Cozi Gold Review for Meal Planning

Disclosure: I received a free subscription of Cozi Gold for this review. In addition, if you sign up for the free 14-day trial, I will receive a commission on your purchase. This is an advertisement.

I have been using the free version of Cozi for quite some time; so naturally, I was REALLY excited when Cozi offered to give me the Gold membership for FREE just for reviewing it on my site. The Free version is GREAT, but there are some things that are AMAZING about the Gold membership, like not having to look at ads, or being able to send more than one reminder for the same event at different times (i.e., remind my husband to take out the trash multiple times — hehe). The best thing is, you can try the Gold version for free yourself for 14-days, and if you don’t like it, you can just switch back to the free version, but I think you will find the benefit in it. 

Click here to order the free 14-day Cozi Gold Trial Membership.

The BEST thing about COZI, in my humble (but accurate) opinion, is the Meal Planning feature. This app integrates shopping and meal planning, ALL in ONE! Also, you can plan out your meals easily on your computer, and then switch over to your smart phone for the shopping part – which is way easier for me. I hate having to plan on a smart phone so that I have my list handy, since it is small and hard to type on, especially for entering recipe ingredients.

I am going to walk you through exactly what you can do with that below, via screen shots I JUST took while meal planning for this week. So, here we go:

cozi_gold_sign_in

 

This is what you will see when you first sign in. As you can see at the top left-hand corner, this is the Cozi Gold membership. The menu on the left includes things like your Calendar, Shopping Lists (which includes more than groceries), To do lists, Messages, and also your Journal! You can see in my screen shot above that I have my most recent journal entry showing (which is from OCTOBER! I really need to update this 😉 ). I have blacked (or blued?) out my kids’ names for Privacy. I just call them M and C on here. You can also see a quick picture of the next couple days at the top. Let’s dive deeper into the Meal Planning side though, as that’s what’s most related to nutrition. Click on Meals at the left corner. This is what comes up:

cozi_gold_meal_planning

As you can see, I’ve started typing in my meals for the week. I can also pull from the recipes on the right side, which you can enter easily from any website that has recipes, or via free text. You can then transport this list over to your grocery shopping list. Let’s add Pot Roast on Saturday. All we’re going to do is drag the recipe that I’ve already created, “Pot Roast”, on the right side, to Saturday. Here it is:

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I then clicked on it, and it pulls up the ingredients for that recipe. It is showing up now on Saturday. Now, what I want to do is import those ingredients into my shopping list. Here’s how I will do that. Click on the recipe on the date or on the sidebar. It’s highlighted in blue. 

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After you click it, it will pull up the complete recipe. 

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See below, in blue, where it says “add ingredients to shopping list”? You can click that OR you can click up at the top where it says “Add to Shopping”. Either one does the same thing.

cozi_gold_add_to_shopping_list

Then this box will pop up, essentially asking you where you want to add your ingredients, i.e., which list. I’m going to choose “Groceries”. You create your different shopping lists when you set up your account. Then click “Add to List”

grocery_list

There they all show up under your groceries. Now you can do this one of two ways. Either you can delete the items you already have, OR you can just take the complete list to the grocery store after you’ve done all your recipes and try to remember what you do or don’t have. I would recommend deleting the items you don’t need as soon as you import them to your grocery list. 

Then you check the ingredients off by clicking on them, and they appear like this, so you can make sure you already got that item. 

That’s it! It’s so easy, you can do this for every day of the week and make a full grocery list with all the things you need.

If you’re like me, though, and you don’t always have recipes written out and saved on your computer or in Cozi, you can just add your ingredients to your shopping list manually, like I did with the first 3 recipes. 

One of the best things about this App, as I already mentioned, is that once you create this list, it will automatically populate into your smart phone AND your husband’s and kid’s smart phones, too, if they have the Cozi App set up under the same “family” account. You can just call up your husband or your kids (if they’re older), and say, “I need you to go grocery shopping, use the Cozi list. Thanks a ton! Love you!” and that’s it. Instead of “Hey, can you get broccoli, carrots, potatoes, beef…oh you need to write that down? I’ll wait………………..okay, it’s broccoli, carrots, potatoes…..OK, I’ll slow down….that’s bro-co-li…….carrots…..potatoes….no not tomatoes, potatoes!!!”, and you get the idea. Trust me, it’s way easier. You can do the same thing with your to-do lists. I can write up my husband’s “honey-do” list, and then send it to him in an email. 

I think you will find, the deeper you delve into using Cozi, the more you won’t be able to live without it. Like I said, we’ve been using the free version for YEARS, but I am really excited to finally have the Gold and not have to see advertisements, plus being able to send multiple reminders for events. I have an automatic text set up when the trash and recycles need to be put out (yes, they’re on different days…not annoying at all…), that way we don’t miss it. Now I can have TWO messages, one the day before, and one during the evening-time, right before we go to bed, so that we MAKE SURE it’s out on the street.

Click here to get the FREE 14-day Trial of Cozi Gold.

 

 

 

 

 

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30 Day Intro to Paleo Review

Ever wanted a Dietitian’s perspective on common diets like Jenny Craig, Herbalife, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Primal and more? Well, good news! I am starting a series reviewing these different diets. This is part 2 in the series. Click here for Part 1.

Disclosure: I sent a request to the creators of this plan to review it, and they sent me the full plan for free. I have not fully used it because I have my own “local diet” plan and recipes. I did test one recipe (despite not being fully locavore) for my readers, and I also signed up for the affiliate program so that I will earn a commission if you buy it from clicking through from this site. Opinions are my own.

As a Dietitian, sometimes it is difficult to find a plan that is easy to use, will produce weight loss AND consists of whole foods. This plan is pretty close. I am going to give you some pros and cons of this plan and let you decide if it is right for you. 

Positives

Contains only whole foods

If you’re looking for a plan that only contains whole foods, this one is one of the few. Not many ‘commercial’ diet and weight loss plans contain only whole foods. You can’t chemically alter or take foods apart in a factor and put them back together and get the same effects. Foods are not the same as the sum of their nutrient parts. This is why I cringe when I look at most diet plans. Of course, the gold standard would be to see a Dietitian or Nutritionist and get an individualized plan, but not everyone can afford that. 

Click here to view or buy

This is a Paleo plan, and by definition Paleo = Whole foods. You can expect to be able to follow this plan for 30 days and beyond, however if you are absolutely attached to dairy, legumes (e.g., peanut butter, beans) or whole grains, then I would look for another plan. Although if you have any GI disorders or an irritable GI system, I would highly recommending at least trying to eliminate these foods for 30 days, which this plan will help you with. If you read Chris Kresser’s Personal Paleo Code, that is what he recommends (and I agree), but this plan can help you take the theoretical idea into a practical reality with recipes and plans that you can follow.
Click here to view or buy

Contains a variety of foods and choices

 The good thing about this plan is also one of the bad things about this plan. If you are picky and like to have the same meals over and over again, this plan is NOT for you. This plan contains a huge variety of choices including veggies from every family and sub-family, tons of different meat preparations. This is not the typical Paleo diet you think of with just salads and a bunch of meat. It is much, much more than that. If you are experimental with food and LOVE vegetables, this is a good plan for you. If you’re not big on veggies and don’t like to try new things, don’t buy it.

Click here to view or buy

Calorie level is low enough to facilitate weight loss, even without exercise

I put the first day’s plan into Cronometer, and many of the other days are similar as far as what they provide at what meals, so I figured this was sufficient. The total calorie level was close to 1700 calories which is a good amount for weight loss, at least for me. Note that calorie levels are very individualized, though, and it is not something you should base your diet plan around. Your body knows you best, and if you eat enough food to satisfy your hunger, that is the best way I know to meet your individual calorie requirements. Here are some screen shots:

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The Cobb Salad said it served 2, so I put in 1/2 the recipe. The Poached Eggs I just put in half the ingredients since it also served 2 (was trying to play around with what is faster). The Italian Wedding Soup serves 8, so I put in 1/8 of a recipe, or 0.125 (which it rounded to 0.13).

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Here’s the Calorie and Macronutrient Profile. Obviously my calorie requirements are higher because a) I’m already at my target weight and b) I’m tall and need more calories than the average girl. However, this meal plan would work for most women. For most men, you might have to increase your portion size unless you are trying to lose weight pretty fast. As far as the carbs go, I usually get more carbs than this, but this isn’t an inadequate number of carbs to take in, especially for those with diabetes or other blood sugar issues. The thing is, when you cut out refined grains and sugar, the carb count will go down. Your body will adjust. If you are really heavily working out, you may need to add some carbs in, which is easy to do with a baked potato, sweet potato, or some winter squash. Note that they have some squash recipes in the book. 

You could also easily buy this diet plan and adjust the portions to meet your calorie levels. This plan is supposed to be for 2 people, so if you made the Italian Wedding Soup which serves 8 and used the leftovers once, you could easily eat 2 servings.

Advocates for a 30-day cleanse before adding back Paleo treats and desserts

One of the things I hate most about Paleo is that when you browse a Paleo website, a lot of times you will see 5 Paleo desserts before you get to a Paleo “meal”. I get that. It sells well, and I’m not here to judge other bloggers for what they do; however, if the point of going Paleo in the first place is to incorporate more whole foods into your diet, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by eating a Paleo dessert every day. They are usually made with Almond Flour, which is good in moderation, but in large amounts provides way too many omega-6 fatty acids in comparison to the omega-3’s you should be getting from fish, seafood, and grass-fed meats in smaller amounts. 

This plan doesn’t have ANY Paleo treats in it, though. You can give your body 30 days to detox naturally (PLEASE don’t do any of those juice fasting detox diets…they are the worst) while feeding it whole foods to nourish it. It’s a win-win. If you are addicted to sugar, this plan can help you get through that. Furthermore, Paleo has been proven to be more filling than the Mediterranean diet, another popular plan endorsed by many health professionals, likely because of the high protein content.

Drawbacks

Ingredients may not be available locally or in-season

While I loved the great vegetable combinations and variety, I wouldn’t be able to follow this diet because it is far from locavore and seasonal. While the authors include a whole section in the first part about eating local and in-season (the informational part, not the meal plan), they then include recipes in the second part that are from different seasons and impossible to make using only local foods, unless you include foods that are hydroponic or grown in greenhouses, which are more expensive. I’m not saying that everyone has to eat 100% local, but if this is your expectation, I wouldn’t buy this diet plan, unless you are just buying it as a cookbook to use the recipes as needed and make up your own plan. 

Some of the recipes may be difficult for beginners

This pretty much applies to any Paleo diet since it is so meat-based. Meat can be difficult to cook, especially for beginners, and if you mess it up, you’ve wasted a lot of money. I have had to experiment a lot to learn how to cook meat, and that was AFTER growing up watching my mother do it every night, and also calling her any time I had a question all throughout my early 20’s. That being said, the only way to learn is to get in there and do it, and the directions in this recipe book are good, but don’t expect it to look like the pictures if you’re a beginner.

May not provide enough calories if you are working out

As stated above, if you follow the meal plan to a T, then you might not be getting enough calories unless you are trying to lose weight. Also if you are really heavily working out, i.e., doing more than 1 hour of high intensity cardio per day, AND you don’t have blood sugar control issues, you might want to add in some extra carbs from either potatoes, other tubers, or winter squash. That would boost the calorie level as well. That’s ONLY if you’re working out HARD though. I’m not talking about the regular gym-goer here.

Not intended for families or picky eaters

I can already tell that my husband wouldn’t like half of the recipes in this book. That’s ok, he’s pretty picky. If you have a picky eater and you want to put them on this meal plan, you might have to rearrange it a bit and supplement with some of the recipes on their website or some of your own concoctions. The good news is, they have an excellent informational section in the beginning of the book, so even if you don’t follow the exact meal plan that is laid out for you, you’ll still have some guidance.

Not strict Paleo

Don’t worry – no beans or rice here, but there is some grass-fed butter and ghee thrown in the mix, and a good bit of saturated fat. This isn’t really a drawback for me. I don’t believe every person needs to follow the strict, original Paleo diet. I do believe in the 80/20 rule, except for those who have autoimmune issues, and I also believe that dairy like grass-fed butter and fermented dairy products, legumes that are traditionally prepared (i.e., soaked and/or sprouted) and some grains also traditionally prepared (soaked/sprouted) CAN fit into SOME people’s diet plans. This is just something to be aware of when you purchase the book – if you are looking for a very strict exactly Paleo plan, this isn’t it. It’s more like a Primal plan. Although the adjustments needed to make it completely Paleo would be very few – switch out the butter with coconut oil, for example.

Recipe Test

Most of the recipes that are in the booklet are very similar to ones that I already make; however, I did want to test one totally new-t0-me recipe, so I picked the first recipe in the book: Almond Flour pancakes. I haven’t ever made them because I am careful with how heavy my almond intake is; eating huge amounts of almond or almond flour can be dangerous for your health as well; however, a treat every now and then isn’t a bad thing. Also, the great thing about this recipe is there is no added sugar. It’s very simple to make, so simple that I kept thinking to myself, “Is this really going to turn out?!”. There isn’t even any baking powder or any nasty chemicals to make it rise, it just has a nice consistency on it’s own. Unfortunately, this recipe is copyrighted material, so I am unable to publish it. You would have to buy the meal plan in order to get it. Here’s a few pictures of me making the pancakes and the finished product:

I’m going to have to admit that I did put a smidgen of 100% maple syrup on these. Just couldn’t help myself. Hey, I’m not on a cleanse, am I? 😉

Nutrient Provisions

 As far as nutrients go, the day that I analyzed for this plan hit pretty much all of the nutrition requirements except for 2:

Vitamin D

You should be getting this from the sun, anyway. The reason our vitamin D recommendations from the government are so high is that most people spend almost all of their time indoors. Take a walk. DON’T put sunscreen on for 15 minutes. Play a fun sport outdoors. IF you don’t get to spend much time outdoors or you live in a Northern climate, then take a vitamin D supplement. Easy, peasy. You could also eat some sardines. Most of the foods that are high in vitamin D these days aren’t naturally vitamin D-laden, they are supplemented from our food supply.

Calcium

The first day provided 322 mg of calcium vs. the recommended 1000 mg. First of all, I think this recommendation is a little far fetched, and usually only reached via supplementation; however, taking extra calcium as a supplement does not mean it will automatically go to your bones, and the time in between ingestion and excretion in the urine might actually do some harm in the form of deposits in the arteries, i.e., athlerosclerosis –> heart attacks.

If you are worried about your bones, you need to be more concerned with Vitamin D and Vitamin K, PLUS you need to be exercising so that your bones get some resistance, causing them to remottle more frequently. If you feel you need more Calcium, eat some kale chips as a snack (1 cup raw kale provides about 100 mg), or some sardines (about 300+ mg per can because you eat the little bones, too, which are soft – but calcium rich). Chris Kresser recommends 600 mg a day of calcium, so 1 extra can of sardines and/or some kale chips would give you plenty of calcium plus a little boost of vitamin D, and you could still follow the meal plan.

If you want to give this plan a try, click here to order!. I will receive a commission for introducing you to the site; however, I do think overall this is a good plan and the opinions I’ve provided are my own, honest opinions of the plan.

For more cool posts about our local diet or reviews of popular diet plans (I plan to do at least a few more), subscribe to my email list below:

Thanks, come again!

-Samantha, RD

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Nutrisystem Review

Ever wanted a Dietitian’s perspective on common diets like Jenny Craig, Herbalife, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Primal and more? Well, good news! I am starting a series reviewing these different diets. This is part 1 in the series.

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As a dietitian, I get a lot of questions about common diets, and for good reason. People are often looking for an easy way to lose weight. The #1 way to lose weight and get a diet individualized to you is to schedule a consultation with me or another Dietitian or Certified Nutritionist. However, if you yet don’t have the money to invest in a consultation, at least do me the favor of staying far, far away from Nutrisystem, and I’m going to give you 5 reasons why.

1. The meals are highly processed, chemical concoctions.

I looked through the entire menu online, and I tried really, really, really hard to find a healthy option. I really did. The healthiest thing that I found, below, is the Tuna Salad. That can’t be bad, right? Wrong.

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First ingredient (light tuna) seems ok, but it goes downhill from there. Mayonnaise from likely GMO soybean oil, also high in omega-6, although at least you’re getting some omega-3 from the fish. Modified starch in the mayo, likely from GMO corn, although there’s no way to be sure. And only 120 calories. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just eat 120 calories for lunch. The suggestion is to add your own vegetables and a “whole-grain roll”. If I’m going to add a whole-grain roll (which I’m not), and my own veggies, I might as well just grab a can of tuna while I’m at the store and make this puppy myself, or better yet a nice salad topped with some tuna. Major Fail. Keep in mind this is the best choice I could find. Here’s one that’s not so glorious.

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Again with the calories…240 calories is NOT ENOUGH for me for Lunch. I will be starving by dinner and end up binging on sweets before I even get dinner cooked (trust me, I’ve been there). Health is not about the calories. Look at that list of lovely ingredients. Let’s break it down.

Filling: Cooked Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken White Meat – ok the first ingredient’s not so bad. Oh wait, see that parenthesis? That means all of those ingredients are IN the first ingredient. Let’s look…. (chicken white meat, water, less than 2% of: potato starch, salt, sodium phosphate, natural flavor) – this is basically what you would expect to see on a lunchmeat package at the grocery store. I don’t recommend lunch meat, by the way. Phosphate additives (like the sodium phosphate) are a preservative that has been linked with heart disease, and is also something very dangerous for people with kidney disease. Even if you don’t have kidney disease, stay away, unless you WANT to destroy your heart and kidneys.

Peeled Ground Tomatoes (with extra heavy tomato puree and salt)– not so bad, except all the excess salt.

Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes) – could be worse.

Diced Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid) – ok, why are they putting calcium chloride in my tomatoes? I have to wonder. My best guess is, they didn’t want to add more salt (the sodium chloride variety), but they wanted to preserve it longer/make it taste saltier. Really this is unnecessary at best and harmful at worst. Calcium additives can cause heart damage, although who knows how much dietary calcium this actually provides. Calcium Chloride, the chemical form, is very dangerous and can hydrolyze, producing excess heat and possibly burns, but likely the amount added here is very small. Still, it’s a tell-tale sign of high processing since most small-time canneries aren’t going to be ordering large amounts of calcium chloride.

Tomato Paste, Water  – no problems there.

Modified Food Starch – again, no way of knowing the source. Could be GMO corn. Could be regular potatoes. Who knows? They don’t tell us. Usually when they don’t tell us, it’s not good.

Here’s where we get to the nitty gritty. Less than 2% of: Sugar, Methylcellulose (just a laxative, don’t worry), Olive Oil, Spices, Natural Flavor (Potassium Chloride (another one of those chemical salts that we don’t particularly need, and could be downright dangerous for those with kidney problems), Maltodextrin (just a highly processed chemical which could come from GMO corn, look away), Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate (just there to trick your senses into tasting a more “meaty” flavor with less salt, no worries, except for maybe the fact that it’s produced by bacteria, and a highly processed MSG-like chemical), Modified Food Starch (likely GMO, again we don’t know), Corn Syrup Solids (almost surely GMO…and…ew), Natural Flavor (likely MSG)), Granulated Onion, Granulated Garlic.

Whew. I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired (of course I’ve been linking all of this and explaining it) and we’re just through the filling. For time’s sake (mine, that is), I’m just going to link out the rest of these and let you decide.

CRUST: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, FULLY REFINED SOYBEAN OIL (avoid highly refined oils, they are usually extracted with chemical solvents like hexane), INULIN, RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, LESS THAN 2% OF: WHEAT BRAN, DOUGH CONDITIONERS (MONOGLYCERIDES WITH ASCORBIC AND CITRIC ACID, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE), NONFAT DRY MILK, SALT, ACTIVE DRY YEAST, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CORN STARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE)

TOPPING: PARMESAN CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PART SKIM MILK, CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), PARSLEY FLAKES.

Basically, anything that has an ingredients list that long CAN’T be good for you. Skimpy on the vegetables, high on the processed crap. No Thank-You. Pull up any number of their options right on their website (under “Our Menu”) and you will likely find the same thing.

 

2. The meals are high-carb for their calories and likely not satisfying.

The second meal above was 30 grams of carbs in only 240 calories. That’s basically a snack for me. Oh did I mention that’s white flour, highly processed carbs? Even if you wanted to go with the “government recommendation” for 50% of your calories from carbs, which is super high for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar issues, you would want to get your carbs from complex sources like vegetables. Vegetables are really good for you. Someone should tell Nutrisystem that. (Because, seriously, who is buying frozen meals online, and then going out to the store to buy fresh veggies to add in?)

3. The plan doesn’t account for eating out.

One of big BIGGEST reasons I avoid plans like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, or any plan where they send you the food is that it teaches you nothing about making choices, and as soon as you have an opportunity to overeat or make bad choices, you do. Say you go to a BBQ, or to a girlfriend’s (or boyfriend’s?) house for drinks and appetizers, or you get invited to a birthday party, or you go out to eat with your family, or, or, or…the list goes on. Real life is not microwaved meals. You need a diet plan that can teach you to combat those things.

4. You have to add your own vegetables anyway.

I mentioned this above, but if you are going to the store to buy veggies to add to their meals anyway, you might as well pick up, IDK, a rotisserie chicken? Way less processed and really delicious! Or how about a quick fish to pay fry for 8 minutes? Or what about a chicken breast, a cubed steak, or any number of other foods that you can prepare with 1 pan in about the same amount of time it takes to open and microwave a meal. If I WERE to endorse a microwave-meal plan (don’t hold your breath), it would include the vegetables.

5. You will be starving with very few calories provided.

Again, eluded to it above, but since it is a big point, I thought I’d make a separate bullet out of it. You cannot survive on 1000 calories a day! You will lose weight, yes, but you will be starving. Some of their choices are less than 300 calories, which times 3 meals would be less than 900 calories. Yes, they do have some highly processed desserts (100-200 calories from what I can tell), and recommend adding a “grocery item” twice a day for snacks, but even with that you might top out at 1200 calories. If you are working out at all, you are going to be starving. 

 

So that’s it. If you’ve tried Nutrisystem, comment below and let me know if you liked it. If you are thinking about trying it, comment below and let me know why you’re not now ;). Also, if you know someone who is thinking about trying Nutrisystem because they think it will be healthy for them, please share this with them, and guide them toward a Dietitian or at least a good meal plan (this one I am reviewing next). Thanks! You will really be doing your friend a favor.

 

-Samantha, RD

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The Ultimate Guide To Going Paleo

 

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There’s no doubt that the Paleo diet is one of the better ones out there and I have had clients who have gotten FANTASTIC results on it. The truth is that some people just cannot tolerate grains, legumes and dairy, and there’s really no nutrient in them that you can’t get elsewhere. Because there are a bunch of Paleo bloggers out there who have already done a lot of work and research, I decided to gather together some of those articles I’ve enjoyed and agreed with to make it easy for someone who’s just starting out with this diet. Note that not all Paleo bloggers are strict Paleo, and some, like Chris Kresser, advocate for traditionally prepared grains, legumes, and grass-fed dairy, at least in those who can tolerate them after trying an elimination diet for 30 days. Happy reading!

1. The Story on Fat

2. Getting Rid of Grains

3. Meal Plans and Recipes

4. Grass-fed is Greatest

5. Organ Meat Matters

6. Top Paleo Bloggers

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All American Pressure Canner Review

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review, and I payed for this product out of my own pocket. Opinions are my own. I participate in affiliate marketing, and clicking any of the links below may result in a commission being paid to me if you purchase a product, which will help support this website. Thank you.

I have been meaning to purchase a canner for a while. Last year during produce season, I actually got all the way to Wal-mart, purchased a water-bath canner, brought it home, and tried to set it up. I was doing some research online, and realized that water bath canners are not recommended for use on flat-top stoves if they do not have a completely flat bottom, or if they overlay the burner. Well, darn. The particular one I bought did both. I returned it, and didn’t think about it again, until recently. Recently, my husband and I commited to eating 90% of our diet locally produced in North Carolina. Now it’s not so easy to put off, since we will be relying on produce in-season, and what we can preserve. This will probably be much better for us anyway, since store-bought cans leach BPA into your food, which can interfere with hormonal signals in your body

Enter, the All-American Pressure Canner. This thing is colossal, the Rolls Royce of pressure canners. 

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 Sure, you can go with a Presto canner and pay half the price, but I did quite a lot of research and decided on this one because I feel like it will last a lot longer. It doesn’t have gaskets, which means I will never have to replace gaskets. On the Presto canner and a bunch of other less expensive canners, gaskets are what causes the canner to seal shut so the pressure can build up inside. They are made of rubber. You have to have these things checked every year to make sure your canner is still safe. You don’t have to do that with the All-American. It has a metal-to-metal seal that needs nothing more than some lubrication (i.e., olive oil). Then you simply screw the top down with the screws shown above.

It also has raving reviews on Amazon

We ended up going with the 21.1 quart, which can hold 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars. Also, you can use it as either a water-bath canner OR a pressure canner, whichever is more convenient. The first thing I canned was beets, and I just went ahead and did pressure canning since I wanted to try it out that way, but I could have easily done a water bath can as well.

When we got the product booklet, I was looking through some of the recipes, and starting wondering why I hadn’t gotten one of these earlier. I could cook the beets themselves in 12-18 minutes!! That’s ridiculous! I actually boiled them first because I hadn’t gotten the box open yet, and it took me about an hour. The biggest shock, though, is meat. I could cook a chuck roast in 12-15 minutes per pound. I just cooked one of those 3 days ago, and it was 2 pounds, and it took me 3 hours, not even joking. I could cook that sucker in 30 minutes?! I am definitely going to have to try this out, because I am a working mom, and sometimes I don’t have hours to cook dinner. Okay, most of the time.

Check out the beets that I canned the other day. 

IMG_7485

It was a lot easier than I was expecting. Anyway, I would highly recommend buying one of these, whether you are canning or if you want to pressure cook foods to shorten cooking times. Although if you are just looking for the pressure cooking part, you probably don’t need one quite so big, so you might want to check out a less expensive option. But if you are going to be doing a lot of canning of fresh produce this summer, you will probably make up for the purchase price just within the first year. 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the link to the product I purchased. Note that this website offers free shipping, and this is a heavy item, so this is a good price if you consider that:


All-American Pressure Canner/Cooker, Model 921 – 21.5 quart – $258.95

Top-rated canner.

If this review was helpful to you, please share it with a friend! Even if you don’t buy by clicking through from this site, I think this is an excellent product, and I would love to see more people doing home preserving to avoid BPA from metal cans.

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