I need a recipe to cure my family!

I wish I was kidding here, but it seems that the mokus that has had my head clogged up and ears ringing has now struck not only Stretch up at college, but also MG who had to leave her soccer game at halftime due to a fever. By the way, the word “mokus” (pronounced moe-cuss) is my father’s word. Whenever sniffles or sneezes invaded my childhood home, my dad called it the mokus. It stuck. So now you know.

It’s been FIVE DAYS. Five days of clogged and ringing ears, stuffy noses, sneezing, low grade fevers… and general pitiful attitudes. That’s just the WOMEN in the family. The guys had this crap LAST week! So now they feel fine and every ovary in my household is a bit short tempered due to feeling like crap.

I’ve tried everything I know. Hot tea, juice, chicken soup, potato and corn chowder, pizza, a diet of water and Sudafed and NOTHING is working. So now I am begging, yes BEGGING for help. Please please share with me your tried and true recipes for food and or drink to cure my family. At this point, I think we may be willing to try eye of newt. So what do YOU feed yourself or your family members when the mokus visits your house? Maybe my chicken soup was missing a vital ingredient? Maybe I should have had my juice with a heaping shot or three of vodka?

Help me, internets… or you may be hearing about my family on a newscast near you.

What is this Paleo Challenge of which you speak?

Still sick, by the way. Someone obviously poured Rice Krispies in my ear canals and then filled them with milk, because my ears are clogged and I hear popping and cracking…

And ringing. OY the ringing!

However, today I have had no fever, so I am getting better, albeit slowly. If the ears would open up, and if I could stay awake for more than 6 hours, I’d dance a jig (not for 6 hours straight, because then I’d really be tired).

So I haven’t exactly been paying attention to food the past three days. I’ve barely gotten out of my bed due to this funk that I’m fighting off. I have relied upon my husband and children to bring me stuff to eat, and as long as it hasn’t been wheat, I’ve eaten it. Which means I’ve eaten ice cream, and chips and salsa, and french fries, and queso dip.

OH! And Chipotle. Vegetarian Chipotle, because they forgot the chicken… but yeah. So not exactly the healthiest diet, but since I’m not really eating much, and I’m spending most of my energy drinking fluids, I don’t really care.

So, coming up on September 17 (Stretch’s birthday!) there’s a new 30 Day Paleo Challenge being kicked off, and quite frankly, I CANNOT WAIT. I did a Paleo Challenge in January and honestly, I felt great. I kicked caffeine, I was sleeping better, I lost weight, my mood was elevated, and all that.

So why did I quit? Well, I didn’t exactly QUIT, but I did expand my diet some to take in some of spring and summer’s best foods (hello, ice cream!), and some indulgences of my own like Captain Morgan and Diet Coke (what? I’m only human). So while I didn’t abandon the plan, I definitely didn’t hold tight to the rules like I could have. Besides, I LIKE the challenge idea…I like a finite time frame just to see if I can do it. I like proving to myself what I can do. So starting on September 17th, I’m going to be proving it again.

The challenge is being issued by the good folks at Lurong Living, in partnership with the oodles of CrossFit gyms across the nation. But since I’m a FOOD blogger and not a workout/sweat blogger (can you even IMAGINE?) I’m going to concentrate on the food and sleep part of the challenge.

There are TONS of sites out there that can break the Paleo Plan down for you… but let me make it easy for you. Here’s what you WON’T be eating:
Beans/Legumes/Soy (this includes peanuts, folks)
Artificial sweeteners
“vegetable” oil

Ok, ok, try not to freak out at that last one. It’s THIRTY DAYS. You can do it for thirty days.

Here’s what you will be eating:
Meat (preferably grass-fed, or pasture raised)
Eggs (see above)
Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil

You’ll also be required to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. That means turn OFF the TV, the laptop, the smartphone… just turn it off and go to sleep. Give your body a chance to reset, recharge, renew… seriously, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. And if you can throw in a workout or twelve in that time, go for it!

September 17 to November 18, 2012. Just do it. If you need help, there’s none better than Neely over at The Paleo Plan.

Change your plate, change your plan, change your life. YOU can do it. Start planning NOW and be ready for action. Who’s with me?

Eating healthy without breaking the bank – Let’s get INTERACTIVE!

This is not my hand…or my money.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a pretty social person. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, I blog, and I tend to get myself involved in conversation wherever I can. Since being THAT GIRL who jumps into other people’s business is not conducive to my having a social life (or any friends), I instead take part in rather lively discussions on an internet forum based here in Southern Maryland.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, THE place to go for information on Southern Maryland is Southern Maryland Online. News, Announcements, Community Calendar items, Classified advertising, a huge range of sponsors, and best of all, the discussion forums. This is a place where you can find advice, information, lively discussion, a healthy dose of sarcasm, a little drama for entertainment, and some idiocy for humor.

Today’s hot topic (for me anyway) was the government push for healthier food, and the use of EBT cards (the modern, electronic food stamps). The first poster threw out an idea that those electronic cards could (in all likelihood) be programmed to only purchase healthy items. This spawned further talk about eating healthy being too expensive for the poor. Many of the “forumites” gave GREAT ideas on healthy options for eating on the cheap. You can check out the conversation here.

There’s some great meal suggestions in that discussion thread, (I had NEVER even thought to use that cheap ramen along with some frozen veggies and a scrambled egg to make a sort of lo-mein type dinner!) along with some website links that specialize in cheap but healthy dinners. Definitely go check it out! I’d suggest buying at the local farmer’s market, rather than the grocery store… and buy SEASONALLY. If the farmers have a lot of something, they have high supply which drives down price. Attend produce auctions, buy meat in bulk, freeze leftovers, and cook SIMPLY. No need for a bunch of fancy stuff, fresh healthy food tastes absolutely delicious when it is prepared simply, allowing the flavor of the food to shine through.

Oh, and buy the good eggs. Really. Splurge a little. Free-range, organic eggs have these huge delicious yolks that are nearly orange in color, and they are SO rich and so satisfying, you’ll eat fewer. I am now addicted to the good eggs, and I’ll never go back.

However, I want to throw this one to you… IS it possible to eat healthy without spending a lot of money? Can those on a tight budget eat better than sodium filled ramen (plain), frozen chicken nuggets, frozen burritos, and cheap macaroni with orange powdered cheese? What are YOUR go-to “healthy but cheap” meals? Leave me a comment, send me a recipe, let’s get interactive and share a little!

Who knows, I may end up cooking something of yours and taking photos to share in a future blog post.

Where else do I shop?

I mentioned in my previous post that sometimes I shop online for things I use. Most of these products are not your run-of-the mill supplies to be picked up at the local grocery market. However, some of these shopping places are just places that have super quality product and I am a sucker for quality.

I was fortunate enough to be referred to U.S. Wellness Meats through Neely at The Paleo Plan. Everything I have ordered from them has been amazing. Beef, chicken, bacon… all have been delicious and super high quality.

Another wonderful source for delicious beef is TX Bar Organics. Again, super high quality and super high flavor!

I do keep some grain products on hand for things like breading pork chops (the only way my son will eat them) okra, and eggplant Parmesan. Of course with no gluten, I have to get creative. I buy organic yellow cornmeal from King Arthur Flour. For gravy, the absolute BEST flour I have found is garbanzo bean flour. It dissolves like a dream (never any lumps) and thickens beautifully. It doesn’t have a super strong flavor, but it does have a slight chickpea flavor which gives gravy an earthy flavor that wheat flour cannot POSSIBLY add. Try making turkey gravy with it sometime, it’s the best EVER.

I have amazing gluten free all-purpose flour that I get from Jules Gluten Free. It truly is a cup for cup replacement and her blend really acts like regular wheat flour, only better! No pain for Mama. I love it.

I buy coconut oil to fry in, and avocado oil for drizzling on vegetables. My gluten-free pretzels, certified gluten-free oats, and that garbanzo bean flour are all purchased at VitaCost. Vitacost has an EXTENSIVE gluten-free pantry, and they run grocery specials all the time. So if you’re in the mood to try something new, you can order it from Vitacost and save money.

Amazon has a vast array of vendors as well… with all kinds of groceries for special dietary needs. I have rarely had a problem with Amazon or any of its vendors, so don’t be afraid to grocery shop there.

Isn’t the internet great?

By the way, none of the websites I am referring have paid me a dime, they don’t even know who I am. I’m just another consumer who believes in sharing great product finds.

So how about you? What fabulous food finds have YOU found online? Share your favorites, please!