Help! What Type of Content Would You Like to See Me Post More Of?

Hey guys! As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting quite as often these days as I used to. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I’m struggling with choosing a direction for this blog. There are so many fabulous paleo and health blogs out there that offer all types of recipes, tips, and great content. With that said, I’d like to choose just one or two categories to write about regarding health. What kind of content do you enjoy reading on my blog, and wish to see more of?

 

 

If you have any specific requests for me to write about, please let me know in the comments below 🙂

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Interview with former FDA Agent – Exposing the Supplement Industry

Hey guys! This morning I watched this video posted by Abel James of The Fat Burning Man of an interview done with Gary Collins, who is a former FDA Agent. He exposes the supplement industry fakes, and explains how to find a quality supplement company you can trust. This video is very interesting and informative, I highly recommend taking a look!

 

Halfway There!

July 1. Today marks the halfway point of my year-long journey of sticking to a paleo diet. Wow, can’t believe 6 months has already gone by. I can’t say it’s been easy to make it this far, but it’s been much easier than I anticipated. It has truly been a learning experience and I have noticed some significant changes in my body. Here are a few things I’ve noticed, learned, and am grateful for from these past 6 months:

1. I’ve rekindled my love for cooking. Finding new recipes online, or just creating my own, has been so much fun and has really brought me joy over the past 6 months. I cook all 3 meals everyday for my boyfriend and myself (except when we occasionally go out to dinner), so that’s 3 times a day that I get to be creative and and try new things…it’s almost like a science experiment.

2. I’ve realized, and come to terms with the fact, that bread and other starchy “food” should not, and will not, ever be a part of my diet ever again (ok, except maybe one treat every few months or so, after this year is over of course). The things that these starch bombs contain harm my body far more than I enjoy them, and it’s not worth it. Gluten, skyrocketing insulin levels, phytic acid…bad.

3. I’ve realized how strong I am. Not in the “I can bench 500lbs” sense, but in the willpower arena. If I had a dollar for every time somebody offered me something non-paleo, or even pestered me about it, I’d have at least enough money to go on a significant shopping trip. Since I’ve committed to this diet, I’ve flown out of state twice and have gone on numerous overnight trips out of town, and haven’t broken my commitment to myself. I’ve packed multiple days-worth of food for myself to ensure that I stick to my diet. I’m not saying that I haven’t been tempted a few times, because I have wished with all my might that the pizookies at BJ’s Brewhouse were paleo (to no avail), but have overcome my moments of weakness.

4. I’ve learned that people generally aren’t judgmental about this lifestyle, they are genuinely curious and want to learn more. I get questions from friends and family members all the time about my diet. At first, I would answer defensively, afraid that they were judging my choices. With time, however, I learned that they were curious and really wanted to learn about nutrition (and they valued and trusted what I had to say, which means a lot to me!). So I have explained, in detail, to many people the why’s about this diet, and people seem to think it’s a great idea and even consider (if only for a moment) to jump on the bandwagon and try it out themselves. I enjoy being asked questions, and it prompts me to research things I haven’t thought about or considered about nutrition. It’s a beautiful two-way (learning) street.

5. I’ve seen some awesome changes in my body, inside and out. Before beginning this diet, I had digestive problems, fell victim to the daily 3pm energy crash, and had a little extra pudge I wanted to get rid of. I’m happy to say that my digestive system, and my gut in general, are happy and healthy now. I no longer experience an energy crash in the afternoon, which is awesome because I don’t have to rely on caffeine to keep me awake now. I’ve also toned up and lost some fat, which I am incredibly proud of. If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen a few progress pictures from my journey. I’m going to share a little progress with you on this blog, too! Along with diet, this year I’ve been doing CrossFit and other weight-lifting, and the past 6 weeks I’ve been doing P90X (which has been awesome!) in preparation for an upcoming vacation to Cabo San Lucas.

 

Day1

January 1, 2014 – 120 lbs

6months

6 months later – 111 lbs

 

What does your journey in 2014 look like? I’d love to hear what you’ve accomplished and learned over the past 6 months. Post in the comments below! 🙂

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

Ohhh summertime. Nothing is more satisfying on a hot day than a big bowl of ice cream. Although there are a few brands of coconut or almond milk ice cream that taste quite good, they can be expensive and still have quite a few ingredients that make me skeptical.

On this fabulous first day of summer, I thought I’d share a recipe with you that you can indulge in…guilt free, dairy free, and with no added sugar.

mint chocolate chip ice cream

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas, cut into pieces
1/4 frozen avocado
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 tsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp raw cashews
1/4-1/2 cup coconut water or coconut milk (depending on consistency you like)
1/4 cup Mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Enjoy!

If you want a greener color, you can add some raw baby spinach! If adding the spinach, I suggest blending everything together expect the bananas and chocolate chips at first, then adding the banana once the spinach is broken down. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

 

The Truth About Legumes

Cavemen didn’t eat beans. Right?

If you are familiar with the “Paleo Diet,” you are aware that legumes are certainly not on the menu. The reason for the exclusion of legumes is the simple fact that legumes contain phytic acid (which blocks the absorption of some minerals) and lectins (which damage the small intestine). Seems legit, right?

Well, what if I were to tell you that there are several foods that are embraced by the Paleo community that contain far more levels of one or both of these “harmful substances” than do legumes?

One perfect example is nuts. Many nuts contain greater levels of phytic acid than legumes, yet paleo followers gladly pop handfuls of almonds into their mouths without thinking twice. Why is this acceptable while enjoying a small serving of pinto beans in my burrito bowl is frowned upon?

One thing that is becoming increasingly obvious to me about the paleo diet is that the “spokes people” of the lifestyle (Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, etc.) as well as many other followers will do whatever they can do back up the “story” of the paleo diet (not trying to point fingers! These people are wonderful and offer some great info, too!). You know, the whole “only eat what was available to our ancient ancestors before agriculture” story. This sounds great at first, but can be extremely harmful when science and current research that contradicts the diet is ignored, simply because it doesn’t follow the storyline.

A great article about legumes by Chris Kresser goes into more detail about whether or not legume consumption is beneficial or harmful. Here are a few key points I’ve chosen to highlight for you, just in case you don’t want to read the entire article:

To my knowledge there’s only one study demonstrating humans being harmed by consuming legumes. This is the study often used by Paleo advocates to “prove” that legumes are dangerous. However, what is often neglected is that this study described a case of food poisoning that occurred in hospital patients who ate legumes that hadn’t been cooked properly. Suggesting that we shouldn’t eat cooked legumes because raw legumes cause disease is like saying that we shouldn’t eat cooked chicken because we can get Salmonella from eating raw chicken…

In fact, cooking legumes for as little as 15 minutes or pressure-cooking them for 7.5 minutes almost completely inactivates the lectins they contain, leaving no residual lectin activity in properly cooked legumes.

The problem with telling people to avoid legumes because they contain phytic acid is that many other foods in the diet—including “Paleo-friendly” foods—contain substantially higher amounts of phytic acid than legumes. For example, a serving of trail mix, that beloved Paleo favorite, is likely to be much higher in phytic acid than a serving of lentils. Cacao beans (chocolate) have about the same amount of phytic acid as most beans. And spinach and swiss chard are higher in phytic acid than almost any legume, nut or seed!

-Chris Kresser

 

Kresser also mentions a few foods that are totally 100% “paleo” that contain higher levels of phytic acid than legumes: sesame seeds, Swiss chard, and spinach. Take what you want from the article, but I have decided that I will allow small amounts of legumes into my diet. The benefits of eating a small amount of legumes seem to outweigh any drawbacks for me personally, but you can take this information or leave it. I think that the phytic acid and lectin arguments are moot at this point.

I recently watched an interview with Abel James from The Fat Burning Man and Dr. Fuhrman who is a physician and proper nutrition advocate. The two discussed the dangers of following any specific diet and touched upon legumes, grains, and other dogmas of the paleo diet. It’s a great interview, and I suggest you watch it if you are at all interested in the subject! Here’s a link to the video.

What are your thoughts on legumes and the restrictions of the paleo diet? I’d love to hear your opinions 🙂

 

How to Make Chicken Soup from Scratch

What’s more comforting than a hot bowl of chicken soup? I’m not talking about that junk that comes in a can that claims to be healthy and hearty, I’m talking about the real deal. Homemade. Making chicken soup from scratch can sound a little intimidating, but it’s really very simple and versitile.

Check out my video to see instructions on making your own chicken soup completely from scratch. Use any combination of vegetables and seasonings you like! This is more of a method than a recipe, so adapt it to your taste.

 

 

How to Make Chicken Soup from Scratch

 

Broth Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets removed (2-4 lbs)
  • 2 hearts celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • Water to cover ingredients in pot

Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 Pot of broth
  • Shredded chicken (from broth)
  • 2-6 cups of vegetables of your choice. (Broccoli, carrots, celery, onion, spinach, kale, cauliflower, okra, green beans, mushrooms, etc.)
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp paprika)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, begin with broth ingredients. Simmer ingredients for 1.5-2 hours, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and meat is falling off the bone.
  2. Remove chicken from pot, and strain solids from the broth.
  3. *Optional Step*Cover broth and place in fridge to cool, allowing fat to solidify and float to the top. Skim fat off top once cooled, or you can leave it. It’s up to you. If you choose to leave fat in broth, no refrigeration needed. Leave at room temperature.
  4. *Optional Step* Puree solid vegetables, giblets (bones removed), and 1-2 cups of broth. Place puree in fridge to cool if you cooled broth. If you are leaving fat in the broth, then don’t place puree in fridge because the process is going to go much faster.
  5. Separate meat from bone of chicken, shredding it with your fingers. If you wish, you may use a knife to cut chicken, but I’ve found that using my fingers is much easier and quicker.
  6. Add meat back to pot of broth, bring to boil. Add veggies and seasoning, simmer until veggies are fork tender.
  7. *Optional Step* Stir in puree mixture and allow it to come up to temperature.
  8. Enjoy!

This soup freezes well, so you can make a large batch and freeze some so that you can enjoy it over the next few weeks.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 7.37.08 AM

 

Juice Me! Rainbow Juice Recipe

We’ve all heard from a number of sources that we should eat more vegetables. Vegetables are arguably the most beneficial and nutritious foods you can possibly eat, giving you vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and can even help prevent cancer. There are a number of ways you can get those veggies into your diet, including eating them raw, cooked, or even juiced.

Personally, I make a conscious effort to eat as many vegetables as possible. I get a minimum of 1 serving in with every meal (yes, including breakfast), and for lunch and dinner I often have 4-5 servings each. But I wanted to intake even more nutrients from these superfoods, so I turned to juicing.

Fresh juice (not pre-packaged crap you find in bottles) provides you with all the vitamins and minerals of the whole vegetable, minus the fiber. Juice allows you intake more than you would be able to if you were to eat the whole vegetable or fruit, because the juice contains far less mass than the complete fibrous veggie. I’m not recommending you replace your daily vegetables with juice, but you can certainly add juice into your diet to supplement it with extra veggies.

This juice recipe is the most delicious I’ve tried so far, and it will be sure to leave you feeling refreshed and energized. Try it out and let me know what you think! 🙂

juice

 

Just put all the ingredients through a juicer and stir it all together before you drink it. Enjoy! 🙂