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Paleo Girl serves up Primal weight loss and health tips: Favorite recipes

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Say hello to Paleo Girl. That's the nickname for Leslie Klenke, a savvy young woman who decided to fill the missing link between Paleo books for children such as Paleo Kids and Paleo books for adults such as "Practical Paleo." The result is a new book: "Paleo Girl: Take a Leap. Empower Yourself. Be Awesome!"

We interviewed Leslie about her vision for "cave-teens." She created it after talking with Mark Sisson, author of "The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy."

Leslie created the book based on "the topics I wish I understood when I myself was a teen: nutrition, fitness, sun, sleep, play, puberty, peer pressure, bullies, eating disorders, motivation, happiness, recipes, and some real world success stories. I knew it was a lot of information for just one book, but I really wanted to develop an entire lifestyle guide to help teens through a potentially tricky stage in life."

In terms of Paleo dieting, Leslie feels that "being overweight can be a real struggle…especially in a society that puts too much focus on our external self. When we’re made to feel bad about our looks, it can really destroy our self-esteem and self-worth at any age."

And the journey to a healthy weight begins from within, says Leslie. "In addition to wanting to get in great shape, the path to wellness should also begin with a desire to learn to love and respect the person that you are. A mission to find true health and happiness, instead of the smallest number you can put on the scale, is going to ensure you experience long-term success. After all, diet and exercise are easy to enjoy when you care about yourself."

In addition, however, "a Paleo lifestyle can almost effortlessly help you lose weight and/or become healthy—the right way."

For starters, a paleo diet consists of: animal protein (meat, fowl, fish/seafood), eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and oils. These are the types of foods that our ancestors would have eaten 10,000 years ago. With that in mind, foods that would be missing from our ancestor’s diet are the same items we need to drastically limit or completely avoid: legumes (beans, soybeans), gains and starches (wheat, oats, rice), and most importantly processed foods (bread, cereal, pasta, soda). Dairy is a debatable topic. Some strict paleo followers eliminate it, while other Primal fans may allow it if they can tolerate it. I suggest cutting it out entirely for two to three weeks, and then slowly reintroduce it back into your diet to see if you experience any ill effects. (This process can be used with other foods to see how they affect you as well.)

How does a Paleo diet help you lose weight? Leslie offers these insights: "When you eat food that increases your blood sugar level (for example, bread has a high glycemic index), your body responds by secreting insulin to bring your blood sugar back down. Excess insulin ultimately turns into fat. When you consume paleo friendly foods, you minimize insulin release and prevent this process."

For those who have problems sticking to a diet because they are hungry, Leslie notes that the Paleo diet is "satiating. When you eat high quality fats, you get fuller quicker. Not to mention when you’re consuming a diet of higher nutrition, your body is getting everything it needs to thrive. When you consume a Standard American Diet (SAD) or embark on a low fat or restricted calorie diet, you’re likely consuming too much processed junk and not enough vitamins and minerals. So, of course you’re going to feel like you’re starving, because on a cellular level—you are!"

We asked Leslie to share her two favorite recipes. You can get more, plus all of her diet, fitness and health tips by clicking here for "Paleo Girl: Take a Leap. Empower Yourself. Be Awesome!"

Better Than Oatmeal

I stumbled upon this recipe one morning when I was craving Banana Pancakes but didn’t feel like standing over the stove pouring and flipping the perfect pancakes over and over—so I just dumped all the batter in the skillet. As I ate my Frankenstein’ed breakfast, I thought it tasted just like oatmeal! The next time I made it, I added nuts and topped it with fruit. From then on, I’ve been hooked!

Makes: 1 bowl – Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

A pinch of cinnamon

A splash of vanilla

Butter (for cooking and topping)

1-2 tbsp crushed pecans

Optional: fruit, heavy cream, additional pecans

Directions

Add banana, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and pecans to a medium bowl and mash together; the batter will be a little lumpy.

Grease skillet with butter and turn on stove to medium heat.

Add the entire mixture to the skillet.

As the mixture cooks, continue to stir and mash.

Once fully cooked, remove from heat and place in a bowl.

Top with butter or optional ingredients.

Deli Rollups

Get the protein punch of a deli sandwich without all the bread. You can knock these rollups out in seconds and they really hit the spot. Primal tip: when hunting for deli meats at the grocery, look for nitrate-free, minimally processed meats, or make your own deli meat at home and slice it super thin!

Makes: 3 roll-ups – Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

3-6 slices of your favorite deli meats (depending on the size of the slices, or around 3 oz total): ham, turkey, salami, chicken, roast beef, etc.

1 slice or 3 oz cheese of your choice, cut into thirds

Optional: avocado, tomato, leaf lettuce, onion, salt, pepper, and any of your favorite veggies, herbs, or seasonings

Directions

Lay meat slices out side by side, or use leaf lettuce as a “wrap.”

Place a piece of cheese in the center of each meat.

Add any optional ingredients.

Roll up into finger friendly snacks.

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