Grainless Granola Goodness

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Anytime I hear about a company that’s producing a good product made from quality ingredients, I get excited. And when companies like that contact me to review their product, it’s even more exciting and fun!

There are 2 reasons why I get so fired up about this kinda thing: 1) I love to eat good food and 2) I love sharing information about these sorts of healthy, tasty, and beneficial products with YOU. And if I didn’t think Paleonola was all of those three things, I wouldn’t be talking about them.

BUT before we get into all of the fun info about Paleonola’s background and how they came to be, let’s first discuss what Paleonola is. In case their name didn’t give it away already, Paleonola is paleo granola (doi). Paleonola IS:

  • Grain-free
  • Preservative-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Made fresh every day
  • Made with REAL ingredients

And the best part is, Paleonola tastes really good. Like, dangerously good. But my FAVORITE thing about Paleonola isn’t their commitment to using quality ingredients or even their Maple Pancake flavor (the best one, in my opinion).

It’s their story. I always enjoy hearing about people who have taken a leap of faith to turn their a passion into a profession. And that’s exactly what Katelyn and Dinos did with Paleonola!

Katelyn and her husband Dinos began their journey into the paleoshpere through Dinos’s career as a professional hockey player. “Being a dedicated athlete, he was constantly in search of the best methods for training and eating,” Katelyn said. “When he began crossfitting with a fellow teammate, he started to learn more about the paleo lifestyle. When he implemented it into his everyday routine, he could not believe the differences not only in performance but in his overall attitude. Inevitably, I was intrigued to learn more and started experimenting with different paleo recipes. All of this began in 2008 and has stuck ever since! Unlike many other “diets” it is very sustainable, once you’ve made the initial switch.”

The more Katelyn and Dinos learned about the importance of quality food, the more picky they became. “It was nearly impossible for us to find a snack in any grocery store whose ingredients list was short and whose ingredients we could pronounce in their entirety. Being an avid baker, I started testing recipes for Dinos at home. I wanted to try and find a way to apply great flavors to a healthy, satisfying snack. After much trial and error, Paleonola came to be,” Kately said.

Because Paleonola contains no preservatives, fresh batches are made daily in accordance to the Paleonola “just-in-time processing” model. Paleonola also has complete control over the ingredients they use and select from suppliers. “Many companies don’t control the manufacturing process and have big production companies make their recipes for them,” Katelyn said. “We also focus strictly on our granola vs. other companies out who they make several different products that have no relation to one another. As you can imagine, this allows us to produce a higher quality and more consistent product than competitors.”

"Chocolate Fix" Paleonola with almond milk, banana, and honey!

“Chocolate Fix” Paleonola with almond milk, banana, and honey – another one of my favorites!

Katelyn and Dinos are grateful for all of the success they’ve had so far and couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come. “The best part of our business journey has been connecting directly with other individuals that share our passion for food, life and well-being. We’re so touched every time we receive a personal thank-you from someone who is grateful that we have taken the time to create this kind of a product,” Katelyn said. “We’re excited for the day when Paleonola is a staple at every natural foods store across the country. We will be launching some new flavors in 2015 that will continue to show that Paleonola is uniquely different from all the other granolas out there.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY PALEONOLA

Have you tried Paleonola yet? If so, what did you think? Let me know with a comment!

Disclaimer: Bethany McDaniel/From the Pasture is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please know that I ONLY recommend products that I wholeheartedly support and believe to be of value to my readers.

Survival Food (Paleo & Gluten-free Friendly)

When my friend Angelina from Jojo and Eloise told me her idea to write a guest post all about healthy, wholesome survival food, I knew it would be amazing. Angelina is a mother of 6 (yes, 6!) kids who she homeschools. Somehow, she still finds time for her awesome blog and so many other fun ventures. I hope you’ll enjoy this post and all of the amazing pictures she took with the help of two of her cute kids! Take it away, Angelina!

#glutenfree first aid jojoandeloise.com

Hello From the Pasture Readers this is Angelina from JoJo and Eloise. I am so excited to be here sharing with you today about being READY for any and ALL kinds of emergencies. In times past I have never really considered or thought much about what was going into our Emergency Food Boxes. I was happy enough to know that I had enough food to supply my family with, in case an Emergency should arise. However, things have changed over the years and one of the those things being the FOODS that we eat. We have gone Gluten and Grain Free and as of most recently, 5 out of our 6 children have been on the GAPS healing diet. This has changed how we consider and what we think about putting into our Emergency Food Boxes.

Do you have Emergency Food Boxes and Kits? If not have you ever considered putting one together or is it possibly something you have never even thought of?

If you don’t have one or have never even thought about it, don’t worry. You’re not alone — about 80% of people aren’t prepared when disaster strikes.

Depending on where you live in the Country/World you may deal with some or even more serious types of Natural Disasters.

fires earthquake jojoandeloise.com

Did you know that Evacuations are more common than people actually think? Most evacuations in the U.S. are caused because of Flooding and Fires. However, evacuations are not uncommon when other potential hazards are present after a natural disaster occurs or even just as precautionary safety measure for the public such as Gas Leaks, Chemical Contamination, Unsanitary Conditions, Lack of Security in a dangerous situation etc..

People don’t really think about putting together Emergency Food Boxes. Why?!? Because they see their Pantries and Freezers full of FOOD and think all of it will be there when Disaster Strikes. This way of thinking is what causes Panic and Scrambling when that unfortunate event hits. Your Freezer may be full but what happens if you lose power for Hours or even Days? What about No Gas and Water? The best way to make sure your family is prepared is to think the worst case scenario.

No Power, No Water, No Gas, No Road Access and the Possibility of Evacuation.

Thinking this way will help you to better prepare what goes into your Emergency Food Boxes, ESPECIALLY when you have special dietary needs in the family. Having enough food and water for the minimum of 72hrs could possibly save yours and your loved ones lives.

Paleo Grain Free Gluten Free Emergency Food Boxes jojoandeloise.com

Your Emergency Food Boxes should contain foods that DON’T need refrigeration and are shelf stable. This will ensure that your items will be able to be stored and transported safely.

Emergency food boxes with julian bakery jojoandeloise.com

Some items you might consider:

Paleo Wraps, Paleo Coconut Flakes (the bag is securely sealed and can be removed from the box to save space) Artisana Raw Almond Butter Packets, Paleonola, Great Lakes Gelatin, Activated Charcoal, Coco Hydro, Two Moms in the Raw, Organic Berry Powerful Granola, Native Forest Coconut Milk , Navitas Coconut Water and Mulberry Berries.There are so many other items to consider putting in your Boxes, just be sure to semi regularly check your expiration dates, replacing expiring items as needed. We make sure to buy the replacement before we ever remove the one close to expiration, that way our Emergency Food Box is never without that particular item.

Other things to consider are wet wipes, disposable cutlery and can openers if needed. Only the things that are pertaining to your FOOD items. You can pack a Medical Box separately.

Emergency Survival Food Kit #GlutenFree #paleo

Tanka, Epic Paleo Grass Fed bars and U.S Wellness Meats has an Extra Dry Beef Jerky that is Shelf Stable.

Beef Jerkey jojoandeloise.com

GoCo Pods have to be one of my FAVES. I love these little packets of Coconut goodness. They are perfectly sized and are so easy to use.

goco pod coconut oil jojoandeloise.com

You can use them to cleanse your mouth, clean and care for wounds, as a source of food and countless other things I am sure.

goco pod coconut oil non gmo jojoandeloise.com

We also keep 4 ZICO coconut water bottles in each of our Emergency Food boxes. ZICO supports Hydration and Replenishment and it also helps that it is a Non Gmo product.

emergency preparedness with ZICO coconut water jojoandeloise.com

In our boxes are also a few extra Boxed Waters. In the case of Evacuation, roads can be jammed and there’s the possibility of being stuck in your car for hours. It’s always good to have water available until you’re able to reach your destination.

emergency perparedness jojoandeloise.com #glutenfree #paleo

Berkey is a great option for everyday use as well as in cases of Emergencies. And with their travel sizes, you can easily transport them in case of Evacuation.

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Canned Fish and Sardines make for a great source of protein and store very easily.

Vital Choice Sardines and Albacor Tuna jojoandeloise.com

Sardines omega 3 Vitamin d jojoandeloise.com

Real Salt is Healing jojoandeloise.com

SALT!!! You are probably wondering why in the world you would pack SALT into your Emergency Food Boxes.

The body needs salt. Why? Because Salt helps control your fluid balance. It also controls the way your muscles and nerves work. Our very cells contain large amounts of salt. Our bodies automatically regulate how much salt, or sodium, that is present.

Real Salt is also helpful in cleaning wounds whether in your mouth or on your body. It aids in Hydration, replacing minerals that may have been lost in addition to flavoring foods.

Real Salt for Real Emergencies jojoandeloise.com

Redmond Clay

Redmond Bentonite Clay jojoandeloise.com

Internal uses: People have used bentonite clay when suffering from occasional diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, stomachache, acid indigestion, acid reflux, and other digestive problems. As trends move toward naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, more people include Redmond Clay capsules with their daily supplements or drink clay water because of its drawing ability, highly alkaline pH, and natural minerals.

External uses: Hydrated Redmond Clay can be applied externally as a poultice on cuts, bruises, insect bites, bee stings, boils, rashes, achy joints, acne, and burns.

good hygiene it's important jojoandeloise.com

Of course you don’t want to forget about Personal Hygiene. So that we don’t have to think about what to grab and take in case of Evacuation, we make sure that we have Brand New Deodorants, Full Body Cleansers, Toothbrushes and EarthPaste.

Your Family will thank you for it if and when Disaster Strikes.

earthpaste a better choice of toothpaste jojoandeloise.com

Emergency Boxes will vary from family to family. Each of your needs and our children’s needs are different. This is by no means a set in stone list of things to have stored and ready for that possible case of Disaster or Evacuation.

This is just a base by which to get the conversation started, maybe even get you motivated to prepare your own Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Emergency Boxes.

You can build your Boxes Individually, Boys/Girls, Parents, Specific Needs, Snacks, Meats etc.. Be sure to make a family plan on who is to be in charge of particular boxes so that there is no misunderstanding and nothing is left behind.

being prepared with emergency food jojoandeloise.com

And if you have little ones, be sure to pack some of their favorite foods or things you know that they will LOVE. It’s bad enough when we adults are under stress, in the middle of disaster or worse get uprooted from our homes. Our children will need some sense of normalcy and things they know from their everyday homelife. These GoGo Squeezes make for a great source of nutrition, fun and are sure to make them feel better.

go go squezze jojoandeloise.com

The Problem With GMOs

People tend to get pretty worked up over GMOs. Some say they’ve revolutionized the food industry in remarkable ways, while others are up in arms over their existence and how prevalent they are in our modern food system.

This extremely polarized issue is surrounded by a ton of confusion, misinformation, and greed.

And a big part of this confusion begins with the question, “What is a GMO?” as well as the more basic question, “What does GMO stand for?”

Sadly, most people (even/especially those who are opposed to consuming GMOs) have no idea how to answer either one of those questions. And this short video from The Jimmy Kimmel Show proves it. If you have a sense of humor, this is a must-watch.

Hilarious as it is, this video is a good reminder to all of us that when taking a stance on anything, it’s always good to know why we are upholding that decision/belief. And that starts with getting informed (while this post certainly isn’t the final word on GMOs, it’s a start. The references listed at the bottom will provide you with even more information on the subject).

In order to be an informed consumer on the issue of GMOs, it’s important to first know what a GMO is. To put it simply, a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is a plant or animal that has been genetically altered with DNA from another other plant/animal, bacteria, or virus. According to Chris Kresser,

Genetic modification involves the transfer of genes from one species of plant or animal to another, using techniques that can cause mutations in the genome that may have unintended consequences for the crop’s safety. The imprecise rearrangement of genes can create new proteins in these plants that may trigger allergies or promote disease. Our immune systems often do not recognize these new proteins and may mount an immune attack against them if they enter our bloodstream intact. These unintended gene transfers, along with those that are intended, can lead to significant changes in gut and immune function, and may have long-term consequences that are not yet known to the scientific and medical communities.

GMOs are already in roughly 80% of processed foods in the United States. And as of Dec. 2011 , GMOs were also in

  • 94% of soy crops
  • 88% of corn crops
  • 90% of cotton crops
  • 90% of canola crops

These percentages have undoubtedly increased since 2011.

Most GMO crops are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide (like Monsanto’s Roundup), which has increased the amount of herbicides being used on crops by millions of pounds and has also contributed to the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Other GMO crops (corn and cotton) are tampered with using the gene of a bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces a pesticidal toxin in every single cell of the plant. The Bt toxin breaks down the gut of the insect, causing a blood infection that eventually kills it. Several recent studies have also linked the Bt toxin to decreased immune function in mice, the premature death of human cells in vitro, and liver and kidney damage in mice.

What all of this means for humans who consume GMO crops isn’t exactly clear, which brings us to my next point…


Why GMOs Scare the *bleep* Out of Me

GMO advocates argue that there’s no evidence of GMOs being harmful to humans. But that’s just the thing — there’s NO conclusive evidence either way because there here have been no long-term studies on the side effects of GMOs on humans.

There IS however, plenty of evidence to suggest that putting GMOs into our bodies probably isn’t such a good idea (like the Bt toxin studies cited above). Here’s a few more examples:

  • 50% more people became allergic to soy in the UK soon after genetically modified soy was introduced.
  • Mice that were fed experimental GM peas began also reacting to a variety of other foods. The scariest part? The peas had already passed all of the allergy tests normally done before a GMO makes it on the market. Only an advanced test (which is never used on the GMOs we eat) revealed that the peas could be unsafe.
  • Rats fed GM potatoes had partially atrophied livers that were also smaller in size than those of their GMO-free counterparts.
  • Mice had less babies that were smaller in size the longer they were fed genetically modified corn.
  • Shepherds in India reported a 25% death increase in their sheep after they had grazed on genetically modified Bt Cotton crops after harvest. The sheep experienced symptoms that included reddish and erosive lesions on the mouth, blackish diarrhea, and death within 5-7 days.

And if you’re more of a visual learner, this infographic from seedsnow.com a great job of illustrating the issue.

GMO-Fact-sheet

Scary as it may be, this information still doesn’t tell us enough about GMOs to prove that they’re unsafe for humans to consume. And finding studies that do might be nearly impossible, as scientists cannot publish independent research on genetically modified crops without first receiving permission from corporations that sell GMO seeds.

This gives the agritech companies that make GMO seeds complete control over the research, which could explain why there have been no conclusive studies proving that GMOs can have negative side effects on humans (see what I meant when I said greed was involved)?

The bottom line?

GMOs are NOT natural. And whenever we humans try to outsmart nature, we fail.

Our health has suffered ever since we as a society decided that manufactured, processed food-like products were healthier than real, whole foods. It took us awhile to realize it (and most still haven’t) but many of us are finally starting to turn a corner and revert back to eating the sorts of foods that kept our ancestors healthy and disease-free.

So instead of making the same mistake with GMOs (and waiting decades for their health hazards to surface and become common knowledge), I suggest avoiding them as much as possible.


What You Can Do

There are currently no labels to make consumers aware of products that contain GMOs, at least not in the United States (64 countries around the world have already made it mandatory for GMO foods to be labeled).

But the good news is, we still have some choice in the matter.

Those who follow a paleo/primal lifestyle (free of processed foods as well as corn and soy — two of the most common GMO crops in existence) will naturally consume less GMOs than those who eat a S.A.D.(Standard American Diet). Eating Organic produce also ensures that your fruits/veggies are free of GMOs.

Meat can be tricky. It’s an industry with a lot of loopholes and not much regulation. And as I’ve said in the past, the ONLY way to know your meat is to know your farmer — like, on a first-name basis. Always ask tough questions and visit the source if possible.

Or you can be like the guy from the video and only worry about it after you get sick. KIDDING! Please don’t do that. 😉

Those are my recommendations. Now I want to know what you think! Do you avoid GMOs? Why or why not?

More resources on GMOs:

Health Risks Associated with GMOs by the Institute for Responsible Technology

Yes on Prop 37 – Label Genetically Modified Food by Lisa Bronner

Are GMOs Safe? by Chris Kresser

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aregmossafe

Recipe Spotlight Contest – Deviled Green Eggs and Ham

greeneggsandham

I’m SO happy to be featuring this recipe spotlight contest entry from Aaron and Lizette of Feasting on Paleo! This husband/wife duo lives in San Clemente with their two boys. Together, Aaron (the acclaimed chef) and Lizette (the business mastermind) specialize in creating flavorful and unique dishes made from REAL ingredients. Their deviled green eggs and ham were a crowd favorite at our fall pot luck – I highly suggest trying this recipe at home! *Remember to comment on this post to help Aaron & Lizette win a $50 gift card to Primal Pastures! Take it away, guys!

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen Primal Pastures eggs (save 2 for the mayo)
  • 1 large bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 large bunch parsley, leaves only
  • 2 bunches of chives, one bunch chopped fine
  • 1 bunch of tarragon, leaves only
  • 2 cups of cold pressed avocado oil, chilled in the freezer for an at least 30 min
  • 1 pack of high quality prosciutto
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (sugar free)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.

  2. Hard boil 22 of the eggs (I like to cook them for 3 minutes in the pressure cooker. The shells come off super easy). Once the eggs are cooked, shock them in a cold water ice bath. Peel, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the yolks into a large mixing bowl and put the whites on a large platter. Use a fork to break up the yolks. Set cooked egg yolks aside for later.

  3. Lay the prosciutto flat in one layer on a sheet tray covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 10-12 minutes (or until the prosciutto is crispy). Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Take the sheet tray out of the oven and let the prosciutto cool.

  4. Place all the herbs into a blender, except for chopped chives. Pour 1 1/2 cups avocado oil in the blender (keeping the oil cold in the freezer will help prevent the herbs from browning out). Start on low speed, then bring up to high as it gets smoother. Should be a fairly smooth herb oil puree.

  5. With the two remaining eggs, separate the yolks from the whites. You’ll only need the yolks for the mayo. The whites can be set aside for another use. Take the yolks and place them in a large mixing bowl (or food processor, blender or immersion blender. Whatever your favorite mayo making device is). Add mustard and lemon juice and whisk together. While continually whisking (or blending), slowly drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup avocado oil.

  6. Once your mayo starts to come together, slowly drizzle in your herb oil while whisking. If your mayo starts getting too thick, drizzle a little water into the mixture. Add the sherry vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
    Add the green mayo to the cooked yolks a little at a time, until desired consistency. Whisk until smooth. If needed, add a little water to thin out. Check for seasoning.

  7. Spoon green yolk mix onto each egg white. Break up prosciutto into chip-size pieces and stick into top of the egg. Sprinkle chopped chives over the top.

Enjoy them… In a boat, or with a goat. Maybe in the rain, or on a train.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Eggs

pasteurized eggs

A few weeks ago, Farmer Paul created a facebook post that generated quite a bit of attention, both good and bad.

In the post, Paul shared his annoyance with a carton of eggs he had seen at Albertsons. On the carton, the words “pasteurized eggs” were placed directly over a large, colorful image of fresh grass and sunshine.

Don’t see what the big deal is?

Think about it this way. Do you think the hens who laid those eggs are out roaming free on pasture, pecking for bugs and fresh vegetation?

Not even close.

But do you think that many people will see those eggs, immediately fixate on the picture, and buy them thinking that they’re getting “pasture-raised” eggs?

Yes — for sure.

I can’t tell you how many people come to us wanting “pasteurized” eggs/meat, thinking that pasteurized means pasture-raised. And not knowing the difference isn’t a matter of mental constitution, as one facebook user commented. With all of the label games companies are playing these days, it can be extremely difficult to know what’s what (especially for those who are relatively new to the whole real food thing).

Not only are labels severely misguided, but so are many basic facts about eggs in general. And since I don’t really like being lied to and wasting money on fancy labels and “facts” that make about as much sense as Britney Spears’ decision to shave her head, I feel compelled to speak up about the many marketing schemes, misinformation, and lies associated with eggs.

Of course, it isn’t my job to tell you what kind of eggs to buy. But given the vast amount of public confusion on the topic, I do want to help you discover the truth so that you can decide for yourself what is (and what isn’t) worth spending extra money on.

So without further ado, here are 10 surprising things you didn’t know about eggs.

1) Brown eggs aren’t any healthier than white ones.

White eggs can be extremely nutritious just as brown eggs can be extremely non-nutritious (depending on the hen’s feed and living conditions). The ONLY determining factor in the color of the egg is the breed of the chicken.

*Interesting fact — you can tell what color a hen’s eggs will be by the color of her earlobes. For instance, a hen with white earlobes will lay white eggs, while a hen with red earlobes will lay brown eggs, etc.

2) Free-range/Cage-free doesn’t mean much.

These meaningless, feel-good terms really get my blood boiling.

Why?

Because they’re a total joke.

To see what I mean, check out this picture of an unspecified “free-range” chicken farm that we recently posted to the Primal Pastures Instagram account.

freerangechickens

Even though these chickens are living inside of a grow house packed full of 30,000 birds, they can still be classified as “free-range” if they’re given ACCESS to the outdoors. Access time is not specified and it doesn’t matter whether or not the birds ever actually go outside on fresh pasture (providing the grow house isn’t surrounded by dirt, which they typically are).

The definition of “cage-free” is even more laughable. According to the USDA,

This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.

Hmmm…sounds pretty much identical to the way conventional chickens are always raised — in an enclosed building with access to food and water. Definitely not an “upgrade” that’s worth an extra buck or three at the supermarket.

3)…Neither does Organic.

The Organic label certifies that the hens were fed an organic feed, free of unnatural fertilizers or pesticides — but that’s about all it’s good for.

Organic chickens can (and almost always are) crammed together in grow houses and never allowed the opportunity to go outside to act like chickens and peck for bugs and grass.

4) All eggs are hormone-free.

This would be a convincing selling point for eggs, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s illegal for poultry to be given hormones in the U.S.

In fact, egg labels that brag about their “hormone-free” status are required to follow that claim with a statement that says, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones”.

5) Vegetarian-fed isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Chickens are NOT vegetarians. They’re omnivores — just like us!

And when left to their own devices in the wild, chickens get plenty of creature protein in their diets (usually from bugs and sometimes from the remains of deceased animals).

While the “vegetarian-fed” label does ensure that the hens weren’t fed animal by-products, it also guarantees that they weren’t raised outside on grass. Because if they were, there’s no way they wouldn’t be chowing down on insects on a regular basis.

6) Dirty eggs? No problem.

At Primal Pastures, we frequently sell eggs lightly spotted with dirt and/or grass. It may seem gross to some, but there’s a reason for it.

All eggs come out with a natural protective coating called a “bloom”. The bloom seals the pores of the eggshell and protects the egg from harmful bacteria and moisture loss.

Most major commercial egg operations wash their eggs, stripping them of this natural protective barrier. Not only are these eggs washed, but often bleached (pretty troubling considering how porous egg shells are without the bloom) so that the consumer can take home a very pretty (but extremely unnatural) egg that’s more susceptible to salmonella and other pathogens.

Some conventional eggs are re-coated with mineral oil or wax in an effort to replicate the bloom. But let’s be honest — when have man-made interventions ever worked as well as the real deal?

7) Pastured eggs don’t need to be refrigerated.

Because of their bloom, unwashed pastured eggs can be safely kept out of the refrigerator for up to 3 months!

But the law does require all retailed eggs to be refrigerated (even pastured, unwashed ones) and I wouldn’t advise putting most eggs anywhere other than the fridge — unless you raised them yourself or know and trust your farmer.

8) Pastured eggs are healthier.

Eggs that come from pasture-raised hens contain 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3, 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more beta-carotene, and 4-6 times more Vitamin D than standard store-bought eggs (even if they’re Organic and/or free-range).

9) Watch for these 4 things.

  • Yolk color. While the color of the yolk does matter (vibrant orange yolks are generally considered to be more nutritious while pale yellow ones are thought to be the product of unhealthy hens), it isn’t everything. Egg yolk color can be easily manipulated with certain foods and additives, something that many commercial egg operations know and have been taking advantage of for years.

    In contrast, healthy pastured egg yolk colors can vary greatly depending on the season and other environmental and lifestyle factors. If you’re interested in learning more about the determining factors involved in yolk color, this article from Modern Farmer offers some incredibly interesting commentary on the subject.

  • Shell strength. Healthy, pastured hens should produce eggshells that are more firm and tougher to crack than conventional eggs.

    Since pasture-raised hens consume a diet naturally rich in important eggshell-boosting minerals (calcium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese), it makes sense that taking in these nutrients would result in tougher, more durable eggshells.

  • Yolk firmness. The yolks of pastured hens are generally more stable, tougher to break, and “stand up” better than their conventional counterparts.

  • Taste. Pastured eggs taste BETTER — plain and simple.

By themselves, the factors listed above don’t mean a whole lot. A broken egg yolk doesn’t always mean that your egg isn’t healthy, and a vibrant orange yolk doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.

Almost all of these elements can be manipulated by producers, but usually not all at once. If you’re getting eggs from a trusted source that meets all of the requirements listed above most of the time, you’re probably in good hands.

10) Pasteurized eggs aren’t healthy.

In case I haven’t already picked on the egg company from the beginning of this post enough, I’ll go ahead and top it off — not for the sole purpose of bashing them (I doubt this post will put any kind of dent in their sales), but simply to educate and inform.

The company defines their pasteurization process as a “gentle warm water bath” that heats the egg “to the exact temperature needed to destroy all bacteria” within the egg.

The idea of killing all of the bacteria in eggs for safety reasons sounds nice, but completely neglects the innate defense mechanisms that eggs are naturally equipped with (like the bloom).

The pasteurization process also wipes out all the good bacteria within the egg (some bacteria is necessary for proper digestion) and could also have a negative impact on the egg’s vitamin and mineral content.

There’s one thing that pasteurization and the other misconceptions listed above all have in common. They’re products of a culture that continues to (unsuccessfully) try to out-do what nature has already perfected.

So instead of working against nature (and failing) doesn’t it make more sense to work with it in order to achieve optimal results — from a nutritional, humane, and environmental standpoint?

We think so. That’s why our hens spend their days running around outside, on fresh grass, foraging for bugs and worms (and they lay nutritious and delicious eggs that prove it)!

But you don’t have to get eggs from us in order to reap these benefits! EatWild.com is an excellent resource for finding local, sustainable egg and meat farms (but be sure to also do your own research on whatever farm you buy from). You may also want to consider raising your own backyard hens — a practice that’s becoming increasingly popular these days.

Whatever you decide to do, please don’t buy free-range eggs from the store. Seriously. There’s better things to waste your money on! 😉

Was any of this information news to you? Disagree with any of the points listed above? Let me know with a comment!

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10thingsyoudidntknowabouteggs2

Primal Pastures Fall Pot Luck + Movie on the Pasture

I’ve talked a lot about how much fun we have hosting events on the farm. Breakfasts, farm tours, processing workshops…they’re all great. But pot lucks are BY FAR my favorite.

And this last pot luck was bigger & better than ever before. Why? For one, it was the first time we’ve had more than 100 people visit the farm all at once. So that was pretty cool. More people also meant more food, which is obviously a good thing. And once it got dark, we showed a movie (Babe) on the pasture — which just put the whole thing over the top.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came! We hope you had a blast — we sure did!

But how could we not have with this amazing spread of delicious dishes?

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…and so many great people! Here’s our friends Clare and Valerie filling up their plates!

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And here’s what my (first) plate looked like. No complaints — except that I got to the desserts too late.

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Clare’s grain-free & egg-free chocolate chip cookies were a HUGE hit! Click here for the recipe.

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Dinner on the pasture!

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The farmers gave everyone a quick tour after dinner. Farmer Paul was probably in the middle of telling everyone all about how we raise our chickens (and why they’re healthier, happier, and better for the environment than the ones they sell at the grocery store — yes, even “free range” grocery store birds).

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Val and Rebecca hanging out with their husbands!

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From left to right: Monica, Leslie (author of Paleo Girl — a book that would have saved me a lot of trouble if I had read it as a teenager), Leslie’s husband A.J., and Clare.

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Relaxing with Babe!

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We love the Ruedi Family! Besides just being awesome, Lori also has a wonderful blog dedicated to raising healthy families with essential oils and natural living.

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And here’s our good friends Sarah and Nolan! Sarah and her mom make date-based truffles called Druffles. They’re seriously scrumptious. And super addicting…which is okay, because Druffles are made with 100% REAL food (and a lot of love).

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It’s always a joy to see Lizette, Aaron, and their kids! This family is the coolest. And their personal chef and catering business, Feasting on Paleo, is a reflection of just how talented and creative this duo is! Everyone LOVED the green eggs and ham they brought to the pot luck (I’ll be posting their recipe on the blog soon)!

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Thanks again to all pot luck guests! And to those who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at the next one! On that note, any suggestions on which movie we should show next? Let us know with a comment!

From Pasture to Plate — A Reformed Meat Eater’s Manifesto (Guest Post from Vivacious Dish)

This is a guest post from Kathryn of Vivacious Dish. Kathryn attended one of our chicken processing workshops awhile back and wrote a post about her experience. It was so good that we had to share it! Enjoy!

I had never killed an animal in my life. Until today.

At noon I was standing on a family farm in Temecula, California holding a live chicken in my arms. By 5 p.m. I was standing in my kitchen dunking a fresh whole chicken into a brown sugar brine solution to get it ready to slow roast. The process in between was both exciting and disconcerting – a true life lesson in what it really means to be a meat eater.

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Fair warning: this post and the photos below are graphic. But they are also really important for me to share as part of my journey to healing through the GAPS Diet and beyond. Because after all, fully coming to terms with a diet centered around drinking broth made from animal bones brings me, as a former vegetarian of more than 10 years, smack in the face with a moral dilemma.

On one hand, I feel the best I’ve felt in years (my whole adult life really) while following the Paleo/GAPS Diet over the past two months. I’ve eaten more animal products during this time period than in the first 20 years of my life combined – bone broth, bone marrow stew, organs, boiled meat, and lard. On the other hand, I became a vegetarian at age seven because I thought it was inhumane to kill and eat animals. With the exception of some fish and poultry on special occasions, I remained vegetarian until I studied abroad at age 20. Because let’s face it, who could fully immerse in Spanish culture for a semester without indulging in the glory that is Jamón Ibérico? I’d since gotten away from being so concerned with animal rights in exchange for being a foodie.That was, until I connected last fall with some experts in ancestral health. They introduced me to the Paleo/ancestral health movement and encouraged me to actually pick up and read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which had been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust since my early 20’s. I became quickly engrossed in sourcing of meats, eggs and raw dairy – pastured, grassfed, hormone-free, free-range, humanely raised, sustainable – first for the personal health benefits, then for the environmental/social impact.

The more I read Paleo, ancestral health and food justice articles and blogs, the more conscious of a consumer I became. I was soon having 30-minute conversations with my local farmers about how they source their meats – whether the feed is organic/non-GMO, if their animals get to graze on pastures, are their kill methods humane, how far the animal traveled from the farm before slaughter, etc. If you’ve ever seen the Portlandia episode where they grill the restaurant server about where their chicken comes from to the point of visiting the farm themselves, I had become “that girl.”

I felt good about my better-informed and more humane meat-eating, and for over a year, I didn’t experience any mental anguish eating animal products. However, in the past two months as I’ve become even more mindful in my eating, I have been thinking once again in stronger alignment with the moral dilemma of my youth. If I am not willing to kill an animal (even squashing spiders makes me feel pains of remorse), then how can I feel okay eating one?

Eating meat is inherently primal in nature. It brings up notions of the aggressive male hunter going out into the forest to flex his ego by bringing home the largest buck as a demonstration of his dominance over nature. And yet, the venison he cured would sustain and nourish his family throughout the cold winter months of scarce food. I am beginning to wonder if humans, as we evolve further from our primitive roots to a more enlightened (and physically light) reality, if we will also evolve to require less meat for proper nutrition and optimum health. Perhaps Ghandi and his followers, with their enlightened vegetarian ways, were on to something.

Americans’ separation from our food sources is one of the biggest problems with our current food system. We go to the grocery story and mindlessly pick up a plastic package of sterilized, hormone-packed chicken breasts that are about as far from a live chicken as you can get while still eating “chicken.” I bet that the majority of Americans, if they saw firsthand how a live chicken becomes a nugget, they would think twice about their next trip through the drive through.

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If I am going to eat meat, I want to be as close to the source as possible. It’s irresponsible for me, as a meat eater, to not fully understand what it takes to bring meat to my table. So when Primal Pastures sent out an invitation to attend a Chicken Processing Workshop, I jumped on the opportunity. Actually, I debated for about a month before committing to attending for fear that my blissfully unaware meat-eating world might come crashing down.

I arrived at Primal Pastures today with mixed emotions. I was proud of myself for taking the leap in becoming even more informed in my choice to eat meat, and also incredibly nervous for the experience of killing an animal for the first time.

The process itself was pretty straightforward, and Farmers Paul and Rob did an excellent job explaining both the how to and the why of each step along the way.

Step 1: Pick up a chicken off the pasture.

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The chickens we could select were two-year-old laying hens, past their prime in egg production. These hens had spent their entire lives grazing the pastures, scratching up bugs like all healthy, happy chickens do.

I wasn’t sure how to approach picking up a chicken that I knew I was going to kill, so I just walked out into the pasture and stood there calmly. A chicken walked over to me and stopped in front of me. This was the moment of truth. I picked her up without any struggle, and off we went to the killing station.

Step 2: Kill the chicken.

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Farmer Paul and his team explained that their killing cones are one of the most humane kill methods around. The chickens are being killed less than 20 yards from where they graze, so they experience minimal stress prior to the end of their lives. And the cones themselves allow for the chickens to be placed upside-down during the process, which puts them in a relaxed (similar to playing dead) state.

Awaiting the kill was one of the most difficult parts in the process for me. Because they only had four killing cones, I spent about 10 minutes prior to killing my bird waiting my turn while holding her feet up in my arms. I began feeling really nervous but tried to keep myself calm to minimize the stress on her as well. She got a little flustered at one point and gave me a nice scratch with her sharp feet, but otherwise we were both just together in that space trying to keep calm. I felt a bond with my bird doing those minutes – I could feel her warmth and her breath. I tried not to think about what I was going to do next.

When the time came, I placed my bird feet up in the metal cone and pulled her neck through the smaller hole in the bottom. Cradling her beak and head in my fingers, I took a deep slice to her carotid artery and watched as her deep red blood spilled out over my hand and onto the ground. The farmers told us that the lack of blood to the brain makes the bird go into a coma almost immediately, but it was hard to believe as my bird’s body flapped around for a few seconds in the cone. Apparently the nerves in the brain are still firing at this point so the bird is having involuntary spasms. They don’t use the expression “a chicken with it’s head cut off” for nothing. Eventually my bird stopped moving and it was done.

Step 3: Scald the bird.

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This part of the process was pretty straightforward. We dipped our birds in a hot water bath to loosen the feathers. The most notable thing about this step for me was how heavy the dead weight of the bird felt as I carried her by her feet to the scalding bath. After about a minute of scalding, the feathers were coming out easily.

Step 4: Pluck the bird.

Primal Pastures had a neat machine that looked like a big metal washing machine drum with 30+ short rubber dowels attached.

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When you turned the machine on, it would shake and the birds would bounce around off the rubber dowels until the feathers come loose.

We put our birds in the bottom of the drum, turned on the machine, and sprayed them down with a hose as their feathers came loose to keep the feathers from flying. After about a minute, our birds were completely naked. It was surprising to see just how small the birds were without their protective coats. For me, this was the step that transformed the bird from an animal into a potential food source.

Step 5: Trim and gut the bird.

Besides awaiting the kill, this was the worst part of the process. After completing the first series of trimming cuts (removing feet, head, oil gland and loosening the crop), I had to reach my entire hand inside the bird’s carcass to remove its innards. The bird was still warm to the touch inside. I was not prepared for this. My heart sank. Just fifteen minutes prior, that same bird was walking on the beautiful pasture. But the deed was done. All I could do was finish cleaning my bird and package up the organs and feet for making broth.

Step 6: Chill the bird.

Plain and simple. We placed our birds in an ice bath for 5 minutes to cool them down.

Step 7: Bag and shrink wrap.

The final step on the farm was to place the bird in a shrink wrap bag and dip it quickly in hot water to seal. Once I had my Primal Pastures sticker placed neatly on the package, my bird was ready for main-stream consumption. I felt a sent a pride in my work, and also a sense of grief.

Overall, there were many positive things about the experience:

  • The supportive community of like-minded people who attended made everything feel a little less barbaric. Maybe it’s the whole group think mentality. We were all in it together.
  • The knowledge of the farmers and their commitment to humane practices in the raising and killing of their birds made me feel a little better. I took comfort knowing that we were killing animals in the most humane way possible (and yes, that absolutely sounds like an oxymoron to me).
  • The excitement of being so close to my food source and doing manual labor on a farm. Hot sun on my face, sweat, the sweet smell of grass and manure. The happy animals grazing in their pens. This is how all meat should be sourced.
  • Dare I say fun? I have to admit that I enjoyed learning something new. I felt a sense of adventure and a rush of adrenaline as I prepared for the kill.

There were also many upsetting things about the experience:

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  • Holding a live chicken in my arms, waiting for our turn to use the killing cones. Trying to keep myself calm to in turn share that feeling to an animal facing a death sentence.
  • Grabbing my chicken by the neck and having my hand covered with her blood as I severed her artery, then seeing my chicken’s body shutter and shake from her reflexes as her blood slowly drained.
  • Feeling the weight of a freshly killed animal as I carried it by it’s feet to the scalder.
  • Reaching inside its carcass to clean out its guts and still feeling the warmth of recent life.
  • The creepy/sad feeling of driving home from the farm with a dead animal in the car seat next to me, perfectly wrapped up in a shrink-wrapped bag.

This is what it takes to eat an animal in the most sustainable way possible. And even with the attention to treating the animal with dignity and respect throughout its life to its death and my meal, I’m not sure it’s worth it. What did the chicken feel as it died at my hands? Is the life of a sentient being worth the flavor of good meat? Is my health worth it? Who am I to say that I deserve to live a healthy life over the life of a chicken? These are questions without easy answers.

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What I can say is that it is not possible to mindlessly eat an animal that I killed myself. I don’t think I’ve ever put more care into preparing a meal than I did to cook my bird. The brining, the roasting, the carving, the slowly chewing, the savoring of each bite (it was chewy, dense and sweet – like no poultry I’ve ever tasted before) – I completed each step with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love. Did I feel nauseous thinking about eating my bird? Absolutely. Did my bird taste fresher than any other meat I’ve ever eaten? No doubt. Do I think that my small and delicious meal was worth the life of an animal? I’m not sure.

What I can say with confidence is that I have a whole new reverence for the process of bringing meat to my plate. I also have a lot of unanswered questions and feelings of remorse that will take some time to process fully. Regardless, if any of you meat eaters ever get the chance to be this close to your meat sourcing, I strongly recommend you do it.

It is no longer appropriate for any of us to be uninformed consumers. Our knowledge and our ability to vote with our dollars are the best tools we have to start fixing a food system that is destroying our environment and making so many of us chronically ill.

Also, a big thanks to everyone at Primal Pastures for the opportunity. You have changed me and I am grateful.

6 Ways to Get Better Sleep (Naturally)

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You’re probably sleep-deficient.

It’s nothing personal. But as 63% of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep (7-9 hours for most people), there’s a good chance you’re one of them.

Maybe you’re really busy and find yourself constantly cutting into your sleep time in an effort to catch up on life. Maybe you’re desperately trying to get better sleep, but are having trouble falling asleep at a decent hour.

Or maybe you honestly don’t think sleep is all that important.

If you’re struggling with either the first or second issue (or both), the list of tips below should help you get back on track. But if you fall into the third category of doubting or denying the importance of sleep altogether, please watch this TED Talk by Dr. Kirk Parsley. Actually, you should probably watch it no matter what your current stance on sleep is. Seriously. Just do it.

And if you reeeally don’t have time to watch it, know that lack of sleep….

  • Increases risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression
  • Raises likelihood of getting in an automobile or workplace accident
  • Can cause weight gain
  • Contributes to learning and memory problems
  • Increases overall likelihood of mortality

Clearly, sleep matters — more than just about anything else. With all of that in mind, here are 6 ways to naturally get better sleep.

  • SLEEP TIP #1: Limit blue light exposure at night. This is a tough one to avoid — and I’m just as guilty as the next person of parking up in front of the computer, watching late-night TV, or staring at my phone long after the sun has set (sometimes all at once —eeek)!

    Using these types of blue-light devices after dark can throw the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle for a loop, as it is primarily controlled by light entering the eye. According to Chris Kresser,

    Research has demonstrated that nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles. Therefore, a reduction in melatonin at night is associated with subjective levels of sleeplessness. But melatonin suppression has far worse consequences than simply poor sleep outcomes: it has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair immune system function, and possibly lead to cardiometabolic consequences such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease. With serious consequences like these, preventing melatonin suppression should be a top priority in anyone’s healthy lifestyle.

    Way back in the day, it was pretty difficult for folks to throw off their circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Once the sun set, there wasn’t really much to do other than hang out and wind down around the campfire with family and friends — and then go to sleep.

    Today is a different story. And there are plenty of modern distractions to keep us wired and awake for unnatural amounts of time. So how do we get around this? We can try our best to dim, limit, or completely avoid using electronic devices after dark. And if that isn’t an option, pick up a pair of these bad boys.

    Since blue light is primarily responsible for disrupting circadian rhythm, these amber-lensed glasses significantly cut down on blue light exposure for the user. They also limit most blue light wavelengths from household lighting (which can also be problematic).

  • SLEEP TIP #2: Get more sunlight. A recent study of 49 day-shift office workers (27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows) compared sleep/activity levels within the two groups.

    The results showed that the workers with windows received 173% more natural white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night (they also tended to be more physically active and happy).

    These results aren’t surprising.

    Just as too much artificial light can be problematic, inadequate levels of natural sunlight can be equally destructive. And considering how much we’re cooped up indoors these days, it’s no wonder we as a nation are so sleep-deprived! Without enough sun exposure to naturally regulate our bodies’ circadian rhythms, falling asleep (and staying asleep) can be challenging.

    I’ve noticed this to be true in my own experience as well. On chicken processing days or other occasions when I find myself working long hours outside, I sleep like a baby. Every time.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to quit your day job and become a farmer. Even small lifestyle adjustments can result in big improvements. Things like taking a short walk outside during your lunch break, taking up an outdoor hobby like gardening, or simply choosing to eat your lunch outside every day are all examples of how to capitalize on getting enough sleep-promoting sunlight. Just 30 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight per day is enough to make a huge difference for most people!

  • SLEEP TIP #3: Save stimulating tasks for the morning. Once I get started on a task that I find to be engaging or interesting, it’s difficult to abruptly get my brain to stop. So in order to prevent it from ever getting to that point, I try to refrain from engaging in mentally stimulating tasks after sundown.

    For the sake of sleep quality, it’s usually better to work hard during the day and save more relaxing activities for the night time. Spending time with family, doing easy household chores, or taking an Epsom salt bath with candles (my favorite) are all good ways to wind down before bed time.

  • SLEEP TIP #4: Exercise (but not too close to bedtime). We as humans were designed to MOVE (and that doesn’t mean moving from your bed to the car, the car to the office, the office back to the car, followed by the couch, and then back to the bed).

    Without engaging in some level of movement throughout the day (the more the better, but don’t go overboard), your sleep will suffer.

    This doesn’t need to mean running 10 miles or doing 100 pull-ups. It simply means that you shouldn’t sit down all day long — or even most of the day. And if you’re able to fit a workout, run, yoga session, or walk into your routine, that’s even better!

    But exercising too close to bedtime can be problematic. Cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset and it can take the body up to 6 hours to come back down to a normal body temperature after exercise.

  • SLEEP TIP #5: Eat/drink the right foods. Food and drink choice can also have a huge impact on quality of sleep. Caffeine, in particular, can make a big difference for some people…and I’m definitely one of them!

    I didn’t start drinking coffee until about 2 years ago. But once I started, I couldn’t imagine facing the day without my cup of buttery smooth coffee (even though it was wreaking havoc on my sleep). I finally decided that the joy and happiness that came from coffee wasn’t worth sacrificing my sleep over — so I gave it up. Now, that’s not to say that I’m never, ever going to drink coffee again — it’s just not going to be an every day thing for me anymore (sad face).

    Other caffeinated beverages can have similar effects on people. So can caffeinated foods like chocolate (sad-er face). This article by Laura Schoenfeld speaks to other important nutrition/sleep components such as eating more protein early in the day and more carbs later on, having a cup of bone broth before bed, and not eating too much too late.

    *Bonus Sleep TipMagnesium (an important mineral that promotes restful sleep) supplementation can also be helpful in improving sleep quality. I spray this stuff on my feet and forearms most nights in order to absorb adequate levels of this important nutrient that most Americans are deficient in!

  • SLEEP TIP #6: Prioritize Sleep. None of these tips matter if you’re not willing to make sleep a priority. And even if you are insanely busy, I’m willing to bet that there’s something you can cut out of that crazy schedule of yours and replace it with more sleep.

    Because whatever you’re cutting into your sleep time for won’t be nearly as enjoyable if you’re sleep-deprived (even if you think you feel fine).

Many of the tips listed above have been huge factors in getting my sleep cycle back on track, but it’s something I still struggle with from time to time. I’m sure there are loads of other helpful sleep tips that aren’t on this list, so be sure to tell me about what’s worked for you with a comment!

Other Helpful Resources

Disclaimer: Bethany McDaniel/From the Pasture is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please know that I ONLY recommend products that I wholeheartedly support and believe to be of value to my readers.

The Top 8 (Mostly) Paleo Destinations in Austin, TX

Austin, TX is considered by many to be the paleo capitol of the world. And I’d have to agree with them. Austin is home to a number of yummy paleo eateries as well as the popular yearly convention, Paleo FX. So yeah, it’s a pretty paleo-d out place.

It also happens to be where my immediate family has lived for the past 8 years. So lucky for Farmer Jeff and me, we get to visit this incredible city quite often. And during our most recent trip to Austin, we discovered more amazing real food destinations than ever before!

I wanted to share some of these paleo hot spots with y’all, so that if you ever do get the opportunity to visit the paleo promised land, you’ll know where to go. Now, I’m sure there are many additional wonderful real-foodie approved establishments that didn’t make this list. And if you know of any, PLEASE let me know in comment section. I’m always looking for new restaurants to try when I’m in the area. So without further ado, here are the top (mostly) paleo destinations in ATX (in no particular order).


Picnik Austin

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If you haven’t already heard of Picnik Austin, you’re most likely either a) new to the paleo scene or b) living under a rock. But seriously, this place is worth checking out. It’s 100% paleo and 100% awesome.

I love Picnik for their amazing paleo treats and drinks, but they also have delicious pre-made lunches prepared with farm fresh, garbage-free ingredients that they source locally.

My favorite drink from Picnik is The Yeti. It’s made of iced coffee, MCT oil, chocolate Primal Fuel, and maple syrup. I like it so much that I’ve never even been able to stray from it and order anything else. Jeff got the Strawberry Banana Bliss (coconut water, frozen strawberries, frozen banana, and vanilla Primal Fuel) and we split the Butter Blondie (almond flour, grass-fed butter, dairy-free & soy-free chocolate chunks, and coconut sugar). SO SO good! In addition to their tasty treats, the atmosphere of this place is bursting with laid-back coolness — definitely an Austin “must” for the real food enthusiast.

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Live Soda Kombucha

A few days before our trip, I saw a tweet from Live Soda promoting their factory tours and immediately shot them an email. I was promptly responded to by the wonderful Alicia Ward, their Director of Marketing, who ended up giving us the tour when we visited.

During the tour, Alicia showed us the brewing and bottling process, let us sample their plain kombucha (so yummy even without flavoring), and told us all about the company and their kombucha-making practices. We were super impressed with their commitment to making the most pure, tasty, health-promoting kombucha on the market!

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Everyone at Live Soda was so kind and welcoming — they even sent us home with some super cool Live Soda goodies! After touring their facilities, I have an even greater respect for this company. Plus, their products are reeeeally good. Seriously. If you haven’t tried them yet, you probably should.

We even got to meet the Live Soda founder Trevor Ross! Such a nice guy with an incredible story.

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My parents’ fridge was stocked with Live Soda for the remainder of our visit…they loved us for it!

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Jack Allen’s Kitchen

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Jack Allen’s Kitchen is fairly new to the Austin area but has quickly become one of my go-to’s for their delicious happy hour and drinks. But that isn’t even the best thing about Jack Allen’s — this place is extremely dedicated to supporting and sourcing from local farms and providing guests with super fresh and unique dishes. Here’s what they have to say on their website:

Local in source, Texan in Spirit not only in the kitchen, but in the community, is what Jack Allen’s Kitchen is all about. Executive chef and owner Jack Gilmore, along with partner Tom Kamm set out to provide Central Texas with fresh, locally sourced food that puts smiles on faces while simultaneously giving back to those who need it most.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen isn’t technically a “paleo” restaurant, but plenty of the items on their menu are. My go-to is the Bacon-Wrapped Texas Quail with Jalapeno Jam and Green Fig Salad.

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I was also a huge fan of their soup of the day, a delicious coconut chicken blend.

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And since we were celebrating mine and my grandpa’s birthdays, they brought each of us a dessert of our choice! I got the Flourless Chocolate Cake mmmmm! Yummers.

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Wholly Cow Burgers

Although we didn’t make it to Wholly Cow on this most recent trip to Austin, it’s usually one of our staples.

Wholly Cow sources local, pastured, grass-fed, beyond organic beef as well as locally-grown organic produce when in season. Yeahawesome.

They also have an amazing burger called The Fit Cross which consists of a hamburger patty, bacon, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce and pickles all sandwiched between 2 portabella mushroom caps. Don’t you wish every burger joint had one of these? I kinda do. But then again, it’s what makes Wholly Cow so gosh darn special.

Photo cred: Zagat.com

Photo cred: Zagat.com


HG Sply Co.

Okay, this restaurant/bar is actually located about 3 hours away from Austin in the cute little community of Greenville in Dallas. But I couldn’t not include it. And it’s totally worth the sidetrip — promise!

choosing a drink from their super funky and unique selection of cocktails was a challenge. Eventually, I went with the Double Under, which consisted of beet infused Dolce Vida Organic Tequila, fresh lime, and rosemary syrup — best alcoholic beverage I’ve had in my life. Hands down.

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Deciding on what do get for dinner wasn’t much easier. But I ended up getting one of their signature bowls called The Hunted. It came with Duck confit, sweet potato hash, spicy broccoli and bacon. Great choice by me. Loved it!

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For dessert, we had the Paleo Cookie which was topped with with bacon, dairy-free ice cream and candied pecans. See..I told you this place was worthy of a side trip! 😉

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Lick Honest Ice Cream

Jeff and I stumbled upon Lick completely by chance, and I’m so glad that we did! I was sold on this place after checking out their unique assortment of ice cream flavors, including staples like Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Too Hot Chocolate, Goat Cheese, Thyme, & Honey, and many others (including some that vary by season).

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And after reading up on the values behind their “honest ice creams”, I knew I’d be a customer for life. Lick is committed to using real, pure, crap-free ingredients sourced from local farms. The milk and cream they source is non-homogenized and pasteurized at a low temperature. I loved this paragraph from their website…

All of the milk and cream used to make our ice creams comes from a local dairy and as for everything else, we know where every ingredient originates. We know each of the farmers and food artisans we source from. We adore our local farmers, visiting them frequently to personally pick up fresh ingredients weekly from their farms or market stands. Watching the cows graze at their leisure in the beautiful Central Texas pastures never fails to bring smiles to our faces. As small local business owners, we have the pleasure of witnessing our milk and cream as it journeys from the cow to your scoop.

Jeff and I ended up sharing a bowl of Pecans & Cream, Milk & Cookies, and Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint. Can’t wait to go back and try more of their fun, fresh flavors!

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Searsucker

On our last night in Austin, we were on the hunt for a decently priced but tasty happy hour joint. Searsucker met all of those requirements and more — easily the best happy hour I’ve been to…maybe ever.

Again, not all of their items were paleo, but plenty of real food options here. I started the evening off with the Jale Berry (strawberry jalepeno tequila, lime, and agave) and Jeff got the Leopard’s Tail (apricot whiskey, all spice, lime, orgeat, pineapple, and bitters).

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Next, we split some Duck Fat Fries with Prosciutto Dust along with the Eggs & Bacon “Tender Belly” + Hollandaise (in case you’re wondering, I didn’t eat the bread).

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We also ordered the Farm Bird Lollipops and another round of drinks. I think we made it out of there for under $45 — very well worth it considering their high quality food & drinks and fun atmosphere!

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Whole Foods HQ

This list wouldn’t have been complete without the Whole Foods capitol of the world, which happens to be located in the heart of downtown Austin — definitely a must-visit! From their website:

Located just blocks from where Whole Foods Market began as a small neighborhood grocery store over 30 years ago, the flagship store at the corner of Sixth Street and Lamar Boulevard is one of the largest, at 80,000 square feet. Though much bigger in size, the store retains the charm and accessibility of our first location, with an intimate, village-style layout and passionate, attentive Team Members eager to assist our guests.

wholefoods

Now I’m going to turn this over to you. Ever been to any of these places? If so, what did you think? Did I forget anything? Let me know with a comment!

Recipe Spotlight Contest – Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

breakfastbowl

This recipe spotlight contest entry is brought to you by Kelly Page, who has been a Primal Pastures customer ever since our kickstarter campaign! Kelly loves tinkering in her kitchen in Southern California and creates recipes using products that grow from the ground as well as ones that are naturally and humanely raised. She posts her recipes and writes restaurant reviews on her food blog, TastingPage.com. *Remember to comment on this post to help Kelly win a $50 gift card to Primal Pastures! Take it away, Kelly!

I’m always looking for different meal options in the morning since breakfast sets the tone for the day, and it gives me my base and energy from which to work. So I decided to move quinoa into the breakfast room and mix it with kale, a nutritional powerhouse, as well as a few Primal Pasture ingredients. I became a fan of Primal Pastures’ chorizo after the first bite, and I love pairing it with sautéed kale and tomatoes. I put all that together in a bowl, top it with a pastured egg, and there’s no stopping me for the rest of the day!

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Primal Pastures chorizo
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup fresh kale, cut with backbone removed
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 Primal Pastures eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add chorizo to a large pan over low heat and sauté until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove chorizo from pan and keep warm.
  2. In the same skillet, over medium heat, add onions and sauté until translucent. Toss in the kale and season with salt and pepper. When the kale has wilted and is tender, add the tomatoes and cook until they break down, about 5 minutes. Then add the cooked quinoa to the pan and mix until the ingredients are combined. Take the pan off the heat and add the Sriracha. Mix well.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat so the water is simmering. Add the vinegar and begin stirring the water quickly to the right, creating a whirlpool. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl or onto a spoon, and then gently drop each egg into the water. Boil one egg at a time for better results. The egg is done once the white is set, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Divide the quinoa mixture between 4 bowls, and top each with an egg, season and enjoy.