The Cave

The Cave Blog

Archive for the ‘Paleo lifestyle’ Category

Paleo Pie Crust

Friday, November 21st, 2014

pie_crust1With Thanksgiving around the corner, it seemed like a good time to post a basic Paleo pie crust recipe. Pumpkin, blueberry, apple or left-over turkey pot pie are just a few ideas for filling this staple with whatever you wish for the holidays.


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored, grass-fed gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coconut or maple
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into chunks (for pure Paleo, use 6 tablespoons ghee)


Place almond flour, coconut flour, salt, sugar and gelatin in food processor and pulse to combine.

Next add butter or ghee and pulse in 10 second bursts for a about a half minute, then process continuously until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Transfer dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a flat, round 9-inch disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap from the dough and press onto bottom and up the sides of a greased 9″ pie dish. Crimp edges of crust. Refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 º and place oven rack in middle position.

Before placing crust into the oven to cook, cut out a round piece of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pie crust and cover with pie weights or beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until just turning golden brown.


Balance Your Protein Intake With Gelatin

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

gelatin_snack_2Gelatin is a worthwhile consideration for balancing protein intake. Although it does not have the kind of amino acids needed for post-workout muscle recovery, it does have what is needed for connective tissue health.

In taking a Paleo view of nutrition, our modern protein consumption has become unbalanced favoring a limited diet of muscle meat and its amino acids over the aminos found in organs, cartilage, bone and sinew. We throw a lot of the animal away that would have been consumed by a hunter gatherer. That leaves us deficient in essential building blocks such as glycine, proline and collagen needed to support healthy joints, connective tissue, skin and bone.

Studies demonstrate gelatin’s ability to maintain strong ligament, tendon, and bone integrity providing clear benefits to weightlifters, body builders and other athletes whose joints and connective tissues are regularly subjected to stress. Gelatin builds the strength of our muscle’s supporting structures and reduces joint pain which in turn supports successful muscle-building.

Gelatin can be flavorlessly and texturelessly added to cooking or a protein shake in the form of non-congealing collagen hydrolysate as well as used in the traditional gelling form to make snacks such this week’s recipe below.* I purchase both forms of gelatin from Great Lakes as their gelatin products are antibiotic and hormone free.

Blueberry Peach Gelatin Squares

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced (I almost threw out my mealy end-of-season peaches before realizing they were perfect for this recipe; any disappointing fruit would work for this!)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon**
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup gelatin

Combine blueberries, peaches, coconut water, honey and cinnamon in a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Let simmer stirring occasionally until fruit has liquified, about 10 minutes.

While fruit is simmering, add gelatin to coconut milk and let sit for 10 minutes. After sitting, add to fruit mixture and stir for a few minutes until gelatin has dissolved; do not allow to boil.

Pour mix into a square pyrex pan or mold of choice. Chill a few hours then dice as desired and enjoy!

*10 grams a day recommended

**The lovely thing about cinnamon and other sweet-friendly spices such as cardamom is that they enhance the perception of sweetness allowing one to minimize the use of sweeteners in a recipe.

Parkour Coach Andrey Is Tarzan

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Sometimes, we need to just play.  If you provide kids an interesting environment, they will play.  They will experiment with trees, rocks, water, sticks, dirt, bugs, etc.  We tend to move away from this child-like curiosity as we get older and we really shouldn’t.  Playing in natural environments is a great way to develop and keep strength.  Not everything has to be programmed out…sometimes the best thing to do is just get out there and create.

From Andrey:

After watching a Tarzan cartoon a while back, the idea of flowing through trees that grow close together sounded super fun and challenging.  And so, I scouted places in SF, figured out a line, practiced, discovered what poison oak is all about, found an amazing cameraman, and shot it.  Hope this video inspires you to go play on those trees like I did.  They are all over Golden Gate Park and Mountain Lake Park in SF, enjoy! “

Sweet Potato Salad

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

sweet_potato_saladI’m vacationing with family in Connecticut this week, so I’m going to make this short and sweet as in sweet potato with a recipe from my sister-in-law Kath who I gratefully credit with introducing me to Crossfit as well as to awesome food. If, like me, you have a relative who has inspired you to live a healthier happier lifestyle, send some love that angel’s way! And maybe have them over for some sweet potato salad :o).


  • 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • (optional non-Paleo addition: 15 oz can black beans)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Toss sweet potatoes and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Spread evenly on baking tray and bake for about a half hour, giving an occasional stir until edges are golden.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix bell pepper and cilantro together with jalapeño, garlic and lime juice.

When the potatoes and onion are done, remove from oven, add to bowl and toss well. Season with additional s&p as desired and serve warm, room temp or cold. It’s all good!

A Real Food Recipe

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

perfecthbeJaime’s great post and Colleen’s simply beautiful photograph* have inspired me to keep it as real as it gets this week with a recipe for hard boiled eggs. Healthy fast food doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Cook up a bunch of these puppies for grab-and-go convenience all week.


  • Eggs. Up to as many as comfortably fit in the pot you use.
  • Salt.
  • Water.


Place eggs in a pot, then run cold tap water to cover eggs 1 inch over and add 1 teaspoon of salt. (Note: starting with cold water lets you heat the egg more slowly, which keeps the whites from getting rubbery, and adding salt prevents egg whites from spilling out of small cracks that can form in the cooking process.)

Bring to boil at medium heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove and cover with good-fitting lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. It is important you do not start the timer until you turn off the heat. Too much time will make the eggs discolored and smelly, while too little time will cause them to be runny. 

After 10 or 15 minutes, plunge eggs into cold water to arrest the cooking process.

These will keep in the fridge at least a week. Grab one before you go to your workout at The Cave for quick post work-out protein. Pack them in school lunches peeled for no mess, unpeeled for more fun. Make a quick sauce of equal parts Paleo mayonnaise (great recipe in the current edition of The Cave cookbook available in the office) and your favorite mustard. When you run out of hard boiled eggs, make some more. No excuses for not having quick real food on hand, guys!

*When Colleen Donaldson isn’t working out at The Cave, one of her many talents is professional photography. She took the above picture for the next edition of Cooking in The Cave which should be available this holiday season and will include tons of fantastic real food recipes and awesome photographs!

What Is Real Food? by Jaime Jereb

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

10:45pm Tossing, turning, not sleeping.  ”Real food…..real food…..real food.  How to explain real food…”  Mmmmmm, fooooooood…

11:03pm Hunched over my sink like a rat — chowing, mowing — definitely not sleeping.

“Real food…..real food…..real food.”  Mid-bite and with possibly two chicken legs hanging out of my mouth (true story), it suddenly dawns on me:  I actually have to explain what “real food” is!  WTH?  How did our world get so screwed up that there is anything other than real food even available?

11:17pm Wardrobe change — somehow my chicken legs cascaded down my shirt.  I can’t write while smelling like chicken; I have enough distractions.  But, before I change my shirt, I should probably reorganize my bar.  How can I write with my vodka sitting next to the bourbon?

11:34pm Bar alphabetized? Check.

11:51pm Somewhere between The Beam and Kettle One, I come up with the best explanation of all time.


Said differently: REAL FOOD = NOT KRAP

In another language: EALRAY OODFAY = OTNAY APCRAY

If pig latin doesn’t clearly explain it, try this:

What is REAL FOOD? Real food is food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible.  Starts with a single ingredient, ends with a single ingredient. Simple. No chemicals. No hormones. No antibiotics. Happy. From the earth.  From something that eats things that come from the earth or eats things that eat the things that come from the earth. Nourishing.


  • It tastes better.

  • We feel better.

  • You look better.

  • It’s what our bodies need and nothing they don’t.

  • It’s the only medicine without side effects.

  • Humans are designed to eat this way.

  • Your kids will back-talk less and listen more.  Truth!

What is FAKE FOOD? Fake food is “food” that is a far cry from nature’s intention. Processed beyond recognition. Starts with a single ingredient, ends with multiple ingredients comprised mostly of words and chemicals you can’t spell or pronounce. Complex.  From the lab.  From a scientist who works in the lab being told to create something that resembles real food because if the public knew what it really was, they wouldn’t touch it.  Addictive.




Our bodies are designed to be perfectly functioning bad-ass machines.  In nature’s design, our hearts will never skip a beat, our lungs will never forget to breathe, our bones will never lose integrity.  So, do you want to keep moving, breathing and living?  Then fuel with quality food, Dummy!  Simply stated: Eat crap, krap or apcray on a regular basis (or hang with Carrot Top) and you’ll eventually become fat, sick or dead.  The end.

Am I exaggerating?  I don’t think so.  Just look at our country’s growing epidemic of disease, cancer, obesity and the whole slew of existing ailments.  In the ancient past, even as little as 100 years ago, we simply did not have these problems in mass quantities like we do today.  Is it any coincidence that our food system has changed more in 50 years than in the past 10,000? 100,000?  I think not.


Big food companies LOVE to confuse the consumer. “It’s healthy!”  “It’s low fat!” “It’ll save your life!” “This box of cereal will actually raise your children and pay for their education.” Don’t fall for it folks.  Anything claiming to be good for you is most likely bad for you and certainly not a real food.  If you don’t believe me, walk up to a head of lettuce and see what it has to say.  You might be there a while.


I’m dumbfounded by the complexities of simple real food being stripped of it’s natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients just to be fortified with man-made crap from Dexter’s laboratory.  Am I the only one who finds this a little nutty?  Oatmeal is a great example.  In it’s natural state,  oatmeal is one ingredient: Oats.  How about adding some apples,  cinnamon and grass fed butter for a total of 4 ingredients.  4!  That’s a real food meal.

Apparently that wasn’t enough.  Here’s the other version that is found in most cupboards across the country:

Ingredients: Whole grain rolled oats (with oat bran), sugar, dehydrated apples (treated with sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, and sodium bisulfite to promote color retention), salt, cinnamon, calcium carbonate (a source of calcium), natural flavors, citric acid, guar gum, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, reduced iron, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid.

How many ingredients is that??  I mean, at least there’s that amazing health claim “Reduces cholesterol!” Not to mention, who wouldn’t want to look like that sexy Quaker?



Somebody is hungry all right and it’s name is Big Food Corp.  Somewhere down the road (around 60ish years ago) food developers decided that it was much cheaper and easier with higher profit margin to start lacing our food with hydrogenated oils, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors and everything you can imagine to make them taste good and stupid addictive.  Remember Lay’s famous slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one…”  NO kidding we can’t, because it’s drug-like reactions on our systems makes it impossible to stop.  We are already predisposed to craving salt, fat and sugar.  Thanks Frito Lay, but you’re just not helping the situation.  Real food doesn’t do that.  Do you recall going back to the kitchen and eating 2,3,4,10 apples, chicken breasts or heads of chard?  No way!  Nature is no dummy.  Real food is designed to nourish and be done.


We get smart!!  We get educated!! We stop being lazy and stop making excuses!! We spend an extra 10 seconds and think about what we’re about to shove in our Dorito hole, and it better not be Doritos either. We ask questions. We do our research.  Not all animals, not all veggies, not all food is created equal.  Even if it’s a single ingredient, know where it’s coming from and know who grew it. That’s where farmers’ markets, co-ops and  CSA’s come in handy.  They source from legit local farms and ranchers.

If you choose to shop at grocery stores rather than haul a wagon to Farmer’s Market, check out this handy flow chart!

Remember:  Keep it simple. Real food is as easy as it gets.  Take a meat. Take a plant.  Cook. Consume.

Blueberries for Muscle Recovery

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

blueberry_ketchupYou’ve just finished a hard workout and probably know you have an hour or so to grab some protein to make sure you start rebuilding muscle to reap the benefits of exertion. What you may not know is that blueberries have been shown to improve recovery as well.

A recent New Zealand study looked at the effect of blueberry consumption on exercise-induced muscle damage and found that blueberries, in addition to antioxidant support, also speed muscle recovery after strenuous exercise (see abstract).

So this week I have a recipe for blueberry ketchup to share. Generously slathered over a nice grilled grass-fed burger between two butter lettuce “buns” not only gets you a quick delicious healthy meal but also guarantees some serious muscle repair.


  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes; stir occasionally.

Let cool and purée if desired with immersion blender or leave “chunky” as is my preference.

Transfer to a jar or other container with tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Great on burgers, salmon, fried eggs, over steamed veggies or just as a chutney-on-the-side to liven up any meal.

Eat at Home

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

salmon_kebabsMy grandparents always shared cooking with their kids, grandkids, and anyone in the neighborhood who ran into the kitchen and wanted to help stir. It’s been that way for millennia. We’ve co-evolved with whole, real, hearth-cooked foods filling the home.

But a dramatic shift has occurred since our grandparents’ day when nearly all meals were prepared and eaten at home. Today, home cooking accounts for only half the meals consumed in the US, and 67% of those are eaten in front of a television.

One of the best things you can do for your health and your family’s health is simply to sit down to a home cooked dinner. Research tells us that preparing one’s own food reduces calories, saturated fat, and sodium while increasing fiber and micronutrients. Research also shows that kids who have regular meals at home are more likely to have better grades, healthier relationships, 42% less likely to drink, 50% less likely to smoke, and 66% less likely to smoke pot.

Thanks to the example my grandparents set, I can cook. But they also made furniture and could saddle a horse which I cannot. As the convenience of department stores and the inevitability of cars precluded them from passing these skills on to me, I hope that the food industry hasn’t made prepared food so convenient to my generation that it will leave my grandchildren scratching their heads and wondering how I ever boiled water.

This week’s recipe:
Faster-than-you-can-say-takeout Grilled Salmon Kebabs
(serves 4)

  • metal or bamboo skewers
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets with skin removed
  • 3 or 4 pineapple spears
  • olive oil
  • about 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste

Clean and oil grill (salmon mercilessly sticks to any grill debris) and set heat to medium-high.

Dice fillets into roughly 1 inch cubes, and slice pineapple spears into half inch thick slices.

Toss salmon cubes in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat.

Thread skewers starting and ending with salmon and alternating with slices of fruit.

Test grill by holding your hand about 4” from grill and start counting. If you make it to 4 to 5 seconds before having to pull your hand away, it’s ready. Longer than that, not hot enough. Shorter means too hot.

When ready, place kebabs on grill and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes on one side, then turn 180° for another 4 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro and salt.

Serve with a simple streamed veggie like kale or broccoli and do a hi-5 selfie for cooking at home!

Gelato. And it’s Paleo!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

banana_gelatoI feel like I’ve been nagging you guys about sugar, so this week rather than badger and berate, I’ve decided to sweeten the deal with a really fun dessert recipe to put some healthy no-sugar-added sweetness into your sugar reduction process (which I hope is going well!). All it takes is a couple frozen bananas, a little unsweetened cocoa, nut butter and voilà: a natural treat that, no kidding, rivals the richest, creamiest gelato imaginable with no added sugar!

2 perfect-ripe (not over, not under) bananas

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons nut butter

dash vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Peel the bananas and slice into 1 inch or so sections. Freeze overnight.

In food processor, place frozen bananas and rest of ingredients.

Blend a good 2 to 3 minutes until mixture has the consistency of a smooth, creamy gelato.

Serve immediately; must be eaten cold. And trust me, it will be awesome!

Fighting Sugar in a Theater Near You

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

This past weekend I went to see Fed Up, the Katie Couric movie that sheds mainstream light on what we Paleo folks have known for some time, which is that the amounts of sugar in the average American diet are killing us sweetly with a siren’s song.


In 1822, the average American ate about the equivalent amount of sugar found in a single can of soda (10 tsp/40g) every 5 days. Given a combination of food industry consumer marketing and intense political lobbying, Americans now consume that much in 7 hours!

An extremely addictive substance (gauged to be 8x as addictive as cocaine), sugar is being fed to us in tobacco company style. It is estimated that one in three Americans will be diabetic by 2050. That’s well over 100 million, which is a lot of people, which means big business. And if big business gets attached to all these sick consumers it will surely take a grassroots effort to save our lives and our children’s lives.

Is there an acceptable amount of added sugar?

The World Health Organization recommends reducing added sugar intake ‘to below 5% of total energy intake per day, or less than 6 teaspoons (24g). But given sugar’s highly addictive nature, a better strategy may be to eliminate it – with the exception of whole food sugar such as fruit – completely. Having done so, I can promise that before long you wake up from the flavor coma sugar keeps you under, and food starts to taste amazingly vibrant and alive and you will never want to go back!

So what do we do?

If your child or a dear loved one were addicted to a dangerous substance, you’d probably do anything you could. Start a conversation with children, family, friends.

Read labels and don’t buy drinks or products with added sugar.

Don’t be afraid to go through your pantry and refrigerator and throw Oreos out or drain the Dr. Pepper.

Take your health seriously. Cut back or try the Fed Up sugar challenge. Set an example to those around you, and enlist the support of anyone open to the idea of reducing sugar. And if they’re not, take them to see Fed Up!