Thursday, May 31, 2012

Busy Army Wife- Stayin' Fit on the Road

It's time to PCS (permanent change of station) again!  Our movers arrived this morning at 9:00am-"ish".  I left Shane home to deal with the boxes while I took the twins with me to the gym!  Ahhh.... such a nice change.  Last summer (when we moved to the DC area from KY) I had to do EVERYTHING on my own!  You better believe this summer I'm taking full advantage of my husband's presence.

I'm very excited about being featured on a fitness blog this June or July (I will announce it when all of the details become finalized), but I'm also NERVOUS about submitting current photos after a stressful and time-consuming move to another state.  Exercising always takes a back seat to setting up your new home, registering kiddos for school, locating and signing up with a new gym facility, etc. etc. etc.  And,,, it is always more challenging to eat an ideal diet while being denied access to a full kitchen stocked with healthy basics. 

My diet and exercise program isn't going to be perfect over the next few weeks, but I don't want to derail my good habits.  Here is my game plan to stay in shape while I transition to life in North Carolina:  I hope you can use these tips the next time you travel!

1.  Fit in workouts whenever feasible.  It is so easy to dismiss workouts because you don't have time.  I am going to make time.  If I have to set my alarm for 5am to get in a workout in the hotel gym
while Shane and the Bs sleep,,,, then I will!  When I arrive in NC, I will give myself permission to train for my goals.  Life is about balance.  The children need exercise too.  No matter how tired I may feel, I must take them to the park, or to the pool, or on early evening nature walks, or all three!  The house doesn't have to be set up in a day.

2.  Stock up on protein powder.  I post protein powder recipes on my FB page Cave Princess and blog all of the time.  I prepped, baked and froze many protein pancakes, protein bars and protein muffins to sustain me during this transitional phase.  I made sure to set aside multiple coolers and ice packs to use while hopping from refrigerator to refrigerator.  The powders I use are all natural and chemical free, so I feel comfortable giving the children these same snacks.

3.  Protein shakes are also easily mixed while on the road.  In a pinch  all you need is powder and water.  My new favorite powders are SunWarrior (vegan) and Tera's Whey (organic whey protein from a small Wisconsin farm).  My favorite flavor so far is the Bourbon Vanilla,,,, but the Fair Trade Dark Chocolate is pretty darn good too!  You can find Tera's Whey in health food stores, but I also know carries it as well.  Tera's Whey mixes well, tastes good but more importantly...  in their own words....

all of our products, whether they be rBGH-free, organic, or goat, are made from:
  • fresh whey sourced from the heartland of Wisconsin - direct from the small, artisan cheese makers.
  • natural flavors that we selected for their taste and healthful functionality - high antioxidant superfruits, real fair trade dark cocoa, and real natural vanilla.
  • low glycemic index stevia or an unsweetened, plain option.
unique products. we were the first manufacturing plant in the U.S. to concentrate organic cow and hormone-free goat proteins:
  • organic whey: offers an alternative to conventional products for people who are concerned about chemicals in their environment and bodies.
  • goat whey: contains the same high level of protein as our cow whey proteins and is a valuable alternative for people who cannot tolerate cow dairy products.
  • rBGH-free (hormone-free) whey: provides a source-identified, hormone-free protein concentrate option.

tera'swhey® organic plain whey protein

4.  Stock up on tuna fish.  One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is tuna packed in olive oil, German mustard (brown mustard), and a handful of chopped walnuts (super brain food).  I use various cut up veggies as my utensils or I like to grab a big collard green leaf and roll the tuna inside.  This week my knives have been packed, so people have enjoyed watching me eat my tuna with a whole cucumber....

5.  Turn sandwiches into salads.  When dining on the road just ask if you can put the sandwich ingredients on a bed of greens!  You won't even require dressing.  I do it all of the time with happy compliance from most restaurants!  Not ideal.... but in times of need even Subway offers salad options. 

6.  I'm not a huge fan of protein bars.  Most taste like chemicals to me (probably because most are loaded with crazy additives and harmful sugar substitutes).  In a pinch, however, I have been known to eat Think Thin bars, Lara Bars and Luna Bars.  The "Chocolate Covered Nuts" Think Thin bars taste good and are low in carbs....and the "Lemon" Luna Bars are actually DELICIOUS.  I try to eat grain free, dairy free all natural foods that I have created, but these protein bars might help out when you just need a quick fix.

I hope these strategies keep me fit and healthy the next few weeks!!!

Here is my favorite protein pancake recipe I've been eating this week! I'm sitting here thinking about warming up another!

2 scoops Tera's Whey Bourbon Vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 mashed banana
1/8-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 T chia seeds
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
Stevia to taste (I find with the banana I don't need any Stevia)

Mix everything up in a little bowl, and make yourself one big healthy and delicious pancake!  Top with chia seed jam.  You can find the link to that recipe on my Facebook page Cave Princess.  Thanks for visiting me!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Army Wife Thanks Memorial Day Weekend

My husband, Shane, is active duty in the Army.  I don't show my appreciation for his service enough.  Poor Shane works _crazy_ long hours (I'm talking 18-24 hour days on occasion), travels on temporary assignments weekly, has deployed three times and deals with a level of stress most of us can not comprehend.  How do I show my appreciation?  "Shane,,, take out the trash!"  I guess that is marriage.... providing levity.... but I wanted to take this Memorial Day weekend to say thank you for his many sacrifices.

Brielle and Daddy at Shane's promotion.  I chose this picture because (a) Shane looks really cute (b) Brielle is demonstrating just how much we take such an honor for granted!

But,,, I did get him a big "Airborne" cake!  May I brag on my husband for a second?  Shane is an Airborne Ranger... pretty hot!

Plus,,, he gives his mother flowers. . .

and amazing hugs!

Sometimes this life can be very hard.
Brenden greeting Daddy at the airport after a long deployment.

Brielle and Bridget greeting Daddy!  He missed so many of their early months . . .

Brenden's sixth birthday.  Where was Daddy?  He misses so many milestones . . .

But,,, sometimes the military life can be very exciting!  Don't worry,,, the good outweighs the bad!  I just wanted to show Shane that I understand and respect his sacrifice.   

Your family loves you!  Honoring your service this Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sea Snax- Strangely Addictive

In honor of Product Review Friday I had to share my love for these little seaweed snacks from . .  The company's tagline is that they are "strangely addictive".  And you know what???  They are just that!  I mean, they're seaweed. . . come on. . . isn't it a little strange that I'm contemplating getting up out of my chair to grab a few right now?

In their words:
SeaSnax is a nutrient-packed roasted seaweed snack which is vegan, gluten free and Non-GMO Project verified. It is made using 100% olive oil and just a pinch of sea salt. This vegetable of the sea is all natural with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. SeaSnax is a healthy & delicious snack for you and your family. It tastes great right out of the bag - just rip it up and chomp it down! Or, you can use it to make rice rolls, put into your favorite soup or salad or even throw a fun California roll making party and get everyone involved.

Give it a try but don't blame us if you get hooked on SeaSnax - it's strangely addictive!

I totally agree!

I haven't had a chip in years.  Honestly, I don't crave them so why waste the calories?  But,,, sometimes you really just want to snack mindlessly on something crunchy and salty.  

Where do you turn? 

Directly to SeaSnax!!! 

An entire Grap N Go Box is only 16 calories.  Are you kidding me?  And they have some nutritional value!

Even my children love these "snax from the sea".  Bridget just stopped by the computer and commented, "Look, Mommy,,,,SeaSnax!  Pictures of SeaSnax!  Red are spicy but blue are not.  May I have some blue ones?"  All three children dig these healthy alternatives to crackers and other junk!

My children also can't get enough of the Sea Sprinkles!  These are sweetened with agave, so I don't eat the sprinkles as much when I'm looking to lean down, but they too are incredibly delicious! 

I'm always sharing recipes and fitness tips.  Please come check my Facebook page Cave Princess!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. What should I eat?

If you haven't rented/streamed the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead take 90 minutes to watch this film.  It made an impact on my diet.  Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead chronicles the journey of an obese man, Joe Cross, on a 60 day vegetable and fruit juice detox.

I am in no way, shape or form suggesting anyone embark on a 60 day juice detox.  For the majority of us such a lifestyle choice would prove to be dangerously unhealthy and an ineffective long term means of fat loss.  I chose to briefly write about Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead to highlight the importance of vegetables.  One message from the film resounds with me... if conventional health methods are failing you, take a more holistic approach.  Your body has a remarkable ability to heal itself when given the proper tools.  Joe's health _drastically_ improves by changing his diet.

Prescribing to one dietary philosophy proves to be far too difficult for me.  I'm always questioning theories, rationales and evidence.  But one principle holds true throughout each belief.... EAT MORE VEGETABLES... and specifically to eat more raw vegetables.  No wonder I'm fascinated by the raw and vegan movements and incorporate many raw and vegan recipes into my diet.  I post paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes/ideas/tips on my Facebook page Cave Princess daily!

EASY STEPS to incorporate more raw vegetables (and fruit) into your diet:

  • Eat a BIG OLE salad _before_ your dinner.  Minus the heavy dressing of course.
  • Eat cut up veggies _before_ your lunch or as your lunch.  I make tuna salads (with mustard), chicken salads, Sunbutter dips, etc. and use various veggies as my utensils.
  • Eat a small portion of fruit in the morning or after a workout.
  • Lettuce wrap your sandwiches and burgers (whether they be beef, turkey or veggie).  Do you really need all that bread?
  • Make "green smoothies"!  Drink them _before_ your breakfast or lunch or as your breakfast or lunch (depending on your appetite and activity level that day).
What is a "Green Smoothie"?  It is essentially a lettuce based drink.  Sounds horrible.  Right?  Actually, they can be quite refreshing!  I'm totally addicted to them and drink "green smoothies" daily.   

EASY STEPS to making a "green smoothie":
  • Purchase a juicer or high speed blender.  If you "juice" (this is what Joe Cross favored in the documentary) you will remove much of the fiber found in the vegetables and fruits.  It is believed the body can absorb the other nutrients more efficiently in this pure juice form.  Personally, I use a Vitamix blender (they are expensive, but I use it literally everyday).  I prefer the fiber and enjoy a thicker drink.  Your blender has to be of good quality.  The lettuce has to be pulverized in order to achieve a good texture.
  • Stock your fridge with spinach, romaine, green leaf, kale etc.
  • Stock your fruit bowl.
  • Experiment with various recipes. There are so many variations on the "green smoothie".   (Be warned, I tried mustard greens one time,,, not wise and not recommended). 

Below is just ONE example of how you can combine the seemingly infinite vegetable/fruit concoctions. This recipe is two servings for me.  I store the half I don't consume covered in the refrigerator.

Not Scary...

Basic Green Smoothie:

1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2 head spinach
1/2- 1 cup pineapple
1/2 -1 cup peach or apple or pear
1 banana
squeeze of citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit juice)
1 T chia seeds (optional- they will gel and make your drink much thicker)

Thank you for stopping by!  Come see me over at Cave Princess on Facebook!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adventures in Foam Rolling

I have a new obsession. . . Self-Myofascial release. . . better known as. . . FOAM ROLLING. . .

Seeing an image of my spine for the first time years ago was a true delight.  Sigh. . . my neck. . I don't know how it sits on my head. . . and my lower back. . .  wicked curved to the right.  I had mild scoliosis as a child, but the hormones associated with pregnancy exacerbated my condition.

In addition to a spine curving strangely to the right, I have had the pleasure of living with bunions since childhood.  My left bunion became so painful my parents allowed me to have it removed as a teenager.  Since the surgery my left foot is gorgeous enough to model footwear :-)  But,,, to this day my right foot remains untouched because, although worthy of being displayed in a science museum, my bunion does not hurt.  How does this relate to back issues?  Think gait and alignment.  Everything on my body pulls to the right.  When I get injured my back pulls to the right.  I walk differently on my right side.

About four years ago I attempted an inverted back bend pose in yoga and ended up with immobilizing back pain.  Carrying twins at about 7 pounds each to almost 37 weeks did not improve my situation.  Physical therapists offered no more advice than to strengthen my core (my core is strong despite having a c-section) and to be very aware of my posture.  The posture thing actually has helped.  Sitting with my back straight in the car or in a chair lessens the tension and has relieved me of some of my lower back pain issues.

I like to throw around some heavy weight at the gym on occassion.  It makes me feel strong and confident, but I HAVE to LISTEN to my back.  If I go really heavy one week, I must do less power moves the following week. 

All of this takes me to FOAM ROLLING. 

A few of the trainers at my gym promote foam rolling.  I dismissed it as a waste of time initially.  I have more important aspects of my fitness to train without rolling around on some foamy log.  Then I started working on my personal training certification, (I'm about 3/4 of the way through the process), and the program emphasized foam rolling as a viable tool for stretching.   I'm actually very flexible, so I thought,,, okay cool for future clients working towards a flexibility goal for optimal health,,, but I still dismissed it for myself .  UNTIL I threw out my back doing 200 lb deadlifts.  Yes I repped out a few, but I must have done one or two with incorrect form, because by the end of the week my back was not sore-it was hurting. 

Scared of missing weekend family fun and workouts I had planned the following week, out of desperation I grabbed up one of those foamy logs.  Now I'm obsessed! 

Here is a "Foam Rolling 101 Video" for you to view. 

Foam rolling hurts so good!  It is truly a self deep tissue massage!

Foam Rolling Tips, Facts and Guidelines:
  1. Called the "Poor Man's Massage"
  2. Helps to straighten bundled muscle tissues
  3. Gently roll over tender soft tissue areas
  4. Hold tender spots for 30 seconds
  5. Can be used before a workout for a warm up
  6. Can be used after a workout as part of your stretching routine
  7. Popular areas to roll out: Hamstrings, IT band, hip flexors, quadraceps
  8. Be careful rolling your back (especially lumbar) 
I am not a doctor.  Always consult a physician before embarking upon a new exercise program! 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Twin Power- Friday Product Review

TLCreations4u  made these ADORABLE pillow sack dresses for my twin daughters.  I can't express how happy I am with the quality and cute factor.  Honestly, my girls do get a lot of attention (because they are NOT quiet), but I had countless mommies and grandmas coming up to me to ask where I had purchased such unique little dresses!

Traci and Lauren are the Mommy Entrepreneurs of this new business.  I love supporting small businesses. . . especially those operated by women.  Stop by TLCreations4u to take a look!

The twinkies are singing "Passion for Fashion"

Please come stop by my Facebook page Cave Princess  and see what I'm all about!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pullups and Pink Polish

I can rep out about 10-12 non-kipping ( kipping is a functional move using momentum to propel your body) pure strength pullups.  Am I proud of this accomplishment?  You betcha!!!  Do I head over to the pullup bar to intentionally demonstrate my feminine prowess?  Absolutely not!!! 

A random woman's negative comment at my gym inspired one of my favorite "Cave Princess" taglines . . . "Pullups and pink polish". 

It all started with a Sunday at the nail salon.  I had been generously treated to a mani/pedi and chose a pinky red color for both (OPI Dutch Tulips-very pretty and classy).  Monday morning, still in love with my gorgeous manicure, I donned a bright pink sports bra- totally embracing the femininity my nails inspired.

Normally Mondays are reserved for working my glutes.  I'm not a fan of my butt and dedicate an entire workout each week to specifically lifting those particular muscles!  This Monday, however, I chose to do a little CrossFit workout to jump start my motivation for the rest of the week.  The workout consisted of a warm-up, followed by 40 pullups/40 pushups/40 kettlebell swings/40 dips/40 frog sit ups .  Nice challenge.

In the middle of my workout my IPod died!  Sucks.  Drains the motivation.  I didn't want to lose my stride and potentially mess with my workout time, so I left my earbuds in and kept going.  Two young, very pretty, very lean girls walked past me as I completed my last round of pullups.  One of the girls commented to her friend, "Who does she think she is?  Doing pullups in her pink polish. . ."

At first the comment stung.  After all I am a human being and therefore a social creature; it is natural for me to want to be liked.  As I finished my workout with some foam rolling (post to rave about that coming soon) and stretching, my attitude shifted.  Her comment actually made me smile. 

You know what?  Yes!  I do pullups in pink polish, and I love that about myself! 

Me post work out today with my favorite sports bra and pinky red nails.  Isn't my hair so gorgeous after sweating for over an hour?  Pullups and pink polish.

Recently, I was introduced to Zoya - a toxin free line of polish and nail treatments.  This is the brand of my choice when doing home manis/pedis!

Thank you so much for reading!  Since I am a social being please come "like" my Facebook page Cave Princess for more tips, recipes and motivation!

Here is your recipe . . .

Meat and Veggie Chili:  I purposely made this recipe large, so that you can freeze the leftovers (a great strategy from the post Time Saving Suggestions !

2lb ground pasture- raised turkey, pasture- raised chicken or grass-fed beef (or mix)
1/2 cup onions
2 cups zucchini
2 cups mushrooms
2 cups red or green peppers
3-4 cups stewed tomatoes (just cook some tomatoes up in a skillet with a touch of coconut oil until they begin to break up in your pan)
2 T unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T chili powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1 T cilantro
dash of salt to taste
2 T white vinegar
3 T mustard (yellow tastes best- I like "Annies" organic yellow mustard)
* If you normally add brown sugar/sugar to your chili and you're looking for that touch of sweet to counter the savory think about a little maple syrup (100% pure maple syrup)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members." ~Mahatma Gandhi

I generally include a healthy recipe with each post!  Scroll down to the bottom!  For more recipes and informational tid bits on health and fitness please stop by and like my Facebook page Cave Princess !

The importance of compassionately raised farm animals first plagued my thoughts about fifteen years ago.  For a college psychology paper I extensively researched slaughterhouses in an effort to examine the effects such knowledge would have on my diet.  "Freshman psyche reared its ugly head" (quote from the movie Clueless)  as I searched to determine whether cravings and the primal drive to eat meat would overpower the graphic pictures that haunted my thoughts.  The result:  I became a vegetarian for a few years.  Images of the slaughterhouses (to include the morose former prison inmates and desperate for work immigrants that made up the vast majority of laborers) disturbed me to the point I was losing sleep, but in my heart I always knew I was more omnivore than herbivore. 
A powerful urge to procreate overwhelmed me as I approached my thirtieth birthday.  At that time I made the decision to start eating meat once again (mind you I hadn’t been the strictest vegetarian, but guilt did consume me each time I made the conscious choice to indulge in animal flesh); I resolved myself to the fact that incorporating meat back into my diet would give my future children the best nutritional start I knew to give them.  In the beginning I had to push the unsavory thoughts of animal treatment to the back of my mind, but with time enjoying meat became possible.  Of course it didn’t hurt that as I made this transition I had moved to Alaska and was surrounded by the freshest seafood and hunted game one can imagine.  As I said before……. Paleo Paradise….. I just had no idea what the primal diet was back then!!!
Civilized, somewhat educated, compassionate yet wanting and needing diverse protein options - my struggles with this dilemma continued to plague me until I discovered the world of organic and primal eating. 
Is buying pasture raised meat going to be more expensive?  Yes!  But, the alternative outweighs the cost.  Big chain grocery stores don’t tell you where their animals come from, they don’t’ disclose the diet of the animals, they don’t mention the health of the animals and whether the animals have been given growth hormones or have been treated with antibiotics, and they certainly don’t describe the living conditions of the animals prior to slaughter.  Going primal introduced me to the wonderful world of purchasing meat directly from farmers.  It is not as difficult as you might think!
  1. Most farmer's markets have meat vendors.  Talk to the vendors at your local market.  Ask about their ranching/farming practices.  The meat at the market tends to be higher, but as a regular customer looking to purchase larger portions quite often vendors are open to more cost effective options.  The meat may not be "organic"; it can be difficult to obtain such a rating from the USDA, but many small farms use organic practices.  Just ask! 
  2. As I mentioned in What Should I Eat? Trip to Courthouse Farmer's Market go to .  Plug in your zip code and discover all of the small, local, farms near your community.  Many of them offer online ordering/phone ordering where you establish a pick up location.  If you have the time, use trips to the farms as learning experiences for your children. 
  3. If you're really pressed for time and need a truly convenient delivery option (right to your doorstep) I have used and recommend these online sources:
  4. In a pinch, Whole Foods does offer a meat selection with a grading system.  Level 1- Level 5.  Level 1- the animals are given a vegetarian diet. . . all the way up to Level 5- where the animals sleep with the farmers and get a nightly massage.  This is going to be a more expensive option, but I have purchased level 5 small whole chickens for about $10.00!
Krista . . . I love animals and all, but this is outside of my budget. . .

Let me try to convince you. . . Here is an added benefit of eating grass-fed beef.  It has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  Plus it is considered leaner and cooks faster than conventionally raised cattle.  Cuts of meat with the bone still attached are generally less expensive, as are tougher cuts (which you can slow cook/pressure cook to solve that issue).   Ground beef that has a higher fat percentage is also generally cheaper.  If you're looking to cut fat intake go 50/50 with leaner packages.

As for the poultry we are expected to purchase at the grocery store, most of them come from chickens that are crammed into tiny cages for their entire lives, living in their own filth and  given antibiotic feed that contain chemicals and hormones -and even more disturbing than antibiotics and hormones- they can also be fed parts of other chickens!  Ever wonder why some mainstream chicken companies proudly promote a vegetarian diet?  Scary.   Search for pasture raised chickens from the sources I mentioned above!  At the very least ensure the chickens you consume and serve your family have a vegetarian fed, no hormone, no antibiotic label on the packaging.  When I first started to make the primal transition I purchased Purdue chicken products, because this company is starting to make an effort.  Read their labels!
Organic eggs are very accessible at your typical grocery store and only cost about a dollar or so more for a dozen than your conventional eggs.  Most often these eggs are labeled "Cage-Free".  This is a good start.  The eggs come from hens that are generally given the latitude to roam freely inside a factory and are given a vegetarian/antibiotic free diet.  That does not mean they will EVER spend a moment of their lives outside, however.  I purchase poultry and eggs that are specifically labeled pasture-raised, which means the birds live in open air pens.  I like to think the eggs I scramble in the morning come from a little hen outside pecking away at insects.  So what's in it for you (other than feeling good about yourself)? Eggs from pasture raised chickens are considered nutritionally superior, and they are _rarely_ plagued with salmonella.  
I still haven't convinced you?  Read this article Burger King Promises 100% Cage-Free Eggs and Pork by 2017 .  Burger King isn't exactly known as a pillar of health.  This article demonstrates how animal health is becoming mainstream.
Still not ready to start transitioning?  Rent/stream the documentary Food, Inc.  You will NEVER eat certain foods from certain companies EVER AGAIN.  GUARANTEED!  Warning.  This film contains GRAPHIC images.  I was unable to watch certain portions.
This journey may be too costly to fit into some budgets, but each small step can benefit your health and your soul!
Reminders to save money:
  • Buy in bulk
  • Purchase cuts with bone and skin still attached (skinless, boneless cuts are typically more expensive)
  • Purchase tougher cuts (use a slow cooker/pressure cooker to remedy)
  • Have a vegetarian night.  Eggs and veggies for dinner!
  • Embrace the leftover.  Reconstitute your meat.
  • Try organic whey or vegan protein powders.  I'm always posting recipes on my Facebook page Cave Princess.  Sneak in your protein in creative ways!   
  • Manage portions.  Do you really need a side of beef?  Eat half for dinner; throw some in your eggs for breakfast or lunch!
Here is a Protein Bar recipe from fitness model/writer Jamie Eason that I revamped to make more primal friendly!

1 c almond flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 T cocoa powder
Stevia (liquid or powder) to taste
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. filtered water
2 eggs or 4 egg whites
8 oz berry organic baby food (don't be scared; these taste great in the recipe)
Mix.  Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees!

Please stop by Cave Princess for more ideas!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Favorite Product for Friday

As of right now,,, I am obsessed with !  I absolutely love, love, love this line . . .

I let my little girls use these in the morning.  They too need a little gloss before heading out the door in the morning.

I also am obsessed with . . .

I literally use these everyday.  I have three colors! 

Finally, I adore . . .

Get Even Finishing Powder

This finishing powder is so light yet so effective.  For my "everyday" face, I put on a little concealer on my problem areas and then dust this on my entire face.

Please enjoy this quick little product review!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What should I eat? Trip to the Courthouse Farmer's Market

In my post, Fat Loss- The Basics, I mentioned how pesticides have been linked to a distortion of estrogen in the body which can in turn effect your fat loss or maintenance goals.  Incorporating more organic or pesticide free foods into your diet does not have to be intimidating! 

Most grocery stores carry organic options.  Organic is going to be more expensive.  Until you get more savvy you might be surprised at the increase of your food budget, so here are some money saving tips: 

1. Shopping at organic specialty stores actually saves me money.
2. Trader Joe's is VERY reasonable.  They have an extensive amount of organic products, and they   carry my favorite brand of packaged lunch meats/kid friendly hot dogs- Applegate- for about a dollar less than what I pay other places. . 

Here is little Bridget biting a package of Applegate pepperoni. Bridgey Bridge is my pickiest eater, but she enjoys meats with a ton of flavor. These are an easy protein source snack

3.  If you stay away from the prepared food by the deli, Whole Foods is actually not insanely priced.  They have a rep for being expensive (and the hot food/salad bar is pricey), but I haven't been overwhelmed by the price of their produce. Shop their deals; look for those little yellow tags. 
4. Buying produce in season is going to save you a ton of money.  Avocados are wicked expensive, but I've been buying them for about .99 cents at Whole Foods this week.  Asparagus and strawberries are in season right now!  You can go to any number of U-Pick it farms and load up!  What kid doesn't like having permission to get on his/her hands and knees and dig in the dirt?

Buy local.  This website can steer you in the right direction.  It offers a list of farmer's markets in your area, a list of local small farms, alternative grocery stores that offer organic products, coop programs, and online ordering options.  Through Local Harvest I discovered Mom's Organic Market in Alexandria, Virginia.  Mom's  is an extremely well priced all organic alternative grocery store.  They even carry your bags out to the car without accepting tips!  Who knows what gems you might find near you!

The most entertaining way to introduce organic food into your life, however, is heading over to your local farmer's market.  It can be time consuming driving all over town searching for organic food, so I take my children to the market with me and try to turn it into a learning experience.  We go most Saturday mornings (before T-Ball)!  Not only are my children exposed to responsible farming and ranching practices, but they have fun selecting food that is good for them.  We all know cupcakes are fun. Why not associate healthy food with fun? 

Brenden picking out a beautiful head of lettuce for Mommy's green "juice".  It is so pretty!  I hate to blend it!

Brenden is not a fan of cucumbers.  Bridget (Bridgey) sporting a major "dorky" (as we lovingly call it) face. 

Brenden helps me pay for all of our farmer's market products!  The vendors know us!

In honor of the warmer weather here is a little salsa recipe!

Chunky Cucumber Salsa:
3 medium cucumbers (or 6 of the mini)
1 mango, chopped (or 1 frz. bag)
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 package Stevia/or liquid Stevia to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you want more heat)

Every day I post more tips and recipes on my Facebook page Cave Princess !  Come by and say hello!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fat Loss- The Basics

Being FUELED BY NATURE is great and all, but I want to lose fat.  These are some strategies that worked for me.  Three and half years ago I walked into the delivery room weighing 205lbs.  If you read my bio in "About Me" you know a lot about my fitness journey.  The last time I had my body fat measured a few months ago I was between 13-16% (IT IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE-don't let numbers freak you out; just use them as a gauge that you're heading in the right direction).  I feel most athletic and lean in that range.  I'm not that lean right now. . . so I'm modifying my paleo approach to nutrition to accommodate this goal. 

The beauty of going paleo, primal etc. is that you are not bogged down by numbers.  Your primary aim is to feed your body with the best food choices available.  There is no counting calories, no strict measuring of portions, no laborious food journals, etc.  I started my "true" paleo friendly lifestyle by taking the Whole 30 Challenge.  Whole9/Whole30 .  I highly recommend this program and would be happy to support anyone with any questions or "moments of waning motivation" (I know I had plenty of those).  If that program is too excessive for you, but you're still looking to jumpstart into something new there is also the 21 Day Sugar Detox.  21 Day Sugar Detox.  When you first start to cut back on grains, dairy and sugar you will drop weight/fat quickly (especially if you have an excess), but there will come a time when you will plateau.  AND YOU WILL PLATEAU.  If you're goal is to have a healthy relationship with food (i.e. eat the best possible food choices 90% of the time and indulge in fun food and drink on occasion) then being FUELED BY NATURE is a perfect fit for you.  I applaud those women that are confidant and proud of their bodies!  But, if you're looking to push past a plateau of weight/fat loss then you might want to think about these suggestions:

1.   Get enough protein.  Protein prevents dips in energy while also keeping you fuller for longer.  It slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood.  This is why it is recommended that carbs be eaten with a protein source.  Protein leads to lean muscle, and lean muscle plays an integral role in fat loss.  Aim for 3/4-1gram of protein per pound of body weight.  I like to keep my weight in the 120's, so each day my goal is to consume 100-120 grams of protein.  I eat all day- about 5 small meals, each containing 20-25grams of protein.

2.   Measure your food intake.  When I'm not looking to cut fat I "eyeball" my portions and aim to eat "clean" 90% of the time, but when I'm serious about fat loss I get strict.  This winter I took a break from logging everything I ate and simply made sure most of meals consisted of vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats (and practiced portion control on my unhealthy food choices).  Now that I'm serious about leaning out I've started measuring again.  I HAVE to watch what I eat.  I gain fat easily and quickly (specifically in my butt-that is why I will be posting butt workouts in the near future; you many not be able to spot reduce, but you sure can work to build muscle in your "problem" areas). 

Steps for successful measuring:

Keep a food diary
- I use FitDay (free) .  I also like to use the free My Fitness Pal App. (just be careful with this food log; it recommends fewer protein grams and higher carbs; I just ignore it when I go into red with protein).  There are many other online food diaries to choose from including and  These programs take the guess work out of counting calories, fat grams, carb grams, sugar grams, protein grams. . . The databases are HUGE, so many of your common foods are easily found. 

Purchase a food scale- Most of us know a portion of meat should fit into the palm of our hand, but do you really know how many grams of protein you're eating?  Weigh your food.  It takes an extra minute.

Love your measuring cups- I bought really cute measuring cups, so that I would have "fun" measuring my food. 

3.   Watch sugar and starchy carb consumption.  Carbs do not make you fat.  Be mindful of how you incorporate them in your diet, however.  Using one of the tools listed above you can determine exactly how many carbohydrate grams you should be consuming to lose fat and gain lean (not bulky) muscle.  If you're limiting your caloric intake and consuming at least 100 grams of protein that doesn't leave room for downing countless grams of carbohydrates.  Tips: 
* Limit fruit if you're looking to lean out.  Eat fruit in the morning or after a workout.
* Eat carbs with a protein.  Even "healthy" carb choices should be accompanied with a protein source.

* Carbs are quick energy resource.  If you're getting ready to climb into bed do you need a quick energy source?  No.  Taper starchy carbs down as the day progresses.
* Limit starchy carbs.  Stick with cruciferous vegetables.

* Ask yourself why you "need" that cup of whole wheat pasta.  Is it because you're looking to feel full?  Often whole grains are used to "keep you full".  Is that the healthiest choice?  A big plate of cabbage and two eggs "keeps you full" as well.  How do I know?  That is what I had for dinner.

4.   Lift heavy weights.   Incorporate heavy weights into your workout regimen. Women always say they want to tone.  If you don't have any muscle built what do you expect to tone?  Fat doesn't tone.  Lean muscle is needed to see visible definition. Another argument for weight lifting is the fat burning potential lean muscle has while you are at rest.  Lean muscle also affects your growth hormone and testosterone levels- both of which aid in fat loss. 

5.   Detox high estrogen levels in your body.  Elevated levels of estrogen in your body may effect your ability to burn fat.  You can lower estrogen by eating foods that help detox the hormone (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, green tea).  Avoid soy which studies have linked to elevated estrogen levels.  Pesticides and BPAs have also been associated with altering estrogen within the body.  Avoid plastic products as much as possible and start making the switch to organic foods.  High cortisol levels from stress may also affect your estrogen.  Lowering cortisol can be accomplished by low intensity workouts such as walking or yoga.  High intensity workouts like weight-training and interval training can aid in lowering cortisol long term.  Varying the intensity of your exercise truly aids in your overall fitness.  Try doing high intensity cardio workouts (sprints for example) 2-3 times a week, resistance training (lifting heavy things) 4-5 times a week, combined with days reserved for low intensity exercise.  I do yoga on Fridays to "lengthen" and stretch out my muscles after a long intense week.

6.   Eat.  You must have a caloric deficit to lose weight, but cutting calories alone will not improve body composition.  All calories are not created equally.  You will lose weight by eating 1000 calories a day of chocolate cake, but this won't help you lose fat and look lean.  Starving yourself to lose weight will lead to a loss of muscle.  You NEED muscle to change the shape of your body and to burn fat.  I'm about 5'5" and roughly 125 pounds.  Pounds are meaningless (except to use as a basic tool).  Right now I'm eating between 1200-1800 calories (depending on workout intensity) of protein and veggies every 3-5 hours.  Much less would lead to a loss of muscle and awaken the body's propensity to hold onto fat for survival.

In my effort to support your protein intake here is a vegetarian friendly Protein Brownie recipe that I have modified to make "paleoish"!  Happy eating!

Protein Brownies:1/2 cup almond flour
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (Jay Robb brand recommended)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Stevia to taste/desired sweetness
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Come visit my Facebook page Cave Princess for more recipes and bits of information!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Time Saving Suggestions

How can I find the time?   I work sixty hours a week. I have to balance school with a job and friends.  I’m a single mother. I have four kids.  I’m an exhausted new mother.   Everyone has a legitimate reason to feel overwhelmed by embracing a diet FUELED BY NATURE void of packaged and processed food, but once you make the commitment to your health good choices will become EASY.  Not lying.  You're going to make the time, because your palate won't be able to handle half the crap you used to crave. 
I am Blessed with the ability to stay home with my children, so admittedly I can be more flexible with my schedule than a woman who juggles a job with her countless other demands.  However, my husband is active duty military.  His position takes him away from the family for extended periods of time, and when he is home the hours he works are very demanding.  Most mornings he leaves before the children awake and barely makes it home to kiss them goodnight.  Ask many military spouses- we are single parents, often nowhere near our families to offer additional support. My husband will be transferring to a new position next month.  (We’re moving again!  Our third in three years! ) This new position will actually require quite a few hours of volunteer work from me.  Raising three strong-willed children ages six and under combined with studying for my personal training certification, researching for my blog, and preparing for my volunteer work keeps me busy enough!  So, like all of you, I still experience the stress of juggling numerous priority boxes.
Embracing a predominately all natural diet can feel overwhelming, because it requires so much planning, preparation and precious time.  Take it one step at a time.  Adopt healthy changes at your pace.  Here are some of my favorite time-saving techniques. 
1.     I plan my menu for the week, so that I have the proper amount of meat and vegetables ordered or purchased (I order a lot online and haunt farmers markets; I'll share some of my favorite websites soon).  Having a weekly menu also makes trips to the grocery store more efficient.   
2.      I’m not partial to dedicating a large portion of one day to cooking, but many of my successfully fit friends swear by this approach.  They prepare large amounts of meat (grill, roast), slice vegetables and fruits, bake, etc. for the week on one day.  Many of the women I have observed taking this approach who are on a fat loss or weight loss journey divide their portions on this day as well.  I prefer to make my homemade mayo (super easy with a blender), prepare marinades and sauces, and bake paleo desserts for the babies on my prep day, using my other time saving techniques throughout the week.   
3.      If I’m making chili or marinara sauce I double the recipe and freeze the second portion.  If I’m making coconut flour waffles or pancakes I double the batch and pop them in the freezer to be heated in the toaster upon request.  Same goes for other paleo treats- that way I am able to offer homemade desserts throughout the week without stress.  
4.      Maybe you don’t have time to prepare a homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Quite often I put leftover meat in my son’s lunch.  People always pack cold turkey or cold roast beef sandwiches… what’s the difference???  It’s the same thing minus the insulin spiking wheat and potentially destructive gluten!  Leftovers also make delicious breakfasts.  Get over the fact you’re eating last night’s stir fry at 7:00 am!  If you have left over grilled chicken take a few minutes before cleaning up the kitchen for the night and prepare a yummy chicken salad with your paleo mayo and a little curry.  Recipes for both at the bottom of the post.  When I was single I rarely cooked, because I thought I'd waste half of the food.  Embrace the leftovers and reconstitute the ingredients. 
5.   I came across this website and was really impressed with this easy and cost efficient lunch solution.  Salad in a Jar!  Pre-made salads in mason jars! Chop veggies, layer in a mason jar, store in fridge, shake and toss when ready to consume!  Genius! 
6.     When I’m chopping vegetables for dinner I always cut enough for breakfast omelets.  In the past the thought of eating sweet potatoes in the morning or early afternoon was wicked unappetizing, but do you have any idea how delicious sweet potatoes are sauteed with some chicken sausage, a little bit of apple and a couple eggs?  Oh my!  What a perfect post work out meal- protein and healthy carbs! My children are addicted to sweet potato fries, jicama fries, etc.  Knowing this, when chopping up these veggies, I prep enough to use for a second meal. Why not save time?  The cutting board is already out and knife already dirty!
7.     Perhaps you’re trying to spend more quality time with your family and the thought of all this preparation seems daunting.  Turn your kiddos into mini sous chefs!  Brenden, Brielle and Bridget feel so empowered using the hand mixer, pouring ingredients into bowls, or stirring with wooden spoons.  I also let them make suggestions - like: adding chocolate chips to our waffle batter.   The Bs are far more open to eating new dishes if they have had a hand in the preparation!
8.     Keep your pantry stocked with the basics.  Always.  Coconut milk, organic canned tomatoes and curry can create a myriad of quick and easy meals.

Pantry Item Staples: Example of what I always have on hand!

~ coconut milk-canned (Native Forest; Thai Kitchen)
~ coconut oil (solid form for hot temps)
~ virgin coconut oil (solid form for hot temps with coconut taste)
~ coconut flakes (no sugar added)
~ flour (almond, coconut)
~ olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil etc. (for dressings and marinades)
~ spices (
~ salt (
Himala Salt)
~ raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
~ unsweetened cocoa powder
~ troll-pole caught canned tuna
~ canned tomatoes (Muir Glen organic is my fav because I can find it in the commissary)
~ tomato paste (Muir Glen organic)
~ stone ground mustard

9.     Buy a slow cooker or a pressure cooker and splurge on a good blender.  My slow cooker gets a workout at least three or four days a week.  I can purchase tougher (less expensive) cuts of grass-fed beef when I use a slow cooker/pressure cooker, because the method in which it is heated leaves virtually any cut beyond fork tender.  As for my blender. . . My Vitamix. . . I'm so in love.  Every morning I make green smoothies.  Post to follow soon!!!
9.     Next time you roast a whole chicken turn it into an opportunity to make homemade chicken stock/broth.  Put your whole chicken in a slow cooker or pressure cooker; fill with filtered water until your chicken is covered; add a few celery stalks and carrots (no need to peel; you’re not going to be eating these veggies); stuff the chicken with some lemon; add tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and spices.  I also include a fair amount of sea salt.  (Many recipes do not include salt, but I prefer the flavor with some salt).  Strain the liquid in a colander; store in the fridge over night; scrape off the film that forms at the top of your container.  Freeze what you don’t use! 
10.  Always make a shopping list!
       Homemade Mayo Recipe
1 egg from a pasture raised chicken
1-2 T lemon juice
1 cup lightly flavored (not extra virgin) olive oil or macadamia nut oil (which is expensive)
salt and pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)

I can't recommend this recipe unless you use a pasture egg.  They are considered safe to consume raw.  If you don't feel like reading the article it basically states that the number of cases of Salmonella from pasture eggs is negligible. 
Put egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender/food processor.  SLOWLY add the oil.  Drizzle it in.  This process should take you about 2-3 minutes, so clear out the kitchen if anyone is annoyed by the sound of a blender.  Cover. Refridgerate.  Good for about a week.

Curry Chicken Salad
1-2 cups cooked and diced chicken breast,chicken thigh, etc. (great recipe for leftovers)
1-2 T Homemade mayo (or pick up some organic mayo made with olive oil)
1-1/2 T curry powder
1 handful of sliced raw almonds
salt/pepper to taste
Mix ingredients well

Experiment with a little dried fruit (if you've got some calories/sugar grams to spare).  I have used 1-2 T raisins, a handful of diced dried apricots.
OR.... Fold in some fresh pineapple!  I love the way the curry works with the pineapple.
Serve over a big pile of greens!  Hey you could put it in your "salad jar"!

Check out my Facebook page . . .  Cave Princess  . . . I try to post additional recipes and articles! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What else should I eat? Are grains the devil?

Are grains an evil substance placed on Earth to make us fat and unhealthy?  I'm not that extreme in my paleo-friendly views; I simply try to fuel my body with the best nutritional options.  Is a whole wheat dinner roll better for me than a cup of  broccoli?  No.  Is whole wheat pasta better for me than a serving of green beans cooked up with some almonds?  No.  Is steamed brown rice better for me than a large leafy green salad?  No.  I want to be inclusive.  I want everyone to be able to pick up and use some of this knowledge.  I want you to share your knowledge with me.  Even if you never embark on this journey at the very least you will think twice about stuffing your face with empty calories that may actually be doing some harm to your body.  What kind of harm?  This is just one example: a leaky gut .   There are many viable food alternatives out there that are equally as delicious (if not more because you know you're fueling your body responsibly) as the traditional staples in the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Below I've included a homemade protein bar recipe as just one little example.

Grains are a sensitive topic.  If you have celiac disease (an immune reaction in the small intestines that causes damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients) eliminating the gluten found in grains is vital to your survival.  Most of us do not live with such a severe reason to give up eating pizza, but through this blog I plan to offer you a few examples of how becoming FUELED BY NATURE has made my life better.  Most importantly, however, is the positive changes I have seen in my children.  By taking grain options out of their daily lives (don't let me fool you they love soccer and T-ball season for all of the snacks) they are open to trying new foods and eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.  I can't wait to share with you some of our snack ideas!  They too are FUELED BY NATURE, and are extremely happy, healthy children.  Mind you- I still order them pizza and cheesy bread from Naked Pizza (it is mostly organic with probiotic crust...check them out online) on "pizza Fridays"! 

I modified this recipe from Jamie Eason, a fitness model/writer and spokesperson for, and made it paleo-friendly.

Carrot Cake Protein Bars
1 C Almond Flour (1/4 C= 160 cal; 14 g fat; 6 carb; 6 protein)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use Jay Robb brand)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice
3 whole eggs (as a lower calorie option her recipe calls for egg whites)
2 four ounce jars of organic baby food carrots (sounds scary but works so well)
1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
1/4 C raw honey or maple syrup (the real deal variety not the sugary crap).  You can also sweeten the bars with 1/8 C powdered Stevia (expensive) but add a bit more almond milk to keep the consistency like pancake batter or just add a few drops of liquid Stevia is another option, but I haven't researched it much.  I like the taste of Truvia, but there isn't a ton of research on Rubiana and Erythritol (two ingredients in Truvia).  I do know that Splenda can be a controversial sweetener.  Sucrolose (brand name Splenda) gives me wicked headaches.  Probably not a good sign, so I don't feel comfortable recommending this sweetener.  Plus anything 600 times as sweet as table sugar can't be good for your blood sugar levels.  Poor body must get confused!

Bake your bars at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (or until your knife comes out clean)

These are delicious!!!  Where can you find Almond Flour???  Little Bridgey found hers at the local commissary!  Stevia and Truvia are located in the sugar aisle of your grocery store.

I understand most people are not going to completely eliminate rice and grains from their diets.  My husband, Shane, is one of those people!  He eats what I cook and enjoys my cooking, so by proxy the man eats a 65-75% primal oriented diet.  Shane supports my paleo endevours with the children, because he has witnessed an incredible improvement in their attitudes towards healthy food, (Brenden, my six year old son, is always giving us warnings about fats, oils and sweets), but he is not ready and may never be ready to commit to a primal lifestyle.  I'm fine with that!  But,,, I do insist that he eats "clean" carbohydrates.  I don't purchase grains very often, but I do keep one loaf of bread in the freezer for Shane.  It is Ezekiel Bread bread is made from sprouted whole grains.  Bodybuilders often incorporate Ezekiel bread into their diets because the Food For Life company claims their bread has all 9 essential amino acids.  Are you paying attention vegetarians???  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  This bread claims to contain 18 amino acids of which 9 are essential!  Sounds way better for you than a piece of pretend wheat bread loaded with hidden sugars.  This bread is located in the freezer section of your grocery store.

If you're going to eat grains, make them clean!  Tosca Reno has an entire line of "clean eating" cookbooks available.  Be careful if you're looking to cut fat. . . _some_ of her recipes are heavy on on the carbs, but I own a few of her cookbooks and feel comfortable recommending them to individuals. You might also like her story; she reinvented herself "later" in life.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Should I eat? A few Paleo Basics

Life shouldn't be about deprivation. I know what you're thinking. She is going to list off a bunch of stuff I can't eat. Let's accentuate the positive. Here is a sample recipe to show you this lifestyle is very manageable!

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Adult/Lower Carbohydrate/Lower Gylcemic Version:
1/4 C coconut flour (2T= 2g fat; 8g carb; 2g protein; 60 calories)
4 eggs
1/4 C unsweetened almond milk (1C= 3.5g fat; 2g carb; 1g protein; 40 calories)
1/4tsp baking soda
1/4tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp almond extract or vanilla extract
Stevia to desired sweetness
(option#1 to increase carbohydrates by folding in berries, or try 1/4 C canned pumpkin with a dash of nutmeg)
(option#2 to increase protein add a scoop of vanilla protein powder. I like Jay Robb brand because his whey comes from grass-fed cows! How cool is that? carries this brand regularly with many free shipping options.

Kid-Friendly Coconut Flour Pancakes
1/4 C coconut flour
4 eggs
1/4 C maple syrup (real deal-not sugar infused)
1/4 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
(Option to add chocolate chips- I like to buy the three Bs Sunspire brand Fair Trade Organic 65% cacao)

Krista,,,,,,,,,,, where can I find coconut flour? More on that in a moment! Let's focus on what we should and can eat!

The majority of your plate should consist of vegetables. Don't groan! In your heart you always knew it to be true! I'm not a licensed nutritionist, but I hope you trust me on this one. Once you start eliminating processed food from your diet vegetables will take on a whole new level of flavor. I actually ENJOY eating vegetables now! Every morning I start my day with a green smoothie (post and recipes to follow at a later date). Leafy greens are the most nutritionally dense and "calorically" sparse foods, so load up! I eat cucumber slices, raw red peppers, celery sticks, raw broccoli, etc. for lunch and cooked vegetables for dinner. If you're wanting to eliminate a little bodyfat watch your portions of sweet potatoes and other starchy veggies- squash, carrots, etc. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE sweet potatoes and think they are satiating and super nutritious, but I enjoy fitting into a certain size, so I only eat them a few times a week.

Get lean tip (I have tons of them) : a good time to consume starchy veggies is after a tough workout when your muscles are jonzin' for some carbs! Carbs aren't going to make you fat; you just need to know how to eat and use them wisely!

Corn is a starchy veggie? How often may I eat corn? Here is my first negative statement. NO CORN. My explanation is too lengthy for this post. We'll touch on it soon. Just think genetically modified and illegal in other countries.

Vegetables... are great...what else can I eat on this paleo/primal journey?

If you're a omnivore lean meats are a dietary staple. Pasture raised chicken, fish, turkey, grass-fed beef, compassionately raised pork, pasture raised eggs etc. (Krista,,,,,, where can I find these special meats you're talking about? I will post about them soon!) Higher fat meats and game meats, such as lamb or bison, are also a positive addition to your diet. How much should I be eating? Think the palm of your hand 3-6oz. How do I know how many ounces of meat I'm eating?

Get lean tip (told you I had a lot of them). Invest in an inexpensive food scale. Take your Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon and buy you a little food scale! You will know exactly how many ounces or grams of anything your eating!

If you're a paleo-vegetarian (yes that demographic exists), vegetarian or vegan protein becomes a little more tricky. Vegetarians can somewhat rely on eggs and dairy products. Some paleo followers consume dairy and others do not. I personally do not (unless I'm indulging in a cheat meal), but Shane (my husband) and my three children use organic dairy products- preferably from grass-fed cows. There is something extremely unsavory at the thought of my children eating cheese or yogurt from an animal that is packed into a warehouse and pumped full of steroids and antibiotics, so I make organic dairy a priority despite the extra cost. Vegans have to be "good little vegans" and truly consume massive amounts of leafy green vegetables to get the necessary amounts of amino acids to build complete proteins. I'm not a vegan nor an expert on the science behind principles of building amino acid strands, but I have a very strong working knowledge of nutrition, and know that loading up on vegan junk food is going to starve your body and cause you to gain fat.

What about soy? I'm vegan. Can I eat soy? My second negative comment. NO SOY. Once again, this post would be far too long (too late) for me to touch on that now. Just think genetically modified with links to issues with estrogen levels which can negatively impact some cancers.

Eat a little fruit! Krista,,,, I heard that fruit is going to make me fat. Ummmmmmmm. Yes and no. Fruit has often been called the perfect antioxidant. When consumed on an empty stomach your body just seems to absorb all of those delectable nutrients! I eat fruit in my green smoothies in the morning pre workout.

Get lean tip (visit my Facebook page Cave Princess for even more tips and recipes): I'd also recommend eating a small portion of fruit (half a banana, half an apple) post workout to refuel muscles.

When I want to cut fat, I cut back on the fruit (not eliminate- why deprive yourself of such delicious nutrition). As for my children, they eat a ton of fruit! Dried fruit, or nature's candy, is something that tempts me. I use it in recipes but refrain from snacking on dried fruit. Have you seen how many grams of sugar are in a single serving of dried apricots? My son, Brenden, is MAJORLY skinny. Guess who is allowed to eat a healthy portion of dried fruit?

That takes us to nuts and other healthy fats. Yes! Eat them in moderation! Think outside the box as well. Little Bridget (Bridgey) can't get enough of coconut flakes. They are actually loaded with protein. Sprinkle some unsweetened coconut on your fruit; add a little to your curry dishes. Nuts are a great addition to your diet. What is the portion? Twenty two is a standard number I often hear. When I'm being strict and measuring my food I go for 1/4 of a cup; when I'm not looking to cut fat I eyeball it and say about a handful (not a NBA basketball player handful-my small palm portion). Go for RAW nuts. Roasted and salted are far more interesting...AT FIRST... but you will soon appreciate nuts raw. I literally think about raw walnuts and look forward to eating a few each day. No lie! Avocado? Absolutely- in moderation! I know mega lean bodybuilders that rely on this healthy fat. Olives? Sure- in moderation! What about cooking oils and dressings?

Get fit tip (plenty more at my Facebook page Cave Princess): When cooking rely on coconut oil (serving about the size of your thumb). There is some tricky science behind it (we can go into at a later time), but coconut oil (not the spray kind) in its solid form (it actually looks like Crisco but will melt when heated) is considered one of the healthier fats and should be your "go to oil" for higher heats. Virgin coconut oil tastes like coconut-not a bad thing for some dishes; while the non-virgin variety basically has little to no taste. What about olive oil? It is recommended that olive oil not be heated; the way the fat is broken down can effect the body negatively. Olive oil is great in salad dressings, etc. I also use macadamia nut oil in low to no heat recipes.

"OMG. She didn't mention pasta." You're right! Bread, pasta and rice. . . What do they actually do to fuel your body other than give you a carbo load before running a marathon? What do they provide your body with that good wholesome fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat dont offer in abundance?

Is your brain about to explode? Come visit me again for more information! Now back to where you can find coconut flour. Brielle found it at our local commissary!

I also HIGHLY recommend Tropical Traditions . TT sells a variety of coconut products to include coconut oil and coconut flour. They ALWAYS have deals; free shipping, buy one get one free; 50% off etc.!

Please note I'm not a licensed nutritionist. These are informed opionions that have worked for me and for countless others!