The Journey So Far – Meal Plan #21

Hello, friends.

How’s it going on your paleo journey so far? Maybe you’ve just started and it seems like you’re dying and all of sudden there are Chick-Fil-A’s on every block and oreo donuts in the office break room every day. Maybe you’ve just started and it feels new and fresh and exciting and you feel great! You’re discovering new vegetables and you don’t get food comas or hunger hangovers anymore.

If you’re just starting, it gets easier! If you’ve been at it a long time, you know this already. You also hopefully have some good food theory in your noggin to help guide you along your  ever expanding culinary adventure. You know that paleo is not just a diet, but a lifestyle (and what I mean by that is it’s not a fad diet!) You know that eating paleo is taking a step towards a healthier and happier life. What’s the point if you’re stressed out all the time about added sugar or breads or legumes?! You also know that paleo is not just a meat-fest, but focuses on adding more vegetables and having a truly balanced diet. You also know that everybody is different, what may work for me may not work for you. Find what feels good.

Anyway, just a quick recap over some of the stuff we’ve talked about. If you want to review these posts, take a look back at the meal plan page.

Whatever the case, I hope you’re enjoying the meal plans I offer here at Tom Eats. My goal here is create healthy happy individuals through food and thought. So now, on to the meal plan!


Meal Plan

Breakfast:

Eggs, as per usual, with butter coffee making its way back in there! Recently I’ve been sautéing some veggies in a pan and then cracking a few scrambled eggs over them. Easy one-pan breakfast with some good greens. Also, check out this interesting podcast interview with the guy who came up with butter (bulletproof) coffee.

Lunch:

I really liked meal prepping last week and having lunches fully prepped and tupperwared (real word?) out for the week. This keeps my lunch consistent and easy. Roasted chicken with some spices (paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper), steamed broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, and some almond butter. The best part is that it doesn’t take much longer than cooking a single meal, just make a lot and bag it up!

Dinner:

Crock-Pot Sweet Potato Chili! – I love all kinds of soups, and in my mind chili falls under that umbrella.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon – This is an awesome side dish for any meal, especially to bring somewhere. Add some bacon or big chunks of ham and you can turn it into a meal.

Thai Curry Turkey Meatballs – Okay, so full disclosure, I haven’t made this recipe yet, but it sounds great! Also, when I do make it, I think I’ll use ground beef instead of ground turkey. As always, serve with cauliflower rice!

Dessert!:

Shamrock Shake! – So, this is a classic seasonal golden arches special, usually loaded with terrible chemicals and dyes and sugar and corn syrup upon corn syrup…BUT! This ‘copycat’ recipe is awesome because it’s completely paleo, delicious, and ACTUALLY quite nutritious. Gets the green color from spinach! I’m thinking of making a hybrid between this and my green smoothie…

Stay happy and healthy and enjoy cookin’!

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Meat in Paleo – (Indian) Meal Plan #20

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Hello, friends!

I hope this email finds you well! This meal plan is made up of dinners based on traditional Indian recipes. I LOVE Indian food. And to make some really delicious, really healthy Indian food at home is so easy. Most Indian dishes have a lot of spices, vegetables, and coconut milk. Not as meat-centric as a typical Western spread.

I’ve heard a lot of people think that eating paleo is mostly just eating steak and bacon and maybe a little side salad if they feel like it. Sure, if you’re doing paleo as a “quick-fix weight-loss program,” that can fly, but it doesn’t fit in with the real paleo mindset (the people who are in it to win it!) Changing what someone does is one thing, but changing what someone thinks is a whole ‘nother ball game! Meat is definitely a part of it, but the mindset of most Americans has been shifted to believe that meat makes the meal, everything else is just supplemental. The paleo mindset focuses on meats and vegetables.

Check out this graphic, I think it sums up a typical paleo ‘plate’ pretty well.

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Veggies are a big deal and they have to be there! Make them a priority in your meals!

Anyway, all that’s to say don’t neglect the veggies (we’re not meatheads!)

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #20

Breakfast:

Eggs, bacon, green smoothies. I really love this for breakfast. It has everything I need and fills me up. Really gets my days off to a great start!

Lunch:

Leftovers from the night before (as per usual). And I am trying to meal prep at the beginning of the week so that if my wife and I end up feeding someone else (or being fed by someone else) and don’t have leftovers, we aren’t left without a lunch the next day! Meal prep: roasted chicken breast, broccoli, and sweet potato.

Dinner:

Butter Chicken – The garam masala spice is a must for Indian food! Fenugreek, cardamom, and brown sugar are not entirely necessary.

Chicken Tikka Masala – Yeah, yeah. typical Indian dish, but this recipe is probably one of the most delicious paleo recipes I’ve ever tried!

Fried Dill Potatoes – Great Indian paleo recipe with white potatoes. Note: white potatoes are a starch, not technically a vegetable. Most people consider them to be a paleo “gray area.” They should be consumed rarely (french fries are not paleo).

Paleo naan – This stuff is so good! A great substitute if you can’t have Indian food without naan. However, this recipe uses non-wheat flours and non-dairy milk and that’s about it. Making it a good substitution over the traditional stuff, but it doesn’t really carry any beneficial ingredients. One of those “not as bad for you” type of things. On the plus side, tastes great, similar to traditional naan and easy to make!

Sabji (sautéed cabbage) – I love to serve this with other Indian dishes/curries. It’s basically just same spiced sautéed veggies, mostly cabbage. Goes great mixed in to other saucier dishes!

Have a great week and happy cooking!

And It’s Paleo! – Meal Plan #19

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Hello again! I hope you enjoyed Easter Sunday last weekend with plenty of good food and company!

This week, I want to go into some of the mindset behind living a paleo lifestyle. Yes, we all know eat meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, good fats, and avoid processed foods, sugars, wheat products, breads, blah blah blah. This is the WHAT of paleo, and hopefully you have a good WHY (which I probably talk about way too often), but also important is the HOW of paleo.

‘You mean it matters how I eat my food?’

Well, what I mean here is more of how you think. Honey is considered paleo, but does that mean you should put 10 tablespoons of it in your coffee? Eggs and bananas and pure maple syrup are all paleo, but does that mean you should eat paleo pancakes every day for breakfast? What about paleo brownies? Paleo ice cream? Paleo funnel cake? (is that even possible?!)

There’s a difference in what is ‘healthy’ and what is just ‘not as bad.’

What I mean by that is, carrots are healthy. Baked chicken is healthy. Brussels sprouts are healthy (and freakin’ delicious!). Cupcakes are not healthy. A paleo cupcake is not necessarily ‘healthy,’ but they’re not as bad as a traditional cupcake. That doesn’t mean you have free reign to eat as many as you can stuff into your face! Of course, I’m not going to come to your house and slap that cupcake out of your hand, but keep you goals in mind, whatever they may be. Those paleo oreos are not healthy. They most likely contain plenty of (paleo-approved) sugar, and offer no redeeming nutrients.

There is a wrong way to do paleo.

The paleo lifestyle doesn’t mean you just find paleo-approved alternatives to everything you were eating previously, it means changing your mindset from consuming calorie-dense but nutrient-lacking processed foods to nutrient-dense, fresh real foods.

Anyway, I hope that clears up some things. I do make paleo-approved treats, but it is only occasionally and I’m not fooling myself by saying they are ‘healthy.’ There are tons of treats out there that are delicious and actually healthy! Apples, bananas, avocados, pistachios, and so many more!

Have a good week and here’s the meal plan!

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #19

Breakfast:

Green smoothie(spinach, coconut milk, banana), eggs, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, with the occasional butter coffee. I’ve been cutting back a little on the bacon just to shake things up.

Lunch:

Leftovers from dinner the night before, baby carrots and almond butter, and some dark chocolate.

Dinner:

Steak and Asparagus – Grab your favorite cut and fire up the grill! I season with only salt and pepper and let the flavor of the meat speak for itself. The asparagus I cook with a little olive oil and ghee and some salt, pepper, and paprika (optional: garlic powder).

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños – Okay, this is a classic appetizer that is usually loaded with cheese. The link I put up is the recipe I followed for years. I love this dish but can’t handle that much dairy. Instead, I substitute avocado for cheese. Still turns out great! A 50/50 mix is good, too.

Paleo Chili – Yeah, I know it’s not cold anymore and most people shy away from warm soups during springtime but this is just so good! Crock-pot, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, what more could you want?!

Grilled Tilapia Fish Taco Bowl – Fish tacos are one of my favorite meals. This takes all the tasty goodness without the tortilla!

Breakfast for dinner – An easy go to, since we always have eggs around. If I don’t have time or don’t feel  like making what I had planned for dinner, a simple scramble fits perfectly!

Happy cooking!

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!

Happy Easter! – Meal Plan #18

Happy Easter, y’all!

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I hope you are enjoying this day of celebration! As a christian, this is a super important day. As humans in general, we often celebrate moments occasions with food. Fourth of July BBQ, Thanksgiving dinner, birthday cake, etc. Food is one of our natural rhythms of life. It’s part of being a healthy, happy individual.

I remember when I was young and thoughts on the future including meals in pill form (or those protein blocks from Snowpiercer!). How lame would that be?! Seriously, take a pill and that’s it?! No interaction with others? No taking time to slow down and smell the sweet aroma of the delicious plate in front of you? A future where we don’t have time to enjoy the wonderful goodness of food is not one that sounds good to me!

So, this week, take some time to enjoy each meal. Look at every meal as a gift that we get to take pleasure in. Spend dedicated time to eat with others, to appreciate the look and smell of your food before you strap on the feedbag and gorge yourself!

Anyways, hope you have a great week and onto the meal plan!

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #18

Breakfast:

I experimented with serving up some green smoothies (1/2 banana, 1/2 cup packed spinach, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1 cup coconut milk) with the usual eggs for breakfast and really enjoyed it!

Lunch:

I love leftovers for lunch but I’m thinking of trying some meal prepping (note the difference between meal planning) this week with baked chicken and steamed veggies packed up and ready to go each day for lunch.

Dinner:

Sausage, egg, sweet potato skillet – You should be able to find some nitrite and nitrate free sausage at your local grocer. Cook it in a pan, put in a bowl and set aside, add some olive oil and cook chopped sweet potato, add some kale and eggs, then throw the sausage back in! (Optional: add onions, peppers, mushrooms, whatever!)

Cabbage and Sausage Skillet – Yes, I love skillets. There’s a satisfaction in only having to use one dish. Plus, meat and veggies are mixed together so you don’t have to worry about serving sizes for each. This recipe is great, but I like to add a little mustard to mine, too.

Zucchini pasta – So, i couldn’t get my grubby little paws on some spaghetti squash, but chose to sub in zucchini. I sliced it long and thin and sautéed it in olive oil with onion and mushrooms and added some pasta sauce (you should be able to find one that only has natural ingredients but read the label!).

Chicken and Avocado Caesar Salad – If you feel like you’re not getting enough veggies during the day, check out this salad. One of the reasons I don’t usually post salads is because most people associate salads with “diets” and paleo is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. Eating like we used to without all the processed junk food. So, I like to show a lot of ‘regular meals’ that have meats and veggies and aren’t salads. Just a personal preference.

Chicken Salad with Avocado – I know, another chicken and avocado salad? This one is more like traditional chicken salad: shredded chicken, creamy texture, etc. I used to make this all the time as a quick easy dinner or lunch to take somewhere. Also, adding hard-boiled egg is great!

Enjoy the cooking and the eating!

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!

What’s your goal? Meal Plan #17

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Hello friends!

I hope this email finds you all well. I like to talk about making happy and healthy individuals through the paleo lifestyle, but what does that really mean? Well, the easy answer is it means different things to different people.

To me, being happy and healthy means being able to enjoy my life to the fullest and do things that I enjoy without my physical fitness slowing me down (want to go for a 5-mile hike tomorrow? Yes! A 10-mile bike ride? Hecks yeah! Join me for some rock climbing this weekend? Sure!). Also, here’s some shocking statistics from the CDC: 1 in 3 US adults are obese, 1 in 5 for youths, 52% of Americans do not meet the recommendations for aerobic activity, about half of US adults have one or more major risks for heart disease or stroke, about 1 in 4 adults said they eat vegetables less than once per day. Once per day.

Health care spending in the US is in the trillions of dollars. The average American takes 2.2 prescription drugs per day. It is said there are three big areas where your money goes: housing, transportation, and food. In America, We can add a fourth one: healthcare. I spend more on food in the hopes that it will pay long-term dividends and I will spend less on healthcare than the ‘average’ American in the future. Besides the costs, I don’t want to be chained to a pill bottle for the rest of my life. This is what it means for me to be happy and healthy. Maybe it means something different for you. Maybe it means being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, or be able to walk around the block by yourself when you’re 80 or 90 (or maybe 100!) years old. Maybe it means being able to climb mountains, fit in your favorite pair of jeans, be confident in front of a mirror, or whatever!

It helps to take some time to think about it. Assess where you are, where you want to be. Make some goals. Don’t just keep going with no goal in sight (or stopping to take a look at how far you’ve come!). Remember: ‘If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.’

Anyways! Enjoy your week and this meal plan!

~Tom Eats

 


Meal Plan #17

Paleo Chicken Tenders & Asparagus – These chicken tenders were actually really easy. It helps to follow this recipe’s method of 3 separate coating dishes for the chicken. And since they’re baked, you don’t have to worry about a ton of oil (of course, deep frying is an option, just stay away from vegetable oils). I usually sauté asparagus in ghee (or bacon fat) and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Shrimp Stir-Fry – This is another one of those ‘dump meals’ I use to get rid of some of the vegetables I have sitting around the house. Any meat will work, I chose shrimp this time because it sounded good. I usually just season the veggies with some rice vinegar, sesame oil and cook in coconut aminos (a paleo substitute for soy sauce, tastes just as good).

Spaghetti Squash Pasta – You can use spaghetti squash instead of flour noodles for you favorite pasta dish! The look and texture is very similar to noodles and the taste is a little mild, so it works well as a paleo substitute. Use this recipe to make the spaghetti squash (it’s wicked easy).

Paleo Pancakes – Only 3 ingredients: eggs, bananas, and cinnamon. Sometimes I add some coconut flour to thicken it up a bit. These are great and go well with some bacon. (Note: pure maple syrup IS paleo, but use sparingly and read the label to make sure it’s real.)

Make some Kale Chips! – Crazy easy and delicious and superbly healthy. Much better than cracker snacks or potato chips!

Have a good week and have some happy healthy eating!

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!

The Truth – Meal Plan #16

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The truth is that we are all human, well, most of us. Well, at least some of us are mostly human. I make mistakes. I don’t eat a perfect diet. I’m also okay with that. No one is perfect and that’s a fact better realized sooner than later. Don’t turn your food into another chain that bind yourself with. Food is a resource to health and relationship. Don’t sacrifice your mental health for the goal of physical health. What’s it going to gain you? If your thought process is ‘I’ll diet and exercise until I look better and then I’ll be happy!’ then you will be disappointed. You’ll only feel like a slave to those things and it’ll never be enough.

It is my goal at Tom Eats for you to be happy AND healthy. And yes, they can, and in my option often do, go together. We are in this together and we can look to each other for support. Focus on real health. Real food. Real goals. When you stop shooting for perfection and instead go for sustainability and pragmatism, you will free yourself up to be who you really are and enjoy life!

Okay, I know that got a little weird, but anyway, here are some meals for this week.

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #16

Breakfast:

I’ve been really happy with the green smoothies and eggs. Sometimes I’ll throw some bacon in there or do butter (aka bulletproof) coffee instead. I am a BIG fan of having greens with breakfast, I know it’s a far departure from the Standard American Diet breakfast, but it’s a great way to start the day!

Lunch:

You don’t have to put that much thought into lunch. Leftovers are wonderful (even for kids)! Plus some fruit, carrots and almond butter. I usually get almond butter from the bulk section(no additives) then mix in a little honey and cinnamon.

Dinner:

This is where the rubber hits the road.

Korean Style Pork Chops – I ended up being pressed for time and cooking them in the oven the whole way through, but they still turned out really tasty! (To make 100% paleo: sub soy sauce for equal amounts coconut aminos)

Egg Scramble! – I love this meal because I basically take whatever vegetables need to be used, chop them up and throw them in a skillet with some ghee and eggs! Last week, I cooked chorizo (1 lb), then added in green bell pepper (1) and chopped white (1/2) and green onions, then added the eggs (8) and scrambled it all together. Serves 4.

Shrimp and Green Beans – I know this recipe seems a little unimpressive at first, but trust me, it’s delicious. I’ve made it several times and it’s always great.

Grilled Flank Steak with Avocado Chimichurri – This is a tasty and really satisfying recipe. Supplement it with some mixed salad greens or paleo tortillas.

Happy eating!

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!

Meat and Veg’ – Meal Plan #14

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Hello friends,

I know paleo can at first seem overwhelming with all the things you can’t/shouldn’t eat and what what you can eat and the mindset change that should be taking place as you continue your paleo journey. However, one of the things I want to make clear is that paleo should be taking away stress and unhealthy habits from your life, not adding them. Taking away the stress of feeling up and down with sugar cravings and carb overloads(big nap after that bacon mac and cheese for lunch?), breaking the unhealthy habits of sodas, deep fried foods, and zero greens with every meal. So, don’t let it add more stress of what to cook when and what to do when you’re gone all day or other people are providing food (isn’t it always pizza?) for a gathering. Some things you need to let go. You can be flexible.

The other part of the ‘paleo stress’ aside from confronting unhealthy food habits, is trying to be superman of the kitchen. As Steph G from Stupid Easy Paleo puts it: “95% of my breakfasts are not sexy.” Don’t feel like all of your paleo meals should look like they came from a Pinterest board. So, you make some plain roast chicken and brussels sprouts, it doesn’t have to pass a beauty pageant for you to eat and enjoy it.

Anyways, enjoy these simple meals!

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #14

Breakfast:

Over easy eggs cooked in ghee or bacon fat, some bacon or sausage, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, and some strawberries.

Lunch:

Leftovers from dinner the night before plus some baby carrots and almond butter and some walnuts or pecans.

Dinner:

Roast chicken breasts and sautéed brussels sprouts – I occasionally grill the chicken breasts but I also like them cooked on a cast iron skillet. The brussels sprouts I season with a little sea salt and cracked pepper and paprika and cook in ghee or bacon fat.

Salmon and asparagus – I like to season the salmon with sea salt and cracked pepper and occasionally some olive oil and honey and roast in the oven at 425 for ~15 minutes. The asparagus I do just like the brussels sprouts: a little salt and pepper and paprika and sautéed in ghee over medium heat.

Grilled chicken and broccoli – This is a great meal to bake some sweet potatoes with and stuff them or have it by itself! Give the chicken some salt and pepper then throw it on the grill over medium high heat. I usually steam the broccoli until it’s tender enough to lance with a fork.

Paleo Italian Meatballs in Marinara Sauce – Our missional community is having an Italian themed dinner night, which is generally synonymous with bread, pasta, and cheese. So, I thought I’d bring a paleo dish to offer some respite from the usual carbo-fest.

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!

Let’s eat! Meal Plan #13

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Hello, hello, hello!

I hope you’re having a good week! I’m really enjoying this beauticious weather we’ve been having in good ol’ Austin, TX. With such wonderful weather, why not go out and stinking’ enjoy it? Seriously. What are you doing on your phone reading emails?!

Anyway, these meals include some grillable options, and I encourage you to invite some friends over and share a meal outside. Sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to get to know people, and honestly, if you’re not sharing a meal with a person, then do you really even know them? What do you do for your birthday? Have a meal out and invite your closest friends and family? Great! Do you have a certain meal of the week you eat with your parents or some close friends? Terrific! So, knowing folks and eating with them go hand in hand. Want to get to know someone? Share a meal with them! If you eat approximately 3 times a day, then this gives you 21 opportunities in a week to build relationships with people. These meals are meant to be shared with others so put them to use and let me know how it goes!

Aaaaanyways, here’s the plan.

-Tom Eats


Meal Plan #13

Breakfast:

Last week I had a green smoothie for one breakfast. It was good, though I could tell I was a little hungrier than usual by lunchtime. Green smoothie = 80% green veggies 20% fruit. That “fantastically healthy!” orange-pineapple-mango-passionfruit-banana smoothie isn’t really doing ya much favors. When you make a smoothie, make it mostly with green veggies; fruits in moderation. And then of course there are egg scrambles with mushrooms, spinach, onions, whatever. Just because it’s breakfast doesn’t mean you can’t include some greens in there.

Lunch:

Leftovers. If we don’t have enough leftovers for a meal, I usually make a spinach salad with ham, walnuts, oil & vinegar, and maybe some blueberries or chopped pear.

Dinner:

Beef & Broccoli – a slow-cooker recipe, but a good one.

Chorizo & Beef Lettuce Wrap Burgers – Mix equal parts chorizo and beef add a single egg and form into patties and grill. serve in a leaf of romaine lettuce with all the usual burger fixin’s. Want to skip the fries? Try this recipe for sweet potato tots instead.

Thai Meatballs – These sound great, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to try them yet, though. I’m sure they’d be perfect to take to a potluck/party/appetizer extravaganza.

Chicken Fajitas – This girl has a pretty good recipe but I prefer to grill or use a cast iron skillet to cook the breasts whole and then cut them. I think it leaves the chicken moister this way. Also, serve with my recipe for mango salsa:

1 cucumber

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1 mango

1/2 red onion

juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno, or more depending on spice preference

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Blend all ingredients in a blender until fully salsa-fied.

Tom is also involved with Globe & Crown Publishing and Podcast, and The Surreal Appeal Art & Jewelry. Celebrate art and creativity by checking them out!