Paleo Prep




I have started these anti-inflammation diets before. It is not so much about weight loss for me as it is for inflammation busting. I did well for awhile but then fell away-all because I did not prepare well.

The one thing that I am doing now that I think is most helpful, is the food sensitivity test. Our office does this through a company called Immuno labs I am waiting for the results to come back. I think that it would be awful to go through the process without first finding out what foods are causing my issues. I will share that with you when it comes back.

Surroundings-I hope that this time will be different. I now work in a Naturopath office that is on board with Paleo. We do not keep junk food around. It is a type of positive peer pressure. Part of my job is to  encourage our patients to make this switch too.

People – other than the office; I mostly hang out with  family. I lovingly call Steve my twinkie eater. But he has an appointment with the Naturopath coming up. He sees how excited I am about this and I think that I can get him to help me stick with it. Who knows maybe he will join me.

Information-I have been scouring the internet for Paleo information. Some sites are more helpful than others. I will be sharing with you what I learn as I learn it.

A reason. I have a genetic predisposition to a chronic inflammatory condition. Uveitis. It  is like arthritis in the eye. I have been taking Celebrex for years to keep the flare ups down. Celebrex can cause many health issues on its own. As I have improved my diet over the years and taken turmeric, I have been able to reduce the amount of the drug significantly, but I still rely on it from time to time. I want to become Celebrex free.

We all have inflammatory issues-caused by genetics plus diet. My research is telling me that though we may not be able to change the genetic issues, we can control the inflammation through diet. I intend to do that for myself and to teach my family and friends how they can do it too.


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Paleo (esque) in my life

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

You all know that I have dabbled with elimination diets, low carb and paleo eating plans in my attempt to kick the uveitis issue that I have.

What I have learned is that many of us will not do the hard things until we are forced to. Pain vs pleasure and all that.

We know that inflammation is the cause of almost every disease out there.

Now that I am working closely with an amazing naturopath doctor (who happens to be my new boss). I am learning even more about the relationship between disease-inflammation and diet.

What I am learning is that it is a lifestyle that has caused the inflammation in my (our) body (bodies). It is going to take a lifestyle change to undo the damage. I need to change. I need to turn my occasional dabbling into a new lifestyle.

I am not going to call it Paleo. I am going to borrow my Dr’s term “Paleo-esque”.

Paleo is a diet that is at least 9 cups of raw veggies per day along with good quality meats, nuts and oils. Some occasional fruit is allowed. It sounds like a lot of diets actually. Whole 30, Sugar detox, Caveman, Elimination diets. I just like the word “Paleo”.

When I look at Paleo blogs, I see beautiful pictures of scrumptious looking baked goods and candies. This confuses me and my friends, so I asked my doctor. He told me that he refers to these items as Paleo-esque. He says that they are not to be used in the beginning or often. They are there only for an occasional treat. So I have some research to do and will start really taking a good hard look at some Paleo books.

Before you start throwing rocks at me, I will say this. I totally understand. I grew up in the 60’s in America. That means that my mom allowed us to drink Kool-Aid almost everyday. She bought into “Wonder Bread”. Ding Dongs were my favorite fruit and real fruit (because of shipping the food) was more expensive than a package of cookies. Captain Crunch was one of the hero’s in my life, I was Coo-coo for Cocoa Pops and Trix were for kids.

Fast forward to the 80’s; I thought that I was doing a good thing for my kids when I perfected my homemade bread and oatmeal cookie recipes. You will never see a box of Ding Dongs in my house. But I make delicious brownies, fudge and caramels from scratch. My kids also drank lots of fresh juice (because I thought that was a good thing). Now we know that those things were not the answer either. Today my adult children both suffer with inflammatory issues as well.

So here I go. I have taken a food sensitivity test through my  office to determine the foods that I am sensitive to and will start a Paleo-esque lifestyle. No body is perfect (especially me) but it is my desire to learn to change, and to share what I am learning with others.
















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Considering Naturopathy

Since starting Naturopathic therapies, I am less sensitive to sunlight

Since starting Naturopathic therapies, I am less sensitive to sunlight

As a new nurse with many years of cardiology office experience; I originally thought that I would become a cardiac nurse.

I am after all fascinated with all things heart related. Even my kids knew  growing up that I loved heart shaped jewelry. Not to mention that I am very romantic at heart. (Sorry, I could not help myself).

You all know that I almost quit my job in order to stay home and take care of my 80 year old mother. She was recovering from cardiac bypass at my home on the farm.

But God had other plans for me. Steve showed me a job posting for a naturopath office and told me that he thought that it was the perfect job for me. He was so right.

It has been a couple of months now, and my eyes are truly being opened to the miracle that this is in my life. I am unlearning so much of the conventional medicine that I worked so hard to learn. It is coming easy though, because it makes more sense. One staff member reminded me today that without my nursing knowledge, I would not be able to understand what the doctor is sharing with me. This is true.

My doctor/employer and his staff are being so patient with me as I learn. I draw blood everyday, I hang IVs, I do IV  pushes, and give injections. But it more about nutrients and supplementation than medicine. It is about knowing what types of labs to run; in order to ask the body “How can we  truly help you to become healthier?”

I am actually learning how to support the body and assist it in doing the job that it was meant to do.

I am learning that cholesterol is not the enemy that I once believed it to be. I am becoming so intolerant of refined foods. I am learning more about eating (and enjoying) a paleo-esk lifestyle.

Here is something that I found truly terrible. I went to my eye doctor and was told that my vision had improved since October. That has not happened to me since I was diagnosed with Uveitis 11 years ago. I told her what my naturopath employer is having me do. I mentioned that my eyes are less sensitive to sunlight. I even occasionally forget to wear my sunglasses. This is very uncommon for me.

My eye doctor told me that eye specialists are aware of the benefits of these therapies. I asked “Then why was I not told about it 11 years ago? This would have saved me a lot of pain and mental anguish.” The response was that there is no evidence based research to prove those therapies to work.” I  said “You and I both know that most of the research that is done is paid for by Pharmaceutical companies. It would not benefit them to pay for this kind of research.” The response that I got was a shrug and a suggestion that she would be very interested to follow the success that I have with my eyes. I am not making a quick decision here yet because she does know my history, but maybe it is time to look for an eye doctor that believes in Naturopathy.

Or maybe, just maybe God wants her to see the healing happen. Maybe she could help others eventually.


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Sweet Potatoes in December

We are getting better each year.

We are getting better each year.

Sweet potatoes are what we are really digging right now. No really! Sweet potatoes are the roots of the plant; so we really do have to be digging in order to get to them.  

I planted the slips in March. A slip is a part of the plant where two leaves are connected. If you cut that part from the main plant and then stick it in water; roots will grow where the two leaves meet. Once the roots appear, you can plant it in the ground. Be sure to give it lots of room. I once had a 4 foot by 8 foot bed filled with leaves and vines. When they died back in the winter, I dug up over 100 lbs of sweet potatoes.

The leaves are edible and highly nutritious. They can be used in salads, stir-fries or frozen for your smoothies. Just be sure not to over fertilize this plant. Nitrogen will cause it to put too much energy into creating leaves and you will be left with nothing to dig up.

My favorite way to eat a sweet potato is roasted with butter. But for the holidays, we make the popular casserole. Here is a Paleo friendly version of a sweet potato casserole.


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Part of my new job

Part of my new job at a busy Naturopath practice is working with patients who are trying to loose weight. After all, it is difficult to achieve optimal health while carrying extra weight around. I myself have 7-10 pounds that I have picked up somewhere along the line. Most of it came to attach itself to me while I was in nursing school.

Of all of the programs that our office uses to help patients loose weight in a healthy manner; Paleo is my favorite. It is closer to how I like to eat anyway. I, like many of  our patients that come to the office struggle with getting started. This is a starter kit that my doctor has  researched and found both clean and effective. So I thought that I would be a good example to my patients and start my journey with this, and report my experience with my patients-and with you. I am finding that my patients do better when they have the accountability of “checking in” with someone. I started this morning. I will get back to you tomorrow. you can click on the picture and it will take you to your Amazon site to tell you all about it.  

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Cauliflower in my garden and a recipe

Cauliflower is actually very pretty in the garden.

Cauliflower is actually very pretty in the garden.

Cauliflower has gotten a bad wrap. It is just not one of the favorite vegetables of all time. I must admit that it is not my favorite. But..

It is a cruciferous vegetable-which makes it very healthy-it is crunchy (I do like crunchy), and it grows extremely well here in the Arizona desert during the Fall/Winter season.

I plant cauliflower seeds in little cups and grow them on my back porch. Then I plant the seedling into my garden bed around September 1st. Now here it is almost December 1st, and I am harvesting my first head of cauliflower. Because I plant the seedlings in my garden beds every month until January; I will have fresh cauliflower for my family clear up to April.

Of course we eat cauliflower raw, steamed and fermented as a pickle; but a couple of my favorite ways to eat it-is as a rice substitute, or as an ingredient in a Paleo version of a tortilla.

For the rice substitute– cut the stem out of a head of cauliflower, then chop the head into florets. Using a food processor- grind up the florets ( a few at a time) set them aside in a large bowl until all the cauliflower is done. Heat up about 3 Tblsp of coconut or avocado oil in a skillet. Once it is hot, add the cauliflower and stir until soft about 4 minutes. You can add some lemon juice or just salt and pepper. Sometimes I decorate it with snipped green onions.

For the Paleo tortilla- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You can use  your cooled cauliflower rice, or steam the cauliflower right after processing it. Either way, you need 2 packed cups of it. Add 2 whole eggs and some salt and pepper.

Divide the mixture in 5 or 6 tortillas on the parchment paper. Pop the tray into the oven for about 10 minutes. Then take the tray out of the oven and carefully peel the tortillas off of the paper and turn them over to cook the other side. Put the tray back into the oven for 8-10  minutes. You can cool them on a  wire rack if you want, but we eat them right out of the oven.

If I do not eat them right out of the oven; I like to reheat them by browning them on a hot dry skillet.

Now tell me that you don’t like cauliflower.     

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Broccoli for all of my babies

The first broccoli crown in my October bed.

The first broccoli crown in my October bed.

November is the time that I start harvesting broccoli in my garden. Because I grow broccoli from seeds; I can plant the seedlings in my garden beds for September, October, November, December and January. This will insure that I have leaves to pick from October through May and fresh crowns from November through May.

Wait a minute, did she say leaves? Yes, I heard you ask – I did say leaves. I watch my animals. When they get into my garden they go right for the leaves. Now, so do I. I trim the lower leaves off of the plant starting in October. I freeze them, or mix them up with coconut aminos to make “Broccoli chips”. Why not? They are full of vitamins and minerals too. I put the frozen leaves into smoothies or stir fries. I crunch them up and put them into soups and sauces. I even dehydrate them as part of my “magical green powder”. Everything green goes in that stuff.

I took the top off of my October bed so that you could see how I trim my broccoli leaves.

I took the top off of my October bed so that you could see how I trim my broccoli leaves.

The reason that I started trimming off the lower leaves in the first place is as follows. Broccoli grows during the season that we have less sun. I plant intensively, so the large leaves of the broccoli shade the carrots and cabbages that are underneath.

During the warmer months- this is an amazing trick to keep the soil cool and moist- the large leaves act as an umbrella. But during the winter; this can cause overgrowth of fungi, and the little plants underneath would appreciate some air and sunshine.

To be perfectly honest, I get too many broccoli leaves from my garden-so I share them with my chickens, ducks, pig. The sheep and goats that are not currently in milk love them too. But feeding cruciferous to ruminants will spoil the taste of the milk.

I know- you are still stuck on the broccoli chips. So here is the recipe for you.

You can make these from any of the cruciferous veggie leaves. Think Broccoli, Cauliflower, cabbage and brussel’s sprouts leaves.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line some sheet trays with parchment paper.

1 Tblsp of coconut oil and 2 Tblsp of coconut aminos. Brush it on both sides of your leaves. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Let cool and eat them all up.

Hooray for Broccoli chips!




See you next week when we see what else is growing in Donna’s Desert Garden.     

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