Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It's been a while! But it's also been spring vacation, so that's my excuse.

This whole week I've been back home staying with the fam and eating non-stop paleo, courtesy of my paleo dad who is an AMAZING chef. (Side note...he's been doing paleo for 3 months. The first two months he lost about 20 pounds-all in the beer belly-and has held it steady for a month and counting! Yay dad!!!)

Here's what my wonderful dad made us for dinner tonight!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken With Asparagus and Homemade Mayonnaise

Bacon Wrapped Chicken
Thaw out or buy raw boneless skinless chicken breasts
Wrap each piece in one strip of bacon (or two, depending on the size)
No seasoning required
"How can you get a better flavor than bacon??" -Dad
Tonight we had them on the BBQ - 1 Hour. Indirect Heat.

I cook them at home in my oven.
40m-60m at 425 degrees.
After 40 minutes I flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked.
(I should note that my oven is over 3,000 years old, so yours may cook faster. Just keep your eye on it.)

 Homemade Mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin! the flavor is too strong! and don't use vegetable oil or you might as well buy the crap straight from the store)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor or blender add the egg, lemon, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Let these sit and come to room temperature. Very important.
With the blender or food processor running, slowly drizzle the last 1 cup of olive oil into mixture. Steady stream. Very slowly. You will be able to see the liquid start to form the emulsion.
Put it in the fridge in a container for a while for it to thicken a bit more.
I wouldn't eat it after about a week and a half.

Mayonnaise For Everything!
I know that you either love mayo or you hate it with a fiery passion...that's just the way the world works. I happen to love it.
You can make SO MUCH with this homemade mayo.

Chop up some green and purple cabbage with some green onions and make a slaw!
Mix it in with tuna or salmon with red onions and relish to make salad!
Make Egg salad!
Make your own ranch dressing!
Dip stuff in it!
It's really a very good thing to have on hand for packing lunches and snacks.

I'll try to get out of spring break mode and keep posting recipes for you guys.

Be well!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I'm Eating Right now...

I think every time I'm eating something particularly wonderful I'm going to post the recipe while I eat it.

Salmon Salad with Cucumbers
1 can alaskan salmon, unsalted (Trader Joes $2.69)
Pickle relish (or fresh chopped pickles)
Organic Mayonnaise
1 Tbs chopped red onion

Combine it all and put it on cucumber slices or romain lettuce!
I'm never going back to tuna salad again!
The canned salmon at Trader Joes is only about 70 cents more than the tuna and it is SO WORTH IT.

I didn't put measurements for the relish or mayo because it's really just depends on how you like it.

Hope you like it!

Be well!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Common Misconceptions About Paleo

Not once, but twice this week I was asked "Isn't Paleo just like Atkins?" Which made me realize that I needed to clear up this and some other common misconceptions people have about Paleo.

Is Paleo the same as Atkins?
After I was asked this, I did some research online and found out that A LOT of people think this, and I remembered that I used to kind of think this too!

Here are the similarities:
Both Atkins and Paleo suggest diets that are low in carbs and high in fat/moderate protein.

And here are all of the differences:
-Atkins has a certain number of carbs (in grams) that you should not surpass each day.
-Paleo encourages increasing the intake of whole foods that nourish your body and eliminating the intake of foods that do not. The number of grams of carbs varies depending on your specific needs.
-Atkins allows (and in some cases, encourages) the intake of meal replacement bars, shakes, etc.
-Paleo is strictly non-processed whole foods.
-Paleo does allow carbs just not those from grains or legumes.
-Atkins is a "diet" meaning it is typically geared toward weight loss
-Paleo is modeled after the average paleolithic man's "diet" and is meant for prolonged (life long) practice for overall health improvement--not weight loss.

Note: I've never done Atkins and I've spent the last few days researching and gathering info to gain an understanding of what it is. If any of my Atkins info is off, please let me know! I will fix it.

Is Paleo a No Carb Diet?
There are different kinds of carbs and paleo simply urges you to eliminate the BAD ones and keep the GOOD ones. 

Is Paleo a Raw Food Only Diet?
Not at all!
Who wants to eat bacon raw?? Well if you do, no judgements here...but I like it crispy!

Isn't it Just a New Untested Fad Diet?
No way.

The Paleo diet originally became popular in the 1970's by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin.
It has taken an awful long time to hit the mainstream, but with the help of Loren Cordain's book The Paleo Diet (released in October 2005) it finally began gaining the attention it deserved. 
Now there are even groups of researchers and medical professionals forming to research the use of Paleo not only to treat but cure disease!

Paleo is Too Strict and Expensive!
Stop! wait! no! That's the whole point of this blog you guys! I'm on a college budget and a college schedule and I'm making it work! And it's not even that hard!
As for it being "strict", I can understand that view coming from someone who relies mainly on pasta, bread, tortillas, and cereal. (I was doing that less than two months ago). Those are our staple foods as college students. What the heck will we eat without them??
To that I say, you will discover it as you try it. For my first week I was stumbling blindly into the grocery store grabbing bags of green stuff and handfuls of meat I didn't even know how to cook.
Here's a few things I recently discovered:
-Hearts of romain lettuce...It's bread! Put some tuna on there! Put some egg salad on there! Put anything on there, man! It won't fill you up like the bread so you'll end up eating more of the best part of the sandwich...the stuff in between the slices!
-Cauliflower tortillas?!?! I haven't actually tried this yet, but when I do I will post the recipe. Someone just told me the other day that you can cook it up and flatten it and it tastes just like a tortilla.
-Spaghetti Squash! I had never even heard of this before starting Paleo. It's a $2 squash (depending on the store) that you pop in the oven for a few minutes, and when you pull it out and cut it open...THE INSIDE IS SPAGHETTI. Try it. I dare you.

Well I hope you found that a little helpful!
I'm about to go make some salmon-salad. Its like tuna-salad but AWESOME.

Be well!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quick Easy Breakfast - more later...I'm in a hurry...

Okay I know that I said this next post would be about why the government tells us to eat what's bad for us and blah blah blah. But I'm not quite ready to preach to the masses. (I also want to do a little more research so I can be as detailed as possible)
so lets get down
to the

I have class in an hour so here's a really rushed post with

First off! What am I eating for breakfast right now? (so what its 11:30)

2 egg tri tip scramble...
A bit of left over tri tip from dinner last night
2 eggs (duh)
1/4 green bell pepper
3 white mushrooms
less than 1/4 of a yellow onion
1 clove garlic

In a pan on the stove top
Put the garlic and onion in some coconut oil.
Add mushrooms and bell peppers and tri tip when onions begin to get transparent. (only if tri tip is pre-cooked) and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add spices! I added black pepper, oregano.
Move all this to the side of the pan. Add the 2 eggs. Cook them with a little bit of salt and black pepper.
When eggs are about a minute away from being done, mix in all the veggies and tri tip and cook the rest of the way.
(Total time - 13 mins)

Now, I don't have a good camera so I wont post dark, blurry, unappetizing pictures. But I will give you a few more easy recipes.

Bacon and Basil Scrambled eggs!
2 strips Bacon
2 Eggs
Handful of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
olive oil

Cook the bacon! Put it on a plate and try not to eat it all before the eggs are done!
While bacon is cooking, mince garlic. (I'm a garlic fiend, you may not want to add as much as I do)
Finely chop basil.
Combine garlic, basil, olive oil, a little salt and pepper in a small bowl/cup.
Set aside.
In a separate (or same pan, with a little bacon fat for flavor) Scramble 2 eggs.
When eggs are nearly cooked, add that basil mixture and cook the rest of the way.
(Total time - 15 mins)
(Without the bacon its like 5 minutes and still so so good)
(oh and brush your teeth before you leave the house...that is A LOT of garlic)

Yogurt & Fruit & Nuts
Well this is very straight forward.
I try to use fruits that are in season.
I also always buy the "Organic Vanana" yogurt from Trader Joe's. (its vanilla AND banana. ITS DELICIOUS)
I do one whole banana with a handfull of blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries in a cup of yogurt.
INSTEAD OF GRANOLA, I have some walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds that I've crumbled up.
Throw those on top, why dontchya!
(Total time - like 3 minutes)
Don't forget to either add the nuts straight into it or eat some on the side. You wont feel as full or energized without them.

Bell pepper fried egg rings with guacamole!
1 bell pepper (you choose the color)
cayenne pepper
Simple Guacamole

Slice the peppers into rings (about 1/4 - 1/3 inch thick)
Grease your pan with coconut oil.
I usually cook the peppers a little before adding my eggs, but this is up to how you prefer your peppers.
Crack the egg inside the pepper ring.
Sprinkle some cayenne pepper on top.
You can either cook them only on one side or flip them (I flip them)

Simple Guac:
Smash up half an avocado.
Mince a clove or two or garlic - add that.
Finely chop a few rings of an onion of your choice (I like red)
Salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze in 1/4 a lime

Put that guac on top and PUT THAT ON A PLATE AND EAT IT.
(total time - about 10 minutes if the guac is pre made)
Here's a picture I found on google:


If you don't want guac, sprinkle bacon bits on top instead!
You can put anything on top you want (as long as it's paleo!)
While you're at it, have a handful of blueberries on the side. Why not?

Scramble anything.
I try to eat a scramble every morning. Sometimes with 2 pieces of bacon on the side if I have it. (and if I have time)
It's good to always have garlic, onion, and some greens in your fridge (Like I mentioned a few posts ago). You can combine them in any way to make a breakfast scramble.
Some of the fastest combos I enjoy:

Onion, Garlic, Mushroom, Spinach.
Onion, Garlic, Basil, Tomato.
Onion, Garlic, Tomato, Avocado.

See? Its all just garlic, onion, something green, and anything else you may have in your fridge.
This will energize you a million times more than a bran muffin, cereal, or toast and the energy will stay with you longer.
Also, always try to add some meat or some nuts for an extra boost.

I wish I could explain more but I need to go to my Holistic Health class.
I hope like what you taste!

Friday, March 15, 2013

What is Paleo?

"He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician" 
(Chinese Proverb)

In my Chinese herbal medicine class, we were taught that Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. I've come to find that this is also the basis of the Palo diet. Your medicine cabinet can be your kitchen.

Lets start with finding things about our bodies that we'd like to fix (and I don't mean bigger boobs and a smaller butt). Take a look at this list.

Did you know that Paleo can help with:
Bad skin
Mood swings
Fat to Muscle ratio
Irregular bowel movements
Poor vision
Fluctuating energy level
Autoimmune Conditions (Alzheimers, asthma, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Parkinsons, eczema, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, etc)
Blood sugar regulation
Leaky gut
Irritable bowel syndrome
Chronic fatigue
Cancer recovery

WOW...that was just a FEW things I picked off a loooooooong long list!
Can you relate to one or more of these issues? I definitely can.
Right away you can see that this is not a diet it's an alternative approach to eating to help your overall health and well being.

The main points of paleo:
Going back to the way that our ancestors ate before the agricultural revolution.
Loren Cordain (author of The Paleo Diet) argues that modern day diabetes and obesity are directly related to changes in our food system that occurred during the industrial/agricultural revolution.
All you are changing in your diet is:
Avoiding factory foods, processed foods, refined foods.
Only eating whole foods which are the best providers of fuel for your body

A few other names for the paleo diet:
Whole Food

I would reccomend trying to pick up one of these books:
The Paleo Diet - Dr. Loren Cordain
The Paleo Solution - Robb Wolf
Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition From an Evolutionary Perspective - Dr. Alessio Fasano
Practical Paleo  - Diane Sanfilippo (contains recipes!)

Again, my blog posts are pretty brief compared to how in-depth I'd like to go. But I'm just trying to provide you with the basic facts of Paleo for now. If you're intrigued and want to go balls-to-the-wall Paleo then you should definitely check out one of those books. My favorite was Practical Paleo. The recipes are AMAZING. 

My next entry will be about what the government has been telling us to eat and why its WRONG and why they know it but don't change it. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Purging and Re-stocking Your Pantry

Here are two quick steps to get you started. I won't go into to much detail yet.

Step one: PURGE!

This is the hardest step of them all. But you can't eat it if you don't have it! So if it's not a whole food, THROW IT OUT (or give it away!)
A few weeks ago, my cabinet was full of rice, pasta, and baking ingredients. After handing these out to my roommates like Oprah's big giveaway, all I had was some garlic and maybe an onion.

What are you getting rid of?
Any refined grains. (bread, muffins, pasta, tortillas, crackers, cereal, etc)
Any whole grains. (rice, corn, barley, oats, quinoa, etc)
Any foods that have been through a factory before getting to you.
Any pre-packaged or pre-made meals. (granola bars, chips, hot pockets, pot pies, mac&cheese, etc)
Basically anything that is not a whole food.

Now at this point--if you are like me--you're wondering what how the hell you're going to survive. I'm a cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner kind of girl.
Don't worry, you will survive. Just bear with me.

Step two: Gather your basics.

By basics, I'm referring to your cooking oils, seasonings, etc.

Coconut Oil (my new favorite!)
Bacon Fat
Butter (organic)
Olive Oil
Palm oil

Sea salt
Black pepper

These are the ones I personally use the most, but this list can go on forever. Follow your own taste buds. Spices will become your best friend. I used to sprinkle cheese on EVERYTHING for flavor. This is a habit I will have to break.

Herbal tea
Green tea
Mineral water

Some handy basic foods I always have around
Bacon (save the fat!)
Onions (yellow, white)
Fresh Basil (for flavoring ANYTHING)
Blueberries (in season)
Kefir (probiotic!)
Frozen chicken breasts (extremely useful on a college budget)
Something green - spinach, kale, chard (you can throw these onto any meal)

I constantly have these basic foods in my pantry/fridge. You can combine them a hundred different ways to make quick, cheap meals.

Listen to your tummy! If something on here doesn't agree with you then don't force it down. Find an alternative.
And be patient with yourself! This is a BIG change and it's hard to drop the old eating habits. So don't freak out if you accidentally buy a snack bag of Cheetos because they were only a dollar and you're just used to eating them. (oops!)

Hopefully this helps you get started!
It's scary, isn't it? I'm lonely without my mac&cheese and I'd kill for a quesadilla right now.

Next time I'll explain why we're giving up what we're giving up and why it will be better to eat the things we will start eating.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Put Down The Pizza!!

Tonight was my REAL last night of eating non-paleo!
I've said that before but this time I have this blog to keep me in check.

I celebrated/mourned with PIZZA (MY FAVORITE) and BEEF SANDWICHES and COOKIES.
I was going to post pictures...but I think it will be too difficult for me to look at after a few days.

And how do I feel? Oh gee....bloated....sleepy....heavy.....greasy....sluggish....I feel like I was rubbing the pizza on my face instead of putting it in my mouth. You know. The typical good-ole full-American feelings! And the more I think about it, the more I have to admit that THIS IS NORMAL FOR ME. And the more I think about THAT, the more I realize that THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.

So screw it!
No more pizza!
No more sandwiches!
No more pasta!
No more food comas!
Maybe some tears....
But hey, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
And what isn't fast food makes you live longer.

It is now officially midnight and the journey can begin.