Tag Archives: Paleo

A day in the life: San Fran edition!

I am finally settling into a semi-regular routine here in the city, at least during the work week. I wake up and marvel at the amount of space I have. Compared to my old room, which was literally an oversized closet, my room is a yoga studio!

yes, my old Texas license plate was BJ5 6969. classy.

Before work, I have been making paleo-ified oatmeal for breakfast. Being the rebel that I am, I occasionally throw some oat bran in there. Many people say that the number one thing they miss when going paleo is their morning oatmeal… here is your solution!

Coconutmeal [Paleo Oatmeal]

Recipe: Serves 1 – low carb, paleo, grain, dairy and sugar free

  • 5 tbsp coconut flour (can substitute half oat bran if desired)
  • 2/3 cup water (can substitute in some coconut beverage)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk or greek yogurt (I use yogurt for more protein)
  • 2 egg whites
  • optional: 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp nut butter of choice, or other toppings
  • salt, to taste

Directions – Mix the coconut flour and oat bran, if using, with the water and microwave for ~110 seconds. It will look dry when you remove it from the microwave.  Add the yogurt or coconut milk and stir. Add the two egg whites and stir until completely combined.

 Microwave for another 30 seconds. If adding protein powder, add and stir. Do not microwave again, simply add a bit of salt and stir. Top with nut butter and enjoy!

After breakfast, I commute to work using the Muni bus system, which I LOVE. With an iphone, it is super easy to navigate. You can use the directions to determine which bus to take and download MuniApp in order to know exactly when the bus is coming. You will meet every kind of person on the bus. My favorites are the sullen teenagers blocking out the world via plastic white ear buds and the extremely vocal senior citizens that have been taking the same bus for 20 years and know all the drivers.

 

really excited to get dressed for work…

At work, I am Quant coach to some of Dr. A’s patients. A Quant coach is essentially a life coach, so I aim to help people target things in their life they want to change and discover patterns that they can manipulate to bring about those changes. Since the work is only part time, I am also applying to an awesome gym to be a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Fingers crossed!

For lunch, I have been bringing boring salads. I need to step up my game in the mornings because when it’s lunch time I get excited to chow down and then remember that I threw together a half-assed lunch. They appear even more lame when I have to go out and bring back the office deliciously expensive foie gras burgers, ahi salads, and lobster mac n’ cheese.

Today’s salad was romaine with shredded carrots, roasted squash, a tomato, and grilled chicken with blue cheese dressing. On the side I had a juicy, organic fuji apple and my fave Kind bar.

After work, I typically go to whichever gym I am trying out and either swim or do my usual stress-fractured-lifting routine.

Also, a few of you have asked how about me feetsies (how sweet of you!) and I am coming up on three months of recovery. On Friday the 28th, I have the doctor appointment that is supposed to give me the okay to begin lifting, running, and whatevering again. Toes crossed.

Post-workout I had a nasty protein shake. I ordered some personalized protein powder from True Nutrition and made the mistake of using the “double flavor” option. All I can taste is aspartame, with a hint of cake batter. I think that is what an aluminum cake would taste like.

After all that, I usually try to explore a bit and study for my personal training exam, which I am taking this week. Alternatively, today I spent an hour guarding a parking space for my car while waiting for my roomie to return home to help me.

Dinners have been very simple, healthy and tasty.

1 small sweet potato mashed with 2 Tbsp almond and peanut butter and topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, onions, and mushrooms

sauteed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and kale scrambled with 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs and topped with lots of mozzarella cheese (salsa and sour cream sometimes too!)

After dinner I always have some kind of yogurt bowl. I like to tell myself its to help heal my bones, but it’s really just to satiate my dairy urges. At least suboxone isn’t prescribed for that kind of addiction!

guns n’ ice cream  [Humphrey Slocombe peanut butter bacon brittle banana, to be specific]

And that was..

recipes you must try!

Hi!

With all the running hobbling around I’ve been doing, I haven’t been getting creative in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean I haven’ been cooking up a storm! I have made many recipes from blogs and the internet lately – some have been bland, some have been decent, and some have been superb. Here are my favorites, all of which I recommend that you try!

creamy cucumber walnut salad

this was ser i ous ly awesome! my favorite of all. 

recipe: serves 1

adapted from the healthy foodie

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp black walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or walnut oil!)
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mache or other leafy greens

Directions – Dice the cucumber into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Add the greek yogurt and mix. Add the walnuts, za’atar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix. Add the mache or greens and mix. Enjoy! Serve with additional protein source, like chicken or hard boiled eggs.

If you like walnuts, you must try this salad. Up next is a paleo recipe that I made for dinner one night. The caramelized mushrooms and onions were incredible, I wish I had tripled that part of the recipe!

Paleo Mushroom Chicken Fricasse

Recipe: Serves 1 – Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

adapted from tgipaleo

  • 1 slice bacon, nitrate free
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a shake of basil, oregano, and thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 2 skin on chicken thighs

Directions – Add a pat of butter to a pan and place on the stove on medium high heat. Add the slice of bacon and cook until extremely crispy, then remove the bacon and set aside. Add the onions and let cook for a minute before adding the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have softened, lay the chicken thighs in the pan. After 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken on the other side. Let cook for a couple minutes. Add the coconut milk, tamari, mustard, spices, and stir. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let everything simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the lid and once the sauce has thickened to your liking, serve and enjoy.

 

My most hardcore paleo-eating friend taught me that you can eat the ends of chicken bones, since they are the softest. They are loaded with calcium and important proteins for healing. I think eating the soft portions of bones and making bone broths is speeding my fracture recovery! That red stuff you see in the photo above is bone marrow.

This next recipe is originally from the magazine Clean Eating, but I found it via the blog The Candid RD. I didnt make the spinach portion of the recipe. Instead, I opted to use my abundance of zucchini and simply sauteed it in a pan with a bit of butter, dijon mustard, and maple syrup.

Maple Dijon Cod

 

Call me cray but I think this photo is so pretty. Look at how the sun reflects of the mustard seeds!

I hadn’ t eaten white fish in so long. This hit the spot.

And finally, a gluten free cookie recipe for dessert!

Honey-Vanilla Tahini Cookies

Recipe: Makes 12 cookies – Gluten Free

adapted from everybody likes sandwiches

  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour (you can just grind gluten free, rolled oats in a blender)
  • 1 tbsp flax
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup well stirred tahini
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, flax, and baking powder. In another large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, tahini, vanilla, and honey. Slowly add and mix in the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Refrigerate the dough until cool. Spoon dough into 12 cookie balls on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for ~15 minutes. 

Anyone who appreciates tahini, will definitely love these cookies!

 

Success!

 

 

 

Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins [gluten free]

This blog used to basically be a muffin blog. I ate a muffin a day. Muffins and eggs, muffins and greek yogurt, muffins for dessert, muffins for snack.

And then I got muffined out.

And then I got more paleo.

And now the muffins are back.

Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins

Recipe: Makes 6 muffins – Gluten free, Primal adaptable, Sugar free

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (you can make your own!)
  • 1/4 cup real or sugar-free maple syrup (depending on your needs…and politics)
  • 1 cup diced pink lady apple
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded + extra for topping
  • 4 slices crispy bacon, nitrate free
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Primal version: 6 eggs and 1/2 cup coconut flour, no oat flour.

Directions – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Microwave the bacon until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Pour the grease into a jar and lay the bacon on a paper towel to dry. Dice the pink lady apple and set aside. Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut flour. Add the oat flour (I simply ground up oats in a blender until powdery) and maple syrup (I use Joseph’s Sugar Free with malitol) and beat again. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the batter and stir. Crumble the bacon into chunks and bits. Fold the apples, cheese, and bacon into the batter. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the muffins have risen and are just lightly browned.

come to mama.

bacon never looked so cute

I’m on a bit of a life high right now. Yesterday was my first day at my LINC (low income housing) volunteer position. I got there early and helped my supervisor set up the room for the after school/summer program for the kids. The kids trickled in around 2:15 and had Enrichment until 4. I helped the cutest pair of 6 year old twins I have ever seen with their reading and writing. One of them has an afro mohawk and was really into his work and getting as far through the workbook as possible. The other was completely disinterested in working and just kept gazing off at the other kids who had already finished. He simply didn’t believe in himself! He thought everything was too hard for him. I kept telling him that he could do it – he could do whatever he wanted to accomplish as long as he didn’t give up and worked at it. We got through a few pages, but then it was snack time. During snack, my supervisor introduced me and we had the kids go around and introduce themselves. They ranged in age from 6 to 14 and were all very lively. Next, I had an hour to teach them anything. I started out with asking them to name a food they like and a food they don’t like.

They liked chicken, carrots, pizza, mashed potatos, tamales, fish, and chocolate. They didnt like broccoli, sea food, peppers, peas, onions and more broccoli.

Next, I asked them to name a food they thought was healthy and a food they thought “wasn’t good for them.” They thought carrots, lettuce, broccoli, watermelon, and olives (?!) were healthy. They thought cake, chocolate, gravy, bacon, cupcakes, ribs, and pizza was not good for them. I told them that we needed to move ribs to the good list because it was such a great source of protein.   That lead to a great little conversation on why and how protein helps us grow up and get stronger.

The main thing I wanted to get out of this first session was seeing how much they knew about the food groups, what the thought was healthy versus not, and what kinds of foods they liked.

The most successful part of the lesson was when I asked them to look at the list of foods they said were bad for them and figure out what the cake, chocolate, and cupcakes had in common. Silence. Eventually, one of the older boys screeched SUGAR!!!

 I asked them why sugar was bad for them… Silence again. Come on you guys, why is sugar bad for you? A boy in a 49ers hat raised his hand and mumbled “because it makes you fat.” This gave me a way to talk about how eating too much sugar and not moving around enough can make us gain weight because our cells aren’t eating all of the food we are giving them. The more we move around, the more our cells will eat the food that we eat.  It we eat too much sugar and don’t do anything, the food will become fat on our bodies. Also, sugar may give us energy at first, but then it will make us sleepy and leave us with less energy than we had before. They all seemed to understand and were particularly interested in why sugar leaves us tired and why protein helps us get stronger. I did my best! They also wanted to know what was wrong with my foot (I didn’t drink enough milk and yogurt growing up and didn’t wear proper shoes to work out in) and what that thing on my arm was (its a machine that measures my heart rate and steps every day to make sure I am active enough). 

I have three more sessions with them, so I’m thinking of theming one veggies, one fruits, and one protein/dairy. I contacted Chobani and they are going to send me yogurt to give the kids! I am so excited – I am sure that none of them have been exposed to greek yogurt!

Thank you to the couple of you that gave me suggestions. I really appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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 ;)

Persistence and perserverance.

Gooood evening. I have so much to say, I don’t even know where to start.

I guess I will begin with the internship I alluded to a few posts ago.  I wanted to find a doctor that was familiar with the paleo diet and preferably had their own practice similar to what I would want to do. At first, I got all no’s and I-don’t-have-time’s, but it is amazing what a bit of persistence will do. You have to show people that you really care about what they are doing and demonstrate your skill set in some way. The doctor I will be working with is located in San Francisco, which means I will need to move there in September!! I am so excited. Hopefully I will have my NASM personal training certification done by then so I can personal train on the side. Without saying too much (since I don’t know what would constitute too much at this point), I will be teaching his patients how to use a technology to track various aspects of their life. The data will come from an assortment of gadgets, one being the BodyMedia. The BodyMedia is the armband I was wearing in the photo in my last post and it measures your heart rate, steps, calorie burn, etc. The other aspect of the job is to encourage patients to keep using the gadgets and software, as it can be a bit of a pain. I have been wearing the BodyMedia as well as the other devices so that I can get a feel for what I am supposed to be coaching and encouraging people to do.

At first, I was bummed about wearing the BodyMedia because it arrived right when I injured my foot. It would have been so cool to see the calorie burn and activity level when I was doing my crazy CrossFit workouts and two-a-day’s. However, it turns out that wearing the BodyMedia when I am extremely inactive has been eye opening.

On a day where I did not work out and was seated or supine about 95% of the day:

1739 calories is pretty good for a small female sitting all day long. The blue spikes are calories burned per minute, which increases as my heart rate increases. This information made me think that I may not have been fueling enough when I was super active. I had this issue when I was on the triathlon team at UCSB and I do not want to suffer those consequences again.

On a day where I did one of my 30 minute injury-safe workouts. Keep in mind, I do as little walking/moving as possible!

Again, 2,000 calories for being basically immobile plus a 30 minute limited-ability workout is not bad!

Once I am back on my feet, I cannot wait to show you guys the data from CrossFit workouts versus lifting versus cardio. My guess is that after high intensity (but short) workouts like CrossFit and HIIT, there will be an increase calorie burn for the rest of the day. With long, steady state cardio, I imagine there will be a greater calorie burn during the workout but less calories for the day total. Why? Because long, steady cardio does not increase your fat and calorie burn after your workout – but high intensity (AKA sprints, weight lifting, CrossFit) does!

The workout I did today burrnnneedddd! Instead of rotating through a bunch of body parts to avoid fatigue, I wanted to really stimulate those muscles and stay on them for long periods of time. I used this tabata timer, set to 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 30 rounds.

Injury Friendly Workout # 3

  • 10 minutes of abs
  • 1 minute V-ups
  • 1 minute bicycles
  • 1 minute cross toe-touches
  • 1 minute sit ups
  • 1 minute leg raises
  • repeat
  • 10 minutes of booty
  • 2 minutes donkey kick back, left leg
  • 2 minutes donkey kick back, right leg
  • 2 minutes fire hydrant kicks, left leg
  • 2 minutes fire hydrant kicks, right leg
  • 1 minute donkey kick back, left leg
  • 1 minute donkey kick back, right leg
  • 10 minutes of chest and triceps
  • 1 minute push ups
  • 1 minute tricep dips
  • 1 minute of ab or booty work
  • repeat 3x + 1 more minute of whatever you feel like

On the recovery front, my foot is still being lame (ha…) but I have definitely continued to work through my goals list. I have been slow to start cooking more “real” meals again, but I’m getting there!

Breakfasts have been paleo waffles and protein pancakes.

The  lunch recipe I have for y’all today is so easy it’s not even a recipe, but it never fails to be delicious. It packs 40 grams of protein and can be as few as 400 calories or as many as you want, simply adjust the avocado and other fats to your needs.

Mini Paleo BLTs

fresh. saliva inducing. filling.

Recipe: Serves 1

  • 4 butter or Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
  • 1 tbsp paleo or regular mayo
  • slather of your favorite mustard
  • handful of baby tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 4+ slices of roasted turkey (nitrate free)
  • 2 slices of crispy bacon, split in halves (nitrate free)
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of an avocado, sliced

Directions – Lay the lettuce on a large plate. Add a smear of mayo and mustard. Top each leaf with a slice of turkey. Arrange the tomatoes, bacon, avocado, and onion on each turkey slice. Add salt. Enjoy!

Best enjoyed eaten like a taco:

make this. you don’t have an excuse not to.

Dinners have been inspired by other blogs, but I will save those for my next post!

[grain-free] cinnamon sweet potato waffles

Happy Independence Day everyone! Let’s take at least a minute to be appreciative of the fact that we live in a non-occupied territory and do not have to suffer the pain and inconveniences that come with such a life condition.

Ho’kay, for today’s

I have a special new recipe to debut. Please welcome Paleo Waffle 2.0 to the stage.

These are grain free, dairy free, sugar free and paleo-approved. I was trying to come up with a paleo waffle that used only sweet potato and eggs and no coconut flour, but I couldn’t make it work. The coconut flour is key to making them hold their shape and be waffle-like. However, this waffle has less coconut flour than my original version (and seems to digest easier) and a delicious sweet potato flavor.

For breakfast I have been having 1 sweet potato waffle and one banana paleo waffle topped with ~2 tablespoons of nut butter and 2 egg whites on the side.

I will never get sick of waffles. Did you know I’m a quarter Belgian?

Cinnamon Spiced Sweet Potato Waffles [gluten free]

Recipe: Makes ~7 waffles

  • Sorry this has been removed until further notice!

Josef’s sugar free maple syrup (don’t hate! malitol is one of the less craptastic sweeteners) and shredded coconut

Nutrition Facts for 1 Waffle

  • 120 calories
  • 9 grams protein (more if you sub protein powder)
  • 15 grams carbs
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 4 grams sugar

poor coco shreds, I bet it’s hard to swim in almond butter and syrup. 

Yesterday’s lunch consisted of pastrami lettuce wraps.

Simply take a few Romaine leaves and place a slice of nitrate-free pastrami, gourmet mustard, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and salt on each and eat like taco!

The second course of lunch was pink lady apple slices topped with pate.

Pate = duck liver. It is delicious. Please don’t stop reading my blog. 

Dinner was colorful and satisfying.

Leftover roasted chicken, a slice of bacon, salted avocado, sweet potato fries, and salad with honey mustard bacon grease dressing.

As is apparent, I am still pretty paleo, but this is just how I eat nowadays. I’m back on the dairy hard as ever. My first sip of creamy coffee after my week of strict paleo felt like liquid happiness was seeping into my system and coursing through my veins. In true relapse fashion, I’ve been eating yogurt and ice cream like its my job.

Best way to break up with paleo =

first thing I bought after paleo week was pastured butter, half and half, and gelato

Speaking of jobs, I have exciting news! But I will save that for the next post. :) Along with this lil’ gem…

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!

and life begins

Grr. WordPress and I aren’t getting along. I just noticed that my last post got converted to an earlier draft that basically didn’t have any content. So if you were one of the people that saw that version and thought I was exceptionally lame, feel free to go back and check it out.

Anyway, recipe time!

In my week of strict paleo, I came up with a few simple recipes that I have been itching to share. As I looked down at my plate meal after meal, I realized how differently I eat now compared to just 3 years ago. Once I got it through my head that saturated fats are not the devil, I began eating more protein, but the big changes didn’t really happen until a year ago. Reading more studies and opinions widened the range of meat that I would try. Now, I love roasted chicken with the skin, fattier cuts of beef, bacon, duck, pate, egg yolks, and sausage. But it wasn’t until I started flirting with paleo that things like liver and bone marrow began to cross my lips ;). Don’t worry, this recipe isn’t for liver. Baby steps.

Also. I am toying with the idea of getting my personal training license. I think it would be something I would enjoy doing on the side as I try to figure things out.  Does anyone have any thoughts, opinions, or experiences they would like to share?

roasted lemon rosemary chicken with chard & paleo pesto

RECIPE: MAKES 3 SERVINGS

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken
1 pasture raised chicken breast, with skin & bone
1 tsp butter or olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, de-stemmed
4+ cloves of garlic
salt, to taste
Directions – Preheat the oven to 425. Place the chicken on a baking sheet. Rub the butter or olive oil over the chicken. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and let pool on the bottom of the pan. De-stem the rosemary and sprinkle over the chicken. Peel as many garlic cloves as desired and place on the chicken. Keep some whole and dice the others. Sprinkle on salt. Roast for 1 hour. Serve with sauteed chard massaged with basil pecan pesto (recipe below). Enjoyy.

Basil Pecan Pesto (paleo)

Recipe: Makes 3-5 servings

1 cup basil, packed
1/2 cup mostly roasted pecans, some cashews (for creaminess)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (secret ingredient)
a few shakes of salt
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Directions – Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a tight container in the fridge. Can also be frozen! (It will brown but it tastes the same.)

Benefits

Basil * Has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids protect your cells from damage (and thus, in the long run, cancer).

Nutritional Yeast * is one the very few non-meat sources of B vitamins! It also contains folic acid, biotin, and some protein and fiber.

Pecans * contains vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, protein and fiber! The fat in pecans is 90% monounsaturated and 70% monounsaturated (the good kind). Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. Studies have shown that pecans can lower cholesterol and thus are heart healthy! They also have been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer and weight loss.

Chicken * an excellent source of lean, complete protein as well as B vitamins.

a week of paleo + crossfit

A week has already flown by since my big paleo post! If you haven’t actually read it, and I know it is quite long, I definitely encourage you to give it a go. I spent ample time researching and made a point to only use the most properly executed studies so that you could get the facts. I spent this last week enjoying life before summer school, visiting friends, doing CrossFit, and eating strict paleo.
me and Dina <3
Congrats Carlyn! 

How did paleo go?

For the most part, I liked it and found it quite easy. This is really only because I have never liked beans and hardly liked grains. I know that sounds like BS, but I have always just wanted more of the things that you put on grains. Pass me a bowl of curry or spaghetti sauce and give me the cheese off your pizza, please. The rest is just flavor-diluting fluff. Honestly, I had been forcing myself to eat more grains like brown rice and quinoa in the last couple years because I figured they were good for me. However, I truly did miss my whole wheat waffles and dairy. I missed whipping cream in my morning coffee. Coconut creamer basically just ruined the experience of my beloved caffeine elixir. And ice cream! Don’t even get me started.

How did paleo feel?

Paleo felt great, but to be honest, it didn’t feel very different from how I usually eat, which is very little grains and no beans anyway. I actually felt a little more stressed out because I was having to watch what I eat more and avoid dairy. It also seemed like my digestion was slightly slowed at times, perhaps due to the lack of probiotics. I am so accustomed to eating yogurt every day! Then again, it could have just been the extremely filling foods I was eating more of. Eating lots of protein, veggies, fats and nuts, and some fruit makes me feel light but satisfied all the time. I almost always feel awesome and have a steady flow of energy throughout the day. My digestion is bangin’ and my hunger comes at times that make sense. Eating paleo makes me feel comfortably full and satisfied for long periods of time. Some meals kept my hunger at bay for over 5 hours! In my book, paleo is the way to go.

So, now what? 

I plan on continuing to eat mostly paleo, but with some quality dairy. I think I will have grass fed, whole, preferably raw, cream, yogurt, butter, and cheese whenever I crave them. And occasionally ice cream because a life without ice cream is no life at all! Grains will be mostly reserved for special occasions. Like wedding cake. Mmmm.
And because I can’t find my dang camera cord anywhere, I will have to leave you with many workouts instead of a recipe…
Monday
5 founds for time
  • 12 deadlifts, 115 lbs
  • 20 pull ups
  • 12 clean and jerks, 50 lbs
  • 20 knees to elbows
Tuesday
5 rounds for time
  • 22 kettlebell swings, 25 lbs
  • 22 box jumps, 24 inch box
  • 400m run
  • 22 burpees
  • 22 wall balls, 14 lb ball
Wednesday
5 rounds for time
  • 10 tire flips
  • 5 bleacher runs
  • 10 wall climbers
little guy just chilled while I ran those damn steps
Thursday
21-15-9
Deadlifts, 125 lbs
Thrusters, 65 lbs
Friday
50-40-30-20-10 reps for time
  • Wall balls, 14 lb ball
  • Box jumps, 24 inches
  • Kettlebell swings, 20 lbs
THIS WAS SO HARD.
spent.
Saturday
5 rounds for time
  • 800 m run
  • 15 overhead squats, 55 lbs
Sunday AM (I did this with my friend Zoe at her favorite gym in Marin)
3 rounds for time
  • 800 m run
  • 50 back extensions
  • 50 situps
  • 50 kettle bell swings (20 lb)
Sunday PM (I couldn’t skip actual CrossFit no matter how tired I was!)

6 rounds for time

  • 600m run
  • 11 pull ups
  • 11 lunges with 8 kg kettle bell per hand
  • 11 thrusters with 8 kg kettle bell per hand
Monday = REST DAY, FINALLY!
Today = I have CrossFit tonight at 9pm!

As always, thank you for reading! And if you are giving paleo a try, let me know how it is going!! 

 

The Paleo Diet.

What is paleo?

The Paleolithic diet is not a “diet” in the count-every-calorie-I-hate-my-life sense. It is a lifestyle that encourages us to eat and live the way that our ancestors did for hundreds of thousands of years. The first homo sapiens appeared on earth 200,000 years ago. They hunted and gathered, slept, made shelter, and occasionally ran for their lives. They were strong and healthy and didn’t suffer from the diseases that we do now. The agricultural revolution changed the way we modern homo sapiens eat 10,000 years ago. Meaning, we have only been eating wheat and other grains and domesticated animal products for 10,000 years out of our 200,000 year existence. The paleo diet is the avoidance of all grains (even whole grains), refined sugar, legumes, and dairy products. It is eating vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and fruit. The paleo lifestyle is to exercise the way we used to: lots of movement, like walking, some heavy lifting, and some sprinting. Our ancestors did not read magazines for two hours on the elliptical or run marathons.

What to eat

Fruit and veg: Go crazy for veggies. Make them the base of your diet and you can’t go wrong. For people trying to lose weight, reduce fruit and starchy vegetables like potatoes, beets, winter squash, and root veggies. For maintaining weight, gaining weight, and sustaining heavy exercise, use starchy vegetables and fruit as your carbohydrate source.

Nuts and oils: Any nut is fair game except for peanuts, which are technically legumes. Monounsaturated fat is good for us, while polyunsaturated fat is more complicated. Polyunsaturated fat is divided between omega 3s and omega 6s. While we do need omega 6s, the ratio of omega 3 to 6 should be 1:1. Modern diets are 1:10, which increases our risk of heart disease. We should emphasize omega 3s and reduce omega 6s. 

  • Monounsaturated oils include: nuts, avocados, olives and olive oil, fish, cod liver oil, grass fed meats, and plants (which obviously don’t have that much fat)
  • Polyunsaturated omega 6 sources include: corn, soy, cottonseed, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower and other vegetable oils, and grains
  • Polyunsaturated omega 3 sources include: salmon, sardines, fish, walnuts, flax, hemp, nuts, grass fed meat, pasture raised chicken & eggs

Meat: meat should ideally be grass fed and organic. Grass fed meat is naturally leaner and contains increased levels of omega 3 fats and decreased levels of omega 6 fats compared to grain fed animals. This is good because omega 3s are anti-inflammatory where as omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory (bad!). Post-agricultural revolution, cattle began being grain-fed because it is cheaper and they get fatter. If you can’t afford grass fed meat, go for the leanest cuts of conventional meat and supplement with other forms of healthy fat, like avocados, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil. Avoid vegetable oils, as they are high in omega 6.

Poultry and fish: Poultry and eggs should ideally be free-range and not fed a “vegetarian” diet, which really just means corn and soy. Again, this is so that the fat content of the meat and eggs is higher in the fats that reduce CVD. Fish should ideally be wild caught because farm-raised fish are fed (surprise!) corn and grain feed. Remember, the reason that corn and grain fed animals and fish are less healthy than their naturally grazing counterparts is their fat content. Naturally grazing species will have a more anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and less inflammatory (and thus CVD inducing) omega 6 fats.

About red meat and saturated fat

Paleo or no paleo, the consumption of red meat believed by many to be unhealthy. This is based on studies that link high consumption of red meat to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, and it is usually explained as the increased level of saturated fat in the diet. This is not the whole story. The studies that claim this are flawed in their methods and/or reporting. They are usually population studies that take large groups of people and have them fill out food frequency questionaires (which are sketchy in their own right since they are based on memory and estimation). The results look at the frequency of cancer and CVD in the population tested. Those who ate more red meat had higher rates of cancer and CVD. What the study doesn’t mention, is that these people were also more likely to smoke, be overweight, obese, diabetic, inactive, or combinations of all of these characteristics.

In this cross over study (which is the most trustworthy type of study), two groups were divided among heavy red meat consumption versus fish and chicken consumption. The red meat group ate far more cholesterol and saturated fat, however, their HDL and cholesterol levels were the same as the fish and chicken group. Interestingly, in women only, red meat actually lowered blood triacylglycerol (=fat, TAG)  levels and the fish and chicken increased the blood TAG levels. This is important because blood TAG levels are now thought to be more indicative of heart disease risk. Another interesting thing about this study was the carb intake, which usually regulates serum TAGs, was similar in both groups. This suggests that red meat has a TAG-lowering effect independent from simply replacing carbs from the diet with protein.  Also worth noting is that the red meat group ate ~200 calories more than the chicken and fish group per day, but did not gain any weight. This is a great blog post that summarizes more studies on this topic.

Two other interesting studies were analyses of other studies. Looking at all the studies that met their standards and criteria, they determined factors that increase and decrease risk of heart disease.

  • Increased risk factors: trans fats and high glycemic loads (AKA sugar, simple carbohydrates, and excessive carbs REGARDLESS of carb type).
  • Decreased risk factors: fiber, fish, beta carotene, omega 3s, fruit, veg, nuts, monounsaturated fats, vitamins C and E, Meditteranean style eating, and whole grains. [I will get to grains a bit later.]

They noted the lack of evidence supporting the notion that reducing saturated fat intake will lower the risk of CVD. Furthermore, according to this study, there is no study yet that reduces saturated fat intake with no other changes to the diet. Meaning, if reductions in CVD were seen with reduced saturated fat intake, it could be due to the other changes made in the study, like reduced carb intake, increased omega 3 intake, etc. Also, note that polyunsaturated fats were not part of the decreased risk factor list, which is what we have increased in out diets by feeding our animals and ourselves lots of corn and vegetable oils.

Main point: Current research seems to indicate that it is not saturated fat that is responsible for our current state of heart disease, but rather the increased ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats in our diet. This doesn’t mean you can drown yourself in french fries and steaks. It means that grass-fed meats or extra lean conventional meats do have a healthy place in our diet, along with fish, healthy oils, nuts, and plants.

About grains and legumes

Grains and legumes (beans + peanuts) are out because they contain lectins and anti-nutrients. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) is one type of lectin, which is a molecule that can bind to other molecules in our body. Lectins are not broken down during digestion and can bind to receptors on the gut lining. This binding can lead to decreased digestion and absorption of other dietary proteins as well as transportation of the lectins through the gut and into the blood circulation. While they are transported, lectins can damage (in rough terms: “poke holes”) in our intestinal lining. These circulating lectins are then recognized by our immune systems as foreign invaders, and we will launch an immune response against them. Unfortunately, lectins can often resemble normal cells in our body, so these immune responses can essentially become immune attacks on our own tissues. Read: inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Because there is now perforations in the gut lining, other microscopic proteins from our diet can cross the lining, and immune responses can be raised against those proteins as well. Read: food allergies.

The strongest evidence against grains is definitely for those whom have autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac, lupus,  Sjogrens, MS, T1 diabetes, and ulcerative colitis. This, this, this, and many more studies indicate that dietary gluten and grains do negatively impact those with decreased immune systems. However, not everyone has an overt immune disease. Like most things in this world, we are on a sliding scale. This study showed that those with celiac disease and people with increased genetic susceptibility to autoimmune disease had increased gut permeability when consuming a diet high in gluten. And as for completely healthy individuals with great immune systems? There is hardly any research. This study, ironically done by a student under the original Paleo-pusher, Dr. Cordaine, showed that healthy individuals did not see an increase in plasma levels of lectins after consuming 50 grams of gluten (although several explanations were offered for these results). However, this study did show that peanut lectins made their way through the intestinal lining and into circulation. This study showed the same with wheat germ agglutinin, but it was done on rats. This study showed that anti-bodies to WGA can be found in human circulation.  Also, this research article is all about using lectins as a way to get pharmaceutical drugs absorbed more efficiently through the intestines, and cites studies that were done on human tissue. Therefore, it does appear likely that lectins are able to enter circulation and possibly cause damage. 

Main point: Anyone with imperfect immune function (which you wouldn’t necessarily know if you were included in that group), and possibly everyone, can benefit from removing grains and legumes from their diet due to their lectin content. Even completely healthy individuals may benefit from lectin avoidance because lectins may at the very least be causing a constant low-grade inflammation in the body. Just try it for a few weeks and see how you feel. 

The anti-nutrients in grains that I mentioned are protease inhibitors and phytates. Protease inhibitors are molecules that inhibit our enzymes from breaking down some of our dietary protein and lectins (which are proteins). I think that this is a bit exaggerated in The Paleo Solution because it is not as if your burger isnt going to get digested just because you ate it with a bun. That would require a LOT of protease inhibitors. Phytates are found in grains and seeds and can bind to important minerals, like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and copper. Thus, when you eat phytates (which are mostly in the bran of the grains) they bind to those nutrients so that you cannot absorb them. While this is bad, I think it is also slightly exaggerated. Phytates will bind those nutrients, but not all of them! Then again, the typical American diet is grain heavy and lacking in fruits and veg, so I guess it could actually make quite a difference in a person’s nutritional status!

About dairy

The case against dairy seems to be mostly based its effect of raising insulin levels. Insulin increases fat storage, and chronically elevated insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance. Clearly, for diabetics and people whom are overweight, this is  bad. I also read that some studies correlate milk intake with auto-immune diseases. However, I am happy to report that some people actually can consume dairy given that they do not have any auto-immune issues, have a healthy gut and weight, and are not lactose intolerant. While strict paleo does say no dairy, even the some of the most hardcore paleo-pushers admit that grass fed, whole fat, organic dairy has its benefits. If it is grass fed and organic, it won’t contain any harmful pesticides or hormones, and will have a healthy fat profile. Additionally, if the dairy is raw, than the naturally occurring enzymes will help with the digestion and absorption processes. Proper dairy can be a great source of calories, protein, fat, calcium, and probiotics, however it can be difficult (or impossible) to get your hands on.

Main point: Try giving up dairy products for a couple weeks, see how you feel, and then re-introduce it. If you feel bloated and ill…. well now you know. If not, stick with grass fed, organic, whole milk dairy products. Those with auto-immune disorders or genetic susceptibility would also likely do well to avoid dairy.

About fiber

When I first heard about how paleo excludes grains, even my beloved whole grains, I was disturbed. Almost mad! Here I was, with a blog all about eating healthfully and including whole grains into our diet, and this community was telling me that that was bad. I fought it. Whole grains have so many nutrients, like B vitamins and minerals! Whole grains have so much fiber! From my studies, I knew that the human body needs two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber absorbs water, and thus slows digestion and makes us feel fuller, longer. It also helps feces transit.

Insoluble fiber is not digested by the body and adds bulk to the stool. This is important for maintaining bathroom regularity, which may be helpful with preventing colon cancer. Insoluble fiber is also a key source of food for gut flora (bacteria), which give us all sorts of immune and digestion benefits.

My first instinct was that without whole grains, I would only be getting soluble fiber from fruits and veggies. I feared that without my precious whole grain insoluble fiber sources, I would become a constipated, and thus grumpy, beezy. Turns out one can get both kinds of fiber very easily from a paleo diet.

  • Soluble fiber is found in: fruits like apples, oranges, pears, and berries. Veggies like cucumbers, celery, and carrots. And nuts and seeds like flax, almonds, and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fiber is found in: corn, seeds, nuts, zucchini, celery, broc, cabbage, root veggie skins, dark leafy veggies, onions, grapes, and other fruits.

Other considerations

While I have now made the agricultural revolution sound like the most terrible thing to ever have occurred, I must remind myself and others that it was this revolution that enabled us to feed more people and expand our population. In some ways, this is beautiful. More people, more innovation, peace, love, happiness. On the other hand, we have more people, but they are also fatter and sicker than ever before. So while the agriculture revolution certainly made food cheaper, it has also increased our medical care costs.

Another thing to think about is the environmental-friendliness of the paleo diet. Obviously, a lot of meat and animal products are consumed. While ideally the animals should be sustainably raised and grass fed, this sadly makes up only a tiny portion of our current agricultural system. Furthermore, it has been said that vegetarian diets are far more environmentally friendly than traditional diets. I have hardly done any reading on this, but it is something I have heard over and over again. I think the most important thing to keep in mind at the grocery store (or better yet, farmer’s market!) is that every dollar you spend on food is a vote. Hopefully with enough votes towards healthy, sustainable food items, they will become more affordable and we will slowly transition to a better agricultural system.

I encourage everyone to join me in giving full-on Paleo a shot for a few weeks!