By Jesyka Mcknight
There are many parenting and dieting styles to follow. Some parents are strict about their children’s diet while others swear by fast food or takeout for its convenience. One wife and stay-at-home mother, Schnelle Garcia-Lopez, slowly transitioned her household to a primal-paleo eating lifestyle, in an effort to make healthier choices for her husband, Juan, and their children Emmanuel, 2, and Hunter, 7.
Paleo refers to the “caveman” style of eating. It omits dairy, sugars and grains, as those were not easily available in the caveman era. The primal aspect refers to fitness/nutrition expert Mark Sisson’s “Primal Blueprint” way of eating, which is similar to paleo but with less restrictions. Primal doesn’t omit dairy, but allows raw dairy and natural sweeteners (honey or Stevia, for example) instead of cutting out sugar altogether. Though most people are strictly paleo, Schnelle said her sons have additional health needs, so they chose the primal regimen.
Several factors eventually led to the entire family to making the switch. In April 2015, Schnelle’s youngest son, Emmanuel, who was a year old at the time, had a severe allergic reaction to an unknown source of food. After visiting the doctor, they learned that Emmanuel had nine food allergies. Naturally, she and her husband decided to change his diet but kept the rest of the family’s diet the same.
“I would make his food first and then ours,” Schnelle said. “It was very time consuming that way and unfriendly on our budget, needless to say.”
Her husband deployed shortly after and tried the paleo diet while overseas. When he came back, they couldn’t deny the positive results.
Experiencing her son’s health issues, Schnelle began to think about her own health. Diabetes runs in her family, so she had some tests done to make sure everything was in check. Though all the tests turned out negative, she had some life-changing thoughts during this process.
Around the same time, Schnelle also noticed her oldest son, Hunter, had started to gain weight. He was losing confidence in himself because of his tummy.
“It is heart-turning to watch a kid so young feel bad about themselves because of that,” she said. “It was time.”
The new eating style inevitably changed their grocery list. According to Schnelle, it’s better to stay on the outside aisles of the store because all the junk is in the middle. Dairy, fruits, vegetables and proteins are on the outside, while chips and cookies tend to be on the inside.
In addition to changing shopping habits, her meal preparation changed. Schnelle dedicates Sundays to prepping and freezing meals so they’re ready for the week. On any given day, she can simply take a meal out of the freezer and put it in the crockpot for dinner.
As you can imagine, eating primal paleo makes dining out pretty different, but restaurants seem to be getting better about offering options for families like Schnelle’s.
“You’d be surprised how accommodating restaurants could be if you just ask,” she said.
When having fast food, there is always the salad option or ordering a sandwich without the bun.
Schnelle said they’re human and may make mistakes sometimes. But, after a slip-up, she said it’s important to “make the next meal matter.” Instead of dwelling on the mistake or continuing to make bad decisions, she tries harder to do better.
Schnelle admits she wasn’t ready to make the switch when she and her husband made the decision, as she was “in love with Krispy Kreme.” But ultimately, it had an amazing impact of her family’s health and happiness. Schnelle said they all lost weight, feel healthier and have more energy.
Crockpot turkey chili
2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, finely diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 can crushed/stewed tomatoes
14-ounce can diced tomatoes
15-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1\2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sauté onions and garlic together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in ground beef (or turkey) to the saucepan and cook just until browned. Drain excess fat.
Transfer cooked onions, garlic and meat to crockpot/slow-cooker. Add remaining vegetables and spices (except garnish ingredients) to the crockpot.
Give the pot a good stir. Set crockpot to low, cover and cook for about six hours.
Spoon into individual bowls. Garnish with crumbled bacon and avocado slices. Serve hot and enjoy.
For more paleo/primal recipes, follow our board “Eating like cavemen” on Pinterest.