Tag Archives: Dairy free

BBQ Peach & Coconut Chicken

Good afternoon y’all! It has been a full week since my last post and it feels so wrong! My foot is still in da boot, and I have yet to get a confirmation on whether or not it is fractured.

I should be getting an MRI this week and will finally know what’s going on down there. Regardless, I definitely won’t be able to get back to my normal lifting and CrossFit workouts in the near future. I miss them so much I can’t even explain it. I don’t really look forward to working out like I used to because the workouts I am doing aren’t what I really want to do. I think it is important though to keep working out in order to prevent muscle wasting, strength loss, cardiovascular fitness decline, as well as increase blood flow for healing. Not to mention maintaining SANITY and giving an endorphin boost! I had been avoiding the rec center for the first two weeks of my injury, but I finally braved it. Every time I felt judged I just had to tell myself that a) no one really cares and b) I know I am only doing safe exercises, so if people are judging then eff them. It turns out there are a lot of machines one can do with an injured foot!

Injury-Safe Full Body Gym Workout #1

  • Pull ups until failure, 3 rounds
  • Quad extension machine, 3 sets of 8, 90 lbs
  • Hamstring flexion machine, 3 sets of 8, 80 lbs
  • Bench press, 3 sets of 8, 65 lbs (SO WEAK!)
  • Butt Kick-Back machine, 3 sets of 8 per leg, 190 lbs (ONLY do this if you are confident you can isolate the part of your foot that is not injured. I purely used my heel so no pressure on metatarsals.)
  • Back extensions, 3 sets of 12, holding 45 lb plate
  • Hanging tricep dips, 3 sets until failure

Occupying myself has been going very well. That goal list is officially annihilated. I have started up two research projects that will extend through August. The first is under Dr. Baar at UC Davis. He is trying to figure out the cellular pathway that leads to muscle growth. So, what I am doing is taking cells from rats that either have the leucine (an amino acid) transporter gene or don’t and culturing them in several different media. Then, we run a test to see which ones are growing the most proteins (AKA muscle).

The second research project is under Dr. Havel, also of UC Davis. He is investigating the effects of drinking sugary beverages on hunger, blood triglyceride levels, and insulin sensitivity. I don’t start this one until Friday, but a few times a week I will be driving out to the UCD Medical Center in Sacramento to partake. One some days I will be preparing the buffet food for the research participants (in order to see if the sugar drinkers eat more than the non-sugar drinkers) and on others I will be taking their blood and running tests on it to see the hormonal and triglyceride responses to drinking the sugar-laden drinks.

I can’t wait to learn more about the science behind these studies and get a better feel for what research is like! I will definitely blog about the cool nutrition and muscle building stuff I learn in the next month or so. :)

As far as volunteering, I found a position that I am the most excited about out of everything.

But I need your help!!!

What I am going to be doing is with LINC Housing. LINC stands for Low Income Housing and is a non-profit organization that builds affordable housing in big cities. I will be working at the housing (which are apartments) in Sacramento as a Youth Empowerment Educator. This means that once a week I will look after the kids and teens that live in the apartments for 3 hours in an after school/summer program. For 1 of those 3 hours, I get to teach the children whatever I want. Of course, I want to teach them about healthy food and exercise and inspire them partake in a healthy lifestyle. However, I have no experience with kids! Let alone teaching them! Besides my massive family reunions, I interact with children on the rare occasion. How do I get them stoked on veggies? How do I not bore them with facts and figures? I want to engage them and help them find their own fire for healthy foods and habits. If anyone has any experience or tips on how to keep kids engaged, teach them about healthy living, and make learning fun – please leave a comment or email me at lauren dot dedecker @ yahoo dot com!

And finally, a mouthwatering recipe for you. I usually don’t remake dishes – I may vary them a bit, but exact repetitions are rare. When I do replicate a meal, I know I must share it on the blog. This recipe is unique blending of the flavors of American BBQ, Indian spices, and summer produce. It may sound odd, but trust me, they go together seamlessly.

BBQ Peach & Coconut Chicken

Recipe: Serves 1. Paleo, dairy free, gluten free, low carb, high protein.

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 5 oz chicken breast, raw
  • 1 ripe peach or nectarine
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 handfuls kale, shredded
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • spices (from greatest amount to least): cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, smoked paprika, chili pepper, TJ’s African Smoke Pepper, pinch red pepper flakes, tiny pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • shredded coconut, to top


Directions – Dice the sweet onion and cube the raw chicken breast. Place a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add the onion and chicken and top with spices. [Note: If you don't have all the spices, that is okay, it will still turn out great.] Once one side of the chicken is cooked through, flip and add the diced peach or nectarine to the pan. Add additional spices to the peach or nectarine (I used mainly the sweeter ones for the peach). Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, add the coconut milk and BBQ sauce. Stir.
Sprinkle salt over the entire pan. Let cook for about a minute, then add the kale. Once the kale has wilted and the sauce is thick, scrape everything onto a plate. Top with shredded coconut and enjoy!!

Up next… Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins ;)

go outside!!

This weekend was perfect. After days of being in the house, classrooms, and laboratories, the weekend just screams go outside! On Saturday, my friend Erin drove to Davis to visit me from San Jose. We went to middle school together in Austin and I hadn’t seen her in years! She happens to be doing an accounting internship in San Jose for the summer, so hopefully I will get to see her a few more times before she leaves. The fact that you can go years without seeing someone and then have it be like no time has passed at all speaks volumes about true friendships. While we are both very different than we were in high school, we still meshed well and were able to connect in new ways. We saw Ted that night, and it was actually way better than I thought it would be. I usually avoid comedies that look…. you know… dumb, but it was cute and funny. A slight over-reliance on racist jokes, but pretty good.

Erin and I, overlooking Lake Berryessa

meet the newest addition to our house, Kathleen :)

Northern California is so beautiful. I am in love. The vineyards, the farms, the bay, the ocean, the people. I think I may want to cozy in here. :)

On Sunday, my friend Aaron and I drove up to Marin to visit Zoe. Before she got off work, we went to the Marin County farmers market. It is the best market I have ever been to. I am so sad and sorry I didnt take photos! I bought…

  • a pound of pasture raised goat meat
  • pastured sheep yogurt
  • maple whiskey jerky
  • an entire pastured roasted chicken
  • an entire pastured raw chicken
  • organic goat cheese

That roasted chicken came in handy for the 5 hour hike we took afterwords!

It was three hours, and perhaps 6 miles, up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais.

We were very hungry and slightly exhausted once we got to the top, but the views made it all better. Long hikes like these require the best company. I realized how much more fun it was being able to talk during the hike than the many times I have hiked alone in New Zealand or Tibet.

beautiful Zoe and Aaron, who wore a weighted vest…. 

We treated ourselves to burgers, Cobb salads, french fries, and honey lavender ice cream. Third day in a row (between two cities) that I have had honey lavender ice cream. Obsessed.

Honey Lavender from Scoop in Fairfax

Honey Lavender in my bed ;), from Davis Creamery

But until I figure out how to make my own honey lavender ice cream, you will have to settle for this friggin amazing chocolate pudding recipe. Seriously, this was so delicious that I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I had meant for it to be two desserts, but that didn’t happen. I worked out hard that day, damnit! Not that it really matters, since it is sugar free and dairy free and paleo approved.

Aztec Chocolate Pudding

Recipes: Serves 1-2

  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 dropper stevia, to taste
  • big pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (chipotle is good too if you like it!)

Directions – Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until nice and cold.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge. 

it seriously tastes exactly like chocolate pudding.

Benefits:

Avocado * contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. Also contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, zinc, and iron. Their greatest asset is their monounsaturated fat content, which is linked to lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, weight loss, and even alleviating depression.

Bananas * a good source of natural sugars, fiber, and potassium, which is key for electrolyte balance. A great source of carbs for paleo followers!

Cocoa * a dense source of antioxidants. Cocoa is also a great source of pre-biotics to feed the healthy flora living in your digestive tract!

what you thought you couldn’t have… paleo ice cream!!

I know I keep making paleo recipes and most people aren’t paleo, but I just can’t stop! I am not full blown paleo, but I have always eaten fairly low amounts of grains. Lately, I have just taken it up a notch by reducing grains a bit more and eating less cheese and sour cream. I still eat whole grains when I am craving them, exercising heavily, or taking huge scary tests, but I am enjoying the way eating increasingly paleo makes me feel. I feel more light on my feet and like my engine is running cleaner. I don’t think I will ever be 100% any one thing though. At the moment, I feel like life is just too short to say absolutely no to anything! Plus, dairy products make my world go round. I love Greek yogurt. I need ice cream. However, I cannnn cut down on my dairy ice cream consumption a bit with this recent invention. The one thing about paleo I figured I would never get over was the inability to eat ice cream.

Problem solved.

Vanilla Bean Paleo Ice Cream

This recipe is sugar and dairy free! The ice cream is dreamy creamy, and yet still light at around 100 calories per half cup. But who eats half a cup of ice cream at a time? Seriously. No one.

Recipe: Makes ~8 cups

  • 1 can organic, full fat coconut milk
  • 5 bananas
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions – Pour the coconut milk into a freezer safe container. Freeze the coconut milk. Peel the bananas and place them in a plastic  ziplock. Freeze the bananas. Run hot water over the frozen coconut milk container so that a block of coconut milk pops out. Place the bananas and coconut milk block into a blender with the other ingredients. Blend. To store, place in a freezer safe container and freeze.

Note: If you don’t have a vitamix, you will likely have to wait until the coconut milk is slightly thawed for it to blend. You may also need to do smaller batches since Vitamixes are huge. I bought mine for 150$ off on overstock dot com!

Another note: You can add a couple drops of liquid stevia if you dont think it tastes sweet enough, but I found it to be quite sweet with just the bananas and vanilla.

Benefits:

Coconut milk * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism and are LESS likely to be stored as fat!

Bananas * A good source of natural sugars, fiber, and potassium, which is key for electrolyte balance.

ATTACKKK!!!

PS: My next post is going to be a NuNaturals Stevia GIVEAWAY!

Get excited!!

Perfect Paleo Pancakes

 

This morning, I was not in the mood for any of my typical breakfasts. Eggs and toast - bleh, savory oatmeal -  too hot, a protein smoothie – not filling enough, a greek yogurt bowl - lame… I wanted something new and exciting! But still satisfying, delicious, and healthy.

I peered in the fridge. No inspiration. I opened up the freezer, dug around, and saw my abandoned almond flour. I had tried to pancakes with it before, but they were too eggy and covered in second degree burns. It was time to try it again.

Perfect paleo pancakes with caramelized banana compote – for one!

for just the right kind of full

These pancakes came out perfectly! They are fluffy and lightly sweet with a hint of vanilla. They are very low carb, high protein & fat, paleo, and sugar & dairy free! I had a scrambled egg + an egg white on the side as well :)

Recipe: Serves 1

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp almond milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

~6 drops liquid NuNaturals stevia (or to taste)

dash cinnamon

dash salt

For the compote- 

1 ripe banana

tsp coconut oil

tbsp real or sugar free maple syrup + plus extra for drizzling

Directions –  Place a pan on the stove with 1 tsp of coconut oil. In a bowl, mash a banana with some maple syrup and spoon into the pan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the banana is caramelized.

Meanwhile, combine all of the pancake ingredients in a bowl (I recommend in that order) and mix well. Place a non stick pan on the stove on medium heat (mine was on 3.5 out of 8). Pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan. Let the bubbles rise to the top. Once the bubbles start to disappear, flip the pancake with a spatula. It should be light brown on the other side. Let cook for an additional minute or two. Remove pancake and place onto a heating plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. Plate the pancakes and top with the caramelized banana and additional maple syrup.

Benefits:

Almond flour * by subbing almond flour for regular flour, you are getting more healthy fats and less carbs in your cookies. These are monounsaturated fats, which raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels! Almonds also have fiber, manganese, vitamin E (another antioxidant), tryptophan, copper, B2 and phosphorous!

Banana * A good source of fiber and potassium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Coconut oil * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism. It is great to cook with because it is stable at high temperatures!

almond flour pancakes with caramelized banana and maple drizzle

Make these!

Wheat, butter, sugar, egg, and milk free cookies… THAT ROCK.

Yesterday was a very hard day. Let it suffice to say that I was emotionally all over the place. There are so many things in this world that we cannot control, and so many unanswerable questions that we could drive ourselves crazy with. One thing, though, that we can do to make ourselves feel better is to bake cookies. I have had my eye on these cookies for a long time now, and yesterday… it was time.

I hopped on over to the co-op to pick up some ingredients and just about crapped my pants at the register. Half a cup of bulk, self-serve maple syrup is 7$?  This pathetic little blob of almond butter is 3$? What le hell, is this some magical syrup thats going to make my hair grow faster and help me ace Biochem? Noo, thank you. I had the woman at register put the syrup back and decided I would just have to change the recipe up a bit. It’s cool; I like playing doctor.

(Speaking of which… I noticed that my major, which is Nutritional Biochemistry, has basically all the same requirements as a pre-med…)

These cookies turned out magical. Truly magical. I didn’t realize until after I had made and devoured a couple that they are wheat, butter, sugar, egg and milk free. So… wait…. that means….. they’re vegan. Weird. You really must make them as soon as possible.

From the photo, they look a bit hard and dry, but in actuality, they are soft, moist, delicious little balls of love.

Spicy Ginger Teff Cookies

I know they aren’t very pretty, but e v e r y o n e that tried them loved them.

Recipe: 12 cookies

1 cup teff flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup almond butter

6 tbsp agave nectar

5 drops liquid stevia (optional)

1 tbsp honey  (use agave to make vegan)

1 tsp tamari

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and all the wet in another. Mix each bowl individually. Pour the dry over the wet and stir with as few swoops of a spatula as possible. It will be thick. Divide the dough into 12 lumps on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes.

You could form them more cutely if you want.

Benefits:

Teff * is a unique Ethiopian grain usually used to make injera. It has more protein, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and thiamin than wheat. Even better – the iron is easily absorbed by our bodies (unlike many other iron sources).

Tamari * a type of soy sauce, both of which are high in sodium (blah blah blah) but many believe that it has benefits due to its fermented state. It is said to aid in digestion, and contains compounds that protect against cancer and free radicals.

Ginger * contains gingerol which relaxes blood vessels and thus improves circulation. It also aids in digestion and can soothe the stomach. Contains TONS of compounds that fight cancer!

Cloves * super high in manganese and antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects on the body!

Cinnamon * In one study, after taking 1/4 – 1 tsp cinnamon daily for 40 days, all participants benefitted from a reduction of fasting blood sugar levels, blood triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol! It is very high in antioxidants and can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which will help prevent an insulin spike, and thus the storage of fat.

Almond butter * A great source of monounsaturated fats! These are the fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels!