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Stokes’ Paleo 2.0

David and I are celebrating our 1 year paleo celebration this month! We are so happy we have committed to customizing paleo lifestyles to fit our health needs and have truly seen more health benefits than we could’ve forecasted at the beginning. Here is a look at our thoughts on a paleo lifestyle starting year 1… Stokes Paleo 1.0

Now that we have a year under our belt, we wanted to share where we are now with paleo! Enjoy and I hope this helps y’all out 🙂 It is long… Feel free to skim or bookmark for later 😉

What is paleo? 
Following our ancestors’ diet, because they suffered from fewer chronic diseases. Research shows they focused on meat, fat, veggies, fruit, and nuts/seeds. They were active and enjoyed hunting and gathering their food. 

What to do?
1) Eat whole foods that provide better fuel for your body. 
2) Avoid processed, refined, nutrient poor factory foods. 

Short and sweet version… Basically eliminate foods that don’t promote health for your body. In return, you’ll start to realize how food reacts with your body and you will be able to create your very own paleo lifestyle. 

Why customize the diet?
Customizing the paleo diet simply turns it into a lifestyle. We are all beautifully and wonderfully made. Which means, we all digest food and absorb nutrients in different ways. Personalizing this diet is powerful… It makes it personal and you’ll want to stick to it. 

We feel like the best information for paleo can be found in Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle. Here are some key points from the book:
1) Eat whole foods
2) Avoid modern processed and refined foods. 
3) Eat to maintain proper digestive function. 
4) Eat to maintain proper blood sugar levels. 
5) Follow a plan to reach your own personal health goals. 

But how do I gather in the modern world? 
First resource, the farmer’s market! Tuscaloosa has a great river market with all the meats, eggs, veggies, and fruits you want!
Second resource, the grocery store (Publix and Target). Find out what produce to buy organic (The Dirty Dozen) then buy what quality of meats you can afford. 
Third resource, grow it yourself! Between Pinterest and your local farmer, you’ll see you can grow some pretty good produce. 

But what do I do once it’s gathered?
Make a plan. Start with planning a meal or two a week then increase it as you go. You’ll see crockpot meals can be adapted to just about any serving size. I like to do about 6-8 servings so it will feed us (or freeze leftovers for next week!) for a few meals. 
Schedule a prep day. Cut your veggies (even go ahead and roast them), get a soup going in the crockpot, and even make some options for a grab and go breakfast. 
Don’t stress. Food should be enjoyed and appreciated. These three things will allow your body to properly digest the food to fuel your body. 

Don’t focus on what you CANNOT eat!
That’s scary and depressing! You can eat whatever you want… So start with incorporating these items into your weekly grocery list:
Grassfed beef: Available at the local farmer’s market at a great price! Or at Publix and Target. The brands are Thousand Hills Cattle Company and Maverick Ranch that I know of at these grocery stores. 
Bacon: Maverick Ranch or Applegate (Applegate has great products!) because bacon wrapped chicken or just bacon with eggs is awesome!
Kerrygold butter (this is the best butter you can find around here and it’s even available at Sam’s in bulk… This butter is so good for you!)
Sweet Potatoes (favorite carb… Versatile to be savory, sweet, or just plain jane)
Avocado (one of our favorite fats to have at meal time)
– An organic 50/50 lettuce blend (that’s a little taste of all the greens
Cauliflower (wonderful roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper; thrown in a food processor to turn into rice; steamed and puréed with butter for an amazing and satisfying side dish)
– The trilogy— carrots, onions, and celery. This will get you far with salads, soups, and roasts. 

What if I want someone to gather/cook for me?
There are some great options in Tuscaloosa! Here are some favorites:
Zoe’s: Chicken Kabobs or Steak Kabobs with grilled veggies and a side of fruit. We include potatoes in our lifestyle so we get grilled potatoes instead of fruit sometimes.
Jim and Nick’s: Porky Potato minus cheese, sour cream, and butter (add your own Kerrygold butter at home!). Or the pork plate with turnip greens (or cabbage) and fruit. 
Another Broken Egg Cafe: Skinny Omelette cooked in butter with whole eggs (don’t get just the whites!). 
Chiptole: Carnitas burrito bowl minus rice and beans but with mild salsa and guacamole. 
Jalapeños: Their paleo menu is great… We are fans of the chicken fajitas with guacamole and salsa. 
Five Guys Burger and Fries: Bunless burger in a lettuce wrap with whatever veggies you want. 
Five and Epiphany Cafe are great/fun places that are familiar with paleo and will help you find a tasty paleo-friendly option. 

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great
Primal Cravings: Your favorite foods made Paleo
Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS)
The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally
Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining
Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog
Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion
And I have many more on my wish list… But that’s for another post 😉

Against All Grain
Balanced Bites (love their podcast)
Paleo Parents
Primal Palate
Taylor Made it Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple
Robb Wolf
Chris Kresser
Honestly Delicious
Multiply Delicious
Rubies and Radishes
Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations
Slim Palate
The Urban Poser
I link to so many when I post our weekly meal plans, so keep your eyes open for new ones!

There ya have it folks. One epic post… Stokes’ Paleo 3.0 coming a year from now 🙂 I can’t wait to learn more in year 2 of paleo.

*A special thanks to everyone that supports my blog. I love interacting with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And in person, no link for that 😉 I appreciate each of you and love to hear from you!

Affiliate links were included in this post. The links will allow me to receive a small percentage of sales which helps fund the blog! So use the links to make purchases and know the Cookin’ Up Life team appreciates it… the team being: David the kitchen manager, Leo the editor/approver, and myself the blogger!




Drumroll please…. announcing the next giveaway 🙂

1 gallon of Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening!

You might be asking yourself what this stuff is…. well click the link above and read all about it but let me give you an idea on how to use this stuff 🙂


Remember the paleo strawberry shortcakes I made using Primal Palate’s recipe (The Food Lovers rock)? Well palm shortening is a key ingredient in this recipe and numerous other paleo desserts. Here are some recipes that feature Tropical Traditions palm shortening to give you more ideas.

Tropical Traditions is a great place to order quality ingredients and their weekly discounts rock my world! So when they offered the chance to do another giveaway I jumped on it. I received a gallon of shortening to review and you guys will have the chance to win a gallon yourself 🙂

Don’t forget about their amazing coconut oil— here are some facts about the oil and here is a video of just some of the uses of the magic oil:

Amazing right? I use it nightly to take off make up. I also use it every morning as my lotion. Just call me a coconut diva hahah 😉


1. Subscribe to the newsletter sent by Tropical Traditions. (Click here)

2. Come back and comment on the blog tell me you are subscribed and your favorite summer fruit 🙂


Starts: June 3rd at 11:30AM

Ends: June 13th at 8PM


*Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

*If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Happy Monday!