Are you cheating??

*****If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to read this post (because, to be honest, sometimes I really don’t want to read long-winded posts…I get it), please at least READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH*****

I read a post a while back on cheats, and I just wanted to share a few key thoughts with you. The article was written by Dallas and Meilssa Hartwig of Whole9 (You may have heard of their Whole30 plan…).

“At a local seminar last week, an attendee asked Melissa, “Do you ever cheat?” There was so much to this question: We don’t call it a cheat, because we’re doing nothing wrong. We aren’t perfect eaters, because no one is, and we don’t expect you to be either. Yes, we indulge, when we decide it’s worth it. In essence, we practice what we preach.”

They go on to talk about something that they posted on FB a few years back during a trip to Mexico. “Whole9 is grilling fresh mahi, making a giant batch of guac and kicking our heels up with some hand-made corn tortillas.” Holy banana chips, Batman. They received a ridiculous amount of backlash for this, all over some stupid corn tortillas!! They include some of the comments in the article. A good description of the comments can be summed up in this sentence (in their words)… “We once admitted consuming some Nutella-stuffed French toast to a workshop crowd. The looks of shock and horror on our audience’s faces made us wonder if we actually said we ate a deep-fried kitten for breakfast.” (This last sentence is perhaps one of my favorite sentences that I have ever read. Ever.)

Dallas and Melissa go on to describe how their program is the Whole30, NOT the Whole365. With Paleo, with clean eating, with the grapefruit diet…with whatever way of eating you choose to use, in order to succeed, you NEED to indulge from time to time.

Not long ago, I attended a bachelorette party. Well, a bachelorette party weekend. I knew that I would be indulging a little. Ok, who am I kidding…a lot. I tried to make better food/drink choices, but let’s face it. I enjoyed my weekend. That being said, once I got home, I was back at it. That Sunday happened to be Superbowl Sunday.  I set up my cycling trainer in front of our TV and enjoyed a little superbowl cycling. The next morning, I raided our deep freeze and set out a bunch of meat to have throughout the week. I also gathered some veggies that were chillin’ in trhe crisper and set them on the top shelf of my fridge so that I remembered that I have some veggie noms that upcoming week. I had my cheats then got after it again.

**Here’s the thing, the ONE take home from this: There’s a time for treats and there’s a time for healthy eats. The key is to have a healthy relationship with food, plain and simple. Figure out what’s “worth it” to you and enjoy it from time to time. Truly savor every second. BUT, also be able to resist that sugary, carbalicious, ooey gooey temptation the rest of the time. This is the key to successful eating.


Grilled Fish Foil Packets


In the summertime, well really all year round, I try to utilize the grill as much as I can.  The flavor is fantastic, it’s quick, and clean up is a breeze.  Fish on the grill is one of my favorites.  I love to make fish foil packets.  Here is a simple fish recipe that I made last night on the grill (along with the mashed beets).

1-4 thawed fish fillets per packet (I used tilapia)
1-2 Tbsp butter
Approx 1 Tbsp dill (I have also used garlic)
Lemon or Lime (sliced)

1. Rip off a large sheet of tin foil
2. Place the fish fillets on the foil
3. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with dill, S&P
4. Place a few slices of citrus (I used lime) on top of the fish
5. Cut your butter into chunks and place over the fish
6. Roll up the tinfoil (I typically bring the ends together, pinch, then roll.  I have found this to work the best)
7. Grill it up on medium heat, flipping a few times.  Fish doesn’t take that long to cook.  Typically around 10-15 minutes.  You know the fish is ready if you peek inside the packet and it has broken up a little bit.
8. Remove from the grill and open carefully.  It’s hot in there.
9.  You did it!  Easy grilled fish foil packets

This is a really quick and tasty way to make fish.  Clean up is a cinch.  Roll up the foil and throw away.  Done and done. Do you have any favorite fish recipes?  I want to know!  Comment below.

Happy eating.


Paleo “McMuffin”


I have been seeing this recipe pop up quite a bit lately. Nom Nom Paleo’s Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin.” First thought, Oh buddy…pure perfection.

2 tablespoons ghee, divided (plus more for greasing the biscuit cutters)
¼ pound bulk raw pork breakfast sausage
2 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup water
1 heaping tablespoon guacamole (optional)

1. Grab two stainless steel 3½-inch biscuit cutters, and grease the insides well with melted ghee. 2. Place one cutter on a plate and fill it with the sausage meat. (You can also easily make your own bulk breakfast sausage. Here’s Jen Cereghino’s recipe. I also have a Maple Breakfast Sausage recipe in my forthcoming cookbook.) If you don’t have bulk sausage handy, just cook up some bacon
3. Gently press the meat down to uniformly shape a sausage patty.
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of ghee.
5. When the fat is shimmering, add the patty to the pan. If you really want the patty to keep its perfectly round shape, you can keep the mold on until the cooked patty shrinks away from the sides.
6. Clean the biscuit cutter and grease it again.
7. Fry the sausage about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. If your patty’s thick, you may need to cover the pan to make sure it’s cooked through.
8. Once the patty’s ready, transfer it to a plate.

Now, onward to the eggy “buns”…
9. Grab two small bowls and crack one egg into each
10. Pierce the yolks with a fork.
11. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of ghee. (Make sure you’ve got a tight-fitting lid for this skillet.)
12. When the ghee’s shimmering, place the two greased biscuit cutters in the pan and pour an egg into each mold.
13. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Add ¼ cup water to the skillet (outside of the egg molds), making sure not to splash the eggs.
15. Turn down the heat to low and cover the pan.
16. Cook the eggs, covered, for about 3 minutes or until cooked through.
17. Transfer the eggs to a paper-towel lined plate. One easy way to do this is to slide a spatula under the mold as you tilt it up while wearing a heat-resistant glove.
18. Assemble the faux-“McMuffin” by sandwiching the sausage patty in between the two egg rounds.
19. If you’re feeling old-school, you can eat the sammie as-is or wake up your palate with a squiggle of sriracha. But my favorite addition to this breakfast burger? A big dollop of homemade guacamole.
20. Once you’ve gussied up your “McMuffin,” pick it up and chow down!

That is the Nom Nom Paleo recipe.  Michelle does a fantastic job with her instructions.  She even included great step-by-step pictures.

Now, here is how I made my version. First, I placed a few slices of bacon on to a cooling rack that I placed on a foil lined baking sheet.  I threw that into a 400 degree oven.  I cooked that for oh, 20-30 minutes…until desired crispness.  Next, I opted to make pried eggs.  It’s basically a combination between fried and poached.  One of my very favorite ways to cook eggs.  Lastly, I whipped up a quick batch of guacamole.

This combination is really truly amazing.  3 of my favorite things into one little sammie.  It’s definitely a nutritious and delicious spin on the classic McCarbalicious you can get in the Raunchy Ronnie’s drive thru.  Honestly, I didn’t even miss the bread.  This took a little prep and pre-planning, but man oh man, it’s worth it.

Happy eating!


Sirens, Snacks, and Shift Work

Food.  It’s kind of a big deal, especially in my line of work.  Depending on which type of public safety officer you are, you may go for quite awhile without having an opportunity to eat.  That big fire, a high speed chase, that CPR from hell…  OR if you do shift work, perhaps you get those random cravings at 0300. That being said, snacks are a big thing for me.  I like to have a lot of options.  Little munchy things as well as filling snacks. I have had quite a few people text me or message me asking me about some good snack choices. I’ve been working on this post for awhile now…adding to it from time to time.  Here are a few suggestions that I came up with.

Rule #1.  Never allow yourself to starve.  Eat when you can.  I always have snacks on me.  I typically have a Larabar or trail mix from Trader Joe’s…something light, yet filling.  My flight suit and medic pants have some pretty solid snack pockets.  I’m not afraid to use 3 out of my 11 pockets for snacks.  I even keep trail mix and Justin’s almond butter in the glove compartment of my car for road trip emergencies.  Tip: try pre packaged Paleo snacks like Paleo Kits from Steve’s PaleoGoods or muffins and cookies from Tripps Primal Farm and Kitchen.

Rule #2. Veggies and protein.  I really like mini cucumber sandwiches.  Small cucumbers sliced in half, the innerds scooped out, then layers of cheese, turkey lunchmeat, and mustard (no need to call the Paleo police.  I realize cheese is not Paleo).  I also like lettuce wraps.  Romaine hearts filled with mustard, meat, cheese, peppers, bacon, etc.  Ants on a log is also another solid choice.  Celery, almond butter, raisins. Just like 1st grade.  Guacamole and plantain chips. Tip: I’ve found that both vegetables and protein tend to fill me up…especially when I am in a mindless snacking part of my day.  Both are good, but when you combine the veggie AND the protein, you have a total snack win.

Rule #3.  Pack a lunch.  When you pack a lunch, you know you have a solid meal with real food.  For the days that I spend on the ambulance, I always have my lunch box with me. I tend to pack a plethora of options as well as a ton of finger food. Again, more veggies.  Pecan hummus and carrot sticks are a good one.  Also, when my almond butter is running low, I like to cut up a handful of celery sticks to put in the jar.  This makes for easy, mess-free dipping.  Cauliflower is a pretty good choice as well.  Filling and not messy.  A CrossFit Paleo cop I know likes to take cooked chicken breast to work and dip it into homemade baconnaise as a snack.  Nuts like almonds and pistachios are a great choice instead of having chips or crackers. I have also been known to pack a salad in a mason jar.  Put your dressing on the bottom then add plantain chips or almonds on top of that.  Continued to add the various layers of your salad.  When you’re ready for lunch, just give the jar a shake and dig in (I do recommend packing a large fork as well…unless you have small hands that can fit into the jar.)  A few other things I may have in my lunchbox include apples, slices of orange, small packages of Justin’s almond butter, some dark chocolate, local grass-fed beef sticks, sweet potato chips…  Snacks are great, but one can not live on snacks alone.  It’s also important to pack some solid sustenance.  Finger food.  One day, there I was, driving down the road….eating steak strips.  I also like to take grilled kabobs along.  Hard boiled eggs, homemade chicken tenders, and homemade coconut oil fried fish are also a few other options that I have been known to take along with me.  Decent protein. Protein will fill you up, and if you nom on clean protein choices, you’re set. Nutritious AND delicious. Tip: I have a couple insulated lunch bags that I take to work with me.  I can throw an ice pack or 2 in there in the morning and keep the lunch bag by my side all day long, even on an ambulance road trip. I also do this when I take road trips in my personal vehicle.  Saves money, there are fewer stops, and I am able to fill up on the good stuff instead of whatever drive thru options may tempt me.

Rule #4.  Strategic convenience store snacking…in case of emergencies.  Sometimes, when you are in a pinch, a gas station is the only option.  While choices are limited, there are a few go-to items that I’ll grab for on the road.  Almonds.  Almonds are good to snack on and great for you.  Once in awhile, if I’m starving and need something satisfying, I will have a roller dog (well, a bratwurst, not a hot dog) with mustard.  Now, this isn’t the best option, but I figure it’s a pretty good meaty protein source for those times that I’ve been up and all.night.long, am STARVING, and craving all things bad.  Again, hard boiled eggs are a great choice.  Pork rinds.  Hey, they’re Paleo.  Sometimes I can find a piece of fruit or a package of dried fruit.  A big bottle of water as well.  Water will help to fill your rumbly tummy.  Tip: I actually like to just walk around a few times to see if I can find anything new and exciting….and kind of Paleo.  The popular items are typically on the ends of the aisles and part of big displays.  Walk around a little to find better options.

Rule #5. Water.  I try to stay hydrated the best that I can.  Sometimes your body thinks its hungry when really, you just need water.  Have you heard about the apple test?  I can’t remember where I heard this, but I kind of use it as a rule of thumb, “When you’re hungry, ask yourself, ‘Does an apple sound good to me?'” If it does, you’re probably hungry.  If it doesn’t, then odds are, you need some water.  Tip: Many people reach for Mio or Crystal Light to enhance their water experience.  Yes to drinking more water.  No to the calorie-free, ARTIFICIAL sweetener.  For something different, try adding fruit to you water.  Buy yourself a fancy new water bottle.  Something.  Everyone needs more water.

I guess the most important thing is to not let myself get too hungry.  In order to succeed, you need to plan ahead.  I’m always thinking about when I will eat next and what I will do if I get a flight or ambulance call just as I’m about to sit down for a meal.  When hunger strikes, I really don’t want to miles away from my food.  It makes me irritable.  Nobody likes a grumpy medic.

Whoever you may be….firefighter, busy mom, office guy too busy to take a lunch…hopefully this helps a little.  Eat.  You’ll be a happier person.


I just read that according to a national survey of over 2,000 healthcare providers, 49% of Americans claim they have not exercised regularly in the last two years.


I’ve been there. I didn’t get serious about fitness until my late 20s. Now, I try not to go 2 days without some sort of exercise.

Start out slowly…a walk, a bike ride. After awhile, transition to a run, row, or some other form of cardio. Add in a little weight lifting and you’re set. One day at a time.

Now is the perfect time to make a commitment to fitness. Get after it. Get moving! What’s stopping you?



While I was paying for my groceries at Trader Joe’s, the cashier recommended a way to keep limes from spoiling. She suggested quartering the limes, then freezing them. She said that they are a great substitute for an ice cube in a glass of water.

Try it out. I plan to.

Skipping Lunch Fail

While walking through the halls of the hospital yesterday, I overheard an employee make mention that she skipped lunch the day before and was planning on doing the same that day. She said it with almost a boastful tone.  Then there’s me “Oh, it’s 0930?  I’m on my third meal of the day already.”

A few thoughts on this. 

First, I think “holy, hunger.”  I rarely go hungry.  I eat many times throughout the day.  Skipping meals WILL make you hungry.  Hunger leads to overeating.  Overeating leads to…well, you get the picture. 

Could skipping meals lead to…wait for it…weight gain??
Regularly skipping meals could make your body go into starvation mode.  Metabolism will slow which causes the body to use fewer calories to conserve energy.  If weight-loss is what you’re going for, you don’t want a slower metabolism, you want to speed it up.  In addition to slower metabolism, skipping meals may lead to fainting, dizziness, irritability, low blood sugar, headaches, dehydration, weakened immune system, along with a score of others. Bad news Bears.

Skipping meals a few times a week won’t help you to lose weight.  In order to lose 1 pound, you need to find a way to get rid of an extra 3500 calories.  So, in order to lose 1 pound a week, you need to scrap about 500 calories a day.  Instead of going hungry at lunch, an easy way to do that is to clean up your eating.  Don’t starve yourself, just make better choices. 

My suggestion will always be to eat.  No time?  Pack some small protein-rich snacks to have on your way to the Dr appointment or while getting your hair done or during whatever it is that you need to do instead of eat lunch.  Something that will satiate your hunger as well as keep your blood sugar up.  I keep a small packet of almond butter along with some pre-packaged nuts and berries trail mix in my car for emergencies.  When I’m working, I keep a package of almonds and a KIND bar or LARABAR in the pockets of my medic pants and flight suit in case hunger attacks en route.

When I have more time, I like to have ants on a log complete with celery sticks, Justin’s almond butter, and raisins.  I eat it up until I’m full.  Fat, protein, fruit, vegetable.  Perfect.  I also like cucumber sandwiches.  Slice a cucumber lengthwise, scoop out the innerds, add a little mustard, turkey lunchmeat, and just a little swiss.  If you’re a big snacker, keep some almonds or carrot sticks at work for mindless snacking.  Sometimes on ambulance trips, a gas station is the only place to fuel your body.  No worries.  My go-to snack is a slice of cheese, bag of almonds or pumpkin seeds (look at ingredients…sugar is sneaky), beef jerky (this one is tough…just try to find the kind with the cleanest ingredients), and maybe some fruit.  I have also been known to grab a couple of the pre-packed hard-boiled eggs.  I typically get the “I am completely disgusted by your food choice and I may vomit” look by my medic partner, BUT it’s a solid protein choice. Enjoy your cream cheese danish, Combos, and Mt. Dew, pal.   

When you clean up your eating, you will find that you can actually eat MORE.  Since going Paleo, I have found that I lose weight by eating.  By eating more throughout the day, I am never hungry AND it helps to keep my energy up.  I don’t get that sluggish feeling mid-afternoon. 

Don’t skip lunch, man.  You will not win.   If it’s a time thing, think ahead.  Pack snacks.  If it’s a weight thing, clean up your eating.

Need suggestions on some eat this, not that (Paleo as well as clean eating) foods?  Looking for some solid snack suggestions?  I would love to help you out.  Feel free to comment or message me.