Monday, January 30, 2012

Taste of Thai Smoothie - D-Licious!

Early this morning I was testing the PH on various ingredients for my biochemistry module at school, and decided to make a smoothie with some of the ingredients.  It turned out so GOOD!  It instantly took me back to my trip and memories of  Thailand in 2004.  It's amazing how certain smells & tastes bring back such great memories.  Ah how I miss Thailand!! I have to get back there sometime in the near future.  If you have never been I highly suggest a visit, it is definitely worth the trek.

I used my high speed vitamix to make this recipe.  I am sure it would work juicing the veggies/fruits and mixing them all together in a blender.

Serves 2 - 8oz Glasses or Serves 4 in 4oz Glasses

2 Carrots - Cut in 1/4ths 
1 Celery Stalk - Cut in 1/4ths 
1/2 Pineapple - Cut in 1/4ths
1 Banana 
1/2 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk - (Native Forest - BPA Free Can)
1/2 Cup Ice
1t Vanilla Extract

  • Toss all ingredients into vitamix and blend on high speed until completely smooth
  • Serve & Enjoy as a tasty treat.  I am eating mine with farm fresh eggs on the side this morning.

**All Items Organic, and local when available**

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cream of Broccoli & Sweet Italian Sausage Soup

For my Vegetarian & Vegan friends - This recipe can be easily made for your taste buds by omitting the sausage.  


Yields 4-8 Servings depending on how much you like to eat! ;) 

12oz Broccoli - Trader Joe's sells this Organic by the bag if you want to make it easy on yourself.
1 Large Yellow Onion - Chopped

3 Celery Stalks - Chopped
4 Carrots - Chopped
2 Portabella Mushrooms - Chopped
2-3 Clove of Garlic - Diced
1T Coconut Oil or Pasture Raised Bacon Lard 
Sea Salt - To Taste
5-7 Grinds Trader Joes South African Smoke (Optional - but this adds a nice smokey/spicy flavor to it)
1/2t Italian Seasonings

3-4 Sweet Italian Sausages - (We used the Tara Firma Farms sausages from our CSA) - I pulled off the casings before I cut into 1/2inch slices for the soup.  This is totally optional you can leave the casings on if you want.
1/4c Full Fat Coconut Milk (or Full Fat Organic Cream - for those eating dairy)
8-10c Homemade Chicken or Vegetable broth
1c Organic Pureed Tomato (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional but delicious) - Used for drizzling at the end on soup


  • In a 7qt Enameled Cast Iron stock pot (if you don't have one any pot that is around 6-7qts in size will do just fine) melt coconut oil or bacon lard over medium heat
  • Toss in Onion, Celery, Carrots, Italian Spices and saute for 5-7 min over medium heat
  • Add garlic and saute for 2-3 min over medium heat
  • Add diced sausage and saute for 3 min
  • Pour broth & tomato sauce into stock pot (reserve 1/2 cup set aside of broth)
  • Toss raw broccoli & chopped mushrooms into vitamix or food processor and add reserved 1/2c broth and blend until smooth
  • Pour this mixture into your soup pot, stir & bring to boil
  • Turn pot down to medium-low and simmer covered for 1hr
  • Stir in 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk & Add African Smoke Seasoning & Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Simmer for additional 15-30 min uncovered
  • Pour into Bowls & Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (
  • Enjoy!  It's not the prettiest color below with my iphone camera but trust me the taste was phenomenal!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sauteed Broccoli & Onions

Tonight we made Tara Firma Farms London Broil grilled on the stove top with Sauteed Organic Broccoli & Onions.  Everything turned out delicious and took about 20-25 min total time.  Talk about a super easy quick delicious & healthy dinner!

Ingredients for Sauteed Broccoli & Onions:
12oz Organic Broccoli - Chopped as shown in Photo Below
1 Large Yellow Onion - Chopped
2 Clove of Garlic - Diced
1T Coconut Oil
Sea Salt - To Taste
Juice of 1 Small-Medium Lemon
5 Grinds Trader Joes South African Smoke (Optional - Could use cracked black pepper in it's place)
1/2t Italian Seasonings


  • Boil hot water in medium stock pot
  • Pour in Broccoli into pot and cook 2-3 min - until it turns bright green (you don't want it to get soft)
  • Drain and submerge in cold water to stop cooking & set aside
  • Melt Coconut Oil over medium heat
  • Add Onions, Italian Seasonings, African Smoke Spices  - Saute for 5-7 min over medium heat
  • Add Garlic - Saute for an additional 2-3 min over medium heat
  • Add Broccoli and lemon juice - saute for 3 min
  • Taste and add Sea Salt as necessary 
  • Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Seafood Eggs Benedict

We had left over fish cakes from last night that we didn't cook yet, and decided to make them for brunch today with a benedict.  It turned out perfectly!  The only thing we thought would have been better was some sauteed kale or swiss chard to help cut some of the fat.  Next time we'll try that and post photos!

My delicious brunch this morning!

Hollandaise Ingredients:
2 Egg Yolks (Tropical Traditions Organic - Soy Free - Omega 3 Pastured Eggs)
1/2c (estimated) Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (Kotino's Olive Oil)
1 Garlic Clove
1T Water
1T Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4t Italian Seasonings
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to Taste

Serves 3-4

Directions for Hollandaise:
  • Add egg yolks, water, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, pepper & italian seasonings into Vitamix on 5-7 speed(medium speed) for about 20 seconds blended together
  • Add olive oil until desired consistency - we think it was close to a 1/2c
  • Set aside until ready to serve

Ingredients for Trio Fish Cakes:
2- 6oz Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon Boneless/Skinless No Salt (we had 2 cans of Trader Joe brand on hand) but another favorite brand of mine is Vital Choice
1 4.375oz can Wild Sardines in Spring Water - Wild Planet or Vital Choice
4 Eggs
3/4-1c Honeyville Almond Flour
1T Amy's Organic Mustard
1T Organicville Sriracha
2 Large Shallots - Diced
2 small sprigs rosemary
1t Italian seasonings
1/2t Sea Salt
1/2-1t Lemon Pepper
1/4t Chili Powder
1/4t Ground Coriander
1-2T Bacon Lard (Coconut Oil or Grass Fed Butter would work too)

Makes 8 patties - Serves 4-6 People

Directions for Trio Fish Cakes:
  • Drain tuna & salmon and put into medium mixing bowl
  • Drain sardines, mash add into tuna & salmon mixture
  • Add eggs, shallots, spices & seasonings - mix together
  • Add flour slowly while stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.  You want to be able to make patties out of the mixture.
  • Make into 3 inch round x 1 inch thick patties (should make 7-8)
  • Melt Bacon Lard (Coconut Oil or Butter) over medium heat in Cast Iron Skillet
  • Pan fry them 4-5 min each side over medium heat
  • Enjoy!

Poach your desired eggs for the meal -

Put it all together & enjoy a delicious Seafood Eggs Benedict. YUMMY!

Edy's Brunch this morning.. Both looked super tasty!


Hollandaise Ingredients:
1/2c (estimated) Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (Kotino's Olive Oil)
1 Garlic Clove
1T Water
1T Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4t Italian Seasonings
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to Taste

Serves 3-4

Directions for Hollandaise:
  • Add egg yolks, water, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, pepper & italian seasonings into Vitamix on 5-7 speed(medium speed) for about 20 seconds blended together
  • Add olive oil until desired consistency - we think it was close to a 1/2c - Please NOTE - Don't add a lot of evoo as it will start to thicken and become more of a mayo consistency.  It's important to add slowly to get the desired consistency.
  • Enjoy w/ your Meal of Choice!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trio Fish Cake w/ Spicy Tomato Aioli

We used 3 types of fish to make the cakes tonight and they turned out absolutely delicious!!! This is a super quick dinner for those nights you don't feel like being in the kitchen cooking.  Let's not forget it is fully loaded with heart healthy omega 3's.  Enjoy!

Ingredients for Spicy Tomato Aioli:
2 Eggs @ Room Temperature
1 Garlic Clove 
1/4t Italian Seasonings
Sea Salt & Black Pepper - to taste
Kotinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil (used until it emulsifies in vitamix or food processor - adding slowly - didn't measure this out - sorry!)
1/2 of Lemon Juice
1 Cup of Tomato Sauce
2-3T Chipotle Habanero Pepper Sauce - Organic Harvest (Optional - adds smoky/spicy flavor)

Makes 2 Cups of Aioli (Can be stored in fridge for up to 1 week)

Directions for Aioli:
  • Add Eggs, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Spices, Seasonings into vitamix or food processor on medium-medium high speed
  • Slowly add olive oil until the mixture starts to emulsify
  • Pour in Tomato Sauce mix until combined 
  • Add Hot sauce for desired spiciness
  • Refrigerate until ready to use - Can be made prior to serving or a day or two prior
Ingredients for Trio Fish Cakes:

2- 6oz Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon Boneless/Skinless No Salt (we had 2 cans of Trader Joe brand on hand) but another favorite brand of mine is Vital Choice
1 4.375oz can Wild Sardines in Spring Water - Wild Planet or Vital Choice
4 Eggs
3/4-1c Honeyville Almond Flour
1T Amy's Organic Mustard
1T Organicville Sriracha
2 Large Shallots - Diced
2 small sprigs rosemary
1t Italian seasonings
1/2t Sea Salt
1/2-1t Lemon Pepper
1/4t Chili Powder
1/4t Ground Coriander
1-2T Bacon Lard (Coconut Oil or Grass Fed Butter would work too)

Makes 8 patties - Serves 3-4 People w/ Side or Salad

Directions for Trio Fish Cakes:
  • Drain tuna & salmon and put into medium mixing bowl
  • Drain sardines, mash add into tuna & salmon mixture
  • Add eggs, shallots, spices & seasonings - mix together
  • Add flour slowly while stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.  You want to be able to make patties out of the mixture.
  • Make into 3 inch round x 1 inch thick patties (should make 7-8)
  • Melt Bacon Lard (Coconut Oil or Butter) over medium heat in Cast Iron Skillet
  • Pan fry them 4-5 min each side over medium heat
  • Enjoy!
We served the trio fish cakes & spicy tomato aioli with a chopped arugula & veggie salad w/ toasted pepitas & walnuts w/ a homemade dressing(Katino's EVOO, Balsamic & Coconut Vinegar w/ Garlic, Italian Seasonings).  It all turned out delicious!  I can't wait for a new camera to take some amazing shots of my food! My iphone isn't doing justice!

We had some uncooked mixture left and plan to use it tomorrow morning to make eggs Benedict over trio fish cakes = DELICIOUS! ;) Will post photos & recipe tomorrow for brunch!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lamb & Pork Stuffed Peppers - Drizzled with Olive Oil

We had a few left over bell peppers from the weekend, and we decided to make stuffed peppers for dinner tonight.  I am fighting the flu/cold and feeling a bit under the weather, so my hubby took over and made dinner tonight.  Everything turned out super delicious as it always does when he cooks dinner.

1/2lb Ground Pork
1/2lb Ground Lamb
4 Bell Peppers
1/4 Large Yellow Onion - Chopped
1 Shallot - Diced
3 Garlic Cloves - Diced
1/2 Cauliflower Head made into  "Rice" - Chop into rice size in a food processor or vitamix as shown below - 

2 Fresh Sprigs Rosemary
2T Coconut Oil 
Celtic Sea Salt - to taste
Italian Seasonings - to taste
12oz Tomato Sauce - from glass jar or fresh
1c Homemade chicken broth
3T Red Wine
Kasandrinos Olive Oil -

  • Melt Coconut Oil in Cast Iron Skillet
  • Add onion, shallots and rosemary - saute over medium heat for 5 min
  • Turn oven to 375F
  • Add Ground Lamb, Ground Pork, Sea Salt, Italian Seasonings, Garlic and cook until meat is lightly browned.  Stir every so often to prevent burning.
  • Add Red Wine and reduce over medium heat for 5 min
  • Add Homemade Broth and reduce over medium heat for 5 min
  • Add Tomato Sauce and reduce over medium heat for 5 min
  • Pour in Cauliflower Rice and fold into mixture and cook an additional 10-15 min
  • Stuff Bell Peppers w/ Meat/Rice mixture
  • Bake for 45min-1hr
  • Once Peppers are done - plate and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paleo Chicken Chili

In this recipe I used left over chicken on the bone that we had from the weekend.  I pulled all the meat from the bones, and set aside for this recipe.  

I tossed the chicken bones into the crockpot w/ veggies & water to make our next round of homemade chicken broth.

Crockpot - Homemade Chicken Broth 

Ingredients for Chicken Chili:
2lb Shredded cooked chicken
4 Carrots - Diced
2 Green Bell Peppers - Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves - Diced
1 Large Yellow Onion - Chopped
3 Cups Homemade Chicken Broth
1 - Jar 24 oz Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes
1t Garam Masala
1/4t Chipotle Powder (Adds Smokiness & Spice - Optional)
1/4t Cracked Red Pepper (Adds Spice - Optional)
1t Onion Powder
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
1-2t Celtic Sea Salt
1T Bacon Lard
1T Coconut Oil
1 Large Sweet Potato - Peeled & Thinly Sliced

  • Turn oven onto 425F
  • In a 5-7qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven - Melt bacon lard over medium heat
  • Add onion, rosemary sprig, and saute for 3-5 min
  • Toss Sweet Potatoes w/ 1T Coconut Oil and Put into Oven - Bake for 20-25 min
  • Add Bell Pepper, Carrots, Garlic, Sea Salt, Garam Masala, Chipotle Powder, Cracked Red Pepper and saute for additional 3-5 min
  • Toss in Shredded Chicken and saute for 5-7min
  • Add Tomato Sauce & Homemade Chicken Broth
  • Cover & Bring to Boil over High-Medium Heat
  • Remove Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Oven & Blend into Mashed Consistency
  • Remove Lid, Add sweet potato mixture into pot & stir
  • Leave lid off and simmer for 20-40 min (until desired thickness is achieved)

  • Enjoy! - The photos from my iphone don't do this justice.  I can't wait for my new camera to arrive in the next few weeks. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Easy Crock Pot Chicken w/ Roasted Rutabaga Fries & Clean Ketchup

Initially I was planning to make mashed rutabagas to accompany the chicken, but decided after stumbling across a recipe for rutabaga fries that I wanted to give that a try.  I changed up the recipe just a bit from Epicurvegan this is the original recipe -  My hubby ended up loving the rutabaga fries more than sweet potato fries.  I enjoyed them equally they are both pretty amazing & hit the spot! ;) 

Chicken will need to be started in the crock pot 6-8hrs prior to the time you want to eat it.

Rutabaga recipe serves 3-4

Crock Pot Chicken Ingredients:
1 Whole Pastured Chicken
1/2c Homemade Chicken Broth or Filtered Water
1T Celtic Sea Salt
1/2t Black Pepper
1t Italian Seasonings

Rutabaga Fry Ingredients: 
3 Rutabagas - Peeled & Cut into fries
1T - Garlic Powder
1T Onion Powder
1/2-1T Smoked Paprika
1/2t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2t Celtic Sea Salt
1t Italian Seasonings
1/2-1t Chipotle Powder (optional - adds Heat - might not be good for lil ones)
2T Melted Virgin Palm Oil

Clean Ketchup Ingredients:
1t Onion Powder
1t Garlic Powder
1 6oz can Organic Tomato Paste - No Salt Added
1/2-1t Celtic Sea Salt
1t Smoked Paprika (optional - omit if you don't like a slightly smokey flavor in your ketchup)
3T Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4t Ground Mustard Seed
1/4-1/2t Raw Honey (optional)
1/4-1/2c Filtered Water

Directions for Chicken:
  • Put chicken ingredients into crockpot
  • Cover 
  • Turn on High Heat and cook for 6-8 hrs
Finished Chicken after cooking 7 hrs on High Heat

Directions for Rutabaga Fries:
  • Turn oven onto 425F
  • Peel & slice rutabaga into fries (like shown below) 

  • Melt virgin palm oil - Set aside
  • Add garlic & onion powder, paprika, black pepper, celtic sea salt, italian seasonings, chipotle powder and toss w/ fries
  • Pour melted palm oil into bowl
  • Evenly coat each fry w/ the spices & oil (Palm Oil has a orange tint - it's loaded with beta carotene)

  • Place into Oven and bake for 20 min
  • Start preparing ketchup 
  • Put all ingredients from ketchup list into a small pot over medium-low heat
  • Cook for 10-15 min - stirring so it doesn't burn or stick to the pan
  • Set aside - Allow to cool before serving

  • Once 20 min are up on the fries - remove from oven and flip all fries
  • Cook for an additional 15-20 min  - check half way to ensure they don't burn
  • Remove from Oven and Allow to cool down a bit

  • Once ready assemble your plate with chicken, fries & ketchup.  
  • Enjoy! 

I found out today that I will be getting a new fancy camera as a gift.  It should be coming in 4-6 weeks..really looking forward to taking better photos of my food.  Right now I am using an iphone to capture all of these. 

Thanks for reading my blog! 

Chrissy B

Heartburn Much?

Thought I would share this great blog post from Balanced Bites on Heartburn & Antacids.

Heartburn Much? Taking antacids does more harm than you think. Your stomach needs acid to digest your food. If you don't have good stomach acid you'll have a plethora of chronic digestion issues. Carbohydrate(& Sugar) intake plays a huge part in this.

I recently in the past few months figured out I have low stomach acid, and one of the things I do before every meal is a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar 10-20 min before I eat.  It helps get the digestive juices flowing and tells your stomach to get ready food is coming down the pipe!

This is also another great read on GERD & Heartburn and how to treat it naturally from Chris Kesser - Licensed Acupuncturist located here in Berkeley.


Chrissy Bernazzani, NE
-Certified Holistic Nutrition Educator -
Eat2Bee Healthy
twitter: @Eat2BeeHealthy

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paleo Patty Melt & Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I haven't had bread in over 3 months, and decided I would give one of Elana's Pantry paleo friendly recipes a whirl to make into a patty melt with the grass fed burger meat & raw grass fed chive cheddar cheese w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

Step 1: Make the bread ahead of time.  I followed the recipe exactly as directed, but ended up having to cook my bread an additional 10-15 min over the recommended 30 min.  Here is a link to the recipe if you are inclined to try it.

Step 2: Cook 1 slice of pasture raised bacon at 400F for 20 min & Set Aside for Patty Melt

Step 3: Chef up Sweet Potato Fries in Oven

1 Organic Sweet Potato - Sliced as shown in photo below
1/4t Fresh Ground Black Pepper (optional)
1/2t Celtic Sea Salt
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
1/4t Ground Chipotle Pepper (optional)
1/2t Cracked Red Pepper (optional)
1T Melted Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil


  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Toss all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl - ensure all ingredients are coated as photo shows below.

  • Place on baking dish and cook for 30-40 min.  
  • Check on Fries 15 min into cooking and flip to other side
  • Remove from oven and Serve once both sides of the sweet potato fries have some crunch to them as shown in photo below.
Step 4: Cook Grass Fed Burger Patty

1/4 Grass Fed Burger - Made into 1inch thick patty
1t Italian Seasonings
1/4t Celtic Sea Salt
1/4t Black Pepper
1/4t Coconut Oil
Raw Grass Fed Chive Cheddar Cheese (optional)

  • Once burger is made into patty coat each side with italian seasonings, black pepper & sea salt
  • Put cast iron griddle over medium heat & add 1/4t coconut oil - once melted it is ready to add patty
  • Add patty cook over medium heat for 5 min & flip and cook for another 5 min

  • Cut 2 thin slices of your Paleo Bread & 1oz of your grass fed cheese of choice(optional)
  • Put 1/2t grass fed ghee onto griddle
  • Turn heat down to low - Place a piece of bread down on the butter - add cheese, bacon broken up, burger, cheese & bread to form your sandwich - Be careful not to burn the bread 
  • Cook each side for a few min until lightly toasted and cheese is melted as shown in photo below.
  • Enjoy!
Paleo Patty Melt w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries  & Raw Sauerkraut                                                                                           with a glass of Cabernet from Robert Young Winery

It's a Paleo Life for Me!

A Step Back in Time

Fitness has always been an integral part of my life going all the way back to being in the 3rd or 4th grade and running around the junior high track or neighborhood block.  Running has always been a refuge from the crazy going on around me.  It was liberating, free and my time - alone.  In all four years of high school I took physical education(PE) five days week where we lifted weights 3 days a week while doing other activities such as swimming, running, tennis, badminton etc.  My love for working out and running began at a very young age, and mainly due to the freedom in being able to do something without having to worry about being told I couldn't.  
My nutrition as a growing child/teen mainly consisted of foods that I now know are part of the standard american diet(SAD).  My mom made meals most evenings but they almost always consisted of having some sort of canned vegetable, white flour product(bread, pasta), iceberg lettuce mixed in with the meals.  I don't recall my parents ever talking about where our meats came from, but I can only assume they were commercially raised and what was on sale at the grocery store.  I never cared much for meat as a child/teen, especially red meat.  There were many nights that I sat at the dinner table whining to get up, but told I needed to finish my dinner.  
I moved into my first apartment at the age of 18, and my real diet of eating SAD began.  My diet wasn't the best as an early adult - fried foods, ramen noodle soup, pizza, taco bell, DR Pepper - typical SAD diet.  I bought whatever I could afford and started gaining weight slowly.  Around this time I got a physical and my first cholesterol test and found out I had high LDL, Triglycerides and low HDL.  My Dr at the time instantly put me on Lipitor.  Can you say insane?!?  I had a severe reaction to the medication and ended up in the emergency room.  After this happened I told my Dr I wasn't down for taking medications and there had to be another way.  He sent me to a Dietitian - who mainly taught me to start eating fish(up until this point I had only ever had fried fish or fish sticks from a box), cut back on salt, and stay away from butter, red meat(wasn't an issue since I didn't really care for it much at the time) and bacon.  I slowly started cutting these things out and my digestion/bloating stomach issues went into over drive.  The first time I remember taking TUMS & Gas-X was around the age of 18 or 19.  More issues started popping up and around that time my severe allergies to many things outside -  in comes Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec as well as an inhaler when I got wheezy during allergy season(which plagued me for almost 10 yrs!).  Eating this way also caused me to start gaining weight and at my highest point I was around 140lbs.  I know this doesn't seem like much but gaining 25-30lbs in 2 years time isn't healthy for your body especially with the way I was eating/treating my body.
April 2000 - Corn Fed Indiana Girl moves to SF Bay Area 
I moved out to the bay area at the age of 22, and got my first real full time job weighing in just over 140lbs, with probably 25-35% body fat.  As a side note - I would like to thank my Aunt Pam for my Cali opportunity.  Moving to California when I did helped build the foundation that helped me become the woman I am today.  Her love for great food helped refine my palate and opened my mind to thinking more about what kind of food I was putting into my body.  I started running & lifting weights again, riding my bike to/from work everyday and my diet started to change more and more.  I stopped eating fast food, drinking soda and started dropping weight.  Eventually I got back to my old weight and felt better about myself, but the digestion issues nagged at me almost daily.  There were times when I would be out and my stomach (which I now know was my small intestine & leaky gut issues) would start to bloat and get super hard and so uncomfortable that the only thing I could do was go home and curl up in a ball, take some extra strength gas-x and wait for it to pass.  In addition I started getting bad headaches, body/joint aches, focusing/memory issues, sleepless nights, indigestion, heartburn, atopic dermatitis on my arms and 5lb water retention during my cycle.  My digestion/health concerns kept piling up and I was only at the ripe age of  24.  
At the age of 24 I met one of my best friend's who is vegan now but was vegetarian at the time.  We talked a lot about her dietary choices, and my journey began with being vegetarian.  After all being a vegetarian must have been a good path for me...cutting out meat and poultry should lower my LDL cholesterol(since the Dietitian told me to avoid eating Saturated Fats) and who knows maybe it could help with my digestion.  Of course I started eating what I thought was healthy - faux meats, soy, soy, and more soy  products.  My digestion issues never went away if anything they got worse.  Every 2-3 years of the 9 years I was vegetarian I would get this insane craving for chicken or pork.  Eventually I would allow myself to eat a little chicken or bacon, while feeling insanely guilty like I had failed myself for not sticking with vegetarianism.  After 3-6 months of eating chicken/pork/fish I would go back to being vegetarian and the cycle continued as did my health issues.   In September 2009, I started school at Bauman College for my Nutrition Educator Certification.   I remember having a conversation with one of our teachers about how I was feeling and my cholesterol levels that plagued me since the age of 19.  Her first suggestion was to start eating pasture raised chicken or grass fed beef or at the very minimum drink homemade chicken stock to help heal my body, she thought I was low in essential minerals/nutrients and possibly a leaky gut from years of eating processed carbohydrates.  Instead I decided to start incorporating fish and omega 3 cod liver oil into my diet from time to time, thinking it would do the job.  Being vegetarian and consuming fish oils helped my HDL, and Triglycerides but didn't really do much for LDL numbers and I still felt drained, achy, and bloated.  
March 2010 my husband and I went on a two week vacation to Chile/Argentina.  I decided about a month prior that I would try and be pescatarian on this trip.  Every day I watched my husband eat grass fed steak after steak with the most delectable chimichurri & provencal.  The fish in Chile/Argentina were loaded with creamy sauces and extremely over cooked so I started resorting to white pasta dinners(this is something I hadn't ate in a long time - mainly I ate quinoa, whole grains, legumes, tempeh, soaked beans for protein) because I didn't want to end up hating fish by the time our trip was over.  Of course eating this way started making me feel super bloated & cranky.  Towards the end of our trip I snapped and ate some of my husband's steak.  It melted in my mouth and tasted so delicious, but the best part was feeling satiated after.  It instantly sparked conversation between us about how we could purchase meats/poultry locally over the coming months.  We ended up joining Tara Firma Farms out of Petaluma - they offer grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken, pork & eggs.  I have to admit beef still isn't one of my favorites but I am starting to learn new ways to prepare it that help me enjoy the taste/texture.  My fatigue started to diminish after introducing meat back into my diet, but I still battled with stomach discomfort/bloating, headaches, body/joint aches, memory issues, sleepless nights, indigestion, heartburn, skin rashes and bloating/weight gain.  Obviously I didn't find exactly what was causing the issue..and it's now 10-12 years later from the onset symptoms. Enough is ENOUGH!
Eliminate and Symptoms be GONE! Almost...
In January 2011 I did my first elimination diet and removed Gluten(Barley, Wheat & Rye), Corn, Soy and Dairy for 6 weeks.  During this time almost all of my symptoms got better, but I wasn't completely in the clear and feeling 100%.  It snuck back into my diet a bit when we went to Mexico for a friend’s wedding that spring.  Once I hit late May I decided it was definitely time to get a hold on this for once and all.  My journey continued well into the summer where I read up on various ways of eating to help relieve some of my symptoms with food (while trying to avoid prescription medications).  My friend Diane from Balanced Bites had been talking a lot on her blog/facebook about being Paleo and doing Crossfit.  I decided to read Diane's ebook Practical Paleo and mentioned to her that I was thinking of making the switch.  This started changing my outlook on eating any grains amongst other foods that are known to cause inflammation.  I was finally starting to get it..and it made perfect sense to me!  Any type of  Grains, Legumes or Beans aren't a real whole food that we(humans) can pick from the earth, or hunt on our own and eat immediately.  These lil buggers have to be soaked or heavily processed before we can even think about sticking them in our mouths.  Why was I eating these again?? Because I thought they tasted good..but when you take away all of the seasonings, sauces we use to make them taste good..they actually taste gross. 
It's MY Time to Get Primal and Go Paleo!
Diane recommended picking up Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution, and Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes if I needed even more convincing hard facts.  In July 2011 I started reading Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution and everything he wrote made perfect sense to me! He was a vegetarian for a long time, and also encountered a lot of the same health issues I had been experiencing for YEARS.  It really hit home, sank in and set me on my way to the next stage of truly eating healthy and getting fit.  
September 5, 2011 -  I started my journey eating Paleo/Primal and doing Crossfit and haven't looked back.  When I tell people what I am doing with my diet way of eating sometimes they look at me like I am crazy, but I know for a fact eating this way is healing me from the inside out.  The years of food destruction caused within my digestive tract won't disappear over night, but they will heal if I listen to my body and treat it the best I can with proper nutrition, exercise, good sleep and relaxation.  I cut out my chronic cardio sessions with running & cycling and started doing crossfit 2-4 days a week.  It's not to say that I still don't enjoy going for a run or a ride on my bike.  I still have a special place in my heart for training to complete an endurance event while fundraising for various charities.  My outlook on cycling and running has become more about pleasure again and a way to relax/clear my mind just as it was when I was a child.
November 28, 2011- Got my first complete metabolic blood test  & VAP Cholesterol Test completed.  I found out that my LDL Particle Size is type A Large Bouyant (fluffy & safe).  Yay for me!! My days of worrying about a high LDL(bad cholesterol - even though cholesterol is never bad our bodies need it to survive), High HDL(because I am eating so many great veggies/fruits/good fats in my diet), and Low Trigyclerides (Excercising, Not eating Processed Carbs) are pretty much gone.  I am still going to try and lower my LDL naturally with diet, and I think in the coming months this number should start to come down.  My next blood test will take place sometime in March, at that point I will be a little over 6 months into being Paleo/Primal. This is a great blog post from Chris Kesser on Cholesterol - I highly suggest watching it.
December 5,2011 - I looked over my notes/photos from the past three months and realized I lost a total of 7lbs, dropped 2 pant sizes (I have not worn this size since my freshman year in high school - kind of CRAZY!), lost 3 inches off my bra band size and definitely lost fat while gaining lean muscle.  My health concerns/issues are starting to diminish more and more every day.  I have to admit I was kind of nervous about posting photos of myself in a bathing suit for this blog, but decided it was necessary because it clearly shows the changes my body has undergone in such a short time frame eating paleo/primal. 
Before Paleo - 9/5/11
Before Paleo - 9/5/11
What foods/ingredients do I eat most being Paleo/Primal?
  • Seasonal/Local/Wild Seafood & Fish - Galvin’s or Whole Foods
  • Local, Seasonal, Organic Vegetables and Fruits (2/3 of my plate always includes varying colorful vegetables) 
  • Organic Raw/Soaked Nuts & Seeds  
  • All Spices/Herbs
What fats/oils do I consume?
Saturated Fats - Safe to Use for Various Cooking Methods
  • Lard or Tallow made from the Meats/Pork mentioned above in my diet
Unsaturated Fats - Unsafe for cooking methods, best used cold
  • Organic, First Pressed, Extra Virgin varieties of Olive Oil, Nut Oils (like macadamia, walnut, hazelnut, etc)
  • Avocado
  • Nuts/Seeds - Purchased Organic/Raw, soaked over night, dried(in dehydrator or oven) and stored in an air tight glass container
What fats/oils do I AVOID?
Saturated Fats/Oils
UnSaturated Fats/Oils - Highly Processed to produce large quantities and oxidize easily
  • Canola Oil (Don’t believe the hype - check out this youtube video to see how this oil is made...its disgusting. Washed with a solvent, Refined with Sodium Hydroxide, Bleached to Lighten the Color, Steamed to remove the odor.  Any health benefits it may have had are completely ruined by this process.  Can you say rancid oil and free radical damage as soon as it gets into your body?!?
  • Corn/Vegetable Oil 
  • Soybean Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil (I use this oil as part of my skin care regimen..but that’s it!)
What foods/ingredients do I AVOID?
  • No Grains (Always 100% no GLUTEN containing grains - Wheat, Barley, Rye) - Don’t forget corn is a grain too.
  • No Beans (including Soy)
  • No Legumes
  • No Sugar 
  • No Starches (including white potatoes)
  • Dairy Rarely - I took dairy out for the first 30 days being Paleo and reintroduced it.  I have found that I can digest full fat raw dairy cheese from goats, but not cows.  The grass fed butter/ghee I am still testing out but my hunch is I might have to omit this from my diet as well because it causes congestion with my sinuses & stomach discomfort.  If you find you don’t have problems digesting the protein in dairy it’s okay to have on occasion.
Additional Non Food Tips
  • Restful Nights Sleep - Use an eye mask, get blackout curtains, avoid alarm clocks - wake naturally, avoid using laptops/tvs - 1-2hrs prior to bed
  • Sit Down and Slowly eat Food at every Meal.  Chewing a minimum of 20 times before swallowing.  This helps get your digestion going to help you absorb all of those nutrients you worked so hard to prepare.
  • Get your Lymph(ass) moving every day or two - Even if that means just walking around the block. 
  • Stretch, Yoga, Pilates are great compliments to Crossfit or any activity of your liking.
  • Drink Filtered Water Every Day - If you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
  • Laugh often
If my REALLY long blog post has kept you interested thus far, I would highly suggest giving this way of eating a spin. What do you have to lose? Maybe some unwanted weight, and a little more time in the beginning until you change your routine and body and start being a fat burning machine.  What do you have to gain? A healthy & fit you as nature intended.

If you would like more guidance on your nutrition, please feel free to contact me directly for one to one services.  My services can be provided via phone, skype, email or in person.  More details can be found under the tab Nutritional Coaching on my blog. 
Live, Love, Laugh & BEE Healthy Doing It! 
Chrissy Bernazzani, NE
-Certified Nutrition Educator-
Eat2BEE Healthy
p: 510-957-8086
Twitter: @Eat2BeeHealthy

My favorite Blogs/Websites/Sources:
My favorite Books/Sources to get you started:
(eBook) Practical Paleo Guide by Balanced Bites -
(eBook) 21 Day Sugar Detox by Balanced Bites -
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes -
Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes -