Sunday Reflection!

Yesterday we came together at Jenna’s house for a spaghetti dinner with a variety of paleo side dishes!  Our goal was to help folks explore the flavors that paleo can provide.  Psychological effects from the satisfaction of standard American foods make us feel that vegetables and meats are bland and not satisfying.  The more you push your paleo limits and challenge yourself to explore new flavors of spices, vegetables, and meats, the more paleo can be a long-lasting, and sustainable lifestyle. 

We voted on our favorite side dishes and it turned out that we had a Tie!! Denise made tasty meatballs and Jen Sm. made an awesome sweet potato salad. Denise and Jen Sm. battled it out with as many pushups as possible in 20 seconds.  Jen won by 1 push-up and she received a small prize, a cutting board where the sides flip in to prevent food from falling out while pouring into the pan.

Share with us a new flavor that you didn’t know you liked before this challenge and how all of this is getting easier for you!



About hcfchallenge

The Paleo diet is simple yet remarkably effective for fat loss and halting or preventing a number of degenerative diseases. To reap the benefits of the most effective nutritional strategy known, one need simply build meals from the following: * Lean proteins (ideally) grass fed meat, free range fowl and wild caught fish * Seasonal fruits and vegetables * Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil Our 6 week challenge will help you ease your way into the Paleo Diet. Regardless of your fitness or health goals, you WILL look, feel and perform your best on the Paleo diet. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny. View all posts by hcfchallenge

12 responses to “Sunday Reflection!

  • Joe Bender

    Yesterday’s lunch was like eating at an amazing restaurant buffet where I didn’t have to worry about the quality of the food because it was all delicious and healthy. It was a full meal with all kinds of flavors and I really wasn’t missing anything or wanting anything more while I was eating. I think the restrictions of the paleo diet encourage people to be creative in food combinations and explore foods that most people hardly ever eat, and that made for a much more interesting meal than most potlucks with standard American food. My favorite dish was the brussel sprouts and bacon which I never would have eaten before and wouldn’t have thought it could be that good. I wouldn’t mind doing this every week. It definitely beats going to a restaurant.

  • Dana Runnebohm

    My entire life has pretty much consisted of habits involving unhealthy food. So, I’m not so sure I can name A new food that I found that I have enjoyed. I have just found myself enjoying food that is good for me. Carrots have become my candy. It’s still not easy but with the way I feel when I eat right and the helpful advice I’ve received, it continues to get easier week by week.

  • Jessica H.

    Well since I just finished off an avocado I suppose that is my new delish dish since the paleo challenge started. I used to be so afraid of avocado because of the fat (though that never stopped me from eating nuts). Even three weeks into the challenge I was skirting around this healthy fat. However, as of last week I decided to take buts out of the equation and add avocado- nuts I can eat non-stop and go overboard, but with avocado it’s about 1/2 of one a day that does it for me, and they are so versatile, dips, garnish, plain. As for easier, I’ve started to crave fruits, meat, etc. rather than ice cream, cake, etc. However, the question we were discussing at the potluck still lingers…okay it’s good I’m craving fruit instead of these “bad” sugars, but I still should not give in to crazy fruit cravings because sugar is a sugar is a sugar?

    On that note, I found this really interesting (and scary) article about sugar/fruit, make sure to “view the table”:

  • Kathy H.

    I had had spaghetti squash prior to this challenge, but didn’t like it, probably because I was expecting it to taste like angel hair pasta. But I’ve had it again this month and found it really tasty! I can’t post about the “easier” part though, because I “fell off the wagon” in a moment of emotional weakness. 😦

  • Dave R

    Sweet potato seems to be the flavor we have been working with lately. And butternut squash, since they are fairly similar in taste. We have made them into fries, shredded them for squash latkes, and we have had them diced for a lot of breakfasts this week. They are good, but not the same as white potatoes. I have actually become tired of their sweetness. I usually prefer savory over sweet. The spaghetti squash this weekend was exciting, because we have never been able to get it to turn out very well. We got some to cook this week. I keep hoping that it will get easier. But it hasn’t. I still miss food, crave the bad food, and at times, I really hate the flavors of paleo. Cait and I were talking the other day that everything fits into a certain narrow spectrum of flavor. Everything is baked or sauteed, and uses either olive oil, or coconut oil. (Plus we got a brand of coconut oil that actually… tastes like coconut. Not great in all dishes.) Our variety of food is good, but we need to find new ways of cooking. Still waiting to see more results with regard to health. I was really hoping to see a difference in some health problems that I have had, but so far nothing has changed. My sleep patterns have been bad, which haven’t helped, and I plan to work on that this week. Overall, it’s not getting easier. I have a lot of anxiety about food, and what I can eat.

    • denisebrown84

      Try grilling things for a change of pace. I have a George Foreman grill (easy to clean removable plates) that I love, love, love. No oil needed. I grilled shrimp, pineapple, and veggies on it last night. You could even do this on a gas grill or charcoil grill. It changes things up a bit more.

  • Liz Whitaker

    Fortunately, I have always loved vegetables. Even before paleo, I had made an effort for several years to include lots of vegetables in my diet. I can’t say that there’s really one new flavor that I’ve had during the challenge that I didn’t like before. I, like Jessica, eat a heck of a lot more avocados now than I ever have in my life, and that, is a good thing.

    I have been enjoying foods that I’ve always liked in new ways that I hadn’t tried before paleo. I really dig zucchini “noodles” and cauliflower “rice”. I know before paleo, I probably wouldn’t have tried those things out.

    I had a slump with paleo around the end of week two. I felt like everything I was eating was bland and really simple. I (and my wonderful husband who does at least half the cooking) started making an effort to find new, spicier recipes or find ways to jazz up and spice up old standbys. Paleo definitely got easier once I found my spicy groove with the cooking.

  • Caitlin Mroz

    Coconut has actually found a new place in my heart. I’ve always HATED coconut in any and everything. I think it was the texture of shredded coconut that I actually didn’t like, but the dislike generalized to all coconut. Over the course of this challenge I have used coconut in all sorts of things; some worked, some didn’t, but overall, I’m much more open to the idea of coconut. In fact, Dave made a coconut milk & honey “whipped cream” tonight to put over raspberries and it was AWESOME!!!!!

    The challenge itself is…ongoing. We were talking last weekend and determined that we were having very negative feelings towards paleo, and that many of them could be characterized by anxiety towards the competitive all-or-nothing nature of the challenge. I think for me I’m mostly concerned that a.) I’m going to screw up, and b.) that by having uncertainty and being honest about it that I’m essentially disqualifying myself anyway. So far it hasn’t been a roses-and-sunshine experience. The benefits that I have experienced in the past from paleo have not been as prominent this time around. I also really love food. My dad was a chef, and I was raised with good food. There are some things that I just can’t make wholly paleo. Some things just aren’t possible, and that’s a bummer, especially since Dave’s birthday is this week and I would love to have been able to make his favorite orange cake with chocolate icing. I hope that our household is turning a corner this weekend though. I made crock pot chicken tikka masala on Friday, butternut squash latkas for brunch this morning and sweet potato fries for dinner. We hadn’t made any of them before and they all turned out successfully. This is the first time in the past 4 weeks that it seems like our “kitchen mojo” is returning. I’m feeling more adventurous again. I hope the good luck continues and that new recipes and dishes work out.

    Anyway, another week…another chance for potential challenges and successes. We’ll see how it goes. 😉

  • Megan Abajian

    I think I’ve found my groove and I’m super excited about the foods I get to eat. I got my first CSA of meat from Schacht farms and I feel like I’m on top chef. I’m given an assortment of meat and now I have to figure out what to make with it. And they are choices I never would have made myself in the grocery store (I.e. pork chops).

    I loved the paleo potluck. I truly was more satisfied with the selections than I normally am at similar functions. Although, some habits do die hard. I was completely full and had left stuff on my plate, but when the desserts came out I magically found some room to consume a couple pieces (I had to taste everything, right?). Still need to work on that, but overall my sweet tooth is going away- or at least I’m not thinking about it as much.

    I can actually see this as a lifestyle. I’ve always said I would give up ice cream before I’d give up lamb. I’m really enjoying the foods, the cooking, and the way it makes me feel.

  • denisebrown84

    What an awesome pitch-in, I had such a great time Saturday – thank you Shaun and Jenna for opening your home to us!!! I am enjoying the cooking again. Like Megan, I sometimes feel like I’m on Hell’s Kitchen or Top Chef…I almost picked up a chef’s jacket and hat this weekend :). There are 2 things I love about cooking: 1) I am in control of the ingredients and 2) It gets me off my duff and moving around more. I normally would get home in the evening and “veg out” on the sofa in front of the TV for the entire evening (except for the occasional trip to the kitchen to “grab” some sort of prefab food, if I didn’t stop and pick it up on the way home). I’m enjoying the flavors of some of the spices I’ve picked up, such as caraway seeds, using mustard in cooking, marjoram, parsley, things I normally don’t use.

    As far as new foods, I’ve gained a love for brussel sprouts cooked in my leftover bacon grease…yum! The mornings of my days off I cook up a whole pkg of bacon (save some for “mini snacks” later if my family doesn’t eat them), cook my eggs in the leftover bacon grease, and then toss brussel sprouts and asparagus in the grease, I put the lid on over the veggies so that the tops are steamed and the bottoms are crispy :)…yum!

    I’ve really started developing some new habits now that are starting to just click, so I am forever greatful for this challenge being 6 weeks vs the 4 weeks. I’ve just really gotten to where I hardly even think of “the challenge” or what I can and can’t have and concentrate more on just “what can I cook today with the resources I have, or do I need to stop at the store on my way home?”

  • Staci Murphy

    I have always loved vegetables and good healthy foods. I am enjoying the fact that I am eating all of them more often (like veggies for bfast!). We have also been buying local eggs and local meats….and I love the fresh flavor and feel good buying them and eating them!

    As far as things geting easier-I am better at planning the week, planning the grocery store visits and planning our food budget. Overall I feel really good and love the energy it is giving me!!!

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