Heres a copy of the guest post I recently did for Paleo Parents. I am lucky enough to know Stacy for a while now, and when she asked me to write a guest post for their blog I was happy to oblige! Visit their blog at http://www.paleoparents.com for great recipes and ideas on how to live as a Paleo family.
I started my Paleo journey about 2 years ago after realizing that I have a gluten intolerance. I had been suffering for years not understanding what it was. Knowing Stacy for a few years, i asked her for some direction. She was happy to help me sort out and understand Paleo, and I have been going strong and feeling great since. I have lost about 25 lbs, have tons of energy, and have unleashed my inner athlete.
This past December, my 8 year old son had his first flare of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Although he was diagnosed over 6 years ago, we had not had any major issues that a little increase in medicine and a day of rest couldn’t fix. This time it was different. He could not get comfortable enough to rest. It was downright awful. He rolled around in pain for days and despite my background in Medicine, I was powerless. We increased his meds and rode it out, but it was a miserable 2 weeks. Thankfully it did stop, and although he lost a few pounds, he recovered. He still takes the same meds in addition to a number of vitamins and probiotics.
I had wanted to start to transition him to Paleo for a long time, but never took the initiative for this reason or that. The flare was a major wake up call, and I am grateful that I have the knowledge and the motivation to do something to really change his health. I have read a lot on autoimmune disease and inflammation, and I am sure that Paleo is going to be fantastic for him. So, as of January 1, we have begun the transition. The problem is that he is 8 years old. Transitioning him will take time, work, and a TON of patience. I came up with a plan, and decided to do it in a stepwise process in order to allow us to slowly get him used to eating differently. The most important thing to do first was to get rid of gluten. It has been 2 full months now, and I am incredibly happy to report that his gut is better than its ever been. His bathroom visits are normal for the first time in his life, his bloated belly has disappeared, and he is having an easier time doing his work at school. The amazing part is that he sees it too. But despite feeling better, he still misses wheat bread and bagels. So as a result, I have come up with a number of strategies to keep him on the road to Paleo. They help minimize the complaints and negative feelings towards his belly. He is a kid, and no matter how much he understands that gluten hurts his belly, he still has attachments to the foods he used to eat and I need to be receptive to that. So heres a little list of what works for us to make it easier for him.
1. Discuss options before you get to a restaurant. We live in a small town, and know most of the local restaurant menus pretty well. I always make sure to talk to him first about the options that they will have there for him. I assume that one day I wont have to do this but for now it helps. He is used to ordering things that he just cant have now, so being prepared with ideas for him makes for a much more enjoyable meal.
2. Make a weekly meal plan. I usually shop on Sundays so I write my meal plan on our kitchen dry erase board. Then check the stock in the house and make a list. I pack lunch for all 3 kids so I include that as well. This way we always have something to make.
3. Involve the kids. I can’t stress this one enough. Let them contribute to planning. Have them pick fruits and veggies when you shop (our store even has little kids carts). Encourage them to help cook and bake. When they are involved its much more likely that they will be willing to try new things.
4. Add only one new food at a time. Having a new food on the plate surrounded by foods they are used to makes it less intimidating. And if that food has dip to dunk in, it’s a bonus 🙂
5. Make lunches fun. My son eats at a table of his peers. They all have things in their lunch boxes he can no longer eat. Having him involved in picking what we pack for lunch is great, but every once in a while I put something unexpected that he loves in there as a special surprise. Usually it’s an almond flour baked good or an all fruit leather. I even do cheese shaped like the Millenium Falcon.
6. Take it slow. This is probably the most important. Remember that change takes time. School age kids in particular have established their eating habits. Just as adults can have a hard time adjusting to Paleo, kids can too. Taking it slow and keeping a positive association with food is key.
Sometimes you just need something warm. Its in single digits here most days lately, and that makes me want comfort food. One of our favorite things to eat has always been chili. But since going Paleo, my definition of chili has changed. It used to be chock full of beans, limited in veggies, and had added sugar. Well, not anymore. This chili packs a nutritional punch with lots of veggies, grass fed protein, healthy fats, and zero added sugar. The fire roasted tomatoes really kick up the flavor. Even our most picky kid tester tried and liked this (ok, so I did have to pick the spinach out, but I still say its a win!)
FIRE ROASTED PALEO CHILI
2 lbs grass fed beef (we buy ours in bulk from US Wellness Meats)
1 medium onion (or half a large one), diced
1 red, orange, or yellow pepper, diced
1 cup baby carrots, sliced into small discs
5 handfuls baby spinach (about 5 oz)
1 large can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 large can of diced fire roasted tomatoes–drain out liquid
1 large can of diced tomatoes–drain out liquid
2 Tbsp of oil or fat for sautee (I use grass fed ghee)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet on low to medium heat, melt the ghee and add the onion. Sautee until translucent. Add the grassfed beef and brown (grass fed beef is much better browned at a lower temp).
Meanwhile, melt the other 1Tbsp of ghee in a large stockpot and add the peppers and carrots. Sautee over medium heat while the beef is browning.
Once the veggies are softened a bit (5-8 mins or so), add the crushed tomatoes, and both cans of diced tomatoes.
Drain meat (if you prefer a less oily chili). To the meat, add 1 Tbsp of cumin, 1Tbsp chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, lightly salt and pepper.
Add the meat to the stockpot and stir to incorporate.
Put the remaining spices in the stockpot and bring the heat up until bubbling. Turn heat down and simmer 30-45 mins.
Top with avocado and fresh cilantro.
Rachel is a 36 year old mother of three boys. She has a B.S. in Nutrition and is a Physician Assistant. Because of a love for cooking (and eating!) she will be sharing recipes, tips, and ideas on her blog at http://www.paleofamilyeats.com