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Kind Bars – The Homemade Kind

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


I’m hiking in Yosemite this week and made my own version of Kind bars for the trip. I got the recipe from thenourishing, and though I want to experiment with a lower-sugar version, this was really delicious for a start! Here it is:


  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/3 cups toasted and chopped nuts-of-choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit-of-choice
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 300°. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment leaving some of the paper to hang over two sides of the dish.

In a large bowl, add the honey, coconut flour, almond butter and salt. Stir until well combined. Then add and mix until thoroughly combined the nuts, dried fruit and coconut flakes.

Place the mixture into the parchment-lined baking dish and fold side flaps over ingredients. Evenly and firmly press; this will make bars hold together better after baking. Then gently peel the parchments flaps back off the bars leaving them to hang at the side of the baking dish as this will make it easier to remove the bars after baking.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool, about 1 hour.

Place in fridge to cool further until very cold and hard. At this point, remove dish from refrigerator and run a knife along the two non-parchment edges to detach mixture that’s stuck to baking dish. Then using the parchment paper ends, lift the bars from baking dish and place on a cutting board.

Cut into 8 bars and individually wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. These get sticky at room temp, so make sure wrapping is tight and of a material that will allow for easy removal of your delicious bars. Now go take a hike!

P.S. recommended reading today in the NYT: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls

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.

Lemon Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

porktlNext week my son goes back to school, and although I love to cook, I do not look forward to packing a school lunch. Trying to come up with healthy, nut-free faire that won’t come back home in a lunch box with cookies devoured and rejection stamped all over everything else is a challenge. There are times I open the fridge door and blankly stare for minutes wondering what to pack. But last year I found that leftover pork tenderloin was a huge hit! Not to mention it’s so easy to just slice and pack because you’ve already made it for dinner the night before.


  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from juiced lemon(s)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Aside from tenderloin, mix all ingredients together. Place along with pork in a zip-lock bag or plastic container with tight-fitting lid and let marinate in fridge for about 3 to 4 hours.

After marinating, preheat grill at a high temp. Let it get really hot; about 10 minutes.

Place pork on hot grill and sear for 7 minutes on one side with grill covered. After 7 minutes, flip tenderloin and grill for 6 minutes on other side, grill still high; covered. After 6 minutes on the second side, and with the lid still closed, turn off the heat leaving the meat to sit on the grill for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes has passed, check with a digital thermometer for an internal temperature of about 145°.

For dinner, slice thin and serve with sides of kale and summer berries. For lunch the next day, pack sliced tenderloin rounds along with some of those berries, and then enjoy having a few extra minutes that you didn’t have to spend wondering what to make.

Easy Grilled Chicken Satay

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

sataySomewhere along the lines I picked this recipe up and love it. Can’t remember where; not originally mine but adapted it over time to be Paleo and make it constantly. Don’t even bother with the skewers anymore. Grab a slice before a workout and/or after one, it’s great in school lunches, packs well for a plane ride. It’s easy. It’s good. And it’s real food.


  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (make sure you get one that does not have wheat protein!)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 minced stalk lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast


Combine all the above ingredients except chicken in a zip lock bag.

Cut chicken on the diagonal in roughly half to three quarter inch strips and add to zip lock. Seal and shake to thoroughly coat chicken.

Place ziplock bag in fridge for an hour or two to marinate and when ready, heat grill at high temp, place chicken strips evenly on grilling surface and cook about 4 minutes on each side.

Eat immediately and refrigerate leftovers for a few days.

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!

Grilled Green Beans

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

grilled_stringbeansI was asked recently if green beans were Paleo what with them having the word “bean” in them and all. So I did a little research, to find out (a) why beans are not Paleo and (b) if the green ones are.

Generally, legumes are avoided on a Paleo diet because it has been maintained that they were not part of an ancestral diet. Anthropological evidence however supports the theory that early hunter-gatherers consumed small amounts of legumes. Many varieties were available to the Upper Paleolithic foragers and were undoubtedly consumed as this important food source would not have been overlooked.

Legumes are also avoided because they contain lectins, which can damage the wall of the small intestine, and phytic acid, which binds to important minerals during digestion robbing us of nutrient value. The lectin and phytic acid content of beans, particularly when not adequately prepared, make them potentially detrimental when consumed in substantial quantities. Lectins can be thought of as a plant’s natural pesticide and can lead to intestinal permeability. High phytate diets inhibit the body from absorbing important minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Both should be avoided.

Back to green beans. After all that, why would these be acceptable on a Paleo diet? As immature beans, their lectin and phytate levels are quite low. Also, only very small amounts of beans are being consumed as it is primarily the pod that is being eaten. Consequently, green bean consumption would be in keeping with ancestral foraging, and anti-nutrient exposure would be minimal – comparable to that of eating most other fruits and vegetables.

With that said, here is an awesome way of preparing them:

Ingredients for Grilled Green Beans

  • green beans
  • olive oil
  • sea salt


Preheat grill at high heat.

Wash and trim beans and toss in bowl with olive oil to coat and a generous sprinkling of sea salt, or salt of choice.

Toss beans into a grill wok. If you don’t have one, go get one. Go to Target. Or Cash and Carry if you prefer family owned. You will wonder how you ever lived without one.

Place wok on grill and close cover. Check every few minutes and stir until done to your liking. About 8 minutes for done-with-a-nice-crunch. And note: these will continue to soften for a bit after removing from grill.

I guarantee you will want to make these again!

Know Why (Gluten Issue)

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


As an informational society, we are constantly bombarded with “advice.” This advice reaches into every aspect of our lives — nutrition, exercise, finances, career, sleep, raising children and just about everything else. Some of this advice is good, some is bad, and at times it can be quite difficult to determine which is which. Developing a set of sources that you trust is a quick method of validation. It would be impossible to research the validity of every bit of advice you are going to receive, so you will have to sometimes simply trust the information.

Given the above, I still strongly advise that you understand the reasons behind the advice you choose to follow. Often, people take advice without having any understanding as to why. The advice may be good or bad, but in either case the recipient may have absolutely no understanding behind the choice. The humorous video above makes it very clear that many people just blindly follow “advice”, in many cases, from fairly uninformed sources.

So, to avoid any embarrassing appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, allow me to educate you about gluten. Gluten is a protein (specifically, a composite of a gliadin and a glutenin) found in wheat and many other grains. Gluten is a known gut irritant. In extreme cases, individuals are diagnosed with Coeliac (Celiac) disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an inflammatory reaction that interferes with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. It is clearly very important for these individuals to avoid gluten. In less extreme cases, individuals may be diagnosed as “gluten intolerant.” These individuals may experience some gastro-intestinal distress of varying degrees when they ingest gluten. Then, there is everyone else, who, even among those who may not be classified as “gluten intolerant” can suffer some gut irritation. This can lead to systemic and chronic inflammation which will have some impact on overall health.


Recent research indicates that gluten itself may be less of a problem than we have been led to believe. Researchers that had originally published significant evidence connecting gluten with many negative health consequences have now published further findings indicating that gluten may not be the culprit. FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols - a class of short chain carbohydrate) are another “nutrient” category that may be the cause of many of the ills that have been attributed to gluten. FODMAPs are a topic for another post, but whether the health concern is FODMAPs or gluten, doesn’t change the dietary recommendations we have been making for the past decade. Avoid things like bread and pasta. There are many gluten-free products on the market today, but these may be no better for you than the original products due to FODMAP content. Ultimately, if you are eating meat and vegetation, gut irritation is simply not an issue.

gluten-free-seal-16256523Now, let’s discuss chemical nomenclature so you can more quickly identify nutrients. Food labels will try to hide certain information by using unfamiliar terms for nutritionally deficient ingredients. But, if you know basic chemical nomenclature you can often identify ingredients without having to memorize thousands of terms. First, any word with the suffix -ose is a sugar. Second, the word hydrogenated (partially or otherwise) is a trans fat. Third, any word with the suffix -ol is an alcohol. Many food companies are now replacing sugars with sugar alcohols in certain products. The health consequences of this change is not well researched or understood.

Educate yourself. Spend some time discovering the reasons behind your lifestyle choices. Create a network of trusted sources for those cases where researching the why is unfeasible. Be prepared in case Jimmy Kimmel’s crew comes along and asks you a simple question about your life choices.

Brussels Sprouts Chips

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Nom Nom Paleo chips

Nom Nom Paleo chips

Thank you Nom Nom paleo for this amazing recipe!
I LOVE these chips! This is the perfect snack for anyone that loves chips, but is looking for a healthy alternative.
What you Need

  • 2 cups of brussels sprouts leaves (from about 2 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups of melted ghee
  • kosher salt to taste
  • Lemon Zest (optional)
  • How you make them
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. Cut the stems off right at the base of the baby cabbages and pull off the outer leaves.
    3. Wash the leaves
    4. Mix the leaves, ghee and salt together in a large bowl
    5. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Divide the leaves evenly in a single layer on each tray.
    6. Bake each tray for 8-10 minutes until crispy and brown around the edges
    7. add optional lemon zest
    8. CHOW!!
    I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

    The Accidental Snack

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

    frozen_string_beansHealthy snack recipes don’t get any easier than this: Yesterday while unpacking the groceries, instead of putting the string beans in the refrigerator, my husband accidentally put them in the freezer. But what a happy accident that was – they were awesome! After taking the bag out of the freezer and yelling at him (slight exaggeration), I ate one. I then hugged him and put them back into the freezer. It was a perfect snack and an instant hit. My husband, son, and I have since been reaching in for them like addicts, and now they’ve all been eaten. Next time I buy string beans, they’re going straight from the grocery bag into the freezer.

    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.