News, My Kid vs. the Food Pyramid, Easy Steak Skewers and Avocado Dressing

First off – some exciting news – I am writing a book which is scheduled to be released hopefully in February!!  The book will of course include recipes as well as advice for paleo beginners and diehards alike.  Look forward to information on how to get started, how to stay on track, how to shop, how to change not only your eating habits but your outlook – and much much more!!  I’m sure I’ll be asking my faithful readers for input such as opinion on cover design and ideas for further content.  More details to come so stay tuned!

So – last week I was whisked away on a surprise trip to Las Vegas…. And now I’m back, and back in action – not exactly well rested – but WOW did we have fun.  This trip marked our first weekend away from the kids in almost 3 years.  It was a much needed get away and I would give you more details but you all know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…

Another bit of news – I have finally made a facebook page for Everyday Paleo so if you have not yet found and “liked” my page, please do so – I update often with bits of advice, news, and other fun stuff.

Now on to the good stuff…

My Kid vs. the Food Pyramid

My second grader attends public school and is in a Spanish Immersion program.  I LOVE the school and the program: the teachers and families are amazing and the gift of a second language as well as the opportunity to be immersed in my son’s cultural roots has been a priceless experience for all of us.  With that being said, the curriculum; as with any other public school, includes learning about our (inaccurate) food pyramid.  My son came home last week with a project that included listing our families healthy food choices compared to the unhealthy food choices that were selected by a fictional “dragon” who tried to purchase foods that were aligned with the food pyramid.  The dragons choices included: Cheetos, donuts, catsup, pork rinds (yummy!), and a chocolate bar.  My son wrote next to each item what our family purchases instead.  He wrote: tomatoes, chicken, nuts, broccoli, basil, and coconut milk.  Next he had to draw a picture of a typical family dinner.  His drawing included chicken with pesto sauce, broccoli, and an apple.  When he showed me what he had done, my paleo heart almost exploded with excitement.  My kid is living proof that kids GET IT!!  I urge urge urge you all with children to be honest with them as to why we make the choices that we do – kids really do listen and really do understand.  There is no need to sugar coat (no pun intended) why we eat paleo and there is no need to scare our kids into eating healthy.  Simply offer paleo foods, talk about why these foods are healthy, involve the whole family with the fun and joy of cooking, and do not make a fuss about it.  There is no need to go along with what everyone else is doing just because a pyramid tells us to.  Jaden’s teacher gave him a big fat star on both of his projects – no questions asked – and Jaden was able to confidently and independently complete his assignment because he understands why we eat the way we do.

Now for an EASY, fast and delicious dinner idea.

Easy Steak Skewers

2.5 lbs of grass fed sirloin steaks cut into 1 inch cubes

3 zucchini squash cut into chunks

3 cups mushrooms

1 red bell pepper cut into chunks

Dried basil

Dried oregano

Garlic powder

Cayenne pepper

Cracked black pepper

Place the chunks of steak into a large mixing bowl and generously sprinkle with the basil, oregano, garlic, and cracked black pepper.  Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and mix well until all the steak pieces are covered with the spices.  Take metal or bamboo skewers and alternate skewering pieces of the meat and veggies.  Cook over a medium high grill turning often for 7-10 minutes.  Serve with mashed cauliflower and a salad with the following avocado dressing.

Avocado Dressing

1 ripe avocado

4 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup roasted red and yellow peppers

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Serve over organic mixed baby greens or lettuce of your choice.

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Comments

  1. Amanda says

    I’m so glad for this blog post. Just recently I was Facebook chastised by a family memeber that I’m forcing my “fad diet” upon my children. In a round about way I was told that I was starving my children by not feeding them grains & legumes and a “no carb” diet for children is unhealthy. The lack of education among some is completely frustrating but I know that Paleo is the healthiest way to raise children. Keep up the good work and great blog posts!

    • says

      I just watched Fathead through netflix, it has a lot of great information that is very well presented. You might have your family member watch that….it is frustrating, I am the only Paleo person in my family :>(

  2. Jason says

    This is fantastic. I have been struggling with paleo/primal for a year or so now, mostly staying on track, but falling off every now and again. I was very heavy at the start (330) and have lost 110 since. My wife does not walk the same path I do and we have 3 children. My wife and the oldest (17) are not budging. I feel like I am doing the little ones a disservice by allowing them to go on and eat all the crap that is out there. Everything I cook they love and they are starting to understand my views on nutrition. I thank you for these posts, I always feel like I am fighting a losing battle but at least I am not alone!

  3. Jules says

    Congrats on the book, Sarah! That’s fantastic! Let us know if/when a book tour gets going – our Atlanta doors are open to you!

    Loved your son’s story. Awesome stuff. Just wish more people would *get it* (mostly grown ups to start with).

  4. says

    Great to know kids can thrive on paleo and really enjoy it. That pesky food pyramid is creating more problems than it is solving, but your family, at least, is on the right track. Keep up the good work! Love your blog!

  5. CynthiaJ says

    Well done Sarah & Jaden! My family has had similar encounters – last year with the PE teacher who presented the Food Pyramid and was countered by my youngest son bringing in a copy of the Paleo Pyramid (which prompted my PaleoChix article about the Pyramids!), and again just yesterday when Ben had to have a physical for school. The doctor was quizzing him about his diet and was distressed when he said he didn’t drink 5 glasses of milk a day because he doesn’t eat grains and does eat lots of meat, vegetables and fruit so he’s not worried about his calcium intake. Fortunately we didn’t get into acid/base balance or magnesium intake :) but it was comical to see an 11-year-old speak so confidently about his diet!

    So cool to discover that your children do in fact understand!

    • Sarah says

      Awesome Cynthia! It’s up to the next generation to turn this boat around, and it’s up to US to give them the resources to understand why the need to!! Give Ben a high-5 for me!

  6. says

    It’s so great when you see that your kids really get it. We have three daughters, aged 17, 13, and 7. We have been eating a paleo type diet (we consume grass-fed raw milk that I culture into kefir and about 6 different types of yogurt) for about 7 years now. Before that we did eat grains that I used to sprout.

    My girls are crazy-healthy. They are beautiful and well muscled, great athletes, and calm, mature little people. My oldest daughter has been given 5 scholarship offers for athletics in university. Our youngest is a hockey player and she’s got a little body made of steel. My kids never get sick. Each of them has more knowledge about nutrition than any adult I know.

    It’s been interesting to see what happens as they get older. People like to tell me that as soon as my kids get out of my “clutches”, they’re going to feast on McDonalds (never been) and Poptarts. Well, that just isn’t happening. My 17 year old eats pizza every now and then and gets sick and vows to never eat junk food again. My 13 year old had cake and chips at her friend’s birthday party and felt so lousy that she just didn’t feel it was worth it. They find junk food to taste “too strong” or “too sweet”. They love good food. They come with us to the farmers we frequent to buy our veggies, our meat, and our poultry. They culture veggies with me and delight in trying different recipes using complex spices and cooking methods.

    Our oldest daughter is a leader on her rowing team. Her team mates ask her what they should be eating. This year she had everyone downing coconut water instead of chocolate milk after their races.

    All that to say that you are giving your kids an incredible gift that I’m sure will remain with them a lifetime. How many children even know what it feels like to have a clear mind? Congratulations on the book!!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Tara,
      So well and eloquently put, thank you! I always tell people who question how I feed my children that the proof is in the pudding. Last year when everyone was miserable with the flu, none of my kids missed a day of school. They are healthy, active, bright, and strong. Why would I want to change a thing? : )

  7. Malia says

    Woo Hoo !!! So excited about your book! I have been a lurker on your blog for many months. You and your blog has helped inspire the amazing changes in my families diet! Your honest and easy to do– super tasty meals.

    My teenager is having a hard time committing to the diet.. just because she is out with friends more and the temptations are out there.. but we have had many conversations and she knows that her body wont feel as good or work as efficiently. My 7 year old really has no problem infact he prefers our diet.

    I love talking to me kids about why we eat this way.. it is important!

    THANK YOU
    LOVE YOUR BLOG

    • Sarah says

      Thank you so much for your support Malia and Yvette!! Yvette, I totally agree, it IS fun to get the kids involved in the kitchen, it makes it all so much less serious which I think is the way good food should be… : ) Malia, hang in there with your teenager, my son is 15 and just started high school and for the first time he was a bit embarrassed of his paleo lunch. I think it’s great that you can have discussions with your teenager, she is informed and she knows what’s best and laying that foundation is so important!!

  8. Yvette says

    I love your blog and have been a lurker for awhile now like Malia. I refer every client to your site — the recipes are super delicious. I love that you make paleo accessible to everyone.

    I have two girls, ages 8 and 7. They know that the way we eat is based on health and how food makes you feel and function. And, it’s fun getting them involved in the kitchen!

    Great news about the book! I’ll look forward to getting my copy.

  9. Carrie says

    Thank you so much for your blog and the help you unknowingly give. I do not have children of my own, but am very happy to see the example you set for your children and the encouragement you give to others with their kids. Educating children about a healthy lifestyle is critical for this country. I am looking forward to scooping up your book just as soon as it hits the shelves! The avocado dressing was super yummy! I added a bit of sun dried tomato that really made it pop.

  10. Stephanie says

    My hubs and I have been reading your blog for a while now. He found it and got me hooked. We’ve used tons of recipes from here and have loved them all! We started eating this way a few months ago and love it. We’re not perfect at it, but it’s about 85-90% of what we eat. And thanks to blogs like yours, it’s easier for me to think about what I can make for dinners! :)

  11. Meri says

    I’ve been starting a Paleo diet this past week. I have been cooking foods for the kids from our normal pantry while eating my Paleo food–and intend to switch them over as the other foods are used up. I am pretty overweight, while they are actually on the very thin side. We have always had a healthy, whole foods diet, but it’s still not what makes me healthy.

    My daughter also is in the 2nd grade at a Spanish Immersion elementary school. WE LOVE IT!

    P.S. I found you by Googling coconut milk and Paleo.

  12. Christine Y. says

    Hi Sarah! Congrats on your book! I cannot wait for it to come out. February? Anyway you could speed that up? Lol. Just kidding.

    I’m currently taking a nutrition class for my Holistic Nutrition Consulting Certification and I am very conflicted when it comes to this food pyramid junk. I feel like it’s starting to cloud my judgment! I have been doing CrossFit and trying to live a Paleo life now for almost 2 years, and it is tough! Next week I have to use a food tracking program to record all of my food based on the food pyramid, and I can barely stand it. A suggested healthy breakfast in my text book is a bowl of bran flakes with a cup of fat-free milk, 1/2 a whole wheat English muffin with a tsp of margarine, a small banana, and…you guessed it…a cup of orange juice! Since this is an online class, I asked on our discussion board if anyone else noticed that all these foods (I think besides the margarine) spike insulin. No one responded! My goal in this class is to learn as much as I can about the body and it’s functions, sifting through the USDA & FDA bull, to apply it to what I know about a Paleo lifestyle.

    Any advice on how to calmly battle it out with food pyramid freaks, without really getting into an uncomfortable situation?

    I look forward to reading all the tips I can get from you in your book! :o)

    • Sarah says

      Hey Christine! There is no way to calmly battle it out with food pyramid freaks. I recommend using science to back up your arguments. I also usually challenge folks to simply give eating paleo a try for 30 days and if they do not feel, look, or preform better, then I promise to personally go back to eating as our “food pyramid” suggests. Folks usually can’t argue with that. I usually say something like, “instead of wasting time arguing back and forth on the validity of the paleo diet vs. the standard American diet, it’s easier for me to look at the facts. The facts are that when I was eating a standard American diet, I was unhealthy, suffered from chronic swelling and inflammation in my legs, I was overweight, and constantly battling colds. Eating paleo I am lean, healthy, and have not been sick in years, and if that’s valid enough to convince me that eating paleo makes the most sense.” I think arguing is a waste of time, but putting somebody up to a challenge or simply asking a person to prove you wrong puts the ball in the other persons court. Good luck girl, stick to your guns, and hang in there!

  13. says

    I ALMOST CRIED by the end of this post. i love that his teacher was on board, and that he was so proud of himself. I LOVE IT. if it’s ok by you, i’m going to link a few of your posts to our crossfit new england kids blog/site (www.cfnekids.blogspot.com). SOLID stuff on this blog! i’m telling ANYone that will listen to me about it :) THANK YOU!!! can’t wait for your book to come out. let me know when it’s ready and we can help sell it at our box (we have a bunch of competitions and certifications lined up at our affiliate in the next few months). GOOD LUCK!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Heather,
      Thank YOU so much, I would love it if you link my posts to your site! The book is scheduled to come out in February 2011 and I’ll keep updating everyone as the deadline approaches!!! : )

  14. Kelly A says

    I just found your blog and am so excited! I’ve been gluten free for a year and nourishing traditions style with some excessive carby snacks now and then for several years, but I’ve decided to go as paleo as possible with my creeping post meal blood sugars. I have two kids and pack similar lunches. I love the great ideas! I’ll be fanning you on Facebook for sure. thanks, Kelly

  15. Amy says

    Has anyone tried Running Food™ milled chia? I got a sample at a local race and have been using it in all of my cooking! It is a great soup/stew/pie thickener or “sprinkle” for finished foods. I searched chia on the internet and found that it has great health benefits and now I have personally seen significant results with my blood work, reducing my cholesterol (bad and triglycerides) and increasing the good! I don’t think that there is really a “taste” so it is easy to “sneak” into my 6 year old daughter’s food for added nutrition. Best part too, when I ran out, I ordered right on their website at http://www.runningfood.com and shipping ANYWHERE or QUANTITY is ONLY $5

  16. Melody says

    Love your book! I’m just looking through it again now (as I do whenever I make our menu), and I want to make the avocado dressing/dip to have on hand with veggies for a snack. Here is my question: How long will the dip last? Can I make it, pour some out for my girls, put the jar back in the fridge, and still get it out a few days later? If I want to have this on hand for whenever we want a snack, how often should I make it? Does that make sense? Thanks for ALL you do, Sarah! :)

    • Sarah says

      Thanks Melody! When I make this dip, we go through it pretty darn fast but I have kept it around for at least 5 days and it’s been fine. I would just try to store it in an airtight container. : )

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