Family Matters: Making the Switch to Paleo

Written by Jen Muncy

Edited by Tara Sanders

In April of 2016, our sweet Livie was born. We knew that she was the missing piece to our family and that she would be our last child. Shortly after she was born, we made the decision for me to come home from work. God sure knew what He was doing. It was that December when our world was shaken. Liv was med-flighted to a pediatric ICU an hour away from home and diagnosed with pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and RSV all at once. Talk about God halting everything! Our world stopped. She spent a very scary week in the pediatric ICU where her little body was pumped full of antibiotics. When we returned home from the hospital, we spent months trying to get her little system to work right again. My son had started preschool that year and brought every kind of germ home, which my daughter picked up due to her weakened immune system. 

Even before the hospital stint we had been having trouble with her (I don't know of a better way to say this...) pooping. She only pooped on her own about once every 2 weeks, and it only grew worse after the hospital. One day at the doctors office (which at that point felt like Cheers, where everyone knows your name), the nutritionist came in and asked if we had ever thought about The Paleo Diet for her. My puzzled look probably told her that I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that it was about avoiding refined or processed foods, and eating fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, nuts and healthy oils and fats. Basically, no sugar, processed foods, legumes or dairy. I left the doctor's office and immediately went home and bought a book on Paleo. I spent the next week reading, learning and buying the right things to "go Paleo" and that's how it all started for us.

At that point, Liv was too young to take formal allergy tests, so we began The Paleo Diet. I knew that if this was going to be a lasting thing for her and I (I was nursing her, so we were in this together), I was going to have to figure out how to still make things that we love and enjoy without sacrificing her being a "normal" kid...or my sweet tooth!

 Photo: Example of a Paleo-friendly grocery haul. 

Photo: Example of a Paleo-friendly grocery haul. 

It's been a year and a half since we began this lifestyle and that is exactly what it is: a lifestyle that we've made our own. As with any shift you make in your lifestyle, you have good weeks and bad days so I won't judge you if you eat an Oreo.... or two.... or a sleeve like I did a couple of weeks ago! How do they make those things so good? We've since found out that Liv is not actually allergic to anything. She is free to eat a normal diet and I let her, but we still eat Paleo for the most part because it makes us feel great and it works so well for our family. I truly feel that it is the way God intended for us to eat. To me it's much more about fueling our bodies with the right foods that God placed on this earth for us, and not the processed, sugary foods that we've grown accustomed to here in America. I truly find it so fun to take something that can typically be a processed or unhealthy food or snack and find a way to make it Paleo-friendly. It's like a science experiment in the kitchen and I love it! If you are not so inclined to go back to lab class, you can search Pinterest and find a million Paleo-friendly recipes out there. Since the beginning of this journey, I've also started an Instagram account @jeneatswhole where I love to inspire people to make healthier choices. It has become a great creative outlet for me and allows me use my passion to help other people on their own health journey! I share recipes, what we eat and healthy shopping lists. I'd love to connect with you! 

Well, I couldn't just end this blog without sharing one of our family's favorite dinner recipes. If your skeptical, just try it. I promise you don't have to compromise taste to eat a clean, whole foods diet.

Paleo Coco Cashew Cauliflower Curry

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Ingredients: 

1 bag of fire roasted bell peppers and onions (I use Trader Joes)

1 bag frozen cauliflower rice

1 head of cauliflower florets 

2 tbsp full fat coconut milk 

2 tbsp minced garlic

several dashes of coconut aminos 

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp fresh ginger

2 tbsp whole cashews

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp curry powder

Drizzle of honey

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Saute bell pepper and onion mix in oil

Add in cauliflower rice and cook for another 2 minutes

Add in cauliflower florets and cook until tender (I use frozen)

Add coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and cashews and cook for about 1 minute

Add in coconut milk 1 tbsp at a time until it gets to the consistency you like

Add in your curry, chili sauce, honey, salt and pepper stir and let simmer 

 

I like to top mine with cilantro, almond sauce, a lime, and extra cashews! 

These measurements can be more or less depending on your taste. This dish is very forgiving!