Paleo Cooked Kale with Bacon and Carrots

I am obsessed with bacon. I don’t just like it, I consume it in obscene quantities to the point where I had to implement a “bacon budget” to restrict myself to one pound a week because it was getting out of control.  I know my friends over at 365 Days of Bacon understand. When my fellow bacon loving coworker heard about my new budget he proceeded to bring me cooked bacon one morning so I wouldn’t go through withdrawal , along with this shirt, which perfectly states how I feel about bacon:

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In order to make my bacon limit last longer, I decided to start mixing it into foods I eat normally, in smaller quantities so I wouldn’t run out by Wednesday and be bacon-less until the following Sunday. I wanted something easy that wouldn’t take long to make, hence the Cooked Kale with Bacon.

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Paleo Cooked Kale with Carrots

3 strips Nitrate free Bacon (peppered Whole Foods bacon is the best!)

2 bushels dinosaur kale (also called lacinto kale)

1 yellow onion

3 large carrots

1/2 cup chicken stock (or water if you really have no chicken stock)

1. Cook bacon until crispy in fry pan. Remove from fry pan but leave the bacon grease.

2. Chop the onions and carrots and add to the bacon grease. Cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat until the onions and carrots start to soften.

3. Chop up kale and add to the pan, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, cover and let cook at low/medium heat for about 5 minutes or until kale has cooked.

4. Tear/cut bacon into small pieces and mix in with the cooked kale.

5. Enjoy your bacon knowing you are also getting some healthy vitamins from the kale and carrots!

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Paleo Sweet Orange Salmon

Last night I had someone tell me I had to step up my recipe game as they were running out of things to eat for dinner. So, Todd, I hope you like fish. Specifically, salmon. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like fish because it’s too “fishy”, but trust me – This recipe is meant for those people. I promise you it won’t taste like it leapt out of a stream and into your mouth.

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I will admit the one thing I don’t like about cooking fish is that it can make your house smell and make your hands smell when you clean off the dishes. Therefore, I always cook my fish in tinfoil (wrapped up and placed directly  on the oven rack) so I can immediately throw it out once I am done and there are no dishes. It also traps a lot of the scent.

What are the health benefits of salmon? Well there are a lot of them. First, it obviously is high in protein and provides you with healthy omega 3-fats, (reduces inflammation) but there is so much more than that. A 1/4 pound (4 oz) piece of salmon has a full days worth of vitamin D (yes, the vitamin that people think only comes from the sun), and large amounts of B12 and B6. Lastly, although a lot of people worry about mercury in fish, never fear – both wild and farmed salmon have very low levels of mercury.

So with that, I give you: Paleo Sweet Orange Salmon (I know I have a lot of “orange” recipes. what can I say? I like my citrus)

The picture also has kale (steamed), and carrots and squash that I also wrapped in tinfoil with some salt and pepper and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes. A well rounded meal!

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PALEO SWEET ORANGE SALMON

1 lb salmon

1 tsp chili powder

1 orange (grate 1 teaspoon of the orange rind and then save the rest of the orange for the juice)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tsp honey

1. Mix all dry ingredients (including orange rind) in a bowl

2. Place salmon onto piece of tin foil that is big enough to fully cover it once it is wrapped up.

3. Squeeze juice from the orange onto the salmon (as much or as little as you want)

4. Rub the dry mixture onto salmon.

5. Drizzle the teaspoon of honey on top of salmon

6. Put in the oven and bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, or turn oven broiler on and put in the oven for about 8 minutes. The salmon should turn from dark pink to light pink when done.

Going hiking after work today with my friend who did the partner plank push ups with me. Trying to get the most of the warm weather before it suddenly starts snowing in two months!

Paleo Tangy Chicken with Mango Jalapeño Lime Salsa + Fruit Flies (but not together)

Hey guys! Long time no talk. My bad on that one. I keep thinking about things I should write about, but then don’t have the mental energy to actually do it. But I’m finally well rested and ready for a steady stream of posts on how to foam roll, how to be happy, overpronation, some recipes, and more.

All week I was looking forward to Saturday for the sole purpose of being able to sleep in. You ever have one of those weeks? After a nice long snooze, I decided to get up to the mountains and went for a hike with my friend and my dog (who is 11 lbs and needed to be carried now and then, just adding an extra challenge!).

Image It was overcast and started sprinkling a little on the way back, but was still nice to get out and get some fresh air. That night I watched a documentary on Happiness, which was very interesting and I’ll talk more about in my next post. One hint: exercise was considered one of the best ways to improve your happiness level.

Today I had wanted to go tubing, but Mother Nature decided to bless us with 60 degrees and rain, so I did a quick speed workout with some negative splits.

ImageI’m trying to get my speed back up and, as much as I hate short fast runs, it’s the only way to improve my overall speed.  Good thing I had some yummy food waiting for me. I present you with…

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BAKED (or GRILLED) TANGY CHICKEN WITH MANGO JALAPEÑO LIME SALSA

1lb chicken breasts

1 jalapenos

2 limes

1 red onion

1 mango

salt/pepper

1 avocado

1. Dice the onion and jalapeño and stick them in a bag

2. Squeeze juice from limes and lemon into the bag

3. Cut up mango (without skin) and put it in the plastic bag

4.  Put chicken breasts in bag and let marinate for at least 45 minutes in the fridge

5. Put a dash of salt and pepper into the bag and shake

6. Back in the oven on 350* until done, about 25 minutes.

7. Serve with chopped up avocado

Now, since it’s in the title I have to mention the neat little trick I learned to get rid of fruit flies. Pour some apple cider vinegar and a piece of a banana into a water bottle. Take a piece of paper and roll it up, put it in the bottle.

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The flies will fly down, but won’t be able to fly out. Finally an easy way to get rid of the ever multiplying pests! Until next time, friends.

PALEO Spicy Orange Roasted Chicken

I’m on a kick with the roasted chicken lately. It gives me lunch for almost the whole week, especially when I throw in some sweet potato, carrots, and onions to cook. Also, it’s super easy, which is a perk during the weekdays. I’ll keep this short and simple, here’s the recipe!

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SPICY ORANGE ROASTED CHICKEN

One whole chicken

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp chile powder

1 tbs chipotle powder

3 cloves garlic

1tsp onion

2 tsp Herbs de Provence

1 cup orange juice (fresh)

Pinch of salt and pinch pepper

1. Place bird in a baking dish.Pour orange juice onto bird to wet it, saving juice in pan.

2. Mix all dry ingredients (and honey) together and rub onto the chicken, using the wetness from the orange juice to make it stick.

3. Put the pan with the bird and the orange juice it in the fridge to marinate for at least three hours. (if it doesn’t fit, mine didn’t, put it in a ziploc bag and let it marinate)

4. After the bird has marinated, put it in a roasting pan  (one with a lid). I cut up sweet potato and onions to cook with it.

5.  Cook in oven at 350 for about 60 minutes (20 min per lb) or until done.

Quick. Easy. Delicious. Enjoy!

Debunking the Paleo Diet… Or not.

There’s a video that has been floating around the interwebs recently. Christina Warinner, an anthropologist at the University of Oklahoma, gave a Tedx talk on “Debunking the Paleo Diet”that had me yelling out-loud as I listened to it during the 12 hour drive to Iowa last weekend.

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I was annoyed, then angry then downright confused at the point she was trying to make. So I thought I would Debunk this Debunking, while also showing that what she ends up describing as an ideal diet, from an anthropological sense, IS the Paleo Diet.

First Problem: Warinner seemed to get hung up on the idea that people who eat Paleo think they are literally eating the exact food that people in the paleolithic era ate. She completely misses the point that the Paleo Diet is a logical framework, not a historical reenactment. (Thanks Rob Wolf)

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Second Problem: Warinner refers to Paleo as a diet fad. Paleo is, in fact, considered a life style. The main purpose is not to loose weight, as is pretty much the definition of a diet fad, but in fact a way to regulate digestion and maximize nutrient absorption. She also claims it has been around since the 70’s. While a version of the Paleo diet has been, the most recent contemporary version, made famous by Dr. Loren Cordain/CrossFit increased the recommended carb ration to 30%, not 20% as was originally claimed. She also claims that there is no scientific proof that the Paleo diet is beneficial. That is simply not true.

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Third Problem: Warinner seems to have a personal problem with meat being eaten. She makes it seem as if all Paleo people eat is red meat, without discussing the balance between red meat and lean meat, as well as getting at least 30% of your diet from vegetables/fruits. She then talks about how Paleolithic people would have consumed meat, and the whole animal, because it is ao nutrient rich. Paleolithic people would have gotten more nutrients from a handful of meat (including vitamin C) than a hand full of barely. Even after that contradictory statement she tries to justify the difference by saying that the meat eaten is not true to Paleo as Paleolithic people would have eaten the bone marrow as well. Obviously she has never opened a Paleo cookbook, as there are always recipes for bone marrow.

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Fourth Problem: Warinner claims it is impossible to eat Paleo as the plants have evolved/been breed out since then. Therefore, eating broccoli today isn’t the exact same as eating Paleolithic broccoli. Well, no shit, Sherlock. I don’t expect to be eating the exact same plant as someone who lived 10,000 years ago. The point is to try to get the most natural vegetables and fruits that you can, free of pesticides.

Fifth “Problem”: At the end of the talk, Warinner describes what she believes to be an ideal diet, oh, wait it’s a Paleo Diet. She talks about how modern diets contain high levels of soy and wheat and are highly processed and harmful to one’s health. She then recommends eating a diet rich in natural fruits, vegetables, and meats. A diet rich in variety, with limited processed foods. DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? Oh, maybe because it’s the basis of the Paleo Diet. She uses examples of modern processed foods and how unnatural they are. For instance, to consume the same amount of sugar in one coke you would have to eat 8 feet of sugar cane.

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No. Overall, Warinner’s talk does not make sense, is poorley researched, and seems to be constructed solely based on her distaste for the name “Paleo” as the idea behind it. I know that there are plenty of people who have issues with Paleo, and I respect that. There are people who have “scientific evidence” against any way of eating, from vegetarian to Atkins to Gluten Free to the normal American Diet. I am pro Paleo solely based on my own experiments with different types of eating and how they have made me feel.

I also can understand an anthropologist not liking the term Paleo, and having issue with the idea that people during the Paleolithic period had various diets depending on where they lived. That’s the truth. However, that doesn’t mean you are “debunking” the Paleo Diet, the reasoning behind it or the benefits of an unprocessed diet, by telling me that no northern paleolithic people would have eaten Avocado and therefore the whole Paleo Diet is debunked. Homie don’t play that. Next time, do proper research first, Dr. Christina Warinner.

Paleo 4th of July Food Ideas

I love the 4th of July. Not because I’m necessarily that Patriot (yay America!), but because I love being out in the middle of the day, in the warm sun, with a bunch of friends, grilling, swimming, running around in the grass and having a good time. And the food. I love BBQs, but really – who doesn’t?

I’ve gathered a couple tried and tested 4th of July Recipes that I’ve adapted to be Paleo. I don’t have pictures of them as I only started being the weirdo who takes pictures of my food recently (thanks for that, blogging world), but I’ve added some from the non-paleo websites if I can find them. 

1. Paleo Sweet Potato Salad (Originally – Red, White and Blue Potato Salad)

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I made this recipe my last 4th of July in LA and had to go to 4 different Whole Foods to find blue/purple potatoes, but it was so worth it. While the Paleo version is not colored, the salad is tangy and delicious, perfect for a hot day. 

  • 6 cups white sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 3 hard-cooked large eggs, finely chopped 
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  •  1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

1. Boil potatoes (or steam) for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Cut into small cubes and allow to cool slightly.

2. Mix in  onion, parsley, dill, chives and egg. 

3. Combine all ingredients from vinegar down in bowl and mix together. Pour over potato mixture. Chill for 20-30 minutes and serve.

 

2. Paleo Smokey Chicken BBQ Skewers (Originally found here)

I always forget just how amazing grilled chicken is. I use my George Forman every day, but it does not even begin to compare to that real smokey flavor of chicken pulled straight off the grill. 

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  • 2lb skinned chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into fourths and separated
  • 1pt cherry tomatoes
  • 8 metal skewers

For the Rub:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teasp chipotle child powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons honey

1. Place chicken, onion and cherry tomatoes on skewers

2. Mix all ingredients but the honey in a bowl, then rub onto skewers. Drizzle skewers with honey.

3. Grill until done, about 4-5 min each side.

3.  Paleo “SoCal” Burger

I’m calling it a SoCal burger, but it will could be a “Southwest” burger. It’s pretty much my favorite kind, combines all the flavors I love into one. Serve over a bed of mixed greens with some sweet potatoes fries (baked, not fried).

  • 1lb ground beef (don’t get the super low fat kind, get like 85%)
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers, including seeds, finely chopped up. Wear gloves when doing this, or make sure to wash you hands multiple times after and don’t touch your eyes/mouth/any sensitive area. 
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Poblano Pepper, cut in half and roasted in oven at 450* (or on grill) for about 15 minutes
  • 1 Avocado, mashed
  • 2 tsp  Lime
  • 1/3 cup chopped Tomato
  • salt

1. Mix ground beef with chopped up Jalapenos and garlic powder. Form into patties, with a thumb print in the middle (helps it cook more evenly) and grill until done.

2. Combine mashed avocado, lime juice, chopped tomatoes pinch of salt and pepper. 

3. Take 1/4-1/2 of poblano, however much you want, place on top of burger. Top with the avocado mixture and enjoy.

 

A couple already Paleo Munchies are:

Lemony Cucumber Salad

Fruit Salad

Spinach and Watermelon Salad (without the olive oil)

 

Trail Mix (great for snacking while hanging out between meals)

Ants on a Log with Almond Butter instead of peanut butter

I promise if you try any of those ideas you will not regret it. Most importantly have fun, be safe and be thankful for all the great things that come along with living in America!

 

 

Paleo Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I’ve always been intimidated by cooking a whole bird. Thanksgiving turkeys were always passed off to someone else to make, chicken was solely cooked in breast or thigh form. I just found it intimidating. But tonight, I decided to tackle a chicken because I wanted something easy besides just grilled chicken, which has been by go to for the past couple busy weeks. So I brought home my chicken, slathered on some grass fed butter, gave it a good rub down with some salt, pepper and thyme as it relaxed in the pan.

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I made sure to rub some on it’s inside too, didn’t wanna neglect any areas. I took out the liver, chopped it up and mixed it in with some chopped up sweet potato, onions and carrots that I piled up on the bottom of the pan. Next I covered everything with some chicken broth and stuck it in the oven at 350 degrees. It’s usually about 20 minutes per pound. I took mine out at about an hour and 45 minutes and it was perfectly juicy.

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It turned out to be not quite as scary as I thought it would be, super easy (I was even able to get some work done while it cooked), and super delicious to have some juicy chicken and vegetables.  I guess now I’ll have to try some more complicated recipes in the future to share!

Let’s Talk Grocery Stores – Top Ingredients to avoid

I’ve always liked looking in people’s grocery carts at the check out line to see what they are getting. Is that a little nosy? Yes. Am I judging? Not usually (though if you are buying Spam, Hungry Mans and chimichangas I probably will be).

More so I find it interesting to see how many people are making an effort to try to be healthy, but just don’t have the knowledge to make it happen. I was 100% one of these people, buying “100 Calorie” Packs of cookies (who really eats just one?) or Smart Ones Ice Cream treats.

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Everything about these “low fat/low cal” alternatives is bad. Some popular ingredients listed in low fat foods that should ALWAYS be avoided are:

1) Sucralose (used in Splenda and most low cal treats), which has been linked to spiked insulin levels (aka helping you GAIN weight) and increased gastrointestinal problems,

2) MSG has been shown to trigger weight gain and, more importantly, can destroy nerve cells in the brain if consumed in large quantities.

3) High Fructose Corn Syrup is the number one source of calories in the US Diet and is linked to diabetes and weight gain

4) Apartame, another artificial sweetener, which breaks down to Formaldehyde in the body and has caused more reports to the FDA of adverse reactions than all other foods/artificial flavoring COMBINED

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5) BHA , which is listed in the state of CA as a known carciogen, has been shown to form possible cancer causing compounds in the body.

AND Finally, the one that shocked me the most

6) Agave Nectar is advertised as a healthy alternative to sugar but in reality is highly processed, with more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

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So how do you avoid this? It’s really very simple. STICK TO THE PERIMETER OF YOUR GROCERY STORE. Most grocery stores line the perimeter with the produce, meat, dairy and organic sections. There are only four things that I go into the center of the grocery store for 1) balsamic vinegar 2) apple cider vinegar 3) Spices and 4) Almond Butter. Also, because I’ve had people ask, canned vegetables are a no-no. Prior to canning they are heat blasted, removing most nutritional value, and have added preservatives and salt.

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If you don’t want to take it that far, which I’m sure plenty don’t, then be sure to check what is on the label. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t get it. If it’s has “Modified” or “Enriched” in front of it, that means “highly processed” so put it back. Don’t be scared of fat, as long as it is from a NATURAL source.

99% of eating healthy is breaking the habit of being lazy. It doesn’t take me longer than 10 minutes to cook a chicken breast and some veggies. That’s only 6 minutes more than the average time to heat up a frozen meal, without the extra sodium and preservatives. Anyone can do it, it’s just a matter of making the choice.

Texas BBQ and Sunshine

Greetings from Austin, Texas! I’ve been spending the weekend enjoying the sunshine and eating my body weight in delicious food. I’ve also learned that big hair isn’t so much a fashion statement as an unavoidable result of the Texas humidity. It also made my stick straight hair curl, finally!
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We are here to visit one of my boyfriend’s best friends from college, Al. We spent the afternoon playing in his family’s gorgeous pool, grilling and simply relaxing. It was amazing.
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That was followed up by some Authentic Texas BBQ at Rudy’s. We were brought there by Al who said it was one of his favorite BBQ places in the area. It’s attached to a gas station and I loved the casual vibe, totally Texas

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It had so much delicious meat straight off the smoker. They give you samples of everything they offer from brisket to pulled pork to steak to sausage. We got a couple pounds and brought it home since we were all exhausted from a day of sun and swimming. This was my plate

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I’m currently sprawled on the couch hoping I digest quickly so I can go back for more. When in Texas ya gotta go big or go home.

Caveman Cafeteria, H2O, and a New Shirt

I hope everyone had an amazing Memorial Day weekend! Mine was spent with friends, including a small adventure in mountain biking with the boyfriend where we learned that a “short ways” in biker speak equals four miles straight up hill. More on that later.

Last week I mentioned that a Paleo Food Cart had set up shop near my work. My co-worker, who also happens to be into Paleo Food (and even brought me amazing homemade Korean Short Ribs today), and I decided to check it out. The Caveman Cafeteria is located on 16th and Larimer, if you happen to be in Denver, and features a small variety of delicious Paleo foods, including veggie sides and even a dessert now and then.Image

I got the steak and coconut kale. At first glance it doesn’t seem like a lot of food, but buried under that kale was so much steak! I was definitely full and very satisfied the rest of the afternoon.

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Does anyone else have trouble remembering to drink the full gallon of water that is recommended for active people? I personally have the worlds smallest bladder (TMI?), so I used to purposely not drink much so I didn’t have to get up every 10 minutes. I’m trying to get better at it so I’ve set a timer on my phone that goes off every 3 hours. If I haven’t drank my full 32 ounce Nalgene by then, it’s chugging time. Luckily, back in the day I was a regular winner of the “chick chug” at the local bar, so I’ve had some practice at this (sorry mom and dad!).  I also try to drink an extra Nalgene when I come back from long runs all sweaty and dehydrated.

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Lastly, my new shirt arrived on Friday and I was so excited I may have worn it two days in a row. I got it at wodsuperstore in case any of you ladies want one!

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“Meet me at the Bar!”

I’m off to Texas at the end of this week, but I’ll try to post some yummy treats before I leave! Enjoy your short weeks everyone!