggest at least a week. This will a huge help to you at the grocery store. And let’s just be honest.. we’ve all been there: hunger strikes and you grab the closest thing you can find, nutritional or not. Meal planning will ensure that you have good stuff on hand & make the right choice!

Paleo is fun! And delicious. So let’s do this thing!!

My Paleo journey

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Before and After

Well, I thought it would be fitting for the first post to give some background info on why I made the switch to Paleo and how my life has changed because of it. So here’s my story!

I was a vegetarian for 2 years, from 2010-2012. I was working out 5x/week and thought I was being “soo healthy”! Until I had to bribe myself with coffee just to get out of bed every morning (okay, let’s be honest… that still hasn’t changed). BUT then I was getting sick alot. AndΒ all my hair started falling out. And that nearly gave me an ulcer. It was the kick-in-the-pants I needed to figure out what was going on with my body.

I went to a local doctor, one who specialized in internal disorders. After multiple blood tests, he told me that I had NINE major mineral and vitamin deficiencies. He also told me he had never seen anyone my age (22 at the time) with that many issues. Not exactly a title to be proud of, that’s for sure. These deficiencies were directly due to my eating habits and it was literally destroying my body. I ended up being on 28 supplements a day for 6 months (super $$ and seriously, who wants to choke down 28 pills a day?!). Lesson learned: there are certain proteins your body needs that can only be found in animals. Duly noted, Doc.

He also put me on the Paleo diet because my blood sugar levels were so high (from eating copious amounts of fruit and bread while being a vegetarian). I was super skeptical at first because I was convinced it was the new fad diet and it too would pass. BUT I decided to try it for a week and see. So I did. And then on the 7th day, I ate nachos. Bad, bad Brenae. Almost immediately, my stomach bloated up; I felt lethargic, tired and just plain yucky. And that, my friends, is when I became a believer.

Shorts from last summer!

It’s been a little over a year since I made the switch. I’ve lost 20 pounds, went from a size 6/8 to a 2/4 and most importantly, I FEEL soo much better. And here’s a little fact that will blow your mind: remember earlier, when I said I was working out 5x/week and eating vegetarian? Well, I haven’t worked out in over a year. And I lost 20 lbs. Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying! WORKING OUT IS GOOD. Helps your heart and all that jazz. In fact, my husband and I have started exercising again because it’s so good for you! MY POINT IS THIS: what you put in your mouth is 80-90% of weight loss. Yowza. Makes you stop and think a little, right?

While we’re at it, let me just confess something. I cheat. At LEAST once a week. I know there are hardcore people out there with way more self control than me… and I applaud you ma’am/sir. But let’s be honest. To say that I will never have a bowl of Fruity Pebbles ever again is just not realistic. Gosh darnit, I love Fruity Pebbles (and white cheddar popcorn… and sourdough bread), and if I want some, I’m going to have some! BUT since I follow the diet 80% of the time, when I do cheat, it’s not a game changer.

Confession #2: The hubs and I love cheese. A lot. Wayy too much to give it up entirely. I can see some of you starting to get that judgmental look in your eyes… Okay! I’m sorry!! I had to say it!! Sometimes there is just nothing like the real thing! ;) So for some of the recipes you’ll see on here, feel free to substitute almond cheese or whatever else you like. But more about that later.

So ya know, I’m still learning what is good for my body and what is bad, just like the rest of you. In no way do I have all the answers or walk this out perfectly perfect 100% of the time. So let’s learn together! I’m excited to share the ups & downs of this journey with you. That’s all of life, right?

…and so it begins!