Friday, April 30, 2010

My Month as a Paleo Eater: A Review

I began this blog to document the month of April. I decided I would try to challenge myself for the month and eat a primal diet to see if I noticed any changes. It's hard to believe that my 30 days are up, and my plan is to continue on this eating plan. Here's what I've noticed in just 4 short weeks:

-I've lost 8 pounds the past month eating a Paleo diet (for 20 pounds total loss)
-My Psoriasis is almost entirely gone for my elbows
-My acne is slowing going away and my complexion is evening out
-I am beginning to look leaner, on top of the weight loss
-My head is clear every day and the afternoon slump or a food coma are things of the past
-I wake up in the mornings feeling refreshed
-I've been sleeping more soundly
-I feel more positive. I know that sounds weird, but I feel less irritable and depressed
-Food definitely tastes BETTER because my taste buds are adjusting to life with less salt and sugar
-My digestive system works like clockwork now, daily
-I really appreciate the meals that I eat that are non-Paleo (pizza, yum!)
-My athletic fitness levels have skyrocketed

I am really starting to see the connection between what I put into my body and what I get in return. When I put only the best quality, non-processed foods in, I get unparalleled energy and fitness in return. The food truly works like fuel. It seems so simple, yet it has taken me 25 years to figure this out.

It has been difficult to not tell the world how great I'm feeling and try to persuade them to do the same. I think that I really do have a slight grain or dairy allergy. Whenever I have a non-Paleo meal, I can tell a difference for the entire next day (my digestion is off, I get bloated, my Psoriasis returns, etc.).

To celebrate my month of Paleo eating, I bought my self a very big treat (and a partially belated bday gift):



Watch out blogosphere! I now own a FOOD PROCESSOR! :)

Cavemen did yoga, right?



I have been amazed with my feats of strength this week due to, I believe, the Paleo Diet. I have gone to Yoga class the past two evenings and I've been able to hold poses that I have never been able to do. And I haven't been to a yoga class in three years! I am amazed by how strong I find myself becoming. I think I owe a great deal of this newfound strength to primal eating.

I ran a 5K in October prior to my hunter-gatherer diet. My time was 35 minutes (very, very slow, but nonetheless an accomplishment for me). I was able to run a 5 mile race on Sunday in 55 minutes, knocking about 20 seconds+ off each mile. This amount of time is incredible, especially for such a short race.

If cavemen didn't run footraces and practice yoga, they definitely should have, because they would have kicked my butt at it for sure.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Family Affair...

This week my husband decided that he would eat Paleo with me for the week (those were his hands kneading the meatloaf in the pics this week- I do not have manhands). He said he would give me 7 days- without any cheat meals- of strict Paleo eating. Last night I went out after a Yoga class with some girlfriends for some cheese and salt (also known as delicious Mexican food), and he stayed home and ate a Paleolicious meal. :)

We were eating fairly healthy prior to my endeavor of Paleolithic eating, and he would eat Paleo with me 1-2 meals a day (mostly out of convenience). I have to admit that as excited as I am for him to eat Paleo, I'm disappointed with the results. He hasn't noticed all the great effects I have- increased energy, better sleep, clear headedness, clear skin, weight loss, and better digestion. I know that he is only on day 4 of his test period, but I was hoping he would fall in love with the diet. I worry that if he doesn't take it on, it will be more challenging for me to keep it up. Couples are more likely to quit (and remain quit) smoking if their partner quits with them; is the same true for grains and dairy?

On our way to work this morning, I was questioning him about how he feels. He said he feels the same. This got me thinking, how can you make someone value something that they cannot see/feel the effects of? My commitment is easy; I eat a meal with grains and my Psoriasis returns the next day. How do you make someone realize that while they may feel the same whether they eat frozen pizzas or porkchops (fortunately for my husband weight gain is never an issue) it is what happens internally that counts? I'm sure his cholesterol is lowered, his insulin sensitivity is leveling out, his blood pressure is lowered, and he is adding years to his life every day this week. Bad or more conventional eating habits can age you by 12 years. Eating 3+ servings of fruits and vegetables a day is one of the greatest changes you can do (aside from kicking the cancer sticks) to add years to your life.

Keep it up, honey! Your arteries will thank you, because Lord knows your waistline can't... :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I believe the children are our fructose...


I am a teacher. Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my students that really disturbed me. Every day this student (we'll call her Sally, since that's such a common name for teenagers in the 21st century) eats in my class. I'm cool with that, but I'm always shocked to see what she brings- an entire family sized bag of Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, poptarts, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, Sour Patch Kids, etc.

Yesterday good ol' Sally came up to me eating some Gushers (a "fruit" snack for those that are unfamiliar). I joked with her about her snacks. Sally and her group of friends replied 'Gushers are made with fruit. They're healthy'. WHAT? I responded 'They aren't fruit. Fruit grows on a tree, bush, or vine.' Sally says 'It's close enough'. Is it? Over the course of the class period (less than an hour) she ate a pack of Gushers, a Fruit by the Foot, a granola bar (mostly sugar), Teddy Grahams, and an individual sized bag of Goldfish. Her "snack" was over 40% of her recommended Sodium intake, and don't even get started on the sugar and fat content.

It scares me that kids don't know that what they eat is garbage. I had a similar diet to Sally as a kid. I was a VERY picky eater and I loved sugar, but at what point do parents need to intercede? Can parents intercede? 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes in their lifetime. The number jumps to 1 in 2 for minority children. In a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 18% of preschoolers were entering school OBESE. Maybe I'm just biased because I'm not a parent, but shouldn't this be one of a parent's primary concerns? Make your kid run outside, eat an apple, and TEACH them that Gushers do not count for a serving of fruit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peach Patties: Dessert or Breakfast, you be the judge





These were SO GOOD hot out of the oven and SO EASY to make!

Ingredients:
1 c. dried peaches (chewy peaches)
3/4 c. almond flour (might be able to use coconut flour too)
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine peaches, flour, and coconut in a blender/food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the oil and pulse again. In a mixing bowl, transfer mixture and add egg, stir. Shape into small mounds and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly brown.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paleo Meatloaf with Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" and Baked Tomatoes

Muy Deliciouso!




Paleo Meatloaf Recipe
(adapted from Loren Cordain's recipe in "The Paleo Diet for Weight Loss")

2 lbs. ground beef (we used 1 lb. bison and 1 lb. lean beef)
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bell pepper (red or green)
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. pepper
3 omega 3-enriched eggs, beaten
2 T. Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and press into a baking dish (I used a 9" x 9" baking pan). Bake for 45 minutes. Serves 8.

Baked Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes
1/2 c. mushrooms, minced
1 tsp. parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 c. canola oil

Slice tomatoes in half. Scoop out the pulp inside and place in a bowl. Add other ingredients to the bowl and mash/stir together. Pour the mixture into the tomatoes halves (placed on a baking dish). Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes (I cooked mine with my meatloaf and it was fine). I also scooped the extra mixture (there will be extra) on top of the meatloaf and it was great!

Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"

1 head cauliflower, cut into tiny pieces
2-3 cloves garlic
pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. sage
1/4 thyme
1/4 paprika
Splash of Olive Oil
1/4 c. water

Cut up the cauliflower into tinyish pieces (about the size of a quarter) and place in a sauce pan with water. Boil until it is tender with a fork (took mine around 5 minutes). Strain out the water. Here is where it gets tricky. I tried to mash it with a hand masher and I couldn't get the right consistency, so I blended mine, despite several websites saying not to do so. Do what feels right to you. Either way, add spices and oil and either mash or blend. I added a quarter cup of water to the blender and the consistency ended up being dead on (I thought).

GREAT meal! I love meals that use the same ingredients. This way you don't feel like you bought an entire thing of Parsley to use in one recipe.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Incredible Beef Thai Salad

Wow. That's all I have to say. Every bite is a party of flavor. Wow. :)



Thai Salad


1 lbs. Beef, cooked and cut into strips (I cooked mine in 1 Tbsp. Canola oil, 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, fresh ground pepper to taste, and 1 garlic clove in a frying pan)
1 bag of spinach leaves, rinsed
1 mango, diced
1 red pepper, cut julienne
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion or shallots
1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 c. fresh mint, chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
1 c. bean sprouts
4 oz. water chestnuts

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, toss. Mix together dressing (see recipe below) and add to salad.

Dressing
1/4 c. lime juice
Splash of fish sauce (optional- LOTS of sodium, so be conservative)
Splash of soy sauce (optional- again on the sodium)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. minced ginger
Freshly ground pepper to taste

I got the idea of this (mine is slightly different) from here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Paleo Brownies Recipe!

Well folks, we did it. The ultimate test: Paleo Brownies. We were nervous about it. After much contemplation and moral support, we were able to rally together and whip up a batch of these brownies, which are truly inspirational. We didn't know if we could handle a batch of bad brownies. It had the potential to make me swear off Paleo forever and head to the nearest Sonic for a 99 cent heart attack milkshake. Much to our relief, these taste like hot chocolatey goodness because of the cocoa powder inside of them. Enjoy and eat responsibly.



INGREDIENTS:

6 Tbsp. Canola Oil
2 eggs
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. coconut flour
1-2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut for topping(optional)
Ground nuts for topping (optional)

Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl except for the coconut topping. In a loaf pan (it doesn't make very many brownies), spray with Canola cooking spray. Add batter. Sprinkle batter with unsweetened coconut. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Serve with berries on top. This is like hot chocolate on a plate; you're welcome. :)

Ants in a Log?

You've heard of Ants ON A Log for a snack, but how about Ants IN A Log? I had this for the first time this morning for breakfast and I was EXTREMELY pleasantly surprised. It tasted like the childhood favorite of celery, peanut butter, and raisins, but this version is paleo AND portable!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cucumber, washed and cut in half
1/4 c. raisins
2-3 Tbsp. Almond Butter (or nut butter or your choice, no peanut butter)

With a knife, cut the cucumber in half. Then, with a butter knife, hollow out the inside of the cucumber, leaving a small 1/4 inch "crust" of the vegetable. Stuff the cucumber with almond butter and raisins. I would put a dollup of almond butter, followed by a couple of raisins, and so on until cucumber is filled.

Awesome snack or breakfast option!

Put the chicken in the coconut and eat it on up!



I found recipes similar to this one on several different blogs and this is my latest craving. This has become my husband and I's quick meal because it really takes NO TIME AT ALL to prepare. Plus, once you go Paleo, the ingredients are all stuff you have on hand.

PALEO CHICKEN FINGERS (Paleo Fried Chicken)


The Fixings:
Chicken Breast (this recipe will be for 1 lbs)
approx. 1/4 c. almond flour
approx. 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut (sweetened works too, it just isn't as good for you)
2-3 egg whites, beaten
1-2 Tbsp. Canola or Olive Oil

Cut chicken into tender-sized strips. Heat oil in a large skillet. Dredge the chicken in flour, then egg, then coconut and place in frying pan. Cook on each side until coconut is golden brown on both sides and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

This is delicious especially with homemade barbecue sauce! I can't get enough of these chicken tenders. The sweetness of the almond flour and the coconut makes these incredible. I keep thinking they would be great in a salad too...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Mystery Behind Your T-Bone...



My Dad sent me this article today. Grassfed beef is something that is becoming very important to me. My family has raised beef cattle my whole life. I grew up watching cattle have plenty of acres to roam as they pleased without growth hormones or antibiotics. I am considering selling my dad's beef at local farmer's markets this summer. Read the quick article- interesting!

Paleo Stir Fry: So easy my husband can do it :)



Paleo Stir Fry

My husband made this for dinner last night based off of Loren Cordain's Stir Fry Recipe.

2-3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lbs. sirloin steak
1/2 lbs. shrimp, thawed in cold water and detailed
1/2 c. red wine
1/4 c. yellow onion
1 frozen bag of stir fry veggies (the one we bought had peas and green beans in it, so we had to pick them out- no legumes!)
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds (garnish)
Freshly ground pepper

Saute beef in a small frying pan with oil and half the red wine till brown. In a separate large frying pan, cook the vegetables with the lemon juice. In another small pan, cook shrimp with just a dash of oil to the pan. I also put freshly ground pepper on them and some extra garlic.

When meat is brown (steak) and warm (shrimp), add to vegetables, and add remaining red wine. Cook covered for a few minutes, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From the Mountaintop...


What do you need to know to get started eating Paleo? Where do you even begin with primal eating? Let me be your Moses with the Paleo Commandments:

1. Thou shall try to eat lean protein at every meal. You can eat as much meat as you want (eating fruits and veggies will offset the protein so you won't get protein toxicity). When you are hungry (especially after eating a meal) eat more meat. It fills you up quicker and you stay full longer. Don't forget about fish!

2. Thou shall eat as many fruits and veggies as you possibly can. Variety is the spice of life and the secret to nutrition. Try to switch it up; don't always eat the same things.

3. Thou shall cut out dairy. This may make you a sad panda, but dairy can be easily replaced with substitutes. No more yogurt, milk, butter, and sadly, cheese. Save these for your 3 cheat meals a week.

4. Thou shall cut out cereal grains. That means no more breads, crackers, tortillas, breadcrumbs, or cereals.

5. Thou shall cut out added salt and sugar. Do not cook with salt or refined sugar and use condiments or foods that don't add salt and sugar(ketchup, salad dressing, BBQ sauce). In my cooking, I add more spices and pepper and I don't miss the salt that much. Sugar cravings are easily met with a piece of fruit.

6. Thou shall use Flax, Canola, and Olive Oils in your cooking and no more than 4 ounces a day. I also use these to make my own salad dressings.

7. Thou shall eat nuts and seeds. Get nutty! Channel your inner squirrel and find something you like. Walnuts are the best nut for you and Macadamia nuts are right up there too. Eat no more than 4 ounces a day if you are trying to lose weight. Obviously get unsalted, unroasted (if possible or dry roasted) nuts.

8. Thou shall learn to hate starchy tubers. I still laugh every time I say the phrase 'starchy tubers'. It just sounds ridiculous. ANYWAYS, these are potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes. They have a similar effect as cereal grains in your body. No me gusta.

9. Thou shall not eat legumes no matter how delicious they are. That's right, no legumes- beans and peanuts. The children are wrong, beans are not the magical fruit... They have antinutrients that sit in your intestines and block vitamins from getting absorbed. Not so cool beans.

Raspberry Pork Tenderloin



Paleo Pork Tenderloin


This was my first attempt at ever making a Pork Tenderloin. I would love suggestions for the berry sauce, because it ended up being a little too berriful (is that a word?).

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin
2 cans of cheap beer (32 oz. total)
1 6 oz. package of raspberries
3 oz. blackberries
Canola Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sage

In a blender or food processor, add 3 oz. of raspberries, ginger, cinnamon, and sage. In a tuperware, place pork tenderloin. Add beer to tuperware until tenderloin is covered. Add blended berry mixture to beer. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper to taste on top of the tenderloin. Let marinate for a few hours (I did 3)

Preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat. Place tenderloin on grill. Cook for roughly 10 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature is 155 degrees. Carve the tenderloin into slices.

In a small bowl, mash remaining raspberries and blackberries with a potato masher. Add 1 Tbsp. of oil, cinnamon, and pepper to taste. Serve as a sauce on top of the pork.

ASPARGUS

1 bundle Asparagus
1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 garlic clove
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash and cut ends of asparagus. In a large frying pan, heat oil with garlic. Add asparagus and pepper. Cook until asparagus just starts to brown and gets flimsier.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sauteed Leafy Greens


I took this picture with my cellphone, sorry it doesn't look more appetizing. :)

Wanna know how to cook some leafy greens for dinner? DONE!

Ingredients (measurements are approximations):

2-3 cups of different greens (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, etc.)
1-2 Tbsp. Oil of your choice (I use Olive)
1-2 Garlic Cloves
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, add greens. Fill the bowl up with cold water, being sure to soak/coat the greens thoroughly. Let sit while doing step two.
2. In a large skillet, heat up oil and garlic. You will know oil is hot enough when you can flick a few drops of water on it and it will make a sizzle sound.
3. Remove greens from water (look at all the dirt and crud on the bottom of the bowl, you'll be glad you did step 1). Add a handful of the greens, cook until they start to turn a dark green color and get soft. Continue to add greens one handful at a time, stirring constantly. Add pepper to taste and serve as a side with your favorite lean protein. :)

Need Some Inspiration?

I just read this article in the Washington Post about Paleo eating. Give it a read- I feel many of the same benefits that Jennifer in the article does.

My Itchy Elbows...

When I was in college I started to develop Psoriasis on my elbows. For those of you that don't know what that is, it is a dermatological disease that causes your skin cells to multiply at a rapid rate (or so I'm told). Basically the skin on my elbows cracks, bleeds, and flakes off. It also has a very wonderful bright red glow constantly. The other awesome thing about Psoriasis is that it can spread. It's not contagious, but it moves about my body and leaves scars.

Prior to starting the Paleo diet I had Psoriasis on both elbows and small patches beginning to sprout on my knee caps and thighs. I am not super vain, but I'm also not cool with having scaring all over my legs from this. I tried acupuncture and it sort of worked to reduce the swelling. I had topical creams and they only sort of worked. I used Cetaphil lotion daily and it only sort of worked. I wanted something different. When I was at the Acupuncturist, he recommended that I go on a Paleo diet to see if it helped my skin. He said that there is some research to suggest that autoimmune diseases like Psoriasis may be a result of a light grain or dairy allergy.

With that in mind, I decided to read the book by Loren Cordain. I decided that the month of April was going to be my month. I wanted to see if I saw changes in my skin during my 30 day trial. I've been completely shocked with the results thus far. Within a week, my Psoriasis had severely gone down, the redness was gone. My face (which had Rosacea and acne) started to clear up.

Over the weekend, I went to visit my brother in Salt Lake City. While I was on vacation I had 4 meals that were non-Paleo. This week, my Psoriasis is back and so is my acne. I'm truly amazed. I never knew that my diet was so closely related to my skin aside from the old wives' tale of chocolate causing acne. I can't wait for the past few days since vacation of non-cheats to catch up and bring relief for my Psoriasis and clear up my acne.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Dreaded Grocery Store


What should someone eating Paleolithically get at the grocery store? Going to the store used to be easy. There were staples in your typical diet that you probably always bought- milk, eggs, butter, cheese, bread, etc. Are you feeling lost now that you are trying to channel your primal ancestors' shopping list? Have no fear. Let me tell you what I consider my new staples (no seance required).

-Almond Flour- this is a great new staple that replaces traditional white flour. It is pricey though, so be prepared. A little bag of it is around $13. I've heard you can make your own in a food processor. You can also order offline to get a cheaper price.

-Omege-3 enriched eggs- After reading Loren Cordain's book, I've realized the importance of Omega-3s in your diet. They help your bones absorb the calcium in the fruits and vegetables you are eating. Buying good eggs that are enriched with Omega-3s are great for you. Studies have shown that eating one egg a day has no bearing on your cholesterol levels. If you eat a 2-3 egg omelet twice a week, you should be okay.

-Almond Milk- I put almond milk in almost everything now. I am a huge fan of breakfast smoothies, so almond milk goes in. I also put it in my coffee every morning.

-Avocado- What's life without this wonderful vegetable? I've recently become obsessed with Avos. I usually buy around 4 each week and I surprisingly use all of them. Avocado not only is great in things like salads, but also as a side with dinner (avo slices), on top of an omelet, or in Paleo guacamole.

-Kale- Two weeks ago when I started my Paleo journey I did not know what Kale was. Now, I have to go to the store midweek to restock my Kale supply. I know it sounds scary (and possibly gross) to put Kale in a smoothie, but you won't even know it's there. I also saute Kale as a side dish (see Paleo Porkchops entry).

-Berries- Oh seasonal berries, I love you so! I stock up on Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries every week. These are so versatile. I can eat them for breakfast, in a smoothie, in a salad, for dessert in a box with a fox... I can eat them here or there. I like berries. I like them, I like them, Sam-I-Am.

-Meat- I peruse the meat aisle (as I've come to affectionately call it) every week looking for lean meats. Some of my favorites are: bison, chicken, turkey breast, lean ground beef, lean porkchops, and seafood.

-Snacky Fruits- I am constantly looking for fruit that travels well or with a little work (cutting) can travel well. I stock up on apples, pears, cuties, grapes, kiwis, peaches, bananas, etc.

-Nuts and Seeds- I like to have nuts and seeds to snack on. Remember, if you are trying to lose weight you shouldn't eat more than 4 oz. of nuts a day (which seems pretty hard to do). Walnuts are the best nut to eat because of the Omega 3 to 6 ratio. I also like Pecans and Almonds. I also love sunflower seeds. Remember: Peanuts are technically a legume, thus not Paleo. Make sure to always buy unsalted, unroasted nuts.

-Oil- Flaxseed Oil is the best oil to buy because of the Omega-3 to 6 ratio, but I have yet to find it in a grocery store (I've been to 3). I stock up on Canola which is right up there in benefit and Olive Oil.

-Jerky- You can make your own jerky from virtually any meat or seafood, but I haven't attempted this yet. Instead, I buy All-Natural jerky with little or no salt added. This is a great snack and will keep you full longer (satiety) than anything else out there.

-Side Veggies- I look for vegetables to go with dinners such as asparagus, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, etc. I also stock up on salad leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, or chard. These either can be left raw for salad or cooked for a side dish.

-Accent Veggies- I always think of these veggies as accent veggies- they just make stuff better. These are the veggies to dress up salads, omelets, meat dishes, etc. I like to get onions, celery, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, garlic, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sprouts, etc.

I love to shop at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods or Sunflower Market. These have cheaper produce that is usually organic and less tempting crap (for lack of a better word) that isn't Paleo. Some people like to develop their weekly menus prior to shopping, but do what feels right. I'm not that organized so I buy a variety, and cook as it moves me. Happy hunting and gathering a la grocery cart.

Hope this helps!
-Beth

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paleo Dessert? Yes, it's possible!



Tonight it hit me. I NEED A DESSERT! I almost cracked and had my husband make homemade chocolate chip cookies, but I knew I would beat myself up for it later. So, yet again, I turned to my trusty friend Google for advice. I found a recipe for a Paleo dessert that will knock your socks off.

Paleo Fruit Crisp

2- 15 oz. cans of Peaches in juice, drained
1 small package fresh raspberries
1 small package fresh blackberries
1/2 c. almond flour
1 c. pecans
1/4 c. prunes
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, blend prunes and almond flour. Add pecans and cinnamon, blend. In an oven safe bowl (I used a casserole dish) add fruit, stir together. Put the almond prune mixture on top and press down. Bake for about 30 minutes. The recipe I found called for Stevia, but this was so good it didn't need added sugar. You won't regret it, I promise. :)

Spaghetti Squash!

I cannot tell a lie, I was nervous about cooking my first spaghetti squash. There was something about buying a vegetable that came with a sticker that listed directions that seemed intimidating to me. I'm sure I'm not alone on this. Like most modern people, I disregarded the sticker and spoke with my good friend google about tips for cooking. :) I found some great websites with directions. It turns out you can bake, boil, or microwave the spaghetti squash. There are (apparently) two major schools of thought in the baking of a spaghetti squash (I'm sure international academia sits and debates the facets of both).

FIRST METHOD: We'll call it the Halving Method:
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrap out the seeds and pulpy stuff (basically anything that looks like you would remove it when carving a Jack-O-Lantern). Bake with cut side UP and covered with tin foil for 30-40 mins at 375 degrees. Use a fork to scrap the squash out, it will look like spaghetti noodles. BENEFITS: This way cooks faster (about half the time) NEGATIVES: It is much more difficult to remove the seeds and pulp when the squash is raw.

SECOND METHOD: We'll call it the Whole Method:
Put squash in a baking pan, cover with tin foil. Bake covered for 60 minutes (I would recommend turning it once halfway through). Once the time is up, cut squash with knife lengthwise (careful- it's really hot!). Remove the pulp and seeds. Use a fork to scrap the squash out, it will look like spaghetti noodles. BENEFITS: The seeds and pulp are easier to scrap in this method NEGATIVES: The squash will be hot and difficult to work with because of the temperature and it takes longer to cook.

The pictures are of my squash (I did the Whole Method) with marinara sauce and ground venison. Even though I was nervous, I have to say this was one of the easiest meals I've made. What's more brainless than turning the oven on, throwing this in, and walking away for an hour? It wasn't much more work than making pasta.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Smooth Operator...

I stole this breakfast idea from my friend Lauren's blog and I've made it my own. Every morning I take whatever fruit I have around the house and add it to the smoothie. Today, I added a brown banana, a few days ago I added a peach. Just add in whatever. The more variety of fruits and veggies you eat, the more nutrients you take in.



Ingredients:
1/4 c. almond milk
handful of ice cubes
1 c. frozen blueberries (I've also used a berry medley- frozen)
1/4-1/2 an avocado
1/2-1 c. Kale, cut off stem and boiled for one minute to soften

Sometimes I also add in Good Belly probiotic to my smoothie. You could also add Whey Protein. I know the pictures aren't that great because I took them with my cellphone. I also realize that it sounds gross putting the Kale in the smoothie, but trust me on this one. You won't know it's there. When everything's blended together you have a delicious blueberry smoothie.

Blend everything together and, mister, you've got yourself a smoothie!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Paleo Porkchops and Apples



WOW! We had this for dinner and it R-O-C-K-E-D!

Yields: 2

2 porkloin chops 1 tsp. Sage 1/2 tsp. Salt 1/2 tsp. Pepper
Olive Oil
1 apple, sliced
nutmeg
cloves
cinnamon
ginger
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Mix the purple spices together (sage, salt, pepper) and rub on both sides of the porkchops. Heat about a tablespoon of Olive Oil in a large frying pan till hot. Add seasoned porkchops to oil and cook until done (inside temp. of 175 degrees) flipping.

In a separate saucepan, combine apple and remaining spices (to taste). Add honey and lemon juice and a splash of olive oil (about a tsp). Heat on low until apples are soft. Serve on top of porkchops for a delicious homecooked meal!

For a side: We ate sauteed green (Kale & Spinach). I'll post how to cook those at a later date. Bon appetite!

Wannabe Jamacian Jerk Tuna Salad

I made this salad this weekend. It was an awesome way to incorporate a variety of different nutrients into one meal. The Tuna adds protein and heathful Omega-3s and also provides a high satiety level, so you don't end up snacking. This salad is delicious and sweet and really hits the spot on the 70 degree weather we've been having in Colorado lately.

Ingredients:

1 Ahi Tuna Steak
Assorted Spices for seasoning Tuna (I used Dill, Minced Garlic, freshly ground Pepper, Cumin, and Ginger)
1 T Olive Oil or Canola Oil (Flaxseed is the best, if you can find it)*
1 T Honey
1 tsp. Barbecue sauce (not truly Paleo but it is a very small amount)
Pepper to taste
1 T. Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Apple, diced
1/2 c. Pineapple, diced
1/2 c. Red Onion, diced
1 head green leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn into bite size pieces
*Orange indicates ingredients for salad dressing

Preheat grill on high. Drizzle a small amount of oil on both sides of Tuna steak. Sprinkle spices on to taste (try not to use spices that contain cereal grains or salt). Once grill is warm, turn heat down to low and place Tuna on the grill. Cook until flakes easily with fork, turning once. Flake into bite-sized pieces.

In a small bowl, mix honey, oil, pepper, and BBQ sauce together.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, onion, pineapple, apple, sunflower seeds, and dressing. Add Tuna to salad mixture and toss.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

4 lbs. in a week and a half?

Word. That's right, folks. My first week and half eating Paleo, I lost 4 pounds. I'm feeling energized and coming up with meals and snacks is getting easier and easier. I even ate a Red Robin cheeseburger and Old Chicagos pizza this week for my open meals. I've done Weight Watchers in the past and I would have never seen these losses with those "cheats". I went out to eat twice this week for 2 of my 3 "open" meals as Dr. Cordain explains them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Frozen Grapes: Nature's Popsicle


I have a serious sweet tooth. I have to have something sweet after dinner (and usually lunch too). I had a friend recommend frozen grapes to me this Fall and I've never turned back. Buy a bag of red grapes (I've never tried any other color, but I assume they would work). Rinse the grapes and remove them from the vine. Then, put them in a tuperware and freeze for a few hours. They are delicious! Not only do frozen foods take longer to eat (in turn you end up consuming fewer calories) but they have a lower glycemic index than anything else you could eat for dessert (ice cream, brownies, cookies, etc.). These are my go-to snack of choice for the 9 pm munchies.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To the extreme...

And I thought I was getting preachy about this whole Paleo thing... :)

Read this interesting (and funny) NY Times article about the modern "caveman". Don't worry, if you go Paleo, you don't have to go this far.

"Paleo? Like Paleolithic?"


If you've gone Paleo (which sounds incredibly trendy, akin to 'he's gone vegan' or 'she's gone emo'), then you've probably been met with this reaction when first sharing with your family and friends your new "crazy" diet. When you try to explain primal eating to someone who knows nothing about it, to say it's a challenge is a drastic understatement. Let me give you my canned 1 minute summary I give to friends and family when encouraged to eat grains/dairy:

I read this book over my Spring Break that completely changed the way I view food/nutrition. The book was written by Loren Cordain, a CSU (go Rams!) professor with a P.h.D. in Health and in interest in Anthropology. The premise of the book centers around the fact that our bodies are still designed to eat the food our Paleolithic ancestors ate for 2 million years. Since the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, a slew of diseases began to develop that were previously unknown (diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, obesity, even acne, and cavities in teeth). There is much research evidence to suggest that the onset of grains, dairy, and starches are contributing to these diseases. Basically the book says you can eat as much lean protein as you want, as many fruits & veggies as you want, and a limited amount of seeds/nuts. You limit your sodium and sugar intake as well. Theoretically, you are supposed to become leaner and healthier in a couple of weeks and you don't have to count calories.

So here I am, $100 worth of produce bought, an incredibly nerdy book about nutrition checked out from the library, and a head spinning with nutritional jargon (being a Literature major in college, most of this means little to me). I am one week into my Paleo experiment (I began on April 1st, a very UN-foolish declaration I gave my husband- still not joking about it, honey). I have noticed a couple of things:

1. I caved in one night and went out for a hamburger with family. The next morning I had the hardest time waking up and getting out of bed. I don't know what's to blame for this (perhaps the carbs or the fat or both), but I definitely can tell the association between my diet and energy.
2. In relationship to number one, I've had TONS of energy. I was seriously addicted to caffeine (usually a cup of coffee in the morning and a diet soda in the afternoon- everyday. religiously.). I have not had to drink caffeine at all. The few times I have had coffee were more for pleasure than necessity (you have to either drink the coffee black or with a splash of almond milk in lieu of cream. You could also probably use Stevia or Splenda depending upon how much of a purist you are). I am a beginning runner and I was able to run 4 miles (without walking at all) for the first time ever on Sunday (after only 3 days Paleo). Go me. :)
3. To really put myself out there, I've had much more...ah...movement in my digestive track. I would usually do the number 2 thing once MAYBE twice a week. In the week since I've started eating Paleolithically: every damn day. I guess this is a good thing, although I don't feel too ladylike. Coco Chanel once said "A woman should always be two things: classy and fabulous". Can I speak of the fabulous bowels movements I've been having?
4. I eat less. When I want a snack, it's usually fruit, beef/buffalo jerky, or seeds (sunflower). I've definitely been consuming less calories. Lean protein has a higher satiety level than carbs or sugars and fills you up faster and for longer. Hence, less caloric intake (that's right, hence).
5. It isn't always easy. I feel very motivated because I have been having negative health issues for quite some time, but my husband (who is self-proclaimed "doing just fine with grains and dairy") finds it a challenge to stay true. He often comes home having "slipped" and eaten a cookie with lunch.
6. It's more expensive, but you get more QUANTITY and QUALITY than you do with grains and dairy. I spent $100 on produce (and Paleo related items like Canola Oil), but I have six bags of groceries. I've eaten more fruits and vegetables in the past week than I think I have in the entire last month combined. For example, yesterday alone I ate: avocado, kale, blueberries, peach, pineapple, lettuce, apple, blackberries, red peppers, green peppers, onion, swiss chard, mango, and grapes.
7. The dishes are endless. Gone are the days where I microwave the breakfast burrito wrapped in the papertowel. Now, I have to wash and cut up vegetables & fruit and cook meat. It's okay though, the energy I have makes up for the extra dishes to wash.
8. I'm having a difficult time not preaching primal eating. I try to convince everyone I know to try it or to agree with me. I feel self-righteous. I can't stop reading about it on blogs, websites, and books. I feel enlivened everytime I see a new Paleo take on an old classic recipe.
9. Despite using little to no salt and cutting out sugars, things are starting to taste better. My tastebuds feel like they are starting to wake up. I crave things I never did before- like water and walnuts. :)
10. Guilt. The first 2 nights I tried primal eating I would dream of carbohydrates. I would find my dream self in an Italian restaurant craving the breadsticks and pasta. I would watch television and think with every commercial "I can't eat that anymore" over and over again. The obsession with "can't eat" is gone and I can truly say that I am starting to actually enjoy eating the fruits and vegetables. I was a notoriously picky eater as a child (sorry, Mom) and I am discovering a world that I didn't know existed suddenly. I am an explorer in a new land. Really, who thought cherry tomatoes would be so good? Who could have imagined that cucumber would taste fresh? I feel guilty when I cheat and don't eat Paleo now.