#SundayPrep — What We’re Eating This Week

I posted a picture of my #SundayPrep on Instagram and a couple of you suggested I blog it. Not sure what to write about except what we’re eating, so here we go!

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Breakfasts in our house usually come in a box. Not the sexiest food styling, but it is what it is. :)
I have time to eat mine at home on most days but Garrett is out of the house by 6:45 so he needs to be able to take his with him.
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I prep them once on Sunday and then don’t give it another thought until I’m eating it. It’s nice. This week in Garrett’s boxes I put hashbrowns, chicken sausage, and two hard boiled eggs. That may sound fancy but it’s just about the simplest thing ever.

The chicken sausage is from Trader Joe’s, I cook it up all at once and then with the fat leftover in the pan I dump in potatoes, onions, peppers and spices. I make one pan of hashbrowns for him and split it into 5 containers. It doesn’t seem like much but it actually works out to the perfect little serving. Top it off with sausage and then slice up a couple of hard boiled eggs (which I also purchase those from Trader Joe’s because paying for the convenience of not having to peel hard boiled eggs has MADE MY LIFE!) and it’s a yummy little package.

Lunches are boxed up too (tupperware how I love thee) and this week I cooked up a batch of soup for myself (it’s a new recipe to me but it sounded easy and tasty) but there ended up being so much of it that I’m planning to serve it as a dinner as well one night after we go to the gym. Clearly I’m one of those people who can eat the same thing over and over and not get sick of it. I figure I’ll top it with cheese one day, avocado one day, olives another — that’ll spice it up enough for me.
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Dinners are going to be meat + veg. (Shocker! LOL)

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For the meat part, I did some marinating this week:
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Two of them came from Whole Foods – these are also new to me but they looked and sounded good:

*Saturday Night Steak Grill Sauce
– the name just called to me, what can I say? It’s basically a garlic and peppercorn marinade but the plan is to eat it on Friday because I DO WHAT I WANT.

*Sweet Hickory Chicken BBQ Sauce with Agave + Orange seemed like it could be good. Gluten free marinades that aren’t full of TONS of sugar are hard to find. This one, while certainly not sugar free seemed like a fun option.

And with the two strip loins I had leftover I decided to mix up this delicious little marinade that is always a crowd pleaser.

I tossed them in the sous vide for a couple of hours so they are perfectly cooked and just ready to sear off and eat on the night’s they are scheduled. I do stuff like this (or crockpot receipts) on night’s when we go to the gym because we won’t get home until after 6 and by the time we shower and all that I am usually not interested in cooking a fussy or time consuming meal, you know?

I know prepping once a week and meal planning sounds a little automated and regimented, but for the two of us — both working outside of the house full time — it’s mostly welcomed to always know there is at least something tasty and nutritious that is basically ready to eat in the fridge.

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Go-To recipes, convenience food, and par cooked meat/protein is what keeps our house going on the week nights. What do you do to eat healthily during the week? I’m always looking for new tips!

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Why I Sought Out A Nutritionist + My Caffeine Free Life (Part Two)

Before I get into THE AFTERMATH (and yes, it deserves all caps) or talk about some of the good coffee replacements I’ve found, I just wanted to make a quick disclaimer about yesterday’s post: I don’t thinking giving up caffeine is necessary for everyone. Coffee lovers out there, fret not :) I wasn’t trying to be alarmist and I don’t think drinking it makes you inherently unhealthier, but like most things — it all depends on what’s going on with YOUR body. Mine was not at all happy with it, so I stopped, and this is only my experience. Your mileage may vary.

So quitting coffee: I want to tell you it was no big deal, that I just swapped in some good herbal teas and all was well, but honestly the only way I can explain it is to say it was A DARK TIME. I have literally never felt so exhausted and depressed and I completely doubted why I was doing this. I remember having a conversation with my nutritionist fairly early on, totally pissed off and accusatory, and telling her that I didn’t think things were going to work — I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to make this change or if subjecting myself to such a shitty quality of life was worth it. I was DRAMATIC, y’all, and really not myself. And I felt a little freaked out. Like, life would forever be awful and exhausting and WAAAAAAH LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING WITHOUT COFFEE.

She reminded me that the body is always sending us signals and my test results (which I oversimplified in yesterday’s post) were clearly showing that my adrenals were taxed which was causing all sorts of other downstream problems. What I felt in those first couple of days was just how bad my caffeine habit was masking the signals my body was sending. Shortly after I started my adrenal protocol it felt like I was coming out of the dark. Little by little I am feeling better and I am feeling more clued into my body’s signals but I don’t think I would have kicked the habit if I didn’t have the encouragement and guidance of a “coach.” Those first few days were rough and I’m not sure I would have persisted without her promises that things would get better. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

In the meantime though, I needed a stand in. While I enjoyed the stimulant effects, I wasn’t only drinking coffee for the caffeine. Anyone who drinks it knows that it’s a comforting ritual and you can’t just substitute any old hot drink in a cup. I’ve done a lot of experimenting with herbal teas (Not all are not created equal!) and most of them don’t have the same robustness as coffee so you have to make sure you find ones that have a flavor that you like or give you an experience that replicates the comfort and decadence of that morning cup. Here are a couple I have really come to enjoy:

1) Yogi Tea Decaf Green Tea Kombucha

Decaf Green Tea Kombucha
This is a mild green tea that is not at all grassy and it as a really delicious! There is a lemongrass and plum-like flavor that is just so freaking tasty I can drink it all day. DELISH!

2)Teecino Dandelion Caramel Nut Coffee Alternative “Tee Bag”

teecino
This is a fun substitute if you like a latte or a flavored coffee drink. While it’s great on it’s own, I’ve also found it to be a good base for a fun frou frou drink. Here’s a great recipe I’ve made, but you could easily just add a little cream and a few drops of stevia and it tastes SUPAH FANCY!

3)Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend Herbal Tea

TJs
Seriously run, DO NOT WALK, and pick up as many boxes of this as you can fit in your cart! Cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chamomile, chicory, orange peel and apple. It is autumn in a cup and it is AH-MAY-ZING!

4)Teavana Caramel Chai Rooibos

caramel chai
This is more of a dessert tea in my opinion, but it is so sweet, spicy and indulgent it had to make the list!

5)David’s Tea Earl Grey Rooibos with Bergamot Oil

earl grey rooibos
Strong, citrusy and with a little kick. This really tastes like TEA and not watered down herbs. LOVE!

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Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My herbal tea collection has grown and I don’t feel like my days lack a fun or comforting cup. I hope some day I can go back to enjoying coffee here and there in a more responsible way when my body is more in balance but right now it’s not in the cards so I’m doing what I can to make the best of my beverages. And it turns out, they’re still pretty tasty!

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Why I Sought Out A Nutritionist + My Caffeine Free Life (Part One)

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Ten weeks ago I stopped drinking coffee.

Just like that.

One day I had a cup and the next day I didn’t. The day after that I just kept telling myself don’t break the chain and now here it is three months later.

The only way I can think to describe the whole process is that it was as unceremonious as it was dramatic. Some of you will read that I’ve quit coffee and think “Oh cool” and some of you will probably feel The Panic creep up into your throat just considering what it would take to give up that morning cup. I was firmly in the latter camp, proclaiming that you would have to pry my coffee cup from my cold, dead hand — never being willing to deal with the consequences — and yet here we are.

The consequences are probably a good place to start since the most asked question I have gotten when mentioning that I’m no longer drinking coffee is a wide eyed “Why the hell would you want to do that?” Well, I got to a point where the consequences were outweighing the benefits — which in my experience is really the only reason anyone ever changes a behavior.

I mentioned that about 4 months ago I began seeing a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist Practitioner. That is a lot of fancy words, right? What it means in real life is that I hired someone who could help me in a coaching capacity to help me tailor my diet and exercise to my body’s own needs. When I say coaching I don’t mean in a “Rah Rah! GO TEAM!” kind of way, but basically I wanted to work with someone on a regular basis who was a knowledgeable nutrition professional who could look at my individual situation at this particular time in my life and help design a nutrition and lifestyle protocol that would help me give my body the tools it needs to get me back on track to health.

Whoa that sounded pretty hippy dippy. But that basically sums it up. No way to de-hipp-ify that. Guess it is what it is. :)

The truth is my body has gone through a lot in the past few years. I’ve changed the way I eat, I’ve dropped a lot of weight, I took on a super stressful job change, I had lots of stressful life events go on, I’ve re-gained some weight and in the meantime life has gone on. Not a lot of homeostasis here on the health front, ya know? I have learned a lot about who I am and how how I deal with stress and how that affects my body. Some of the consequences of my poor stress management had me backsliding down this health hill that I worked so hard to get to the top of. Hiring this nutritionist was a tool that I really hoped could help me get back up on my feet again and start climbing.

To get a baseline she ran a battery of tests that I will probably talk about in another post but there were two major results that led me to kick my caffeine habit pretty quickly. The first: I was dealing with Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue. (More good info about all of that here, here and here if you are interested in taking a deeper dive.) I have so much to say about adrenal fatigue, but I can probably sum it up by saying: If you are a person who is ever tired, anxious, depressed or having hormone issues it is worth looking into.

So I was basically firing on all cylinders with no gas in the tank. Wait — am I trying to use a car analogy here. That is a terrible idea. I know nothing about cars. The bottom line is, I was artificially elevating my cortisol levels with coffee and this wasn’t helping solve the problem. In fact, it was probably contributing to it at that point. My nutritionist recommended that I cut out the caffeine so we could really get a baseline for how my body was functioning without all this artificially elevated cortisol, but I wasn’t on board at first. (Can ya blame me? LOL I mean frankly I was a little scared.) I sat on the idea for a week or so and then I got some more tests back.

The second motivator, and really what pushed me over the edge to just really deal with the consequences of life with no caffeine, was getting the results of a food sensitivities test. It was lots of good information and thankfully it wasn’t only bad news – I found out that me and dairy really get along quite well! GREEN LIGHT! WOOT! (Well except for cottage cheese, but really there’s no love loss there) But on the list of foods that were causing me some serious inflammatory response (RED LIGHT!) was among other things caffeine (in any form) and coffee (regular and/or decaf.) I was paying all of this money to have a professional take a serious, personalized interest in my specific symptoms, so how could I keep turning my nose up at the idea of removing one of the most obvious speed bumps in my pursuit to health.

UGH. THE TRUTH HURTS.

The day I got all of that info that I decided I was just going to have to give it a go and quit coffee. This post has gotten crazy long and I wasn’t really anticipating that so I think maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about the aftermath of getting rid of my daily cup of Joe and some of the awesome replacements I’ve found that keep me from feeling completely deprived. Sound good? Ok, great. Let’s do this again tomorrow. :)

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To Be Read // To Be Made

Books

I asked for book recommendations the other day and you guys totally came through. Thank you! So much good fodder for my library hold list! My To Be Read list is super long right now but my library queue was low. Then the other day I stopped by and there was a jackpot of awesome material available for checking out. I love when that happens! Here are a few that came home with me:

*Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherford — I was thumbing through an old issue of People Magazine and Tim McGraw said this was the best book he read all year. Random, yes? Did I totally add it to my library hold list? Also yes.

*Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without A Date by Katie Heaney — I keep hearing rumblings about this book and it was on the New Books shelf the other day so it came home with me. I always love a good story about a late bloomer. This could go so many ways.

*Lexicon by Max Barry — This is one of those “If you loved…” books and it’s being compared to Ready Player One which, obviously I did love, so I’m excited!

Pork Recipes

I’ve also been having fun scouring Pinterest for new recipes to try — I always find it exciting when I feel inspired to cook! I’m also have a bit of a Pork Moment (that sounded weird, but I can’t think of another way to describe it. Also, PORK HAS BEEN ON SALE, so there.)

Here are some of the recipes that have piqued my interest

*Pork Chili Verde — Because I love just about anything with Pork and Verde in the title. GUARANTEED.

*Sticky Balsamic Ribs — I’m intrigued by the balsamic addition, and also I LOVE LOVE LOVE cooking ribs low and slow on a cold, rainy day. It’s perfection!

*Southwest Chorizo Burgers — Chorizo is my love language, hands down. And I’m looking for the perfect flavored burger in which to incorporate it. I hope this is it (though I don’t have any venison, so I’ll definitely be using Grass Fed Beef.) Confession: I have a giant bag of sweet potato tots (TOTS!!!!) in my freezer so I’m thinking the two might be a match made in heaven.

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It’s supposed to rain over the next week so I’ll give you one guess as to what I’ll be doing! I anticipate lots of Instagram food photos. You’ve been warned. :) You cooking or reading anything fun?

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Celery Salad with Dates, Walnuts and Pecorino

Post Wod-A-Thon potluck @arcfit today and I am already excited to dig into the dish I'm bringing! #selfish

This weekend at the gym was the Annual ARCFit Wod-A-Thon which, as you may have seen in year’s past, involves some dressing up in costumes, some workouts and some general hijinks. Afterward comes my favorite part: THE BBQ + POTLUCK, duh. :)

I love a good pot luck, and have some go-to favorites I like to bring, but I am adding a new one to the list so I thought I would share it.

The recipe below is adapted from an old Food & Wine recipe and it is just perfect for cool weather gatherings or holidays. The prep time is practically nothing, and it can be made up to a day ahead.

I think you’re going to love it!

Celery Salad with Dates, Walnuts and Pecorino
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups walnuts, toasted at 350 for 8 minutes
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs of celery (roughly 1.5-2 bunches), thinly sliced (on the bias if you feel fancy!)
  • 1 cup dried pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
  • 3 ounces pecorino cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: combine the shallot with the sherry vinegar. Whisk in both oils and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the salad: In a large bowl toss the toasted walnuts, celery, dates and pecorino. Add the dressing and toss. Serve at once.
  3. A note on storage: The salad and dressing can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day. Store the walnuts in an airtight container and add to the salad just before serving.

 

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The Four Keys to The Perfect Cup of Coffee (Giveaway Closed)

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you’ve forgotten: Coffee is My Religion. I say that only slightly kidding. Working for a decade in the specialty coffee industry in a number of different roles can do that to a person. I’ve experimented with giving it up completely, but ultimately decided that there will always be space in my life for coffee. It’s just too good to give up! The end.

One of the things you learn early on when you work in coffee for so long are the 4 Steps to The Perfect Cup of Coffee:

*Proportion — No cup of coffee will taste good if you don’t have the right proportion of grinds to water. There are lots of opinions on what is the perfect amount (2TBS per cup is my preference) but if you have ever tasted watered down mud that someone has called coffee, then you understand how important proportion is. I like my cup to be able to double as rocket fuel. :)

*Water — Did you know that 80% of your coffee’s flavor comes from the water you use? Don’t believe me? Use a metallic tasting water. BLECH!!!! And then scrub your tongue raw because, um…NASTY! The quality of your water is important when you are trying to brew a good cup. I’m not talking Holy Water here, but something that doesn’t have a flavor — so the natural flavor of the beans can shine through.

*Grind — The way your coffee should be ground depends on how you are going to brew it. There is no one-size-fits-all grind. (If you take ANYTHING from this post, please take that!) The grind affects how fast or slow the water moves through the extraction process. With a quick/pressurized extraction (like say an espresso machine) you need a finer grind, but if you were going to brew in something more relaxed like a french press where the coffee and water get to marinate together for a few minutes, then a coarser grind will do. But let’s talk about the most important, shall we:

*Freshness/Bean Quality– Freshness is obvious — please don’t drink that coffee that has been ground up and sitting on the shelf at Home Goods for the last year, ok? But I want to talk a little bit more about quality because all coffee beans are not created equal. Something that A LOT of us Paleo folk talk about when discussing what we eat is buying the best quality food we can; food that is humanely raised. Grass fed beef, pastured chicken, sustainable seafood — you know that drill. But I think it’s also an important conversation to have when you think about the coffee you are drinking. Where did it come from? Who is buying it? How was it harvested?

FAIR TRADE MONTH

This October, Green Mountain Coffee® is celebrating Fair Trade Month through the “Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Choose Fair Trade” campaign. I was asked if I wanted to participate in it, and I happily, HAPPILY accepted the opportunity to talk about this topic because I think it is a label that you hear often, but might not really know what it means.

Here is some scoop:

Q: What is Fair Trade? A: Fair Trade is a global movement to help improve the lives of farmers and their families. It provides a fair price to coffee farmers, resulting in a great cup of coffee and a better quality of life in coffee-farming communities.

Q. How does Fair Trade Certified coffee benefit coffee farmers? A: Most family coffee farmers live in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Fair Trade assures coffee farmers a fair price for unroasted, green coffee. Fair Trade also links farmers directly with coffee companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (“GMCR”), creating long-term sustainability.

Q: What makes Fair Trade Certified coffee high quality coffee? A: Through Fair Trade, farmers earn better incomes, allowing them to hold onto their land and invest in quality. This results in great coffee for consumers.

Q. Why is Green Mountain Coffee committed to Fair Trade? A: Fair Trade is one critical way that Green Mountain Coffee provides consumers high quality coffee while helping to ensure a better quality of life for coffee farmers and their communities.

THE GIVEAWAY

photo For part of that campaign I am hosting a fun giveaway that any coffee lovers among you will be interested in. Obviously, by purchasing Fair Trade Certified Green Mountain Coffee, you help coffee farmers receive a fair price for their beans, which means a great cup of coffee and a better quality of life in coffee-farming communities — and to bring more attention to the issue, this fall, award-winning musician Kelly Clarkson is teaming up with Green Mountain Coffee to share her experience visiting a coffee farm in Peru and the importance of Fair Trade. You can follow along with her adventures here .

In celebration of Fair Trade Month, Green Mountain Coffee is introducing Fair Trade Certified™ Three Continent Blend, which combines the flavors and aromas of three continents in one harmonious Extra Bold blend. You can enter below to win a Keurig® Brewing System and a Green Mountain Coffee® gift basket! If you are interested in entering, leave a comment letting me know: Are you a coffee drinker, and if so, would you consider buying fair trade coffee? 

*For more info on Fair Trade and Green Mountain Coffee go to www.ChooseFairTrade.com.

 

Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 09/18/13-10/31/13.

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Suprising Book Recommendation: Jorge Cruise’s The Belly Fat Cure: Fast Track

bf cure A few weeks (crap, maybe months. OY!) a blog reader sent me an email after I posted about needing to get my weight loss jump started again. She recommended Jorge Cruise’s The Belly Fat Cure: Fast Track and mentioned that she emailed me the recommendation because she didn’t want to write about it in the comments and risk people being critical.

Wait a minute, people being anonymously critical on the internet? THAT NEVER HAPPENS! :)

Well, luckily it doesn’t happen too much around here (LOVE YOU GUYS FOR THAT) but I knew where she was coming from. Especially because my first thought was “UGH. Jorge Cruise? Isn’t he the 8 Minute workout dude? I don’t know about this.”

I am kind of over Info-tainment health people, you know? Nutritionists on Good Morning America, Doctors hosting TV Shows, Celebrity Trainers — OH MAN, don’t even get me started on Dr. Oz. I am 100% NOT a fan, but that is a conversation for another day. Maybe never. Dang, it gets me riled just thinking about it. Anyway, all of that to say: I was a skeptic. But I also love blog-reader recommendations (Seriously. Email me anytime) and so I immediately put it on my Library Hold List like the good little book nerd that I am. No harm, no foul — if I hated it, I would just return it to the library. Win-win.

When I picked it up I was pleased to see that it looked fun: square and spiral bound — almost a mini-binder instead of a book — but it still had Jorge Cruise’s giant picture on it exclaiming we could all lose 14 lbs in 14 days. I mean, listen — I lost 30 lbs in a month when I first started eating Paleo, so I know it can happen, but when a diet-book puts that on it’s cover I am EVEN MORE skeptical. But I began flipping through the glossy pages…

The first thing I found was the foreward was by Christiane Northrup – who I LOVE LOVE LOVE. She’s a doctor who talks about chakras! Rock and roll! Such an awesome combination of women’s health/hippie healing and I love a good advocate like that. I have a bookshelf stocked with her books that have changed my understanding of my own body and I have to admit I was a little surprised to see her addressing what I thought was going to be a gimmicky diet book.

Next, the book delves right into the causes of weight gain and how to avoid it. I expected to read a mix of recommendations encompassing the Eat Less, Move More mentality, but lo and behold the entire first chapter explains simply and succintly that if you want to lose weight, you need to understand how insulin works in your body. Period. He immediately calls out sugar (and even more insidiously) hidden sugars as enemy number one. He doesn’t demonize carboyhdrates, but he does break down how they work in your body, and how they relate to weight gain. I was starting to get on board.

But this is also the chapter where he discusses the concept of “Losing 14 lbs in 14 days” and whether or not it is healthy, and I still wasn’t sure I’d be down with that. Right from the start though, he owns the fact that losing 14 lbs of fat in 14 days is NOT healthy or desirable (or frankly even possible, really.) But he talks about the idea that there are many things involved in weight gain, not only just fat. In this chapter he introduces a concept called “Hidden Belly Fat” that I can totally identified with and understood. He goes on to explain that “Hidden Belly Fat” isn’t really fat but it sure looks like it. (You may know it too — that soft spare tire layer that springs up out of nowhere after a few weeks of eating garbage.) In reality it is a sign of that metabollic disconnect that happens to a lot of people (myself included!) when they don’t keep the insulin/hormone situation in their body in check, and I have to applaud Jorge Cruise for discussing some of the consequences of Metabollic Derangement in such easy to understand terms. I think this is one of the most revolutionary concepts in his book and I was happy to think about it with new analogies. (Sidebar: Stacy from Paleo Parents wrote a great blog post on this exact topic of hidden belly fat, although from a different perspective, that I think is a really worthwhile read.)

The next section is pages and pages of testimonials and pictures of people who have completed the program (he has yet to outline it at this point, but of course all of the results pictures are pretty impressive) and then he finally gets on to outlining what the Fast Track program is based on. I was really intersted to see — would it be an elimination diet, would it be about timing your food intake, would it be more of this “eat 5 small meals a day by properly combining foods” crapola — WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE??? I was very curious at that point. Curious and surprised. Surprised that I was enjoying his voice and that so far all I had done was nod my head at his information and his references.

Speaking of references, each chapter begins with a quote — and when he gets into the section about what to eat — guess what person he choses to quote?

Mark Sisson.

I was floored. Was Jorge Cruise about to espouse eating Paleo? I read on…

Turns out Jorge Cruise is all about an Ancestral Diet. Who knew? (I sure didn’t, clearly.) He leans more towards a Primal approach (including dairy and wine…woo hoo!) but his book outlines very well researched (the appendix at the end is large) nutrition advice that is not only completely sane and unscary or restrictive sounding, but the book also includes meal plans and recipes at the end that look really delicious. And he even talks a little bit about high intensity exercise and why it is such a more effective replacement for chronic cardio, so obviously he got some points for that!

The Belly Fat Cure: Fast Track is smart, easy to understand, and is a new interpretation of Paleo that isn’t so tied to food politics and nutrient density. It’s mostly just a functional weight loss book that doesn’t really espouse any food philosophy, so I think it might appeal to people who are scared off by the words Paleo or Primal but want an easy guide on how to lose weight that also explains how your body works. I’m obviously very pro-Paleo, so I don’t really mind that label, but not everyone is down for that so I think this book could have good mass appeal. I was so happy that I read it and really, really surprised I liked it. Maybe you know someone who might too?

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Fun Food Inspiration

Fun Food Inspiration // Holly Would If She Could

It always surprises me that with the arrival of fall I always feel pulled to get back into the kitchen. Probably the fact that it’s no longer 900 degrees outside and the oven is no longer the enemy has a little something to do with it — Guess that’s no surprise! :) But lately I’ve been pinning up a storm of food inspiration because I’m ready to get back to cooking for pleasure AND for health. WOOT!

Also, Garrett and I have decided to embark on another Whole 30 in September. We’ve been wanting to do one for a while and my friend Karie mentioned doing one recently and September seemed like a month that would work for us. Then of course there was that whole Circus Animal Ice Cream Situation so, you know, it’s probably time. Doing another Whole 30 could be (gasp) FUN!

The Whole 30 always requires planning so the other day I set out to reorganize my Pinterest boards. This is what I do when I have a week off of work…how sad is that? ha! It was so much fun though the entire time I was doing that I just kept thinking “OH DELICIOUS TIME SUCK, I LOVE YOU!” ha

The things we come to think of as luxuries. :)

Anyway, I did a little reshuffling and now my food Pinterest boards are nice and organized! Within them you will find Paleo recipes that fall in three camps:

*Strict Paleo recipes
*Primal recipes that include dairy (we eat dairy on occasion, though obviously not when we are doing a Whole 30) and
*Un-Paleo recipes that are very easy to adapt (ie: I’ll pin a recipe with soy sauce and call it paleo since coconut aminos are a super simple swap.)

******************Also, completely separate, if you are looking for a SUPER strict Paleo board I do have a Whole 30 board full of recipes and inspiration for completing a Whole 30. I plan to keep updating it as I prepare for September’s challenge.*************************

I was so pleased with them when I was finished (Organization FTW!) but I also wanted to share them here because when I deleted my old, giant, disorganized “Tasty Paleo Things” board I noticed there were thousands more people that followed that board than who are now follow the individual board. Maybe you were one of them? If so, or if you are just interested in some fun food inspiration, check out the boards I put together below:

*Paleo Recipes – Chicken
*Paleo Recipes – Beef + Bison
*Paleo Recipes – Pork
*Paleo Recipes – Turkey
*Paleo Recipes – Seafood
*Paleo Recipes – Treats
*Paleo Recipes – Breakfast
*Paleo Recipes – Vegetables
*Paleo Recipes – Soups + Stews
*Paleo Recipes – Bread Like Things
*Paleo Recipes – Condiments, Dressings + Sauces
*Paleo Recipes – Superfoods
*Paleo Recipes – Round Ups

Then let’s get cooking!

PS — You can follow any and all my Pinterest boards here.

Original Photo Source

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Paleo Bread

The world does not lack “Paleo” Cookbooks and lately I have one of two feelings about this:

For one, I think it is so exciting to see awesome glossy photos as inspiration for this way of eating that has truly changed my life. Three years ago when I started down this path, the inspiration was a little bit lackluster. It didn’t feel like having a shelf full of beautiful cookbooks could overlap with a Paleo diet. That has truly changed.

But as with all good things, there comes a bit of a saturation tipping point. And sometimes when I see the Next! Best! Paleo! Cookbook! I’m going to be honest — I get that cynical feeling like “Oh great, another book telling me to wrap bacon around something and pretending it’s a mind blowing idea.”

This is probably not a popular thing to say, and who knows, maybe the cookbooks I receive from publishers may slow down because I say it — but I have to think some of you may feel the same way. I think we are sort of in this tenuous time where the QUANTITY of books available is slightly disproportionate to the QUALITY.  This isn’t something I’m losing sleep over, and I’m certainly not the arbiter of good Paleo taste, so in the big scheme of things, who cares what I think. But I do think it is important to mention because I want you to know when I talk about a cookbook on this website, I am doing it because I appreciate the QUALITY of a cookbook, and not just because I just want to say HEY LOOK, I GOT THIS COOKBOOK TOO!

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.  I feel like we are all friends here, so I want you to know when I tell you about a cookbook I really enjoy (or anything else for that matter)  I want you to know that I mean it.

****

Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry  just recently came out, and it is blowing up the internet right now. But here’s the thing: Elana Amsterdam has been making Paleo Cooking look cool even before it was cool. In fact, the first grain free cookbook I ever bought was her Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook and when it showed up at my house I just remember sighing with relief. I could enjoy a slice of bread still! I could bake a tart! Gorgeous birthday cakes were at my fingertips without being full of crappy gluten and ridiculous amounts of sugar.

That sigh, of course, was because back then I thought Paleo was 100% or NOTHING, and while I have loosened up on those percentages, I still so appreciate the idea of  gorgeous food inspiration and dishes you once loved —  without the grains.

Amst_Paleo Cooking from Elanas Pantry

 

This is why, when I heard Elana was writing a Paleo cookbook I was ECSTATIC and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, instead of furrowing my brow and thinking “ho-hum, will these be more bacon wrapped recipes?” She makes very simple, delicious food that is incredibly accessible. And on a completely superficial note – I just love the way her cookbooks look and feel in my hands. They are square-ish, soft covered and with clean design and nice photos. It’s a cookbook you want to look at and use and it fits neatly in any kitchen cupboard. Also, her ice cream recipes are what helped me rationalize my recent ice cream maker purchase. Thanks, Elana! :)

OBVIOUSLY I was game to talk about it on the blog but I just want to be clear with my disclosure: I was provided a free copy and one to giveaway, but was in no way obligated to write post about it. All opinions are my own and no one is compensating me to give them  (although the Amazon link to her cookbook is an affiliate one. Thank you contributing to the coconut milk fund in our household. You are singlehandedly fueling our Paleo Ice Cream addiction.  OHMAHGAWD YUM!)

The Giveaway

If you are interested in owning this cookbook (and as you can tell, I think you should be:)) Ten Speed Press is giving away one copy to one of my readers.

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents 18 and older.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post telling me what your favorite flavor of ice cream is — or anything else you feel like, frankly.
  • One entry per person
  • The giveaway begins today June 20, 2013 and ends on June 24, 2013 at 12:00 am pacific time.

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winners will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winners will have 24 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

The Paleo Bread Recipe

I thought I would share Elana’s recipe for Paleo Bread. Don’t you just want to toast this and slather it with Kerrygold?  Meeeeeee toooooooo!PCEP Paleo Bread image p 35

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paleo Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 1 Loaf (12 slices)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup golden flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 7 by 3-inch loaf pan with coconut oil.
  3. In a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the eggs, coconut oil, honey, and vinegar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve.

*****

Happy cooking!

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5 Things To Do With: ZUCCHINI

5 Things To Do With Zucchini // Holly Would If She Could

There is nothing better than summer zucchini. Nothing, I tell ya.

I mentioned on my Summer Bucket List that I need to work on not being depressed about our lack of garden this year, so part of my solution to that is buying COPIOUS amounts of zucchini at our farmers market.

And here is what I’m planning to do with it:

1. Make a Lasagna

Paleo Lasagna from Eat Drink Paleo

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna

I love a good zucchini noodle, and it is surprisingly delicious to make a lasagna without pasta! If you do well with dairy, you can DEFINITELY work in some cheesiness. If not, it is still really really awesome. And the smugness you get from eating a mostly vegetable dinner? AMAZING. :)

2. Make Zucchini Boats with Bacon Gremolata


Zucchini Boats with Bacon Gremolata from BHG

Zucchini Boats

I’ve avoided making a gremolata mostly because the name bugs me. Look, I don’t always make sense, ok? But gremolata just sounds a little bit gross. But bacon makes everything better, yes? Gremolata included, I think.

3. Make Chocolate Muffins Healthier

Chocolate Zucchini Paleo Muffins from Fresh for Five

chocolate muffins

This looks way more fun than your standard zucchini bread, right????

4. Make Zucchini Ribbon Pasta


Paleo Pasta from Multiply Delicious

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Vegetable noodles are THE BOMB, you guys. I mean look, no one is ever going to convince me that spaghetti squash tastes like pasta, so I’m not trying to tell you that zucchini tastes just like spaghetti — but zucchini is freaking delicious! And throwing some other fun stuff together in a bowl completely increases both the yum and comfort factor.

5. Make Pancakes


Zucchini Pancakes from Project Granola Mom

Zucchini -Pancakes

We at these ALL. SUMMER. LONG. last year and as a matter of fact, I don’t know why we stopped. I am going to rectify this soon.

*****

Need even more inspiration?

*My friend Sarah recently posted her zucchini boat method
*I can show you the UGLIEST way ever to prep zucchini
*AndreAnna makes a mean zucchini garlic hummus

So tell me…what is YOUR favorite way to use up zucchini?

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