Sunday, 30 December 2012

2013 - Lets Start As We Mean To Go On




Ah Christmas.

A time to rejoice, but unfortunately also a time many of us overdo it!
I have definitely been guilty of overdoing it. Too much food (good stuff and not so good stuff) and too much alcohol.
My system is well and truly due a RESET of epic proportions, and I am looking forward to it.



Breaking the cycle of bad eating is tough. Just as our bodies learn to love healthy food, it quickly comes to crave the sugars and processed foods we worked so hard to eradicate.

This is why a Whole30 reset is crucial for me. I am an all or nothing girl, requiring clearly defined goals. Perhaps it is deemed as unhealthy for most but for me, eating 100% Paleo is the only way for me to reset after a bit of overindulgence. I need clarity and cleanliness at every turn and find it liberating and exhilarating once my body gets used to it again. 

So 1st January looms and I am preparing for a month of 100% Paleo.

This means;

NO ALCOHOL
NO GRAINS
NO SUGARS
NO PROCESSED FOOD

No easy task, but totally possible.

2013 will also be an important year for me on a personal level as I am getting married in September so the turn of the New Year is even more exciting!

I hope you will follow my journey in 2013 and beyond and that you too enjoy the experience of eating clean and real food.




Thursday, 6 December 2012

Is Food The New Crack?





I have been eating a Paleo diet for over 18 months now and looking back at my first posts on here I realise how much this lifestyle has become an important part of my life.

When I first committed to eating this way I viewed it as a short time strategy to loose a few pounds around the tummy and feel better about myself in the mirror.

What I got was something so much more.

I evolved from a refined carbaholic to someone who is passionate about not just looking and feeling my best, but to someone who is passionate and AWARE of everything I eat.

I make decisions based not on the calorific content of food, not on its "Points value" or even it's saturated fat content, but rather how it exists as part of the meal I am eating and as part of my food intake for that day.

Food has to be about quality, substance and nutrient density and not just about gratification. It can be pleasurable but should not be therapy. It should be satisfying but not a crutch.

These are the main things I have learned in my journey so far.

As time as gone on and I have been inspired to make this passion a part of my long term plan, I have returned to part time education to train to be a nutritional therapist. I really believe stubbling upon the Paleo way of eating was a key part of my decision to take this new and exciting path, and it another reason I am thankful for it's discovery!

But following this clean, real food diet has also made me more aware of the bad state of society's diet.
People are all to happy to put such unbelievable crap in their bodies. Eating food based on it's points value rather than it's nutritional value is just wrong.

I am all to aware that not too many years ago I too believed low fat was healthy, that cracker bread was pretty good for me, and pasta was nutritious. But I none the less enjoyed vegetables and salads on a regular basis, and cooked homemade food from scratch the majority of the time.




People are well and truly addicted, and food is their drug.

Healthy eaters can be viewed as the enemy, the drug squad, ruining their buzz and not understanding their situation.

Food is these people's crack and we need a 10 step program, FAST.



Saturday, 8 September 2012

Marinated Ribeye Steak



Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 x Ribeye steaks
Marinade:
2 garlic cloves grated
2tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
1 tbsp Dried mixed herbs
1/2 tbsp of coconut or olive oil to fry

Directions:
Place the marinade ingredients in a glass dish and mix well ensuring all steak is coated.
Place in fridge to marinade for 45 mins to an hour.
When ready to cook, heat the pan with oil and add steak.
Cook first side for 2 minutes without moving. This will ensure a nice browned steak.
Turn your steak and cook for a further 3-7 minutes depending on your steak preferences.
I like mine medium so I cooked mine for another 4.
Rest for 5 minutes covered with foil.

Serve with roasted broccoli or veg of choice.



Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Benefits of Sauerkraut




As mentioned on my Facebook page today was a day of firsts for me. Not only did I manage to finally find and consume some coconut water today, I also took the plunge and bought some sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut or Fermented Cabbage is not a new development that is for sure! Archaeologists have discovered that early hunter gatherers used the fermenting process, mainly as a means of preservation. The Chinese have been fermenting foods since 200BC and have hailed the fermenting juice as a treatment for many ailments.

Apart from it's tangy almost vinegary flavour, which I found quite lovely actually, sauerkraut has many health benefits. The lactic acid provide a source of natural probiotic and promote good gut health and digestion. It is also a good source of Vitamin C and is said to contain levels of compounds which are said to prevent cancer.

While I bought jarred sauerkraut to taste it, to get the most of it's benefits it is recommended you make it yourself. I will definitely be trying this.

Find out how to make it here

So do yourself a favour this week and try something new. If you don't take the chance to try new things, we will never develop a taste for them. Take my advice and try sauerkraut - your won't regret it, and your gut will thank you for it!! It will most definitely become yet another new food I have discovered since turning Paleo, and hopefully it won't be the last!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Day 2 - Easier Than Expected

Happy Wednesday! :)
More than half way through the week and Day 2 of my 27 day Paleo "detox" almost complete.
It has been fairly easy so far.

Day 1 consisted of the following eats:
2 Boiled Eggs & Green Tea
Banana & Orange snacks
Lunch: Ham and salad with avocado
Dinner: Minced Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes, green beans
Snack: Almonds

I think the major aspect was alot less caffeine throughout the day and no excuses to eat  "treats" with the girls at work.This had started to become an issue and I was starting to have "just a tiny bit" too often. I decided to do this 27 day challenge to prove to myself I don't need to succumb to this food and also to remind myself of how far I have come. I did not want to loose sight of that to the point that I was eating crap all the time.

Day 2 (today) was a little more difficult. Not on the eating front, but energy wise as I was awake quite alot last night was a cough. I definitely drank more coffee than I had planned to, but I needed something to boost me.

Eats were as follows:

2 x boiled eggs with green tea
Banana, Almonds and Orange
Chicken and spinach salad with a mayo and grain mustard dressing
Dinner: Salmon with roasted veggies incl sweet potato and squash with broccoli
Snack: Sultanas

All in all things are going well and I feel less inflammed already. Although I am relatively good most of the time it is amazing what a few small tweaks can do. I have taken some echinacea and garlic to hopefully tackle my growing cold symptoms.

And it is off to get some therapy of another kind I go! ZZZZZ

Bye for now....

P.S I have no camera at the moment so excuse my lack of photos. Hopefully I get one soon.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Time To Return to Basics



Hey Paleo Peeps.

So, today is my 27th Birthday, and like the beginning of a New Year, for me this feels like a good time to change for the better.
While I have taken on the Paleo Lifestyle since July 2011, and to the most part adopted it as a way of life wholeheartedly, I have of course had my lapses.
Everyone has bad days of course. That day we decide "Screw it I'm going to have some regular icecream" or "Damn it I am going to over indulge in beer". But as long as the journey is MOSTLY Paleo we don't feel TOO bad about it.
It is when we begin to make more and more excuses to make exceptions that this becomes an issue. And alas this has been the case for me in the past week or two. I have began to make excuses and I am not happy with that. I havent touched the dreaded grains. But I have been enticed into consuming chocolate and cheese and the truth is I feel like crap and I dont like it!

Don't get me wrong. I have still been about 85 - 90% Paleo but I feel I need that extra push at the moment and I really want to get in proper shape again. I have become a little "soft" and I want to tone up and get out exercising again. I aim to include 3 workouts a week of core workouts, lifting and walking/sprints. I will do some research on these but would appreciate some advice.

Also, if this is something I want to do for a living i.e Nutritional Therapy (I am currently studying Naturopathy) I must practice what I preach.

So it is Time To Return To Basics!

I will be returning to 100% Paleo for the next 27 days (its merely a coincidence this matches the number of years I have been on this earth, but a cool coincidence none the less) and will follow the plan right up to the 6th May when my sister will be having her Hen night. (I have also roped her into this and will be reporting on her progress too. She doesn't know this yet. Or didn't until now....Sorry sis!!)

So the 100% Paleo Challenge begins tomorrow.  Sometimes we have to scale things right back to see why we began the journey in the first place.

I would love to have a few more people on board with me. Together we can encourage each other and stay on track.

Here is what I will be doing:

NO GRAINS including breads, pastas, cakes and buns
NO ALCOHOL
NO SUGAR including honey or stevia
NO DAIRY eg milk, or cheese (I will be eating butter as I do not react to it personally)
NO VEGETABLE OILS cooking only with olive oil, coconut oil or butter
GETTING MORE ACTIVE

So here is to the next 27 days.To becoming more healthy and to being more in control of our bodies.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Chocolate Coconut Milk Icecream


This is a delicious icecream and a fitting way to add a much needed post to my blog!
My apologies for neglecting you all and I promise to get back to more regular posting.

This paleo friendly icecream has only 4 ingredients in it and is fairly easy to make. If you are lucky enough to have an icecream maker it is even easier. Unfortunately it is not something I own but is something I am now considering purchasing!

The texture is very creamy and almost identical to regular icecream, but without the guilt and is dairy free (you can make it totally dairy free by omitting the chocolate and just making a different variation) I didn't add any sweeteners and I thought it was sweet enough, but if you want to add some honey etc by all means do. I don't have a sweet tooth and the cocoa flaovour of this is perfect for me. If you like things sweeter you will probably need the sweetener)

The recipe itself takes a little while to get freezer ready so be patient! It isn't something you should rush so take your time.

Ingredients

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
100g 85% soya free chocolate

Method
Place coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Monitor the heat and do not allow to boil. Add chocolate and vanilla extract at this point if using.
Heat until hot and the chocolate has melted but do not allow to boil.

In a separate bowl whisk eggs. Add one ladle of milk mixture and whisk vigorously. This is an important stage  and is "tempering" the eggs to prevent them scrambling. Add another ladle and whisk again until well combined.

Return the egg mixture to the coconut milk and whisk to form a thick custard. This will take time so be patient. Do not allow water to come into contact with bowl and do not be tempted to turn the heat up too high. If you want you can have a bowl of ice on hand to place the entire bowl into if it looks like it might split or is getting too hot. This will cool it down immediately and might allow you to save it.

Once thickened place on a dish (that will fit in your freezer). Once it cools you may add other ingredients once you have choose your flavours (see variations below)

Allow to cool fully before placing in your icecream maker and following manufacturers instructions.
If you do not have an icecream maker (which I don't) place the tray into the freezer. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours until set.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow to soften slightly. Serve with fruit, honey or chopped nuts, as desired.

Variations
Chocolate Chip - Add chocolate chips to cooled mixture before freezing
Vanilla - Add 4 tbsp of vanilla extract and omit the chocolate
Berry/Fruit - Add pureed fruit to cooled mixture before freezing
Nut - add handful of your favourite chopped nuts. I think hazelnut would be fab in this recipe!

Let me know what you think!

Enjoy

xx

Monday, 6 February 2012

Roasted Squash and Bacon Soup




Time to dig out the winter warmers as we are set for a chilly weekend around here.
Check out this delicious soup, set to warm the cockles of even the most non Paleo eater.

Serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 medium squash
75g smoked bacon lardons
1 stalk of celery
1 onion
4 tbsp of olive oil
1 ltr of chicken stock (homemade or otherwise)
Salt and Pepper

Chop squash into bite size pieces and place in a roasting dish with the chopped onion, celery, 3 bsp oil and seasoning.
Roast at 180C until soft (approx 30 minutes)
In the meantime, saute the bacon in the remaining oil until cooked through and browned slightly.
Once roasted vegetables are complete place in saucepan with bacon, add stock and bring to the boil.
Blitz using a handheld blender, check for seasoning and serve.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Kale Chips


I don't know about you guys, but I have never been someone who has had a particularly sweet tooth. 
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice slice of cake or a muffin (now Paleo-ish of course!!) as much as the next person. But I was never the type of person who would panic at the sheer thought of a day without chocolate, even in hormonal times.
But crisps (or chips as those across the Atlantic may call them) I LOVE! I find it very difficult to go without a packet of Walkers, even though I know they're full of bad transfats. 

I had heard about Kale chips many times. But I couldn't really visualise how baked cabbage could resemble a crisp!? 

I was WRONG! They are delicious and I have been converted to the humble, yet delicious Kale Chip!

I have been asked on my facebook page for a recipe, and though this is SO simple it doesn't really warrant a description but here goes...

Ingredients:
2 cups of kale, torn into bitesize pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil 

Directions:
Mix the kale and oil together in an oven proof dish.
Season to taste
You can also add other flavourings such as chilli powder etc, again to taste. Play around with it! 

Place in a moderate oven (about 180C) for 8 - 12 mins or until crisp and slightly browned.
You may want to place them on kitchen paper at this point to stop them getting soggy.

Serve and convert even the most unPaleo person in your life! 

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Chicken, Kale and Veg Soup. (aka Health In A Bowl Soup!)


Hi Paleos! 

So even though tomorrow is regarded by many as the first day of Spring, we here in Ireland are experiencing a cold snap. This simple soup is perfect for days like this. Filling but so nutritious with a homemade chicken broth at it's base. 
If you fancy trying to make your own broth you can find a recipe here. It really is worth the time, and after all it is minimal effort for such valuable and healthy product. 

Once you have this component ready (or if you are using a ready made stock) you are ready to cook this simple meal. 

Serves 1 

Ingredients:
1 pint of chicken broth 
1 chicken fillet (I used skinless) cut into bite size pieces
1 medium carrot cut in sticks
1 stalk of celery cut in slices
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 cup of kale leaves, pulled into small pieces
Salt and pepper to season 
Parsley to garnish

Directions:
Bring chicken stock to boil and reduce to simmer.
Add chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes until beginning to cook and turning white
Add veg except kale
Simmer for approx 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through
Add kale and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted and soft
Check for seasoning and serve in large bowl
Garnish with parsley, sit back and enjoy! 

Easy peasy but oh so nutritious! 


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Recipe: Bacon and Veggie Stuffed Peppers




These makes a delicious light lunch or a a side for a yummy hunk of meat.

They are simple but delicious and I just ate 2 leftover ones as I couldn't leave them until tomorrows lunch!
Ooops!

Makes 2 - 3 half peppers depending on their size.

Ingredients
1-1.5 bell peppers cut length ways.
1 tomato de-seeded and finely chopped
4 streaky bacon slices, cut into cubes
2 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove chopped finely
1/4 Courgette cut into small pieces
1 beaten egg
5 walnut halves, roughly chopped
1 tsp Italian herbs
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Half and de-seed the peppers and place in an oven proof dish. Season the inside of each half with salt and pepper.
Mixed all remaining ingredients, except the egg and walnuts, into a bowl and mix well.
Add the beaten egg and spoon into the pepper halves.
Top with the walnuts and place in oven.
Bake for 30-35 mins at 200C or until pepper is tender.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Making Bone Broth





The art of cooking broth, or stock as it is also known, has been around for thousands if years.


It is defined as a liquid food preparation which involves simmering water in which animal or fish bones have been added and cooked slowly to extract nutrients.


Traditionally known as a cure it all for all ailments, bone broth is a known superfood which costs very little, especially if you use a leftover carcass or bones from your Sunday roast.


Broth or stock contains minerals and nutrients in a form that are easy for the body to digest. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous are all present in abundance, as are the likes of glucosamine which is often found in expensive supplements used to treat joint pain.


Due to it's rich calcium content bone broth is an important part of a Paleo diet. It should be consumed regularly as is, or as a base to sauces, soups and gravies.


Bone broth is also rich in gelatin, which has been shown to be useful in the treatment of diabetes, peptic ulcers, muscle diseases, cancers and jaundice. Gelatin has also been shown to help prevent cellulite! So, next time you cook a roast chicken why not try making your own broth from the carcass? Alternatively buy some bones from your butcher or get chicken feet and heads as cheap as chips if you are not squeamish! 

Its so so easy it is almost embarrassing, but here is how!

Use a chicken carcass with meat if you still have it. For beef stock you can roast the bones first to enhanse the flavour. You will get a darker stock this way. 

Ingredients: 
1 chicken carcass
Filtered water if desired, enough to cover
3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Dutch oven, crockpot or saucepan. 


Method: 
Place your chicken bones in your pot. 
Just cover with cold water
Place on a low heat so it barely simmers. 
Add the vinegar (this leaches the minerals from bone easier)
Remove any scum which comes to top
For chicken simmer at least 4 hrs, for beef at least 8hrs up to 24.

When cooked pass through a fine sieve to remove any sediment. 
Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days. 
Freeze if desired for backup if a cold hits! 

Use as a base for soups and sauces, as a drink daily or as a cold/flu remedy. 

Alternatives: Add vegetables such as celery, carrots and onions to your stock also to add flavour if desired





Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Big New Year Detox

Hey all.

By now many of you should be well under way on your New Year detox. If, like me, you unfortunately given in to the urge for bad foods over the festivities, you will have been more than happy to begin eating properly again and avoiding all those gut inflaming foods and booze!

I began my detox yesterday (2nd Jan) and must say I already feel better.

Here are some tips on kick starting the New Year detox, and allowing your poor body to regain some pride and loose the gut!

1. Avoid all toxic foods such as dairy, grains, sugars and processed foods in general. What your body needs right now are cleansing and real foods with plenty of natural anti oxidants and minerals. Do this by increasing fruit and veg intake.


2. Drink plenty of water - at least 2 litres of water a day. This will help rehydrate your body after all that booze, and flush out bad toxins. It will also awaken your fragile and under-worked brain as you try to return to normality after the Christmas holidays!



3. Sleep well - proper sleep has been shown to make incredible differences to gut inflammation and overall well being. Get at least 8 hours good quality sleep a night if possible.


4. Treat your liver nicely! Too much alcohol over the festivities means our poor livers may be ready to pack up and move out! Treat your liver to liver-friendly foods such as green leafy veg, eggs and nuts. Try taking milk thistle.


5. Start exercising - this kick starts metabolism and increases endorphins.

Good luck with feeling better!




Source: Rebecca Edwards, Naturopath.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Time To Suck It Up... ;)

Happpy New Year Paleo Peeps!

Wow, can't believe I haven't published anything on my blog in so long. And man has the lack of accountability had a negative effect on me.

If you are reading this it is time for me to officially suck it up and admit it. My Paleo Christmas has been far from perfect. And I ashamed of that, I really am. I could just sit here all smug and judgemental and say "Yeah I rocked it" but I think that by lying I would not be taking accountability for my mistakes and bad decisions, and it would also prohibit me moving on properly.

Things started so well for me. I finished my Whole30 on 1s December, and apart from some wine, I stayed true to my eating plan, determined not to get sucked into the "Xmas Eating" so early I would be eating shi*e all of December. I remained strict - no grains, dairy or sugar and minimal alcohol right up to Christmas Day. Even then I refused the grains but did give in to the dairy and desserts.

But it began to get bad the next day when I ate bread with dinner. It was only one slice and it didnt effect me too badly so I thought Id be fine.

Gradually the treats began to creep in more and more, with  my healthy steak now suddenly including onion rings and my soup roll somehow making it into my stomach instead of being politely declined. Things spiralled really and by yesterday my toned, flat stomach was a ball of blubber rivalling the tummy of a 5 months preggers lady.

Most notable of my symptoms has been the return of PMT for the first time in months - something I hadn't expected. Que uncomfortable bloating, irritability and crabbiness. Also my joints have been stiff (surely 26 is too young for that!?)

Don't get me wrong - I wasn't 100% back on SAD diet, but "treats" and exceptions were becoming more and more regular.

So bless me for I have sinned... now what is my penance?

I had originally planned a January Whole30 but I have reconsidered things and as I have a few social outings in January. I now plan a strict Paleo month but with some small tweaks. Call it my own Paleo detox version :)

I will include minimal alcohol and some potatoes (but very minimal until I feel normal again)
I will be 100% sugar, dairy and grain free.

I am very much looking forward to beginning to feel normal again. My binges were a bad idea, but if nothing else they have reaffirmed to me how important this lifestyle is for me and my well being.

It is all to easy to look at my weight and/or clothes size and think "OK, I've reached my goals, I can eat "normally" again"  just for a few days. BAD idea! Paleo just doesn't work like that - its not a quick fix or a fad diet. While I never intended to slip back to SAD eating, the problem is that once you start introducing foods they slowly become the norm and you quickly become addicted again.

I fully regret making these decisions, but I am ready to move on, suck it up (and suck my tummy in) and get back to normality.

Today was good for me food wise. I started with bacon, 2 fried eggs and toms and mushrooms.
Lunch (out) was a beef burger and salad)
Supper was ham and a banana.

We were visiting family but I refrained from the offered goodies.

So thats it! My conscience is cleared and I can move on!

How did your Xmas go!? Did you do better than me or did you have some slip ups??