When it comes to living a primal/paleo lifestyle, the key is to eat REAL food, prepared in your own home, from local sources. But let's be real, life can be hectic at times and make that seem impossible to sustain. Whether you have to take your kids to basketball practice or do other household chores like laundry, cooking your own food on a daily basis can take a backseat to some of these other things. While it's ideal to cook all of your own food, in 2016, it's damn near impossible. I understand. I face the same struggle of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle in this fast paced society. After all, I am a full-time college student, health coach, restaurant employee, and part-time caretaker of my paralyzed father.
As a health coach, it's part of my job to understand the people that I work with and the struggles that they face. The most common obstacle that holds people back from eating healthy is time. Part of me wants to tell my clients "we make time for what's important to us". While that's true to an extent, it also lacks compassion. The end goal is to find fun, stress-free ways to keep a person engaged in healthy eating. Using the "lack of compassion approach" may work for a short time, but will ultimately result in the person completely giving up and reverting back to their old habits. In times that you are struggling to maintain a healthy diet or you are simply too stressed out from your fast paced life, there are primal approved processed foods that really come in handy and can help you stay on track while still enjoying your favorite foods.
1. Siete Foods Cassava and Coconut Tortillas
After discovering this product about 6 months ago, it immediately became the staple of my "go to" quick meal. These tortillas are grain-free, gluten free, dairy-free, and paleo certified. More importantly, the ingredient list reads; Cassava Flour, Water, Coconut Four, Coconut Oil, Pasture-Raised Lard, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt, and Xanthan Gum (a natural thickener from a non-GMO source).
The options with these tortillas are limitless. I've used them as breakfast tortillas and loaded them up with eggs, bacon, and raw cheese. You can also use 2 tortillas at once to make a quesadilla with grass fed ground beef and veggies inside. Whatever combination of foods that you can put together with conventional soft shell tacos, these tacos will handle it just as well. Just heat the shells up for about 2 minutes on each side so they harden slightly and begin to brown and you are ready to go.
Carb Count: 1 Tortilla carries only 11 grams of net carbs and 1 gram of sugar so they are suitable for those on a low-carb (and even possibly a ketogenic) diet.
Where to Buy: You can find these tortillas at most Whole Foods locations in either the freezer or refrigerated aisle (depending which Whole Foods you go to). You can also purchase them directly from www.sietefoods.com or on Amazon if you do not have access to them at your local Whole Foods.
2. Capello's Pizza
After already being a fan of Capello's other primal approved products like their various grain-free pastas for quite some time, when I heard that they were going to be making pizza, I was intrigued. After all, ask anyone of your friends their top 3 favorite foods and pizza will be on their list. If pizza is not on their list , you need new friends. Ok, all jokes aside, pizza is a food that many people struggle to let go of when they switch to a healthier lifestyle. My approach to eating is that you should NEVER struggle ! You should enjoy every morsel of food that you put in your mouth. With that being said, there are smart ways to enjoy foods and there are dumb ways to enjoy food. When eating a food like pizza, it should be more of a treat or an "earned meal". Even though Capello's pizza is far superior to your average conventional pizza, this isn't something you should be eating every day as it doesn't carry much nutritional value from a micro-nutrient standpoint. With that being said, let's see what makes this pizza primal approved.
As you can see, the major difference between this pizza and most other pizzas lies within the crust. Capello's uses arrowroot flour as their base for the crust which is a much better option than wheat or most other grains, Arrowroot is a starch that can be found within various herbs and plants including tapioca and cassava. Another benefit of Capello's is that they use coconut oil as their oil instead of vegetables oils like soy or canola which can be highly inflammatory. As previously stated, this isn't something you want to be eating every day, but once in a while if you are in a rush or simply want to indulge in the (not so) guilty pleasure of pizza, go for it !
Carb Count: If you split the pizza with a partner, you will be eating about 31 grams of net carbs and 5 grams of sugar which is still suitable for someone on a low-carb diet but probably not suitable for someone on a strict ketogenic diet.
Where to buy: You can find Capello's pizza in the freezer section at many different Whole Foods locations throughout the U.S as well as various specialty grocers. However, if your local Whole Foods does not have it, you can always purchase it directly from www.capellos.com (although they do require bulk purchases).
3. Bonafide Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth
Bone broth is being touted as the newest superfood that has amazing healing powers. While bone broth does seem to have amazing healing powers when it comes to joints and the gut, this food is nowhere near "new". Although bone broth is just starting to gain positive press, this amazing food was used by our primitive ancestors long before civilized man ever walked the face of the earth. As we began to become a "chicken breast society", we began to shy away from consuming the other parts of the animal such as their bones.
Unfortunately, this has come with severe consequences.
The Science: Autoimmunity is on the rise and higher than ever. Leaky Gut Syndrome and food allergies seemingly effect at least 1 person in each of our lives. And joint pain continues to show it's ugly face prematurely as we age. Researchers are now finding that several key nutrients in bone broth can prevent/treat some of these health issues that we are experiencing. For example, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are 2 nutrients in bone broth that have been found to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Other nutrients like proline, glycine and glutamine have shown the ability to heal the gut and "reseal" a gut lining that has been compromised to help prevent food sensitives and autoimmune like responses.
How I use it: (Ideally) Each morning, I'll heat up about 8 oz. Bonafide Grass Fed Bone Broth and sip on it slowly. The broth tastes great and there is no need to add additional spices but feel free to experiment. Of course, the broth can also be used as a base to make soups as well.
Carb Count: Virtually none.
Where to buy: As with the other primal approved foods I recommended above, this bone broth can be found in the freezer section at most Whole Foods. Make sure to keep the broth frozen and only thaw it once you are ready to use it. The broth will go bad after about a week in the refrigerator.
Try each of these primal approved products out and let me know what you think !