Author: Marybeth Shirley

“Keep it Simple” Guacamole and Salsa Recipes


It’s fashionable these days to take basic recipes for dishes such as guacamole and salsa and add all kinds of flavor enhancing herbs and spices.

But I learned from a Mexican friend that keeping it simple is the secret to a great “guac” and salsa.

Here are the recipes I use when I’m settling down to drink a Kombucha-Ritas or two with chips and salsa.

Primal Island Simple Guacamole

4 avocados 

¼ diced red onion

1 T cilantro (optional)

1 minced or pressed garlic clove 

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash avocados and mix all ingredients together.  Garnish with extra cilantro and red onions. 

If not serving immediately add ¼ lime or lemon juiced or 1 tsp lime or lemon juice (I highly recommend Santa Cruz brand).  Adding the citrus will keep it from turning brow
n.

And if you’re looking for grain free chips, my favorite brand is Siete, which you can buy online.

Easy Roma Salsa

2 roma tomatoes, finely diced

¼ red onion, finely diced

½ tsp olive oil

1 tsp cilantro, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Garnish with extra red onion and/or cilantro and enjoy! Simple, yet delicious!


2 Paleo-friendly Margaritas for Father’s Day

Bragg’s Limeade Apple Cider Vinegar Drink is the basis of a slightly sweet but very low carb Margarita. See full recipe below.


I grew up in Roscoe, Illinois. It was a small rural town where the only business was a truck stop that sold great pie and the only spices in our cupboard were salt and pepper, (as I remember – there’s a possibility we had dried oregano, too, but you get the picture!)

So, it was a big deal when, as a 16-year-old, I visited my older brother who was attending college at Texas A&M. There, I was introduced to such exotic foods as guacamole, salsa and chili con queso. I was also introduced to tequila via a concoction I was told was a “Margarita.”

Experiencing these new flavors left a lasting impression. To this day, I love making my own fresh guacamole, salsa and margarita’s, the latter with a definite Paleo twist. I call it a Kombucha-rita.

A Kombucha-rita is a tart, non-sugary alternative to the basic bar or supermarket mix variety of margarita.

Today, I’m sharing my two favorite approaches to making Paleo Margaritas, including one that uses an apple cider drinking vinegar to add a touch of sweetness. Enjoy the following recipes!

Low Carb Kombucha-Rita: Tart Version

1 shot favorite 100% Agave tequila 

⅓ cup GT’s original kombucha

1 lime

Salt for rim (optional)

  1. Salt the rim or your favorite glass.  (Does not need to be  a traditional margarita glass.  My favorite is the one pictured here with dragonflies on it).
  2. Fill glass with ice.  Add tequila, kombucha and lime juice.  Stir, serve and relax!
  3. If you prefer blended margaritas and have multiple imbibers, a pitcher of blended margaritas is a fun option. 

Very Low Carb, Apple Cider Vinegar-Rita’s: Slightly Sweet Version

1 shot favorite 100% Agave tequila 

⅓ cup Braggs  Organic ACV Limeade

1 lime

Salt for rim (optional)

  1. Salt the rim or your favorite glass.  (Does not need to be  a traditional margarita glass.  My favorite is the one pictured here with dragonflies on it).
  2. Fill glass with ice. Add tequila, Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and lime juice. Stir, serve and relax!
  3. If you prefer blended margaritas and have multiple imbibers, a pitcher of blended margaritas is a fun option. 

How to Buy a Healthier, Naturally Pure Wine

Healthier wine choices can be made by focusing upon red wines with 12.5% or less alcohol. These three were purchased at Star Store, a local purveyor in Langley, Washington, on Whidbey Island.


I like wine.

Scratch that. I love wine.

But as I got a bit older I realized my body was becoming less tolerant of wine.

I could no longer have a glass or two with dinner and not pay a price in the form of interrupted sleep, night sweats, hangovers and headaches.

I was on the verge of giving up wine when I stumbled across an approach to winemaking often referred to as “dry farm” winemaking. Stripped to its fundamentals, dry farm winemaking is a return to Old World approaches to making wines.

Then, coincidentally, I discovered an online seller of wines actually called Dry Farm Wines.

I began buying wine through their online store and it literally changed my life. It turned out I didn’t need to stop drinking wine, I just needed to begin buying the right wine.

Meet Dry Farm Wines

“In nature, you’ll find everything you need” is the philosophy of winemaker Claus Preisinger, of Volker Wine Co. in Austria.

Preisinger is one of a growing number of vintners focused on making certified biodynamic, sustainably-grown, natural wines whose vintages are the type curated by Dry Farm Wines.

Dry Farm Wines focuses on bringing to their customers wines that are from small, sustainable family farms that adhere to strict standards of healthy best practices. 

The list of attributes of wines in their selection is intriguing. From “dry” or no irrigation farming to reliance upon wild native yeast in fermentation, the wines are as “primal” as they get in their reliance upon nature’s fundamental influences on winemaking.

Perhaps more importantly, they lab test the wines they sell in order to maintain specific standards of purity.

They do this because wine is one of the few food groups that isn’t required to have a contents label. Yet, there are 76 legal additives that are approved for use in winemaking, taking what was once an artisan craft and turning it an industrialized, sterile shelf product.

When you buy wines from Dry Farm Wines you can be assured that they are additive free, sugar and carb free, with lower alcohol, lower sulfites, mycotoxin and mold free, and ideally fit for those choosing Paleo and Ketogenic diets.  If you’d like to learn more you can read a list of attributes of the wines they curate on their website.

Dry Farms Wines Alternatives

Buying wines online for home through Dry Farms Wines means you’re in control of what your drinking from your own collection.

But what happens when you’re away from home, in a restaurant, or simply seeking wine on impulse at your local market, to be consumed that night?

I’ve learned over the years to look for specific types of wines that come close to the Dry Farms Wines characteristics.

The most significant qualities that I look for are a red wine from France or Italy, with 12.5% or less alcohol. This gets you as close as you can get to a no carb, no sugar dry farm style of wine.


Marybeth’s Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies ™

For a cookie that plays the dual role of being decadent yet plays well with a paleo and keto lifestyle, try Marybeth’s Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookie ™.


Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten with whisk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup monk fruit sugar (coconut sugar can be substituted) 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses 
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (we used Lily’s)
  • ½ cup  any Primal Island Granola-we used blueberry
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk egg.  Add melted and COOLED butter (or coconut oil), monk fruit sugar, molasses and vanilla extract. 
  3. Next add in almond flour, coconut flour, ginger and baking soda, mixing well to combine and form a dough. Fold in dark chocolate chips and granola.  
  4. Use an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon to place dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough with a spatula or two fingers. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. 
  5. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes approximately 12 cookies.

Great warm and gooey! 


Got Back (Pain?) Try Bird Dogs and Dead Bugs

Exercise regimens such as Functional Fitness and Crossfit are excellent fitness approaches for people observing paleo and keto lifestyles.

That’s why members of the Primal Island team have trained for years with Functional Fitness trainer Adam Fawcett, of Vibrant Fitness, on Whidbey Island.

We got together with Adam recently and asked him to share with us some easy-to-do core fitness routines that can be done at home. He recommended the following for strengthening your core, as well as for reducing or eliminating back pain.

To Get Started:
1. Watch the two videos below – Bird Dogs and Dead Bugs – to familiarize yourself with the routines.

2. Warm up with a 5 to 10 minute walk

3. Place your laptop or mobile device where you can see it while you do the exercises.

4. Do 2 sets of each exercise, based on the following reps per set:

• Bird Dogs – 15 to 20 reps
• Dead Bugs, 9 contra-lateral reps per side (contra-lateral is opposite arm-leg extensions)
• Dead Bugs, 9 ipsi-lateral reps per side (ipsi-lateral is same arm-leg extensions)

5. As a guideline, do the exercises until you feel significant fatigue or feel the burn in targeted muscles.

Additional Advice:

Adam suggests starting slow and easy at first, aiming to do these exercises every day for 3 to 4 weeks. Each time you’ve done them 4 days in a row, take a rest day, then resume. After 4 weeks, maintain core stability gains by doing the exercises 3 to 5 times per week.

Zoom Workouts with Adam Fawcett
Want to work out with Adam? Check out his Zoom Workout Schedule on his Vibrant Fitness website, or visit his Facebook page.

Primal Island’s Paleo Fruit Crisp

Looking for a delicious after dinner treat this summer? Or how about a little something sweet to eat anytime that’s still on the healthy side? If so, try this Primal Island Paleo Fruit Cup!

Ingredients:

10 Cups of your favorite fruit combo – our favorites are apple, apple blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, mixed berries and peach blueberry

2 Tbsp Paleo flour (almond, arrowroot, coconut, tapioca, etc.)

⅓ Cup granulated monkfruit sweetener or other sweetener

Primal Island granola

Butter for coating baking pan

Optional:

We love some added seasonings, especially for the apple, apple blueberry and the peach blueberry!

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

½ Tsp Nutmeg

Ice cream, whipping cream, or canned coconut milk for serving

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly butter 9×13 pan

3. Toss fruit, sweetener, and flour and spread it in the pan

4. Bake on the middle rack for about 45 minutes, until fruit is tender, and let stand for 10-15 minutes

5. Scoop into individual bowls

6. Top with favorite Primal Island granola immediately before serving

7. Add toppings such as vanilla ice cream*, whipping cream, or a scoop of canned coconut milk (dairy-free)!

*If you’re on Whidbey, be sure to support Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co.!

7 Benefits of a Paleo Diet

Everyone gets into Paleo for different reasons and experiences different results and changes in their bodies, mood and energy levels. But pretty much everyone agrees that eating the Paleo/Primal way makes you feel pretty damn awesome. Let’s go through a list of reported and known benefits (taken from multiple success stories, studies, books and articles).

You eat unprocessed, real food

Paleo and primal diets consist of real, whole foods – except for some natural but bottled or packaged sauces, condiments and ingredients –  so you automatically eliminate a whole range of preservatives, hidden sugars, sodium, additives, colouring, artificial flavouring and who knows what else. As a result you eliminate unnecessary toxins and consume more nutrients, plus the food tastes so much better.

Paleo diet is rich in nutrients 

One of the misconceptions about the Paleo diet is that it’s all about protein and fat. What many don’t realize is that by eliminating nutrient-void processed carbs – I call them fillers – we supplement with loads of vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, berries and fruit, all of which are full of minerals and vitamins. Combine that with the improved gut health and increased nutrient absorption which happens through avoidance of irritating grains and legumes, and you get a very balanced diet. You’d be surprised that we can get pretty much all required nutrients from animal, seafood and plant-based foods.

Sustained weight loss

Most people experience weight loss and muscle growth while eating a paleo diet and keeping an active lifestyle. Improved metabolic processes and gut health, better sleep, stress management, sufficient Vitamin D and a healthy ratio of Omega-3/6 fatty acids all aid in burning off stored body fat.

Reduced bloat (and gas)

Paleo diet provides lots of fiber, which together with adequate H2O intake and a smaller intake of sodium help to decrease the bloat many people experience on a Western diet. Plus, paleo diet helps to improve the gut flora which is essential in keeping a healthy digestion.

Say goodbye to Hangry 

Hangry is a combination of hungry+angry, which is a common symptom for many people suffering from acute or chronic hyperglycemia. This also happens when the blood sugar drops and the person gets a rapid onset of hunger accompanied by irritability, fatigue, disorientation, and a foggy mind. Meals consisting of protein and fat are very satiating. The energy your body gets from fat, protein and some glucose from low GI carbs is released slowly and evenly throughout the day. As a result, the blood sugar levels stay stable and you rarely experience energy drops; hunger develops gradually without the crazy mood swings.

It’s rich in healthy fats

Paleo diet promotes healthy saturated fat from grass-fed meat, poultry, seafood, ghee, butter and coconuts; lots of monounsaturated fat from olive oil, nuts and seeds and a small amount of polyunsaturated fats; no trans fats; a healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.  The right types of fat are essential in maintaining healthy arteries, brain function, and healthy skin, as well as decreasing systemic inflammation.

People following the Paleo/Primal diet experience many of the below benefits:

Increased and more stable energy levels
Improved sleep
Clearer skin and healthier looking hair
Mental clarity
Improved mood and attitude
Improvements in those suffering depression or anxieties
Less or no bloating, decreased gas
Sustained weight loss
Muscle growth; increased fitness
Lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Higher immune function and a general feeling of well being
Improved glucose tolerance; decreased insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity
Improved lipid profiles
Healthier gut flora
Better absorption of nutrients from food
Reduced allergies
Paleo diet is anti-inflammatory, most people experience reduction of pain associated with inflammation
Improvements in those with respiratory problems such as asthma

Additional reading & references:

What’s the difference between Paleo & Primal diets?

– Robb Wolf’s What is the paleo diet?  and his book The Paleo Solution

– This study looked at base (usual) diet vs Paleolithic diet

– Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fullon

– Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

– The Weston A. Price Foundation website has lots of fantastic info

– Wheat Belly

– Grass fed meat health benefits

Paleo Diet testimonials from Robb Wolf’s website can be found here and success stories of living the Primal life can be found on Mark Sisson’s website here.

*Courtesy of eatdrinkpaleo.com