Friday, March 22, 2013

Books in Review: Eat Like A Dinosaur by the Paleo Parents

I haven't done a review before, let alone a book review, so please forgive me for how amateur today's post may seem. I spent time earlier this week brainstorming some topics that would make good blog posts when I didn't have anything going on around the house that was deemed worthy of a blog post, I settled on doing a review or two. Believe me when I say that the growing stack of boxes that has accumulated in our sun porch is less than interesting, but never-the-less, that's about the only big change that has been made around these parts (aside from a very empty looking house). We're living in a state of moving-induced chaos, and it's been a teensy bit stressful. Imagine me ripping open several boxes to find something that I "need" only to find it somewhere else, unpacked.

Repacking and taping a box (or several) is rather infuriating. Especially when you have to move several just to get to the one that you THINK the item is in. Me and my first world problems. :)

One item that I haven't packed yet, though, is my ELaD cookbook by the Paleo Parents. I love it so much that I just couldn't part with it for a few weeks. In fact, aside from my recipe binder, all of my other cook books (I only have a handful, surprisingly) have made their way into a moving box. This cookbook, which came out almost a year and a half ago, is geared towards a gluten-free child, and has tons of great recipes that appeal to most kids (or kids at heart). My daughter loves leafing through the pages and planning out how she can help me in the kitchen. A lot of the recipes are kid friendly in that they enable your little one to work alongside you as you toil over prepare a meal. My daughter gets a real sense of pride in helping in the kitchen, and she's even become a little more adventurous in trying new things that she has helped make-- and that, my friends, is an awesome thing!

I made a change in my diet two years ago to cut out a lot of the things I felt were contributing to my health, weight, and overall happiness (or lack there of) issues. At the time, I weighed an astounding 267 lbs-- the most I had ever weighed in my life. Even more than when I was pregnant with our daughter. I can't even begin to tell you how depressed I felt, but I was determined to do something about it. When my husband deployed to Iraq that same year, I turned to YouTube in the evenings when I would normally be laying in bed and watching a movie with my husband. This is when I stumbled upon the awesomeness of Sean Croxton, and his Underground Wellness channel. Seans videos were extremely inspiring, and a lot of what he had to say went contrary to what mainstream health and medical experts had been saying for years. I was a "fat kid" for a long time. I've tried the exercise and yo-yo diets. I've beaten myself up for being a metabolic failure, and at one point I even resigned myself to being a fattie for the rest of my life. It sounds harsh, but I wasn't living the life that I wanted. I had a beautiful daughter, and the man of my dreams, and yet I couldn't help but feel as though I were letting them down. Especially my husband. With my husband being in the Army, he was physically fit, and in tip-top shape. I was the total opposite of that, and I truly wondered what he could ever have seen in me that made him love me so much. I still struggle with that even today. He is an amazing man, and I am thankful every day that we are together.

Here's me before I started my Paleo journey. Obviously I cropped out the lower half of my body because  I was disgusted with myself, and how I looked at that time. 

Anyway, I decided to make a change to better myself, not only with my eating habits, but also with my mindset, my sleeping habits, and with physical activity. I cut out processed food from my diet. I also cut out gluten and grains, dairy, and most sugars. I didn't develop an exercise routine or join a gym, but I went for walks. When it was too hot outside during the summer, I took the munchkin to the mall or shopping, and we walked endlessly around the stores. I did whatever I could to get out of the house. I even took up an interest in lawn care so that I could enjoy the outdoors more. It wasn't overwhelming-- just completely realistic changes that were easy to implement, especially when it was just the munchkin and I. It really helped keep my mind off the fact that my husband was in a war zone at the time.

Fast forward to 10 months later, my husband had finally come home from his deployment and I had dropped an amazing 60 lbs and 5 dress sizes! Not only did I look great, but I felt incredible! The headaches and indigestion/acid reflux that I had been experiencing prior to changing my diet and lifestyle were now gone. I no longer felt depressed or had a hard time sleeping at night. I had a seemingly endless supply of energy! I had never felt better, and it was something that I wanted to share with our whole family. When I changed my diet, I cut back on a lot of things that I fed my daughter. I didn't make pasta or mac and cheese anymore. She had the occasional cookie or treat (and honestly so did I), but I noticed a huge difference in her behavior as well. The terrible two's, and trying three's became a whole lot easier to handle-- some of that because I had a lot more energy and patience to deal with it, but also because she was less fussy. The tantrums were far and few between, and I had my happy little girl back.  It was then that I searched for recipes that I could implement for the whole family, and that's how I stumbled upon Matt and Stacy of the Paleo Parents, and their website. They had just begun writing their book at that time, but the information they provided on their website was invaluable, encouraging, and I looked forward to purchasing a copy of the book they were producing.

Image from

Almost a year and a half later, that book is still a favorite. Not only do I love the simplicity of its layout, and the colorful artwork and pictures within, but it contains some truly great recipes that are simple, easy to make, and taste delicious. Our personal family favorite is the Fools Gold Chicken Nuggets on page 81. This weekend we are looking forward to trying a couple of the ice cream recipes with our new ice cream maker that I bought on clearance. There is so much variety. From snacks to entrees-- and even dessert! There is something for everyone in this book.

This is also a cook book that will grow with our child. At the time I purchased it, Claire wasn't old enough to go to school yet, or face the challenges of eating differently than other kids. Now that she is in Pre-K, a whole new world has been opened to her. A world full of choice and curiosity.

If you are contemplating a diet and lifestyle change, and have been eyeballing Paleo, there are so many resources for you to take hold of. If you have a family-- especially school-age kids-- check this book out. Simple, non-processed meals are easy to make, and ELaD will inspire you and your kids to create in the kitchen, and  to eat and live simple-- without the processed junk.

Here I am just 7 months after starting my Paleo journey--  almost 60 lbs lighter!

I still have a long way to go when it comes to my health and weight goals. I also acknowledge that it took years of filling my stomach with junk to get me to my lowest point, and that it will take many years to reverse some of the metabolic damage that I have done to my body. Paleo is not for everyone, but it has definitely been great for me. I do struggle in my daily life because my husband isn't on the Paleo bandwagon with me, and sometimes I just want to break down and eat a huge bowl of pasta or bread. But each choice-- good or bad-- does not define who I am or ruin what I have accomplished. And even if I make a bad decision, I can easily hop back on track. It's amazing what I can do with the right mindset.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and look forward to posting more next week about the results of our home inspection!

Ps. To learn more about Matt and Stacy, and their book, check out their page You can also find out more information about Sean Croxton and the Underground Wellness at

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