Friday, October 30, 2009

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

November programs at Crossfit Central started this week, and I know we have some new people (welcome! welcome!) running around. For some of you the nutritional component is daunting and somewhat confusing. There is a lot of information floating around, all extremely helpful, and you will hit your stride soon.

First, I'd like to direct you to a post by resident Crossfitter Catherine Hart regarding the importance of words and your success in living a healthy lifestyle. Speaking negatively also includes the use of words that may seem harmless in context, but have exceedingly negative connotations. Using the word "diet" is, in my humble opinion, the WORST word to use when referring to your new eating style.

Diets are always referred to as something temporary; something which will eventually end and a person can resume their way of life, presumably with a smaller waistband. Diets fail because they are not permanent. Looking for permanent results requires permanent change. You are not going on a diet, you are making a lifestyle change, prepare accordingly. This is not a time-out from life, it's relearning how to take care of yourself.

1) Remove anything and everything from your house that does not fit with your new menu. Alter your shopping list forever. Stick to the outsides of the grocery store. If you get the urge to grab a box of "impulse buy crap" do yourself a favor and read the ingredients. Do you know what 90% of that crap is? Me neither. Skip it and move on.

2) The first day is going to be easy. Days 2-5 may be a complete nightmare. Prepare accordingly. You may be slightly irritable. You may eat an entire bag of something, JUST MAKE SURE IT'S ON THE GREEN LIST PEOPLE. Eating handfuls of almonds, while high in fat, or carrots, is still miles and miles better than eating handfuls of chips/cake/candy/(insert crap food). See item number one.

3) Tomorrow is always a second chance. If you suddenly find yourself in the midst of consuming a half gallon of chocolate ice cream, do not freak out. You can always try again tomorrow, and eventually it will get easier. We all have our choppy moments, those will never go away. The goal is to have your moment and then get back up again, hopefully with a renewed sense of purpose. Feeling defeated will not help you.

4) Be patient with yourself and plan ahead. You don't have to go so far as planning an entire week's worth of meals, however, pre chopping vegetables and having zoned snacks ready for when you arrive home tired and hungry can save you from making a poor decision.

5) Begin eating fruit as dessert. Frozen grapes that have been mashed are pretty incredible. You can make a fairly convincing "ice cream" using almond milk and frozen fruit. Blend together as a thick smoothie and then put in the freezer.

6) Worried about fiber and calcium? Here you will find a table that lists a per serving amount of fiber for veggies and fruit. Ignore the pasta! As for calcium, please read THIS AMAZING ARTICLE on new developments in the calcium supplement debate. Calcium is important, but the notion that without dairy or supplements you are destined to live your elderly years hunched over and cracking bones raises my eyebrow of suspicion....

Ok. Those are my tips. I'm not going to delve into zone vs. paleo. vs. primal, you need to figure out which works best for you. Ask your coach, research each one online, and my personal favorite: try each for a few weeks at a time and see what works! Good luck, and as always, please post questions or additional tips and info in the comments!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Most of you read Mel's Blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, however, if do not currently check in on her please make it a daily part of your blog stroll. She's a stellar source for recipes.

This post is no exception to the rule.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lovely Lessons: How to Politely Pass On Dessert

Please check out this post on Mark's Daily Apple on how to politely decline dessert.

We all find ourselves in situations that are hard to maneuver, especially when it involves well meaning friends who love eating and drinking things outside our nutritional parameters.

Keep up the good fight! Don't back down!!
The holidays are quickly approaching! Do yourself a huge favor and develop a strategy now. I'll be posting modified holiday recipes that can help you stay on track. If you see any that look tasty, please send them my way to post here on the blog.

Sweet Potato Pie

(Taken from Catalyst Athletics)

Time: 1 hour

• 12 oz yams
• 12 oz sweet potatoes
• 1/2 cup coconut milk
• 1/4 cup almond butter
• 3 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 1/2 tsp ginger
• 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp cardamon
• 1 tsp cloves
• 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop the yams and sweet potatoes into cubes. Boil the yams and potatoes in water until soft; around 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water, then mash well and add the coconut milk, nut butter, vinegar, and spices. Mix, then add the eggs. Continue mixing until the pie is uniform and smooth.

Grease a 6-inch baking dish with coconut oil. Pour the pie mix into the dish, then bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into squares and serve. This can be prepared a day ahead of time, and you can serve it cold.

Some options: Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Top with pecans.

Zone info: 6 servings at 3.5 carb blocks, 0.3 protein blocks, 8 fat blocks (12 grams)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food as Medicine

"The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humours." -15th Century

Chicken soup has been used for centuries as a remedy for colds, the flu and other ailments, respiratory illnesses being top on the list. Beware of store-bought chicken soups as most contain large quantities of sodium and other preservatives, which if you are eating the soup for healing will completely defeat the purpose. Making your own chicken soup isn't all that time consuming and your body will be thankful for it while the seasons change.

If you want to go all out, make your own stock! It takes time, so set aside an entire afternoon. You can freeze it up to three months, which basically means you have on demand chicken soup medicine for the majority of the Texas winter. I like this recipe here, and it gives you a great reason to learn how to roast your own chicken, which isn't nearly as complicated as you may think.

If this is all just too much for you, store bought broth is absolutely fine, just read the ingredients and pick as low sodium as possible.

Easy and Healing Chicken Soup ala Erika Jeanne
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery
as much garlic as you can handle, 4-5 large cloves is what I use
*garlic is especially important during the winter months
one carton of small white button mushrooms, chopped
1 package of chicken leg quarters, you want the bones and the skin
*get more chicken if you want more protein
Olive oil, amount is up to you
1/4c flat parsley

Seasoning Suggestions:
(side note: I was taught to cook with seasonings by adding them in until I felt uncomfortable about it, it's really never led me astray. Taste and smell your concoction often while adding flavor to the soup, less is always more the longer something sits on the stove)
*rubbed sage
*ground thyme
*lemon juice instead of salt
*ground pepper
*cayenne pepper (GREAT FOR THE FLU AND COLDS)
Start with pinches and gradually increase. This recipe should become your heirloom :o)

Chop your veggies first and set them aside. In a large soup pot throw the onions in by themselves, no need to prep with oil and saute until the are just about translucent. Throw in garlic and saute around for a minute or so, just until you can smell them both combining. Add in the carrots and celery with a quick pour of olive oil. In a separate saucepan brown the chicken quarters in olive oil until the outsides are mostly cooked. You want the chicken to cook the rest of the way through in the soup. Add in the broth to the onions, garlic, carrots and celery, give a quick stir and allow to heat up. As the broth starts to simmer a bit, throw the chicken quarters in and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pot.

Cooking time should be 45 minutes to an hour(or all day if you have the time), you can reduce the heat to almost nothing and simmer for 2 hours if you so desire. The longer it sits the better it tastes, really. Once the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes or so, remove it and shred the meat into thin strips using two forks. Don't remove the skin or bones, keep all that stuff in the soup until you are ready to eat it. You want the fat, you need the fat, the fat will keep your body strong while it defends itself. Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Of. Fat.

Stir the soup every so often, taste it a lot and add seasonings as it cooks. Once it's all done, give to a sick friend, or if you are the ailing one, eat as much of it as you can stomach and then *PASS OUT* for as long as possible. You can freeze the soup for future ammo too.

Please post your own variations on the chicken soup recipe in the comments!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

(via Caveman Food)

serves 6

1-1.25 lbs bulk breakfast sausage (she tells you how to make your own)
1/2 a large onion, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 small cooking pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (or one 15-oz can of pumpkin)
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of dried rosemary
1 tsp paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 T butter or some other more paleo cooking fat
1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the butter in a heavy deep pot and saute the mushrooms over medium-high heat until golden. Remove from the pot to a small bowl, leaving the butter. Add the onions to the pot and saute them until golden, then remove them to a separate bowl. Add the sausage to the pot and brown it until it is cooked through and looks tasty. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.

Add the pumpkin to the pot and deglaze with the chicken stock. Add the onions back in and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 10 minutes. Puree the soup (a hand blender is easiest, but a regular blender will do). Add in all the remaining ingredients except the coconut milk (don't forget to add in the cooked mushrooms and sausage!), and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

This recipe comes to us via Mel and is a perfect dish while the weather is changing! If your tongue is sensitive to spice, add in some sliced avocado to help bring the heat down.

You can make this recipe with fresh tomatillos, or you can use canned chile verde tomatillo salsa as a substitute for the tomatillo sauce.

Tomatillo Sauce

* 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
* 1-2 jalapeƱo chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chili peppers (include the seeds if you want the heat, remove them if you don't want the heat), stems discarded, chopped
* 1 clove garlic, chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
* Pinch of sugar


* 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
* Salt and pepper
* Olive oil
* 2 yellow onions, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
* 2 cups tomatillo sauce
* 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
* 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (about one bunch, rinsed and chopped, stems and leaves)


1 Make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes until blackened in spots. Let cool enough to handle. Place the tomatillos, any juice they have released, chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended. If you make ahead, refrigerate until needed.

2 Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat until almost smoking. Pat dry the cubed chicken parts with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and adding more olive oil when necessary, brown the chicken pieces on two sides. When you place the pieces in the pan, make sure there is room between them (otherwise they will steam and not brown), and don't move them until they are browned on one side. Then use tongs or a metal spatula to turn them over and don't move them again until they are browned on the other side. Do not cook through, but only brown. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and lower the heat to medium. There should be a nice layer of browned bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.

3 Add the onions to the pan, and a tablespoon or two more olive oil if needed (likely). Add ground cumin and coriander. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and the browned bits from the chicken have been picked up by the onions and are no longer sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.

4 Add the browned chicken, the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the cilantro to the stew in the last minute or so of cooking.

Serve over white rice, accompanied with sour cream if needed to offset the heat from the chiles. The stew will thicken as it cools.

Serves 4.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

This recipe comes to us via Katherine and requires the use of a slow cooker (CrockPot). If you do not own a slow cooker, I highly recommend making the investment. For those of you still enjoying oatmeal, there really is nothing more satisfying on a frigid morning than real, slow cooked oatmeal...

Anywho on with the CHICKEN CURRY!

Katherine says: I tried this recipe today- I followed it very loosely. I browned the chicken then threw the following in my crockpot:

1 onion chopped
3 sliced zuchinni
a few carrots
2 c chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1/2 jar of green curry paste (super yumm)
salt, pepper

I put it on low for about 2.5 hours. Around 2 hours in, iI put in fresh basil.

Cabbage is a perfect addition to this dish and don't be afraid to get creative. I'd go one step further and add in water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

* 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
* 4 scallions, chopped
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cooks’ note: You can make pesto 2 days ahead and chill, its surface and top of bowl covered with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature and season before serving.

Agave Nectar = "Liquid Death"

Katherine asked me this morning between classes why agave nectar should be avoided and suggested I post about it here on the blog. She, like many others who have pledged to eat better and clean up their pantries, switched to sweetening with agave nectar due to it's low glycemic index rating.

Below are some excerpts from an article I found that details the manufacturing process of agave nectar and explains why it's not a good choice from a raw foods diet perspective, which is mostly paleo except no meat. You can read the full article here.

....Agave Syrup is not a “whole” food. It is a fractionated and processed food. Manufacturers take the liquid portion of the agave plant and “boil” it down, thus concentrating the sugar to make it sweet. This is similar to how maple “sap” that comes directly from a tree is heated and concentrated to make maple “syrup.” Agave Syrup is missing many of the nutrients that the original plant had to begin with.

....Agave Syrup and other concentrated sweeteners are addictive, so you end up trading a cooked addiction (eating candy bars or cookies) for a “raw” addiction which is not much better. Eating concentrated sweeteners makes it harder to enjoy the sweet foods we should be eating – whole fresh fruit since they don’t seem as sweet by comparison.

....agave needs to be hydrolyzed so that the complex fructosans are "broken down" into fructose units or it won't be sweet!!

Robb Wolf often refers to agave nectar as "Liquid Death" and compares it to corn syrup. In keeping with a whole foods and paleo diet, free and clear of processed anything, sweet things are hard to come by. Sometimes we just have to come to terms with the fact that the "sweet" we grew up with (and possibly became addicted to) isn't natural.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oven Roasted Turkey with Leeks and Dried Fruit Recipe

Oven Roasted Turkey with Leeks and Dried Fruit Recipe

2 leeks, roots trimmed
2 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 turkey tenderloins
1/4 c golden raisins
1/4 c dried cranberries (or apricots)
1 tsp fresh thyme

1. Trim off the dark green part of the leeks, leaving the white and just an inch or two of the light green part. Cut the leaks almost in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached at the root end. Rinse under cool running water, separating the leaves gently to rinse out the dirt and sand. Pat the leeks dry with a paper towel.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, turning often. Remove from the pan and let cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a sharp knife to butterfly the turkey tenderloins. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and pound each tenderloin to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle the surface of the turkey with salt and pepper. Place one cooled leek in the center of each tenderloin. Scatter the raisins, cranberries and thyme over the leeks. Dot the top with the remaining tbsp of butter.

4. Gently roll the turkey over the filling and tie with two pieces of kitchen twine. Repeat with the other tenderloin. Season the outside with salt and pepper.

5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same saute pan over medium high heat. Add the two rolls of turkey to the pan and sear all over. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until an instant read thermometer stuck into the meat registers 160 degrees. Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting crosswise into medallions.

Fragrant Lamb Meatball Curry

Fragrant Lamb Meatball Curry

Serves 4


500g Lamb Mince
10g Fresh Ginger
1/2 Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
25g Ground Almonds
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Curry Sauce

1/2 Red Onion, roughly chopped
25g Fresh Ginger
2 Cloves of Garlic
150g Fresh Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
15g Coconut Oil
4 Whole Cloves
4 Cardamon Pods, crushed
3 or 4 Small Pieces of Cinnamon Bark
1-2 Chillies
400ml Coconut Milk
50ml Water
8 Curry Leaves
1 Tsp Garam Masala
Juice of ½ a Lemon

Coriander Leaves, to garnish

To make the meatballs

1. Finely chop the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Add to the lamb mince together with the ground cumin, ground almonds and a little salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

2. Divide into 20 even sized pieces and roll into balls.

To make the curry sauce

1. Place the red onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, ground cumin, coriander and turmeric in a food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.

2. Heat a shallow saute pan, approximately 5cm (2") deep and 25cm (10") in diameter. Heat the coconut oil and then gently fry the spices until their aroma is released. Add the paste and cook for a few minutes. Then, add the coconut milk, water and whole chillies. Stir well, bring up to the boil then cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the garam masala, curry leaves and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

To cook

1. Pre heat the oven to 180℃/160℃ Fan.

2. Brown the meatballs in a non stick frying pan. Drain any excess fat on kitchen paper. Place the meatballs in a single layer in the pan with the sauce.

3. Cover and cook in the oven for 30- 40 minutes.

To serve

1. Garnish with coriander leaves.

2. Serve with boiled brown basmati rice and Coconut, Cucumber and Mango Salad.

Spinach With Pine Nuts and Raisins

(big thanks to Mel for sending this my way!)

2 tbsp. raisins
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bunches spinach, washed and trimmed
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
8 thin strips of lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Soak raisins in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; drain and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, 4–5 minutes.

3. Add spinach and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Cover and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2–3 minutes. Add pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, and raisins. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and matzo, if you like.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Almond or Walnut Stuffed Dates

10 raw organic dates, pitted (no sulfur)
5 whole raw almonds
5 whole raw walnuts

Very neatly put the almonds or walnuts into the hole where the date pit used to be. Serve em up!

Carrot Coconut Salad

2 medium organic carrot, grated
3 T. shredded organic coconut
1 T. organic extra virgin olive oil
1 T. organic balsamic vinegar
sea salt

Grate the carrots with your food processor/grater. Add coconut, olive oil, balsamic, and sea salt. Mix thoroughly and serve cold.

For extra yummy factor add in raisins and pineapple.


Into 1 lb. ground beef, bison, pork (or other favorite ground meat), combine 1 egg, ¼ cup tomato sauce, ½ cup white onion (minced), 3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. minced red bell pepper, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll into meatballs and either cook in pan (until browned throughout) or bake in oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Serve as is or with a favorite sauce.

Stick a toothpick in each and serve as appetizers!

DIY: Primal Nut Crackers


via MDA

2 cups fine almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp water

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to form a moist, sticky dough. Add more water or oil if needed. Using wet hands, place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your fingers, flatten the dough out into a uniform thin layer free of cracks. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 15 minutes or until dough becomes dry and golden in appearance. Remove and cool on a wire baking rack. Once the dough is cooled (and this is important, because it becomes very brittle right out of the oven) use a pizza cutter to create “crackers.” If not consuming immediately, be sure to store in an air-tight container.

Tip: Use these as bases for smoked salmon, chicken salad, etc.

Chipotle-Lime Deviled Eggs

Chipotle-Lime Deviled Eggs (adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen recipe)
(Makes 12 deviled egg halves, can easily be doubled. Recipe created by Kalyn.)

6 eggs (preferably about a week old)
2 T mayo (make your own)
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T yellow mustard (not Dijon)
1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chile peppers
1/2 tsp. salt (optional, or use Spike)
2 green onions, green part only, finely chopped

First, make perfect hard-boiled eggs. Let eggs cool, then peel and cut in half crosswise. While eggs are cooling, slice green onions, and finely chop with chef's knife. When eggs are quite cool, carefully remove yolks and put into small bowl. Mash yolks well with a fork.

Mix together lime juice and Chipotle chile powder. (If you don't do this, you'll have large flecks of chile powder in the deviled yolk mixture. The chile powder won't dissolve completely, but adding it to the lime juice does make it blend in better.) Add lime-Chipotle mixture to mashed yolks, then stir in mayo, mustard, salt, and half the chopped green onions. Taste for seasoning to see if you want more mustard, Chipotle chile powder, or salt. Stir until mixture is well combined.

Arrange eggs white halves on serving plate. Use a rubber scraper to scoop yolk mixture into a small plastic bag. Cut a small piece off one corner of the bag and squeeze from the top to force the yolk mixture out the hole, into the egg halves. (This can also be done with a spoon or a cake decorating tool.) When all egg white shells are filled with deviled yolk mixture, sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

1 Spaghetti Squash cooked
*cut the squash in half and place in a roasting pan with a little water. Roast in the over at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes (sometimes longer, depending on the size). Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Scoop out insides.
Coconut oil (a few tbs for frying)
1-2 Beaten Eggs

1. Heat oil in a pan, medium to high.
2. Coat a spoonful of squash in the egg and then place in the oil for frying.
3. Fry until golden brown.

Repeat until desired number of fritters have been made

You can make all kinds of veggie fritters this way! Just grate the vegetable and coat with egg, then fry them up.