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It’s Too Hard!!! And a not so hard recipe…

I might be a lot of things, but one thing that I know I am is a pretty gosh darn compassionate person.  I know it sounds kind of corny but I really do care.  So here’s my life: I have this blog, now a podcast, wrote my book, I answer questions, take care of three kids, help my husband run a business, train at Norcal, work-out, clean my house, walk the dogs, do the laundry, make the beds, wash the dishes, oh and wait – I COOK PALEO MEALS!!  Is it hard?

Well, I guess so, but so is everything else on my list but I don’t stop taking care of my kids because “it’s hard” or boycott the laundry because, “it’s hard.” There has not been a week when I have said, “You know what kids, getting you to bed on time is really hard, therefore, just stay up late, sleep in, and miss school.” That might sounds like a decent plan except the next day, what would there be?? Consequences.  So why do folks slide when it comes to making healthy food and by using the “it’s too hard excuse?”  Going to work is hard, getting out of bed is hard, cleaning up is hard, but we do THOSE things without looking for an easy way out.  How do we manage everything else and then decide to forgo the eggs in the morning and reach for the instant oatmeal because somehow it’s “easier?”  Sorry folks, but this is when my compassionate self goes a little bonkers and I want to grab you by the shoulders, shake you hard and say, “Suck it up!!”  The reality is, I am not any less busy than you and neither are thousands of other families around the globe making a paleo lifestyle happen.  I could give you several tips, and I have, and I will continue to because I love doing that, but the biggest piece of advice is this:  If you want to make it happen YOU WILL!!! There are excuses for everything in life and it’s up to you to justify your actions by giving in to those excuses that might be “easier.”

This will begin a possible series of blogs for getting it done, so let’s start with tip #1.

1. First, make a commitment by doing the following: If you really want to feed your family paleo GET THE CRAP FOOD OUT OF YOUR HOUSE!!

I recently received an email from, let’s call him, “Phil” and one of his comments went as follows, “A paleo lifestyle involves a lot more cooking, and a lot more planning than SAD (standard american diet).  Plain and simple.  You can pre-cook a lot of things, if you’re good at planning ahead. But a lot of people, especially those with kids, have incredibly tight schedules in the morning, and cooking, beyond throwing together a couple of pieces of toast is something completely foreign to them, especially in the morning.  Combine that with the pre-conceived notion of “breakfast foods” and you’ve just increased their anxiety levels unbelievably.  In short, they now believe
they can never succeed with the paleo plan, it’s just too much.

“Phil” said it best when he mentioned peoples preconceived notion of what breakfast food should look like.  If a family followed rule number 1 by getting rid of all the crap, even on the busiest of mornings, a family would not have any other option but to figure out how to scramble a few eggs in the same amount of time it would take to toast, butter, and jelly several slices of bread.  My bet is that eggs are even faster and that if the toast is non-existent, after a few days, eggs might not start to look so “foreign” after all.  Or, make a triple batch of egg cupcakes on the weekend and you won’t have to cook at all, which is even EASIER than relying on the “normal” toast.

Now let’s talk about people either being “good” or “bad” at planning ahead.  As “Phil” mentioned, some folks are not good at planning ahead, but they appear to only lack this ability when it comes to FOOD.  We have to plan ahead to be successful at anything. Remember that thing on my long list of stuff do called laundry?  If none of us “planned ahead” and made sure that our PG&E bill was paid, the laundry soap and dryer sheets were purchased, and that a few minutes were set aside to wash, dry and fold, there would be a lot more nakedness going on than normal.

Everyone I know, smart, not so smart, or middle of the road ends up going to the grocery store now and then.  This is again when folks can choose to either buy a few useless items or they can take the opportunity to look at my blog, pick out three or four meals, buy the stuff they need, and cook those things for dinner throughout the week.  Put some meat and some spices in a slow cooker, get home and eat it, eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch or both, and move on with life.  People can totally plan ahead, what people CAN’T do is ditch their relationship with sugar and processed foods.  That it is what makes eating paleo hard and that is every one’s hang up who comes up with 10 million excuses why they “can’t.”

I’ll say it again, what it really boils down to is if you WANT TO!  If you don’t want to, that’s 100% fine, but if you do want to, than use the tools and resources available to you and do it.  If you cave in and order a pizza, MOVE ON!!  Don’t drown in the leftover sauce on your plate, just shake it off and start fresh, don’t start over, just start fresh.  We make food a guilt trip ride that we can’t get off  and that really screws with peoples heads thanks to our media and the “diets” and the images of either doing something right or wrong.  It’s really all about living, eating good food, loving, and making choices.  I’ll say it one more time, even though it’s “hard” you can still do it if you REALLY REALLY WANT TO!!

Here’s what I have in my slow cooker right now.  It took me about 5 minutes to throw it in and I’m sure it will be delicious.


Mexican Stewmexican stew

1.5 lbs beef stew meat

1 onion, sliced

Handful of whole garlic cloves

1 carrot diced

5 celery stalks, diced

1/2 head of purple cabbage, chopped

1 280z can El Pato Enchilada Sauce

Dump it all in a slow cooker and cook for 6 -7 hours on low.


Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Casey E says:

    I’ve been telling myself for a long time that eating good is too hard and I eat ok enough to get by… But over the last month I’ve been learning about paleo and getting more devoted to eating paleo. I got to say; it is no harder, takes no more time. And best of all I look forward to eating; I enjoy food in a way I didn’t before, and I feel most more satisfied by my meals.

    Thank you for all your work and recipes, it is really helping me with ideas and direction while I learn. I just had a giant helping of slow cooker chicken thighs and veggies from the other days post. Yum!

    1. Awesome Casey!

  2. Cindy says:

    I was recently told by a friend when I called all my responsibilities “burdens” that in order to be happier I needed to consider them “blessings”. It should be a blessing to us to cook healthy meals for our family, to enjoy them and to make each other happy. We need to change our mindset from things being “too hard” to being “a joy”. Thanks for the timely post, can’t wait to try the stew!

    1. Sarah says:

      Cindy – AMEN!!

  3. Another Phil says:

    Well said Sarah!

    So, what if Phil has made the transition, and really wants his family to as well. But, he’s not the one doing the grocery shopping, or cooking the meals. What if Phil’s wife does all that, and though not against eating paleo, is stuck in that comfort zone of the old ways. She still buys the crap food because that’s what she’s always bought. She still serves cereal for breakfast, because it’s quicker/faster/easier than cooking ?

    If Phil were there, he’d likely do the cooking and the shopping, but he’s up and out of the house to work out then off to work before anyone else is even awake. Phil’s wife would gladly make the transition to paleo if Phil were there, because it would be “easier” than what she currently does; i.e. he’d be doing the cooking.

    In short, how does the person who’s made the transition to Paleo, get his or her family to follow them when they are not there to lead the way ?

    I know that’s a tough one to answer. A person has to want to do something and you can’t make a person do something they don’t want to. But are there ways to make it easier for them to change than to stick within the comfort zone ?

    Thanks for yet another great post. Can’t wait to try out those egg muffins 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Another Phil!
      I would suggest that Phil start by having a heart to heart conversation with his wife. Give her The Paleo Solution, show her Robb Wolfs blog, show her my blog, and without arguing, pleading, or begging, let her know how much you love and appreciate her and how much she does – acknowledge how hard she works and what an amazing job she does taking care of the family, and then let her know that he loves her so much that his greatest wish is that she is as healthy as possible and that he thinks he has found a way for the entire family to not only live better but live longer!! I would tell Phil to communicate to his wife that he wants to start this amazing journey as a family and that he wants them to be a team, partners in crime with this new wonderful way of living. I would tell Phil to give her a big hug and kiss and tell her that without her he would be nothing and that together they can accomplish anything. Top it off with some flowers after work and a little note promising that even when Phil can’t help with breakfast, he’ll help her meal plan so she knows exactly what to make when he’s not there and that together they can come up with a strategy to make it happen…

  4. Great post! I just wanted to pipe in–if I’m able to do 100% Paleo, I think anyone can! We have 5 kids ages 7 and under and I homeschool. Granted, that means I don’t have a crazy hectic morning since I don’t work outside the home. But, I still have our whole family (including me and hubby) fed by 7 a.m. every morning.
    Eating Paleo does take a lot more time and preparation, but I would much rather spend more time cooking so that I know our kids are eating foods that will nourish them, rather than spend an extra 20 minutes doing something else and going for a “quick fix,” a far cry from “real food.”
    I hope people are encouraged by your post and able to make the leap! It’s so worth it!

    1. Shanti – You ARE superwoman!!! : ) Big hugs to you…

  5. Sarah! This is a perfect post. Thanks so much for taking the time to do what you are doing. I have used many of your recipes, in fact the egg cupcakes were a big hit and have returned numerous times…they are easy to make and even easier to pull out of the fridge on a busy morning…much faster and healthier than toast. Your comparisons to the other tasks in our daily lives is spot on! Keep doing what you do because we appreciate everything you share with us.

    1. Thanks Karl! : )

  6. Jennifer says:

    Love your blog – you’re doing a whole lot of good for many MANY people besides your family and clients at Norcal. Thanks for the work you put in on behalf of all of us out there who strive to live clean and have ridiculously busy lives.

    The only thing that’s hard about paleo for me is finding grass fed beef in western Canada. No such thing, and I’ve been at it at least 6 months.

    1. Thanks Jennifer – come out and visit and i’ll send you home with some grass fed beef! : )

  7. Sounds great! I have had some celery in my fridge that I was trying to figure out what to do with (just bought it for a home school science experiment, I don’t normally eat it). This sounds perfect 😉

  8. Powerful words! Thanks for writing this. I’ll be reposting to get the word out to my gym’s upcoming paleo challenge participants. Thank you Sarah!!

    1. Thank you Brooke!

  9. Michelle says:

    I am going to share this with some of my boot campers, we are doing an eight week paleo challenge until March. I am the opposite. I tell people that since I am single, 28, I know at times it may be a little easier for me to cook and plan my meals. 2lbs of chicken breast last me a little while longer. But then a friend told me, well, it would be just as easier for you as a single person to order take-out, fast food, and eat crap all day. And I realized, it’s all what you want to do with your time. Before starting an exercise regime in August 2010 (and losing 34lbs), if you would’ve told me I would work-out five days a week, I would’ve said you were a crazy person. I am currently unemployed, and as we know, unemployment compensation is not much. But, since eating well (and trying to eat mostly organic) is important to me, I choose to spend my limited budget on groceries rather than entertainment, luxuries, I rarely go out to eat. If my friends want to see me, they can meet me at spin, yoga, or boot camp. 🙂 I cook all my meals, by no means am I a chef. I use recipes I’ve found here. Mix things I have in the fridge together. I take pictures of my meals and post them to facebook. To show people that eating healthy and paleo isn’t a chore. It’s simple. Limited ingredients. And so easy a single gal can do!

  10. Busy mom of 3 says:

    Love your post! It’s so true. I was meal planning, shopping and preparing meals for my family before paleo. Now I just do it with paleo food. It’s not hard. It’s not more work just because there is no rice, potatoes, cheese or beans in our food!! Doesn’t that make it sound silly? And to tell you the truth it’s not even more expensive!! I spend the same amount of $$ because I don’t buy cheese, yogurt, beans, rice, milk, cereal, etc. Instead I buy more fruits, veggies, lean meat, nuts, etc. Healthy food is not expensive if you STOP buying juunk food.

    Thank you for your recipes and blog posts 🙂 Busy moms of small (and big) kids can do paleo. If they WANT to 🙂

  11. Brenden says:

    Hi Sarah,

    First off thanks for answering all my questions even if some are slightly trivial. Secondly awesome smack down of a post!

  12. I LOVE this post! I started eating Paleo in August and moving my family in that direction shortly after. In October, I took on a second job plus I am a homeschooling mom, border collie owner, and much more. I was surprised to find that after a busy month with more on my plate than ever before, we had only ate out twice and otherwise had stayed completely Paleo and continue to do so. Why? As Sara said in this post, I planned ahead. I made large portions and we had leftovers. I gave up my old idea of breakfast and mixed leftover spaghetti sauce with eggs, sweet potatoes with sausage, soup, and much more. I made Sara’s meatball soup and the kids and I eat it several days a week for lunches. We can heat it in the morning and take it in thermos on busy days. I used Sara’s idea for snacks using Applegate lunch meat and rolling precut veggies from Trader Joe’s inside. I love this for a snack at work. It might seem overwhelming at first, but the ideas keep coming with time and it gets easier and easier. Thanks Sara for this blog and making it so easy for us.

  13. Susannah LaPoint says:

    you are awesome, and that was the best post EVER!!!!! i am a personal trainer, as well, and i hear it all day long…..excuses excuses excuses. anyways, hope you are having a great day!

  14. Awsome post! You literally make it happen and in doing so inspire the many others to do the same. Crazy busy life, yet no excuses. Thank you for all that you do. You’re the best!

  15. Thanks for telling it like it is! You’re right, it is about priorities, and it can be done!

  16. First off I made the chili verde yesterday and WOW!!! Love it! Second, great post Sarah I hope many people get to read it because many many people are full of excuses. Third, I have 3 kidos and myself eating paleo (hubby still a SAD eater) and our favorite breakfast is Salmon. We are not tied to typical breakfasts and let me tell you this is soooo easy. Whenever wild salmon goes on sale I buy 2 pounds and have the fish guy skin and debone it for me. Before bed, I create a foil packet place the salmon inside with a sprinkling of Bosari salt and place the packet in a baking pan and put it in the fridge. I have an oven that has a delay start feature so I set that to start warming at 6:00. I get up at 6:15 pop the baking dish with foil packet into the oven and set the timer for 30 min. Then hop in the shower and get kidos ready. when the timer goes off, check to see that it’s done and if yes then leave it wrappped in the foil till we are ready to eat. I usually eat this with left over veggies and the kidos usually will have some sort of fruit with it. We live in the Northeast so having a warm breakfast is nice this time of year. The best part of this meal is the clean-up. Transfer the left overs, if the are any, to a storage container and throw out the tinfoil packet. Put the baking dish back in the drawer. Once people free themselves of what is “breakfast food” it will be sooo much easier.

    Love the blog and recipes, thanks Sarah for all you do!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Lara,
      Love the idea, I just might be stealing that one from you! Thank you!!

  17. Can you say “passionate post”? Bravo!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Marianne!! Yes, I’m a bit passionate about this stuff if you haven’t noticed already… LOL!! : )

  18. Great post! Sometimes the biggest hurdle is the mental one. I’ve always proclaimed myself to be barely functioning in the mornings, so a paleo type breakfast for my kids and myself seemed farfetched four months ago. Now I’m flippin eggs and bacon before the drive to school, planning school lunches the night before (great tip by the way. Thank you) and so on. Putting in the effort to make healthy choices sets a great example for kids.
    My family and I love your recipes (Garden Fresh Meatballs rocked our table last night!).

    1. Sarah says:

      Awesome Erin. Sounds like you are rockin’ it and thank you!!!

  19. Robin Janis says:

    I am shaking them with you girl! This is not hard..DISEASE is hard… This is a choice, a choice to be the best you can be, to be who you are supposed to be, to give your family the best life possible…
    This is CHOICE…. As a life wellness coach, I teach clients to change the FOCUS…. The more you say “it’s hard” the harder it is… speak the words that empower you, and just choose. Do it slowly, or jump in the water and do it all, but choose it!
    Blessing to you, and thank you so much for all you share and your commitment!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Robin – love what you said about “speaking the words that empower you”. Beautiful!

  20. Agree with all comments above. I get so tired of hearing the excuses. When people finally get tired of being such and tired bc of the foods they choose then maybe the excuses will stop.

    On a side note…what is that enchilada sauce you used?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Gwen! It’s in a can. It’s called El Pato and only has chilies and spices, no thickening agents or additives. I’ll add it to my amazon store here in a minute so you can check it out!

      1. Gwen says:

        Thanks for adding the sauce to your site. I am about to order some online, to ship to Canada. But I really want to have some for dinner tomorrow. Do you think substituting another salsa would work?

        1. Gwen says:

          Update: it doesn’t ship to Canada and I can’t find any site that will ship to me 🙁
          Bring on the substitute ideas!

  21. thank you thank you thank you.
    I’m only on the second day of the Paleo and doing good so far. Can’t wait to try the Egg Cupcakes!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Rancher’s Wife – you will LOVE the egg cupcakes, and good luck to you – you can do it and you’ll love it!! : )

  22. Melissa Simson says:

    I LOVE THIS POST. It is so darn true. I hate when people give excuses. It’s really simple: they just don’t WANT to do it. all you need is the DESIRE to do it and everything else will fall in place! I love living the paleo lifestyle, but i LOVE a plain, sourdough, fresh from the local french bakery baguette ( i’m french i can’t help it!). so on special occasions, like birthdays, I’ll CHOOSE to have a little bit of baguette. I don’t “slip up” or “accidentally eat it” or “cave in”. I look at the bakery, decide to open the door go in and pay for it, and then choose that I will eat it, and know very well I won’t feel absolutely amazing the next day. So i eat the baguette, and make my dinner paleo. The next day is right back to normal paleo lifestyle. The end. No guilt. It’s fine to make choices, as long as you know the consequences and then MOVE ON. The way you live your life is all about CHOICES you make, so you can choose to be healthy and eat paleo, and you can choose to eat not-so – good fuel whenever you want. I like having the choice, it makes me feel powerful.

    On another note: where did you buy the El Pato Enchilada Sauce??? Sounds delicious. It is like a salsa sauce? or a hot sauce?

    1. Sarah says:

      Melissa!!! Perfectly put. Thank you!! I buy the El Pato at Raley’s but I’m adding it now to my amazon store so you can all check it out in case you can’t find it locally where you live. It’s great!! : )

  23. Fantastic, and a great post as we’re actually getting into the new year and not on our resolution kicks. I grew up as a very overweight/obese teen. Into my 20’s, I moved to a new city, joined a gym, started making better choices, and started running. Between saying no enough times, and a few crash diets I lost a lot of weight. The main problem was that even though I was losing weight I was staying the same size and holding onto unhealthy belly fat. After getting tricked into reading The Paleo Solution, I knew that I was going to have to try to battle my addiction with sugar. This is coming from a girl who has never touched alcohol or drugs, but went on weekend binges in the pastry section at the grocery store.

    I bit the bullet, emptied my cupboards, and hit the produce section. I’ve used my kitchen skills to cook up delicious meals that not only taste great, but help me feel better and perform better in the gym. I’m not even a month in and I have 0 sugar cravings! Not a one. I would much rather eat my delicious food than what my friends are eating. I am finally losing around my middle and have already dropped a size. I understand that some people don’t want to choose to live Paleo, but I can’t imagine my life any other way. For the first time in my life I feel free from my food addiction!

    1. Kara! Amazing – I never get tired of hearing success stories – thank you SO MUCH for sharing and congratulations!!!

  24. Marci says:

    Thank you Sarah for your timely post and podcast. I listened to the podcast on my commute today, and your words of advice about “just be amazing” and people will stop criticizing and take notice really resonated with me. Then I read your post this afternoon and it all kind of came together. Your words have given me the courage to be different and stand up for what I feel is the best, most healthy way to feed my family…even if those who I have to stand up to are the same ones I’m feeding! You and your website are a blessing…thank you!!

    1. Thank you so much Marci for your kind words, and best of luck to you! : )

  25. On the topic of preconceived breakfast foods, I eat tuna most mornings for breakfast once I get to work (after my morning swim), saving freshly cooked eggs for dinnertime or weekend breakfast treats.

    If I’m being organised the night before I’ll drain the tuna and repackage in a tupperware box, but I keep a tin opener and teaspoon in my bag. If I’ve forgotten to pack it up (or I’m staying away on business overnight so can’t keep food fresh), I just grab the tins, drain in the nearest sink, and eat straight from the can. No need to prep ahead or take time over every meal. It’s the equivalent of those people who only spend 2 minutes in the kitchen in the morning, grabbing a slice of toast and eating it on the move.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the idea Ammi!

  26. OH, yes, you are SOO right…
    and I hate it when other people are right in things I know I should be doing…
    Well I am really going to try once more… The boys will not die if they have to eat more Vegetables and Fruit and they LOVE Eggs, so that is a good start!
    I guess I will have to buy them Planteboxes so they can show off their new “bread less” lunches at school… They should like that!
    Thanks for Posting the obvious but still hard truth! Thank YOu THank you!
    ANd I really enjoyed the last Paleo Talk as well! Great Job!!


    1. Thank you Dagmar and best of luck – you can do it!!

  27. Tnx for a great post on an important subject, you are a source of inspiration!

    It´s actually the first time I visit Your blog and I really like it. Heard a lot of good stuff from You on the Paleo Solution Podcast and, taking the afternoon of from work, just wanted to pay You a visit. Probably a non-typical visitor as I don´t have any kids I still like You rway of thinking about nutrition!

    Personally I never plan ahead to much besides allways having the right stuff at home. I love fresh veggies and made it a point to chop themn up at high speed while taking care of a phone call or two (yes, I´m a guy and still able to do more than one thing at a time – even walking and chewing a gum seems to work)
    Keep some meat, veggies, curry paste and coconut milk in the house and You´ll never more than 20-30 minutes from Your next home cooked meal;-)

    Before hitting paleo I was somewhat neurotic about getting my protein every 2-3 hours or “lose lean mass” – now I eat when I´m hungry (and eat a lot…), focus on food quality and if there´s no good stuf around – well, that´s a good time to IF for a few hours.
    BTW no visible or measurable loss of lean mass as far as I can tell – and a lot more relaxed about food;-)

    Better & better / Claes

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Claes! So glad you came to my blog!! Thanks for sharing your story! : )

  28. mike elliott says:


  29. Sarah,
    The El Pato enchilada sauce…..can you get something similar from Trader Joe’s? I don’t have a TJ’s where I live now (there is only Earth Fare) but will be moving in February.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Gwen,
      I buy El Pato from my local Raley’s or Safeway but you can also order it from my amazon store if you can’t find it locally. Here’s the link!

  30. Marianne says:

    I am glad so many people love this post. And I do too…to a point. While I do follow a Paleo diet, and cook a lot, I do not altogether support your writing today. This post seems judgmental of those who are struggling to follow our regime. Judgment, criticism, and strongly-worded advice rarely helps people change. People change when they are understood, supported, and shown through example. And, I know that your blog usually does just that and today was a little deviation, so I applaud your overall efforts and I am a big fan.

    P.S. Usually when someone has to declare they are something, the opposite is true.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Marianne, I knew that some people might think that I was being a bit harsh and I do support and appreciate your opinion! However, I have been there myself and I do believe we all have the power to choose what we want to do, despite the difficulties that one might perceive to be in the way. As far as my declaration of being compassionate, you are right, that probably sounded self serving and I don’t ever want to come across as such. I will be honest, your comment did sting a bit as I truly do want to help people, i.e. this blog and the hundreds of recipes and hours upon hours of work that goes into it. Thanks for calling me out, if everyone always agreed with me life would be pretty boring!

  31. Janelle says:

    Sarah your reply back to Another Phil is perfect. My husband started Paleo before the rest of our family, and not in the exact same way you mentioned above, but same idea is how he got me willing to try it. (That and the promise that he would make all dinners and meals to start.) Now we share more of the cooking and love every minute of it.

  32. I guess I agree with Phil. It IS harder. I mean, making eggs for breakfast certainly takes more time than emptying cereal into a bowl and adding milk. I think it’s important to acknowledge that the reason it’s hard for many people is that it IS harder. The rewards can be great, but just to brush off their concerns with a “no it’s not.” Seems way too superficial. You DO have to plan more. Making mac and cheese from a box for the kids takes a lot less effort than than making virtually anything from a recipe. I love my paleo recipes and eat paleo most of the time. But to say that going to Micky Ds or eating cereal takes just as much time as paleo is ludicrous.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Joe! Totally agree which is why I stated it’s 100% up to you to eat paleo but that anything worth anything takes hard work and dedication, it’s all about the person wanting to prioritize in order to be successful at this or not. Period.

    2. Sarah says:

      Oh and Joe, I bet if you left my house and drove to mcdonalds and back with food for a family of five, I could come up with a nutritious and delicious paleo meal in the same amount of time it takes you to get there and back. Wanna take me up on it?? ; )

  33. Christina Disser says:

    Wonderful, kick- in- the- pants -post! Like I often say it’s not that some people are busier than others, it’s what you think is important. I try to never say “I don’t have time for ….” instead I say “I choose not to MAKE time for…..” Thanks again for a sharing all your incite and ideas. I love them all!


    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Chris! I agree and sometimes it’s good to choose to not make time for some things and choose to make time for others! It’s called keeping our sanity! : )

  34. Debbie S says:

    My husband throws a pan of eggs on the stove to hardboil before he gets into the shower, then adds a fruit or veggie to his plate when they are done. Not too hard!! And my kids eat it too. It all boils down to choice and mindset. Whether you believe in something or not…pretty simple.

  35. Erin L. says:

    SO impressed with this post and the way you have handled comments. You continue to inspire- not just with your lifestyle, but the class you show towards people who may disagree.

    I am on day 26 completely Paleo. My children and husband are mostly Paleo, although they don’t even know it! Since I’m the cook in the family, I get to choose what we eat. I also get to choose whether or not I spend the time to plan and prepare those meals. I feel better than I have in a really long time. I have more energy. I am more focused. I am more “present” with my family because I’m not so tired all the time. It is worth making the choice to be Paleo. Wish I had done it a long time ago.

  36. TrailGrrl says:

    Great post! It takes no more time to cook eggs than it does anything else. People will make a point of stopping at Starbucks every morning to get beaned up or stop to get donuts or Egg McMuffin, but don’t have time to cook paleo breakfast. I too put on the pot of eggs to boil before I get in shower, or even after since I dry my hair, get dressed and put on makeup. It’s exactly the right amount of time, and the eggs are portable. Or I eat leftover steak. But now that I’m pretty much all paleo all the time, I don’t even need to eat until the afternoon so that informal IF frees up a lot of time. Eat some nuts! The bottom line is that the philosophical mindset that bread, cereal, and grains in general and the almighty non-fat yogurt aren’t all that healthy is beyond what most people can cope with. Ever notice how people eat total crap, but mention cutting out grains or fruit and suddenly they are a font of “health” knowledge about why that’s not a good idea? Meanwhile the Oreos and m&m’s find their way into the shopping cart.


  37. Angela says:

    Great post, Sarah. You know what I find much harder than eating paleo? Trying to make it through my busy and demanding day when I eat wheat, dairy, and all the other things that makes me feel sluggish, tired, and gross. I’ve been enjoying many of your recipes. Thanks for all that you do with this blog.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Angela! Me too! When I was eating wheat and dairy I was sick and tired all of the time. Now that I feel better, everything is easier, even if I might cook a bit more than I used to! (saves us money too, not eating out as much or buying all the “extras”!

  38. I don’t think eating paleo takes more time. You do have to plan ahead, but that’s how a lot of things in life are. I don’t have a family of my own, but I am a busy college student. I go from class to working out to rehearsal and I am still able to make delicious paleo meals 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Rock on Erin!! : )

  39. melissa says:

    love this post. I will be sending to some friends that are “trying Paleo”

    I was wondering where do you get the El Pato Enchilada Sauce. I can’t seem to find it…

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Melissa! I buy it either at Raleys or Safeway but you can also order it through my Amazon store if you like!

  40. Nancy says:

    Haven’t people always had to plan ahead for meals? I guess if you always get breakfast lunch and dinner out of a box or at the drive thru, going to the grocery store with a prepared list is a huge imposition!

  41. Melissa V. says:

    I loved this post! This is exactly what I’ve been trying to tell the few people at work that I convinced to do Paleo with me.

    I’ve already shared your blog as one of my favorite resources but will definitely point out this post as added encouragement!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Melissa V.!

  42. What a great post! I would love to go to the store with “phil” and watch his shopping habits. How does one go to the store not being prepared! I might not have my meals planned out but I know the meals I will be preparing that week and am able to buy everything we will need!

    I am often asked, how do you do it all… Well when something is important to you, you make this happen! Planning is the only way anything gets done!!!! 🙂

    Thank you for this post!

  43. Another Phil says:


    What a wonderful, and heartfelt response. It’s ironic, and serendipitous that I just read it now:

    I started Zoning last July but had gone mostly Paleo w/ Zone portions by November. I started the 30-day Paleo challenge on January 2nd. On January 19th, 18 days in, I had my blood work done for my upcoming annual physical which was today. Suffice it to say, my doctor was absolutely flabbergasted at the change.

    I went from 172 and borderline high cholesterol (he was toying with the idea of putting me on statins if it got worse this time last year) to 148. Every single biomarker they tested was below the “standard ideal range”. In short, my health is “better than perfect” in his words.

    He asked me what I was doing, and I spelled it out to him. As I spoke, he started asking me for web references and actually wrote the URLs down on tongue-depressors! I gave him Robb’s site,, Mark Sisson’s site. I mentioned your blog and recipes, and several others. I left with him asking for my e-mail address in case he had more questions. He ended with, “Geez, I should coming to see you instead of you coming to see me. This is fantastic stuff! It’s so brilliant, yet so simple!”

    Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this doctor’s appointment all month knowing what the results would be. I’ve been fairly giddy about it all day since 🙂

    Fast forward a couple of hours, and I related all this to my wife, who absolutely, positively despises doctors. After telling her all this, and hearing how happy I was, she said, “I wish I could have doctor’s visits like that!”

    That’s my in. She can have doctor’s visits like that, and I told her so. And I told her exactly how we, as a team, can approach it. That between now and her annual physical, we have more than enough time to get all her issues in line and fixed, and that she has it easy; she’s got me, who has already “been there, done that” and knows how to approach it all. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going 🙂

    Thanks so much for your support, your advice, your website, and your amazing recipes which got me here to begin with 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Dear Another Phil. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! Big hugs coming to you and your family from me. : ) I know that wonderful things are about to happen for your entire family and you are taking all the right steps to get there. Congratulations!! : )

  44. Oh dear god, thank you!! I wish I could send this post to so many people and clients who make sooo many lame excuses for everything. I swear I just said the same thing to a client the other day like “we all make time for what’s important to us” and she is no longer a client or friend! Truth hurts I guess. I’m glad I don’t have those excuses to listen to anymore. Good riddance!

  45. Buttercup says:

    My family recently went Paleo, and I’ve wondered how the average person would handle it (not even talking about cost, moral, or environmental implications). I mean the folks who don’t cook from scratch often, who don’t keep a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables around, who hate cooking, etc. If you’re starting from there, this would not only seem hard, but like a totally foreign concept! They would have to completely redefine their experience. For us, the transition was easy, as I already did all the shopping and cooking and my husband has been gung-ho and enthusiastically supportive. For me, it’s not difficult at all. I agree, eggs in the morning are damn fast: heat up a small skillet, walk to frig to get eggs, add oil/butter to pan, crack eggs, salt and pepper, turn when ready, then eat. Takes maybe 2 1/2 minutes?
    The thing keeping me on the straight and narrow is that we’re talking about a mechanism in our bodies. It’s not up for debate. It’s not a philosophy or theory. If I eat carbs, I will gain weight and I will probably develop some form of metabolic syndrome just like everyone else in my family. If you believe that carbs are the root of many modern-day evils, then why would you ever go back? If you need reasons to not go back to carbs, I highly recommend Gary Taubes’s book Why We Get Fat.

    1. Sarah says:

      HI Buttercup, you are totally right and that is what it really boils down to is the fact that eating this way is what keeps us healthy and it’s not really about time or convenience but about living the best life you can. Thanks for your input!

  46. This was a great recipe everyone in my house thoroughly enjoyed the nice change for dinner tonight!

  47. Sarah,

    What is a good substitute for the enchilada sauce. I do not live close to a Trader Joes and the stuff in the grocery store is filled with all kinds of crap…Thanks in advance!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Mo! You can actually order the El Pato that I use from amazon if you can’t find it in your local stores. All that’s in it is chilis and some spices, no preservatives, or thickeners!! Here’s the link: Otherwise, you can always make your own or even use fresh salsa – here’s a link to my salsa recipe: Hope that helps! : )

  48. Sarah –

    I have loved your blog for the last little while but I fear where you are going with this post! Please don’t alienate those of us who are doing “everything right” but don’t find it “easy”. It’s NOT easy – I give up time each day that I could be spending with my 4 year old reading/playing to spend it with her cooking (which is, from my perspective is not as fun – even though SHE loves it!) and CLEANING (omg – the damn pots, plates, the multitude of containers from my lunch and my husbands lunch – it is never ending!). If I could only just open a box or a can, etc, etc, etc – my life would be “easier”. I do agree with the health benefits of a diet free of refined carbohydrates so I do it.

    But it is NOT just as easy as my friends who do dinner out of a box!

    (and just a note – I am super organized – I do OAMC low carb style (I’m not paleo but most of my meals could be considered paleo), I meal plan, I cook all our foods, I rotate meals so we can eat different and new items, I eat seasonally, etc. I just want to make a quick shout out that what I do is NOT easy and I expect (at least from my husband!) a little respect for the hard work I do! 🙂 )

    Other than this post, which really struck a nerve with me, I love your blog and look forward to many more years of following your progress!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kim, I am so so sorry if I offended you in any way at all. I in no way wanted this message to be that planning, and cooking paleo is easy and I regret if that’s how this post sounded. I totally agree that it’s not easy and my entire point is that we do a lot of things in life that are hard and some people use the excuse that cooking and eating paleo is too hard but in reality, everything that we do that is beneficial to our lives in some respect IS hard but that we do it anyway because it’s worth it. That’s why I used the getting the kids to bed analogy because that’s one of the hardest things that I do everyday but I have to do it because it’s for the health and benefit of my family so I do it anyway. I do not want to minimize that work that goes into feeding a family paleo but I also wanted to stress that it’s entirely possible as long as people make the choice to do so, make it a priority, and plan for it. I just don’t want people to give up because being sick and unhealthy, like another reader stated, is so much harder then cooking healthy meals. Please don’t give up on me Kim, I’m not wanting to show disrespect but just a little tough love is all and maybe it sounded harsher than I intended. Thank you so much for you response and for being honest with me.

  49. Another Phil says:

    Hi Kim,

    Please don’t take offense to this post. I don’t think anyone here would say this lifestyle is “easy”. Simple yes, but not easy. Having converted to Paleo recently, and trying to move my family in that direction now, I find this lifestyle extremely time consuming.

    It used to be that we’d put our kids to bed and be back downstairs by 8:00 to sit and relax or spend some time focusing on misc. issues like bills before going to bed. Now, instead, I find myself organizing my lunch, and many times breakfast, for the next day. Depending upon the lack of leftovers I may well find myself cooking at 9:00 at night so everyone has a decent, healthy breakfast if I’m not going to be there too cook in the morning.

    You’re absolutely right. This is not easy! But, we do it because we feel great and we know it’s good for us in the long term. Just like going to the gym isn’t easy, but we do it, because the benefits are so great. I think Dave Ramsey said it best, “”If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

    My wife recently asked me why I was interested in strength training (I had just opened Mark Rippetoe’s book). And I think Dave Ramsey’s quote above sums it up. I am willing to invest in my future so that I can enjoy my future to it’s fullest. That means right now I have to be paying attention to a lot of different things from fitness and nutrition to savings and investments. I am living a life very much unlike most of my friends and family. I’m am learning about health and fitness, and savings and investments and a lot of other areas of life. I am sacrificing by not spending money on things like expensive vacations, and lots of junk foods, or buying the latest video game console and instead investing that money into healthy food, a gym membership, and investments. As a result of that focus, I am way ahead of pretty much everyone I know in all areas of life.

    But it’s NOT easy. It’s doggone hard. But I do it. And every time I feel like giving up, I focus on what my retirement will be like in 20+ years. If I can make the strides I’ve made in 6 months, I can’t imagine how much better off I’ll be by the time I retire 🙂

    So hang in there. We all feel the struggle of life every day. And no one thinks it’s easy. And we all respect and understand how time consuming it is.

  50. Stacy says:

    Hi Sarah! WELL SAID!!! I needed this blog. I have done WHOLE30 and loved it, not at first, but I felt like I was flying. I felt like I was flying because I knew what I was eating was the best I could give my body. I not only felt better physically, but emotionally as well. I never knew I had such a battle with food until I went to a seminar by Melissa and Dallas and began the WHOLE30 in hopes to lose the “last 10 lbs.” It really did change my life. I didn’t lose all that weight but I started to. I lost 60lbs after my daughter and I am battling to lean up. I am at a “healthy” weight, but I am not happy. I have been wanting to lean up since the birth of my son seven yearsago! Then after my daughter almost two years ago, I am back to wanting to lean up. I have always came down to a nice weight where I still have a bit around the middle, enough to feel uncomfortable in a bikini. I not only want to lean up, but I want to live Paleo because I know that is when I feel the best. This blog kicked my butt back in gear and after seeing your before and after pictures, you have inspired me. I will not let food rule my life where I feel I have to have one last bad food “hurrah” to start my Paleo eating tomorrow. I do CrossFit and I love it! I have been doing it for over a year and I also started training for a 10k in Marathon Relay. I am going to do what it takes to eat Paleo and feel good, lose weight, etc. ALL OF THE GOOD STUFF THAT COMES WITH IT. What I want to ask you is, how did you stay on track? How did you stay inspired to keep going? I feel amazing today after reading your blog. I want to stay that way so if you have any advice you can give me that you remember in your journey to becoming the healthiest you can be, please help. Thank you so much Sarah. You have helped me so much. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Sarah says:

      Awesome Stacy, thank you so much! : )

  51. Stacy says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for responding..just wondering if you got my questions….What I want to ask you is, how did you stay on track? How did you stay inspired to keep going? I feel amazing today after reading your blog. I want to stay that way so if you have any advice you can give me that you remember in your journey to becoming the healthiest you can be, please help.
    Did you stay Paleo 100% to go from your before to your after pictures?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Stacy! So sorry I haven’t responded yet! I stayed on track by not thinking about staying on track, honestly. I got rid of all the non paleo food items in my house and I felt so much better physically and mentally that turning back was not an option for me. I was sick and miserable before I started eating paleo so finding a way to actually feel good again was such a gift that I didn’t even miss my old food. The first couple of weeks was really hard but after that I made the mental decision to make this my way of life rather than a diet. Just changing my way of thinking helped tremendously. Also, not stressing out about every little thing helped me too. For me, eating paleo was and is a way to finally understand what kinds of foods my body feels good eating. During the 7-8 months that I was losing weight and really getting my footing, I was for sure pretty darn “strict” as far as my eating is concerned. I had a goal in mind so I stuck to what I figured worked for me. I had a few drinks now and then, ate some dark chocolate once in a while, and had some nachos once or twice but that’s about it. Guess what, that’s kind of still what I do today – I feel yucky when I eat yucky but now and then I want some gluten free cookies or mexican food so I eat it, enjoy it, and move on with life – no guilt or stress or strings attached! The first 30 days I did not “cheat” at all, I feel that’s really important to kind of re-set your body and your taste buds change and food that used to appeal to you no longer will. I hope all that helps and good luck my dear!!

      1. Thank you so much for your honesty.

  52. Bettina says:

    You’re fricking awesome. Such an inspiration.
    Thanks for being a “pioneer” instead of a “settler”.
    MUCH appreciated!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Bettina! : )

  53. Stacy says:

    I apologize to bother you with my previous questions, I’m just so curious about your journey and your input with be greatly appreciated.

    1. I hope you got my answer above, let me know if that helps, thank you!!! : )

  54. Caitlin says:

    Hi Sarah –
    LOVED this post! It’s very refreshing to hear you tell it like it is.

    “People can totally plan ahead, what people CAN’T do is ditch their relationship with sugar and processed foods.”

    I really can’t tell you how nice it is to hear someone cut thru all the bullsh*t and lay it out plain and simple. It doesn’t happen often enough.

    You’ve got balls lady!

  55. Jennifer says:

    Sure boxed stuff is convenient, only problem is that it’s not food. Food needs to be cooked and it spoils – been that way for tens of thousands of years and if modern convenience comes packaged with degenerative disease & obeseity, well… it’s just a question of which price you’d rather pay: time spent cooking or time spent sick & fat.

  56. Sarah,
    Thank you so much for writing back. That helped a lot. Just a few specific questions…
    When you only had 10 or so lbs you wanted to lose, did you have trouble? did you have to count calories? If not, how did you lose the the last part and lean up so well? Was it hard for you? It has become a frustration and hopefully not defeat on my part. Maybe I need to fine tune some things.
    One more question…I am always so hungry at night and I always try to eat something paleo just so I can go to bed because it is hard on an empty stomach. Is there anything you recommend eating that will sit well and not inhibit my leaning up? Thank you soooooooo much for everything! I’m sorry for being anxious. I am very inspired by you.

  57. Jackie says:

    I made this stew on Tuesday and I had it for lunch for the rest of the week. I would really like tondo the paleo diet. It is a mindset. Just an idea maybe for a week you could tell us what you eat all day long and take a picture of it ( portion size) so we could get a better feel. I know I want to lose weight and get stronger but I am feeling like my portions may be to big. And I may be eating to often. Just an idea. Thank you for all that you do!

  58. I cook for about 3 hours on Sunday and portion it all out and just have to rewarm throughout the week. That way the hard work is done 1 day a week instead of daily.

    1. Sarah says:

      Love it Amy!

  59. Hi Sarah,
    First let me start by saying, I love your paleo talk! Im new to this..only 13 days into Robb Wolfs Paleo Solution. Im so full of life and energy! Second, Paleo cooking to me seems to come natural. For people that fuss because cooking takes up time kills me. See, im a paramedic, I work 24 hour shifts and have had no problems cooking fresh meals for myself at work 🙂 even on busy days. It takes compassion and motivation but after just one week of feeling great I was hooked!

    1. Awesome Shellena, so glad you are feeling good and rocking it!!

  60. hi sarah! wasn’t sure if you got my few questions…i know you are busy so i waited a bit so if you ever get a chance i just have a few more questions..sorry.
    When you only had 10 or so lbs you wanted to lose, did you have trouble? did you have to count calories? If not, how did you lose the the last part and lean up so well? Was it hard for you? It has become a frustration and hopefully not defeat on my part. Maybe I need to fine tune some things.
    One more question…I am always so hungry at night and I always try to eat something paleo just so I can go to bed because it is hard on an empty stomach. Is there anything you recommend eating that will sit well and not inhibit my leaning up?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Stacy,
      I’m so sorry, I’m sure I probably did get your questions but sometimes I get a bit buried in email, comments, etc.! I did not count calories, ever. Here’s my recommendations. Stick to meat, veggies, and fat for meals. Try not to snack a bunch on foods like nuts. Minimize your fruit intake. Eat maybe a bit more fat and protein at dinner if you are feeling really hungry before bedtime, that might help. Stick to dense carbs like sweet potatoes for after your workouts. Without knowing exactly what you are eating this is just my blanket advise to anyone. Last but not least, make sure you are getting enough sleep!!! Lack of sleep makes those last 10 lbs really hard to lose. Elevated cortisol levels from stress, overtraining, lack of sleep will hinder weight less, especially in the mid-section. I hope that helps and good luck my dear! Please keep me posted!! : )

  61. LOVE this post! It’s not easy, but it is so worth it! We make sacrifices and work hard in all areas of our life where we may see an immediate result. The results of making the extra effort in the kitchen may not be immediate (though they can be pretty quick), but they are definitely worth the long term commitment and extra work. 🙂

    I’m trying to recipe tonight.

  62. Noelle says:

    Hey Sarah,

    My boyfriend and I are trying to start out on this Paleo thing and finding it EXTREMELY difficult. We’re both pretty hardcore athletes and eat quite a bit more than the average american 2k kC per day (He eats more like 4-5,000 depending on day and I eat ~3,000). How do we “fill in” the lost calories we gave up from the calorie dense grains and sugars? I can only eat so many carrots, salads, bananas, apples, chicken and nuts before I feel hopeless and bored. What is the trick to feeling full? Even with eating a 2 eggs, bell pepper and spinach omlet and a huge pink grapefruit this morning I was nearly gnawing my arm off 2 hours later…

    And I agree with some other folks… this is really hard. I mean, the doing laundry and everything analogy is kind of strange b/c most of watched our parents as we grew up and learned things gradually (including cooking). When we have children we are “forced” into a life change that cannot be avoided and we learn along the way; it’s not like we flick a light switch and change our behaviours instantaneously, whereas with this it is a life change that is a choice and for most of us completely foregin territory (I’m guessing that since being weened from my mother I haven’t gone a day in my life without eating something processed, which is kind of scary but true). Even though I am extremely passionate about health and life in general this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    Any advice you have to help make this easier and to help feel full is welcomed.



    1. Hi Noelle,
      First and foremost, being the athlete that you are you must start thinking about fat like you used to think about carbs. For example, along with that breakfast that you described you should also throw in some bacon and avocado. Every meal and snack increase your fat content a LOT. For example, cook with lots of coconut oil and coconut milk and if you have a salad add tons of avocado, olive oil, and I’m guessing you probably need way more protein too. Eat more sweet potatoes, especially after a work out!! If you do not have any sort of autoimmune issue, use organic heavy cream and grass fed butter as great fat sources as well. Make big pots of stew with lots of added fat and eat until you are full. The slow cooker is great and nothing is more satisfying and filling then a big bowl of slow cooked meat with stuff like winter squash, parsnips, and yams swimming in fat. This is the kind of food you should be going to not just carrots and apples – leave that for the rabbits! : ) Paleo is NOT a one size fits all approach and you have to tweak things to fit your needs. I have worked with several hardcore athletes, my husband included who thrive on paleo living. If you would like to ever email me directly I can try to be of more help to you if I am able! Hang in there and know you have a lot of support. Another awesome resource is Robb Wolf’s site. He has a great podcast in which he often addresses the nutritional needs of the hardcore athlete. Check it our at
      Best of luck to you and please please keep in touch and let me know how things go. Now go eat something cooked in lots of butter topped with avocado!! : )

      1. And one other thing I forgot to mention, if you were relying heavily on processed foods and sugar for your fuel source, it’s not surprising that you feel a bit off and starved as your body gets used to relying on fat and protein for it’s fuel source. Still think you should up your fat, starchier carb, and protein but just something to think about that a lot of people feel pretty awful for the first couple of weeks but that will pass and you will start to feel so much better! You can do it!! : )

        1. Noelle says:

          Thanks for the encouragement Sarah. We actually made one of your chicken crockpot recipes last night and it was amazing and very satisfying. This morning I made a frittata with avocado on top and it definitely helped to keep me satiated. I’ll keep coming back to this site for motivation and recipes. You’re truly inspiring and a great resource in this learning experience. Thanks for your hard work to make it “easier” for the rest of us. =)

  63. Another Phil says:

    Hi Noelle,

    One thing I found to be helpful was to start slowly and incrementally. Try focusing on one meal at a time and take it one day at a time. And don’t worry about trying to match your pre-paleo calorie count. Listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not.

    If to feel low on energy, increase you’re healthy fats or use fruits for a quick energy boost.

    But don’t feel pressured into having to be 100% perfectly paleo-compliant all at once right now and always. Remember the 80/20 rule. 20% of the effort will get you 80% there, and if you comply 80% of the time, don’t sweat the 20% that life gets in the way!

  64. Lisa says:

    I think my biggest problem is that everything has to be prepared and I’m not a very skilled cook. I tend to jump in and collect recipes like crazy, then try to plan out meals and match that up with my grocery trip but something in my process always gets tangled up – either I can’t find the ingredients or the cost of the ingredients (I’m such a miser, but I’m working on that as well . . .) and then trying to put them together and make it come out as something I want to eat . . . it just overwhelms me and then I realize I’m trying too hard and end up going back to basics like salad with chicken and beef stew until I work up the courage to try to branch out again.

    It’s a vicious circle, lol. It doesn’t help that I work nights and my husband works days. He dropped about 80 pounds, but he doesn’t eat paleo – in fact he doesn’t eat anything different day in and day out because he wants to make sure that his calorie intake remains exactly the same. My son eats what my husband does so essentially, I’m cooking for just myself, which ought to make it easier, but most recipes make several servings and then if I mess it up, I have to eat several servings of bad tasting food. That’s where I am now, headed back to the drawingboard to regroup, lol.

    1. Sarah says:

      Good luck Lisa, you can do this. Sometimes just trying to look at things from a different angle really helps. Maybe try cooking on the weekends and storing the food to eat during the week to help compensate with your schedule? You can do this!!! Hang in there girl!!

      1. Lisa says:

        Thanks, Sarah. I’ll begin my new plan of action tonight – and I’m going to keep it simple – premade salads, chicken breasts cooked up, some of your Thai Green Curry – although not with the same curry paste – apparently it’s outlawed in OK, can’t find it anywhere, even the Asian market-luckily I found some that is gluten, dairy and sugar free, even though I can’t pronounce the name of it, lol – and some of your egg muffins and mexican stew.

        I have gone from 278 to about 265 using various methods from WW to low GI to low carb but when I discovered paleo with no dairy and no grains, the light just came on for me and I dropped down to 254, so obviously, my body likes this eating plan- now if can get a nice repertoire of recipes and a cooking schedule mastered, I’m set.

        1. Sarah says:

          Way to go Lisa, I’m so proud of you for just going for it, and all you have to do is keep it simple and this stuff simply works!!

  65. Another Phil says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I highly recommend the mexican stew, my family LOVES it! I also recommend the beanless chili. Both of those meals can be made up in very large batches and frozen in small containers so it’s easy to take one for a meal away from home. Just grab it and go, nuke it at work, etc.

    I hear you on the “cooking for one” issue. I face that a lot when it comes to getting my breakfasts and lunches in. Mark Sisson has a video on his site somewhere about how he makes is “Big Ass Salad” and that really helped dial me in on that front. The next time you’re cutting up veggies for salad, cut up a TON, put them all in plastic containers and then you can make a “Big Ass Salad” in about 5 minutes.

    I also found that it’s often easier to think of meals you already eat and then just try to “paleo-ize” them. For example, I LOVE pasta. But really, it was just the meat sauce I loved. So I decided to try spaghetti squash. Turns out, with enough sauce, the squash is barely noticeable and my kids, who always preferred noodles with butter, actually like the spaghetti squash with coconut oil even more!

    Don’t be afraid to try new things, but at the same time, don’t feel like you have to be 100% paleo right now and always. This isn’t a pass-fail thing. It goes a lot easier if you take a slow and incremental approach. Figure out what you like, and what you have, then go from there. Try one or two new recipes out a week, but plan for them. Figure out what you want to try, jot down any ingredients you don’t have and make sure you get them next time you shop. Also, check out Sarah’s New Year’s post where she lists everything you need to have all the time in your spice cabinet, pantry, and fridge. It’s a great list!

    Hang in there, if I can do this, and convert my family, ANYONE can ! Just take it slow, set yourself up for success, and come back and ask questions when you feel stuck. After about a month or so, you won’t even think about this stuff anymore and you’ll be answering questions for others!

    Oh, one last tip: Google is your friend! Stuck on something to make? Got limited ingredients? Just type ‘paleo’ plus whatever else into Google and be amazed at what turns up 🙂

  66. What can I substitute for the cabbage in this stew? I can’t eat cabbage…which is a huge bummer.


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Heather,
      I would just add more of the other veggies if you like or you can even add some cubed butternut squash to give it a whole different angle!

  67. Lisa says:

    Another Phil,

    Lol! That’s what got me started on this. I happened across the term “Primal Blueprint” and we were off and running. The salad is the first thing I incorporated into my daily menu – I made the salad dressing he shows in his video and that’s when I learned that balsamic vinegar would never be one of my close friends, but lemon juice and I get along like a house on fire. 🙂

  68. Hey Sarah!

    I expressed before in another thread how happy I am to find your blog! I am pretty much in the same boat you were after you had your third. I just had my fourth baby in October, and was feeling overweight, sick and just really unwell. I had decided before having my fourth that I was going to do crossfit with my husband when she was born. So, at 6 weeks I started going 3-5x per week. I was once in amazing shape and I missed that so much!

    I was introduced to Whole 30/Paleo at the gym and I just KNEW when I saw what it was about, that I had to do it. I put it off for a few months because I’m nursing my baby and was afraid if I wasn’t eating grains I would stop producing milk for her. BUT, when she turned 5 months I decided it was time to bite the bullet and go for it. I had been losing weight slowly and I was definitely getting stronger but I really needed that extra little bit to push me up the hill a bit faster. So far, I am completely blown away with how good I feel. My chronic heartburn I had developed during pregnancy, that didn’t go away after she was born, has disappeared. I’m losing about 2lbs per week and I just feel really really GOOD! I’m only about 2 weeks into the Whole 30, but I can already tell you that I’m in it for the long haul. Luckily my husband is on board with me and all four of our kids have been LOVING the food.

    Oh and the breast-milk issue is a non issue. In fact, I think I’m producing even MORE milk! I’ve just been trying to make sure I get enough fat, protein and a few extra carby fruits and veggies in there everyday so that I don’t lose too much weight too fast. (never thought I’d have to say that)

    Thanks for your blog and I look forward to seeing what the next few months of paleo brings our way.

  69. Shannon says:

    I am buying your book TOMORROW … hoping it’s at the B&N near my office. If not, I’ll order it online. I’ve already read three other paleo books, but none of them was authored by a fellow female, which is a perspective that I think I’ll find encouraging!

    One question: when you were first starting out, did you just focus on big picture–eating meat and veggies and cutting out the junk–or were you much more selective (e.g. only grass-fed meat)? If I order an omelet at the cafe at work it is cooked in “pan release” instead of BUTTER or coconut oil (my fav). If I order a steak, it is likely not grass-fed. Are those OK choices to get weight loss going? I realize they aren’t #1 choices.

    This post is absolutely on the mark and I needed it, thank you!! I want to go paleo … I look about like you did in your before pictures … and have been putting my goal to look like your after pics on the back-burner for TOO long. I don’t even enjoy junk food anymore; I’m eating strictly out of habit. 🙁 I think I’ll reorganize this weekend!

  70. ROCKY says:

    Hey SARAH (my food guru)

    Enjoyed your presentation June 8 at Lyons Books! What a nice family you have.

    I am interested in reversing hardening of the arteries. I have an echo cardiogram of the cartid arteries showing 70% blockage (stenosis) in 2009 and another recently showing 40%. This is very good news. I take Crestor. I want to try the Paleo diet to further reduce blockage, continuing with the medication unchanged. I am most interested in reducing blockage of the coronary arteries and do have CAT scan data
    from 2008 for comparison.

    Question: How long should I be on the diet before repeating the CAT scan so as to give the diet a good chance to produce results?

  71. Ashley Nash says:

    Hey Sarah! Thanks for the recipe! I am a big fan! Although I am cooking for just my husband and I, I try to use the portions your recipe calls for so we have left overs! All of your recipe’s and blogs have made the transition easy for us, if I need a new idea- I just come to your website! LOVE IT!

    I tried this stew for the first time yesterday, and loved it! Although, I made a different version.. I used chicken instead of beef, and instead of cabbage, carrots, and celery.. I used: red, green, and yellow bell peppers, onions, and cellery. These were the things I had handy at the time, and it was quite tasty! However, I am looking forward to trying your version as well!

    Again, thank you for the great recipe’s and encouraging blog posts.. It makes eating Paleo a lot easier for those of us who are making the transition!

  72. vicki says:

    i think i’m guilty of “messing with” my kids innate sense of satiety. i’m working on my control-freak-ishness but i hope there’s some advice on how to get my kids back on track. they eat extremely healthy food, paleo/primal, but they eat a lot and almost always stop becuase i’ve told them it’s enough, not because they decided for themselves. i’ve tried to talk to them about how their body feels when they eat too much but they always say their tummy feels “good”. they usually eat more than i do before i cut them off, they are 2 & 4 years old! i tried to fix this, and allowed them to eat as much as they wanted whenever they wanted, but it was short-lived and i crumbled when they just kept going and going. i’ve tried adding in extra snacks. i’ve tried eliminating snacks. i need help. please tell me i haven’t inadvertantly wrecked them.

  73. Sophia says:

    You are very inspiring. I am amazed that you have the kids eating Paleo as well. You are showing that it can be done, and tastefully.

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