Sunday, October 12, 2014

Confessional


photo evidence

I ate pizza.

Real pizza.

With gluten. And soft cheese. And sauce that I didn't know all the ingredients to. And peperoni that may or may not have had additives that I can't pronounce.

There, I said it.

How did we get to this point? Good question.

It all started with me pushing my paleo boundaries earlier this year. I had finally reached, what I felt like, was the climax of my health. My Crohn's symptoms were long (as in many months ago) gone, I felt happy, energetic, and at the top of my game strength-wise. Then work began to pick up and with that came less time to prepare the meals I knew I needed to be prepping.

Little cheats on paleo/scd started to creep in and were positively reinforced when I didn't display or feel any physical repercussions. A few bites of rice, ordering from menus without scrutinizing the seasonings, little stuff like that.

Then came bigger cheats like taking shots of mystery alcoholic beverages (some kind of glowing blue color), eating a few of my friend's fries from the drive-thru at Arby's, and thinking that Quest Bars were somehow going to be acceptable. Nope.

Then I started to experience symptoms of my autoimmune disorder again.

Back on the paleo-wagon-band-track (I know I said that wrong) I went, and just like I knew it would happen- I got healthy again. Our bodies are truly amazing.

So lately I've been keeping most things pretty close to strict paleo/scd (about 90%) and have been feeling very fair. Then I put myself to the ultimate test of going on a 5 day cruise. Yep, boat food that's completely out of my control.

Thankfully Royal Caribbean offers a lot of gluten-free options at all of their meal times, so I stuck to that section of the menu and did terrifically well.

Then I started to get ballsy. For a girl, anyways.

I wanted ice cream.

For a couple of reasons. #1- I'd eaten foods like chocolate that had a percentage of sugar-cane sugar in them and knew I could handle them. #2- Ice cream seems to be a frequent cheat of those in the paleo community. #3- My grandma eats ice cream almost daily and she's the healthiest old woman I know.

So, I was walking through the quaint streets of Key West and read a review on Trip Advisor of an authentic gelato must-try pizzeria. No, I didn't eat the pizza here. That comes later. I ate two different flavors of gelato and I think the room started to spin. It was delicious. No immediate stomach rumblings either, and I honestly at this point just was pushing myself to see how far I would have to go in order to get a negative reaction. (I have literally brainwashed myself for the past almost 4 years to believe that if anything with a non-paleo or an illegal scd ingredient even comes near the food that I put into my mouth my body will start convulsing and my stomach will explode. Clearly that didn't happen so now I'm curious.) Wandering down the street another block, I see a "We Have Gluten-Free" sign in the window of a key lime pie shop. I'm in Key West. And you know what they say, "When in Rome..."

Yep, I ate gluten-free key lime pie on the same day I ate authentic Italian gelato.

Fast forward to a couple of days later, I'm still on vacation. In Miami. We need somewhere to eat dinner so the person I'm with decides to Google "Paleo eateries Miami Beach."

This page on Paleo Porn is found and the decision is down to two places: A paleo-friendly full kitchen restaurant that on any normal given day I would be ecstatic to find exists. Or. A pizza place that does not claim to be gluten-free in any sense but does have organic ingredients and seems to be a pretty reasonably moral spot to eat from.

I'm still not in pain from eating from a cruise ship all week, gelato, and key lime pie. I'm 24 years old.

What the hell, I figure. Give it a shot. The worse that can happen is that I spend the next day back home curled up in the fetal position near a bathroom taking a lot of recovery probiotics. (Sounds terrible but this was once a normal drill for me.) You only live once, right?

Pizza it is.

So, that's how I ended up at Blocks. I got a slice of pepperoni pizza and it was everything I remembered it to be from way back in 2011.

Do I feel guilty? Slightly. I understand that gluten is still the enemy and that this way of eating simply is not a choice for me to make it a norm.

However, I don't live with regrets and that would be a stupid thing to regret anyways.

Food is food. It's fuel for good or bad. No one is perfect, I can't even pretend to be.

I know better than to do this too often but it's a nice feeling to be slightly normal again. I'm not condoning paleo rebellion or suggesting that anyone who is still in recovery mode on SCD or AIP to even think about doing what I did. At least, not yet. But this post will serve as evidence that paleo works. And for those of you who are journeying back to health- things absolutely do get better.

There, now you know. And don't feel so guilty about your cheats. (You can tell me about them in the comments below, I won't judge.)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Vitamix Special for 2014

https://www.vitamix.com/Shop/Default.aspx?COUPON=06-006499


Just a quick note to let you guys know that there's a sale going on in Vitamix land right now, since this doesn't happen all that often.

From today through November, you can purchase a Certified Reconditioned Vitamix Standard blender starting at $299. This is a $30 savings off the normal reconditioned price and hundreds off a new Vitamix blender. These reconditioned blenders come with a new container and a 5 year warranty. As always, use my code 06-006499 at checkout for free ground shipping!

Click any of my banners to have this code automatically applied or click the link here.

Contact me with any questions! Happy blending!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paleo Apple Pancakes (scd)



It's officially after Labor Day so that unofficially means that fall is here. Best part about fall? Apples. Yep, I'm a foodie. Next best thing to apples? Pancakes. Put them both together and it's breakfast bliss.

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp coconut flour
6 Tbsp melted butter (or coconut oil)
6 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/2 cup grated apples (skin-off)

coconut oil for frying
honey for topping

Directions:

Coat pan with extra coconut oil over medium heat.
Blend together ingredients in said order. Add apples last, folding in.
Let batter sit for 5 minutes before pouring dollops into hot oil.
Flip when bubbling and pancake edges are golden brown.
Serve hot with honey to drizzle.




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!