Paleo Challenge Day 2 Recap

Feelin' good. I mean, yes, I'm drinking too much coffee (it's one of those things I wanted to scale back on a bit), but when your job (and thus income and source of food) depends on it, you guzzle that Starbucks grande Americano down and don't look back #sorrynotsorry. Needless to say, I did not get enough sleep last night, nor will I tonight, because apparently I'm not meant to get rid of my under-eye circles. 

Anyway, I digress. Here's what I ate today! 


So, I have a buttload of apples (fun fact: buttload is an actual unit of measure...I'm not just being a crass millenial) from my parents' house in MA. They're good, but a little mushy, so I've been sauteeing them in coconut oil and adding cinnamon. Tastes like crustless pie. The other half of my breakfast was scrambled eggs. And coffee. Always coffee. 


Sorry, no picture, but I had 2 carrots sliced up and dunked in sunflower seed butter.


Arugula salad with an entire can of tuna, cashews, and raisins. And Kombucha, a delightful fermented tea low in sugar and full of gut-friendly probiotics. This stuff really hits the spot when you're craving something fizzy and sweet like soda, yet a bottle only has 4 g of sugar. It also helps you feel full. I know that from personal experience, and there's also been a bit of research showing that one of the acids in kombucha (acetic acid) helps boost satiety and curb cravings. Pretty rad. 


Small handful of cashews and some raisins. Not quite fancy enough to be called trail mix. 


My rando everything-I-had-in-my-fridge stir fry: grass-fed beef, broccoli, sweet potato, onions, raisins, cashews, curry powder. Surprisingly tasty. Sometimes winging it actually works out, which is nice. I saved some of my cooked ground beef for tomorrow. I might add it to an omelet or scrambled eggs with some greens for a nice filling breakfast. 

Mini Snack

A few cashews and raisins, just enough food to take the edge off of my hunger so I can sleep. 

How I'm feeling?

Pretty good. I mean, I eat like 80% paleo most of the time, which you know if you read my Prevention feature, so the changes I experience aren't going to be quite as drastic as they are for some of you who are following along. I do fall off the wagon a bit from time to time though (especially with the fifty bazillion weddings I've gone to recently), so doing a periodic challenge is how I hit the theoretical reset button. It readjusts my palate so I once again crave the really healthy stuff, and not those chocolate frosted cinnamon bun donuts (yeah, those are a thing) that literally call your name and beg you to eat them. 

That's all for now. Maybe I'll cook something delicious and post a recipes tomorrow. Or maybe I'll go to bed at a reasonable hour. Or maybe Milo will take over this blog and spam you with his incredible cuteness. Who knows. 

Peace, Love & Cute Pups,

Steph (&  Milo)

Paleo Challenge Day 1 Recap

If you've done one of these challenges before, you know that day one is deceptively easy. It's all new and exciting and promising, and it hasn't yet sunk in that I'll actually have to go 30 days without  my beloved chunky peanut butter or a glass of much needed wine after a stressful day. I guess I'll enjoy this moment. 

Anyway, here's what I ate today. 


Who says breakfast has to be eggs or cereal? Today I just reheated leftovers, which was some grass-fed ground beef seasoned with chili powder and cumin, peppers and onions, and mashed avocado. Oh, and coffee, of course. I find I stay full for a decent amount of time if I have plenty of protein and healthy fat in the a.m. This breakfast actually powered me through til 12:30pm. I actually had a registered dietician tell me that breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day and that each subsequent meal should get smaller, which is the opposite of how most of us eat.


Lunch today was a big ole' mixed greens salad with chicken, walnuts, carrots, and red cabbage. All drizzled with some olive oil and vinegar. I'm lucky enough to work at a company that has a cafeteria with all organic ingredients and a pretty rad salad bar. After that I wanted something sweet, so I opted for an apple (from my parents' yard!) and sunflower butter instead of the Justin's peanut butter cups that were calling my name. Sunflower seed butter is one of my alternatives to peanut butter when I'm doing strict Paleo. So is almond butter, but it's so freakin' expensive. Thanks, California drought. 


My lunch was pretty filling, so I actually made it to 4pm before I started to experience that late afternoon energy slump. Normally, I'd go grab a coffee and couple dark chocolate squares from the cafe at work, but since I'm trying to cut back a bit on caffeine and eliminate added sugars, that was out of the question. Instead, I had this chai tea/espresso mash up with a tablespoon of coconut oil mixed in. Sure, sounds weird, but it's actually delicious and was just what I needed to give me a little caffeine boost and take the edge off my hunger. It's sort of like a tea version of "bulletproof" or buttered coffee, minus the butter.


Milo says HI EVERYONE! He also wants to report me for pup abuse since I did not give him any salmon. So yeah, here's my not-so-glamorous leftover dinner. It's pan seared salmon and an veggie noodle salad consisting of shaved carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, scallions and an Asian style sauce with lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, and almond butter (Normally I used peanut butter, which makes this MUCH tastier, but since it's a legume, that's off limits for the next 29 days!).


Normally, I wouldn't advocate snacking this late (full disclosure: I'm eating this now and it's like 11:30pm), but I'm starving, and honestly, I think my body just needed more food. This is an example of a pretty solid Paleo snack: Organic cashews, raisins, and unsweetened coconut flakes. It's a good mix of carbs from the raisins, and healthy fats, protein, and fiber from the nuts and coconut. Pro tip: If you're going to eat any kind of fruit or dried fruit, always pair it with something that has a little protein or fat. This will ensure you don't experience craving-inducing blood sugar spikes and drops. This goes for smoothies too--add some nut butter or another form of protein in there so you're not ravenous moments later.

Final Thoughts:

I think I had a pretty good day. One thing I struggle with, and that I know I have to work on, is getting my ass to bed at a reasonable hour. Lack of sleep messes with your appetite big time, and during a challenge like this, I can't afford to have my self-control compromised. 

On that note, I think it's time for bed. Holler if you have any questions! 

Peace, Love, and Perfectly Ripe Avocados,




Ready for a Challenge? Let's Do this Paleo Thing...

So how many of you are here because you read my feature in Prevention and heard I was doing a 30-day paleo challenge starting September 1st? (I'm going to pretend I can see you raising your hands). Cool! It's going to be fun, transformative, and only a little sucky in the beginning--okay, it might feel pretty freakin' awful at first. But I promise, that's just your body adjusting to your healthier eating habits. Weaning yourself off of all those refined carbs and sugars is serious stuff. Don't worry, after a couple weeks, you'll stop dreaming about donuts ;)

Anyway, this is a pretty relaxed challenge in the sense that it's self-guided and you don't have to pay anything (!!). BUT you do get the perks of following along with my experience on my blog, as well as getting inspiration for paleo meals and snacks via my Instagram (which I'll also share on Twitter). My goal is to post pics of most of my meals to Instagram and then recap everything into a blog post here at the end of each day. And of course, feel free to tag your own paleo food pics with the hashtag #PVNPaleo and #PVNPaleoDay1, #PVNPaleoDay2, etc, so we can build a healthy little community that shares tips and recipes. 

See this? This is a delightful creation that's totally Paleo-friendly: Scrambled eggs, and mixed greens topped with roasted sweet potato and bacon. It's one of my favorite Sunday brunch meals. Drooling yet?

See this? This is a delightful creation that's totally Paleo-friendly: Scrambled eggs, and mixed greens topped with roasted sweet potato and bacon. It's one of my favorite Sunday brunch meals. Drooling yet?


Need a refresher on what exactly you should be eating for these next thirty days? The challenge can be broken down into the following two steps.

Step 1: Go Big or Go Home

Many experts advocate eating strictly Paleo for 30 days, then gradually reincorporating some of the foods you've eliminated so you can see how they make you feel. This challenge is very similar to a program called The Whole30 and some others. Of course, not everyone agrees on what's allowed during that first month. But here are some basic guidelines on what to eat and avoid.

Eat These:

  • Pastured, organic, or grass-fed meats (High quality meat is the goal, but conventional is okay from time to time.)
  • Seafood 
  • Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Squashes and sweet potatoes (Starchier veggies like these are higher in carbs and great for very active people.) 
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Raw fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi (These are a great source of probiotics)
  • Olive, coconut, ghee, and avocado oils (These are generally healthier and less processed than many industrial seed oils.)
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Herbs, spices, vinegars
  • Tea

Avoid These:

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes (This includes peanuts and chickpeas.)
  • Refined, processed sugars 
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Refined vegetable and seed oils (corn oil, soybean oil)
  • Most processed foods containing the above ingredients
  • Potentially other foods if you have an autoimmune condition. A great resource for learning about the Autoimmune Protocol version of Paleo is The Paleo Mom.

Consider Cutting Back on These:

  • Alcohol (Many choose to cut this out completely for the first month, others simply cut back. You should, however, eliminate grain-based alcoholic beverages like beer. From time to time, I'll have a glass of wine or a low-sugar hard cider.)
  • Coffee (Full disclosure: I will NOT be giving this up. But I'll cut back and probably stick to two 8 oz cups daily.)
  • White potatoes 
  • Natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup (Now, you don't have to cut these out completely, but some people like to for the first 30 days to reset their palate and reduce sugar cravings.)

*Still confused about whether something’s off limits or allowed? Just ask! If I don't know the answer, I'll try to point you in the right direction.

Step 2: Reintroduce (optional)

Once you're finished with your first 30 days, feel free to reintroduce some "off-limits" foods. The general rule: Introduce one new food (not an entire food group) every 3 days, and take note of how you feel. Your reactions may vary—you might feel sick or just blah immediately, within a few hours, or even the next day; or you may feel perfectly fine. Then decide if it's worth adding back into your diet or if you're better off without it.

My Favorite Paleo Resources

General Paleo diet info: These are some of my go-to websites when I have questions regarding why certain foods are off-limits or allowed, or if I simply want to keep up to speed on the latest Paleo research and trends.

Paleo recipe blogs: These blogs feature some truly mouthwatering dishes, all free of grains, legumes, dairy, and processed junk.

And that’s about all the info you need to get started. Stay tuned for daily blog posts featuring meal and snack ideas, tips on making the diet work for you, and lots of random fun nutrition facts. And don’t forget to follow along for culinary inspiration on Instagram.

Peace, Love & Nitrate-Free Bacon,


Important Note! While I’m passionate about Paleo and its potential health perks, I’m not a doctor and the information I share is never meant to take the place of professional medical advice. I’ll be sharing some interesting and helpful stuff here, but just be sure to take into account your personal health and medical history before you incorporate anything into your lifestyle. 




Breakfast for dinner! My mini cast iron skillet is the best frigin thing ever ($10 at an antique shop!). Perfect for personal frittatas. This one's Paleo, loaded with shaved sweet potato, onion, and leftover Italian chicken sausage. A side of spinach for good measure. Oh, and it took 10 minutes (and 17 seconds, but who's counting..) 


Kombucha for days...

So, I get to write a kombucha taste test story for work, which is pretty rad. This stuff is like the healthy version of soda--a naturally effervescent fermented tea that's packed with gut-friendly probiotics, blood sugar stabilizing acids, and just tastes effing delicious. I'm so hooked. This 16 oz bottle contains 80 calories and 4 g sugar total. It's subtly sweet and fruity with the perfect amount of fizz. More to come!