Sweetly Refreshing Paleo and Whole30 Summer Snack — Frozen Grapes

These sweet bites of frozen sugar on a hot summer day are (nearly) as refreshing as ice cream! Seedless. Scrumptious. But not sinful.

These sweet bites of frozen sugar on a hot summer day are (nearly) as refreshing as ice cream! Seedless. Scrumptious. But not sinful.

This refreshing and simple summer snack is a great choice on a hot summer day instead of ice cream. It only takes a handful of these frozen baubles of bliss and your yen for sugar will be satisfied. If you’re concerned about the glycemic spike, enjoy five or six of these sweet gems along with a handful of almonds or cashews to balance the sugar with protein and fat.

The sugar content in the grapes prevents them from freezing solid. They’ll be pretty hard, depending on the type of grape you use, but probably soft enough to bite. I like to hold one in my mouth until it softens slightly before biting it.

You can control how much frost or ice forms by controlling how much water is left on the grapes when you place them in the deep freeze. The more water, the icier or frostier they’ll be.

Definitely delish!

The Ingredients

Red or green seedless grapes — as many as you want to prepare.

The Process

  1. Remove and discard any spoiled or “bad” grapes.
  2. Wash the grapes in plain water for 30 seconds or in water with some kind of veggie wash.frozen grapes bowl
  3. Rinse well.
  4. Drain in colander or on paper towel.
  5. Place grapes in a resealable freezer bag or in a freezer-safe container.
    Frozen grapes bag
  6. Place in freezer until frozen.
  7. Enjoy!
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Fresh Paleo Tomato Salad with Kalamata Olives

While visiting my grandkids (and my son and daughter-in-law, too) in Winston-Salem, NC last week, I jumped at the chance to use a gift certificate I’d received at Christmas for Green Gate Olive Oils. What a great store! We had a ball tasting the delicious olive oils and the amazing balsamic vinegars. Even the grandkids loved the vinegars — the big hit was the one that tasted just like fresh strawberries.

I had my selections shipped home to Michigan, and when I got the package and opened the Chipotle Olive Oil and the Maple Syrup Balsamic Vinegar, I suddenly had SUCH a craving for a fresh tomato salad with these two taste delights drizzled all over it — and I don’t even care much for fresh tomatoes!

So here’s the recipe I came up with, and I’m telling y’all, it’s amazing. If you haven’t tried flavored vinegars or flavored olive oils, you are missing out on a true taste treat. You can probably substitute in this recipe any olive oils or balsamic vinegars you like, but listed below are the ones I used.

Marinade/Dressing Ingredients

Mix this up first so the flavors can blend together while you’re making the salad:

2 T. Chipotle Olive Oil
1 tsp. White Truffle Olive Oil
2 tsp. Oregano and Basil Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Maple Syrup Balsamic Vinegar (this is a must-have in my book. Delish!!)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. chopped fresh basil
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Small handfuls of fresh basil and fragrant cilantro, both cut just minutes ago from my chemical-free container herb garden!

Small handfuls of fresh basil and fragrant cilantro, both cut just minutes ago from my chemical-free container herb garden!

The Process

Mix all ingredients in a jar and put the cap on it. Shake, shake, shake until the oils and vinegars emulsify and the salt dissolves. Set aside.

The marinade is none too pretty to look at and a bit messy to make, but if you could smell the aroma of the maple syrup balsamic vinegar coming out of this jar, you'd sacrifice the visual appeal, too.

The marinade is none too pretty to look at and a bit messy to make, but if you could smell the aroma of the maple syrup balsamic vinegar coming out of this jar, you’d sacrifice the visual appeal, too.

Tomato Salad Ingredients

6 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
3 Ripe Heirloom Tomatoes of different colors (I used purple and yellow)
1 C. Ripe Grape Tomatoes
1/2 Large Red Onion
1 C. (or more, if you want) Pitted Kalamata Olives

Fresh tomatoes waiting to be sliced and marinated. These are some beauties!

Fresh tomatoes waiting to be sliced and marinated. These are some beauties!

  1. Slice all the tomatoes except the grape tomatoes in thin wedges and place in a large bowl.

    These all taste like tomatoes, but with slightly different degrees of tomatoey-ness, and the vibrant colors make the salad just plain purty.

    These all taste like tomatoes, but with slightly different degrees of tomatoey-ness, and the vibrant colors make the salad just plain purty.

  2. Halve the grape tomatoes lengthwise and place in the bowl.
  3. Thinly slice the red onion, and then halve the slices so the pieces aren’t too long and unwieldy. Place in bowl.

    Slice the red onion really thin.

    Slice the red onion really thin.

  4. Strain Kalamata olives and place in the bowl with the other ingredients.
    I chose pitted Kalamata olives to save on the dental bills.

    I chose pitted Kalamata olives to save on the dental bills.

    Nowhere to go and not dressed up yet, either. Waiting for the marinade dressing!

    Nowhere to go and not dressed up yet, either. Waiting for the marinade dressing!

     

  5. Pour marinade/dressing over all and mix carefully with a large spoon to coat all the ingredients. Mix from the bottom up to try to keep the tomato slices intact.

    Fresh Tomato Salad with the dressing stirred in. Now to marinate it for a couple of hours while it chills! Can't wait to dig in!

    Fresh Tomato Salad with the dressing stirred in. Now to marinate it for a couple of hours while it chills! Can’t wait to dig in!

  6. Refrigerate for at least two hours, but stop by the fridge every 20 minutes or so to mix the salad (carefully) so the ingredients each get a fair shake at absorbing the marinade.
  7. Serve chilled in a bowl, a plate by itself, or let your guests dig in! If you serve it already dished up, be sure to use a large spoon to get some of the marinade from the bottom of the bowl to drizzle over the top of the salad just before you serve it.
  8. Enjoy!

NOTE: I think this would be great with some sliced strawberries mixed in it.

Container Herb Garden — Organic in the City

Opie's pretty proud of my backdoor container herb garden, can't you tell? Sage, cilantro, basil, thyme. In the straw purse: marigolds are hiding the rosemary.

Opie’s pretty proud of my backdoor container herb garden, can’t you tell? Sage, cilantro, basil, thyme. In the straw purse: marigolds are hiding the rosemary.

My sweet little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Opie, is pretty proud of my container herb garden. You can tell how proud he is by the fact that he’s not totally asleep.

I’ve had all kinds of herb gardens — in-ground, in-house, in-container — and I’ve found that I do the best job with the herbs if they are right outside my kitchen door and planted in containers.

Since I’m a visual person, if the herbs are not right where I see them every time I go in or out, I simply won’t remember to water them. Or even harvest them. Truly. If it’s not in front of my face, I’ll forget it. Which is why my desk is always cluttered, I have notes all over the house, and the herbs are right next to the back door.

So, since I live in the city and have a concrete driveway outside my kitchen door instead of a huge fertile garden plot, containers are my best option for growing the herbs and keeping them where I’ll remember I have them.

Besides gardening, I also design and make purses, so planting the rosemary and a couple of marigolds in my aunt’s old woven plastic summer carryall adds a perfect, and whimsical, touch.

What herbs do you have the best luck with in your garden? What herb-growing secrets can you share? What’s your favorite fresh herb recipe?

Part of the container herb garden by Deborah's kitchen door. Pink container: sage, cilantro, basil. White impatiens waiting to be planted elsewhere. White container: thyme.

Part of the container herb garden by Deborah’s kitchen door. Pink container: sage, cilantro, basil. White impatiens waiting to be planted elsewhere. White container: thyme.

Paleo Bread — Ready-made, ready-to-eat grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free sandwich bread!

Is it too good to be true? Maybe. But Julian Bakery says its Paleo Bread – Coconut and Paleo Bread – Almond is sandwich-ready Paleo perfection. I haven’t tried it yet, but plan to as soon as I can. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a link here in case anyone else is interested in visiting Julian Bakery’s website for more information, finding local stores that carry the bread, or want a way to order it online.

http://www.julianbakery.com/bread-product/paleo-bread-coconut/?gclid=CPqR0eCTt7cCFRDl7AodgxwAQg

If you’re in West Michigan, Julian Bakery breads are available at Harvest Health Foods in Hudsonville and at Nature’s Market in Holland, but the bakery website doesn’t say which breads, so you might want to call first. The website has a great zip code tool to locate the bakery’s breads, here http://www.julianbakery.com/locator/.

Have you already tried the Paleo Bread? What do you think of it? Let us know, fill us in, give us the meat on whether it’s worth our money.

Deborah

Paleo in the news — what it is, why it’s good AND good for you

I’ve been following some of the Paleo diet news, but it’s hitting the airwaves so fast I can’t keep up with all of it. I particularly love this article, though, and thought you might enjoy it, too.

Here’s the link so you can read it at the source, but I’ve pasted the article below, too. If you do, please share it with your FB and Twitter friends. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/09/health-paleo-diet/2148967/

Paleo diet pulls up to the caveman’s dining table

Ashley Cline, (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post10:14 p.m. EDT May 9, 2013

Fred Flintstone may have been on to something.

With the whirlwind of health crazes, wellness phases and diet trends — each one sporting a hipper name than its predecessor — fueling the fitness fire, it’s easy to get burned. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a complex equation at every meal. The simpler the better.

The Paleolithic diet, also known as the Paleo diet or the caveman diet, encourages just that: simplicity. Based upon the diets of our ancestors — free range, grass-fed cattle and organic fruits and vegetables — the Paleo diet promotes the minimalist lifestyle of the caveman, eliminating the processed and embracing the natural.

” ‘Paleo’ truly just means ‘old.’ It means getting back to basics, the raw materials for life,” said Liz Wolfe, a nutritional therapy practitioner and Paleo dieter. She recently moved from New Jersey to Kansas. “We are not living in the past, but we’re learning from the wisdom of our ancestors and honoring the way our bodies developed over thousands of years. I trust that vast, millennia-long historical record.”

Back to basics

Embracing traditional eating, the Paleo diet encourages participants to eat pasture-raised animals, fruits and vegetables, while eliminating dairy, grains, legumes and processed oils, such as vegetable and canola oil.

In short, anything Flintstone couldn’t eat, you shouldn’t eat.

“The whole idea is to emulate what our ancestors ate,” said Steve Liberati, founder of Steve’s PaleoGoods of Cherry Hill. “If you can pull it from the ground, pick it from a tree, harvest it or hunt it down, then you’re good to go.”

The Paleo diet is highly flexible, easily customizable and tailored to an individual.

“Depending on level of activity, profession and athletic pursuits, an individual may need more or less carbohydrate, more or less protein or more or less healthy fat,” said Wolfe, whose blog http://www.cavegirleats.com chronicles her adventures in clean eating.

The health benefits

Cutting out food groups may seem drastic, especially given that many individuals are accustomed to getting their vitamin D from milk, for example, but according to Wolfe the other food groups aren’t necessary for a healthy diet.

“Grains can damage digestion and inhibit nutrient absorption, and there’s nothing in grains that can’t be found in vegetables like acorn squash or kale. Legumes are nutrient-poor, insulin-spiking sources of carbohydrate with a bit of protein attached, and there’s nothing there that can’t be found in nutrient-filled vegetables or meat that has been raised ethically,” the Cave Girl blogger said. “Modern dairy is from factory-kept cows fed an unnatural diet, and it’s processed and refined and reconstituted to something Mother Nature would never recognize,” she said.

Aside from eliminating processed foods — all the saturated fats and salt included — and finding better, more natural sources for nutrients, going Paleo cuts down on inflammation caused by dairy, promotes sustainable energy levels, fosters a leaner body and supports mental clarity, according to dedicated dieters.

“My asthma got significantly better. I didn’t feel like I was having an asthma attack during cardio workouts anymore,” said Julie Shannon of Gibbsboro, N.J., a relatively new Paleo dieter. “My body is more lean and my muscles are more toned.”

“I just feel healthier,” said Jonathon “Super” Squibb, a three-time Wing Bowl Campion and seven-year Paleo dieter of Berlin, N.J.

The challenge

Eating healthy doesn’t come without its challenges.

For Squibb, it was giving up pizza.

For Shannon, it was planning her meals.

“It’s more like a lifestyle change, not a diet,” Squibb said. “It’s not so much like, ‘I want to lose weight to get ready for summer’ it’s more, ‘I want to be healthy through my life.’ ”

The Paleo diet has been criticized for its expense and time consumption, given that it exists on the foundation that nothing man-made, processed or packaged should cross the dinner table.

“Do I think Paleo is for everyone? No, but I think everyone should at least try it for a week and see how they feel and see the changes in their body,” Shannon said.

Learning from the past

Long before Weight Watchers marketed 2-point desserts to weary dieters, cavemen were unintentionally pioneering a health and wellness regimen. Granted, our ancestors didn’t have fast food, late-night snacks and carb-heavy binges to tempt them, but there is something to be learned from our club-wielding ancestors.

Along the extensive timeline of humanity, agriculture and processed foods are new and cultures that still follow a traditional diet, avoiding the modern refined sugars and processed grains, show lower rates of diseases such as diabetes as well as lower rates of obesity.

“People are eating less processed foods and that is a great idea to get behind,” Christine Wilkinson, a dietician at Cooper Hospital said. “It has a good basis for a healthy diet.”

“It’s a natural diet that has a common-sense approach,” said Liberati, who has been following the lifestyle for seven years. “It’s going back to what has worked for millions of years.”

Eating healthy: It’s so simple a caveman can do it.

Paleo Diet Craze on Dr. Oz Show April 22, 2013

I’m planning to record this show on my DVR! If any of you decide to check it out, please check back in here with your comments and let’s get a good discussion going!!!

Here’s the link to the ads for the show http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/paleo-diet-craze-does-it-work

Who says it all starts with food? We do (and some other folks, too).

An informative article about how diet affects our bodies and minds, and how a holistic approach to figuring out which foods do and don’t work for us can make the difference.

The holistic nutritionist is in Holland, MI, but her wisdom goes beyond geographic boundaries. If you’re struggling with the issues mentioned in this article from West Michigan Woman, you might want to try the Whole30 or seek the help of a holistic nutritionist near you.

The Proof of the Pudding: Discovering the Ideal Diet for Ideal Health

Thursday, 11 April 2013 14:03

The Proof of the Pudding: Discovering the Ideal Diet for Ideal Health

Pam Zinn, owner of Holland’s Holistic Nutrition Center, knows you are what you eat—or at least your health conditions are. Where many are quick to diagnose illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular trouble, difficulty sleeping, or even depression as medical conditions treatable by myriad prescription drugs, Pam advises first taking a good look at your diet.

Pam has a nursing degree. She worked in the profession for twenty-five years, in different positions across West Michigan—from Mary Free Bed to nursing homes to dialysis positions in a hospital. Pam’s family moved to England for a short time, and moving back to the United States proved a stressor Pam’s body was unable to handle. “I went from normal life to completely derailed,” she said. Pam had trouble getting out of bed, dialing the phone, and even finishing sentences. “I had no energy, to the point that I would wake up in bed frozen in place.”

Pam went from doctor to doctor and was prescribed an endless amount of medicine, but nothing could solve the mystery of her disappearing energy. Finally, she met a nutritionist. “That’s when things started to change,” she said. “And as I started getting better, I realized I could help a lot more people.”

Pam earned her master’s degree in holistic nutrition, put together her business plan, and set to work sharing her story and the positive influence a well-rounded diet can have for those who are struggling with “invisible” illnesses. Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis are all puzzling yet debilitating sicknesses. But Pam says when people examine underlying issues—many of them related to diet—symptoms could be quelled and sometimes erased.

Some people are born with allergies to certain foods; some acquire them over time. With Pam’s help, those who are sick (or those who are healthy and want to stay that way) could discover which foods are best for an individual’s diet in order to keep unsavory health conditions at bay.

It may be a mineral deficiency. Many women are low in magnesium, Pam said. Women who have been on the pill are often off balance in vitamin B6. And although Pam does recommend some supplements, she said with a balanced diet, we can get the nutrition we need. Still,  one diet does not fit all.

“Every person is different. You can’t just read a magazine article to get a healthy recipe. What’s healthy for one person may be unhealthy for another,” Pam said. “What I do then is get to know the person, take a look at their underlying problems, and try to find a nutritional solution.”

So, what if you find you are low in magnesium? How, through changing your diet, could you incorporate more magnesium? It’s not as though there is an aisle in the grocery store labeled “Magnesium-Rich Food.” Pam helps in this department, too. In addition to being a well-educated cook, she has a personal chef who works with her at the Holistic Nutrition Center, or will even come to your home and prepare a week’s worth of meals. Pam holds workshops or can work one-on-one to help people figure out what to eat, where to buy it, and how to prepare it.

“If a person doesn’t have a background in nutrition, they won’t know what to eat. It’s complicated, and most of us get it wrong. There is way too much misinformation,” Pam said. “Even though most people are trying to do the right thing, many are overweight and need to take medication. To get it right, a person really needs to sit down with a nutritionist like me. Then, they will have an understanding of what they should be eating.

“What I’m looking for is energy—having enough energy to have the brain completely on fire so it can stay on task. That’s good for a mom, for a dad, or for an eight-year-old getting through a math class. It’s good for everybody to have that.”

Click here to find out more about Holistic Nutrition Center, located at 90 W. 8th Street, in Holland. For a list of workshops offered at the center, click here.

Written by: Erika Fifelski is West Michigan Woman magazine’s staff writer. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. Erika was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she’s home and loving it.