DISCLAIMER: I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a professional chef, I’m not in a cult and I don’t do CrossFit. I’m just a girl with a lot of food sensitivities who likes to cook things that don’t cause severe gastrointestinal distress, and who enjoys some booze now and again because life’s hard enough when you can’t eat pasta and cheese.

Wait…you can’t eat pasta and cheese?

Yeah, us Paleos have forsaken all grains, dairy, legumes, processed sugar, and weird food chemicals/preservatives and additives in favor of high-quality proteins and fresh produce.  But what we HAVEN’T forsaken is fun and awesomeness…which can be easy to forget when your company picnic is catered by Sbarro and you start to cry at the sight of a calzone.

Why would you willingly give up all of God’s favorite, delicious foods?

Well, first off, God’s favorite food is CLEARLY bacon, which is Paleo (as long as it’s not the junky, preservative-filled kind).  But I (and many other of the Paleo variety) made this decision for my health.  The processed foods we’ve been consuming for years contain chemicals and unnatural ingredients that can trigger an alarmingly large list of autoimmune disorders, despite claiming to “support heart health” or “lower your cholesterol.”  As it turns out, Velveeta is NOT a good source of calcium.

So how did you become Paleo?

In case you’re interested in my Paleo journey (and you’re probably not; I don’t judge), I’ll give you an abridged version here. I’ve always had what my mom called a “Touchy Tummy” – I was sick constantly growing up. Then, right before my 30th birthday, things got BAD. Like “didn’t-hold-food-down-for-10-months” bad. Legitimately craptastic. I was finally diagnosed with microscopic colitis, an autoimmune condition (similar to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease). After researching what foods might irritate my condition, I was pretty certain I could only eat carrots and chicken for the rest of my life.

Then, a happy accident happened – my sister-in-law sent me a Paleo cookbook called Well Fed, as she had been experimenting with the Paleo lifestyle and thought I might like to give it a whirl because I live in LA, and people in LA love fad diets. I knew nothing about Paleo – it sounded like an unfortunate physical condition – but I flipped through the cookbook anyway. To my surprise, the diet eliminated almost every single trigger food for my MC. It took away the stress of meal planning and changing my eating habits and instead, it presented me with the solution on a silver platter full of meats, veggies, sunshine and rainbows. I’ve been Paleo ever since, and my “Touchy Tummy” isn’t such a pain in the ass anymore. Literally.

Don’t you miss eating like a normal person?

Sometimes…yes.  So, yeah, I’ll cheat now and again with a muffin here or some ice cream there. I’m human and I live three blocks from a Cold Stone Creamery. Often times, I pay the price for my “cheats” (if you catch my drift), but it’s a choice I make. I also drink in moderation because it doesn’t upset my stomach and, quite frankly, I’d be lost without tequila and wine. No one’s happy at Happy Hour when they’re drinking club soda. If they say they are, they’re lying.

So please, take this blog and these recipes for what they are – fun, mostly simple and hopefully tasty additions to your kitchen repertoire. Just because you’re Paleo doesn’t mean you can’t throw down with some delicious eats and amazing cocktails. Now go buy some wine and start making awesome food! P.S. The wine is not for cooking with; it’s for drinking while you cook. It’s much more fun that way.

OK.  I guess I can do that.  So…who are you exactly?

I’m Karen! I’m a certified mixologist who holds a Master’s degree in Acting, and I’m currently earning my Education Specialist credential to teach children with special needs. I live in Los Angeles with my husband, two cats and pit bull terrier. I previously worked as a bartender and waitress for 16 years before it filled me with too much rage against the general public to continue. I’ve also worked as an actress, stand-up comedian, improv actress and sketch writer. I love playing softball, cooking, entertaining, hiking, crossword puzzles, Jacuzzis, all the “Jurassic Park” movies, Thai takeout and wine tasting at home (which may just be drinking).

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