Fit Foodie Penpals – First Timer!

I am officially no longer a Foodie Penpal virgin. This month I decided to participate in the Fit Food Penpal exchange that The Lean Green Bean organizes every month. She pairs you with two fellow bloggers – one who sends you food and one who you send food to.

This month I got matched up with Emily from Watts For Desert. She emailed me, having looked at my blog, and asking if I only wanted Paleo Food or if I had other preferences. I told her that I wouldn’t make her try to find me Paleo only options, but that I would prefer Gluten Free.  I told her I liked citrus flavored things and that I had a sweet tooth. Emily was awesome and researched that Boulder will be getting a Trader Joes soon and, to prepare me for that arrival, she sent me some of her favorite Trader Joes items.

Image

The chocolate bars did not last long. Especially the caramel with sea salt. It was absolutely delicious! I ate the Salsa with some grilled chicken and it was also delicious. While I have sampled the lemon curd I have yet to put it on anything yet, but I know I will love it when I do. It’s creamy and sour and delicious.

If you are interested in participating in the Foodie Penpals you can sign up here for next months exchange!

How Psychologists are making you addicted to junk food.

I have a confession. I love Cheetos. Back in college, they were my go to junk food. Especially the spicy kind. I couldn’t get enough. I could eat multiple bags and still not be full.

Image

Thanks to an article last week in the New York Times, I now know why. Cheetos, along with every other type of junk food/processed food, is the result of thousands of hours of scientific research with the ultimate goal of making that food as addictive as possible. Not just the marketing. It’s a well known fact that primary colors attract kids, especially orange, that red stimulates the appetite etc. What I didn’t know is that everything down to the sound that the chip makes when it crunches, or how fast the cheetos dissolves in my mouth (a term dubbed “Vanishing Caloric Density”), has been tested over and over to find what is most appealing to consumers.

The article follows one of the prominent Food Psychologist, with a PhD from Harvard, as he talks about several products on the shelf today, from Dr. Pepper (high carbonation added to it’s popularity) to Prego Sauces (as much sugar in a 1/4 cup as two oreos and chunks of mystery meat skyrocketed it to #1), Lunchables (built with a three month non refrigerated shelf life, “cheese” and all, as well as almost much saturated fat as a kids supposed to have in a day) and Potato Chips( the perfect mix of starch to give you a quick glucose sugar rush, fat to send happy signals to the brain, and salt to satisfy our most basic animal cravings).

Image

If the idea that your food is being psychologically designed to make you an addict doesn’t disturb you enough to make you think twice about processed foods, then I’ll bring out the gross factor. Lots of ingredients that make up anything from your Starbucks to your ice cream to your gummy bears are “enhanced” by ingredients that aren’t publicly advertised.

Let’s take the natural flavoring “castoreum”. It’s used to enhance vanilla flavoring, like in ice cream or candy. It is indeed natural, that’s no lie, but that’s because it is made from Beaver Anal Secretions. And it’s even FDA Approved. 

Image

Don’t eat vanilla? Well how about that mushroom pizza you ordered? Or should I say, that Maggot Mushroom pizza? The FDA approves up to 19 maggots and 74 mites in every 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Next time, buy them fresh.

Image

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the one that hurts me the most, because I love them. Gummy Bears/Worms/Fish you name it. First, if you’ve eaten any gummy item that has red dye in it you can proudly say you’ve eaten a beetle, because that’s how it get’s that lovely red color (Same with those Strawberry Frappuccinos you love so much..).  But Gummy Bears don’t stop there, the gelatin used to create that fun texture comes from boiled connective tissue, most likely pig.

Image

Now don’t get me wrong. I still love my gummy bears, pig skin and beetles and all. I try to follow a 80/20 rule, as in 80% of the time I eat clean, 20% I allow myself cheats. But keep in my mind how much junk food you may be eating and whether the hours of time put into making it addictive are working on you.  Remember they don’t have your best interest at heart.  As the head of General Mills said, “Don’t talk to me about nutrition, talk to me about taste. Talk to me about sales.”

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Warning: This post may act as a trigger to those suffering/recovering from an ED.

This week, February 24th – March 2nd, is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I’ve known for a while I wanted to write a post on it, but it’s been very hard for me to figure out the jumble of thoughts in my head about something I feel so strongly about and whether to write on such a personal topic.

Somebody

The theme of this year’s NEDA Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody”. With 7 million women and 1 million men suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia (that means 1 in every 200 with anorexia and 1 in every 100 with bulimia) that is almost certainly the case.

One of the most important things I feel the need to stress is that an eating disorder is not a choice. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and “Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified” are classified mental illnesses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). In fact, these three classifications of mental illnesses have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. 5-10% of women with Anorexia die within 10 years of developing the disease, while 8-20% percent die within 20 years. The mortality rate of people with anorexia is twelve times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death in women 12-24.

These are very serious diseases.

Yet society today still does not remove the stigma placed on people suffering from these diseases or offer the research and care necessary for prevention. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2011 showed that the average amount of money spent on research per person living with Schizophrenia was $81, for Autism – $44 and for Alzheimer’s – $88.  The same study showed that the average amount of money spent on research per person suffering form an Eating Disorder was $0.93. This is a mental illness that needs to stop being ignored.

Many people can’t comprehend why people suffering from an eating disorder “can’t just eat” or why they don’t see the sickly state their body is in. To understand that, one needs to realize that the mindset of someone suffering from an eating disorder is not one of someone just trying to look good. That may be how they describe their desired body. It may be how their disorder started, counting calories and restricting food to try to loose weight and slowly spiraling out of control. But a person suffering from an eating disorder truly feels powerless to the control the disorder has on their mind. It is the feeling of worthlessness and disgust that come from putting food in their mouth due to the thought that they should have had the self control and strength to resist the temptation. Not because they fear getting fat, but because at that point it is strictly a mind game equating self control with self worth, thinness with value.  The shame and solitude that comes from binging and purging, whether through vomiting or use of laxatives, because they know that what they are doing is wrong, but cannot help the suffocating anxiety and self loathing that fills them until they force it out.

To anyone currently suffering from an Eating Disorder, I urge you to seek help either through someone you know or by contacting someone here . It can be difficult to seek help, because you know that treatment will mean forcing yourself, or even being forced, to break from the obsessive rituals that currently define your life. There is the fear of loosing that control, that small bit of reassurance and happiness that you currently have. It seems impossible to have a positive relationship with food and yourself and that may cause you to resist entering treatment.

That is not the case. There are millions of people, myself included, who have proven that wrong. Getting past that initial hurdle is the hardest step, but the most important one on the way to recovery and happiness.

Paleo Crockpot Balsamic Beef Shank

If you don’t have a crock pot, you need to go out and buy one. Right now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait….. Got it? Good. Crock pots are one of the best inventions ever for those in a rush who still want to make nutritious meals.

Tuesdays are perfect days for crockpots because I have a class in the morning, then I go to work. If I turn the crockpot on after class I’ll have 7 hours of cooking time before I’m back home with a delicious meal waiting for me. This beef dish is one of my favorites. Every time I make it, I always get a text from my roommate saying how good the house smells. Best part? It takes all of 5 minutes to throw together and you’re done.

Image

Paleo Crockpot Balsamic Beef Shank with Mashed Cauliflower

1lb-2lb (depending on how much meat you want) beef shank

1-2 tbsp coconut oil

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

15 ounce tomato sauce

4 dates (or more if if you really like dates, remove the pit first)

6 gloves garlic

1. Melt the coconut oil in a big pan on the stove over medium heat.

2. Add the beef shank to the coconut oil, browning on each side for 1-2 minutes.

Image

3. Put beef shank in slow cooker, pour all the ingredients over it (including the melted coconut oil).

4. Leave in slow cooker on low for up to 8 hours, or on medium for 4-6 hours. Test the meat to see if it’s tender. It should shred easily.

5. Enjoy with a side of Paleo Mashed Cauliflower (also the simplest thing to make ever)

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower

1 Head of Cauliflower

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp water

1. Steam the Cauliflower (or broil if you don’t have a steamer, but they are like 5 dollars at target and worth it)

2. Mash cauliflower with a potato masher. Add salt and pepper and water. That’s it. If you aren’t Paleo, feel free to add cream/butter like you would to normal mashed potato. Or if you want it tangy, add some lemon juice.

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Protein Cake

As promised in my previous post, here is the first recipe.

I originally made this breakfast dish because my boyfriend was having trouble switching from sweetened cereals/granola/protein bars to Paleofied breakfast foods. He wanted something that would be sweet, filling, protein packed and could be made ahead of time as he has to be out the door by 5:30 every morning. I adapted a muffin recipe by Diane Sanfillipo and came up with this delicious breakfast “cake” that is now a weekly staple.

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Protein Cake

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Protein Cake

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Protein Cake

1 cup Almond Flour

12 eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 lemons, both the juice and the zest

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

2 cups blueberries (I used frozen as they are cheaper)

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1. Mix the eggs in a large mixing bowl, add in the almond flour, maple syrup ,lemon zest and juice (make sure to take out the seeds from the juice, there’s usually quite a few!), vanilla extract, baking soda and salt.

2.Cut into the mixture the coconut oil, trying to minimize the large chunks. It is okay if there are chunks, they will melt and blend in the oven.

3. Mix in the bluerries and pour into often safe pan.

Cook in the oven on 350* for around 35 minutes. I suggest after about 20 minutes, when the top has started to brown, poke some holes/cut some slices into the top. This allows it to cook more evenly throughout.

This dish can be refrigerated and heated up with no problem for those quick mornings when you have to rush out the door! Enjoy the tangy sweetness!

paleo cake

Burger, with a side of abs.

Sometimes a “classic” just isn’t good enough. While at it’s core it’s still great, it’s just gotten a little dull and outdated, in need of some vamping up.

And that’s where I come in.

While I’m a strong believer that you work your core the best just doing full body weights, I wanted to show my abs some extra love at the end of my workout. Normal sit-ups and planks, while classic,  only do so much and can get old fast, so I switched it up.

(You should be able to youtube all the exercises, or just ask!)

AbDay SwagDay

30 SuitCase Situps with 15lb dumbbell

30 Russian Twists with 15 lb dumbbell

30 Pushouts with 15 lb dumbbell

30 Plank up/downs

15 Hanging leg raises

 

REPEAT 3 TIMES

and then don’t laugh for a whole 24 hours because it will hurt.

 

After that, I was pretty starving and all I could think about was a juicy burger.  And I knew just the one I wanted.

picstitch-2

Jalapeno Burger with Sweet Potato Buns*

BURGER:

1 Jalapeno Pepper

1 tsp paprika

tsp onion powder

Pinch of good salt

1lb ground bison

  1. Mix it all together and grill (or cook stove top with some coconut oil)
  2. Tip: When cooking burgers put a little thumb print in the middle to allow for even cooking

 

BUN:

3 Eggs

2 tsp coconut flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teasponn ground ginger

¼ teaspoon good salt

2 cups of shredded sweet potato

Coconut oil for cooking

  1. Shred the sweet potatoes using either a food processor or a hand shredder (extra workout!)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, coconut flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, sea salt and sweet potato until everything is covered and mixed.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Shape sweet potato mixture into  cakes about 5 inches in diameter and fry ‘em up.

Who said a classic is always better?

* Recipe by Diane Sanfillipo

 

Paleo Spicy Orange Chicken

I was going to do a “What I Ate Wednesdays (WIAW) “ to give people ideas on how to stay Paleo all day,  but my food photography skills are still developing and everything looked like a shiny pile of mush, so I’ll save that for next week and practice in the meantime.

Originally I was going to lift this morning, but the weather was so warm (by that I mean over 20 degrees) so I decided to head outside for a run and move my weight training until tonight.

Why yes, I am listening to a book on tape while I run. Nerding out!

Why yes, I am listening to a book on tape while I run. Nerding out!

Since I’m recovering from a cold I didn’t push it too hard, just enjoyed the sunshine and not having to run with a million layers on.

I came back starving and with little time before I had to head to class. Luckily I had been good about meal prep last night, so I was able to pop some spaghetti squash with meatballs in the microwave. While eating I watched a webinar on Sugar Sweetened Beverages and the Ban in NYC (write up coming on Friday), then headed off to class.

Last night, I decided I wanted something spicy and citrusy so I whipped up some Paleo Orange Chicken. I’ve never been a huge fan of Chinese Food, I always found it left me feeling greasy and tired, so that wasn’t too hard to drop when I started eating Paleo. If you are a big fan, or even if you aren’t, I recommend making this recipe.

Total prep time of maybe 5 minutes.

Total prep time of maybe 5 minutes.

It’s incredibly simple to make, only required two pans, but absolutely delicious.

Paleo Spicy Orange Chicken

Paleo Spicy Orange Chick

Paleo Spicy Orange Chicken*

1lb chicken thighs

3 bushels of green onions cut up

2 Tangelos (or oranges or tangerines) (zest one,  juice them both)

2tsp fresh ground/zested ginger

1tsp siracha

1tp Worchestor Sauce (or if you don’t have a soy allergy like me, Gluten Free Soy Sauce)

2 tbs coconut oil

Dash of red pepper (optional)

  1. Cut up raw chicken thighs into bite size pieces
  2. Heat Coconut Oil in a pan and add chicken thighs (if you like spicy things add the red pepper)
  3. Add zest from Tangelo, juice from Tangelo, Ground Ginger, Siracha and Worchester sauce to a separate pan
  4. Put on low simmer, stirring occasionally
  5. Once chicken has cooked add it to the orange sauce
  6. Cook a bit longer for about two minutes
  7. Then pour chicken and sauce onto a mix of the green onions and spinach
  8. Enjoy 🙂

* This recipe adapted from Health Bent to accommodate my soy allergy.