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 

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

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!

Makes 2 - 3 half peppers depending on their size.

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. 

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

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??