Paleopino’s Abbreviated Paleo 101

I’ve gotten a few requests from folks who wanted to know more about the Paleo Diet. Btw, I just learned that “diet” comes from the Latin “dieta” which means a lifestyle change not the crash diet fads we think “diet” usually means.

So let me start from the beginning in case you’re in the beginning of your own journey. I was looking for a way to eat and live that made more sense. I had been vegetarian before and that just made me feel super bloated and sad. I saw some friends who were doing Crossfit and they talked about being “Paleo”. I was intrigued by the idea because I like challenges. I had a sneaking suspicion I might be addicted to sugar. I had started reading a few articles that said wheat basically equals sugar. So I thought I would give being Paleo a shot. Luckily, I have a super supportive partner-in-crime who was willing to do something offbeat with me. And it changed my life. I didn’t lose 300 pounds, but I have such a healthier relationship with food now. I am more active and realize I enjoy things like hiking. learned to ride a bike. I cook everyday. Do I miss bread? Yeah I do and I will have a bit now and then. But I don’t miss the person I was. Maybe I didn’t lose 300 pounds, but I might have gone that way if I didn’t do something about it. I have lost weight, but I’ve gained so much. I gained knowledge. I gained control over what I eat (now if only I could figure out “how much” hahaha).

2 Years of Paleopino Goodies via Instagram (@paleopino)

2 Years of Paleopino Goodies via Instagram (@paleopino)

Anyway, enough of the story. Here’s the info:
If you want a more thorough idea of the Paleo/Primal Diet then by all means go here:
The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet – okay it explains Paleo through Lego Figurines. LEGOS. I mean…just…YES!!!

But I know y’all might have some short attention spans. Just give me the essential 411, Diana! Well OH-KAY, bossy. Here’s my best at giving you the info:

Golden Paleo Rule: Eat like a caveman otherwise known as a hunter-gatherer. Therefore, you eat only what you can hunt (meat) or gather (fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds).

Paleopino’s Top 5 Rules:
1. Eliminate added sugars
No high fructose corn syrup, beware fructose, sucrose, etc. This is one of the hardest rules for me to follow. Some Paleo/Primal folks believe that moderate amounts of “naturally occurring” sugars are okay. And occasionally, you’ll see me use things like maple syrup, honey, etc. But, generally,

2. Eliminate grains or legumes.
No wheat. No corn. No soybeans. No beans of any kind. If it grows on a plant and you can’t eat it raw- you can’t eat it. If you have to mill, or husk, or cook it- then its not allowed on the Paleo diet. But why can’t you eat beans? There are many reasons why one would not eat beans on a Paleo Diet. Beans, beans, the musical fruit… Haha. Again, remember the “golden Paleo rule”- you have to farm beans and you have to cook them before you eat them.

3. Eliminate processed foods
This also follows the rule for “clean eating” which is a little less strict. But if it comes out of a box- don’t eat it. If it has ingredients you can’t pronounce- don’t eat it.

I also take this rule 3a- eat WAAAAAAY LESS salt. Usually, this is taken care of by making your own food, but if you must have someone make your food for you- just beware of how much salt intake you’re having.

4. Add more healthy fats
Oh yes, this is the BIG BAD SCARY PALEO RULE that freaks people out. I say, you can’t eat *most* carbs- well you have to replace it with fat. Seriously. I think someone said before that it’s similar to zone. But it doesn’t mean you can have all the fries you want. Beware of trans-fats (vegetable oils and canola oils are NOT OKAY). You’ll see coconut oil a lot in Paleo recipes. Paleo folks love coconut oil. But, again, beware.

5. Be outside more and stop with the extreme cardio, mmkay?
Paleo and Primal is mostly based on the eating. But another part is exercise. Mark Sisson says, “lift heavy things”. Too much cardio causes injury and sometimes some folks don’t even lose weight doing only cardio. Myself, I like a mix of cardio and weight lifting. But feeling strong totally feels good.

6. Find what you liked in your old diet and try to find a substitute for it. Sometimes, there’s not a sub, if so- tough. Because you’re doing this because you want to be HEALTHY and HAPPY. Life isn’t easy and choosing to be healthy isn’t eat. But is it better? Yes. Yes it is. And there are surprisingly a lot of things you can do to eat Paleo and still aspects of what you used to eat.

Some Background

The idea here is that sugar and wheat (which eventually transforms into sugar in your body) is bad and is responsible for why people are overweight, tired, and more easily gain weight. You can read more science here.

I’ve been reading more about genetic body types: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorphs. And I have figured out I’m more related to endomorphs. What does that mean? It means I’m more insulin sensitive and carbs are not my friend.

Books to check out:

Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – I think this is the easiest book to understand. Once you read this- you’re set. Also, Mark Sisson talks a lot about make things a habit. Try being Paleo/Primal for 28 days and see how it goes for you!

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – This is where the science gets DEEP. He starts talking about leptin and amino acids and such. It’s actually a pretty good background and I’m very much about knowing the science because knowledge is power.

Website- Primal Blueprint 101 Resources

Last Thoughts

You’ll often read on Paleo blogs “I used to eat SAD”. What is SAD? Standard American Diet. What I get from this is that Americans have become the poster children for bad eating. Americans pick convenient. They pick cheap. They pick quantity over quality. And while this may be true for a majority of Americans/unhealthy folks- this does not have to be the rule for you. If you’re going Paleo- you’re committing to a better way to eat and, ultimately, a better way of life. I think choosing a salad over a bowlful of pasta today means that in 10 years I won’t be on medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. So many people in my family eat that way and have a lot of health problems.

Is it always fun or easy to be Paleo? HECK NO. But is it worth it not to pay 1,232,786,577 for medical bills. HECK YEAH!

…But Is There Bread?

Bread, there is none.

Bread, there is none.

For post #2 of Day 2 on my 21 Day Paleo Habit I thought I would answer a question from Instagram.

@cristalphantom asked:

“What makes things Paleo? I know rice is a no-no, but cave people must’ve had some grains available, right?!” *wishful thinking*

Short answer:

NO. Nope. Nada. Paleo/Primal is all about hunter-gatherer lifestyle and hunter-gathers DIDN’T HAVE TIME FO’ DAT. Pre-Agricultural revolution folks.

Longer answer:

Mostly, no….but…..weeeeeeeell…maybe?

Mark Sisson (grandaddy of Primal Blueprint) says that Quinoa “might be okay” and offer suggestions for some other carby carbs that might fill your needs:

Alternatives to Grains


No Grains, But Starches are GREAT! 

I think folks are really asking about starches. I would classify rice as a starch more so than a grain for myself. Because while rice isn’t the best thing in the whole world (I mean it is, especially to a Filipino! But nutritionally it sucks) – it is satisfying. So in my efforts to be Paleopino, I’ve found *some* substitutions that work for me. Is it better than bread? Well it might not taste the exact same, but I do have a bit of gluten/grain intolerance I just find feeling non-bloated and non-crampy and full of energy really work for me.

Instead of rice…

Cauliflower rice.

Paleo Loco Moco with Cauliflower Rice

Paleo Loco Moco with Cauliflower Rice

There may be other variations out there in the world. But this is my go-to and I’m sticking to it. Also, cauliflower tends to pick up the flavors of other food around it so it’s really awesome as fried rice too!

Instead of bread, try…

  • Eggplant slices
  • Portobello mushroom caps
  • Lettuce wrapped hamburgers (not that I’m advocating doing this all the time, but even In N Out is in on the lettuce wrapping!)
  • Plantains –  In fact, I love a lot of Latin cultures take on plantains because most often the bread isn’t even necessary. Plantains become the bread. Haven’t had the chance to check out a “jibarito sandwich“, but if anyone has any CA based resources let me know! I might have to try plantains as bread in a recipe soon! Here’s a suggestion for Tostones  “mini sandwiches“.

and here’s even more from Empowered Sustenance-  “Breadless Sandwiches: 15 No Bread Sandwich Solutions”

Instead of pasta try…

and 38 more ideas from Empowered Sustenance – “38 Creative Paleo Pasta Recipes


I think Paleo is not just about being healthy and avoiding things that may taste amazing, but are ultimately bad for you (you know like having one more shot of alcohol and then the next day you have a hangover that makes your future unborn children’s head ache). I think its easy to buy the prepackaged stuff, but much more interesting, fulfilling, and ultimately creative to find choices that work for you.

You can do it! I know you can!

Habit Making: Recommitting to Paleo/Primal!

My friend MJ contacted me last night and she and I are re-committing to a Paleo lifestyle. I’ve been pretty lax about being Paleo/Primal because I don’t think I’ve even been 80/20. I’d be happy if I was 60/40. Baaaaaad. So here I will recommit for AT LEAST 21 days to being Paleo/Primal.  As Mark Sisson states in the Primal Blueprint, it takes 21 days to make a habit. I am reconfirming on this blog and I’m going to do a bit of a run-down of the Paleo/Primal diet so that I can review it for myself too! And you can’t commit to 21 days of being Paleo/Primal on a blog without making sure you blog about it too so I am also committed to blogging more during the 21 days!

The Periodic Table of Paleo Food - from Our Paleo Life

The Periodic Table of Paleo Food – from Our Paleo Life

So quick and dirty what is Paleo/Primal?

As I see it Paleo/Primal is a way to get “back to our roots” in the way of eating (and LIVING!). People call it “The Caveman Diet”. Its based on the idea that folks used to eat like hunter/gatherers which means more meat and vegetables and not including food from the post-agricultural revolution (wheat, other grains, beans, basically vegetables you have to cook/process vs. veggies you can eat from picking it up off a plant).  Personally, for me I agree with the idea of not eating sugar, wheat, other grains, and legumes because the older I get the more I realize I don’t really agree with that stuff. And, as much as I love dairy, dairy does not love me.  That being said, Paleo is a lot more strict that Primal. Mark Sisson, grandaddy of Primal, goes by an 80/20 philosophy. That means you eat Paleo about 80% of the time and the other 20% is still healthy choices but not exactly Paleo (example you can have milk or cheese or maybe the occasional treat).

Paleo can be as strict as you want (Whole30 or 21DSD) or you can ease up sometimes depending on your lifestyle/exercise patterns/goals. My favorite blogs are Nom Nom Paleo, Against All Grain, The Clothes Make the Girl, PaleOMG, The Primal Palate, The Slim Palate – which, incidentally, all have cookbooks out so if you have some extra skrilla* lying around I totally accept gifts (although I already own the 21 Day Sugar Detox, The Primal Blueprint, and Well Fed). And isn’t it a thing when you mention how awesome something is- you get free stuff out of it? 😉

I think I’m going to ease back into it and include some sugars (like honey or maple syrup occasionally), but try to include more protein and veggies as well.

This is a great printout resource from Diane Sanfilipino (author of 21 DSD and Balanced Bites):

You can also check out my Pinterest (Paleolicious or Paleo and Primal Treats) if you need more inspiration (note these are not mine, just stuff I thought would be nice to make one day. Let me know if you LOVE something and I should try making it).


Now I am also committed to making things more “Paleopino” as well so here’s some awesome ideas for easing into the Paleo way of eating

PALEOPINOS: If you’re dependent on…

Fat: Good news! Fat is TOTALLY OKAY on the Paleo diet. Encouraged even. However, use animal fats (oh yes I am talking lard and not fake lard in a tub, but the kind that’s runoff from bacon. Although rendering your own fat is really the best way) or coconut oil or even occasionally olive oil.

Soy Sauce: This ones a bit tricky. The 1:1 Paleo sub is Coconut Aminos, however if you can’t access that- try to look at the ingredient and prioritize the “lesser of two evils” and just look for things that contain only soy sauce, salt, and water because sometimes your soy sauce will have wheat or glucose or other random ingredients.

Fish sauce:  Nom Nom Paleo recommends Red Boat Fish Sauce and I do too. Unless you have access to freshly made fish sauce from your mom’s town in the Philippines which I am occasionally lucky enough to snag sometimes (although those customs folks are tricky so it might not always make it haha).

Rice: I fallback on cauliflower rice or variations thereof.

Salt: Use less salt. Or no salt. Try to get the flavors from the food you’re cooking, not from salt. Funny thing is, once you start using less salt in your food- you get very sensitive to it.

Sugar: This turns out a lot more in Filipino dishes than you would think. Namely “Filipino Spaghetti”. I am going to try to pin down a recipe for this in the future posts so you will have an idea. But for now, really, you should probably just try to stay away from too much sugar.




* Skrilla= Money. I’m trying to be hip guys! And by stating so I clearly am not. Mission failed.

Re-Design Me…Please!

Okay, when I first made this blog, I basically picked a theme that I thought was pretty nice anticipating that the design would happen in a few months of making the blog. As you can see- life happened. A lot of other social media blew up and maaaaybe blogs weren’t so popular anymore. I even read an article about The Death of the Blog and a response. For me, I like this blog. I love to write so I’ll keep it up as well as my own personal side hustle. I’m not sure how many people even read this blog. I think I have more followers on Pinterest. Hahaha.

But I digress. I am keeping this blog and I will show it some love. This blog will be re-designed soon! I am brainstorming ideas right now, can’t you hear the gears turning!

As the writer/photographer of this blog- I thought it would be enough to just post. But in our increasingly visual culture, I know that this blog has the potential to look so much better. Jerome is the real designer, but he’s currently up to his neck in work. Hopefully this blog will get some design love in the coming months.

Anyone out there want to help for free? I’ll bake you Paleo-friendly goodies! 😉

The Paleopino: Photo Love

Guys I just saved you from a post titled “Photopino”. I was thisclose. Hehe. Okay I’m sorry I will stop with the “pino” word combos. I can hear readers groaning from this side of my computer. So you’re welcome because I did not do it.

The point of the post is that I take photos. If it has not been clear from the food photos- I make the food, I photograph it, and then I post about it (generally. I mean usually steps 1 & 2 anyway haha). Food photos don’t always make it to this site though (as you can see by the intermittent posting over the years), but I’m trying to be more aware of this blog and I hope I will post more in the future. But when I only get to make the food and photograph it- it generally ends up on Instagram ( so follow me there if you’d like!

Kahlua pork...made it to my stomach and not this blog

Kahlua pork…made it to my stomach and not this blog

Another fun thing is that Jerome is captain of the Ligers, a “beer league” hockey team in Oakland. This weekend was their first and final game in the playoffs and I wanted to go and support him & his team. So here’s a few photos from ones that I took. Jerome credits being Paleo with his resurgence as a hockey player (he used to play in junior high). Plus all that sprinting has got to be pretty Paleo, right?


There's El Capitan, Jerome!

There’s El Capitan, Jerome!

Ligers getting close to the glass

Ligers getting close to the glass

Ligers going for the puck

Ligers going for the puck

Ligers on the move

Ligers on the move

Good job team! We'll see you next season!

Good job team! We’ll see you next season!



This week is Oakland hosts the National Poetry Slam and it looks like I will be unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. Which makes me kind of sad panda. I don’t mention it much on this blog, but I also write creatively as a hobby. And poetry means a lot to me.

I’ve been thinking about poetry’s impact on my life ever since my friends hosted an “open mic”/ going away party (Post {M} Collective) for my friend Adrien who is a wonderful, amazing, and a million other flattering adjectives poet. I did not come prepared because sometimes I feel awkward about sharing my poetry. And also because I haven’t written creatively in a long time (journaling and blogging are a bit different). But I would like to share the poem I would have performed if I had the courage that day and remembered. Sometimes, I forget I am awesome and hide it under this layer of goofy or snarky.

This poem was actually published a couple of years ago and you can see the whole chapbook digitally here. This is me being REAL folks. But not that real since only like 2 people read this blog anyway. 😉 I feel like poetry is a way to honor someone with words from your heart.

Kalamansi Trees

My uncle grew these kalamansi trees
Before I was born.
And now 25 years later,
The pamilya gathers at his house
Because he is about to die.

I sit useless listening to the stories of
My auntie Pot, his wife.
Listen to the ebb and flow
Of love, strength, and fear in her voice.
They’ve been together longer than the kalamansi trees.

I remember when he’d call my mom and tell her
The kalamansi trees are ripe.
Tall trees turn a San Diego suburban backyard
Into the Philippines.
It’s the smell of citrus and the green leaves.
If I stand there I can almost feel
The heat and humidity of my uncle’s hometown.

We pluck kalamansi fast from the trees with
Our bare hands.
At ferocious speed
As if we were picking
The cancer cells from my uncle’s kidney.

As if the faster we picked
We could overcome
This mutation in my uncle’s body.
He only has weeks to live
and we only have minutes to spare.

Soon other family members come
to help pick the kalamansi.
We talk and laugh and joke
because this work helps us to feel less helpless.
We have control over these trees
unlike my uncle’s disease.

We return from the garden plastic bags
full of round orange orbs.
And place them on the table.

An offering of abundance
To dam the pain
That threatens to break our hearts.

Paleo Breakfast Stack

Whuuut? Two posts in a row?

Breakfast Egg Stack

Breakfast Egg Stack

There were leftover patties from the Loco Moco and while I would totally love eating those all the time, I also love with a burning passion could live on forever enjoy breakfast. Seriously, me and breakfast = friends forever. I feel that it is a special special day when I eat breakfast for dinner. Eggs. They are magical. Fried. Scrambled. Poached.

Okay dated reference coming up, but remember in Runaway Bride and (there are no spoiler this movie is a decade old) how she can’t figure out her favorite type of eggs? And how that is a metaphor for her inability to choose a mate?  My favorite type of egg is actually poached…by someone other than myself. As you can probably tell that’s kind of a high maintenance way to cook an egg (I mean ESPECIALLY the part about someone else making it…pivotal). But I love the ease of making fried or scrambled eggs for myself. I love that warm and runny yolk and how it perfectly combines with rice, meat, or vegetables.

Anyway I could go on forever about eggs…

So what you basically do is:

1. Sauté some spinach, onions, and zucchini in some coconut oil.

2. Take the patty from “The Perfect Burger” at PaleOMG.

3. Fry up some bacon

4. Fry an egg

5. Assemble



You Loco, Moco!*

Post Maui life is sad, guys. I mean really really sad. You wake up every morning and think “hey why don’t I hear the sounds of waves rushing to greet the shore” and notice the lack of salty sea smell. Its a tough life. We seriously considered moving to Maui. I mean, Jerome can web develop remotely right?

Anyway, what better way to soothe our post-vacation woes than with comfort food? I loved Maui, but I was definitely feeling the bloatski-mc-bloatskerson effect (scientific measure, I know) of too much rice and general (delicious delicious) heaviness of Hawaiian food. I mean I’m sure you could eat Kahlua pig, loco moco, and spam musubi all day long if you’re burning 1,212,546 calories a day surfing. But we can’t all be surfers. Especially me, I would DIE.

So I combo-ed my favorite cauliflower rice recipe, a new burger patty recipe, put a fried egg on top, and then slathered some homemade mushroom gravy over all of it. And there you have- Paleo Loco Moco.

Also, look everyone my awesome fiancee made me a lightbox and the Loco Moco recipe was the first to be photographed in it! So cool!

Meta picture: The Loco Moco in the light box

Meta picture: The Loco Moco in the light box

Paleo Loco Moco

– Cauliflower Rice (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo’s Version #2 Cauliflower Rice)

Pretty much the same recipe except:

I omitted the seasonings and used only a small amount of black pepper.

I use only butter (I personally think it makes it taste better, but to each their own)

– Beef Patty  from “The Perfect Burger” from PaleOMG

– Fried Egg

– Mushroom gravy
Okay this is where you’re going to be mad at me guys because I don’t have an exact recipe.  While the burgers were cooking I sauteed some mushrooms in more butter (I am liberal with the butter here folks! If you don’t like it move along. It’s comfort food!). For the gravy, I basically took the leftover drippings from the burger pan and added some beef stock and maybe a little more butter. I also added in the mushrooms. Then, I added about a tablespoon of tapioca starch and stirred. Keep stirring until its the consistency you like in gravy. I kept adding a bit more tapioca starch until mine got a little bit thicker. And then I added almond flour because almond flour is cheaper than tapioca. You could keep adding tapioca if you’re fancy. I believe the almond flour made the gravy a bit more “grainy” than I would like.

Nom Nom Nom

Loco Moco: Egg, Hamburger patty, rice, and gravy

* PS Who is Moco? I would like to meet this Loco. Okay I’m done I swear. No I’m not. NEVER!!!

[Not] The Biggest Loser…but a Winner Anyway :)

Quick update on the Biggest Loser. It was a tough 3 months and I ended up getting beat by 5 pounds!

But I ended up losing 20+ pounds so I’ll take it! I want to keep riding this momentum so we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

Blueberry Saturday

I feel like I have to keep a blog just so I remember what recipes I am using. There are so many variation of Paleo recipes out there. And look! 2 years later and I’m still Paleo(ish). So there must be SOMETHING I am doing right. So let’s keep a record shall we? I mean I love Pinterest (and can I just say that apparently people like my Pinterest board as well? Weeeeird.), but I can’t figure out a system to keep a record of the recipes I’m using or the bakerly tweaks I have added.

So on with the show. I didn’t make a lot of bakerly tweaks because this recipe is already AMAZING. Although, if you’re going to follow this recipe I would suggest to actually make sure everything reaches room temperature. Because I had to do this weird thing where I put the mixing bowl on a very low double boiler so that it would be “room temp”. It worked, but I would not recommend it. I would recommend patience. Those who can’t do teach knowwhatimsaying?

And if you don’t plan early enough- this is a helpful tip for make “room temperature eggs”: Warm Eggs Quickly

This awesome recipe for Blueberry Muffins is from “Everyday Maven” so go over there and check it out! 😉


  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • 1½ cup fresh blueberries (or 1 cup frozen)
  • sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

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