Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fruit Basket Upset!

Fruit, let’s move beyond the fructose controversy and call it delicious.  It may not be the perfect choice for everyone and should NEVER replace vegetables, but enjoying some fruit every once and awhile is okay!  Now, if the only fruits that have passed your lips in the past month are apples, bananas, and oranges – it’s definitely time to “upset your fruit basket”.  And, there’s no time like now to get started!  Why?  December is National Exotic Fruit Month!  Take a trip to the grocery store and check out some of the ‘crazy’, nutrient packed options that you’ve never heard of - let alone tasted.  I’m not talking about switching from red apples to green apples here – get wild!!  Every time you shop make it a goal to try a new fruit and while you’re at it throw in a vegetable that doesn’t start with ‘brocc’ and end with ‘oli’… 

Throw a party for your taste buds with some of these options:

Kohlrabi, arugula, jicama, rutabaga, diakon radish, delicata squash, okra, beets, turnips, mushrooms, artichoke, endive, asparagus, bok choy, yucca…
For more ideas check out the Vegetable Database

Kumquat, pummelo, star fruit, guava, ugli fruit, pomegranate, lychee, cherimoya, casaba melon, persimmon, figs, loganberries, jackfruit, kiwi, plantain, pineapple, blood oranges, mango, passion fruit… 
For more ideas head to the Fruit Database

What's in your cart this week?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Are you "Well Fed"??

There's a new kid on the Paleo Cookbook block and you're definitely going to want to make this one your friend!  The latest and greatest debut will help make sure you are "Well Fed" into the New Year.  So, who is this 'new kid'?  It's "Well Fed - Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat", (and who doesn't??).  This one comes from Melissa Joulwan - you may know her from the awesome blog 'The Clothes Make the Girl' (and if you don't, I highly recommend you head over and check it out!).  Melissa has put together a super - grain, sugar, legume and dairy free recipe collection that even the most culinarily (I made that word up...) challenged folks can successfully make and enjoy.  

There's no fancy techniques or ingredients and it's not an intimidating 500 page tome that requires a magnifying glass and french dictionary to read.  Nope, Melissa definitely employed the KISS principal - and that's a good thing!  So, what do you get?  Well, there's the option of a 175 page soft cover book OR a PDF ebook - your choice!!  And you can even download a FREE, 30 page PDF preview to check it out - it's a 'try before you buy' bonus!!  Once you decide to make "Well Fed" part of your kitchen cookbook collection (and you will...), prepare to be 'Well Fed' for life!

The forward was written by none other than Dallas and Melissa from over at the Whole9, so be prepared to be entertained and if that's not enough - every single recipe is Whole30 friendly!!  No modifications, omissions or guess work!  PERFECT!  If you're a 'cook once eat all week' kind of chef (welcome to my world...), Melissa helps you set up your one-day 'Cooking WOD' - and there's a 60 minute cut-off time...  3,2,1, GO!!!  You also find out how to stock your Paleo pantry and what kitchen equipment you'll need to be successful.  

I know - get to the important stuff already...  You're all thinking, "what about the recipes?" and "are there pictures?"  Um, AWESOME, simple, and delicious!!!  The pictures are great!  The recipes - Meat and Spinach Muffins, Cocoa Toasted Cauliflower, Jicama Home Fries, Meatza Pie (no special 'flours' needed!!), Caramelized Coconut Chips...  I've only had this book for four days and those are the ones I've made so far - all very simple and so good!!!  

Even if you don't think you need another Paleo Cookbook (this is not even a possible thought in my world), check out the FREE, 30 page sampler  - you won't be sorry!!!  And, if you still have some 'last minute' holiday shopping to do - here's your solution, no trip to the mall required!!

Are you hungry?  Get "Well Fed".

Friday, October 21, 2011

Make it Delicious - "Make It Paleo"!

I have been happily cooking and eating absolutely terrific food using recipes from my Paleo Comfort Foods and Everyday Paleo cookbooks.  Honestly, I didn't really think it could get any better.  I mean, what was left?  Everyday Paleo  is full of easy, family friendly, downright awesome recipes and Paleo Comfort Foods, well the name pretty much says it all there.  How can you miss with comfort food?  I highly recommend adding both books to your cookbook library ASAP!!  So, back to happy living and eating...  I was thinking life was good and figured that was pretty much the end of the Paleo cookbook line.  And then - (are you sitting down?) what do I get?  An advanced copy of "The Food Lovers Make it Paleo" cookbook and holy taste bud party!

This is the latest MUST HAVE cookbook for any and all current paleo followers and would be an AWESOME gift for friends and family that are on the fence or haven't heard much about the whole paleo lifestyle.  This book has over 200 gluten and grain free recipes.  There are however, some recipes that call for high-quality dairy ingredients and natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup), but a treat every once and awhile is totally acceptable and healthy!  

Do you miss Chinese food, French, Mexican?  Well, you needn't suffer any longer - "Make It Paleo" has got them all - beef with broccoli,   sushi (yes really), chicken satay, lasagna, buffalo wings, grain-free granola, huevos rancheros, and let's not forget dessert!  Can you say ICE CREAM!!!  Yes, my dream come true!  Pumpkin, mint-chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, and more - all ice cream!!!  There are also awesome recipes for carrot cake, chocolate pie, frosting, fudge and cookies - all perfect for holiday baking and get togethers.  

So, what are you waiting for?  Make it delicious with "Make It Paleo" today!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Need Some Paleo Comfort?

This week I got a gift in the mail and it's the best gift I've gotten in quite a while.  When the mail guy said he had a package for me I hugged him because I knew what it was.  I was WAITING for this to show up (and FYI I am not a good waiter...).  Now I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats wondering what I got.  Well, it wasn't that check from the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes that I've been expecting for the last five years or so, (that one must have gotten lost in the mail...).  And it wasn't the complete third season of "True Blood" from Netflix (that one's still on the way...).  No, it was even better!  I finally got my advanced copy of the brand new, release date, September 12th, "Paleo Comfort Foods" cookbook by Julie and Charles Mayfield!!

This book is like the Paleo cookbook equivalent of the Bible - I kid you not!  Paleo fried chicken, enchiladas, barbeque sauce, ketchup, sweet potato pie, biscuits and gravy, chocolate pudding...  The only thing that could make this book better - a killer recipe for ice cream.  Maybe they're holding out for the second edition...  

What makes this even more exciting, after meeting and talking to Julie and Charles at the Ancestral Health Symposium, I decided I was going to attempt to do my version of a "Julie and Julia".  It's my mission to cook my way through the book and blog about my experience.  A few things you should know: I am NOT a gourmet chef.  I do a pretty good job of throwing things together making them 'edible', but a culinary genius I am not.  I also live in South Dakota - the nearest Whole Foods is about a six hour drive.  So, I will be faced with a bit of shopping adversity.  The plan is to make at least one recipe per week and post how much it cost to make, details of the ingredient hunt, my cooking experience, and finally how it turned out.  There will be pictures**, a taste rating system, and flavor details.  **Disclaimer - my pictures will not look nearly as good as those in the actual book, but I will do my best to not cut-off half of the plate...**  Julie and Charles have offered to give feedback, (tell me what I did wrong) and offer moral support (I'm going to need it).  

I have a few kitchen tools to get before I can begin on my endeavor.  There is a section of the book that outlines the utensils and equipment that Julie and Charles recommend, (unfortunately the microwave is not one of them...), and I am going out of town at the end of the month (more on that soon!).  My projected start date for this project is October 1st.  In the meantime, get a copy of this book (and one for every friend and family member that could use one - I have three on order and am planning to get three more for Christmas gifts).  Cook along with me - let's make it a team adventure!!

Order your copy here: and...

Let's get cooking!  Who's in?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Ancestral Health Symposium - It was AWESOME!

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to have attended the first annual Ancestral Health Symposium in Los Angeles.  It was an absolutely surreal experience with a spectacular line-up of "Paleo celebrities" in attendance and speaking.  Just take a look at the packed schedule!  It was hard to decide which presentation to attend in many cases!
I found it amazing how open and available the speakers made themselves to attendees throughout the conference.  Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson, Michael Eades, Mat LaLonde and so many more, floated around throughout the conference talking, posing for photos and just being 'real'.  It was great!

There were also some really great poster presentations.  The Whole9 had an excellent - simple, easy to apply poster outlining the guidelines of paleo living.  There were also great posters from David Pendergrass, Jonathan Carey, and many more (they are all listed here). 

I know many of you were unable attend and wish you could have been there.  Well, you aren't completely out of luck!  On the Ancestral Health website there are links to the conference abstracts, PowerPoint slides, and streamed video of the presentations!  It's almost like being there!  

To sum it up it was an AWESOME weekend and I can't wait until next year!  I made some new friends - Julie and Charles of Paleo Comfort Foods fame, Bill and Hayley of Make It Paleo, Sara Fargoso of Everyday PaleoNicki Violetti, Chrissy Gower, John Welbourn, James Fitzgerald (OPT) and SO many more!
I had a great time hanging with Dallas (Big 'D') and Melissa from the Whole 9 - lunch was great, perfecting the "Bunny" with Charles Mayfield and just talking to everyone!  Special thanks to my awesome hotel roomies   Stephanie Greunke, and Elizabeth Wall.  I couldn't have asked for two better people to share a bathroom with!

Next year is going to be phenomenal!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Latest and Greatest...

Okay, so you're probably thinking I seriously disappeared.  Well, unfortunately you're not that lucky and I'm back.  The reason there haven't been a lot of blog posts lately has to do with the fact that I'm writing so many other blogs/newsletters/etc. and if I EVER want to make headway on any other projects something has got to give.  Well, that something has been my blog - and I apologize for that. 

In the event that you miss me when I go AWOL for a while (I'm really going to try my best not to), here are a few other places you can go to see what I'm up to!  As a regular columnist for Paleo Magazine I highly recommend subscribing.  You've only got to deal with me for a page or two and there's a whole bunch of other GREAT paleo information to be had between the covers.  I also frequently post on Robb Wolf's site.  My latest over there was this week's piece "Is This Paleo?".  It was meant to be a simple (slightly humorous) post - but resulted in some confusion.  Just browse through the comments.  I'm sticking to my guns though - for those trying to get a handle on the basics - the rules work!  Coming soon on Robb's blog I'll be doing a three-part Big "Fat" Blog post with the help of my RD partners in crime.  The first post should go up this week if everything goes as planned.  We're going to answer a bunch of your questions about 'fat'.  It's going to be good!  Additionally, I write for The TrainingBible Coaching newsletter and frequently contribute to several racing and athlete focused newsletters and publications.  To make a long story short - I write... a LOT!  Now, if only these were paying gigs... 

In other news, next weekend I'll be attending the Ancestral Health Symposium.  It's been referred to as "the Woodstock of the paleo world".  It's going to be an awesome experience!  Coming September 22nd, I will be on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb Podcast.  Right now I've got several clients and athletes that are doing awesome work on their paleo journeys to optimal health and performance.  If you or someone you know is looking to improve health, nutrition, performance, energy, and life as a whole, let me know - I'm here to help!!

Well, that's my story.  Now, what have you been up to?


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease, and The "Whole" Grain Story...

What's the deal with all the gluten/grain talk?  Many people have come to the realization that gluten and/or grains make them feel 'less than optimal' if not completely miserable.  But think back five to ten years ago.  Do you remember hearing much about 'celiac disease' or 'gluten intolerance'?  Ten years ago it was estimated that celiac disease incidence was about one case in every 2500 people.  Today, estimates are one case in every 133 people.  And although there is more awareness, only about one in every 4700 cases is actually diagnosed.  The undiagnosed individuals are unknowingly doing permanent intestinal, organ, and system wide damage every time they eat foods containing gluten and grains.  So, what is this gluten/grain stuff and why the heck have we gotten more intolerant?  Let's break it down piece by piece.
In order to better understand all of this (WARNING: it's going to get 'sciency' for a little while), it's important to look at and know what a grain is.

Whole Grain Definition & Illustration:
A Whole Grain is a cereal grain that contains cereal germ, endosperm, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.

The bran is the tough outside layer of the grain and has proteins, vitamins and minerals.  All 'whole grains' and whole grain products have the bran included, (brown rice, oats, quinoa, etc.)  The bran is where most of the lectins are.  A lectin is a protein that has a “key” that fits a “lock” of a specific carbohydrate.  All cell membranes contain carbohydrates.  If a lectin with the right “key” comes into contact with one of the carbohydrate “locks” in the gut, an artery, gland or organ, it ‘opens the lock’, disrupts, the cell membrane, and damages the cell.  The damage manifests as micro-perforations (tiny holes). These tiny holes let bacteria, intact proteins and other foreign substances escape the gut, gland, organ, etc.  Once free the escapees get into the blood stream, which signaling a series of immune and autoimmune responses to attack the foreign materials (NOT GOOD).  Additionally, lectins are resistant to stomach acid and digestive enzymes making them difficult or impossible to digest.

The endosperm or kernel of the grain is the inner portion and contains most of the complex carbohydrate and calories.  A perfect example of the kernel is a grain of white rice.

The germ is the embryo of the plant and the part that contains fatty acids.  It is the fatty acids that cause brown rice, and other "whole grains" to become rancid if kept too long.  The germ is also used to make vegetable oils.

Gluten Definition:
Gluten: (from Latin gluten "glue") is a protein in foods processed from wheat and related species, including barley, spelt, faro, kamut, and rye. 

There are two main classes of gluten: prolamines and glutelins. The prolamine gliadin is responsible for causing inflammation in gluten intolerance.  Additionally, gliadin catalyzes an immune response resulting in intestinal damage.  The difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance is: celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten; gluten intolerance is simply the inability to digest gliadin. 
Now that you have a handle on grains, lectins, and gluten (or at least a rough idea of what they are and do...), let's look into why there has been such an increase in the prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. 

Better diagnostic tests are definitely part of it - although, these tests are not always accurate or sensitive enough to detect all cases.  Another commonly cited reason for the increase is the amount of publicity, products, and information we are exposed to regarding the subject.  Some so called 'experts' report concern that many people are 'missing out' on 'valuable nutrients' found in whole grains because they have self-diagnosed gluten intolerance or celiac disease.  Finally and not commonly mentioned are today's "hybrid grains".  Yep, go figure in order to make our crops bigger, stronger, and give better yields there have been some changes made.  The fact is - grains we eat today have significantly more gluten than those that were eaten by our ancestors.  In Paleolithic times eating grains was highly uncommon, suggesting that we are likely not set-up to tolerate the grains and gluten that are so easily accessible today.  Combine being somewhat susceptible to gluten intolerance with the higher amounts of gluten in hybrid grains - and lo and behold we've got an epidemic.

Still not sure what to think about gluten and grains?  Is your bagel really worth a lifetime of health problems that could be traced back to 'something you ate'? 

And now a message from your gut (and you should ALWAYS 'listen to your gut')...
"Please use your brains.  Stay away from the grains."