Sauteed Apple Side Dish (Paleo/AIP)

Sauteed Apple Side Dish

Tonight, I was met with a small dilema. I had all of the ingredients for a really great recipe….Or so I thought. I was actually missing two ingredients. These are the times when you just have to figure it out. Our local grocery store around the corner is horrible and sparse on healthy ingredients. Running to the store was not an option.

This is the true test of a busy parent and home cook. My broiler is my bff when I’m in a pinch. I threw some chicken in for 10 minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper. The true star of this dish is the apple topping. I think this saved the whole dish! It would be great on any type of meat like chicken or pork.

Sauteed Apple Side Dish

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 3 Sweet Red Apples (Like Gala or Fuji)
  • Basil Infused Olive Oil
  • Fresh or Dried Organic Thyme (Both work.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  1. Add olive oil to a large saute pan.
  2. Sprinkle the thyme leaves into the oil. Don’t go crazy. Just a pinch or two.
  3. Turn on the heat to medium high and allow the pan to get hot so that the apples sizzle when they hit the pan.
  4. Add the apples to the pan and stir frequently.
  5. Add a touch of pink Himalayan salt.
  6. Continue to stir frequently for 10 to 15 minutes or until the apples have started to turn a lovely, golden brown.
  7. Put on the top or side of any dish to enjoy!

This is just a simple trick to keep in your back pocket for nights when you need something extra delicious, without sacrificing hours in the kitchen. It’s fast to whip up and is out of this world! I think the basil infused olive oil gives it it’s extra oomph. You can find this ingredient at local tasting shops, online, or you might look into making your own. (When I learn how I will make sure to share my experience.)

I hope you enjoy this little tid bit of a recipe. I’m sending you sweet side dishes from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Make sure you come back next time to see what this Improvising, Infused Olive Oil Love, Common Sense Cook will do. Don’t forget you can subscribe for an email notification, follow me on Facebook and many more social media platforms.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

The Fear of Losing Weight

I’ve had my mind on this post for a while… But, like many things (and the 5 drafts I have saved for other posts), I take time to think out what I write. I want to make sure that I know what I want to say on a subject. But this picture below happened and yeah…The fear was a little more real than contemplating how I would feel IF…

Five Pounds Down

It’s taken about a month, but yes. According to my scale, I have lost 5 pounds. I try and go a long time without weighing because I can get obsessively and easily discouraged. I try to wait two weeks between. I weigh in the morning after I go to the bathroom. You know… All the tricks. LOL Because naturally, my weight does go up slightly after breakfast, working out, and just living the day. Why is there fear instead of excitement?

younger versions of me

Red Shirt (15), Green Shirt (13)

I don’t have picture of me younger and these are just because I took a picture and put on Facebook. But, these are pictures of me as a younger kid. Thirteen and Fifteen years old. You can see, I was a big kid. Really, I’ve been a bigger kid most of my life. I mean, I remember in First Grade having a kid make fun of me for me being fat and telling her, “No I’m not! I lost weight over the summer!” I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. High School was probably my best because I actually lost a good amount of weight. I think my lowest was 191 and I could wear size 13 jeans.

But, as life often does, it gets stressful, there’s drama. You end up on your own and dirt broke and unable to buy any food let alone healthy food. It’s the time where you just learn how to survive and in that time my health suffered and my weight exploded.

2008 Jacob's Graduation

This picture isn’t that bad. But, this was before I had kiddos. I was okay with how I looked. I was heavy but it was in all the right places.

Then we have some babies. In the picture on the left I was about 255. I actually lost a lot of weight while I was pregnant. But as you can see in the picture on the right. I gained it all back and then some. The picture on the right was in 2012 and I was beginning my blogging journey. I knew that something wasn’t right and I needed to do something about it…

But a running theme in my life is… Things happen. Life gets stressful. December 2012 was when I met my husband.

I met My Husband

Me and My Husband Nick

We were married, we ended up having a great year of our first marriage. It was like a fairy tale. Then… Are you guys getting this yet? Life turns stressful and stuff happens. Well, a tornado destroying everything we have…happened. We were homeless for 4 months and try as hard as I could, I couldn’t really stay 100% gluten free. This is when I realized that something was very wrong.

I couldn’t stay awake. Probably for a good 4 months or more I slept most of the days away. I just couldn’t stay awake. I had lots of migraines. I discovered a lot of it was contributed to a severe reaction to caffeine. But… I was also not okay upstairs. I figured I had just been through a lot..

Hind sight says (because you know it’s so wise) I could have had an autoimmune flare. I’ve had low thyroid numbers but you know what they say.. “Low but in range…” I think instead of having a lot of emotional issues from the tornado, I actually ended up physically reacting to what happened. But, when our house was back I had a new resolve to get healthy and figure this out. I was going to dedicate myself to Paleo. I got through that whole year without a soda. I thought I could conquer the world.

Unfortunately, this situation lead me right to the brink of my fears. I was standing on a scale in someone else’s house and it happened. And I panicked. I cried. Yes. I’ve never admitted this to anyone…But it said 300 pounds. (So technically, since then I’ve lost 25 pounds in 2 years.)

Well, as you guys may know I’ve been working hard this last year with AIP and discovering food allergies and testing my iron will. I’ve seen a natural doctor and added some supplements. I’m finally on the rebound from all of this. It’s been nearly 6 years of ups and downs trying to figure out how to lose weight. Fighting, clawing, failing, crying, retrying, fighting some more. I may have hypothyroidism and celiac but I’m on the right track to healing.

Flash forward through all that mess and here I am. Just walking. Every day I get a chance. This week was the first week since I started November 13th that I didn’t have any obstacles in my way. I did all 5 days. Which…Yes I’m kind of paying for but you know… It’ll get better. I have been working hard and for once in my long time of working at this..I’m seeing progress. Actual scale victories. There are only so many *bleeping* times you can be like…Well my face is clearer…and you know my mind isn’t so foggy…and you know this non-scale victory that…yeah…

And then this morning… I realized I lost 5 pounds and a twinge of fear hit me. I’ve been through so much I deserve this! But, at the same time there’s the fear I have of actually losing weight. What if I do get down to my goal? I want to lost 80 to 100 pounds. What if I actually pull it off? Hell…What if I just get to my initial short term goal of 250!? I haven’t been there since I was pregnant with Mark in 2011!

My biggest issue is that I am a very self-conscious person. I do not like getting the attention of other men. I’ve gotten attention from men since I was 16 and had started to develop. Yes.. My big ole tata’s y’all. I’ll say it. I am not one to feel flattered. I don’t want your attention. I don’t want to have to catch you looking down. Yes men, we notice. It’s rude. And, I’m not one to often show off my cleavage because of this (rare exception in that picture above…I normally crop it out).

Truth be told…I probably have a stronger reaction to these types of things because I have been sexually abused in the past. While I know I’m stronger physically and mentally…I just really have a strong aversion to getting attention. I wear the baggy clothes. I cover up the tatas. But that fear is there. What if I lose weight and people look at me differently.

There’s also the all too real thoughts about…Will people treat me differently if I am smaller? Don’t get me wrong…I think most of my friends and family will be happy and they won’t treat me any different. But, if the employees at Sephora actually would ask me if I need help….. Yes..It happens. I am always ignored. I think I would just be so very disappointed. Disappointed with people in general.

It takes a lot of self positive talk to get me through a day. You can ask my dear hubsy how many times I rethink an outfit because I want to look presentable. It takes a lot to love myself and be okay with where I am. It’s scary thinking about what I may deal with if I do lose the weight I want to.

It seems silly to think that I have a fear of losing weight. But, I think it is a real feeling that many of us could have. It’s not that we’re so scared we won’t lose weight, or maybe there are. Maybe fear keeps us from trying to reach our full potential weight loss. I think it takes a lot of love and courage to drastically change your appearance and still end up loving yourself at the end of the day no matter what.

Really…Maybe that is my point. The fear is there, but we have to love ourselves right through it. We have to forgive ourselves for years of struggles and not feeling like “we got it right.” It’s a daily choice. It’s moment by moment how we live. We have to choose to put every moment into a positive place. I have to do this for me. That way I can become the strongest version of myself. So that no matter what may come, I can still keep the journey going.


That’s it. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. Go shine you’re beauty out into the world. Spread peace and happiness. Do the corny positive self talk. It really does work. Keep fighting. Keep growing stronger. Make sure to come back next time too! I have an epic recipe coming up that I hope you will all enjoy.

Go soak up the sunshine.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Basic Gelatin Gummies (AIP/Paleo)


May the Force Be With You! ^__^

It’s official. I am turning into the hippie paleo mom that buys her kids silicon molds and gelatin for Christmas! I purchased some cute little hearts for Madison and for the boys…What else other than Star Wars?! They weren’t very expensive at all and I can leave a link to what I bought below. (I am not affiliated with Amazon so these are NOT affiliate links. I receive no compensation for your purchase.)

I went about the interwebs searching for recipes, but what I really needed was the base recipe. Thankfully, a lovely lady in my paleo group was able to help me out with this. You need about 2 cups of liquid to 4 tablespoons of gelatin. I picked up the Great Lakes Gelatin to try because it was on sale, but I’m sure you can use whatever gelatin on hand. I even found an article on vegan gelatin substitutes for our vegan friends. If you try that out, let us know in the comments how it goes (Here’s the link:

I’ve also included my YouTube video below for our visual learners! I hope you enjoy. (Subscribe at The Common Sense Cook on YouTube and get your notifications from there when I upload.)

Basic Gelatin Gummies (AIP/Paleo)

  • Servings: Varies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 Cup of Juice (I used Blueberry Naked Juice.)
  • 3/4 Cup of Kombucha (I used GT’s Gingerberry.)
  • 1 Cup of Syrup (I used raw local honey, but you could use any syrup of choice such as elderberry, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 4 Tablespoons of Great Lakes Gelatin (Or other gelatin or gelatin alternative.)


  1. Add all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and turn on low for 5 to 10 minutes. My stove definitely took the full 10 minutes. You want to make sure all of the clumps have dissolved.
  2. Use a deep tablespoon or a liquid dropper to add the mixture to your molds. I sat my molds on a cookie sheet to make them easier to move.
  3. Let the gummies sit in the fridge for up to an hour. I checked mine at 45 minutes and they were fine, but I have a very cold refrigerator.
  4. Pop them out of the mold and enjoy!
  5. These lasted just fine in a bowl in the fridge. They were a great snack just to pop out of the fridge and hand to the kiddos.

I hope you enjoy this really easy recipe. The kids were very excited and have enjoyed getting to have such a yummy treat. Best of all there are great benefits from the probiotics in kombucha and antibacterial qualities from the local honey, which is also good for seasonal allergies as well. I may have to whip us up another batch this morning!

Make sure you come back next time to see what this Hippie Paleo, Common Sense Cook can figure out next. I’m sending happy, healthy guts from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

What I bought:


Heart Molds:

Star Wars Molds:

Roasted Bacon Wrapped Asparagus (Paleo/AIP)

Roasted Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

The last couple weeks have been crazy! I’ve been experiencing a lot of changes, and it’s still difficult having my husband away at training. Thankfully…Only three more weeks left till his graduation. I wasn’t feeling too hot last night, a little depressed. Food didn’t even sound good. I could have just skipped supper and gone to bed if it wasn’t for the kiddos. I wanted something fast so I knew I could trust my ole buddy, ole pal the broiler.

What I ended up with was superb! I broiled some honey glazed chicken. Whipped up some cauliflower mash, and the star!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Asparagus (Cleaned and Ends removed.)
  • Thick Cut Bacon
  • 25 Star Balsamic Vinegar (Or a good vinaigrette.) -Optional-

Cover a cookie sheet with non-stick foil, or parchment paper. Cut your bacon strips in half. Wrap it neatly around the asparagus and carefully place them so that the seam is on the bottom.

Turn the broiler on high and cook for 8-10 minutes or until sufficiently cooked. This can depend on your oven. Remember to never leave anything while it’s cooking under the broiler. Carefully, pull them out of the oven and flip them over. Add them back in under the broiler for another 2 minutes until the other side is done.

Add them to a lovely platter and drizzle a great balsamic vinegar over top and voila! You have a plate full of awesome!

You may be wondering about that kiddo approval rating? I totally got a 3/3 and was thoroughly impressed. They actually like asparagus! It’s not a fluke either because I’ve gotten them to eat it before. (Check out my salmon recipe!)

I hope you’ll try this out! It’s very quick and easy. This would be great for a holiday party! Just make sure to drain the fat for easier party consumption.

I’m sending you quick, yummy treats from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I’ll be back soon with some more delicious holiday recipes.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Homemade AIP Beef Sausage (Batch Cooking Friendly)

sausage without subtitles

The last few weeks have been down right strange. We’ve had 90 degree weather through October her in Arkansas… And now Mother Nature has decided to make up for it with nearly a week of rain. My computer is not wanting to upload videos so I figured I’d get a blog to you guys so I don’t get too far behind. It’s taking about a day for each segment to upload so I’m hoping I can at least get the batch cooking video up by Sunday. So here we go my friends! I shall fight this craziness head on and keep my head where it belongs. Now, I have shared in a previous post how I like to do sausage with ground pork. To check out that recipe Click Here.

In the last few months I have started to have histamine issues. Pork is one of those troublesome foods. I don’t cut it out, but I do try to avoid eating it every day. Beef sausage has become my favorite sausage simply on the account of the flavor. Feel free to give both a try though!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef (I did 4 pounds, got six patties for batch cooking.)
  • Minced Fresh Garlic (My favorite but use powdered if you prefer.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (You can add fresh cracked pepper if you’ve reintroduced it.)
  • Herbs De Provence (Or other seasonings of choice. Basil would be great.)

Take a food processor and add everything in. This may seem odd, but what happens is that it becomes that sticky, weird sausage like consistency. I also use this trick for meatloaf because it binds the meat together without the use of eggs. We just recently found out our youngest is sensitive to eggs.

Once your meat is well blended you can package and freeze, you can make patties, you can cook and eat…The ideas are endless! It’s so simple that I couldn’t go back to regular store bought versions of sausage.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. These were great this morning! I just defrosted them and cooked them in a skillet. They did get considerably smaller, but they were so good, I didn’t mind. Be sure to check out my latest video on YouTube at The Common Sense Cook! I’m sending you a yummy breakfast to fuel your morning. Be sure to come back and see what this Crazy Common Sense Cook can come up with next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Not Every Recipe is A Winner – Common Sense Philosophies

Grilled Shrimp on a Baby Spinach Salad

Not every recipe is a winner. If you’re new to cooking, I think it’s important for you to know this. Now, I admit I do have an uncanny luck with liking most things that I make. My husband was shocked one day when they liked a dish and I refused to eat it because I didn’t like the flavor. It’s rare, but I promise I don’t always like everything I come up with…but my biggest message is…That’s okay!!!

One reason I like doing review blogs on recipes by other bloggers is because I want you guys to know these recipes are accomplish-able. I like to show you guys which recipes I’ve tried. Now…I think my first review was my only negative one and I immediately decided that I did not want to do another negative review. We all have different opinions…We all have our own food issues. For instance…Since going paleo for well over a year now I am not fond of most gluten free bread like products. I have given up on finding a pancake that I like. It’s just a texture issue for me. However, there are several good recipes out there that many people like. My goal is never to discourage anyone from at least trying a recipe.

When you’re cooking you have to be reasonable with your expectations. Not every recipe is going to be right for you. There may even be ingredients that you are just not ready to try. I, frankly, love to try anything and everything. I learned the hard way that I’m not a fan of short ribs. The flavor is just not something I care for. I’ve tried making up my own recipe. I’ve tried other recipes. I’m just not a fan…Again…That’s okay!

The picture above is actually shrimp sauteed in butter, lemon, and pepper. The shrimp turned out really soft and the butter flavor over powered the shrimp. It just didn’t taste good. I was not a fan of the texture either. Grilled shrimp would be a much choice for this salad in hind sight.

Things I’ve learned when choosing and trying recipes:

  • Go for it! Don’t be afraid to try it.
  • Modify when you know what you like. If you know you prefer basil over thyme…Do it! Try it!
  • Recipes are not written in stone. Experiment. Use the recipe as a guideline when you’re comfortable enough to experiment.
  • Keep time in mind. Do you really want to try to master bouef bourguignon on a Wednesday night?
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own recipe! (Have you seen the tab that says “Stuff I Make Up”?)
  • Shop local and in season as much as you can for inspiration.
  • Stay inspired and watch others cook, such as cooking shows, or on YouTube.

To end this Common Sense Philosophies post, I want to remind you my dear friends, just because the recipe isn’t a winner, doesn’t mean you’re a loser. You are still winning with experience points. Every meal is a lesson and you get a chance three times a day to try again, and learn more. I told my husband the other day, there’s nothing in this world that I wouldn’t want to learn. The day I stop learning is the day I’m ready to move on to the next life to learn something new there.

Keep on cooking friends and come back next time. I have several recipes and a review coming up that I am so very excited to share with you. I’ll be reviewing He Won’t Know It’s Paleo’s Red Wine Pasta Sauce…and I have figured out my AIP Bouef Bourguignon. Thank you guys for your continued support. It is so greatly appreciated.

-Ami M. Lee, Experimenter, Mad Hatter Chef, The Common Sense Cook

Guacamole (Nightshade Free/Paleo/AIP)

Last night was Taco Night here in the Lee Household. Our kids were excited but I was feeling it was becoming a little over done. I am not the kind of person who can eat the same thing every week. Ironically…I used to be, but now my taste buds crave some adventure. I happened to have an avocado in the fridge so I said…Let’s video some guacamole…The rest, is history…

Here’s what you’ll need for this epic guacamole:

  • 1 Avocado (You can use more if you have more than 1 adult and 3 littles.)
  • 3 Small Green Onions (Or 1-2 Large)
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit Pepper for AIP)
  • The Juice of One Small Lemon (Or half of a large)
  • A Couple Dashes of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Cilantro (Add to your liking.)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Mint

This is so easy I feel like giggling. All you have to do is throw all of this into a food processor and blend till creamy. The hard part is trying to share equally with everyone!

I hope you enjoy this super fast recipe. If you’d like to see the video, I’ll link it below. If you don’t believe that my kids could ever like something like avocado…check it out so you can see, kids can love real food too! (No, they weren’t paid for their opinions with jelly beans…I promise!)

I’m sending tangy, yummy goodness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what this recipe make’er up’er can do next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew (AIP/Paleo Friendly)

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew

If you guys haven’t heard yet, I started a YouTube channel to share some of my recipes! I started off with an introduction and a little bit about myself, and a little bit about Back to School lunches for my 3 paleo kids. For my very first recipe video, I wanted to just do what I do best. Make…Stuff….Up. So I started with a template from a recipe with Mickey Trescott.

This soup not only turned out amazing! It turned into the best soup I’ve ever had in my life…Rivaling even that of my Epic Noodle Soup! I even got all three of my “not soup fans” to eat it up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and Diced
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 4 Medium Carrots
  • 2 Medium Pears
  • 6 Cups of Homemade Chicken Bone Brother (Or veggie broth…Or whatever you like.)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 or 5 Basil Leaves
  • A Pinch of Dried Thyme
  • A Few Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 Splash Apple Cider Vinegar

Turn your pressure cooker onto the brown or saute setting. Heat up some olive oil. Add the beef and let it brown. When it is browned, but not cooked through add the garlic till fragrant. Once that’s done, throw in all those amazing vegetables and pears. Stir it around to evenly distribute everything.

Add all the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker. Again, stir everything around to evenly distribute all of those amazing ingredients. Lock your pressure cooker lid and follow the instructions to your machine.

Set the timer for 30 minutes under high pressure.

***PLEASE! Read your owners manual and know how to safely open your pressure cooker!***

Carefully release the pressure valve, or let it release naturally. You choose here, friend. All that’s left after this is to patiently wait for it to cool off…Yes.. That’s the hard part!

I’m going to leave a link below to the YouTube video that goes along with this recipe. I hope you enjoy! If you give it a try leave me a comment wherever comment sections are found. 😉 Make sure you come back to see what this soup loving, paleo mom will make up next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Valencia Orange Roasted Chicken

Whole Orange Chicken

A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by Julia Child in the Melody Sheep video where they make her sing. There’s a part where she says the test of a good chef is a roast chicken. The lemon, the rosemary, the garlic…What treat. Well…So I did just that and it was amazing! My 3 kiddos even enjoyed it! Only problem is…The second time I tried to make this so my husband could have some (he tried the 1st one and actually liked it!) I was out of lemons! I used it to scrub a really dirty old pan and forgot that I needed it for my chicken. So what did I do? Say it with me everybody! I made it up!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) Whole Free Range Chicken (Or do the best quality you can afford.)
  • 1 Large Organic Valencia Orange
  • 1/2 of an Organic Yellow Onion (White would work fine as well.)
  • Fresh Garlic (Use as much as you like. I used two huge cloves.)
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit pepper for AIP.)

Preheat your oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Take your bird, open it up, and make sure you rinse it. Pull out the organ meat package. If you don’t want to use it right now, throw it in the freezer and use later. You can check out my chicken giblet gravy here: if you try a different version that you think it would pair well with. Waste nothing! If you know how to remove the wishbone from the chicken, this will make carving easier, but isn’t necessary.

Throw that lovely bird into a deep roasting pan, casserole, or dutch oven. Cut the orange in half and squeeze that lovely juice all over the top of the chicken. Add the rind into the chicken cavity with the garlic. Pour olive oil, and sprinkle torn basil leaves, salt, and pepper on the exterior of the chicken. If you want, remove the very tip of the chicken wing and fold it on itself.

Put your bird in the oven uncovered for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the juice, when pierced, runs clear. When it’s done, carefully remove this onto a platter and allow it to cool before slicing.

Plate for Orange Chicken

This plate is a bit of a mess…But this was after a Fit Camp workout. I was a little more than hungry. I had a smidgen of rice with chicken and sauteed onions. The onions were cooked with my typical Asian combo, which I also put on the squash that I roasted. Plus some cool cucumber on the side. We have to live up to that #MoreVegetablesThanaVegetarian hashtag, right?

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I am so happy to have impressed my three little ones and my husband. Nothing feels better than having four happy people after supper (five if you include myself). Try it out. If you do, make sure to come by the Facebook page and share your experiences with me. I’m sending you juicy, amazing chicken from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back on Manic Monday where I try to share some of my quicker recipes to get you through any case of the Mondays (even if it isn’t Monday).

-Ami M. Lee, Making It Up All the Way, Chicken Loving, Family Satisfy’n, Common Sense Cook

Common Sense Philsophies – Food Religion

The Best People, Julia Child

Oh yes… One of my favorite quotes by Julia.

One thing you might not know about me, is that I am a seeker of knowledge. I just love understanding things and people. I AM that weirdo who can talk religion, politics, food, Team Edward or Team Jacob (Edward…in case anyone was wondering…) and basically anything and everything. Even if I don’t agree, or have the same beliefs, I just love to know how people tick. It ignites that child like curiosity within me when I meet someone or something new. Same thing goes for “food religion.”

Now…You may be like…What in the world are you talking about?! I’ve come to this interesting conclusion lately that the way you eat is so very similar to religion. You have a set way of doing things and you put your whole heart into it. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or just Standard American Diet but using mostly organic foods. You have your reasons, and they’re usually always good reasons to eat better, whole foods, and support local farmers. There is a lot of common ground! However, it seems like more and more these days, people get stuck in the Dogma of Food Religion and forget that we’re all just eating… And let me quote her again… People who love to eat are the best people.

There are some extreme diets out there! I’ve heard of everything from a completely meat diet to a completely raw plant based (vegan) diet. There’s the Standard American Diet, Paleo, Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, Wahl’s Protocol, Low-Histamine… The list goes on and on and on… But, when did we start saying that MY DIET is the ONLY RIGHT kind of diet for a person to have?

Even though I’m paleo…This is something I’ve seen in our large paleo group. If someone mentions being able to eat something not typically described as “paleo” then people get all bent out of shape. We even have hashtags for #TeamWhiteRice! I see things like, grains are evil! Soy is poison. Dairy is the devil. And while….That may make sense for that person… Is there a one size fits all human diet?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the vegans lately. It’s just something I find interesting, and I love that more people are advocating against animal suffering. But, even in the vegan community…They fight and bicker about who is the most vegan… Who does the most hashtags to get out the vegan message. Vegans are truly passionate to deny the primal instinct within to go completely without eating meat. I admit, I eat vegan meals on occasion. Especially vegan treats. If I’m going on that rare occasional treat, I would rather use whole, raw foods than to have to bake, and have a million weird ingredients… (Doesn’t help…Paleo baking is hard.)

Then we have our friends (and family) who are Standard American Diet. I mentioned to one family member who was looking at the possibility of having cancer that they have seen great things with a vegan diet and cancer patients… Needless to say…This was my daddy and love him as I do he replied, “I’ll die with a steak in one hand, and a beer in the other.” I’m sure some people just fell over…But that’s my dad. A lot of us probably know these folks. Heck, some of you might be reading my blog like…Yep..She’s talking about me. What do I have to say about this? Well. You can’t make choices for these people. They’ve eaten this way their whole lives and think there’s nothing wrong with it. Does it annoy the heck out of me when people complain that my kids are starved because they don’t get treats or can’t have soda? Oh you bet…This momma bear is happy to inform any and all that I am trying to give them good healthy options. But, again I come to the question… Is this diet right for everyone?

The answer to these questions are……NO! No way! Never! Nope.

No one diet will ever work for all 7 billion of us. We all have different backgrounds and genetics. We may have different life experiences and handle food differently. I often hear stories about people like me who are severely allergic to food in the U.S.A. going away on holiday to another country and being fine! Why are there skinny people who eat junk food all day? Why are there people who are still fat on paleo? I think it is simply because…

We are all unique.

I think the most important thing that I would like anyone who reads this to take from it is….

(Say it with me.) People who love to eat, are the best people. So yes, that means you. If you love food, you’re awesome in my book. No matter what you believe is best. If you’re vegan and you feel great and are full of life and energy and can help the planet and reduce animal suffering…You have my kudos and encouragement. If you’re a single mom just trying to make it and all you can afford is spaghetti noodles, pasta sauce, and a pound of ground beef…You still have all my kudos! If you’re some form of Paleo like me and you are all about nutrient density, snout to tail, and buying local…You have just as many kudos as the rest!


Because we’re all awesome people who love food. We can learn awesome things from each other regardless of our diet. I definitely don’t let paleo stop me from figuring out how to make or recreate amazing dishes from all sorts of amazing people. And, I am committing to be able to serve not just my paleo friend, but everyone! So don’t freak out if you see a Standard American Diet with pasta in it, my paleo friend… Don’t freak out my Standard American Diet friends if you see a vegan recipe…

So whether you’re passing the spaghetti…the lentil…or the bacon….I hope we can all share a dish together and just enjoy food. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what opinions this hippie momma, Common Sense Cook can lay down next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook