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Archive for the ‘Paleo lifestyle’ Category

Spring Cleaning Challenge: Sweep Out the Sugar!

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

sugary_drinks

If you read The Cave’s blog, you probably are much healthier than the average Joe or Josephine. You also probably wouldn’t be caught in an emergency shelter drinking anything like the three beverages pictured at left, which show the frightening amount of sugar hidden in the alluring fizz or enticing hues of the average commercial thirst quencher. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you don’t touch the stuff. But, you may not be aware how much hidden sugar you are consuming each day, and if you don’t keep count, I invite you to spend the next couple of days reading labels, tallying the numbers, and taking a sweet tooth inventory.

The USDA recommends limiting refined sugar to under 40 grams (12 teaspoons) per day, per 2000 calories. See where you land. Wherever it is, if it’s above zero, try and reasonably challenge yourself to cut back wherever you can.

Here are a dozen ideas to help:

1. Set a mindful intention to reduce sugar. (If you have a birthday coming up, blow out candles and wish for less cake.)

2. Read labels.  Don’t buy anything for which you could get a lower or zero sugar version.

3. Knowledge is power.  Identify where processed sugar enters your diet.

4. Know yourself.  When are you most likely to reach for something sugary? After dinner?  After a workout?  When you’re hungry? Late at night? And where?  At home? In the car? At the office?

5. For times when sugar beckons irresistibly, knowing alternatives ahead of time is invaluable. Take a few minutes to make a list of substitutes. Chai or a flavorful herb tea?  Fresh fruit and/or whole nuts?  A healthy, salty snack?  Whatever these are for you, make sure they are easily accessible to you, depending on your answers to #4.

6. Cut back a little at a time, setting a goal of reducing processed sugar by even just a few grams per day on a weekly basis. For example, if you average 40 grams per day, try cutting back to 35 a day for a week, then 30 the next week, etc.

7. Get inspired.  Google search, “Why is processed sugar bad?”

8. Get together with a friend or two or three and share lower sugar goals, or make it something to do with your whole family.

9. If you think of sugar as a reward, stop that right now!  Find replacement rewards.  Even if you swap sugar for shoe shopping you’ll live longer!

10. Experiment with spices as alternatives to sugar, like cardamom or cinnamon.  They have far more flavor and are great in coffee.

11. Don’t feel guilty about throwing away what’s left of the Girl Scout cookies.

12. And for a recipe this week, here’s probably the world’s easiest-to-make cookies that are moist, chewy, and completely unrefine-edly sweet:

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow-about-to-turn-black medium to large plantain
  • 1 cup almond butter (make sure there’s no added sugar)
  • optional (depending on your level of sugar dependency or if making for kids): 1/4 cup raisins or currants

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a food processor or powerful blender, combine peeled plantain and almond butter. Mix until smooth and then a minute or two more until creamy.

If using raisins, fold into batter at this point.

Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy a naturally sweet, high-protein, high-potassium dessert.  Store in fridge; will get sticky – but still delicious – after a few days.

Zaatar and Plantain Bread

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

zaatarOne of the many advantages of a caveman diet is a healthy salt to potassium ratio. For the hunter gatherer, sodium – like sugar – was scarce whereas potassium was abundant. Consequently we adapted: our need for sodium is around 200 - 500 mg/day depending on climate and roughly 5,000 mg/day for potassium. Although there hasn’t been conclusive evidence linking a high sodium diet alone to cardiovascular disease, studies compellingly show that it’s the ratio of salt to potassium that makes a difference. A modern diet averages 4:1 sodium to potassium whereas our primal ancestors could boast the exact opposite. And when a healthy balance of potassium to salt is achieved, it’s not just heart health we can enjoy but many other benefits as well including a strong defense against age-related muscle loss, stroke, and osteoporosis.

So for the recipe this week, let’s up the potassium and lower the salt with plantains and za’atar. One 8 ounce plantain has close to 900 mg potassium, and Purely Twins got me started – and I can’t stop – enjoying the easy and delicious recipe below. Za’atar is a wonderfully flavorful Mid-Eastern spice blend made with sumac (can be found at Whole Foods) which has a zesty salt-lemon flavor. Combined with thyme and sesame seeds, this very low-sodium blend is wonderful spread on chicken or fish prior to baking, eggs, veggies, or even just stealing a pinch from the jar!

Za’atar Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac

Oven dry the thyme for a few minutes in a 350° oven. Combine with rest of ingredients in a mortar and pestal, spice or coffee grinder and blend well. Store in a cool dark spot in an airtight container for 3-6 months.

Plantain Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized green plantain (you can use one that’s yellow, but the recipe will turn out very sweet)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Place peeled plantain along with eggs into blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Grease a 9×12” pyrex baking dish with coconut oil and pour in mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy warm sprinkled with olive oil and za’atar.

Zucchetti

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

zucchetti1Since being confirmed gluten intolerant and consequently giving up pasta completely – even as a cheat – I just was never jazzed about the idea of vegetables subbing as spaghetti. But I recently broke down, gave in and am really glad I did! Super easy, healthy, and bowl-licking good, I find myself making this more than I ever made its grain-based namesake. Is it pasta? No. But is it good? Yes! The trick to making this is a solid julienne peeler. I’m quite happy with my Kuhn Rikon; just make sure you get one with a good grip as whether you are strict Paleo, gluten intolerant, or just want a delicious and ridiculously easy side dish in a pinch, you may find yourself making zucchetti a lot!

Ingredients

This is for a single serving, but scales up well

  • 1 medium zucchini, washed (no need to peel)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Julienne the zucchini, skin and all, as shown in photo above. Place in a pyrex or otherwise microwave safe bowl. No need to add anything else. Cover and cook at regular heat setting for two minutes. Test for doneness, drizzle with olive oil, dash on some salt, and enjoy plain or with any topping you might enjoy over pasta. (Told you this was easy!)

Paleo Sweet Tooth

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

When Team BoManda headed to CrossFit Oakdale’s “Every Second Counts” competition in December, I met some of the Paleo Sweet Tooth people.  They gave me some of their almond butters to try, which are delicious!.  I am a HUGE fan of apples and nut butter as a snack, dessert, meal (basically any way I can justify eating it).  If I am being totally honest, it was peanut butter that started the relationship, but I’ve been having an affair with almond butter in my paleo attempts.

Paleo Sweet Tooth
I have seen Paleo Sweet Tooth at some of the other competitions we have gone to. Here is a shout out to their brand for making delicious treats!

Staff Recommended and Approved - Caveman Fuel Coffee Creamer

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Amanda Norton, our fabulous gymnastics director, is raving about Caveman Fuel Paleo Coffee Creamer!

“Prior to using this product I was an avid believer in heavy cream, so there is something to be said about the creaminess of this product.  I like that it has just the right amount of flavor and creaminess,” says Amanda as she delicately sips from her coffee cup.

Caveman Coffee Creamer has many advantages:  it’s non-dairy, it helps neutralize coffee acid, it’s a good source of essential fatty acids, and has zero hydrogenated fat or trans fat.

download1

Being a woman who is always on the go who prefers a dairy free creamer, the powder consistency of Caveman Fuel Paleo Creamer is a great product for Amanda.

“Since it’s in a powder form, I can conveniently take it wherever I go,” Amanda says while pulling a small tupperware container out of her gypsy bag filled with the white fluffy powder.

“One scoop, stir, and you have creamy coffee!” she says while demonstrating.

This product is recommended and approved by Amanda because it’s a good non dairy option and still gives you that nice creamy texture to your coffee.

Caveman Fuel Coffee Creamer can be found in the office in our pro shop for $12.00.

**This product is advertised as being Paleo, however it does contain corn syrup solids (Great for you 80/20 Paleo enthusiasts out there!)**

Nut Milk

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

nutmilk500Folks have often told me how easy it is to make nut milk, but I didn’t believe it until recently giving it a try. Wait overnight? I’m happy if my patience extends to getting the food out of the pot before I eat it. But it was worth the wait! I’ve now tried almond, macadamia, and cashew. The latter is awesome in coffee which has me excited about trying hazelnuts next. Let your imagination be your guide with these truly simple steps:

Directions: Start by placing about a cup or so of raw, shelled, skinned nuts into a jar, fill with water to cover at least an inch over and soak overnight in fridge.

After soaking, drain and rinse nuts. Place in blender and add fresh water to cover about an inch over (this will give you a nut cream which can later be thinned with water as desired). Blend for about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover a wide-mouth bowl with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.

When nuts are completely puréed, pour mixture through cheesecloth allowing filtered milk to drain into bowl. After most of the liquid has drained, scrape the cheesecloth with a spoon and then remove it squeezing out the last drops gently with your hands. The nutmeal byproduct can be saved for baking – I found it works great as a substitute for the nut butter in Breakfast Brownies.

Transfer nut milk to a jar with tight fitting lid or other airtight container and store in fridge. Should be used within a few days.

For a quick dessert, pour a half cup of nut milk into a single-serving bowl, add a drizzle of maple syrup, a splash of vanilla extract, a generous spoonful of chia seeds, let sit a bit and enjoy!

Paleo Jerky and Creamer in The Store

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
CaveMan Fuel

CaveMan Fuel

If you look in the store you’ll see these bags with a caveman on the front. We now carry Caveman Fuel jerky and paleo coffee creamer. These products are fantastic. Really simple, whole foods and taste great.

The jerky is made from 100% grass fed beef. All organic spices. Super simple. Now here’s the cool part. This jerky was originally thought of and product tested at The Cave. The story goes back a few years. I was talking with a few folks one day, basically complaining that there wasn’t any jerky on the market that didn’t contain tons of sugar and other crap. So Bryan A. pipes up and says, “I think I can solve that”. This incited a bunch of odd looks. So within three days there are several bags of jerky at The Cave and Bryan asked us to try them all and let him know which was best. We did, and across the board the winning jerky was also the most simple. Caveman Fuel had its first evaluation and the run to creating a product got started. It is on the shelves in the store. Try it out.

The paleo creamer was another addition to the product line. Non-dairy and contains no hydrogenated oils. It is coconut based. I can’t speak personally about this product as I don’t drink coffee, but I know there are others in the gym that have tried it. Ask around, or buy a bag and let us know what you think.

Paleo Pizza

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

You heard right: Paleo pizza! This awesome recipe is from Amy Wise. The bacon thief in the photo is Nick :o).

BLT pizza with cauliflower crust
from Amy Wise

pizza

This is an awesome alternative for pizza. Even my 12 yr old nephew (who will not eat cauliflower) loved it. We did not tell him what it was made of. It also makes great leftovers.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust ( adapted from www.theluckypennyblog.com)
1 medium sized head of cauliflower
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh basil
1 clove of garlic finely diced
a couple of shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven while it is preheating. Oil up a large sheet of parchment paper on your working space.
Cut off the florets of a medium sized head of cauliflower ( stem is not needed). Wash and dry florets.
Pulse florets in a food processor for about 30 seconds ( you are looking for the consistency of snow)
Place cauliflower “snow” in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel to cool. Once cool, wrap the towel around the cauliflower to ring it out. You want as much moisture out as possible to get a nice texture on the crust.
Dump ringed cauliflower in a bowl and add your spices, garlic almond meal and oil.
Mix together then add the egg and mix again with hands to try and get a “dough” type consistency.
Place “dough” on the oiled parchment and shape into a crust about a 1/4 inch thick.
Place oiled parchment paper on your heated pizza stone or baking sheet and slide it back into the oven.
Bake for about 12 minutes until it turns golden brown - make sure the middle is brown but the edges are not burnt.
Remove from oven.

Time for toppings!
Of course at this point you are good to go for any pizza toppings. You should use already cooked meat and sauteed vegetables as the toppings won’t be cooked for very long on the pizza.
For the BLT pizza I used:
1-2 cups of marinara sauce
5 strips of cooked bacon
2 cups of kale
a handful of cherry tomatoes
and half an avocado
Put marinara sauce on cooked crust
Saute kale with olive oil salt and pepper and place on crust
Cut up tomatoes ,avocado and bacon and place on crust
Place crust with toppings back in the oven for about 5 more minutes
Take out of oven and let cool for a couple minutes
**watch the bacon carefully if you have bacon snatchers in your house**
Cut, serve and enjoy!

Cabbage Salad

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

cabbage_saladThis month I traveled through Croatia and Bosnia where I was quite surprised to find a ubiquity of fabulous health-conscious cuisine including menu choices for organic vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, bakeries offering almond flour alternatives, and even a few folks wanting to talk Paleo. Who would have thought? I enjoyed everything from the recognizable to the daring ordering a fair share of completely unpronounceable but memorable and cave-person appropriate delicacies. And what trip to Eastern Europe would be complete without a hearty helping of cabbage salad? So here is a new take on an old world tradition:

One small to medium-sized head red cabbage

3 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

juice and zest from one lemon

salt and pepper to taste

In food processor fitted with slicing attachment, finely shred cabbage; with grating attachment, grate carrots (alternately can be done by hand, just takes a bit of time). In a large salad bowl, toss with other ingredients and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Paleo Teeth

Monday, March 11th, 2013

A year or so ago, I went to a dentist.  I had been putting it off for quite a while– about a decade, actually.  I was scared that there was going to be a lot of crazy stuff going on with my teeth.  But the dentist said that my teeth were in remarkably good condition and after a brief conversation about lifestyle, we attributed it to the fact that my diet consists mostly of meat and vegetables.

Teeth

Teeth

As such, I was not surprised at all to read this article from NPR, Ancient Chompers Were Healthier Than Ours.

The article points out that, despite our ancestors being devoid of dental hygiene and modern medicine, evidence shows that they were also nearly without cavities, gum disease and other oral maladies.  It’s only once people start farming and eating higher carbohydrate diets that evidence of poor oral health appear.

Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, attributes this to bacteria that thrive on sugars.  When more carbohydrates are introduced into the diet, those bacteria have a greater food supply; it imbalances the ecosystem in your mouth.  He goes on to say that, due to a virtually permanent immune response, it could potentially cause all kinds of trouble outside of just poor oral health.

It’s not at all surprising for those of us who have seen the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle, but it’s nice to see more and more science backing us up.