L+D Week 4

Where does the time go? Week 3 was all about surviving off leftovers and whole foods hot bar. There was a trip to C-Springs which set me back with cooking but I did eat the best pork chop I will ever have at Euclid Hall in Denver. Has anyone had a Kurobuta porkchop?

Not a lot of cooking happened except for bacon and eggs last week but it was still a strict paleo week. See how being prepared pays off (or just allows you to cling to a strict paleo lifestyle w/o falling off the wagon).

Several weeks and no alcoholic drinks later…brings us to week 4. By now you shouldn’t be having cravings unless 1 – you cheated or 2 – this is your first time doing paleo and its just taking a little longer.

Menu for week 4

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Kale (see week 2)
Slow cooked pork butt
Braised red cabbage
Chicken liver and heart pâté

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Slow cooked pork butt

1 pork butt (between 3-6 lbs)
Salt

In a slow cooker, place between a pork butt (make sure the fatty side is facing up). Salt generously. Add a cup or two of water to the slow cooker (don’t pour it on top of the pork and undo all the salty goodness). Cook for between 6 – 9 hours. You’ll know it’s done b/c the meat will basically fall apart like a pulled pork BBQ.

Braised red cabbage (modified from Cook With Jamie, p358)

Coconut oil
1 lb of bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large red cabbage, chopped
1.5 cups balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to a heated saucepan. Add the bacon a cook till browned. Add the onion and cook till translucent. Add the cabbage and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and let cook for about an hour or until cabbage is softened.

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Chicken liver pâté (modified from Practical Paleo p384)

1 lb chicken livers and hearts
1 small onion, chopped
2 tblspns + 1/2 cup butter or bacon fat
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tblspn fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté the liver, hearts and onions in 2 tblspns of butter until meat is browned and onions are tender. Add the vinegar, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice and cook uncovered till most of the liquid is gone.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend to a smooth paste along w/ the rest of the butter until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. Mmmmm, so creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put pâté in a shallow dish and refrigerate. Enjoy with sliced veggies.

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BLD Paleo Resources

So you’ve made it this far…nice work. Time to learn a little more about the paleo lifestyle. Here’s a list of things that have helped me stay on paleo or get back on track when I’ve strayed too far off course.

1. Pyrex bowls
2. Podcasts (Robb Wolf’s Paleo Podcast, Relenless Roger and the Caveman, Balanced Bites)
3. Coffee
4. Grocery delivery services

1. Pyrex bowls

You can NEVER have enough of these around the house. Try not to use the plastic Tupperware containers and definitely don’t ever microwave food in anything plastic. Who knows what is leeching into our food. If you don’t mind doing dishes then I recommend few small Pyrex bowls for breakfast, a few larger ones for lunch and then a few 3-4 qt size containers for storing leftovers.

2. Podcasts

Want to learn more about paleo but hate to read? Slow day at work? Drive to work and need something to take your mind off the traffic? Podcasts.

If you have an iPhone just go to the podcast app and download a few. I dabble in Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution, Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor and Balanced bites. You’ll find various takes on paleo and sometimes they go off topic but in general you’ll pick up some knowledge here and there.

3. Coffee

If you attended the paleo challenge kickoff then you probably heard Brian talk about coffee. Sometimes I love when obvious truths are stated. You don’t need to put all that junk in your coffee if you’re drinking good coffee. Sorry but Starbucks is absolute crap. Why else would you want to load up on sugar, milk and other artificial flavorings. Just drink an effing cup of quality coffee.

My favorite…Zeke’s Coffee. It’s a Baltimore based small batch roastery. Get the charm city blend.
If you want to splurge…pick up a chemex too! I bought one this past summer.

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4. Grocery Delivery Services

I’ve used two different services. One, b/c I wanted to force myself to incorporate local seasonal veggies that I wouldn’t normally buy and two, b/c I wanted to get my hands on some delicious pastured meats from polyface farm. Basically you set up an account, place an order and food shows up at your door in boxes w/ freezer packs. Then you don’t have to go to the grocery store (as much) and you’re supporting local farms. Win, win.

Washington’s Green Grocer I used for veggies. Relay Foods I used for the polyface farm meats.

And finally, in case you were wondering what I had for dinner tonight. It was whole foods hot bar. A fist sized piece of roast (fattiest chunks I could find) and raw veggies in balsamic and olive oil. I was a little hungry after that so I ate a few tablespoons of kerrygold butter. Don’t judge!

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BLD Week 2

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Part of doing paleo is learning (through trial and error) what works for you by listening to your body. How have you been listening to your body this past week? Have you not been losing weight? Not sleeping b/c you’re not tired at night? Are you feeling sluggish during the day?

Take week 2 as an opportunity to experiment a little more with your diet and exercise. Not losing weight? Try eating a little less or increasing your intake of vegetables and decreasing the meat. Hit the track or head over to the W&L pool for a few laps. Not sleeping well? Leave a few hours between dinner and sleep to digest food. Adjust the temperature so it’s a little colder at night. Feeling sluggish during the day? Try a different meal for breakfast and make sure you have enough to eat.

If week 1 wasn’t working for you…do something about it.

If week 1 did work for you, take note of what worked and how your body is reacting. If you we’re eating absolute crap food before then you are probably losing weight around the waist and your face may look thinner. You might not be able to tell but your coworkers probably can.

Has anyone had the pleasure of defending the paleo and Crossfit lifestyle at work? What a delight that is. You’ll catch more shit than people eating processed food and people will think wods are either insane or look unbelievably easy.

What are we making this week?

Tonight I’ve already made a breakfast casserole for the week. This time I used frozen spinach, chorizo sausage, zucchini, carrots and onions (see week 1 for the recipe). I’m working on a modified version of spaghetti squash bolognese (w/o the squash), slow cooked leg of lamb and as a recovery meal (for the giant) mashed sweet potato and bacon.

Veggie and Meat Bolognese (Practical Paleo p280)

3 zucchini, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 can of coconut milk
Salt & pepper to taste
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb buffalo liver, finely chopped

Simmer the meat together till cooked, add the coconut milk and salt & pepper and cook for a few min. Add the veggies and cook on medium low for another 20 min. Done.

Mediterranean Lamb Roast (Practical Paleo p320)

4 lbs leg of lamb
2 onions, quartered
4 carrots, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive brine
32 oz can of tomatoes

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook between 6-10 hours.

LD Week 2

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Thinking about what to make this week. Thawing a few things out that I ordered from Relayfoods last week. I’ll put a post together on resources soon.

How was everyone’s first week? Are you eating enough?

One thing worth mentioning is paying attention to how much more quality food you’re eating during the paleo challenge. Some of us are eating two lunches or several more meals compared to normal. This is completely ok. You should not be starving. Eat till you feel full. Take this in to account when you’re planning out meals this week.

One thing that helped me during week 1 was keeping an extra dozen eggs and a few packs of bacon around. If you get hungry just cook up some breakfast (I did this twice for dinner last week) and that will tide you over.

L Week 1

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Turns out I made enough meat for a few days but didn’t have enough veggies so I made a few servings of my favorite nutrient dense veggie, kale. A few years ago I went to a really great cooking class by Monica Corrado (back before she had moved to CO and was still in VA). I learned how to make kale and beef stock and also that everything I was eating and using to cook was bad for me. She focused on whole, healthful food mostly from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon. I won’t go on and on but this class really changed they way I cooked and ate.

Cruciferous veggies are some of the most nutrient dense ones out there (kale, chard, collards) but they are difficult to digest so they must be cooked slightly. Additionally it further helps to break down further if you have something acidic to eat along side the veggie. Some fresh squeezed lemon juice or a few drops of vinegar are perfect.

Sautéed Kale
2 bunches of kale
1 tbsp butter
Lemon or vinegar
Salt
2 cloves of garlic

Fill a large pot about 1/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil. In the meantime slice the leaf from the rib or main stalk using a sharp knife. Discard the ribs.

Place the kale in the boiling water for about 2 min or until it changes color. Do not overcook. Strain the kale.

In the same pot heat the butter and add the garlic. Simmer until the garlic is browned. Add the kale. Sautéed for about 1 min.

Serve with lemon juice or vinegar.

Back to earlier this week. I wanted to mention that I’ve been eating gelatin with all my meals. No, not jell-o! I’m talking about plain, grass fed, chemical free gelatin. I have two kinds. Bernard Jensen’s and Great Lakes. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle it on my food and sometimes I’ll make the jell-o type with herbal tea.

Before you get all “eww that’s gross” let me just say that I haven’t heard anything crack or pop for a few days now (talking about my joints people). Just something to try.

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D Week 1

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Chicken and cabbage. How much boring does that get? Psike. It actually gets awesome now. Seriously, how awesome is crispy chicken skin and braised cabbage in bacon fat? So awesome.

How is everyone feeling so far? Do you have enough energy? Are you hungry? If you said ok, no and no (in that order) then you’re doing it all wrong. If you’re hungry, eat more. If you are running low on energy, guess what? Eat more.

Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs (Practical Paleo p. 266)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp gluten-free mustard
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 tsp dried sage
12 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the melted oil, mustard, pepper sage and salt. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and brush the mixture evenly over each one.

Bake for 45 min or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the center of one of the chicken thighs.

Nom Nom Paleo’s Braised Cabbage (link here)

It makes cabbage awesome. I omitted the other veggies b/c I got lazy.

So that’s the menu so far this week. I have an emergency 5 pound Boston pork butt from polyface farms stashed away in the freezer in case I need to make something without running to the store.

What else do we want to talk about? I have a short list for a few more posts in addition to the menu each week…

1. Snacks
2. Items to ensure success with the paleo challenge
3. Bloodwork results from my last personal paleo challenge
4. Coffee
5. Resources / where to shop / podcasts

B+L week 1

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If you haven’t figured out the BLD part well, it’s Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Surprise.

Let’s get to what we’re eating for B+L this week.

B: Breakfast Casserole (my own recipe)
L: Italian style stuffed peppers (Practical Paleo p. 300) and an avocado

Breakfast Casserole
1 dozen eggs
1 bell pepper
5 large pork sausages
3 carrots
4 small zucchini

Cube/slice/dlice (whatever you want) all the veggies and set them aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove all the pork from the casing and brown in a le cruset with some butter or coconut oil. Add all the veggies and cook over medium heat for another 5 min. Crack the eggs into a separate container and beat them until combined. Grab a casserole dish and grease it up with coconut oil or butter. Eat a spoonful of coconut oil or butter, do it. Transfer the pork and veggies into a casserole dish. Pour the eggs over the pork and veggies. Place in oven for about 40 min or until the sides begin to brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Boom. Now you have paleo breakfast for a week. Unless you live with a giant…and then its breakfast for about 2.5 days.

Italian style stuffed peppers (modified…b/c I don’t want to type it all out and b/c I made it slightly different)
3 bell peppers
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
Pink Himalayan sea salt and ground pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2.5 lbs ground beef
3 carrots (I bought a huge back and I’m trying to use them up)
3 zucchini

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat coconut oil in le cruset and sauté the onions and garlic, adding salt and pepper. Brown slightly. Add tomatoes, zucchini and carrots. Add beef. Cook till done…don’t brown it. Slice bell peppers in half, fill with the meat/veggie mixture and put them in the oven for 15-20 min.

If you can guess what’s in the baggie in the picture then good for you. I’ll think about posting what it is when we talk about dinner tomorrow. I’ll give you a hint…it’s something that I’m supplementing all my meals with during this paleo challenge when possible.

Time to try to get 8 hours of sleep.

Opening Day of the Paleo Challenge

Staying strict during a five week paleo challenge is totally possible. The key is to plan ahead.

Planning ahead means you already know what you can and can’t eat or you better know how to figure it out on the fly. It also means that Sundays are going to be dedicated to cooking amazeballs paleo deliciousness.

This blog is hopefully going to keep me (and possibly others) on track, motivated and full of awesome paleo food during the challenge. I will primarily be sourcing recipes from the following two cookbooks:

1. Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
2. Paleo Slow Cooking

The main guidelines are:

1. Meat w/ every meal
2. Lots of veggies
3. No fruit or nuts
4. Healthful carbs only following a workout (unless you’re really trying to lose weight and then you skip this completely)

Ready? Go!