23 December, 2009

Paleo Grocery Store Survival

One of the hardest parts of going Paleo is heading to the grocery store. Below are a few tips from my experience that will help you get in and out of the grocery store with out falling off the Paleo Wagon

1. Shop the perimeter. They say this is a good strategy if you want to save money on your grocery bill, but it also works as a clean eating strategy. The processed foods are found in the center isles. The unprocessed foods, for the most part, are found on perimeter. I usually start in the produce section, work my way to the meat section in the back, and then find the natural foods section where I search for almonds, jerky, and dried fruit. I do venture into the middle isles if I need mustard, olive oil, tuna, etc.

2. Use a hand basket. I am lucky enough to be in walking distance to a grocery store, but nevertheless I think it’s a smart idea to shop often and fill your basket with fresh produce and meats. I go shopping about once every two days; doing this forces me to buy fresh produce and meats. Not having processed food in my house ensures that I have to go to the store or I won't have food.

3. Stay away from things with more than three ingredients, I will piggy back this rule with another, if it has ingredients in it that you can not pronounce it is a good bet that you shouldn't eat it.

4. Take a chance. Following rules one through three, pick up an item that you normally wouldn’t purchase. This is a great way to experiment and I’ve tried some funky things I would have never even considered: dandelion greens, almond butter, weird yellow squashes that look like UFOs.

22 December, 2009

I'm listening...keep telling me what you want...

Do I have to tempt you guys with more paleo treats??? Did you like the creation? For those of you at the 0600 "class" this morning, thanks for hearing my passionate soap box pitch for eating paleo. I am listening to your questions, concerns and doubts and what I am hearing really is how do you do this and why??? First off, it will be easy enough to give you guys all access to my Personal Log. When I figure out how to post it more permanently on the left hand side I will do that...but for right now just click on the link above and you should get to my personal google document.

For all of you up for the challenge, I highly recommend you do something similar. To be honest, usually it would be a requirement to join the 30-day paleo adventure but I don't want to put a ton of parameters on this thing.

As you will see in my Personal Log

I like to keep track of the following categories for the following reasons:
  1. sleep; will I see an immediate dip in performance due to lack of sleep...is it delayed?
  2. (yellow) CrossFit (CF) workout of the day (WOD) and time; track improvement and does my body perform better at morning WODs vs. aftenoon WODs?
  3. (orange) CrossFit Endurance (CFE) WOD; same reason as CF WODs
  4. (green) double days CF and CFE
  5. (blue) rest days
  6. menu; make sure I get enough food- mainly focus on maintain a healthy protein and fat intake. The numbers beside the food items are quantity calculations based on the ZONE. Please, if you want to know more, ask me questions.
  7. questions I want to look up
  8. research I've done
You guys will see your body's potential in giving this paleo thing a chance...time to try for a change!

21 December, 2009

Part Two: Leftover Pumpkin Puree

So I lied, sometimes good things come to those who wait... Here is the second Pumpkin recipe, again changed a bit from what I first found at the Heal Balance Live Website.
I love to bake but most of the time I do it just to give away the goodies to my co-workers. This time those of you that will be at the 0600 will get to taste test! The brownies didn't turn out exactly as I imagined but that seems like the status quo with my "creations" :)

Pumpkin Almond Brownies


1 cup almond butter (I get mine at Trader Joes TJs- chunky, raw)

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (fancy word for canned pumpkin- used up the rest of my pumpkin but the recipe originally called for only 1 cup)

2 eggs plus one yolk (added the extra yolk because of the extra pumpkin but the recipe originaly called for only 2 eggs)

1/3 cup of date syrup, click on 'date syrup' to see how easy it is to make! (original recipe: honey)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon cinnamon (and I love spice so only use 1 teaspoon if you want)

1 cup carob chips (original recipe: semi-sweet chocolate chips) neither carob nor chocolate is paleo but carob is definitely healthier, click on 'carob' to see what it is made of...)


Mix almond butter and pumpkin together until smooth

Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix

Pour into a GREASED (coconut oil or just go ahead and use some of that leftover butter I know most of you have ;) 8x8 brownie pan
(I used 9x9 and even that made the brownies thick enough, read: hard to cook all the way through)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes the middle should be set so just check it with a toothpick. I had to keep mine in for almost 45 minutes until the middle was cooked.

Cool all the way down or even refrigerate...I stuck mine in the freezer to save for you guys...Yum!

20 December, 2009

Hidden Pounds?

I want to be upfront I used to drink soda, a lot of soda. Then one day I thought all this sugar might be bad for me so I switched to Diet Soda and then Coke Zero, because “it was healthier”. Needless to say neither soda nor diet soda is healthy for you. Besides the sugar that the soda is loaded with there are the wonderful man made sugars in soda that your body doesn’t know how to break down. The prime culprit that I want to talk about is high fructose corn syrup.

Exactly what is high-fructose corn syrup? Well, it's not the same thing at all as the natural, healthy fructose in honey and fruit. High-fructose corn syrup is a highly refined, artificial product. It is created through an intricate process that transforms cornstarch into a thick, clear liquid. White sugar and "high-fructose corn syrup" are not the same. Industry advocates for corn growers say that they are the same. But nutritional science studies say that there is a big difference between the two. They say that "high-fructose corn syrup" is worse than sugar.

Not to get too into the science but, manufactured fructose is sweeter than sugar in an unhealthy way, and is digested differently in a bad way. Research has shown that high-fructose corn syrup goes directly to the liver, releasing enzymes that instruct the body to then store fat! This may elevate triglyceride (fat in blood) levels and elevate cholesterol levels. This fake fructose may slow fat burning and cause weight gain. Other research indicates that it does not stimulate insulin production, which usually creates a sense of being full. Therefore, people may eat more than they should. Indications also are that the important chromium levels are lowered by this sweetener which may then contribute to type 2 diabetes.

Here is a video put out by New York City Health Department in an effort to deter people from drinking sugary drinks. Just a warning some people might find it a bit gross

I think for optimal health you should stick to drinking lots of water and eat your calories don’t drink them.

What do you think about the video? Good way to get the message out or too over the top? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

P.S. I count Vitamin Water as don’t drink as well. To me it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Extra Canned Pumpkin??

Thanksgiving always involves pumpkin pie. I stocked up for our 10 guests and now find myself with more pumpkin then I know what to do with....until I got snowed in this weekend :)

I wouldn't call myself a cook. I think creator would be more apropos. I like to follow instruction but when it comes to cooking, baking and anything in the kitchen I tend to have use a little "creative license".

Below are two yummy paleo recipes that I made today, in between shoveling the snow off my car and walkways (really good workout by the way!). The link is the inspiration and the recipe is my creation.

Pumpkin and Chicken Andouille Sausage Soup

1 lbs of sausage ( I used Spicy Chicken Andouille Sausage from Costco http://atkfoods.com/)
1 medium onion, minced to oblivion (I used yellow)
1.5-2 cups mushrooms ( I really like mushrooms but I diced them up pretty good (used:mini portabella) so that it wouldn't turn out too stew-like)
1 15ounce can of pumpkin puree (make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling, nasty.)
4 cups chicken broth (I have tons of homemade chicken broth on hand from when I roast whole chickens in the crock-pot...another post but seriously easy and all paleors should get comfy with the naked chicken!)
several shakes of: oregano, thyme, paprika, sea salt
a couple shakes of:
red chili flakes (I used thai red chili spice but I like my food with a kick), rosemary, cinnamon
dash of nutmeg and cloves (totally optional...I always go crazy with the spices)
2 TBS of cooking fat ( I used the top layer of fat that had solidified on my chicken broth but you can use olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc.) BUTTER is NOT paleo.
1/2 cup coconut milk (make sure when you first open the can to stir it, it separates)

Get a big soup pot (eventually you can use a crock pot to let all the flavors mix but for now you need the immediate heat that you won't get using a crock-pot)
Saute the mushrooms, onions and sausage together over med-high until golden
Remove the mushrooms, onions and sausage from the soup pot
Add the pumpkin to the soup pot, stirring in the chicken broth
Add back in the mushrooms, onions and sausage to the pumpkin/chicken broth soup, simmer for 10 minutes.
Add all the spices (remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the coconut milk)
Simmer the soup for 20 minutes (during this time I mashed all the chunks to get the flavors going...)
Add coconut milk.