These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I’ve learned over the years how to find some great food buys, that are super healthy, organic, less expensive or hard-to-find, and I wanted to share that with you…

And no, it’s not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, although I like them too!

I’ve been eating the way I do for quite a few years and I’ve learned over the years how to find some great ingredients that are super healthy, less expensive or hard-to-find, and I wanted to share that with you. Now for those of you who live far away from me, I apologize in advance. Hopefully you can find some of these same things at stores near you or very similar items.

I am not advertising for anyone nor trying to sell any particular product for my own personal gain. I don’t get commission on this stuff either. This is just my list of grocery items that I have found are either a great value or particularly good.

I love Trader Joe’s to stock up on great healthy, often organic items at a super great price. I tend to get more of the canned, bottled and frozen foods when I go to Trader Joe’s, and like to get more of my fresh produce at Whole Foods or the local grocery or farmer’s market. The selection is better and the produce seems fresher.

Some of these things are just super tasty, some of them are hard-to-find ingredients, some of them are things that come with a small price tag or that just save time and energy when making meals. I will probably be adding to this list from time to time, as new products come out, prices change, etc.

Here is my list thus far:

Grassfed Beef–This is such great stuff and totally different (and better because of the fat content) than ‘organic’. Choose grassfed over organic whenever possible. The BEST tasting, highest quality grassfed meat can be ordered from U.S. Wellness online. They deliver to your door in two days. If you want to find something closer, get grassfed from Whole Foods. They now carry a decent assortment of locally raised grassfed meats. I also found that Trader Joe’s carries grassfed ground beef which is really tasty and a decent price as well. Also, your closest farmer’s market may carry grassfed meats, local and natural bacon and free range pastured eggs.

Chicken–I like Trader Joe’s chicken. They offer organic/free range breasts and thighs (boneless and skinless), or whole chickens at a good price. Costco also carries some convenient three packs of organic boneless, skinless thighs or breasts at a great price. I prefer boneless skinless thighs because they have a better flavor, and juicier and more tender, and because the thighs are dark meat, they contain more iron and other nutrients than breasts do.

Bacon–The only kind of bacon you should eat is the natural kind that is nitrate and nitrate free. Regular grocery stores sell it, but, wow! It’s expensive there. I hate paying $6 or $7 for a small package of bacon that doesn’t even weigh a pound. Trader Joe’s sells a package of “Ends and Pieces” bacon that weighs a whole pound and is delicious, and all natural as well. It’s mostly regular slices of bacon and a few smaller thicker, odd pieces. Works for me at $2.99 for a pound.

Natural Chicken Sausage from TJ’s or WF–Both stores have a great selection of natural chicken sausages. They are relatively inexpensive and a great quick meal with some veggies or delicious added to eggs in the am. Or try a little stirfry with them. The green apple sausage from TJ’s is da bomb. Had them on the grill last night!

Natural Peanut Butter–Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanuts and flax butter.

Sunflower Butter–For those of us who have developed a nut allergy, sunflower butter is a great substitute. Try to find the kind without a lot of sugar.

REAL Butter–Kerrygold brand of Grassfed butter. Grass fed is WAY better than regular butter, and has the hard-to-find vitamin K2. I originally found this butter in my regular grocery store (Dierberg’s), but I’ve seen it at Trader Joes and Whole Foods as well. Trader Joe’s by far has the best price on this–it’s $2.00 less than what it sells for at Whole Foods.

Raw Cheese–Regular grocery stores are starting to carry raw cheeses and some have a great variety. And raw goat cheese is great for those who have dairy allergies and sensitivities. I am allergic to pasteurized dairy, but raw cheese is just fine !My very favorite (not cheap, but soo delicious!) Raw, cave aged gruyere from Whole Foods. Wow. What a delicious nutty taste it has.

Eggs–Now this can be a complex decision. So many different kinds of eggs and different classifications. The best choice is from the local farmer’s market, and pasture raised. If you are purchasing from a grocery store, look for ‘organic’ or ‘pasture-raised’. Buying  this classification is generally more expensive, but chickens who are raised for organic eggs are much healthier overall, not given hormones and antibiotics and not near as likely to have eggs with salmonella or other dangerous organisms. If you can’t find organic or just don’t want to pay the high price, look for ‘free range’ and organic eggs. My favorite from Whole Foods is Farmer’s Hen House ‘free range’ egg raised on Amish farms. (Amish farms are close to organic, just not certified). This brand comes in a ‘jumbo’ size, so for $3.99, you get a lot of egg–with rich orange yolks (meaning they have lots of healthy omega 3 fats and nutrients).

Nuts–Trader Joe’s also has a great variety of nuts and trail mix. Just watch out for the sugary additions if you are doing trail mix or a flavored nut.

Energy Bars (grain free and nut free)–Macro bars are my new favorites! Most any grocery or health food store now carries a wide variety of energy bars. Whole Foods has a whole wall of them! Whew…gets crazy trying to decipher ingredients. Trader Joe’s also carries a great selection. Stay away from the manufactured ‘energy bars’ which are basically processed soy and sugar.

Paleo Bread or Tortillas–Whole Foods and other health food stores now carry somewhat expensive paleo tortillas and other bread products, but these can be expensive. Better to make your own or omit all together.

Milk (milk substitute)–I love Trader Joe’s brand of coconut milk in the carton. Many companies make this type of milk now and I like the flavor (no coconut taste), and it’s consistency. Watch out for added sugars though. Hemp and flax milk are good, and I’ve seen quinoa milk. These can be pricey, and often there is little of the main ingredient and a lot of fillers, sugars, thickeners, etc. At least buy the kind with no added sugar.

Pasta–Tj’s now carries a lot of great gluten free pastas and the latest, which is REALLY good is black bean pasta. I looked at the ingredients and it said, “Black bean flour”. Period. It is really good, really hearty and filling and full of protein and fiber. YUM. There is also yucca flour pasta, quinoa pasta, etc.

A Healthy Treat–Trader Joe’s Toasted Coconut snacks. A hint of sweetness, a nice crunch, a touch of toasted coconut flavor, with a little bit of sea salt. Wow! My new favorite snack.

Chips–Of course you should avoid chips, but sometimes you just want a salty crunchy snack. These fill the bill. Trader Joe’s carries them and I’ve seen similar ones elsewhere. Lentil chips. These tasty chips are made of lentils and rice flour. No corn, no gluten, and no added oils. And they hold up well to your favorite hummus.

Laundry Detergent–Since I have read about and personally experienced the problems that the toxins in regular laundry detergent contains, I have switched to an all natural, plant based type. One of my favorites and by far the best price is either Trader Joe’s own brand of lavender scented detergent or Whole Food’s 365 brand. Both seem to do a great job (and I don’t get itchy) and are suitable for HE washers too.

While I’m at it, I love Trader Joe’s French milled soap bars, their natural citrus shampoo, cream rinse and body wash too–free of chemical toxins and additives.

Favorite Supplements–While I can get clients physician grade supplements at a good price, I have found that a couple brands at Whole Foods are just as good and you can get them quickly (if you live near a WF), and the prices are about the same as what I get at a discount. Plus you don’t have to pay for shipping, wait for them to arrive, etc. Solaray and Twinlab are good lines with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and herbs. I also like Jarrow for more speciality items like Alpha Lipoic Acid.

P.S. I get Grain free natural dogfood from Costco that my dog loves and is a great buy as well.





Catherine (Cat) Ebeling RN BSN, is a back to basics diet and nutrition specialist. In addition to her advanced degree in nursing from a major medical school, she has spent the last 30 years intensely studying diet, health and nutrition. 

Get the latest Gluten Free, Superfoods Recipe book HERE–The Fat Burning Kitchen Superfoods Recipes.

Cat also has a book titled “The Fat Burning Kitchen, Your 24 Hour Diet Transformation” that has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide, and has helped thousands of people transform their lives, lose weight and improve their health.

Her mission is to help others prevent disease and live their best life ever.

                                Nutrition made Easy. Simple.Smart.Nutrition.




Should We All go ‘Paleo?’


Have you heard the new diet trend? It’s the ‘Paleo’ diet, primal diet or the caveman diet.

I guess it’s not exactly what I would call new and trendy, since it is based on the diet that our ancient ancestors ate. ‘The Paleo Diet’ is actually a term that author Loren Cordain, PhD coined for his book.

There have been several variations on this same type diet, including "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson, Weston Price’s Traditional diet, and my own, “Fat Burning Kitchen Program” diet. And if you like Michael Pollen, his dietary principles follow along the same lines too.

Scientists have finally started to figure out that the diet of our ancient ancestors may possibly be the best diet overall for our modern bodies.

This diet is basically avoids all processed foods, grains, sugar, dairy, and legumes.

Is it any wonder that in today’s world there is so much illness, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other disease?

Today’s diet is a far cry from that of our ancestors.

Interestingly enough, our ancient ancestors were strong, healthy and were far more likely to be killed by a woolly mammoth or saber tooth tiger than a heart attack or diabetes.

If you would like to see a graphic presentation of the differences food makes on people, check out Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration–written in the 1940’s by a dentist who traveled the world studying primitive cultures and their diets.

It’s eye opening, to say the least! 

In a single generation, these natives go from the picture of health to unhealthy, diseased and deformed, and it has nothing to do with saturated fat, but everything to do with sugar and processed grains.

These photographs of Dr. Weston Price illustrate the difference in facial structure between those on native diets and those whose parents had adopted the "civilized" diets of  devitalized  processed foods. This occurred in all different primitive groups all over the world.

The "primitive" Seminole girl (left) has a wide, handsome face with plenty of room for the dental arches. The "modernized" Seminole girl (right) born to parents who had abandoned their traditional diets, has a narrowed face, crowded teeth, and a reduced immunity to disease.

This, and my own dietary evolution, has convinced me.

And I am more convinced the further away I move from processed foods, grains, sugars and more towards this ‘primal’ way of life.

The dramatic health benefits that result from this type of diet, seem virtually endless.

It reduces, prevents or cures: High cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, inflammatory disease, arthritis, joint problems, allergies, digestive problems, depression, ADD, and so much more.

That alone speaks for itself.

Let me add that my own dietary and health journey can vouch for the fact that this diet really seems to be working. In the past, I had health issues like asthma, allergies, celiac disease, arthritis,  depression, frequent colds and flu, digestive issues, fatigue, foggy-headedness, PMS, rashes, and more.

With each dietary ‘tweak’, I moved closer to THIS diet.

Isn’t it another low carb diet? Well…no.

However, our paleolithic ancestors did eat a pretty low carb diet. Different primitive societies did eat varying combinations of animals, plants and carbs, but generally the human diet was about 2/3 animal foods, and 1/3 from plant foods.

And no one cared about saturated fat and cholesterol either.

Along came the agricultural revolution and the cities, civilizations and manufactured foods. And, a boatload of nutritionally-related diseases that were totally unknown to the hunter-gatherers. These new foods are vastly different in so many ways from the real, healthy foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

So, I guess in a sense, we can blame the agricultural revolution for bringing us most of the chronic disease and obesity that we see in this modern world.

These mostly grain-based foods (cereals, dairy products, grain-fed meats, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars and oils) do not work in bodies that were originally built for a diet of free-ranged meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

The paleo diet is high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, low in omega 6 fatty acids, low on the glycemic index, high in USABLE natural nutrition, high in antioxidants, and no empty calories, no chemicals, or over-processed carbs.

And here is an interesting study: Medical researchers released results of a study that shows just how beneficial a primal diet can be:

A group of non-obese volunteers were fed a paleo diet for 10 days. Only 10 days!

And the conclusion is… Even very short term consumption of a paleo diet improved blood pressure, glucose tolerance, decreased insulin secretion, increased insulin sensitivity and improved lipid profiles in healthy sedentary humans.

I am not surprised. I’ve seen my lipid profile, my blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. All of them, off-the-charts excellent.

Primal Diet Principles:  

  1. Eat REAL food. No packaged or processed foods. Make your meals from combinations of one-ingredient foods and spices.
  2. Avoid most sugar, including: sucrose, fructose, agave (fructose), artificial sweeteners, and corn syrup. You may have small amounts of raw honey, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, and stevia if needed. 
  3. No grain. Not ‘whole grains’, and especially not refined, processed, white flour. No refined starches. 
  4. Eat plenty of healthy fat–from: grass fed meat, grass fed butter, pastured eggs and free range poultry, wild caught fish, raw dairy, avocado and coconut.  Extra virgin olive oil is ok, although I’m guessing a caveman probably didn’t eat this. 
  5. High quality protein is important. Grass fed, pasture raised, or wild caught–meat, fish and poultry, and eggs. No grain fed, commercially raised meat. 
  6. Eat lots of vegetables–locally grown is best, and fresh, raw or barely cooked. Organic if possible. Some fruit is ok, but our modern fruit is very high in sugar. 
  7. Eat organic. Eat them as close to where they grew as possible and in the most natural state. 
  8. Beware of what you are drinking. While I doubt cavemen drank their ‘cuppa joe’ to get going, drinking one cup of organic coffee or tea won’t ruin the diet. An occasional beer or glass of wine is ok, but a sugary, artificially flavored mixed drink is NOT ok. No fruit juice…these are full of sugar. Drink pure water as much as possible. 
And if you follow this diet, even 90% of the time, you WILL see major health benefits. 
Many pro and amateur athletes are gravitating towards this type of diet as evidence comes in that it improves athletic performance and endurance, reduces body fat and helps add lean muscle.
So, as of this writing, I am going to follow this diet as closely as possibly during the bicycling racing season this summer, and I will report back to you how it goes.      
Looking for more info?
There is plenty of information on the internet. One of my favorites is Mark Sisson’s site, Mark’s Daily Apple. This guy knows his stuff. Great articles, lots of entertaining and interesting info, and a lot of awesome recipes to help you get a better idea of how truly good food can be even without grains, sugar, or processed food.
And I have to put in a plug for my own website, Simple Smart Nutrition which is based on this type of diet, with tons of great information on various health conditions, from weight loss to maximizing your athletic performance and more.
And I have some delicious Paleo-style recipes too.
The very best way to check out the Paleo diet is to try it yourself. Even if you just follow principle #1 you will improve your health as you remove all of the junk, fast food, and “frankenfood” in the typical American diet.
Healthy and feeling good is normal.
Feeling tired, getting sick, gaining weight and all those other health issues are not normal. And, if you decide you just can’t commit to a Paleo diet, try following a few of the principles above and I guarantee you will see and feel so much better!
Mark Sisson, The Primal Blueprint, Mark's Daily Apple, 2011.  Jennifer Pinkowski, Should you Eat Like a Caveman? Time magazine, Jan 2011. Dr. Loren Cordain, the Paleo Diet, 2010-2011.  
Catherine (Cat) Ebeling RN BSN, is a back to basics diet and nutrition specialist.
In addition to her advanced degree in nursing from a major medical school, she has spent the last 30 years intensely studying diet, health and nutrition. She also has a book titled "The Fat Burning Kitchen, Your 24 Hour Diet Transformation" that has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide, and has helped thousands of people transform their lives, lose weight and improve their health.
Her mission is to help others prevent disease and live their best life ever.
Nutrition made Easy. Simple.Smart.Nutrition.