Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To: Make Kombucha (fermented tea)



So, if you follow me avidly on Facebook you will know that lately I've had some comical occurrences at my local health food store. Where I live, specific bottles of kombucha require that the purchaser be over 21 years of age (since they contain over 0.5% alcohol). Apparently, I look young to some people so I had to show my ID to buy my weekly supply. Over and over and over again. Although the people selling these bottles of fermented goodness to me were the same faces that I would interact with on a weekly basis, they assumed I had Benjamin Button syndrome and my age was actually reverting to a pre-21 year old state. Long story short, I decided to make my own kombucha. 1. Because everything made at home is generally better. 2. I can quality control what goes into my brew. 3. It is going to save me about $120 a month vs buying the bottled kombucha.

First, what is kombucha? Simply put- it's fermented tea. Basically you make sweet tea (using *gasp* real sugar) and add this thing called a scoby to it. Then the scoby eats up the sugar, making the tea fermented and full of lots of beneficial stuff. After 7-14 days the final brew is known as kombucha. Most people do a second brew of 2-3 days by adding fruit juice or spices to the kombucha. After this second process the kombucha becomes carbonated and can be viewed as a "soda" of sorts.

What does it taste like? Surprisingly delicious. I have always hated sweet tea. I was thusly ridiculed growing up in the South, but kombucha tastes less like sweet tea and more like hard cider. Depending on the flavor and length of brew, it's sweet and has a slight bite at the finish. It's good. More importantly, it's good for you.

How to make kombucha:

Supplies:

A large container made of ceramic or glass (I use this one)
A cloth to cover the top of the container that will keep pests out, yet allows the brew to breathe (I use a dish towel, secured in place by a rubber band or if you get the above container it comes with a plastic piece that hold it appropriately)
8 tea bags per brew
1 cup sugar per brew (real sugar, not honey or stevia or anything else)
2 gallons of filtered water per brew
1 scoby, to start (you will only need to purchase/ located this once, after that you can continue to use the same scoby for future batches of kombucha)
1 cup white vinegar (for initial brew, to keep out mold)
Glass bottles with plastic or other non-metal caps
Fruit juice or spices like ginger for second brew

Steps:

1. Boil water and steep tea bags. (I boil 1 gallon of water because it's easier and steep all 8 tea bags in it. After step 3 I add the other gallon of filtered water)
2. Discard used tea bags and add sugar to tea. Stir until dissolved.
3. Let tea completely cool and add to brewing container. Add vinegar.
4. Gently place scoby into tea, it should float to the top (eventually).
5. Place towel over the top of the container and secure.
6. Wait 7-14 days, check periodically to make sure that the scoby is growing and there is no mold.
7. When the brew is complete, bottle.
8. Leave about 20% room in each bottle to add spices and/or juice for second brew. Secure caps tightly and let sit at room temperature for 2 days.
9. Place in refrigerator when second brew is complete. The kombucha should be carbonated.
10. Enjoy.

For further details and how to keep a perpetual kombucha brew going see this article here and here.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Ground Beef Stir Fry (paleo, scd)



I've really been into one-dish meals lately, I truly hate kitchen clean-up. This dish smells so good while it's cooking, it will have everyone in your house asking what's for dinner. (The taste stands up to the smell, too.) A stir-fry is a great way to use up that produce you have from your garden or farmer's market. Lots of color and flavor and super easy to make in a hurry.

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs lean ground beef (93/7)
4 large peppers (I used New Mexico Big Jim Chili Peppers)
2 small summer squashes (I used a local variety)
1/2 jar sliced kalamata olives (3 oz)
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Spanish paparika
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
salt, to taste

Directions:

Chop squash into one inch cubes. Slice peppers into half inch strips.
Throw all of the above ingredients into a large frying pan over medium high heat and use spatula to mix around.
Keep over heat until ground beef cooked through, about 12 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer for another three minutes.
Serve hot.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Greek Artichoke Salad (scd, primal, paleo)



A light dish perfect for the hot weather that corresponds with summertime. Would also make a great side to bring to a paleo potluck, if you are so lucky to be a part of one. You can always throw your own- make it a block party!

Ingredients:

1 large seedless English cucumber
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cans artichoke hearts (14oz each)
1 jar roasted red peppers (8oz)
1 jar kalamata olives, sliced (6oz)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp high quality olive oil
salt, to taste
* 1/4 cup cheese optional: Feta for Primal, Parmesan for SCD, or omit for strict Paleo.

Directions:

Dice cucumber into bite size pieces and halve or quarter cherry tomatoes.
Drain the jars and/or cans of artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and olives.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Eat right away or let marinade for at least 6 hours before serving for more intense flavors.


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Tao of Paleo Book Review


The Tao of Paleo
By Jason Goldberg and Joe Salama
Buy it here. 1/3 of profits to charity (The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund)

Let me start off by stating that you have never read another book like this.

First of all, being a Paleo themed book makes it one of a select few and, in my opinion, inevitably astronomically better than other diet related books. With Paleo being the top Google searched diet of 2013, the Paleo-sphere of people is a growing number. There needs to be a go-to book to refer family and friends to, who show interest in the diet and lifestyle but who also need each aspect of Paleo broken down into Laymen's terms and presented in a non-imposing manner. This is that golden book. I have found myself personally referring to The Tao of Paleo when friends ask me about starting Paleo and will continue to do so. It’s like a start-up manual to improving life, beginning with diet and exercise. Seriously, The Tao of Paleo is a great resource to the Paleo community.

One differentiating dimension of The Tao of Paleo is that it's like reading a transcript of your favorite talk show hosts bantering back and forth, including guests appearances that address all of the aspects of what being a Paleo person is all about. I have never laughed out loud from reading a book so much before. Jason Goldberg and Joe Salama are two guys who you want to know better, trust me; reading Tao gives you a glimpse into their truly outstanding personalities that embody the Paleo movement and show what genuine people in the Paleo community are truly like.

All humor and consideration aside, The Tao of Paleo is undeniably informative. Each chapter breaks down the subjects that we all stumble across when starting a real food lifestyle and unveil what changes are necessary to be made and exactly why. After all, Paleo is not just about abstaining from grain and eating grass-fed meat. From foods to aviod, to sleep, to play, to exercise, to supplementation, and all of the in-between, the topics are covered in an easy to understand manner. The facts are not preachy and the wit is sharp. This book perfectly balances entertainment with being informational. Even for people who do not enjoy reading, The Tao of Paleo is an easy read.

Understanding is a big factor in motivation, so perhaps if you are having trouble to sticking with a Paleo outline, reading this book may help you to get your feet better grounded for the long haul. Both people who have been involved in this movement for years, like myself, and those who are just learning about what Paleo is can enjoy reading through The Tao of Paleo. I recommend it as a gift, a personal read, and a coffee table conversation piece.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Caveman Doctor: Salt



I ran across this article about salt, and well, in case you didn't notice, I kind of have an affinity for the stuff. It really irritates me when I hear people make negative comments about eating "too much salt" or that they're eating "healthier" because they are reducing their salt intake. Read over this for a more accurate perspective:

"Should we eat less salt?  Maybe if we are on the standard American high-carbohydrate diet.  But even then it likely doesn’t matter.  If we are following a healthy low-carbohydrate diet that favors nutrient and calorically-dense foods, we not only may want to avoid limiting our salt, but actually increase our salt intake, especially around workout time.  Also, once again we find that factory produced and processed foods pale in comparison to that with which Nature provides.  Salt in its natural form provides a significant amount of minerals and has been shown to provide many health benefits.  To purposely reduce it would be going against Nature’s design."

Read the whole article here, it's worth your time.

(Thanks to Cavemandoctor.com)

And here's the salt my naturopathic doctor recommends and what I personally eat: Celtic Sea Salt

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Flounder Stuffed Peppers


This is a super simple dish that, served cold, is rather refreshing on a hot summer day. Low in calories and carbs, high in protein.

6-8 mini bell peppers
1 cup freshly cooked flounder filets, cooled
2 Tbsp mashed avocado (or guacamole)
1/8 cup chopped banana peppers
10 green olives, pitted and chopped
1 Tbsp prepared mustard

1. If you haven't already cooked the fish, saute the filets in coconut oil until flaky and cooked through, set aside and let cool.

2. Cut the mini bell peppers in half and discard the seeds and membranes. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, use a fork to break up the fish into shredded meat.

4. Add avocado, banana peppers, olives, and mustard.

5. Mix well.

6. Stuff peppers with flounder salad. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Paleo Chicken Crispers



Chicken fingers that are baked, not fried, seasoned, crispy, dairy-free, carb-free, gluten-free, and compliant with Paleo, SCD, and Keto diets. They are quick to make and super tasty. I love minimal ingredients with maximum flavor impact. Win!

Ingredients:

4 medium boneless chicken breasts
2 cups crushed pork rinds
1.5 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg
coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish with coconut oil.
Scramble the egg in a small bowl.
Place crushed pork rinds in a bowl adjacent to the bowl of egg. (If you crush them yourself try using the bottom of a drinking glass to do so, it's fast and easy.)
Mix in the spices with the pork rinds, you can use a fork to mix well.
Cut the chicken breast into one inch strips or the size that you desire.
Dip each piece of chicken into the egg first, then transfer to pork rind bowl and coat lightly.
Place onto baking dish.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

These taste best served hot!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happy Third Crohn's-iversary!



This is overdue by at least a month.

In the big picture of time three years seems like just a drop in the bucket but it's amazing how much can truly change in a single year, let alone three. So to recap, back in April of 2011 is when I started SCD/Paleo, after being diagnosed in February of the same year. Those few events completely changed my life in a way I never expected. There's the obvious; my food palate was reduced, although I feel like the flavors I appreciate expanded. But the soul that was for so long deeply covered under layers of emotional and miscellaneous impediments, emerged from within myself and I have since discovered how strong I am on many levels. Had I not gotten sick and had to change my way of life completely in order to better myself, I may have never discovered that ability.

Lately in my life, I've been busy with so many things- work, relationships, work, friendships, more work, and just trying to enjoy life (which is worth making time for) I've been neglecting my little blog more than I should. Sometimes I feel guilty about it. Talking with a friend about Salted Paleo actually made me recount this. It seems I've had a couple of conversations about this subject recently, perhaps for a reason. Then as I finally checked my email I found multiple people asking me for help in their journey back to health. Me. For help. To not be sick anymore.... I am letting it sink it as I type the words. I am not a doctor. I don't even have a degree. I can barely pronounce the word "gastrointestinal." But people want advice from me. And I'm not saying this in a conceited way, for what I know they are searching for are not solutions from me personally- but merely from someone who has experienced their own struggle before and who may provide the simple answers they need. Which brings me back to my original thought. I started this blog because I couldn't get solutions from doctors. The ones with degrees. The ones who can pronounce, define, and diagnose many words that I won't even fathom typing. The ones who millions of people turn to for advice- but end up disappointed. So, in 2014, we all turn to the Internet for answers to questions that no one else can solve or that we are too embarrass to ask out loud. And the Internet is powered by people. People with stories, experiences, and suggestions. Without those people, who I still rely on as well, the Internet is an empty glowing screen. So if in any small way I can contribute to that web of information then I feel like it's my duty to do so. I used to cling to it's silks for my health, now I can help spin the strings of hope. This is a privilege you grant me. So thank you, the reader.

Just as disease crosses racial, ethnic, and all other barriers, so does food. Food is an extension of love and a source of happiness. People love to eat but what I wish most of all is for people to realize that food is powerful enough to hurt and heal. I am pleased with the awareness of recent "trend diets" such as Paleo and gluten-free but to label them as a trend would be faulty since these are going to be long-lasting, life changing implementations for most. There is still work to do in spreading the word about real food and it's ability to change lives, one step at a time more and more people are discovering the truth. The reality is that each of us has the ability to help others come to this realization and it starts with our own actions and words, however big or small.

I apologize for not keeping up blogging like I intend to (ideally would be a new post daily) but to be honest I've been feeling so healthy, I sometimes forget that I used to be sick. I never thought I would be able to say that but it's true. Paleo/SCD helped me so much that I cannot recollect how much pain and agony I used to be in. Truly a miracle, no one will ever convince me differently. The best part is that Paleo can work for almost anyone who can put their minds to something and stick to it. I have zero desire to return to my old lifestyle which included way too much fast food, sedentary habits, and emphasis on what other people thought.

So, thank you for checking in when I do post, you truly do not understand the capacity in which you all affect me (only for the better.) Please be patient. Be kind to everyone. Please, keep the emails coming- I promise to reply. But most of all, keep pressing forward in your journey to a better self. I am right there with you.

Happy First Crohn's-iversary
Happy Second Crohn's-iversary


Monday, May 5, 2014

Guest Post: Plaid and Paleo ~ Spicy Mustard Chicken


A year after going Paleo, Vanessa started the blog Plaid and Paleo to simply stay accountable to eating healthy. It has grown into a full blown passion, where Vanessa posts new recipes multiple times a week. She is a lover of all things food especially unique combinations and anything ethnic. When she isn’t in the kitchen, you can find Vanessa reading a book, cheering on the KU Jayhawks or talking about how she should probably be at a yoga class. 


Hey Salted Paleo readers! I’m excited to be blogging here today. When Jadah asked me to share a recipe, I was thrilled to contribute.
 

When I first went Paleo, I lived alone, which didn’t make cooking an extravagant meal very enticing. After scrolling through Pinterest for the millionth time, I came across a recipe cooking chicken breast in a crockpot. I’m not sure why I’d never thought of this! Now it is my go-to method to cook chicken.

The chicken always comes out moist and flavorful with very little effort!

This spicy mustard chicken is a reader-favorite on my blog. I wanted to update it a little for Salted Paleo. I used to live in California where you can find red jalapeños everywhere. After moving back to the Midwest, I discovered finding red jalapeños became a game I wasn’t going to win. I wanted to see how green jalapeños impacted the recipe. To my pleasant surprise the biggest difference was the sauce color! So if you are having trouble finding red jalapeños, green are a great alternative! I also cut the chili garlic sauce recipe in half so I wouldn’t have so much leftover, but I love having it in my fridge to quickly add spice to any dish.

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tbls honey
1 1/2 tbls dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbls stone ground mustard
1/2 tbls paleo chili garlic sauce (here for recipe)

Directions

Mix all ingredients except chicken in a small bowl. Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot and pour sauce over it. Cook on low for 3 hours. Remove chicken and pour sauce into small sauce pot. Heat sauce over medium to a simmer for 10 minutes. Serve chicken with sauce on top.

Enjoy!
!
x Vanessa 





Saturday, April 5, 2014

Paleo Butter Pecan Mug Cake




Today was a rainy day. It is spring time and the temperature is warm and the flowers are starting to bloom, so I really can't complain about the water falling from the sky on occasion. That being said stormy days always bring on cravings of comfort foods. In particular the feeling of holding a warm ceramic cup filled with something enriched in fragrant spices. Like hot chocolate, spiced coconut milk, or mug cake...

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp almond flour
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp melted butter*
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
2-3 Tbsp pecan pieces

Directions:

Mix together flours, egg, vanilla, honey, melted butter, allspice, and salt in a microwaveable mug.
Blend well.
Fold in nuts.
Microwave for 2 minutes.
Enjoy while warm.

*for dairy-free substitute coconut oil