There are so many bloggers, writers, and smart “paleo-people” out there! I thought it might be fun to ask some of them a few questions to see what is going on in their “neck of the woods.” I am hoping to make this a weekly element on my website… If you are a blogger, and would like to be featured on EasyPaleo.com, be sure to comment on this post so I can contact you.
This week we’re talking with
Karina contacted me after seeing a recommendation of my eBook on Dr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly FB page. We have alot in common, and “hit it off” right away. She was just about to start her new blog and I was intrigued by her vision for it. Karina is a knowledgable and educated trainer, wife, and mommy. She has some excellent things to say, and I hope you enjoy her interview!
Easy Paleo: Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Karina Stuke. I am a wife, mother, Personal Trainer, Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach, Paleo honk, and the author of the blog, “Pint-Sized Paleo”. I am married to the most amazing man (Jason), and I have three outstanding children (Reagan – 8, Spencer – 6, and Brandon – 3). Ten years ago we moved to a small suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and have made this our home ever since.
Easy Paleo: Tell us your Paleo story.
My first blog post illustrates this story in more detail, but it all started three years ago as I was researching the harmful effects of MSG and stumbled upon one of Sean Croxton’s video blogs. This led me to become a big fan of his work (Underground Wellness). In one of his podcasts, it was recommended that we check out the work of Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites. She is a Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Paleo nutrition, blood sugar regulation, food allergies/intolerances and digestive health. Here I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle, and how changing my diet could drastically improve my health. I jumped on board with her 21-Day Sugar Detox and I never looked back. At the time I was addicted to sugar, had issues with mood swings, and suffered from appetite disregulation from eating so many fat free carbs. I knew I needed to take control of my own health so that I could successfully lead my family, friends and clients down the same path.
Easy Paleo: What is your favorite Paleo recipe/menu item?
Of course, you can’t beat breakfast. I typically go for two pastured eggs and kale (or some other green, leafy vegetable) sautéed in coconut oil, with a side of bacon and some raw kraut. The best part about eating this type of breakfast is that I stay satiated for about five hours afterwards, and I don’t have to eat again until lunch. I used to eat a big bowl of oatmeal and three egg whites and I found myself being hungry two hours later. I am so relieved that my blood sugar is now regulated.
Easy Paleo: Tell us a little about your website.
I decided to start “Pint-Sized Paleo” to give parents the confidence that the switch to Paleo is possible – even with two working parents in the household. I also use it as a vehicle to answer the most common questions I get from parents who are interested in making a lifestyle change for both themselves and their children. I am deeply committed to helping families gain control of their health. Within the blog, I made a decision to be honest about my own health struggles. It is my hope that my transparency will inspire those who are struggling to get their families on board. My advice is simple: Focus on your own health first. After that, involve your children in all aspects of the process. This is the key to a successful transition!
Easy Paleo: How do you think Paleo is helpful for fitness/workouts?
Funny you should ask this question. One of my concerns about going Paleo was whether or not I would be able to complete my training for events such as the Men’s Health Urbanathlon. This is a 10-mile race that includes several military-style obstacles along the way. It is a test of both strength AND endurance. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a try. I waved good-bye to the typical runner’s breakfast of oatmeal and egg whites, or bagels and peanut butter and introduced whole eggs, bacon, and green vegetables. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I made the switch and stopped loading up on carbs, my training runs were faster and I felt noticeably stronger in all aspects of my fitness. For the first time ever, I was able to maintain my strength levels while still training for an endurance event. My performance didn’t suffer at all – it improved! The most interesting part is that in the past I relied on energy gels/sports drinks to get me through endurance events lasting longer than 60 minutes. This past year, I was able to complete two Urbanathlons on a pre-race Larabar, along with about 4 organic honey chews and water along the course. My energy levels did not drop off at all! To be honest, I don’t know that I even needed the honey chews (I trained without them), but mentally it helped on race day. As far as my general fitness goes, at 36-years old I am in the best all-around shape of my life despite exercising less. That is a testimony in itself seeing as I played sports at a high level my entire life (including Division I college soccer).
Easy Paleo: What do you wish everyone knew about Paleo?
First of all, I don’t consider it to be a diet, but a lifestyle. If you give it a fair shot (even for 30 days!), you will not only look and feel better, but your overall quality of life (mood, attention span, energy levels) will dramatically improve. I have witnessed multiple real-life success stories with members of my family, friends, and clientele. Making the switch is also much easier than people think.
You do not need expensive supplements (good food, rest, and sunlight can take care of this!), you can do it on a budget (speaking from experience), and it can help you break food addictions and any emotional ties around this. I was even able to break my life-long addiction to sugar.
The most appealing part to me is that it is not a complex calorie-counting eating plan. I feel completely balanced as whole fruits, vegetables, meat, and high-quality fats have become tremendous energy sources for me. The lifestyle focuses on optimizing health, but in the process I manage to maintain a healthy weight by eating as much as I need to sustain my energy levels.
Easy Paleo: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element in your life?
In order for our family-of-five to survive the rigors of our weekly work/school/extra-curricular activity schedule, we must be prepared! Every Saturday afternoon we venture to the grocery store and purchase whatever meats/vegetables/fruits/nuts/seeds that happen to be on sale that week. This might seem a bit backwards, but rather than buying items at full price to fit certain recipes, we plan our meals after we purchase the food (that we bought at a discount). This is an easy way to stay within our budget. With all the great Paleo blogs/cookbooks out there, we are never at a loss! When we get home, we wash the fruits, prepare and chop the vegetables, and plan our meals for the week. Again, our kids are involved in every aspect of this process. This gives them a real sense of ownership as they help us with the purchasing, preparation, and menu planning for the week. It’s a great way to get them on board and encourages them to try new foods along the way. The bottom line is this: It’s nice to know that any day of the week, we can open the fridge and have everything we need to prepare a dinner that everyone will enjoy.
Easy Paleo: If you could go back to eating a particular food that is now “off limits,” what would it be?
That’s an easy question for someone who grew up in an Italian household! Every once in a while, I do miss my mounding plates of homemade fettucini and meatballs. What I don’t miss is the bloating, gut irritation, and insulin spike (and subsequent crash) that follows. I still make my own meat sauce and Paleo meatballs, but I substitute spaghetti squash as my “noodle”. As long as it is topped with a generous helping of sauce and meatballs, I am perfectly fine with this. Besides, when it’s all said and done, any good Italian will tell you… It’s all about the sauce!
Thanks Karina! Can’t wait to watch your site continue to grow!