Pregnancy Woes and Meatballs

Yeah, I know those things don’t really go together, especially for me. I have not been able to eat meat for the past 19 weeks. I know that pregnancy is supposed to have its ups and downs, but mine have mostly been down.
My body pretty much hates be right now. I lost 7 pounds in my first trimester due to morning sickness and nausea. Living off nuts and fruit wasn’t really cutting, so I tended to “cheat” and eat whatever t I felt. In the beginning, a gluten free bagel or some ice cream wasn’t really an issue. Then I started adding in sugar (I was craving it something fierce) and accidentally had some gluten. This is what happens when you get too comfortable going off your normal eating habits. After a couple of days, I thought my body would return to normal. Wrong!! My accidental run in with gluten was several weeks ago, and it is like my body still hasn’t recovered. Once the nausea started to subside, I knew I had to revert back to strict paleo. The problem was, not only were my intestines out of whack, I had all the other side effects that go along with sugar and grains. I am so exhausted and my muscles are sore. As if being pregnant isn’t enough, I was now trying desperately to eat healthy and couldn’t stand in the kitchen longer than 10 minutes. Doesn’t my body know I have stuff to do?? I push myself to the max every day, in hopes that my body will just accept the fact that I am not giving up. This doesn’t come without lots of breaks and an occasional nap or two, but this is what my body and my family needs.

My son’s 5th birthday was just last week, and for his birthday meal he requested my meatballs. Bless his heart. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that mommy can barely look at meat right now, so I did what any good mother would do and just did it. I also appreciated that out of everything that I make, this is what he wanted. They must be awesome enough to share. What I love most about these meatballs, is the amount of carrots that I shovel in. They really add an amazing sweetness and you can never go wrong with hidden veggies. So here they are. I hope you can enjoy them as much as Evan does! 🙂

Hide the Veggie Paleo Meatballs (Kid-Approved)

paleo meatball

1lb grass fed ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 dashes red pepper flakes
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
3 eggs
2 Tbsp fresh or dried basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
coconut oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a large pan with oil and heat on medium. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Sautee until soft and let cool. In a large mixing bowl add beef, pork, salt, onion mixture, shredded carrots, salt, almond flour, eggs, basil, parsley, and some more salt. (I like salt. :)) With your hands, mix very well until everything is evenly incorporated. Heat up oil (medium heat) in the large skillet, and roll meatballs to your desired size. I like my pretty large, about the size of golf balls. Place balls into heated oil, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side. This is just to give them a nice browned coating. Place meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes.

Tip: Our family loves to make these garlic bread boats from A Girl Worth Saving. We smother them in our favorite sauce. YUM!

fbmeatball

What I Made Last Month: On the Go Edition

So I found this funny…

I was driving home from visiting my parents last weekend, and came upon a mini van with an advertising decal on the back. This particular one was for healthy/weightloss company that specializes in those fat shrinking wraps. Pulling up along side of it, I couldn’t help but notice that the lady was stuffing her face with fast food burger. Seriously?!? I laughed out loud! If I hadn’t been driving on a busy interstate, I would have tried to snap a picture.  Doesn’t she realize that she is advertising a healthy lifestyle on the back of her van? Or maybe she isn’t sending that message. Maybe she is advertising that she can eat whatever the heck she wants, she can just “wrap” it off later. This my friends, is the problem!!! It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside!! What we put in our bodies is important and affects us more than we realize. Now I realize that I do not know this lady. Maybe this is her first burger in 6 years. While she will probably regret that choice later (in the bathroom), having a cheat every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. But something tells me that this is a busy mom who eats like this on a consistent basis. After I stopped laughing, I began to feel a little bad for her, for all moms, and for all people duped by gimmicks that promote unhealthy eating habits.

So this month, here are some ideas that I enjoy making that are easy to grab and go in a pinch.

There are so many good ideas for breakfast. I do plan ahead. Some of my Sunday is spent cooking or prepping for the week. I work in a school. My only option  for meals is the school cafeteria. Yeah, I’ll pass. Our school used to have a salad bar that was fantastic! I miss those days. Anyways, every day I bring breakfast and lunch for Evan and myself. I am a busy mom too. I don’t have time to spend all weekend in the kitchen. One great thing about Paleo cooking, is that most of it doesn’t have to be complicated. It is really simple eating.

Breakfast

cinn muffin

My family misses real cinnamon rolls. So we make Elana’s Pantry’s Cinnamon Bun Muffins quite a bit. They are so moist, and smell up my house with wonderful smells. I always make a double batch and freeze what I don’t think we will eat that week. I also love to share these with my co-workers. My husband still eats dairy (and of course, my co-workers do too). So her cream cheese frosting is the perfect touch. I will admit, I did lick my finger. It is amazing without all that sugar!!

Lunch/Dinner

Empanadas

 

 

Lunch is a little more difficult, but not impossible. Sometimes I have to walk around with my food at work, so these empanadas are a great idea. Paleo Cupboard stuffs them with a yummy beef and tomato mixture. We also like using leftover shredded pork, and I have even used chicken with barbeque sauce. There has never been a bad combo.

Snacks

enjoylife1

Alright, so I clearly didn’t make these. But these Enjoy life snack bags are quick, easy, and deliciously healthy. There are 7 grams of protein in this little bag! This one is filled with seeds, fruit, and a little chocolate for sweetness. I buy these in bulk, because I could eat one every day.

 

Back to Reality: Post Vacation

Aah! yes, a little vacation to wake me up and make me realize why I eat paleo in the first place. Ugh! I just got back from our family trip to Louisiana and I feel awful! Don’t get me wrong. We had a wonderful time with family and I miss the terribly, but I do not miss all the complications with choosing the right foods. I knew it was going to be difficult to eat completely paleo, especially in the south, especially in New Orleans. Here is what I didn’t know, and I wonder if I should have been more prepared.

The Guilt
This guilt was two fold. At first, I felt guilty immediately walking into the door of Tim’s grandmother’s house. She couldn’t wait to show us all the gluten free products that she found, including pancake mix. I felt like I had to eat it. She went through all that trouble. Explaining to people that paleo is more than just gluten free is like telling them I eat bugs or something. “Well, What do you eat?” I began to hate this question.  “I don’t eat crap,” I wanted to say while they devoured the crap that I was referring to. How do you say that without sounding like a complete food snob? So it was just easier to just eat the gluten free pancakes, crackers, and candy (ok, ok. The candy was my choice). Then the second guilt showed up. “I can’t believe I just ate that,” I would wallow knowing I would regret it later.

The Side Effects
This also came in several parts. The physical ones (bloating, cramping, etc) were expected. What I didn’t expect was the emotional side effects. I found myself getting sad and angry for no apparent reason. I even pleaded (with tears) with my husband to help me find paleo options when we went down to the French Quarter the next day.  I also couldn’t believe how dang tired I was all the time. I had absolutely no energy. Instantly, I knew that it had to be from the small amount of grain and sugar that I had allowed back into my diet.

The Preparation
So how prepared do you need to be? I packed some of our own food including, snacks, cereal, and salad dressing. But maybe that just wasn’t enough. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to go be on my own, away from my own house. Other people’s home and restaurants provide too much of a temptation. There are so many gluten free options out there that are so delicious. I thought as long as I still stayed away from gluten I would be safe. Ha Ha! I know many think this, but you are probably experienced the same issues. Maybe I just need to be more forceful when eating at someone’s house. Believe it or not, it was easier to eat out at a restaurant than it was to eat with family. Tim’s grandmother had found our favorite grain free bread! Yay! But no matter how many times I said I didn’t want mayonnaise on my roast beef po boy, there was always mayo on that sandwich! How do you balance tactfulness without being rude? I just want to make my own sandwich!!

The Recovery
Now that we have been home for a few days, it is harder to stay away from the foods I know I shouldn’t eat. Withdrawal is hard, but I am happy to be home. I know it will take awhile for my tummy and body to be happy with my again. I am actually looking forward to planning out my meals for the week and heading back to our regular schedule.

The Inspiration
There is a plus side to all this discomfort. I have learned so much from my first vacation away from strictly paleo habits. I continue to learn new ways that my body reacts to food, and in the long run that is helpful. Secondly, I have so many new ideas inspired by New Orleans cuisine. I wish I could spend all my time in the kitchen to practice.  My jambalya recipe is almost ready to share. I am also thinking of a gumbo and of course, a king cake.  Yum 🙂