Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick Paleo Lunch

I only live a couple of miles from my office, so I'm lucky enough to get to go home for lunch every day. This is such a big help in maintaining my diet. (It also allows me to watch Gilmore Girls every day. Win, win.)

As an example of the kinds of things I eat on a daily basis (this is probably the thing about which I am most asked), today, I had fried eggs on a bed of leftover kale:


Dallas is now home to Trader Joe's, so I bought some of their super-awesome, pre-cut and pre-washed, bagged kale. I sauteed some up with as a side dish for dinner last night. I'll post that recipe at some point in the future.

I fried the eggs in Kerrygold butter that I also bought from Trader Joe's. If you want butter that's made from the milk of pasture-raised/grass-fed cows (without having to find a local farm), buy Kerrygold. You can get it in some grocery stores. In Dallas, Tom Thumb carries it for about $5-6/lb. I was beyond thrilled to learn that TJ's carries it for only about $2.50/lb. SCORE!

I know this is may not seem like a practical choice for those of you using office microwaves for lunch. But, I've had basically this same meal at the office too. I just fry the eggs in the morning before work and then reheat them at lunch with whatever leftover veggies I'm having that day. Admittedly, reheated fried eggs aren't as good as ones right out of the pan, but they aren't terrible. Just leave the yolks super runny, and they won't be too overcooked when you nuke 'em later.

To your good health,
Allison


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Starting the Paleo Diet

Sorry I went M.IA. for a bit. I got engaged over the summer and then married in the fall, so I've had my hands full with planning and executing a wedding. And then recovering from the sprint. :) But, I'm back now and am going to try to post more regularly again.

Starting the paleo diet for the first (or second, or fifth) time is a daunting task. I know because I've taken a little break from it myself and am getting back into the swing of things.

When I embarked on the stressful journey of planning my wedding, I began having trouble maintaining my strict diet. Prior to this, I very rarely gave into temptation. I established routines to prevent situations where I had no other option but to make poor food choices. And I felt amazing. Slowly but surely, I found myself breaking these routines in order to have more time for other things (finding a dress, location, planning in general, etc.), and they became the priority.

As other things took priority and my diet suffered, so did I. I felt terrible. Lethargic. Generally "meh." I'd chastise myself to have more willpower. And even with self flagellation, I still failed.

Turns out, recent studies are showing that our human capacity for willpower is limited.
Like, physically limited. In our brains, there is an exhaustible supply of will power. If you spend it all on one thing, there won't be any left over for others.This FANTASTIC blog by Jason Seib (business partner to Everyday Paleo phenom, Sarah Fragoso) explains it. (READ THIS POST!)

The bottom line is this: take baby steps when starting (or restarting) a paleo diet. And celebrate the small victories. I'm taking lots of little baby steps lately, and I'm already feeling better. The refined-carbs fog is lifting, and I'm starting to feel human again ... for a while there I thought I could easily get a walk-on roll as a zombie on The Walking Dead.

To your good health,

Allison

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sweet Potato Hash

I'd like to say that this hearty side dish is quick to make, but it actually takes a while. However, patience is a virtue, and you'll have enough sweet potato hash leftover for several meals. Not to mention it's delicious and goes with a variety of meats.

Here's what you'll need:
  •  4 or 5 slices of bacon (I miiiight have used 6 slices. What? I like bacon.)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped into about 1/2 inch chunks
  • A handful of spinach
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh thyme, rosemary, and oregano
  • Salt and pepper
Cut the bacon into small one-inch slices. Saute it in a frying pan. (This part takes FOREVER. Why does bacon take so long to cook?!) Add the onions and sweet potato. Continue cooking for 15 minutes or so while the tubers start to brown and soften. Then, add the spinach, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper. Put a lid on the frying pan and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft.

Here's a pic of mine after I added the spinach, but before it finished cooking:


I served the finished product with some to-die-for sausage from Livestock First Ranch, but I was starving by the time dinner was ready and forgot to take a picture. Sorry about that.

For breakfast this morning, I reheated the hash in a skillet with a tablespoon of lard. Then fried up an egg and served it on top:

One dish, many applications.

In addition to being hearty and delicious, the sweet potato is rich in vitamins and minerals. Just make sure you have some fat with it (top with butter or cook in bacon grease like I did). This will help your body actually absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the sweet potato. Because, if your body isn't absorbing the vitamins, there's not much point in eating them.

To your good health,

Allison

Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Order a Burger

Eating out on a paleo diet is easier than you may think.

Quick tip: Order your burger with iceberg lettuce instead of a bun!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Not-So-Paleo Memorial Day Weekend

Sorry for the mini  hiatus. I went on a little vacation to a lake in the north Georgia mountains over Memorial Day weekend. I had lots of fun and ate a TON of food.

This is the perfect example of when I don't eat a strict paleo diet. There are occasions when I let my hair down and just enjoy whatever food is placed in front of me. If someone is going to take the time to cook something for me, I'm going to eat it and be appreciative. (Especially when it's as delicious as the food I was served over the long weekend.)

However, I will say that my stomach didn't appreciate me very much, and I did gain a couple of pounds. But, I'm not worried. A week back on my regular diet, and those will shed right off.

I also used my dad's camera for a lot of these pics. I need to invest in a better camera than my iPhone.

Here are some of the delicious meals and treats I indulged in over the long weekend:


Rib eye, grilled onions, salad and baked potato.
This meal was actually pretty in line with my diet, since I do eat the occasional white potato.

I think the rib eye is the most beautiful cut of meat. So, I took a lot of pictures of it. :)








BBQ
This wasn't my plate ... I did forgo the bread. 

Pulled pork, ribs, coleslaw, baked beans and corn salsa.


Peach Pie
Having a slice of this pie was probably my biggest indulgence. It's really hard for me to turn down anything made with Georgia peaches.






Bruschetta




Other meals not pictured here (and even some that actually were on my diet):

  • Grilled chicken lunch
  • Low Country Boil (it's like a craw fish boil but with: shrimp, mussels, sausage, potatoes, onion and corn)
  • Fish fry (Striper and Carp fish w/ hush puppies and Vidalia onion rings)
  • French toast and fried eggs

This is Mike. He was our chef and host for the weekend. It seems like as soon as we all finished one meal, he was already cooking the next.


I had fun indulging in some really fantastic food with my family for the weekend, but I am glad to be back on paleo now. I know my gut is happy about it too. :)
 
To being back on the wagon, and to your good health,

Allison

Monday, May 21, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I'm not sure why there's a universal hatred for Brussels sprouts. I've avoided them for most of my life because of the stigma.

I've changed my tune since I changed my diet. Or, it may just be that my palette has changed since I've gotten older. I love Brussels sprouts now. And they're just so pretty. Like little cabbages.

I eat a lot of veggies. And salads can get old (and time-consuming to assemble). I cook every day, so I'm always looking for new side dishes that don't require a lot of effort. Because, quite frankly, I'm busy. On most weeknights, I get home from work, go for an hour and a half of yoga, then come home, cook dinner, clean the kitchen ... and before I know it, the evening is over. All of that to say, easy is good.


Here's a quick and easy way to roast 'em up for dinner. 
  • Rinse the sprouts, cut off the ends and peel off the outer, wimpy leaves.
  • Cut each sprout in half and place on a lined cookie sheet (Aren't they beautiful?)
  •  Drizzle with olive oil and grind black pepper and salt on top
  • Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes at 375° (This is generally when I do other things I need to do at home for the evening)

They were tender but retained a little crunch. I bet crumbled bacon would have been a terrific addition if I had wanted to take the extra time.

They're a great side dish for just about any cut or kind of meat. The night I made these, I had a nice juicy rib eye with them. The Brussels sprouts also reheated very well, so I also had them at lunch the next day.

Since some parts of Belgium do speak French, bon appetit!


To you good health,
Allison

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cholesterol and Paleo

I've been eating paleo pretty strictly for about six months. It would be a year or so, but I fell off the wagon a bit late last year before I moved ... but I didn't fall totally off. I never reverted back to using synthetic cooking oils, and I've been cooking with lard for a year now. (Though the homemade lard I use now is much better than the stuff I used to buy at the store.)

My mom has been bugging me to have blood work done. Just to make sure the science I'm implementing into my diet isn't totally wrong and going to kill me. There's a history of heart disease on both sides of my family, so it's a valid concern.

Recently, my company offered free health screenings at work, complete with a blood workup. They checked blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure (along with height and weight, etc.). Perfect timing. The nurses came to me, AND I didn't have to pay for it.

It was really cold in the conference room where they pricked my finger and took my height and weight and such. So, my fingers were reluctant to bleed. (I also blame it on the test requiring me to fast ... I really do need coffee to get my blood pumping, apparently.) Three finger sticks later, I was good to go.

I met with a nurse practitioner to go over my results. This was the fun part. Here are my numbers:

Total Cholesterol: 163
HDL: 88
LDL: 59
Trigs: 77 

She said that I must really avoid saturated fat in order to have such great numbers. To which I replied, "Oh, no. I eat a lot of it. I make my own lard."

I wish I had taken a picture of her face.

I went on to explain my diet. She had never heard of paleo. And was surprised to hear  I eat eggs. A lot of eggs. I cook with butter, lard, and coconut oil. I eat a lot of protein including poultry, pork, fish and red meat. I eat a lot of veggies, and I don't eat any "healthy whole grains" (or any grains really, for that matter).
 
She asked if I have Celiac or a gluten sensitivity. I honestly know. I've been in and out of GI doctors' offices since I was 14 trying to figure that out. They cut me open and took out my gallbladder because it wasn't working, but nothing changed and I never got any conclusive answers. All I know is that eating this way has changed my life, and I don't plan on going back.

My diet is basically diametrically opposed to what the mainstream establishment is telling us to eat. Isn't it sad that a lot of doctors and nurses receive so little training in nutrition? ... I'll avoid that rabbit trail for now.

Cholesterol isn't the whole story when it comes to heart disease either. There have been no studies (clinical, controlled studies) that can definitively link high cholesterol to heart disease. Both patients with high and low cholesterol suffer heart attacks. And dietary cholesterol does not correlate to serum cholesterol.

Chris Kresser has a ton of articles here about heart disease, if you're interested.

I feel I should add some sort of disclaimer in here because health is so subjective. All I'm saying is that this diet has done wonders for me. I feel so good. So healthy. So ... normal on it. And, that's something I've never experienced before. (And as an added bonus, I've lost about 10lbs.)


I enjoyed seeing, in black and white (and red,  yellow and green) that my heart is healthy. But honestly, I don't think this is the best test to best indicate risk of heart disease. I'd like to have a VAP test done. I'll have to ask my doctor about getting one.

But, for now, I'm going to go fry sweet potatoes in some lard.

To your good health,
Allison


Monday, May 14, 2012

Carnitas!


Meat, meat, and more meat.

Since I switched to paleo, I’ve become much more of a meat eater. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’m noticing how much I crave it now. My body likes it.

Have you ever given yourself the challenge of drinking more water? And when you do, you realize how much you crave it? And how other beverages start to not taste as good? It’s kind of like that.

I need the protein. It’s also very filling, and I run a lot longer on protein (and fat) without getting hungry than I ever did on grains/refined carbs.

I got the idea for making carnitas from a podcast I recently discovered, Everyday Paleo. (It’s a fantastic podcast for anyone who wants to learn more about paleo, or even if you’re new to the idea.)

I was inspired to make carnitas after hearing Dain (the host of the show) talk about it on podcast. I emailed him, and he kindly gave me the recipe/method.

 Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Pork butt (yes, that’s the actual term)
  • Lard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bell pepper (sliced)
  • Onion (sliced)

Here’s how I made it:

Carnitas
  • Rub the pork butt with lard.
  • Season it with salt, pepper and garlic power.
 

  1.  
  2.  








  • Put it in a Dutch oven and cook it in the oven on LOW (about 200º-215º) “all freaking day” (this equaled about 9–10 hours for me).
  • When it’s finished cooking, the meat will literally fall apart and off the bone. Separate the meat and remove the bone.


 


  • In a cast iron skillet, “refry” up the pork. This actually changes the flavor and texture of the meat quite a bit. I recommend only refrying the amount of pork you’re going to eat for that meal. Save the rest in the fridge and fry it up when you’re ready to eat it.













Onions and Peppers
  • Just fry ‘em up in a skillet with a little lard until tender.


The Sauce
  • For the sauce: Mix up some of the lard that rendered in a separate bowl with a little mustard and apple cider vinegar.

  • Plate a serving of the onions and peppers. Top with the pork and pour a little of the sauce over it, and get ready for a little fiesta in your mouth.

The sauce is really what ties it all together. While each item is delicious on its own, once it's all on the plate together, it turns into something magical!

Enjoy!

To your good health,
Allison

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Chips

I’ve always had more of a salty tooth than a sweet tooth. So, when I switched to paleo, it wasn’t giving up cakes and ice cream that proved the most difficult. It was potato chips.

Now, I really don’t have much of a problem with white potatoes. I probably eat one per week or so. They are starchy and loaded with carbs, but overall, in moderation, I tolerate them well. My aversion to potato chips on the paleo diet is the synthetic, toxic oil they’re fried in.

So, I’ve started making my own chips using quality coconut oil and my homemade lard. I use sweet potatoes because I will eat a ton of these chips, and I don’t want to eat white potatoes in that quantity.

It’s a bit time consuming, but sooooo worth it.

You’ll need:

-A mandolin slicer (or a sharp, thin knife and excellent slicing skills)
-One sweet potato
-1/2 cup coconut oil
-1/2 cup lard

Heat the oils in a small cast iron skillet over high heat. (If you use a large cast iron skillet, you’ll need a lot more oil.)

Slice the sweet potato. If you’re using a mandolin, be sure to use the provided hand guard. I almost seriously cut myself once by forgoing it.

Using tongs, place about ¼ of the slices in the melted, very hot oil. Let them fry for 20–30 seconds or so until small blisters start to appear.Then flip for another 20-30 seconds.

Remove the chips from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Now, I like them a little brown. They’re crispier that way, but you can remove them earlier if you want.

Repeat these steps until you’ve fried all of your slices.


There are tons of other sweet potato chip recipes out there. Most of which you bake. I’ve made sweet potato fries by baking them, but I prefer frying when making chips in order to satisfy that craving for Lays.

Learn more about why salt isn't bad for you in this series of articles by Chris Kresser. 

Enjoy!

To your good health,
Allison

Monday, May 7, 2012

Typical Weekend Fare

The most common question I get about my diet is, “So, you don’t eat bread, biscuits, pancakes, toast, pasta or anything with wheat … what DO you eat?” Or, something along those lines.

To answer that question, here are a couple of typical meals I eat on the weekends.

Dinner: Ground Chicken (or Turkey) Portobello Burgers with Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

I got this recipe from the Make It Paleo cookbook. It’s a terrific resource, and the photos are gorgeous. The recipe calls for ground turkey, but ground chicken was on sale so I got that. Just mix the spices into the ground meat, grill it up and add some toppings. I promise it’s as filling as a real burger … without the carb coma from the bun after.




Breakfast: Egg Scramble with Sausage and Fixins

As I’ve said before, I don’t typically eat breakfast because I’m generally not hungry until a few hours after I wake up. But, I still love breakfast food, and breakfast is probably the easiest meal to paleo-fy.

This is a typical breakfast for me. I sautéed onions in a tablespoon (or two) of lard, then added the eggs and spinach. I fried up some sausage (bacon would be good too). Then sliced up an avocado and tomato, plated it and added a hefty scoop of sauerkraut.




And, I didn’t get a picture of this dinner. On Sunday, we went over to my parent’s house to grill. We grilled chicken, salmon and bacon-wrapped sweet onions. We also had a big, hearty salad.

I'll start posting more of the meals I make to give you ideas.

Also, over the weekend, I made pork butt/pulled pork/carnitas for the first time. Post coming soon!

To your good health,
Allison

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paleo Fish Taco Salad

This week, I made a variant on my friend (and former boss and fellow low-carber) Brad’s famous Fish Tacos recipe.

I turned it into a salad. But, if you eat soft corn tortillas, I can only imagine how delicious this recipe would be in them. It was amazing just as a salad.

I used tilapia fillets. Dipped them in egg wash, dusted them with some flax and almond flour and then fried them on the stove top in coconut oil.

I lined my salad bowl with spinach (because that’s what I had at home) added the fish, then topped it with shredded Nappa cabbage, diced red onion, diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, chopped avocado, and squeezed some fresh lime juice over the top.

I also mixed a bit of mayo (unfortunately it was not the homemade variety) and hot sauce and drizzled it over the top as well.

I was so happy with the way this salad turned out. I'll definitely be working it into the regular rotation. (However, the leftover fish doesn't reheat very well ... just FYI.)

To your good health,
Allison

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Coo-Coo for Coconut Oil

Just a quick post tonight about coconut oil.

It's a staple on the paleo diet and has lots of healthy saturated fat. It's solid at room temperature, but it becomes liquid above 76 degrees. It's hearty, too, and holds up to high heat. I actually used it to make deep-fried sweet potato chips this week. (SO GOOD!) It also works well for frying eggs and sauteing vegetables.

In the past, I blogged about using Lou Ana's coconut oil. That was before I learned about the difference in brands. You want coconut oil that is extra virgin and unrefined. (Unprocessed and unbleached.) When I discovered that Lou Ana's didn't live up to this criteria, I found a brand that does.

I've been using Tropical Traditions (and there are lots of other great extra virgin coconut oil brands out there too) for a few weeks now, and I can tell a huge difference in the taste. There's even a big difference in how it looks:



Aside from being great for cooking, the oil has many other great benefits too. It's supposed to be great for conditioning hair and moisturizing skin ... I'll have to do a little experiment and report back on that. There's even some information out there that suggests coconut oil can help halt or even reverse Alzheimer's Disease. (See here and here).

That's all for tonight. I just realized I noted using Lou Ana's coconut oil in a previous post, which was before I learned about its quality. Now I know, and so do you. :)

To your good health,
Allison




Sunday, April 15, 2012

Adventures in Lard Land

I made lard this weekend. Yep, lard.

Saturated fats have been demonized for years. I was scared of "artery-clogging-saturated-fat" for a long time. I think most of America was ... and still is. After watching Fat Head, digging through the research of Mike and Mary Dan Eades (that link is a good one, read it) and reading some of Gary Taube's work, I overcame my trepidation. More than that, actually. I embraced saturated fats in my diet.

So, I began buying lard at Walmart instead of Crisco or other synthetic "vegetable" oils ... until I learned that the lard sold at most stores is hydrogenated (which creates a trans-fat by product -- the exact thing I was trying to avoid). Being hydrogenated gives the lard a long shelf life, so I see why they do it. I just didn't want to eat it anymore.

So, I picked up some pre-ordered pig fat from a rancher from my local farmers market. All of his meat (chicken, beef and pork) is pasture raised and grass-fed and- finished. This means the animals graze all day in an open pasture and aren't fed grains, so their meat and fat is higher in omega-3 fats. (This is the good kind of fat). The fat in traditional grain-fed animals produces omega-6 fat, which is in abundance in our standard American diet and also why people take fish oil supplements (omega-3 supplements).

But enough of the context for why I did this. Here's what I did.

Picked up 5 lbs fat and brought it home:


Cut it up and plopped it in the crock pot:


I set the crock pot to low, and just let it do its thing (this takes a long time and a lot of attention. As the fat begins to render off, you have to remove it. I forgot to take a picture in the middle of the ladling process, so this is near the end of the first batch.)


I strained it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (Those are my hunky boyfriend's hands there. He's great in the kitchen.)


Then I poured the strained fat into jars:




I let it cool down a bit, then put it in the fridge. The next morning, I had this!




I gave one pint to my dad, but had six total pints rendered from the five pounds of fat I purchased. I'm so happy it came out all snowy white. Apparently, it has a tendency to turn a darkish tan color if not rendered properly. If I ate wheat, this stuff would be ideal for baking.

Lard is the perfect fat for frying. Or deep frying. It's stable and holds up to high temperatures. I also plan on using some of it in the near future to make my first foray into making carnitas. :)

It will stay good in the fridge for about three months, or much longer in the freezer.

There you have it, folks. Lard.

To your good health,

Allison




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Patio Garden

When cooking paleo, you generally use fewer ingredients. This means you really get the flavor of what's in the dish. In one of the cookbooks I use, most of the recipes don't have more than five ingredients, and I find this to be true of my own recipes as well. But one thing common to most all dishes is the use of fresh herbs. They add TONS of fresh flavor and brightness to any dish (so much more than dried herbs).

Like I mentioned in my "About Me" section, I live in the city. In an apartment. I don't have the luxury of a yard for a large vegetable garden, but I do have a small patio that gets sun daily. So, I do what I can with what I have.

Now ... I'm not exactly known for my green thumb. I blame this on circumstances beyond my control—like having a patio with zero sunlight during the day or having a west facing patio during last year's Summer from Hell in Dallas. This may all be rationalizing ... we'll let this little endeavor be the judge.

About three weeks ago, I purchased a small (and cheap) little greenhouse at Home Depot for growing plants and herbs from seed. I picked an assortment of herb seeds and planted them that day. I put in three to four seeds per pod. (If you do this, I suggest keeping the seed packets because they provide useful information for when you can expect seeds to sprout, etc. Also, I labeled the greenhouse so I'd know which herbs were which.)

About a week or so after planting the seeds, I had this:



Those little suckers have grown so fast. I ended up putting the greenhouse outside on my patio because I started to see gnats flying around the apartment. (Gross!)

The plants have been really easy to maintain. I watered them as the small soil pods started turning lighter brown, which happened more and more often as they grew. Some pods have two or three separate sprouts, some have just one. By this past weekend, I had this:



I knew it was time (especially for the cilantro) to move those pups to their own little pots. Tonight was the night.


I put three to four pods per pot. Once I see which of each plant is thriving best, I'll cut the others out. Also, the pots I used are pretty big for the size of the plant, so I think I'm good for now. 

It'll still be a couple of months before I can use these in my recipes, so for now, I'll continue buying fresh herbs and washing them thoroughly.

On a side note, I still have more than half of my greenhouse full of sprouted, healthy plants. If you want some, I'm happy to send them to good homes. :)

To your good health,
Allison



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fat and the Paleo Diet


I thought it might be helpful to provide some references for anyone who met the previous post with repulsion due to the amount of fat in the butter coffee.

Fighting the mainstream mantra of "healthy whole grains" and low fat is an uphill battle. I honestly don't want to fight it. I do, however, want to provide real, scientific information for those who are interested.

www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/paleo-diet-and-fat.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

And, here's a podcast:

http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/6047/560-peter-attia/



Bulletproof Coffee

You're probably going to think this is gross ... at least that's what everyone I've told about it so far has said.

It really isn't. I promise.

I learned about Bulletproof Coffee a couple of weeks ago after it started popping up on a lot of low-carb and paleo blogs. I've found it to be a terrific way to start the day and stay energized throughout the morning. I had Bulletproof Coffee on Thursday and Friday last week, and I was satiated for about six hours. No joke.

This is where I deviate slightly from a strict paleo diet. I still eat dairy.

The reason the coffee is so satisfying is because there is butter in it. A lot of butter. On a low-carb diet, fat is important. It gives you that full feeling that keeps you from over-eating. The right kind of fats matter. I eat a lot of healthy, saturated fats. (I'll have to do a blog on this topic some time.)

The butter in this coffee is UNSALTED butter from pasture-raised cows. (That part is really important. The fat in butter from grain-fed cows that don't get sunlight is different. It doesn't blend well and the nutrients passed on from the cow to its cream -- and then the butter -- aren't as healthy.) When you get down to it, the kind of butter I used here is really just over-churned cream.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Of course, they want you to buy their coffee beans. And, I'm sure there is a valid reason for that. I bet they make amazing coffee. But, this blog is about doing what you can with what you have.

I used:
  • 4–5 tbsp of Kerrygold unsalted butter. You can find this in most grocery stores.
  • 500 ml of freshly brewed Starbucks Komodo Dragon coffee blend (this equals brewing to about the 5-cup line on the coffee pot)
  • 1 tbsp Lou Ann's pure coconut oil
I poured the brewed coffee into the blender. Added the other two ingredients and blended for about 10–15 seconds.

And, voila:


I love this coffee. It's creamy. It's frothy. It's delicious. And, it keeps you alert and focused during busy mornings at work. I can't have it every morning though, mainly because the butter is expensive. :)

To feeling full, tasty beverages, productive mornings and, of course, your good health,

Allison

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Search of the Perfect Human Diet

Just a quick post this evening.

Last week, Jimmy Moore raved about the recent PaleoFX conference on the Balanced Bites podcast. It sounds like it was an amazing conference, especially considering it was the first year for the event. I would've attended, but it was held in Austin during SXSW, and I discovered it a little late to ask off work. I do plan on investing in any PaleoFX 2012 DVDs that may be produced.

Jimmy and the Balanced Bites girls gushed about a documentary trailer that was previewed at the conference, In Search of the Perfect Human Diet. I'm always excited to hear about films dealing with the paleo lifestyle and diet because many people (myself included at the beginning of my journey) find watching a film more palatable and less labor intensive than reading a blog and digging into the research.

I ordered the documentary last week, and I received and watched it Monday. It makes an excellent, scientific case for the paleo diet in a very educational way. The host/producer is a former vegan who discovered the diet for himself, and he takes his audience through his journey of discovery.

Here's a quick preview (the guy on the still shot is not the host):


Right now, the film is only available on DVD. My understanding is that they're working toward getting it released on Netflix after it premiers at a film festival.

Coming up in my next post: bulletproof coffee—drink it in the morning and stay full for six hours! (It worked for me today. I'll make it again this weekend and take pictures.)

To your good health,
Allison

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sugar: The Mainstream Toxin

Last night, 60 Minutes had a nice little segment about the toxicity of sugar. It feeds cancer and is a major player in heart disease. They got it mostly right, but left out the fact that most refined carbohydrates (like bread and pasta) act the same as pure sucrose in our bodies. Regardless, I'm so happy to see the message starting to get out into the mainstream.

I'm not quite savvy enough to know how to embed the video, but you can watch the segment here.

Having good information is half the battle on the journey toward health. For more information, I suggest Gary Taubes book, Why We Get Fat, or watching Fat Head on Netflix.

To your good health,
Allison


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Roasted Chicken and Bone Broth

One little chicken took up a lot of my day today.

A couple of weekends ago, I purchased a whole, free-range chicken raised without antibiotics or hormones from the Livestock First Ranch booth at the Coppell Farmers Market (along with two dozen delicious eggs). It came frozen and vacuum-sealed. Today, I thawed it, roasted it and then made stock (or bone broth) from the bones.

Bone broth is one of the paleo super foods. It's incredibly nutrient dense and is an immense help in aiding digestion (read more health benefits details here). It also adds a ton of flavor to soups, sauces and just about anything else you put it in.

Here's how I roasted the chicken:

First, I thawed it. Slowly. In a large pot of cold water for a couple of hours. (Ideally, you'd want to thaw it by transferring it from the freezer to the fridge for a day or so to thaw, but I'm impatient, so I did it this way.)

When it was nearly thawed, I chopped up some green onions (they're milder than white onions ... they're also all I had at home), smashed some garlic and sliced a lemon.



I removed the chicken from the vacuum-sealed package, patted it dry and plopped it in my beautiful blue dutch oven. Then added the above ingredients along with lots of black pepper and some rosemary. I also stuffed some butter between the meat and the skin—because butter makes everything better.


If I'd had some twine, I would've closed it's little legs. I put the lid on the dutch oven and cooked it in a 375^ oven for a few hours. I basted it once. I always cut into the deepest part of the breast to make sure it's finished cooking.

Ta da:


I let it cool a bit, then removed the meat from the bones and put the meat in the fridge. I'll use it later in the week for chicken salad or just reheat it with a sweet potato or something for dinner.

Now comes the fun part. Bone broth!

I returned all the bones from the bird to the dutch oven. Added some celery and more onions for flavor and some spinach for some vitamins. I brought this to a boil then turned it down to a low simmer for about 6 hours.


After the six hours, I removed all the bones and veggies and strained the remaining broth with a fine strainer. Then placed it in smaller containers and moved it to the fridge/freezer immediately. (This is also when I added the salt, at the end. (It's easier to add more at the end than it is to remove too much used at the beginning.)



I used some of the broth in my good friend Reena's famous Chicken Tikka recipe. (This pic is about halfway through the cooking process. Sorry I didn't take one of the final product.)







I also made this tonight (totally unrelated, but it's pretty):



So, here's to the chicken. And the egg. And to your good health,

Allison