Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update: Healthy Lifestyle a la Paleo

I've been on the right track...then off it...then back on, off, on, off and now I'm BACK on again! This time I have a clear understanding of what my body really needs and doesn't need. I guess its all a learning and growing experience - Life.

As I read over my past updates, I'm pleased with how much I already knew and how much I really want to live a better, healthier lifestyle. At least it shows that I'm consistent and I'm making progress!

Enter Paleo Lifestyle - stage left...
Also known as Primal or Caveman diet, the paleo is a way of eating that resembles how ancient humans and peoples of indigenous regions would eat to meet their nutritional needs - without the pre-fab, modern day kinds of processed foods we are overindulging in nowadays.

For me this is not a diet. It truly is the way I intend to eat for the rest of my life. It happens to have a catchy name and be a popular movement among fitness minded people. But the principles of eating this way are not new. Pioneering practitioners of good nutrition have been suggesting, recommending and demanding that human beings should eat this way since the turn of the 20th century. Around the 1950's a dentist by the name of Dr. Page developed a food plan that very closely resembles paleo in order to promote overall wellness for his patients. There is no doubt in my mind and I believe the facts are obvious and they speak for themselves - whole food nutrition and eating to properly nourish the body is the ultimate way to live disease free and in total wellness, physically, mentally and even spiritually.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paleo Tortilla Recipe

In my search for foods that fit my new paleo lifestyle, I've turned to the Internet (of course) where there is an amazing amount of information, recipes, blogs and people all sharing their knowledge on the subject.
I'm so grateful for that. Truly, I am my mother's daughter. Mom was the best cook ever and she NEVER used a recipe. She just made food that was good, using her imagination and intelligence.

This is my second "recipe" - inspired by other paleo cooks but re-worked to suit my own likes. I hope you like it too as it turned out to be a very versatile little recipe.

From this recipe you can make "tortillas", crust for pies and tarts, crackers, pizza and I'm sure other things you come up with on your own.

I found a similar recipe by the civilized caveman. But I like using almond butter for "breads' so I changed it as follows.

Pre-heat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl add

1 cup almond butter (I used freshly ground from the bulk section at Winco)
1 cup coconut flour (Bob's Red Mill)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp sea salt

I mixed the ingredients by hand, kneading it until all combined.
Next I made little balls with the dough.

The oil from the almond butter make this easy and not too sticky. I placed the balls on parchment paper, covered with another sheet (only because I don't have a real rolling pin and didnt want to get my wine bottle all greasy) and rolled the balls flat and about 1/8" thick.

I placed the parchment paper with the dough into the oven and baked them until the edges turned brown - about 10 min.

Once I had about 11 "tortillas" made I decided the rest should be crackers so I cut the remaining flattened dough in to cracker shapes. I sprinkled the tops with a little sea salt before baking. I actually got busy with the rest of my dinner and forgot one batch. They may have been in the oven for about 20 min but they didn't burn, they were just crispier - which I think is ok for crackers!

Try it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Chocoloate Green Smoothie it is. My first recipe post! It's for a chocolate smoothie I concocted in my Nutribullet blender. I guess any blender will do but my portions fit the large cup of the Nutribullet. I chose the ingredients for their nutrient value,  mild flavors, ability to satisfy and provide lots of energy - plus no added sugar. Feel free to tweak this to suit your taste.

About 2 cups of fresh spinach (or enough to fill the large cup loosely to the max fill line)
1/2 a medium ripe avocado
2 tablespoons of dutched cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1 scoop of "Fiber-tastic"fiber powder (this is sweetened with stevia and serves as the sweetener for the smoothie. If you decide to skip this you will need some other kind of sweetener to taste)
2 teaspoons of Barleans orange flavored fish oil (this gives the smoothie a slightly orangy taste so skip or try Barleans Omega Swirl instead)
1 capful of MRM L-Carnitine-CoQ10 (this is also orange flavored and sweetened with stevia)
Enough Coconut milk to fill the cup (roughly 1 1/2 cups) to the max fill line after all the other ingredients are added
Optional - a mild tasting green powder like Vitamineral Greens or Genessentials Greens

Add all ingredients to the blender cup - make sure to add the coconut milk last.
Blend it up and serve. Bon Apetit!

Nutritionally, this smoothie provides all the macro nutrients the body needs and many micro nutrients as well for energy and metabolism.
Fiber-tastic supplement facts
  • Fresh spinach provides chlorophyll, it is a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. It's nutritionally dense, meaning it provides many of the nutrients the body needs and it's also mildly anti-inflammatory.
  • Avocado is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate. It's high in healthy fats and also calories, but this smoothie is designed to use those fats for fuel with the addition of L-Carnitine and CoQ10.
  • Almond butter is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Manganese. With as much protein as the spinach and the avocado put together as well as healthy fats, it will aid in the sustained feeling of fullness provided by this smoothie. 
  • Dutch Cocoa - natural cocoa powder is a superfood! Its very high in antioxidants and phytonutrients - so high in fact that even the process of "dutching" it to make it less acidic and bitter does not remove all of these benefits and dutch cocoa is still highly nutritious! I would think that alkalizing it would be beneficial because the body needs to be more alkaline than acidic. But I have not read that anywhere. 
  • Fiber-tastic powder provides 4g of fiber in addition to the fiber in the spinach and avocado. It tastes good, kind of fruity and sweet from stevia. Getting enough fiber - like 35g per day- is essential to proper digestion and optimal health. As a side note, stevia has been shown to have properties that lower blood sugar and cravings for sugar.
  • Barleans' Orange Fish oil packs 1740mg of Omega 3 fatty acids in each teaspoon. Most of us are deficient - I know I am because I participated in an Omega 3 study this winter. Deficient. So I am adding it as much as possible and eating more fish where it naturally occurs in significant amounts. But I up on Omega 3s to find out why we NEED these ESSENTIAL fatty acids. (please) 
  • MRM L-Carnitine w/ CoQ10 -CoQ-10 is critical to the function of the heart, liver and kidneys where it supports cell membrane stabilization and acts as an antioxidant, in addition to energy production. L-Carnitine has been shown through clinical trials to support cardiovascular health beginning with its ability to assist in clearing fats from the blood and into the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cells. L-Carnitine has also been shown to support muscle growth weight management and liver health. This combination of CoQ-10 and L-Carnitine is essential to cardiac function (heart muscle) and beneficial blood lipid profiles.
  • Coconut Milk -an altenative to other kinds of milk, I choose coconut for the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) present. MCT's are beneficial for the conversion of fats to fuel instead of being stored by the body.
    Greens powders - well what is there to say about those. Not super tasty but I find adding them to chocolate masks the taste pretty well. Lemonade too. But of course the health benefits are worth it. I like Vitamineral Greens because they include sea greens which provide iodine - a substance missing from the standard american diet (SAD) and they help the body balance substances found in cruciferous veggies.  They are also super fine ground so they mix up without being gritty. 

    OK that's it. Heres some reference links for ya below. Please leave me comments if you found this helpful, want to tell me how the smoothie tasted to you or if you made any changes to it!