Holiday Wrap Up

Despite contrary sentiments I noticed on Facebook, I was quite sad to see the end of 2014.  For us it was a great year – one of strength, stability, growth and success.  Perhaps most importantly, we felt healthy and strong, committed and comfortable with our paleo lifestyle.  On the flip side, we’re looking forward to carrying this into 2015 and making this year just as great.

The holidays were the perfect time for us to unwind, relax and hang out with family and friends.  There’s not much that can compete with sleeping in, mom’s (paleo) cookies and dad’s fresh squeezed oj 🙂  Did we keep it paleo through all the parties and travel? Duh, totes. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite things and what we ate.

Santa knows us pretty well.  These are a few of the awesome gifts we think you should know about:

  • Mala Beads: These are beautiful, handcrafted pieces.  I got the Strengthening Agate Mala for its ability to ground and balance emotion as well as its healing properties
  • Mascara: This is my go to mascara that is gluten free
  • Salad Spinner: This has saved me loads of time in the lettuce washing department
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We’ve literally used this every day since we got it
  • Smart Wool Socks: Amazing, comfortable and feet don’t get sweaty or cold.  We also love the Defeet brand.

As for food, we don’t travel light.  We ordered groceries ahead of time from and  We packed the car with the food, a box of our spices and even a crockpot.  Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Christmas Eve: Paleo Chili from Against All Grain cookbook.
  • Christmas Day: Eggs*, Bacon, Avocado and Fed and Fit’s Blueberry Scones.*  Grass Fed Pot Roast, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  For the pie, I used this crust and this filling.
  • The next 2 days were spent in Peoria, where we ate leftover scones, more avocados, salads and veggies. We also had a new pot of Chili and some Grass Fed Italian Beef (Thanks Dave!)  We went out to eat one night where we ordered burgers with no buns and a side salad.  Chuck also finished off the rest of our cookies on the drive down when I fell asleep!  We had some backup larabars, renola and almond butter if we needed it.

*I have a sensitivity to eggs so I don’t eat them.  My accommodating mom made the scones by substituting one banana for the egg and they turned out amazing!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Happy New Year!!

New Years Day
New Years Day Selfie at the University Club of Chicago


Surprise! Chef Josh “Live” – Kitchfix in our Kitch

Before we were Paleo, we’d eat out or order food at least 5 nights of the week. These days it is a big deal if we go out once or twice a month. There is so much involved in going out now like researching menus ahead of time, worrying about cross contamination and hoping the wait staff truly knows what dietary restrictions mean. Now that we cook so often, we’ve really honed our skills. Because we use high quality ingredients, we often find that we prefer our own food to a restaurant. In spite of all of this, Chuck said we were going out to dinner on my birthday last month. He wouldn’t give me any details, but assured me it was completely Paleo compliant. We are very strict with diet so I was really curious and excited.

I came home after work and patiently waited for him to finish a real estate showing in our building so we could head out. I was sitting at our kitchen island drinking a cup of bone broth when he got back. Then, I noticed that Chef Josh Katt was walking in behind him. I recognized him as the chef behind Kitchfix, a service that delivers pre-made food including Paleo friendly options. We order from them every single week and had met Josh before. “Weird” I thought, “was his showing with Josh Katt?!” That’s when Josh said “Hey! I’m going to be cooking for you tonight!” Shut the front door! This was totally a dream come true. You cavemen and women know that preparing Paleo meals day after day can get tedious and laborious. I’ve always wanted someone to just come over and cook me dinner without having to worry about any part of it. Chuck hit this one out of the park! After freaking out, I swapped my dress for comfy clothes and my bone broth for red wine. Although Josh said we could sit at the table and he’d serve us, we opted to remain at the island. That way we could all talk together and watch him create a 3 course masterpiece. He pulled out tons of ingredients that he brought and started cooking. It was amazing. Our menu consisted of:

First Course – Seared scallops with chorizo and bacon crumbles

CJK First Course

Second Course – Lamb chops, brussel sprouts, micro-greens and a perfectly spicy sauce

CJK Main Course

Third Course – Pumpkin crème brulee in a pumpkin garnished with strawberries, pomegranate, diced apple and bacon.

CJK Pumpkin Creme Brulee_

Chef Josh also left us with a box of their Kitchfix cookies (delicious!) and gave us some of their Kitchfix Paleo granola (which you can find at many Mariano’s grocery stores around the city!) Thank you, Chuck, for making my birthday so special and for always knowing just what I want (or need). Thank you, Chef Josh, for taking the time to cook for us. Your food is amazing and we had the best night!

For those of you who live in the Chicago area and want to try Kitchfix yourself, here is our referral link.

We’d love to know what you think!

Veggie Selfie Contest for $50 Door to Door Organics Gift Card

Super cool giveaway!  The prize? An awesome $50 gift card to Door To Door Organics Chicago.  To enter, Just snap a pic of yourself with your favorite vegetable.  Post your Veggie Selfie on Instagram with the following hashtags #veggieselfie #doortodoororganics #mepaleo.  Or post your Veggie Selfie to Facebook and Like MePaleo and Like DoorToDoorOrganics Chicago.  Easy peasy!

Check out Rene and her greens…

Rene's Veggie Selfie
Rene’s Veggie Selfie

Do Celebrities Eat Gluten?

Those of you that know me know I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip.  To Chuck’s dismay, I love shows like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor. I like to catch up on my Hollywood friends by perusing entertainment sites online during my daily train commutes.  Today, I came across an article from Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free?

I’ve got to say that this article totally pissed me off.  Now, I get it…it’s a short blurb of an article and it’s probably not meant to elicit thought-provoking, intellectual scientific discussion.  I’m sure they’ve got to keep things fairly superficial for our small, entertainment focused minds.  There’s my problem.  You don’t introduce a topic that is both controversial and important like this one, fill it with mis-information and then end it with a flimsy sentence saying:  “But before we throw money after potentially unnecessary gluten-free alternatives, let’s let the scientific community investigate further!”

I want my fellow celebrity stalkers to know this is not good advice!! Don’t wait for that – there is a ton of information out there already.  There are so many things I disagree with in this short, shallow article.  But, I’ll just cut to the chase.  One sentence in the article said: “Researchers found that the subjects reported worsening of their symptoms with all of the diets, including the gluten-free diets.”  You can’t eat gluten one day and then not eat it the next day expecting symptoms to go away.  You also have to address other items that can be working against you (toxins, sleep patterns and a host of others that are topics for another blog). The best way to test for gluten (or any other food sensitivity) is through an elimination diet.  You have to eliminate the food from your diet COMPLETELY for at least 30 days (many people do longer) and then re-introduce it again to see if it causes any symptoms.   I would highly recommend cutting out gluten and never re-introducing it, though, as I believe it is the worst.  Why?  Keep reading for my references…..I just have a few more quick thoughts to get off my chest first!

I’m not a doctor or the world’s most prominent gluten expert, but Harley isn’t either.  I don’t have a famous television show to carry my message, but I do have this blog and I do have first-hand experience. I think it would be awesome if everyone gave up gluten (and a host of other terrible foods) and went Paleo.  The results for me have been nothing short of exceptional.  Yes, I had a compelling reason to try it out.  But, many others (some of whom we’ve featured on this blog) have done it and haven’t looked back because the change in the way you feel is so great!  Do I expect that everyone will live this way – no.  Do I hate my friends that eat gluten – of course not.  Do I want you to stop reading People magazine?  Don’t be silly.  Do I hope you try it out and get educated on the topic from some place other than entertainment mags?  Totes Magotes!! 

Here are some of my celebrities that I follow specifically addressing the topic of Gluten:  (by the way, she IS a scientist!)

Of course, check out anything having to do with my personal hero, Dr. Terry Wahls:

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

This is a guest blog from our friend, Annie S. It is a very inspiring read. Thanks Annie for your wonderful contribution!


In January 2011, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t really ever catch colds or flu or anything, but dealt with the following symptoms on a daily basis: brain fog, tiredness, joint pain, allergies, headaches, and backaches. At this time I was very overweight – classified as morbidly obese. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in the mid 1990’s and attributed all these symptoms to my thyroid problems. I had tried numerous diets and exercise and just never got anywhere. I begged my doctor to run some additional thyroid tests and found out the medicing I was taking (T4 only) was not enough and I needed to take some additional T3 medicine. I also found out my thyroid antibodies were high which meant I had Hashimoto’s Disease (Autoimmune Thyroiditis). This was the first time this test had ever been done and my antibody count was 118 (normal is less than 34).
I remember getting a phone call from my local compounding pharmacist regarding the thyroid antibodies and they suggested that I eat a gluten free diet. I remember hanging up the phone and laughing to myself and shaking my head thinking there is NO WAY I would be able to change. I did some of my own internet research at that time and found there had been numerous people that were able to get their thyroid issues in check by eating a gluten free diet. I decided to give it a try. At first I probably only made it a couple of weeks before I would willingly cheat on something gluten filled. I noticed whenever I cheated, I would feel extremely bloated and I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose. In Aug 2011, I had new thyroid labs drawn and my antibodies were down to 98. At that time, I decided I needed to fully endorse a gluten free diet. By Nov 2011, my antibodies were down to 55. There is no doubt in my mind this was attributed to the gluten free diet. I continued on the gluten free path until May 2012 (weight loss still about 20lbs) when I started seeing a new doctor who I was hoping would have some magic answers that would cure my Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

My new doctor ran some additional tests and found my fasting insulin was 34 – he said normal was less than 9 and preferably 6. He suggested that I eat a Paleo diet in order to control the insulin issues. It took me awhile (a little over a year) to really give it a try. During that year, I would go through spurts of eating paleo for a week or so and then have some cheat meals every now and then. I added in a kickboxing class and managed to drop the fasting insulin level to 10.4 and thyroid antibodies to 32. I was so stoked that I was normal in the antibody range. The problem was that with all this working out, I had only managed to lose 15lbs in 7 months. I realize I should be thankful for any weight loss, but I was working hard and not seeing the results I thought I should be seeing. I was also experiencing a lot of moodiness, agitation, and frustration with everything that life handed me. I felt like I was unable to cope with minor things that would come my way. In August 2013, a friend of mine told me about a book she read called “It Starts With Food”. I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the science of how important food (nutrition) can be when dealing with a variety of illnesses. At that time, I made up my mind I would start the plan (eating paleo) the day after Labor Day.

Since I have started eating a paleo diet, I have seen many positive improvements. Most importantly for me was the change in my mood. I no longer feel agitated and frustrated. I also got rid of the consistent bloat. My joint pain and allergies had pretty much gone away by eating gluten free, but I did notice slight improvements in those areas as well. I have more energy and feel more focused on projects at work and in my personal life. I have also noticed that when I do get hungry, it isn’t an overwhelming feeling of “I have to eat now or I’m gonna hurt people”. No empty pit in my stomach, just a feeling of “Hey – you should probably eat something”. Another wonderful side effect was losing 22 pounds in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, I did reintroduce some foods so I would know how my body reacts to certain things like dairy and legumes. During the reintroduction phase, I found that my taste buds had actually changed and some foods actually tasted too sweet. (Words I NEVER thought would come out of my mouth). I also found that some foods make me feel not so good.

I do plan on sticking with the paleo lifestyle as much as I can. I know eating this way is what makes me feel my best. However, if I’m honest with myself I know I won’t be 100% paleo 100% of the time, but I am positive I can be 100% paleo 90% of the time. I also know how some foods make me feel and I know there are some things I never care to eat again because they make me feel so badly. I love having that knowledge.
My advice to everyone is that if you have any random symptom, pain, or illness you owe yourself 30 days of clean healthy paleo eating. It may be a little difficult at first, but it is worth it. YOU are worth it! I honestly had no clue how awful I must have felt until I started feeling amazing and everyone deserves to feel amazing! Please know that you do have control over your situation. You don’t always have to suffer with joint pain, bloat, tiredness, migraines, or irritability. Many times the food we put in our mouth is causing those very problems. Nutrition is a very powerful tool and when you eat the foods your body is designed to consume, your body will thank you.

Fancy Paleo – Chix and Shrooms

At first I thought this was just going to be a thrown together recipe for a run of the mill Paleo dinner.  Then, I started working the sauce and something extra delicious came together.  Call it a Paleo miracle. Taste buds blown away.  We actually made this two nights in a row and I would actually go a third, but we are out of mushrooms.  So good, I have to share (recipe below)…


2 large chicken breasts or 4 smaller breasts (approx 1.5 lbs)
1/2 lb organic crimini mushrooms, med sliced
1/2 small organic white onion, minced
2 1/2 tbsp organic coconut oil (we use the expeller pressed, flavor free kind)
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (this is the big flavor ingredient… I like a stainless barrel chardonnay)
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
1 cup full fat coconut milk (from a can, be sure to shake first!)
Salt & Pepper

Over medium-high heat, add coconut oil to large frying pan. When the oil is hot, cook chicken breasts until done (approx 7 min on each side). Remove chicken from pan, place on serving plate and cover with foil to retain moisture. Add minced onions to pan with olive oil and cook until translucent. Then add mushrooms and cook until lightly brown. Deglaze pan with white wine and add the chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce by half. Add the coconut milk and cook down until you get a nice brown gravy. The bubbles will cluster and take longer to pop when it is close to ready.

We served this with a side of oven roasted rainbow carrots from our CSA and ate everything.  Delicious eats!

Going Door to Door

Just a quick update on our organic deliveries…

About 2 months ago, we switched our delivery service to Door to Door Organics.  They deliver to our neighborhood every Tuesday and bring the box right up to the door.  Keeping with the green theme, the delivery person gladly takes back with last weeks empty box, packing material and cold packs.  The service has been superb and Door to Door Organics sets themselves apart in many ways.  They have an easy online ordering system with a “special diets” section for gluten free and dairy free products).  If you are ordering the weekly food boxes you have the option to substitute items that you don’t like of aren’t part of your diet.  They have a great product selection including organic, ethical meats (some of my favorites are Black Earth Meats and Gunthorp Farms).  Door to Door also has really great customer service.  We had an issue when they forgot to pack Rene’s strawberries two weeks in a row, but it just took a quick email to resolve the situation. The second time it happened, they actually sent a driver out to special deliver the strawberries and even comped us an extra carton.  Rene without strawberries equals, well, I’ll let you fill in the blank before I get into trouble.  The deliveries save me a couple trips to Whole Foods every week and the prices are about the same.  If you want to try it out, let us know. We can invite up to 5 people a month and they will get 50% off the price of their first order.  Even if you don’t order anything, be sure to check out their site for a ton of recipe ideas.  They really do it right and we plan on sticking with them for a long time.


Breaking News – Local Man’s Pizza Cutter Rescued From Uncertain Donation Box Fate

Pizza is the only pre-paleo craving that I have. I was really excited to see the pizza crust recipe in “Against All Grain“, so I couldn’t wait to try it out. The recipe shows a prep time of 10 min and cook time of 20 min. This is perfectly accurate timing if you happen to own a time machine. We invested two solid hours making just two Paleo pizzas. I’m sure things will speed up after some tweaks and getting more practice at the prep. Here are some hints from the first try: 1) The dough comes out pretty sticky, so be ready with extra almond flour. 2) I tried the double parchment paper rolling, but had to resort to using my hands to form the crust. 3) Our crust was about 3/8″ thick and I’d definitely go thinner next time. The recipe calls for 1/4”, so stick to that or thinner. 4) Cook time was at least 20 min per pizza after pre-cookng the crust for 12 min. Just keep an eye on it. After all that prep work you definitely don’t want to burn anything.

Overall, the crust was doughy, but firm enough to pick up and eat like a regular pizza slice. It browned up really nicely on the edges and bottom. It was pretty tasty, too. Our fixins for the first pizza were an olive oil base, pan seared heirloom tomatoes, sautéed banana peppers and sautéed crimini mushrooms. I added a little hot sauce to the final product for some kick. The second pizza, deservedly winning the “most delicious pizza of the night” award, had a homemade pesto base with grilled organic chicken, sautéed red onion, sautéed crimini mushrooms and toasted pine nuts. We had fresh basil for the pesto from our balcony planters, so the pesto sauce was extra fresh and amazing. I have a quick recipe for the pesto if anyone is interested.

Would I try it again? Absolutely. But, I would definitely allot more time and patience for the crust. It doesn’t totally satisfy my pizza craving, but it comes pretty close and it was fun to eat some pizza for a change. The best news is that the old pizza cutter still has a place of honor in depths my kitchen drawer.

Basil Pesto Chicken Paleo Pizza
Paleo Pizza Pie!

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