Blogs to Bookmark: Personally Paleo

I’m baaaaack. Before the madness of the holidays and our Thailand honeymoon (more on that later!), I launched a Blogs to Bookmark series, featuring other bloggers and blogs I admire. Read on for the second installment, all about Personally Paleo and its founder, Katie.

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

I met Katie, the blogger behind Personally Paleo, through the Windy City Blogger Collective. Katie, a Chicago-based blogger, had reached out to the group asking for volunteers for her new series, Core & Coffee, in which she meets up with other bloggers for a workout and a bevy of sorts. I jumped at the chance to meet someone new and get a good workout in, so we huffed and puffed through an Orange Theory class, then rewarded ourselves with wine, beer, and a good chat. (You can read all about it here.) Though it’s always a gamble going on a blind date of sorts, Katie was cool, funny, and interesting, and that experience in part inspired me to start this here series of my own. As for her blog, as not-a-Paleo-person, I was pleasantly surprised to find that her posts are relatable to pretty much anyone who likes eating, fitness, and exploring.

Sarrandipity: Describe your blog in one sentence.
Katie: Delicious, healthy Paleo and gluten-free food that work for you and your lifestyle.

S: When and why did you start your blog?
K: I started my blog in late October 2014 with [encouragement from] my family and friends. I loved trying out new recipes in the kitchen and was always sharing them. On top of that, I’d had such a great experience with paleo that I was feeding information about it all over the place. This gave me a source to streamline it.

S: How did you decide on your blog name?
K: That was one of the hardest parts. I was agonizing over it before I even had my first post finished. My boyfriend finally looked at me and said, “Do you think authors name their books before [they’re] written?” So, I started writing my first post. I realized that what I wanted to talk about was my experience with paleo. I didn’t go the super strict route but I didn’t go casual. I figured out what worked for me and wanted to encourage everyone to do the same. Every time I started to write about it I started with, “Personally, paleo…” and thus, my blog was named!

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: What has been the biggest surprise you’ve faced with blogging?
K: Definitely the reach. I’ve had some readers … email me with questions or comments from as far as South Africa! It’s crazy to know that I’m reaching people that far away.

S: What’s your favorite post you’ve ever written?
K: It’s really hard to choose just one post, but I think it would have to be the first post I ever wrote, called the Name GameAs a whole, I have a lot of fun with my Core & Coffee series. It’s introduced me to new ways of fitness and I’ve met some really cool people through it.

S: What do you hope readers take away from your blog?
K: There is no one lifestyle fits all. It’s important to learn what is right for you, your body, and your life. It’s unrealistic to think you will be 100% on at all times, because sometimes life gets in the way. Do your best every day with a little give and take as needed.

There is no one lifestyle fits all. It’s important to learn what is right for you, your body, and your life.

S: Why did you decide to start following the Paleo diet?
K: I had been working out with a personal trainer and had adopted a low-fat, low-cal, low-everything lifestyle. It sucked, but I had lost 60 pounds. Unfortunately, I was still struggling with so many other things. My skin was broken out all the time, I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t run more than two miles without having to stop, my self-confidence still sucked, and I became a very obsessed calorie-counter. My boyfriend, Kyle, brought the idea of paleo to me. He struggled with focusing at work and had researched paleo as a homeopathic way of dealing with it. I began looking into it and read tons about experiences people had that were just like mine. Paleo worked for them and I was hoping it would work for me. We decided to try it for one month. That month came, passed, and we never looked back.

S: What’s the hardest part about Paleo?
K: I don’t think Paleo is any harder than any other dietary lifestyle. Some days you want to curl up and eat an entire box of cookies, knowing you will feel crappy afterward. People may question what you eat or why you eat certain foods because they think it is gross or weird. That’s not just paleo though; that’s life. Not everyone likes broccoli and not everyone feels good after a billion grams of sugar.

Sarrandipity highlights the food and fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: Do you ever “fall off the wagon?” Is it hard to get back on track if you do?
K: Absolutely! It’s easy to get caught up with vacations, holidays, etc. The most important thing to remember is that one setback is not an excuse to continue on that way. If I eat a candy bar in the morning (because chocolate at 10am is totally fine), I can’t continue on my day with the philosophy of, “I already messed up, so why not?” The important part is to be okay with it and set up a plan to get back on track.

S: What’s your favorite Paleo recipe?
K: I am obsessed with breakfast food. When I was growing up, we always had quiche at family breakfasts. One of the first recipes I created was my Quiche Kathleen, which has an almond flour crust and uses coconut milk instead of heavy cream. I could eat this everyday. I also [love] brussels sprouts and bacon. I never even tried brussels sprouts until paleo, and they have quickly become my favorite.

S: What do you say to people who think Paleo is just a “fad” diet or it’s not sustainable?
K: This is always interesting to me. Paleo is just the name. My lifestyle is choosing to eliminate something from my diet that harms my body, that I can’t digest appropriately, or is highly processed. People don’t go up to vegans or to someone with a food allergy and question their avoidance of certain foods or its sustainability. Each person does what works for them. I know my body and how it tolerates certain foods and I choose to avoid eating those foods, just like others avoid eating vegetables they don’t like. As far as saying anything to them, it’s not my place to try and convince someone that what they are doing is right or wrong. If there’s a specific question, I’ll answer it, but I don’t like when people nag me about my choices so I refuse to do the same to anyone else. This is what works for me and makes me feel my best. For me, that’s what makes it sustainable.

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: You’ve been trying out a lot of different fitness classes/studios with your Core & Coffee series. What’s been your favorite so far?
K: Good question. For atmosphere, SoulCycle. It’s dark in there and you really can’t see anyone except the person in front of you and the instructor, but it has an intimate and connected feel. It’s also a great place to pick up some new music. For a good-sore-the-next-day type workout, OrangeTheory. I love high intensity interval classes so much and this one was a lot of fun with the added heart rate feature.

S: What advice do you have for people who are overwhelmed by the idea of starting a new diet or fitness routine?
K: Always start off with a plan and prep for it. If you’re going to change your eating habits, then clear all the garbage out of your cupboards. If you’re going to start a fitness routine, go get a membership and sign up for a consistent class schedule. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Those 3 weeks won’t be easy. They’ll suck and you’ll probably want to give up, but it’s important to remember why you are doing this. Don’t lose sight of that. If you can, find a friend, family member or significant other [who] can make this change with you. Holding yourself accountable to someone else is a big motivator. More than anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether it’s a fitness instructor or an online community, there are people out there willing to help who have been exactly where you are. They’ve done it and so can you.

Catch up with Personally Paleo on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Photos courtesy of Personally Paleo

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Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews
Why I Pay For SoulCycle
13 Thoughts I Had During 13 Miles: Philly Half Marathon

Cooking for the Anti-Chef: 10-Minute Lentil & Beet Salad

10 minute lentil & beet salad - sarrandipity blog

The past week has not been a winner as far as healthy eating goes: There was the weekly-post-volleyball-game-bar-food meal, the Japanese-takeout-and-ice-cream-at-Ravinia meal, the we-just-did-soulcycle-and-are-too-tired-to-cook-so-lets-order-pizza meal, the family-brunch-to-celebrate-my-new-nephew-and-everyone-brings-sweets meal, and a whole lot of other sweets and snacks in between. Even for me, who has a serious sweet tooth, this was overboard. So by last night, I was feeling the need for a serious detox. I needed fresh foods, vegetables, and protein, stat. Enter: this lentil and beet salad. My mom and sister have both made it, which is a take on one of the Trader Joe’s sample dishes, tons of times. I’ve always loved it, but being that I avoid cooking 99.9% of my life, I’ve managed to also avoid making it myself. (Technically, there’s no “cooking” involved in this dish, but you understand my point, I’m sure.) When my mom says a meal is “easy,” I can’t take it at face value because she is a whiz in the kitchen and invents new recipes for fun (WHAT?). But my sister, on the other hand, is pretty much in the same cooking-is-hard-and-overwhelming-and-tedious boat as I am, so I figured if even she endorses this, I could try it, too.

And, you guys, it seriously is so easy. It took me a tad longer than 10 minutes, but only because I forgot about the chickpeas (distraction is one of the biggest downfalls of my kitchen attempts); I had to text my mom and sister and ask if you’re supposed to rinse the lentils and beets (no to the lentils, yes to the beets—in cold water, to avoid staining your hands); and I realized I didn’t include enough cucumber or cheese for my liking the first time around (when in doubt, always add more cheese). But if you can manage to avoid my cooking pitfalls, this really will only take you about 10 minutes.

10 Minute Lentil and Beet Salad - Sarrandipity Blog

Most of these, aside from the lentils package, are estimations can you can adjust based on your own personal tastes. 

  • 1 package (17.6 oz) ready-to-eat lentils
  • 3 ready-to-eat steamed and peeled beets (Note: I used 3—from Trader Joe’s 8 oz ready-to-eat package—but I’m not a huge beet fan and wanted it just as an accent. If you like or love beets, increase the amount accordingly.)
  • Crumbled feta (I used almost all of a 6 oz container, but I LOVE cheese. So, do with that information what you’d like.)
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons Farmed Here Sweet Basil Vinaigrette (or any dressing you fancy). (You can get the Sweet Basil dressing at Whole Foods and most other grocery stores.)

10 minute lentil and beet salad - Sarrandipity blog


  • Place beets in a bowl of cold water to rinse some of the color and avoid staining your hands.
  • Chop beets and cucumber (unpeeled, but without the seeded part in the middle) into small pieces.
  • Combine lentils, beets, feta, cucumber, and beans (strained) in a bowl.
  • Mix in the dressing.
  • Eat. (The garbanzos and lentils make it a pretty hearty salad, but I paired it with sautéed brussels sprouts to make it an even more complete meal.)
  • Relish in the fact that you made something that is healthy, and looks and sounds rather mature, but really requires next to no kitchen skills.

Serves: About 4-5 people, based on my very non-scientific analysis of my leftovers

10 minute lentil and beet salad - sarrandipity blog

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