Do It Yourself Primal Pacs

The real Primal Pacs
The real Primal Pacs

 

I love Primal Pacs. These shelf stable packs are vacuum sealed containers of jerky, nuts, and fruit that make for a very good snack, or even a good meal on the run. I have had some of these in my pantry for some time, and had taken one to work a few weeks back. I happened to have a crazy day that day and saw this thing sitting on my desk. I looked at the back of the package to the macronutrient numbers and thought, “This could actually make for a good meal since I can’t leave my desk.” So, guess what I had for lunch that day? And ended up being quite satisfied. So, I took another one to have in case I needed it down the line and had it a few days later.

When you can’t take a sandwich, this may be one of the easiest things to have on hand to eat without much trouble. The problem is the price, and it’s not to say that the price is outlandish, because it’s not, but for a regular person who just wants to try and stay close to the paleo line, it is a bit more than I want to spend on a meal. At around $7 each, it isn’t crazy, and I used to spend more than that at Taco Bell without blinking, but when you are at your desk, you want something quick, and cheap.

So, I started looking into the best way to recreate this since all that it contains is jerky, dried nuts, dried berries, and some mango. I thought, “I can make some of these, and make them fit me a bit more.”

Below is the result.

DIY Primal Pack Contents
DIY Primal Pack Contents

My wife had bought this Reynold’s Handi-Vac system sometime ago for like $3 at a yard sale and we didn’t really have a specific use for it. It came with 3 bags, so I put it to use. I used the bags, some dried mango and blueberries from costco, some Macadamia Nuts, and some unsweetened coconut to create my bag. Now, you may have noticed I didn’t say anything about the jerky. The first time I did this, I actually used some pork strips from Costco as well, and had great results, but this time I used the actual Primal Pac jerky with the same result, just different ratios. Since not all of us can afford to buy jerky from a steer that was raised on arugula in the Andes mountains on a regular basis, I am going to show you the ratios I used for creating my bags with the Costco jerky instead. And the Costco Beef Strips are really good too, a better fat/carb/protein ratio for sure as the pork has more sugar and less of the good stuff. But both are gluten free.

DIY Primal PackHere is my DIY primal pack. I used the Handi-Vac to suck the air out and they keep in my desk for weeks without me even thinking about them, and then I’ll have a week where I can’t get away from my desk, and will devour these things in no time.

So, here are the things I was looking at when I ate the real Primal Pac that first day.

Protein: 48g
Fat: 28g
Carbohydrates: 28g
Fiber: 4g

Not a bad for a total of close to 500 calories. There are no veggies in it for obvious reasons, but other than that, it is a good, solid meal.

So, here is how my pack came out.

Protein: 26g
Fat: 33g
Carbohydrates: 50g
Fiber: 5g

While not as good as the real deal because of the added sugar in the jerky and dried fruit, it is still not too bad, and comes out to over 600 calories with all of those carbs.

And, here is the coolest part, when I do the packs myself, the first time would include the price of the bags and the sealer, but after that, if you take those out of the equation, since I plan to use them over and over again, the cost of all of the food is only $4.38 per bag. I end up saving a couple of bucks each time I do this.  Not a bad deal, and it is so super convenient for me.

I know it is just a couple of bucks, but over time, it can add up, and you have to cut costs and make decisions based on your own personal stances on things. I won’t do gluten, so that’s easy. I am okay with a little bit of added sugar here or there, especially in such small amounts, and I need to save money where I can while not completely defeating my goals, so this is one way I can handle this without much work. If I had a super high paying job, I would love to just get the Primal Pacs every few weeks and have them on hand whenever I needed them, but this is reality, and reality means you make cuts where you can in order to keep moving forward. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so Paleo Police, sorry.

 

Paleo Pizza and Baked Squash Fries Review

Some nights you go for hardcore paleo, and some nights it is about keeping everyone happy within reason. Tonight was somewhere in between.

Tonight the plan was to have pizza and a veggie. We’d had some grilled squash and zucchini earlier this week, and we had just a couple left to use for something else. I had remembered saving Against All Grain’s Baked Squash Fries and thought that might be a good addition to pizza night.

Typically we just use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough. Not because it is paleo, since it’s not, but because it is really tasty and gluten free. So no one in our house has to have stomach troubles afterward, and pizza night is always a hit.

But tonight I wanted to change it up a bit. My kids still had the Bob’s Red Mill, but I tried out a Paleo Pizza dough that looked simple enough to put together without much thought on my part. Because, honestly, a lot of nights, that is what helps me choose what route we go for dinner over a more complicated meal, especially when it’s just me and the kids.

So, the results.  Obviously I am not a chef, nor an amazing food photographer like a lot of other bloggers I follow, so this is the real deal. Below is my plate for the night. My Baked Squash Fries look totally different than AAG, but they still tasted very good when dipped in marinara sauce.

My Plate Tonight
My Plate Tonight
Baked Squash Fries, not as pretty as AAG
Baked Squash Fries, not as pretty as AAG

The kids’ pizza was partial Kerrygold Dubliner cheese and part Daiya Tapioca cheese since the little man can’t yet have dairy. Both had tomato sauce and pepperoni.  Baby girl wanted red pepper and little man wanted green pepper, so they added those and, as always, it was a hit.

Bob's Red Mill Pizza - minus egg
Bob’s Red Mill Pizza – minus egg

My pizza, at least what was left on the pan, was sauce, pepperoni, Dubliner cheese, red and green pepper, and onion. I wasn’t sure about this recipe just because in the article, the author commented that it was more of a batter than a dough, and he was right, but it was surprisingly tasty. It was almost more like an italian breadstick with toppings rather than a pizza dough.  Not as crunchy and hard as pizza dough, but packed with flavor.

Paleo Pizza
Paleo Pizza

Lessons Learned

The next time I make both of these, I will probably back off on the italian seasoning. It was a bit overwhelming with all of the basil and oregano in the mix, but still good. But I think the squash fries would have been more of a hit with the kids if I had used less since their palates are a bit more tender than mine.

Overall it was a very good and successful meal that I will likely do again, especially since pizza night happens at our house every week or two and squash and zucchini will be coming in over the next few weeks in the garden.

My Paleo Journey

From My Story

My life has revolved around the health of myself and those around me.

At the age of 8, I lost my mother in to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She had slowly deteriorated to a point where the most communication she could get to us were small movements and moans. She had been diagnosed with it years earlier and we saw her health waste away to a sad point. The only way that we saw much improvement on her from day to day is when she would go see a local chiropractor to help with some of her pain. This was our first example of how the body can heal when given the proper stimuli without putting foreign substances in.

Continue reading My Paleo Journey