Going Paleo: Top 10 Ingredients

Paleo.  You've probably heard or read something about Paleo.

But what exactly is Paleo and how do you eat while Paleo?  Well, let's just say that when you decide to go Paleo, you will not find any Paleo foods that come in a box.  In other words, you will have to cook.  Now I know that for some, cooking three meals a day may seem like a lot, but if planned just right, you will and can spend less than a couple of hours one day a week prepping and cooking all meals for the week.

The key thing is to have all your ingredients purchased ahead of time (well, most of the staple items). You will notice in most Paleo approved recipes, there are a few key ingredients that are used pretty routinely.

Below are my all time top 10 ingredients used in Paleo baking and cooking that you will need to have on hand when going Paleo.


When cooking/baking Paleo, you will tend to use different flours than just your typical flour.  You will use several different types.  The main ones are almond and coconut (discussed below).  If you do not have a nut allergy, almond flour is a great alternative to plain flour.

One note about almond and coconut flour (or any other type of flour):  each type of flour reacts differently in that when mixing them with liquids or other ingredients to form a batter, they tend to not be on a 1 to 1 ratio as your typical white flour.  In other words, if you have recipe that calls for 1 cup of flour, you can not sub out that 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of almond or coconut flour.  Due to the consistency of these flours, you will have to do some experimenting in terms of how much almond or coconut flour to substitute for white flour.

1.  Almond Flour

Almonds are high in Vitamin E and a good source of protein.  When choosing almond flour, you want to make sure it is almond flour and NOT almond meal (they are two different textures that will effect your baking outcomes tremendously) and you also want to make sure it is blanched almond flour.  My favorite almond flour is Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  

2.  Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is another great cooking/baking flour to use.  This is an alternative to using almond flour and can be used if you have a nut allergy.  It is also a great source of fiber (daily recommended intake is between 25 to 38 grams per day).  

The brand that I prefer to use is Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour.


3.  Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many uses other than using in baking and cooking.  Coconut oil is great for using on your skin as a moisturizer, is great for those who have skin issues such as eczema (a post on this is in the works) as it helps to soothe and seal the dry cracked skin, boosting your immune system, helping your digestive system (important if you have digestive issues), among many others.  Coconut oil is also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antioxidant and antimicrobial, which makes is a great alternative for its healing properties.

2 preferred choices for coconut oil are:

You want to choose refined as it does not smell and taste like coconut (something you want to make sure that when you are cooking a chocolate chip cookie that it doesn't taste like coconut) and it is easier on the digestive system.

Coconut oil also has a high smoking index which means that it is one of the healthier oils to fry and cook with.  The higher the smoking index for an oil, the better.  The lower heat index means that when you heat an oil to a certain temperature, it starts to break down the impurities in the oil and can even become somewhat toxic.  Unrefined coconut oil has a smoke index of 400 degrees while olive oil is between 325 and 375 degrees.

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature but can easily be turned into a liquid by placing the container in a sink of warm-hot water for about 5 minutes.    

4.  Olive Oil

When choosing an olive oil, you want to make sure of a few things:  Make sure it is a "extra virgin" olive oil, comes in a dark green bottle (stay away from oil in clear plastic as the light destroys some of the health benefits of the oil and can turn it rancid).

One of my favorites to use is California Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  

Remember: If you tend to use olive oil for frying, olive oil has smoke index temperature of 325 to 375 degrees (coconut oil has a smoke index of 400 degrees) so you will want to consider using coconut oil in terms of frying as opposed to olive oil.


5.  Palm Sugar

Palm sugar (also known as coconut sugar) is derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree.  It is high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  Palm sugar is also low on the glycemic index.  The glycemic index of pure palm sugar is 35 (foods considered low are 55 and under on the glycemic index).

6.  Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips are not considered Paleo by any means. However, we all need a little chocolate in our lives every now and then, right?  Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips are gluten free, soy free, and dairy free.

Please note that these are NOT sugar free - they do contain sugar, but they are the only brand that I have found my family will actually eat (since they taste very similar to "regular" chocolate chips).

Milk Alternatives

7.  Almond Milk

Since going Paleo (which is also dairy free), almond milk has become one of the two "milks" we use in our house.

You will want to get any version that is unsweetened so that it cuts down on the amount of sugar intake.

8.  Coconut Milk

Native Forest Coconut Milk (Canned) is what is recommended for baking.  If a recipe calls for the cream of coconut milk, you will need to turn the can over so that the "cream" will settle to the bottom for you to use.  Otherwise, you can shake the can to mix the cream and water for milk.

So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Carton) is good for use in baking too, but also drinking and using over cereals.

Baking Items

9.  Baking Powder

Make sure it is aluminum free.  There is no taste difference in baking powder containing aluminum and one that is aluminum free.  However, by using baking powder that does not contain aluminum, you are also cutting your exposure to metals in your diet.

10.  Spices

You want to make sure that your spices are organic and preferably from a source that is known to be gluten free.

Two of my favorite brands are:

Simply Organic

Simply Balanced (Target's line of organic foods)

These ten are just a few of the many different ingredients that are used in Paleo cooking.  For those that are Paleo, what are your favorite Paleo foods used in baking and cooking?

***  This post contains affiliate links.  Visiting these links help to support my blog.  Thank you.
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Pulling Back the Shades {Giveaway}

As most of you know - well, if you follow me on Facebook, you are aware that a month ago, I was chosen to be a part of the Pulling Back the Shades Book Team to spread the word of God and how He meant sex to be.  Pulling Back the Shades came in response to the huge following (and recent upcoming release) of the book series 50 Shades of Grey.
Women have legitimate longings that the Church has been afraid to talk about, and books like Fifty Shades of Grey exploit. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual AND spiritual. With solid Biblical teaching and transparent stories, trusted authors Dannah Gresh  and Dr. Juli Slattery, offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask.
Now this post is not meant to preach on sex at all, but I will say this with honesty: I can understand why women would be drawn to the 50 Shades of Grey series - I get it (and no, I have not and will not read the book series).  I mean, after seeing the movie preview on TV, I was actually wanting to see the movie myself.

 But after going through the Passion Pursuit Online Group, I noticed that I was seeing more and more social media posting of the book being made into a  movie and how excited people (well, mainly women) were to see the movie.  It is also at this time that Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh’s, Pulling Back the Shades, was brought to my attention, and yet was another “explanation” as to what God meant sex to truly be.  
As I was reading this book and going through the Passion Pursuit Online Group, I realized that as a woman, and a child of God, that I (and I’m sure many other women) were never taught/shown how great this gift of sex that we were given and how we were supposed to cherish it.  It is unfortunate that without groups and books such as Passion Pursuit, Pulling Back the Shade and others, that many may not truly know exactly what God wants for us in this area.  

Now if you haven’t read Passion Pursuit, and you want to have a more passionate marriage, and to know that God actually WANTS you to have passion in your marriage, I highly recommend you to pick up this book.  However, if you have read or even consider reading 50 Shades of Grey, I strongly urge you to read Pulling Back the Shades and discover for yourself the TRUE meaning of passion.  

If you would like to know more about Pulling Back the Shades, hear more about how trading in your copy of 50 Shades of Grey for your own copy of Pulling Back the Shades, or even join the next online group starting March 3rd, please visit www.pullingbacktheshades.com.
However, as part of the Pulling Back the Shades Team, I was given three free downloads of the Pulling Back the Shades to share with others. If you, or even someone you know, would love to win a free copy of Pulling Back the Shades, simply enter below for your chance to win an eBook copy of Juli and Dannah’s book Pulling Back the Shades.

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Sparkly Green Earrings {A Book Review}

This post is sponsored by Family Christian, but my review of Sparkly Green Earrings is all my own!

Rarely do you come across a book for women by a woman who has been through what you are going through (or has gone through), and can make those life moments seem down right funny.  Sparkly Green Earrings chronicles the life of the author, Melanie Shankle, through motherhood, but with a funny and honest truthfulness about it - one that as a mother, you can relate to and have been through time and time again.

From the first few pages, you instantly connect with the author you on a whole new level.  It is almost like she is speaking to you as a friend - you know, like the one that you meet at a coffee shop and can sit and talk for hours - yeah, that kind of friend.  Why?  Because, if you are a mom, then you can relate to how she feels about life's moments, especially when it is centered around a child.  Melanie Shankle's story of pregnancy, child birth and child rearing are how you may have felt (or if you are going through this stage in life, then you will relate 100%).

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for a book that "gets" you and how crazy, yet joy filled, motherhood may make you at times.  You can get your copy at Family Christian!

As part of my review, Family Christian is giving a $25 appreciation certificate and a copy of Sparkly Green Earrings by entering below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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New Year Resolutions in February

So here we are.  Another month down.  I can't believe it is February already.  Where did January go?  

Now that we are beginning a new month, how are you doing with the goals you set for yourself so far? Have you reached any of the goals?

If yes, that is terrific - you are on your way to having a great year.

If no, you are not alone.  More than 92% of those that made New Year's Resolutions have already failed.  92%!

We all know how January 1st goes - New Year's Resolutions are in place, everything is planned and ready to go.  But by January 5th, plans start to unravel, workouts are missed because you are too tired or too sore from working out the past 4 days, or simply LIFE happens.

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, some New Year's Resolutions are born to fail?  Fail because there weren't S.M.A.R.T. Goals?  

Take a look at your Resolutions and compare them to what S.M.A.R.T. Goals should be:


Where your goals specific enough in that they detail that you will do what, how you will reach that goal and by when.  For example, if one of your goals was to Run in a 5K, which is a great goal, but how are you going to accomplish that?  What are you going to do to train for it (assuming you may have never ran a race before)?  

Another example is say you want to lose 40 pounds  Again, another great goal, but how are you going to lose weight and by when are you wanting to lose those 40 pounds.


Can you measure your progress?  How will you know you have succeeded in reaching your goal? In terms of losing weight, it will be measured on a scale or even how your clothes are fitting you.


Is your goal achievable, but more importantly, does it require something to change in your life in order to reach that goal?  It has to be a noticeable change too.  Le'ts look at the goal of losing 40 pounds.  Will losing 40 pounds require you to make a change(s) in your life?  Well, if by adding exercise (consistent exercise if you already do) and making healthier eating habits is a change for you, then yes.


This relates back to the goal being Achievable.  In regard to the 40 pound weight loss, yes you can lose 40 pounds, but if your goal was to lose 40 pounds in a month, that is not only unrealistic, but very dangerous as it means that you are going to have to do something drastic and probably unhealthy in order to lose that amount of weight in such a short period of time.  A more realistic goal would be to lose 40 pounds by May.  40 pounds in 5 months is a very realistic (not to mention safe and healthier) goal.


Is your goal time-based?  That means does your goal give you a specific date deadline.  For example, losing 40 pounds by May is a timely goal.  Losing 40 pounds is not a timely goal.  Add a deadline as to when you want to reach your goal.  Then you want to break it down even further.  40 pounds in 5 months means that in order to reach your goal, you will have to lose less than 10 pounds every month. (A doable goal if you focus on exercising and hone in your nutritional habits.)

So let's take a look at your New Year's Resolutions again.  Are they S.M.A.R.T. goals?  If not, take a few minutes to reevaluate, make them S.M.A.R.T. and post them so you can see them daily (on the fridge, as a screensaver to your computer or even your phone.

Now that you have made your Resolutions S.M.A.R.T., what is one of your S.M.A.R.T. goals?

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