Baked Sweet Potato Recipe

Sweet potatoes are pretty much the only “starchy carb” I eat. But, I eat them nearly every day. They are delicious and satisfying, and crazy easy to make. They are high in vitamin C and vitamin B6, and can last in your fridge (cooked) for up to a week. I like to cook 7 at a time, and eat one per day for a week before making up a new batch.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes (as many as desired)
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes with a vegetable brush to knock off dirt. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, rubbing oil into potatoes with hands to ensure even coating. (I highly recommend NOT wrapping the sweet potatoes in foil)
  4. Place baking sheets with sweet potatoes in oven and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour, depending on size of sweet potatoes (they are done when fork-tender).
  5. You can eat the sweet potatoes “as-is” (simple and yummy!), or you can split open the skin and sprinkle cinnamon on top. If adding cinnamon, I suggest using a fork to mash sweet potatoes within the skin so the cinnamon is distributed throughout.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe!  The skin turns out to be caramelized and delicious…don’t forget to eat that part for extra nutrients! I never knew I liked sweet potatoes until I went paleo, and I’m so glad I discovered my love for them. They are great for pre or post-workout, or just an excellent side dish with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy!

 

Paleo vs. Vegan

A fiery debate flying around the internet these days is the “Paleo vs. Vegan” argument. Vegans (especially raw vegans) claim that meat and fat cause you to be overweight and unhealthy, while Paleo people insist that it is sugar and carbs that make you fat and unhealthy. These two diets/lifestyles seem to be drastically different from one another, but what hardly anyone seems to be addressing is one incredibly important similarity: both diets preach the importance of eliminating processed foods from their diets.

In the video below, the incredibly popular Youtuber called Freelee the Banana Girl discusses childhood obesity. Although I don’t agree with a few of her points (namely, that you should be eating nearly your weight in fruit per day, and that animal meat is horrible for you), she does have many good points about the causes of childhood obesity and obesity in general. Most children these days are raised to think that processed junk is “food,” while not even being able to recognize actual food (like fruits and vegetables).

Even though raw vegans say that a high-carb diet is the key to health and weight-loss, I’m sure most of them would agree that carbs in the form of highly-processed sugar, like candy bars, is not what they have in mind.

Likewise, people following the Paleo movement will agree that, although they say that fat is extremely beneficial, that fat in the form of highly-processed garbage, like a Big Mac or french fries cooked in vegetable oil, is not the kind of fat anyone should be eating, either.

Instead of these two groups of food-enthusiasts arguing over the internet about whose diet is better, they really should be uniting in promoting the importance of vegetables and fruit, and strengthening the fight against processed foods and the packaged-food industry. That’s who the real enemy is.

What are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear your opinions…

How to Survive a Wedding on the Paleo Lifestyle

A few weeks ago I flew out to Texas for my friend’s wedding. I was in the wedding party, so the few days leading up to the big day were busy and intense. We had the rehearsal dinner, helped set up the venue, and then the wedding itself. It was a wonderful experience, and my friend Sarah made the most beautiful bride.

I used a similar strategy for my flight as last time, which I talked about in this post. I brought fruit, nuts, and veggies for my plane ride. This time was much easier, as a “seasoned paleo traveler” 😉  Many people are under the impression that you can’t fly with food, which is not true. You just can’t bring large volumes of liquid or “gelatinous material” through security…any amount of solid food is perfectly acceptable!

I had flown out for Sarah’s Bridal Shower in January. For that trip I was able to grocery shop to get exactly what I needed (Read about my trip to Texas and the Bridal Shower here). I knew that this time we were going to be incredibly busy and I wouldn’t have time to make it to a grocery store, so I had to bring enough food to last me a few days. Here’s what I did to prepare for the big day…

weddingmonogram

How to Survive a Wedding – Paleo

  • Before I left my house, I cooked 2 chicken breasts, a bunch of broccoli and cauliflower, and made some paleo banana muffins. I put the chicken and veggies in food containers, wrapped up about a dozen muffins, and put them in a lunch box with a few ice packs. I also threw in a couple apples and baby carrots for snacking. I put the lunch box in a checked bag for the flight, and carried on other snacks.
  • Once I got to my destination, I immediately put the lunch box in a refrigerator to make sure my food kept well. I flew out the day before the wedding, so the food only needed to be refrigerated over night.
  • The day of the wedding, I happily ate tons of banana muffins, carrots and apples while we were getting ready, while the other bridesmaids ordered sandwiches.
  • For the wedding dinner, the bride had hired an Italian restaurant to cater. This meant tons of pasta and garlic bread, none of which I could eat. So when guests were getting food (buffet style), I snuck back to the Bridal Suite with my empty dinner plate, and emptied out my chicken and veggies onto the plate. I walked it back through the kitchen, explaining to the caterers that I couldn’t have any gluten so I had to bring my own food. They were very understanding and didn’t give me any trouble. I returned to my table and ate along with everyone else. Super easy!
Some of the bridesmaids. I'm in the middle :)

Some of the bridesmaids. I’m in the middle 🙂

I loved some of the looks I got for having different food from everyone else, and it sparked some good conversation. Any chance I get, I like to explain the philosophy and science behind the paleo diet, and the importance of eating real food. People seemed to enjoy hearing about it, and hopefully I inspired someone to give it a try!

weddingcake

The Bride and Groom <3

The Bride and Groom ❤

 

An important lesson I’ve learned these past few months of following the paleo lifestyle is to be confident in your personal choices, and to not be afraid or embarrassed to display them around other people. Most people will just be curious, which is fine! They will get a chance to learn from you what the paleo diet is, and hopefully you will be an inspiration to them. So don’t be shy or embarrassed by bringing your own food–own it!

 

As time goes on, I am becoming increasingly confident in my abilities to stick with the paleo plan when in unfamiliar situations. I find that, now, I have no problem watching everyone else eat their bread and fried food, knowing that in an hour or two I’ll be able to go home or to a grocery store to pick up something healthy for myself to enjoy. Having this confidence is allowing me to be happier than every…I love it!

If you have any questions or requests for posts, please let me know by posting in the comments. I would love your feedback! Thanks!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts may very well be my favorite vegetable. These little nutrient-packed balls of deliciousness are surprisingly high in protein (about 3g per cup) and in vitamin K. They are also super easy to cook!
roastedbrusselsprouts

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts (organic if you can find them!)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil (melted), if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut off stem of each sprout. Cut Brussels sprouts in half (cut large sprouts in quarters). Remove outermost leaves if they appear old or damaged. If they appear fine, then leave them. If they fall off, add the fallen leaves to a foil-lined baking sheet along with the rest of the sprouts.
  3. Drizzle oil (and vinegar, if you choose) over sprouts. Sprinkle paprika, pepper, and salt over sprouts, then toss with fingers to evenly coat with oil and seasonings.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, until fork tender and golden brown on top. Detached leaves will be dark and crispy…and delicious!! That’s the best part!

This recipe is enough to serve 4-8 people as a side, depending on how many vegetables you like to eat! Enjoy!

Tuesday 3/25/14 WOD

Hey guys! I haven’t posted much about CrossFit lately (I took a month-long break and focused to focus on running). Today was my 4th WOD for the past week, and we did “Daniel”. Let me just say…my body is feeling destroyed right now.

Daniel

For time:
50 pull-ups
400-meter run
95-lb. thruster, 21 reps
800-meter run
95-lb. thruster, 21 reps
400-meter run
50 pull-ups

This took me around 23 minutes to complete (I forgot to write down my actual time). I’m already feeling sore, too. Gotta love not being able to move without wincing 😉

I adjusted the workout a bit, and just did 35 pull-ups on either end of the workout instead of 50, and I had to use a resistance band. Also, I only weigh 110 lbs, so doing a 95-lb thruster just wasn’t gonna happen (although it would be pretty awesome!). Today I was only able to do the thrusters @ 40-lbs…My goal is to get them up to 60% of my body weight, which would be 57-lbs.

Image

Caught in the middle of a thruster!

Shrimp & Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

One of my favorite (easy!) meals to make when I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a few days is a stir-fry. It’s one of those dishes where you can pretty much throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, and it will taste phenomenal. This is when I use up those extra 10 Brussels sprouts hanging out in my fridge, or that frozen bag of organic broccoli that is just taking up too much room in my freezer. Pour some Sriracha sauce on it, and BAM! Instant deliciousness.

Shrimp and Chicken Stir Fry

You can use either frozen or fresh veggies for this, it doesn’t really matter. The only advise I’d give or using frozen is to not use frozen Brussels sprouts (they tend to get mushy when you cook them. Kinda weird. Way worth it to use fresh for these guys.), and to defrost frozen veggies in the microwave then drain the water before adding them to the pan.

Shrimp & Chicken Stir Fry

Serves: 4

  • 4-5 cups cooked, frozen devained detailed shrimp, defrosted (feel free to use non-frozen too)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 green summer squash
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 4-5 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion
  • 1-2 tbsp. Siracha (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. fat of choice (I used coconut oil, but olive oil is fine too!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Dice onion. Add fat to a deep pan, then add onion. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stiring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare other veggies.
  2. Wash and cut zucchini, squash, and broccoli into bite-size pieces.
  3. To prepare brussels sprouts, cut off stems then cut brussels sprouts in half. Remove outermost layer of leaves.
  4. Add broccoli and brussels sprouts to pan with onion, season with salt and pepper, and over. Cook for 5-6 minutes until veggies begin to get tender, stirring occasionally. Then add zucchini and squash to pan. Cook, covered, until all veggies are fork tender.
  5. While veggies are cooking, cook chicken in a separate pan. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan, then add diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Flip chicken over occasionally to ensure it is cooked evenly.
  6. Cook chicken thoroughly, about 6-8 minutes, then add to pan with veggies.
  7. Add thawed shrimp to pan with veggies and chicken. Pour Sriracha over the stir-fry mixture. Continue to cook on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes until shrimp is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Feel free to add any vegetables you have on hand. Cauliflower and carrot go great in this, too!