I am so excited to have a guest blogger with us today. Melissa is a Pilates Instructor and the mastermind behind the blog, Satisfying Eats. Her grain-free desserts and baked goods are phenomenal. If you’re new to Paleo, you won’t want to miss out on this blog so that you never feel like you’re missing anything from your former lifestyle. She has a recent post about meal planning for the week for those of you WHO WORK!!! I am SO excited about this because I know that many of you work and are having trouble trying to figure out how to work all of the food prep that Paleo involves into your work schedule. Melissa has it NAILED DOWN. She has also included a recipe for us to bake this week. I can’t wait to give these a try. I’ll be buying some pumpkin tomorrow so that I can whip these up for Sunday morning. I’m drooling just thinking about them. Without further ado, please welcome Melissa to Banana Hammocks & Tutus!
I am a happy wife and proud mother of an 8 month old son. I am originally from Metter, Georgia but have lived in Louisiana for the last 8 years. I a certified STOTT Pilates Instructor in Mat, Reformer and Chair and I also do personal training, as well as nutrition consultations. I have a degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University with an emphasis in Exercise Science. I love how the body works, and how you can strengthen core muscles to change someones posture. But my true passion is food! I love food. I love eating it. I love cooking it. I love watching people eat the food that I cook! I have been cooking since I very young, but have only been cooking and baking grain and sugar free for about 5 months. It is really not that different than traditional cooking. I started my blog Satisfying Eats: Grain Free, Sugar Free & Hunger Free to help those starting a grain free lifestyle have options when it comes to eating and let them know that they can still eat the foods they love, but you just need to be a little creative, and that’s where I come in! Grains made me FAT!
I have always had to watch my weight. As a child, I was very overweight (155 pounds in the 5th grade at 5′ 1”). I ate what every kid ate, Pop Tarts, Frosted Mini Wheats, lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lots of Kool Aid. My parents were both not skinny people either. In late middle school and early high school, I began to cut back on fats and fried foods and I became more active. Over those years, I lost 40 pounds. I gained so much self confidence. In college, I put on a few (not quite 15), but quickly lost it through a “diet” of fat free mayo, whole wheat bread and Splenda sweetened desserts. In college, my dad suffered from a stroke at the age of 46 and died within the week. It was a very tough time for me, he was such a wonderful man. I had just declared my major in college, Kinesiology, and finished my degree at Georgia Southern University then moved to Louisiana to do my internship. This is where my view on nutrition began to change. I took a Nutrition Lifestyle Coaching Course and through the course material and my fellow colleagues, I learned so much life changing information about nutrition. Then, I reduced the amount of sugar I used to bake with and started using Stevia. I would always bake desserts for people and “hide” stevia in them and they would never know! 😉 I also watched my below ground vegetable consumption, limiting my carbohydrates. I had the hang of it and I was healthy and maintaining a good weight for me. Over the next few years, I tried to avoided wheat, especially in preparation for my wedding. I was the happiest I had ever been and I felt I looked the best that I had ever looked. Over the first year of marriage, life got busy and I didn’t watch my bread consumption as closely and my attitude toward wheat was, if I could avoid it, then I would but if that was the only choice, just eat it. Well thinking like that put on 10 pounds in my first year of marriage. No big deal, I just dealt with it, I just bought bigger clothes. Then in October, 2010, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I was so excited. I continued to eat healthy when I good and continued to do Pilates. Then the migraines hit, and the hit HARD! I was getting migraines every week for about 6 weeks and they lasted 2 days. It was horrible. I found myself picking up pizza on the way home because I thought it was making me feel better. In retrospect, it was probably making me feel worse. Then as I began to eat more grains, then I wanted more grains. It was a vicious cycle! I developed horrible varicose veins in my right leg that bulged out, and the weight that I was packing on didn’t help. When taking the glucose test, I was one point away from them making me take the 3 hour test, I begged for them not to order the test because I knew what the problem was, grains and sugars!! Two days before I had my son, I had gained 58 pounds! Hunter arrived May 29, 2011. It was a great delivery and recovery but life just got so busy that it took me months to get back to my low grain, low sugar lifestyle. Looking at pictures, I actually think I put on weight after my son was born. I started back teaching Pilates in August and I was so uncomfortable in my body. I teach Pilates, I should have not gained so much weight and it should be coming off faster, right? I was nursing and that didn’t seem to help. So in September, I started cutting back on my carbs but still eating wheat thinking, it wasn’t a big deal. The weight was slowly coming off so I was happy. Then in October, I stumbled across a cardiologist’s blog and book, Wheat Belly. Reading the book, reinforced the need to cut Wheat out of my diet 100%, and not only wheat, other grains and sugars. Day 1, no more low carb pitas which I was living on, the next day on the scale, 1 pound gone. This was good. Next day I got on scales after being wheat, grain and sugar free, 2 pounds gone. I normally do not weight myself that often but I was intrigued about what was happening. Day 3, another pound gone. Day 4 another! I was beside myself!! Why had I not started this earlier. So my lifestyle changed from that day! Not only was the weight coming off, I wasn’t craving the sugars and breads that I had before. All the while, I have enjoyed all of my favorite foods: eggs, bacon, steak, dark meat chicken, pork, spinach, asparagus, green beans, etc. and my favorite: chocolate, oh yes, I said chocolate! Some times I eat chocolate every night for a week! It all made sense, reading about how wheat stimulates your appetite and that we were not designed to eat all of the grains that the Food Pyramid suggest. I continued eliminating grains and sugars and the weight continued to fall off. I stopped using wheat four, gluten free baking mixes, sugar, honey, and replaced those foods with almond flour, coconut flour, stevia, coconut oil and bacon, lots of good bacon! By the end of December, when my son was 7 months old, I had officially lost all of the 58 pounds! Oh, happy day! 😉 I will never go back to the old way of eating or cooking again. I have been so excited to make my favorite foods without the use of grains or sugars and have other people taste the food, and love it! I have enjoyed blogging about my internet finds and my culinary creations! I hope I inspired you to start today on this new lifestyle that will change the rest of your life!
Now that is a mouth full! Every time I think of muffin tops, I think about the Seinfeld episode where Elaine only eats the tops of the muffins and starts a business selling muffin tops. She sells only the tops after removing the bottom from the muffin and donating to charity. Problems come as charity wouldn’t take them because there were no tops! lol These are so yummy and they require no special flour, only almond butter. Almond butter is a bit expensive but it has a nice, neutral flavor. It is also easy to make your own and much cheaper! Check out this easy tutorial! http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/recipes/homemade-nut-butter/ I decided to use a muffin top pan because I didn’t want these to be thick and dense. Instead, they have a nice texture, moist, but not wet. Of course, you can use a regular muffin pan, just adjust baking time. There is not much pumpkin in these muffins because it would affect the texture but the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice give it the pumpkin flavor. You can also use unsweetened applesauce as well. These would be a great breakfast, snack or dessert. I love pumpkin pie spice. It is a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and all spice. You could always make this combo at home and omit what spice you don’t like or add more of your favorite! These also reheat in the toaster very nicely just don’t leave them in there long!
Almond-Butter Spice Muffin Tops Makes 10 Muffin Tops (but won’t GIVE you muffin tops) 1 cup Almond Butter 3 eggs & 2 egg yolks 1 -1/2 tablespoon vinegar 1 -1/2 tsp soda 1 tbsp vanilla 1/2 teaspoon Stevia** (to taste – I used powdered Kal Brand) 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp more cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lube bottoms of muffin top pan.
- Mix all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Measure out heaping 1/4 cup into each opening of muffin top sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done. Be careful not to over bake!
**Start with a little less Stevia and sweeten to taste. You can always add more but you can’t take any away!
For your entry this week, leave me a comment and tell me what, if ANYTHING, you miss the most since becoming a Paleo Lifestyler!
- What Is… Gluten? (thedailymeal.com)
- Wheat free alternatives for baking for your pet (newenglandpetguide.wordpress.com)
- Paleo/Maker’s Diet Cookies that Can be Eaten for Breakfast – Guilt Free! (tasteofwonderland.wordpress.com)