What is gluten anyway? And a recipe for gluten free cake!

My sister and I were out running errands a couple months ago, and we stopped by a local restaurant to grab lunch.  I had an ahi tuna wrap and one beer.  We wrapped up lunch and on the way to our next stop (bridal store for bridesmaid shopping) my fingers were so swollen I couldn’t get my rings off and my stomach started to hurt.  I said something along the lines of “stupid gluten” and she looked at me and said “what is gluten anyways?”  I paused for a moment and thought…”I really don’t know.”  Is it a powder, a liquid, a protein, a fat, carb?  Does some little gluten fairy go around sprinkling gluten dust on bread??  I knew why it was bad, what it was in, why people are intolerant to it, etc., but didn’t know what the correct definition of it was.  

Definition: Gluten is a protein composite in wheat and related grains in the triticeae family of grassy grains or cereal grains.  

  • It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture 
  • Often used as a food additive, a protein supplement or even as a food by itself.  Meat substitutes, also known as imitation meat or wheat meat, are often composed of concentrated gluten  
  • Provides thickness and is commonly used in flavorings and sauces
  • Commonly found in baked goods and grains, i.e. cakes, bread, cereal, couscous, etc

Foods Containing Hidden Gluten:


Luncheon meat

Blue cheese

Gravy powder and browning

Matzo flour/meal

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Baked beans

Farina Meat and fish pastes Paté

Self basting turkeys Sauces



Instant coffee

Brown rice


Potato chips

Soy sauce

Salad dressings

Malt vinegar

Imitation crab meat

OXO cubes


for more information on gluten, continue reading from these pages:


Mark’s Daily Apple

Robb Wolf

Cake Recipe – I’ve not made yet but might try out on my birthday!  Looks good 🙂 


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Back in Action – 60 Day Paleo/Health Challenge

So…it’s been a while!  The holidays were crazy, work is crazy, and life is just so busy! Last Sunday was the start of a 60 day Paleo team challenge.  In the first 30 days, NO CHEATS ARE ALLOWED, AND ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL.  I’m pretty sure I’ve not gone a month without alcohol since….high school.  That’s sad.  The second 30 days, we can have 2 cheat meals, and can incorporate certain alcohol back in but that also has to be included in the 2 cheats we get.  We must eat paleo, workout 3 days a week and get 7 hours of sleep each night to get all of our points.  Yikers.  

The first week is almost over and it actually hasn’t been THAT hard.  Not having my chocolate with my coffee in the morning has been brutal and I’m definitely craving salty carbs, but overall it’s not been that bad.  It has made me realize how much “thoughtless” eating I do though regularly.  I would grab a handful of chocolate or nuts or chips, etc and not even think twice about it.  Now that it’s gone, I realize I ate a TON of that stuff!

For meals, I’ve been keeping it simple.  Making a lot of one thing and eating it throughout the week.  I’m eating a ton of fruit to help satiate my sweet tooth, but hopefully that will deminish soon.  *fingers crossed*

Week 1 – Breakfast

This morning we did the Crossfit workout Whitten.  I didn’t eat dinner like an idiot b/c I got home so late but I felt it today big time.  I did however make myself and the hubs a great breakfast for recovery.  You want to make sure you are getting enough carbs, especially after a hard workout.

And I quote “I can’t get over how good this breakfast is.” – The Hubs

Fried Eggs w/Sweet Potato Rounds, sautéed Spinach, & Bacon – oh my

Feeds 2

4 Eggs

2 Cups Spinach

3 pieces of bacon (the good stuff)

1 medium sweet potato

cinnamon, salt & pepper


In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP of coconut oil. 

Slice Sweet Potato in 1/2 – 1 inch rounds

Place Sweet Potatoes in skillet and sprinkle with cinnamon

Cook on each side until browned and softened

While SP’s are cooking, cook bacon in another pan (I love my flat skillet for this)

Remove bacon & and SP’s from pan and place on plate.


Drain some of the bacon grease from pan.  While pan is still hot, crack eggs and place on flat skillet.  Let them cook until they are solid enough that you can fold the eggs over like an omelet.  Let cook and flip once to make sure both sides are cooked.  The yolks should still be liquidy (not cooked solid).  With a large spatula, remove from pan and place on top of sweet potato rounds and bacon slices.


Cook spinach in the same pan that the bacon and eggs were cooked in.  Saute until soft.  Place on top of eggs “pile”. 

Sprinkle whole thing with salt and pepper.  Serve and enjoy 🙂


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Natural Cold Remedies

I am writing this under the influence of Theraflu – the SLEEPY kind.  I didn’t realize until after drinking an entire coffee mug of it that it makes you drowsy!  I could fall asleep right now – feeling a little high right now.

Did not see this before I took it:

"This packet does not contain full product information." i.e. it will make you feel like you are in outer space.

Yesterday I started to get a sore throat, and even after drugging myself to sleep last night and taking loads of vitamin C, it’s still here today.  I hate being sick but I don’t want to take all of the chemically meds out there to get rid of it or make me feel better.  So, I’ve been in search of natural cold remedies.  I will try them this week and have an update with what I think worked the best.

Delicious Cold Remedy
This delicious cold remedy will get rid of symptoms of cold pretty fast. It will also clean your system.

1/4 pound seedless raisins
3 ounces ginger root
3 cups of honey
6 lemons
4 oranges
1 gallon of distilled water

Put the water in a large pan. Add the softened ginger root, honey, and seedless raisins. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. Skim the top as needed. Cool, strain and place in a tightly closed container overnight in the refrigerator. 

The next day, squeeze 6 lemons and 4 oranges and add to the mixture. Mix well.

Drink 2-3 glasses per day.

Garlicfrom Everyday Paleo

Garlic naturally has a lot of antibiotic and antiviral properties and it can really help lessen the severity and time of an illness, in my experience. For maximum potency, finely mince a couple of cloves and drink it water. (Nasty, I know, but it works). This can be repeated every few hours until symptoms are gone. [Note: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove a day, and children often will not take this remedy.]


Sage is a traditional remedy of long standing for soothing sore throats as it has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. For an inflamed throat and hoarseness use a hot sage infusion or gargle with a sage, apple cider vinegar and honey mix. In feverish conditions, sage is very cooling. Take as a tea or tincture.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A teaspoon in warm water gargled and then drank can help sore throat symptoms and some sources also suggest that it can help kill viruses and bacteria.   Can also be used to help with sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout.  – not so sure about all of that but worth a shot!

Vitamin C 

This is the first thing I buy (and actually try to keep in stock) when I start to feel sick.  It is well known for its illness-fighting capabilities.

Eat Well

For me, when I get sick, I always want to grab comfort foods of my childhood, such as crackers, toast, etc. when I’m hungry.  But, you should actually do the opposite!  At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. When you are ill, you don’t actually need to eat a lot of food, as the body needs to focus more on healing than digestion.

Hydrate & Rest

Always make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids – teas, water, coconut water.  And of course, REST!!  This has to be hardest one…take a few days off from the gym, relax and let your body heal.

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Detox Days 2 and 3

Detox days 2 & 3 have been pretty successful.  Not very tasteful, but honestly I’m just in the mood for some GREENS and MEAT.  I’ve not even really had the taste for fruit this week.

Meals consisted of:

Hard Boiled Eggs

 Spinach at pretty much ever meal, along with lots of other veggies. 

Fresh Spinach

 Turkey Breast (b/c I didn’t get enough at Thanksgiving…sike)

Turkey Breast

  Avocado is a staple at a lot of meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Amazing taste and great fat. 




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DETOX – Meal Numero Uno

First of all, Thanksgiving was AMAZING and so much fun.  Jack and I spent the holiday in PA with his aunt, uncle, cousins and their significant others and their families, and Jack’s grandparents.  I can’t thank them enough for having us and sharing the holiday with us.  We loved every minute of it!!!


Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, I’m officially in desperate need of a detox. Although I didn’t completely over do it, I didn’t stay paleo. The food was delicious, but rich and not what I’m used to eating (at least for 4 days straight). But to be honest, it’s not just Thanksgiving, it’s a couple of lifestyle choices that I make weekly/daily that I need to change. 

YES, BELIEVE IT.  I eat candy almost everyday.

I’m not one that can ban certain foods.  I need to be able to “allow” myself all foods in order to stay sane and to not obsess over it.  The problem is that I’ve been allowing myself way too much to have foods that are not as good for me as others. 

Besides the obvious health benefits of eating clean, the Crossfit Open starts in February and I want to be able to perform my best!  I’m not going to make it to Crossfit Games, but I’d still like to say that I did everything I could to do my best during these 5 weeks. 

So, this week I am eating – trying to – eat clean.  This week’s menu consists of veggies, veggies, veggies, little fruit and lean meats, i.e. tuna, grass-fed beef, and chicken.

This is a sample of the meals.  Doesn’t look appetizing but that isn’t the goal of this week.  Baked chicken, broccolini, and beets.  The beets bled on the chicken – makes it look even better!!

 Tomorrow will a sample of day 2 of detox’s meal.  It’s far more appetizing looking than this one!!

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Stuffed Baked Pears – Thanksgiving

If you are anything like me, Thanksgiving comes with a love hate relationship.  I used to stress out about all the extra calories, and blah blah blah that went along with a holiday surrounded by food.  Over the past few years, I’ve learned to let this go and just enjoy the day, family, and of course, the food.

I do let myself indulge on Thanksgiving, but try not to go overboard.  Stick to your favorite foods, and then like everything else, eat in moderation.  If you are able to cook and contribute to the meal, take something paleo and healthy!  As paleo has proved time and time again, people don’t know it’s paleo and it’s always almost always delish.

This recipe can be made for a Thanksgiving dessert or a fancy breakfast treat 🙂

Paleo Stuffed Baked Pears


  • 4 medium ripe pears
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup – 100% Pure Certified Organic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee or organic butter
  • 2/3 cup apple juice


  1. Core pears and peel 1 in. down from the top on each. Brush peeled portion with some of the lemon juice. Place in a greased 1-qt. baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, combine the walnuts, raisins, syrup, brown sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon and remaining lemon juice. Spoon into pears. Dot with butter. Pour apple juice around pears. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until pears are tender, basting several times.

**I do not have pics of my finished product due to them all being eaten before I remembered to take a picture.  These are pics I found online and are very close to what the pears should look like – minus the oats.**

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Paleo Caribbean Seafood Stew

This if one of the first paleo recipes I ever made.  It’s probably the first meal I made that Jack stopped worrying that he’d never have a good home cooked meal again.  Like I’ve said before, my cooking attempts before paleo, were less than par.  Thanks to discovering Every Day Paleo last fall, I can now be considered a good (decent at least) cook 🙂

Caribbean Seafood Stew

2 lbs of  raw seafood (1 lb of wild caught shrimp and 1 lb of mahi mahi pieces, both from Trader Joe’s)

1 yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons cumin

1 bunch cilantro

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Dice up the stems of the cilantro bunch and set aside. In a large soup pot saute the onions in the coconut oil.  When the onions start to turn brown, add the garlic and the cilantro stems and saute for another 2-3 onions.  Add the tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper, mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the seafood and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the seafood is done.  Serve with the cilantro leaves on top as a garnish.

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