Chocolate Cake & Vanilla Frosting

Of all the chocolate cake recipes I have tried, this Hershey’s recipe is hands down my all time favorite. This cake never fails to be moist and & satisfy everyones chocolate craving! (Warning*) This is not a Paleo recipe, however my grandma requested this cake with a fluffy white vanilla frosting for her birthday, so I thought I would share!

Chocolate Cake Ingredients (makes 12 servings) 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Fluffy White Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup 
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in small saucepan.
  2. Cover; heat to rolling boil over medium heat.
  3. Remove cover and boil rapidly, without stirring, to 242 F on candy thermometer.
  4. As mixture boils, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Pour hot syrup very slowly in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites, beating constantly on medium speed.
  6. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  7. Add vanilla during last minute of beating.

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Paleo Granola Bars

As grains are not included within the Paleo diet, typical granola bars are off the menu. Here is a nice recipe I found and modified just a bit from PaeloMom. Although gathering these ingredients seems like a hassle, these delicious bars are pretty easy to make and really worth it! They are such a great morning or midday snack, and the extra pieces can even be broken up to eat as granola.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1½ Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 ½ cups sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease a 9’x13′ baking pan with coconut oil.
  2.  Mix ground flax seed with water and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pulse sun flower seeds in a food processor to break up to the size of sunflower seeds.
  4. Add in coconut oil, almond butter, honey and vanilla to the flax mix.
  5. Add almond flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
  6. Add slivered almonds, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and dried cranberries.  Stir to combine.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.  Spread out and flatten well with your hand or the back of a spatula.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. After removing from the oven, flatten the bars with the back of a spatula.
  10. Let cool completely before cutting bars & break up the extra to eat as your morning cereal!

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Paleo Porridge

I have been looking for a nice cereal recipe to try as a Paleo substitute in lieu of my usual oatmeal or cream of wheat. Here is a recipe I found that I modified a bit to conveniently use several of the ingredients from the Paleo granola bar recipe. Experiment as you like with the nut choices!

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 1/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut 
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds 
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal 
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  1. Process coconut, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, in a food processor until finely ground (do this the night before to save time)
  2. Boil water and stir in ground nuts
  3. Heat in sauce pot for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly
  4. Let thicken and cool for a few extra minutes
  5. Alternatively you may add hot water with nut mixture and microwave for 30 seconds.
  6. Garnish as desired (I added cinnamon, blueberries and then drizzled with honey)

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Green Smoothie Recipe

Smoothies are an awesome way to start the day. Using what I had on hand today I made a Spinach smoothie. I know this sounds & looks gross to most people, but it is so healthy and tastes really great too! So give it a try and you feel free to use any combination of fruits or vegetables on hand.

Green Smoothie (makes 4 cups)

  1. 2 cups lightly packed spinach
  2. 1 banana
  3. 1 cup of blueberries
  4. 1 cup of strawberries
  5. 1 cup almond milk
  6. 1.5 cups of ice

Put it all in the blender & voilà! Breakfast is made.

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Beginners Guide to Going Paleo

Going Paleo seems pretty daunting. The key is to make baby steps. Small changes to your diet every day will allow you to not only adjust to eating differently but also maintain it. Even if you don’t have much time to cook, food prepping and lots of simple options makes the whole thing easier than you’d think.

Lets discuss breakfast;

  • Eggs are great. Buy organic and skip the usual cheese and bread you’d usually eat with it.
  • Sausage or other meats
  • Fruit or veggie salads
  • Fruit & nut bars,or Paleo granola instead of typical cereals (most food stores now carry plenty of prepackaged versions if you can’t spare the extra effort! Like the brand Paleonola with flavors like Apple Pie and Maple Pancake).
  • Grain Free Pancake, Muffin & Bread recipes allow you to eat these special treats as well!
  • Yogurt is fine. There are great substitutes out there like coconut milk yogurt, or the occasional raw, unpasteurized yogurt is okay too (some Paleo eaters disagree here,so do your own research).
  • Leftovers!

The dinner options are endless.

  • Meat or seafood (Just be careful about choosing organic & fresh water)
  • Vegetable dishes
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Casseroles

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Why Eat Paleo?

Why eat Paleo? For me this is not about sticking to a strict diet, believe me I’m totally for indulging now and then (check out the chocolate cake recipe i just posted, it’s amazing), it is about being mindful of what I am ingesting. With the various carcinogens I am exposed to on a daily basis, the least I can do is limit the harmful causes of disease that I do have direct control of.

I have unfortunately been struggling with digestive issues for as far back as I remember. After discovering that my sister has celiac disease, about two years ago I decided to follow her lead and become gluten free to combat some of my symptoms. I found that limiting my gluten intake not only helped control digestive issues & maintain a smaller waistline, but also feel more energized and even see visible improvements within my skin and hair. Studies have even shown that more than just celiac patients react negatively to gluten. As published within the study “Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial” by The Monash University Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology, “34 individuals with irritable bowel syndrome were randomized to either a gluten-containing or a gluten-free diet. The group on the gluten-containing diet had more pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and fatigue compared to the other group.” I am not suggesting that everyone just stop eating gluten, but I am suggesting that anyone who has suffered from abnormal symptoms to experiment more with their diet to see if it is a contributor.

After recently discovering that many of my difficult symptoms were actually due to gallstones, I am now less focused on solely limiting the consumption of gluten and have been primarily focused on adjusting to digestion post surgery. I have found that by naturally limiting consumption of gluten, dairy, and processed foods I have less issues arise with indigestion later.

Not only this, but within my research of possible causes of gallbladder disease, both estrogen & thyroid imbalances are contenders. The prime cause of these imbalances are synthetic hormones. These are the types of hormones that are loaded within non-organic beef and dairy products. This can cause various adverse health affects. When researching how to limit the effects of hormonal imbalances and digestive issues like inflammation and leaky gut, I have found series of success stories by people who have used the Paleo diet as a roadmap to combat these symptoms and lead a healthier lifestyle.

It is estimated on average that Paleolithic humans consumed three times more produce than the typical American, more fiber, more protein, more omega-3 fatty acids, more unsaturated fat, more vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat and sodium. As Dr. Sarah Ballantyne writes, “By addressing important lifestyle factors and changing your focus to eating nutrient-dense foods that support optimal gut health (and optimal health of your gut microorganisms), that restore levels of important nutrients and provide all of the building blocks that your body needs to heal and properly regulate the immune system, that help resolve inflammation and support organ function, you create an environment in your body conducive to healing.”

A close friend of mine once told me that it is a shame to look at my body being sensitivity as a curse, it is a blessing. It is a blessing because it allows me to be more vigilant than the average person concerning my consumption and health, to ensure that I am treating my body right. I have chosen to share some of my findings, strategies, & recipes through this blog.

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