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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Tom Kha Gai

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

tom_kha_gaiThis is my favorite soup. It is especially wonderful with the traditional Thai spicing of kaffir lime leaves and galanga. You can find these in most Asian Markets (can be found in the Asian market on Mary St next to Peets and across from Whole Foods in San Rafael). Substitutions for these are noted below; lemongrass can found in Safeway. I keep packets in the freezer of these 3 spices mixed with the garlic which allows me to get this on the dinner table as a meal with kale on the side in 15 or 20 minutes.

I usually included minced jalapeño pepper and red bell pepper, but as nightshades are not Paleo, I’ve omitted these. If you know you are not sensitive to nightshades, they add fantastic kick and color respectively. If in doubt about nightshades, stick with black pepper as that is in the family Piperaceae as opposed to bell pepper, jalapeño, cayenne, et al which are in the Capsicum family and are nightshades.

In case you’ve wondered, the reason these nightshades and others including tomato, white potatoes, and eggplant are avoided in the Paleo diet is because of the potential inflammatory response of the body to lectins which, in sensitive individuals, can provoke an immune system response similar to that toward the WGA lectin in wheat/gluten in folks who are gluten-sensitive or celiac.

Basically, know yourself, listen to how your body responds to certain foods even if they are Paleo approved. This soup is awesome with or without the nightshades!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (I use 4 cubes of TJs frozen garlic)
  • 1/4 cup scallions, fine slice
  • 1 stalk lemon grass minced (if minced, stays in soup and is eaten; alternately – to make things easy – cut into 2” lengths and remove before serving)
  • 1 inch piece of galanga, fresh or dried (fabulous, delicious Thai root spice but if you can’t find it, ginger can be substituted)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves or 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot, depending on amount of chicken used
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 can straw mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (make sure it’s wheat free)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. After oil is heated, add garlic, scallions, lemon grass, galanga, and lime leaves. (If substituting lime zest, save this until later below.) Heat and occasionally stir for 2 minutes.

Add water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, slice chicken into bit-sized slices or cubes and toss with arrowroot to lightly coat.

Add chicken to soup and cook for 4 minutes.

Add coconut milk, pepper, mushrooms, fish sauce lime juice and lime zest if making this substitution. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and serve.

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.

Fried Sweet Plantain Chips

Friday, August 29th, 2014
paleo-plantain-chipspp_w717_h478Start with some green plantains, which I like to think of as a less sugary banana. They’re a bit harder to peel than your typical bananas, so it’s best to use a knife to score down the sides and then peel off the skin. Once you get the skin off, it’s just a case of slicing them. The thinner the slices, the more crispy and delicious the chips and found keeping the plantains in the fridge helped to make them  more solid, and then slicing a bit easier.
Then take a saucepan, and pour enough coconut oil into it so that the coconut oil comes around 1/4 inch up the pan. That should be enough to fry the chips in batches. Medium heat  is enough to get a good frying action going. The slices do tend to stick together so drop them in one at a time, ensuring they each get their own space in the oil. The coconut oil should be hot enough so that as soon as the plantain slice hits the oil, it starts to gently sizzle. Because we’re frying such thin slices, it should take less than a minute for it to be done.  Using a slotted spoon scoop them out the minute they  turn golden. Be careful you’re dealing with really hot oil.  Salt is optional, my kids love them with out the salt but my husband always puts it on when we’re not looking.
Hope you love them as much as I do!

Post Exercise Nutrition (recovery-drink) Part 1

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

rogue-shaker-bottle-2_2It’s hard not to notice the assorted blender bottles filled with some mysterious, powdery concoctions that CrossFitters run to inhale after they finish a WOD.  Have you ever wondered exactly what it is we’re drinking and why?  What is this strange powder? These interesting concoctions are our important post-exercise recovery drinks.  Now, allow me to explain the “why.”

Post-exercise nutrition can improve the quality and the rate of recovery after a serious exercise. The right nutrition ingested immediately following a workout, and up to two hours later, can drastically improve one’s recovery time. Classic signs of poor recovery include fatigue, lackluster workouts, extended muscle soreness, lack of increased strength, and lack of increased muscle mass.  Obviously, we’ll experience certain degrees of these signs at different times, but wouldn’t it be great to minimize them?

First, a little science lesson to aid in your understanding:  From a physiological perspective, muscle fibers are made of protein and will increase in size if the protein is synthesized. Exercise increases the breakdown in muscle protein while decreasing protein synthesis. Exercise also depletes glycogen (consisting of glucose molecules), which is what the muscles use for energy.

The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to replenish the glycogen stores and encourage protein synthesis, or muscle building. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of glucose, the molecule used to build glycogen. By ingesting carbohydrates, glycogen stores are replenished rapidly, which is important because consistently low glycogen stores lead to a breakdown of muscle protein and a loss of muscle mass. Carbohydrates also increase the body’s insulin concentration, which is essential for glycogen and protein synthesis. Carbohydrates also promote the release of growth hormone, which promotes protein synthesis, and leads to increased muscle mass. Finally, carbohydrates decrease cortisol concentration. Cortisol, also known as a “stress hormone,” is released in response to both physical and psychological stress. During a workout, cortisol levels are increased, causing muscle protein to break down.

Adding protein to a carbohydrate mix will significantly enhance the release of insulin compared to carbohydrate alone.  Whey protein is quickly absorbed, while additional amino acids increase their availability to be used as building blocks. An important essential amino acid in a recovery drink is leucine because it works synergistically with insulin to maximize protein synthesis.


What does the the optimal post-recovery drink nutrition look like after a high intensity WOD?  The drink would consist of a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, with no more than a 2:1 ratio. If the recovery drink is consumed immediately following exercise, the rate of glycogen synthesis is three times higher than if it is consumed two hours after exercise completion. Therefore, it is important and more beneficial to consume the drink as soon after exercising as possible.


So, the next time you witness a box full of sweaty, exhausted CrossFitters reaching for their blender bottles filled with mysterious powder, you’ll know they are just making sure to get the most out of all the hard work they just did.

In the next post, we’ll compare and contrast the most popular recovery drinks!rogue-shaker-bottle-2_2

CRAVINGS: BEAT YOUR SWEET FAT TOOTH

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

CRAVINGS: BEAT YOUR SWEET FAT TOOTH
Humans are hardwired to crave fat and sugar.

Perhaps you knew this.  I’ve known it for awhile and tried to convince my sister that we could break the human system.  All she had to do was let me use her son as my control group.  No big deal.
“Hey! I have an idea!!!…”
Sis: “Hmmm…”
“No. It’s cool. You’re gonna love it!…”
Sis: “Hmmm…”
“Let’s do an experiment! You should feed Zach only ice cream, candy, cakes, sugar, basically all junk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then, for dessert, feed him salad, veggies, chicken, all things NOT junk.  Then we’ll see if he will only crave good food, tricking his body into thinking that his treats are actually treats when in fact they are healthy foods.  It will be the opposite.  Ta-daaaaaa!!!!”
Sis: “Do you remember mom dropping you on your head at some point?”
“Um, no…why?”
Needless to say, I didn’t get far.  But honestly, am I the only one who feels points (and possibly cash) should be awarded for creatively using a family member in a science experiment while attempting to bio-hack our systems and possibly
save

MAN

KIND?!!!?

Whatever.  I tried.

WHY ARE WE PREDISPOSED TO LIKING THIS STUFF SO MUCH??

Before you get your Paleo panties all in a bunch, remember that these foods were a big part of human survival.  Sugars (fruits and wild honey) and fats (animals, nuts, avocados) ensured high calories and lots of energy.  Since there were no “Cave Cafe’s” to pop in and grab lunch, food was never a guarantee and skipping meals (or more) was a regular event.

We can assume the following conversation never took place:

“Oh, no fruit for me. I’m trying to cut back, get lean for summer. Grok’s been checking me out and I’m really hoping he picks me to club and drag back to the den tonight.”

SAID NO CAVE GIRL EVER!

We ate what we could, when we could, as much as we could. The fattier foods, the sweeter foods, meant health, nutrition and life.  So one could say we are genetically engineered to have a sweet tooth AND a fat tooth.

What’s the problem with that today?  You know the problem.  It’s hanging over your belt right now.  Calories, aka food, is everywhere. Plus, we just aren’t as active as we once were.  No longer are we needing an abundance of calories to chase our protein and forage our carbs.  We sit and sleep 90% of the day.  Not to mention the majority of sugars (carbs) and fats most of the population is consuming these days are coming from highly refined, unnatural sources like…

High fructose corn syrup/corn syrup: soda, candy, “fruit” snacks, cereals, dressing, cough medicine/drops, breads…everything under the sun.

Hydrogenated oils: margarine, crackers, chips, cakes, cookies, Hostess crap, unnatural peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan etc.,  fake cheese (CHEEZ WHIZ), microwave popcorn, non-stick spray…everything under the sun.

Vegetable oil: corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, soybean which is used to cook or is added to everything under the sun.

Agave nectar: Labeled as a healthier alternative to sugar.  It’s not, and here’s why.

Grains and all by-products: flours, baked products, fried stuff, coated crap and all things under the sun.

With the over consumption of these poor choices, it’s safe to say these foods are a huge part of modern man’s demise. HUGE!

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

Stay away from that stuff as often as possible. Just do it.

But Jaime, I like to have a treat every once in a while. Can’t  I…

No.

But…

No.

You’re mean.

Yes.  BUT, I care about your insides probably more than you do.

Look, I understand that on occasion, it’s nice to have a little something outside the meat, veggie regime.  For some, eating Paleo or just real food can seem a little strict, harsh, boring and plain ol’ plain.  And if you’re used to all that stuff I mentioned above, I can see how this could be true, but mostly that’s an excuse because that is poison and real food is not.  Also, why does a ‘treat’ have to compromise our health?  Literally, that stuff is killing us.

Assuming you’re not hungry, not thirsty and not bored, here’s 3 suggestions for feeding your real food or paleo sweet tooth:

  1. A few frozen cherries, berries, mango chunks or whatever.  I like frozen because it takes longer to eat.  If you mix with a few spoonfuls of coconut milk (the real deal out of a can), it’s like fruity ice cream.

  2. 85% - 100% chocolate bar.  The higher the cacao content, the less sugar and better for you.

  3. Dried fruit is not a great option because of the high concentrations of sugar content. But, if you’re the one person who can have a slice of dried mango and be done, awesome…and who are you?

* Keep in mind that if your goal is to lose fat and lean out, then giving into your sweet tooth on a regular basis is not the way to go.  In fact, some folks say you shouldn’t give in to your sweet tooth and that by doing so you are feeding a baby throwing a tantrum.  Instead, try to eat some sort of protein and healthy fat like salmon.  I like this but also find it to be unrealistic at times.  Be smart. Know what you want. Your call.

3 suggestions to feed your real food or paleo fat tooth:

  1. A can of full fat coconut milk dumped in a mason jar and set in the fridge will turn into super thick cream.  AMAZING!  A spoonful of that will do you good. Heavy whipping cream works too, if you’re good with dairy.

  2. Coconut butter or some nut butter on a spoon. Smashed avocados work too.

  3. Animal fat. Seriously.  Maybe you really are craving some meat like a burger, steak, fatty fish or chicken thighs.

*Quality fats like these are not the culprit in our ever increasing obesity epidemic.  It’s the “franken-fats” that I talked about before.  It ALWAYS comes down to the quality of the food.

Feed your real food or paleo…ish fat and sweet tooth.

Sometimes you really do want a cookie, a cake, a triple chocolate fudge bar.  Ok, so figure out how to MAKE it by swapping out the crap ingredients like wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup and margarine, and start using better ingredients like raw honey, grass fed butter, coconut flour, almond meal, whole eggs and dark cocoa powder.

It’s easier than you think.  But, if you need ideas or help, check out Elana’s Pantry for gluten free, paleo, dairy free, grain free baked goods, treats, desserts, breads and all things we, the humans, love.

PALEO 101…and why I hate the word Paleo. by Jaime Jereb

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

One more time…
I want a burger.
“Yeah.”
With all the stuff.
“Yeah.”
The meat. The veggies. The mustard…
“Yeah.”
I just don’t want the bun.
“Let me repeat.  It’s a burger, no cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard…,”

Right.
“Did you want your bun toasted?”
Ugh…Yes! Like your brain.  Thanks.
Before it was cool to be gluten-free, these were my conversations.  That or “oh, you must be on that Atkins Diet.”

Really? I must? Did I just order a bag of Splenda and 42 Kraft single slices?

BURGER.  NO BUN.   PLEASE!!!

Last week you heard me talk about plain ol’ food. Real food that is. If you haven’t read that blog, go click on the pretty blue letters and read up.  If you have and are curious about learning the paleo basics, then sit back, grab a hunk of meat and continue to learn the basics behind the original human diet.

The Paleolithic (paleo) Diet has come a long way. A couple million years to be exact.  Early humans hunted and fished.  Early humans gathered and foraged. Early humans did not drive to McDonald’s for their latest freaky creation.

McLobster? Really?

Up until 10,000 years ago, the dawn of agriculture, we were eating what nature provided:  Animals, seasonal fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts, seeds and we drank water.  You might better know this stuff as food.  Everything was organic, whole and real. Animals were healthy and lean from running around in sunshine and eating what nature intended them to eat, not what we force them to eat.  We were healthy, muscular, strong, had good skin, teeth and vision.  If we made it out of childhood, not eaten by a sharp toothed cat, and stayed clear of infection, we actually lived a relatively long life.

Our best understanding to date leads us to believe that for millions of years:

  • Nothing was processed.

  • Nothing was cultivated.

  • Nothing was harvested.

  • Nothing was domesticated.

WE SIMPLY ATE:

The aforementioned foods were literally how human beings not only survived but thrived. So, it makes sense that the Paleo diet is not a fad but rather the way our bodies were evolutionarily designed to eat.

WARNING:  THIS MAY BUM SOME OF YOU OUT.

I hate to point out the obvious (no I don’t) but this also means that for millions of years, we did NOT eat grains, beans, legumes, Pop Tarts, Cheerios, Snickers, bread, peanut butter, Twizzlers, dairy, Applebee’s, Sour Patch Kids, OR drink alcohol, coffee, soda, Snapple, smoke or chew gum.

Is it any wonder that since being introduced to these foods, across the board our health has decreased dramatically?

NO!

Am I saying because these foods were not available then that we should not consume them now?

NO…ISH

Take them out, see how you feel.  Bring them back.  If they hurt you, Pop Tarts and PB&J isn’t for you. Remember the “If a caveman didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t eat it” mantra?  Let’s not get too hung up on that. We are not cavemen.  We have Facebook for God’s sake.  Plus, I imagine that if a caveman saw a bag of Oreos laying around, he would happily kill his entire tribe as to not be interrupted mid-gorge. I think we all know I totally would.

Food was scarce.  They ate what they could.  It just so happens that the food available were animals and plants.  From an evolutionary stand point, we just haven’t evolved to the point of being able to physically process more modern foods like dairy, grains, beans and sugars. And some foods we just shouldn’t eat ever, like McLobsters, high fructose corn syrup and gluten <—-click on that to learn the problems with gluten.

Think of it like this:  When you change your dog’s food, what does the bag say? ‘Introduce slowly.’  If not, you know damn well what’s going to happen to that IKEA Yin Yang rug.  In our case, there just hasn’t been enough time.  As mentioned in the real food blog, we have changed our diet more in 60 years than in the past million. That’s a flick in earth’s history.  It’s nothing.  And while you may not be scooting with Sparky on that IKEA rug, collectively, and to some degree, we are ALL being affected by this modern westernized diet. <——- download the pdf file on this page.

#FUNTIMESWITHMODERNFOOD

coronary heart disease

o b e s i t y

hypertension

type 2 diabetes

epithelial cell cancers

autoimmune disease

osteoporosis

#IT’SNOTLOOKINGGOODPEOPLE and #WHATAREHASHTAGSANYWAY?

I could go on and on with the science, case studies, big words, more hash tagging, but why do that when I can insert a cool info graph? Reading is so much better with pictures.

We get a lot of questions from customers about Paleo — why we don’t use bread and if The Farmer’s accent is real are just conversation starters. (Anyone who says arse instead of ass has to be legit, right?).  Hopefully, this gave you at least a brief (and believe me, this is brief) introduction into Paleo basics and the reasoning behind it.  It’s a good place to start, especially if you’re experiencing digestive ailments, lack of energy, weight problems or full blown disease.

6 TIPS TO GET STARTED

#1.  Go here. Here. And here. Learn as much as you can.

#2.  Don’t over complicate it.  Start with the basics.  Try new things. If you get lost, go back to the basics.

#3.  If you still need help transitioning into a Paleo lifestyle, there are PLENTY of recipe resources and books to help you along the way.  To name a few:

  • Chrissy Gower’s Paleo Slowcooker book.

  • Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo

  • And one of my favorites, wait for it….wait for it……PALEO HAPPY HOUR by the fabulous Kelly Milton.  If delicious happy hour drinks and small plates are your thing (and why wouldn’t they be?) , you’re going to need this book.  It hasn’t hit the shelves yet, but the site Paleo Gurls Kitchen has plenty to get you started.  I’m still drooling over her avocado margarita.  Yep, that happened!

#4.  If you’re interested in trying out the real Paleo diet, awesome!  But, give yourself a chance to let it work.  Don’t just stop eating bread for a week and expect to lose 40 pounds.  Try it for 30 days and be true to it.

#5.  Be aware of Paleo traps.  There are a ton of misleading information out there claiming that “this is Paleo” and “that is Paleo.”  See #1, get educated and don’t forget #2 -  stick to the basics if you get lost.

#6.  Ask me for help!!  If you are questioning how to get on track with eating real food, Paleo or anything Jaime Jereb approved, contact me for a nutrition consult. I promise I won’t yell at you (in life or in all caps).    jaime@inthecave.com

Are you Paleo? A real food lover?  We’d LOVE to hear your experiences, tips and feedback. Leave a comment below. We sure appreciate you reading!


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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

REAL FOOD = NOT CRAP

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.

BENEFITS OF REAL FOOD

  • 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.

BENEFITS OF FAKE FOOD

None.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

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.

BUT, IT SAID IT WAS GOOD FOR ME!

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.

A REAL FOOD VS. FAKE FOOD MEAL — SIMILAR, BUT OH SO DIFFERENT.

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?

MORE THINGS TO SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF YOU


SO WHERE DID WE GO WRONG? OH, I DON’T KNOW…


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.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

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.

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

Directions

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

gluten_free

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.

gluten-free

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.