Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cutting Loose with Bison-Kale and the Norcal Margarita

I've been eating variations of this meal for awhile - time to share! But first, a little education. People often ask "Where do I get my calcium when eating this paleo scam?" The answer of course, is the same place cows get it - greens - unless you're just jamming them full of grains which is a whole udder topic. So, how much calcium IS in greens? Well, oz for oz, there's more calcium in kale than milk. Ya ya, 8 oz of kale would be impressive, but you see my point. Eat lots of dark greens and you'll be fine.

OK... on to the recipe..This is a completely balanced 5 block meal that cooks in 9 minutes flat.

5 oz bison (I used Great Range sirloin steak)
2 oz kale - chopped
6 oz garnet yams - chopped ( be lazy and don't peel it )
2 mushrooms - sliced
small handful of diced red onion.
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Get a big skillet on the stove - good and hot - put the coconut oil in it. When that's hot, add the yams. Keep flipping and after 4 minutes, add mushrooms and onions. After a couple more minutes, push to the side and add kale and bison. Bison is SO lean, you barely want to cook it. Keep pan covered now but every 45 seconds, uncover and stir. Spices - i like celery salt and lemon pepper. Ready in 9 minutes... enjoy!

Now.. what you've been waiting for.. i've yet to find a paleo nut that doesn't appreciate this margarita and since beer effs me up these days, this IS the beverage of choice.I first heard of the norcal margarita from Robb Wolf's Podcast which I highly recommend. Here's the "recipe"..

juice of 1 lime
2 shots tequila
diet tonic water*

* he prolly didn't call this out but it makes a huge difference to me (ya there's artificial sweetener in that stuff - but hell, it's an alcoholic beverage!) Oh, one last thing, don't be cheap. Get the good stuff for crying out loud - cuz gawd knows you're saving on health care and the recipes are free ;-)
Eat Well! Steve "Paleo"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Coconut Butter Bars

I've been looking for an excuse to highlight a product called "Artisana Organic Coconut Butter". If you're with the crossfit crowd, you may have noticed a happy face or two walking around with a jar of this and a big spoon - it's yummy - no doubt. Oh and um Ya it's mostly saturated fat, and, umm, Nope, i don't care (read up on medium chain triglycerides - your body would rather use this as fuel than store it). The rest of the ingredients are just naturally hanging out in my pantry - hopefully true at your house too. This recipe was bound to happen. I'd been fooling around making "fudgy" stuff and then a friend of mine, Laura (who has made a LIVING doing stuff like this!), described a date ball she used to make. Game ON!! U can find this coconut butter at Whole Paycheck and on-line. And NO, Artisana doesn't "sponsor" me and YES they should ;-) You might add different kinds of nuts or seeds to these. Pretty sure even cat turds would be good mixed with this stuff...No need to bake 'em - just start stuffing your pie hole :)

Coconut Butter Bars

1/2 Cup pecans
6 pitted dates
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons coconut butter
2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (in bulk at WF)

Put it all in your food processor. Shape into bars and coat with more coconut. It only makes 7 - U may want to scale it up!

Eat Well!
Steve Paleo

oh heck! almost forgot! If you're competing at The Games in 2 weeks, Good Luck! ..and look for me.. Go team FLATIRONS!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Paleo Shitake Spinach Souffle

WOW - the competitive crossfit season is upon us! So cool to bump into people i've only known briefly or thru the virtual world. This is also causing me to reflect a bit on the past year or so... and i'll make it brief..i look around and i see so many people that are getting stronger and healthier as a result of crossfit and paleo lifestyle. This is NOT like watching gold fish grow - they literally transform before your eyes. Very stoked to be a part of it and a small contributor to the movement (should i be ashamed that the mention of gold fish got me thinking about recipes?? ;-)
Also, a quick shout-out to FrontRange Crossfit who ran the US North-Central Regional Crossfit Games just south of Denver. Great event, frackin AMAZING athletes, and the characteristic camaraderie. Skip Miller and his team did an outstanding job organizing a flawless event. My team, Flatirons Crossfit, qualified for THE GAMES in LA (!!) -Holy $hit! That is still sinking in! The best of the best will be there. I'm VERY excited!.... Well Krap! Better start fueling this hunt!
Spinach souffle has always been a comfort food for me but of course store bought has wheat flour, soybean oil, sugar, blah blah... screw that. This is REALLY good, easy to make, and WAY better than what you'll buy in the store - trust me! I will admit i'm going a little low-carb here... I want to be 100% optimized for the Games and from that carb-cycling thingy I did, I think i can tweak things down just a bit and get good results. It's a VERY fine line to gain muscle while minimizing bodyfat and I encourage everyone to experiment and find what works best for you.

Paleo Shitake Spinach Souffle
5 oz organic baby spinach - finely chopped (basically 2 big handfuls of leaves)
2 slices bacon - chopped
4 shitake mushrooms - chopped
1 Cup grated celery root (can leave it out if you can't find it...)
2 Scallions (green onions) chopped
4 Eggs and 10 egg whites (don't bitch.. they're cheap ;-) *
Celery salt - few shakes
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (Thai Kitchen if you can find it)
1/4 Avocado - sliced (garnish)
10 Pecan halves - chopped (garnish)
1 tsp coconut oil (garnish)

* Tip.. i buy expensive eggs, high in omega 3, and really cheapo ones. If i'm including the yokes, i use the expensive one. For whites, i use the cheap ones (apologies to my dog Bear who has to eat cheap yokes ;-)

Nutrition: 1/2 this pie is about 4.3 blocks protein, 14 blocks fat, and 1.5 blocks carb for a total of 550 Calories [don't kid yourself - that pic above was for my daughter. I ate 1/2 easily!]. It's basically 3X fat and REAL low on the carbs. If that's too extreme for you, leave out 1 slice of bacon and the coconut oil and you'll be down to 2X fat. Want close to a 4 block PZ meal? Leave out 1 slice of bacon, use 18 egg whites, and skip the pecans and coconut oil.

Chop up the raw bacon and get it cooking in the pan. While it's cooking, grate celery root, chop onions and mushrooms. When the bacon is nearly done, add all that stuff (seriously, it needs to be almost done. Otherwise, it kinda stays too fatty). Let it saute on low heat while you chop the spinach and put it in a big bowl. Add eggs, coconut milk, and finally the saute ingredients. Add a few shakes of celery salt. Mix throughly and pour into a deep 9" glass pie pan (it will barely fit). Now lightly roast chopped pecans in the coconut oil - it's really more about coating them with the oil (umm pause here and take a big whiff - coconut oil in the pan smells better than your first date ;-). Spoon on top of souffle and keep towards the center. Cook 35-40 minutes at 350 - check the center with a knife. Should come out clean. Garnish with sliced avocado. Now don't laugh... if you're looking for about 35 gm protein, eat half of this baby! Serious! Now feel sorry for the poor sap eating microwaved Stouffer's out of a plastic baking dish!

Eat Well! Steve "Paleo"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kick A$$ Paleo Key Lime Pie

This recipe seemed criminally obvious when i first thought about it, however, it took a little doin'. BUT, before I go there... Want to give a shout-out to Crossfit Verve - Matt and Cherie (think "6 Million Dollar Man" meets "GI Jane" - and you'll already have a good picture), with the help of many generous volunteers, ran the Mountain Sectionals in Golden, Colorado - it was a fantastic event with clever WODs and camaraderie in abundance. Matt Chan is the kinda guy that, if he's NOT your friend, you WISH he was. Just a solid friendly dude with an easy smile. He gave the Sectionals a family feel, like you were surrounded by brothers and sisters - he's really the epitome of a crossfit athlete. And Cherie, Whooa! Unfortunately i did not see her judging because she is truly amazing. That girl can guaranteed yank a PR out of you, with forceps, rubber boots, and a stiff heel if she has too ;-) She is incredible - seriously. What a dynamic duo they make. I have yet to leave a Crossfit competition with out feeling inspired and encouraged and this one was no exception - so THANK YOU Matt and Cherie - it was memorable.
Macro-Nutrient Cycling - well i better give a quick update on this.. I only lasted 6 weeks :-(. I wasn't getting the results i expected (ie buy new shirts cuz gettin SO massive) and, umm I'm a fruit junky - apparently. Also, the load meals were painful - not something to look forward to. In defense of Faigan, I really couldn't load as he described - mostly starchy carbs. I was just too uncomfortable. I also tend to do some very long duration med-intensity stuff on weekends (backcountry splitboarding) and i just couldn't hang with the super low carbs while humping my pack up to 11,000 ft. I WILL say it leaned me out pretty quick,i felt fine during WODs, and i added 25 lbs to my dead lift. I know i'm just N=1 and some people do better on lower carbs overall and dig chowin macnuts & avocado all day (actually, seems like MANY people) - just not optimum for me. So, i'm back to standard 5 block PZ meals... well, AFTER these key-lime pie trials! Who knows, i may dial back the carbs just a little going forward... OK.... ON with it already...
Key Lime Pie - normally it's made with a graham cracker crust (crushed graham cracker, sugar, and a lotta butta). Which forces me to ask "What the hell IS graham?" That's the first clue you shouldn't be eating it btw. It's "fine ground white flour with coarse ground wheat bran and germ" - according to Wikepedia. Scary - I really had to look it up. Graham crackers have a high glycemic load - right up there with coke and vanilla wafers. Maybe something to be avoided unless you think "metabolic syndrome" sounds like a good time ;-) Another common ingredient in KLP is sweetened condensed milk. Coconut milk to the rescue...

Kick A$$ Paleo Key Lime Pie

1/8 Pie = 21C, 23F, 8 P)

Preheat oven to 350F

1.5 cups whole almonds
4 pitted dates
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
(I didn't make up the date part.. here's some paleo crust recipes)
Put it all in a food processor and stop just short of nut-butter
Dump it into a standard pie pan (smear with coconut oil first) and, with your fingers, just mush it flat. Don't bother going all the way up the sides with it - though a visible crust looks good, you have to worry about it burning in the oven - too complex for a lazy caveman. Form the crust so it goes about half way up the sides. Pre-bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes - should be just a tad golden.

4 teaspoons lime zest (you know... get the grater out)
1/2 Cup lime juice (fresh of course)
3 Tablespoons agave syrup (can use honey)
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
3 eggs
1 Cup Coconut Milk (Thai Kitchen brand recommended)
Get a whisk and mix it up real good. When pie shell is done, dump filling into shell and put back in oven for another 25-30 minutes (filling should appear to be set up). Hopefully the crust is actually covered. If not, don't let it burn - cover with foil near the end if you have to.
Key limes are these itty bitty limes that are slightly better than real limes but WAY more work. I used 20 to make ONE of the pies - fairly redonkulous. Even then i needed extra limes to get more juice. I swear more seeds than juice came out of some of those little buggers. I would buy 3 as "evidence" but use regular limes instead ;-) I made it both ways -hardly tell the difference. This pie really needs to cool and IS better the next day but i'd be a hypocrite if i told you to wait.
I'm embarrassed to say i've had this every night for the past 4 nights! For a 5 block meal, it's quite reasonable to combine this with a good portion of veggies and some lean meat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. It kicks A$$!
Eat Well! Steve "Paleo"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bacon-Shitake Lamb Chops w/Walnut Guacamole

Just in time for Valentine's Day - This meal will impress your Paleo buddy and it's easy/fast to make. Before we get there though - a little rant...
This is probably insanity, but i'm gonna talk about cholesterol, specifically MY cholesterol. Now hold on, i know you don't give a rat's a$$ about some paleo punk's lipid profile, but hold your water... How often do you find someone with terrible cholesterol, on drugs for many years, who tells his doctor to shove it and goes Paleo, full tilt, for 1.5 yrs, drugless, and lives to tell about it? ;-) So, on the slim chance some of you care about what all this does under the hood, here's a very short glimpse/summary by admittedly a non-doctor, non-nutritionist, non-dietician, paleo-punk.

If you're interested, and thus familiar, with all these numbers, the data is pretty self-evident so i won't jibber jabber along. I will say i'm pissed that i was not given the right information when i asked the doc what to change in my diet. So instead, i stuffed a white pill down my beak for several years. Bottom line, a PZ diet is almost as good as straight Lipitor and if i get my HDL up a little more, it will be equivalent - at least on this sample of one. And here's what really blows.. Doc says cut back on red meat and eggs. What did I do? Ate more! I'm not happy about the HDL (future experiment..) but it is what it is. This is also not an "iso-body-weight" experiment - leaned up on that PZ stuff. Couldn't help it, ain't goin back...BTW, Lipitor is about $1/day. U do the math... OK... enough ranting.

Bacon-Shitake Lamb Chops with Walnut Guacamole
... this is enough for two 35 gm P meals. It's low carb/high fat. Sub it for a standard 5 block PZ meal just for fun.

Enough Lamb Chops to yield 12 oz meat - I buy it at Costco and trim the meat off the bone. It's from down-under - darn good.
1 Full Cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 green onion - finely chopped
2 slices bacon
1 sprig fresh rosemary - finely chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil - 1 for lamb, one for mushrooms/onions
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
celery salt and pepper to taste

Preparing the lamb and mushrooms:
Trim lamb meat off the bone - lose the fat.
Get Bacon going in the pan - when done, remove, but leave bacon fat
Add 1 Tablespoon (if necessary) olive oil and saute mushrooms and scallions, when almost done, add rosemary. Break up bacon and add to mushrooms. Keep warm.

With really hot pan, add olive oil then 10 oz lamb. Add celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce. Saute 'till done. Dish it up and top with mushroom saute. I garnished with some yellow pepper but whatever fresh veggie you have in the fridge will do, just to add some color.

Guacamole - you can buy this pre-made. This is simplified- based on what i had on hand. You should prepare this ahead of the lamb and have it already on the plate.
1 1/2 Avocado
1 scallion - finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
Mix well, put on some romaine or other leafy green, top with walnuts.
... U might serve a glass of red dependent upon the occasion ;-) If you haven't had lamb lately, you're in for a real treat.
Last thing is a status on the whole macro-nutrient cycling (MNC) experiment i'm doing. I was inspired by Rob Faigin. Where am I at on it after ~4 weeks? Well, at the risk (probably high) of appearing vain, right about here... Now this is 1.5 yrs of PZ and ~4 weeks of MNC so don't draw conclusions yet. I can say it's not HURTING me but i'm on the fence about how much it's helping me. BTW, i'm not on any sauce, helpers, HGH, or supplements of dubious origin - and never was. On occasion, i will take creatine, glutamine, glucosamine,and fish oil - but it's irregular.

The other night, right after a FRAN workout, i did my carb-up meals. The next day I felt HUGE, like someone turned a switch on. IDK, gotta keep going with it. Will do my post MNC crossfit total in 4 weeks and more blood work. The other reason i posted this vanity shot, and the lipid table, is to hopefully encourage the old (yes i'm 47) and the young to read the books, question the docs, lift heavy $hit, crossfit 'till U puke, eat a PZ diet, and make up your mind. For the first time ever, we're getting good information on fitness and nutrition - and it works. Thank you Crossfit, Audette, Cordain, Wolf, Sears, Taubes, Wiley, and many others. If you don't know what i'm talking about, ask them (they figured it out), or ask me (a practitioner with an eye for detail - i hope).
Eat Well! Steve "Paleo"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Low Carb Coconut Shrimp Curry

I hope everybody had a great holiday season and ate all the right foods ;-) I swear a paleo diet (shall i say lifestyle?) is the only diet that hits you with a club if you veer too far off the paleolithic path. Can you say tequila over beer? No more micro-brews... a little part of me has died ;-)
The purpose of this blog from day one was to share balanced PZ meals. I'm gonna tweak it a bit. I said last time that i was considering modifying my diet. Well consider it done - for a couple months that is. I'm diving into paleo macronutrient cycling. What is it? It's paleo meals with lower carbs and higher fat (which is actually ALL the rage right now - listen to the Robb Wolf/ Andy D podcasts) punctuated with high carb meals that are low protein, low fat. Why? It's hard to stay lean and gain strength - I'm doing it but i want to see if this will get me there faster.... and i can't turn down a good experiment!
There's a lot of information out there about gaining LBM - gallon of milk/day, cheat meals, cheat days, intermittent fasting, 1gm Pro per lb body weight, macro-nutrient cycling, pharmaceutical "enhancements", tiger nuts (ok i made that up!) etc, etc. Some (Rob Faigan) claim insulin is a double-edged sword - anabolic on one hand, promotes fat storage on the other. Macro-nutrient cycling is supposedly a way to get the good with out the bad. I gotta believe that cavemen MUST have done this too on a seasonal basis at the very least. "Lots" of carbs in the summer, lots of meat/fats in the winter. Another reason why this appeals to me.
My target per meal is 35 gm protein, 35 gm fat, and 10 gm "active" carbs (means carb grams - fiber grams) - 5 meals per day (this is serious eating). BTW, this is about the same total calories as a balanced 5 block PZ meal. So if you are doing 5 block PZ meals and you like something you see here, eat it up. Not gonna hurt you. What about the carb load meals? This is a 7 day cycle, 5 meals/day. Last 2 meals of day 3 and day 7 have 100 gm carbs and less than 20 gm fat and protein.
Curious about my first impressions? I've been at it for a week. The first carb load meals were painful - i felt bloated/sleepy/drunk on frickin yams. I thought to myself - "I've been pinching carbs like a Russian ballerina for THIS! Kaarap!" I began to wonder. The next carb load meals I went for a bowl of fruit with 6 dried dates on top and a small slab of salmon. Believe it or not, i felt great. It's not exactly the prescription (supposed to be low glycemic starch stuff) but it's the best i can do and still feel good. My weight is down a little and my WOD strength feels great - I'm encouraged. Amazingly, even metcons feel just fine on 50 gm C/day - but then i'm probably relatively well adapted to burning dietary fat for fuel. So i'll stick to this for 2 months. Got blood work done, metcon baseline, crossfit total, waist measurement, hokey body-fat measurement ( magic scale) and resting heart rate. After 2 months i'll recheck it all. Will let you know my conclusion when all is said and done. Enuff rambling....

Low Carb Coconut Shrimp Curry
- 35gm P, 35gm F, 10 gm AC
.. this is so easy and fast - i love it..And if you haven't figured it out yet, coconut milk is magic! I think you could mix it with gravel and serve. It's THAT good.
5 oz green cabbage - chopped
5 almonds - diced
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
0.25 oz dried mushrooms - reconstituted (Costco baby!)
1/3 Cup Coconut Milk
6 oz frozen cooked prawns (shrimp)
1 Tablespoon Thai curry paste (mixed with equal amount water to thin it out)
dash of cayenne pepper

Saute cabbage in coconut oil with almonds, sesame seeds, and mushrooms. After about 10 minutes, add coconut milk, curry paste, and prawns and keep cooking just long enough to get the prawns hot. Garnish with spinach, serve, and imagine you're off the main drag in Bangkok on a steamy night with cheap fork in hand....

Eat Well! Steve "Paleo"