Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Easy Recipe: Paleo Fried Chicken Tenders




My son isn't 100% Paleo but he is gluten free, dairy and sugar free to the most part.
I keep our meals at home unprocessed and avoid packaged foods and refined foodswhich means he misses out on pizzas and chicken tenders - all the types of foods "normal" 11 year olds like to eat.

He has been asking me alot lately if he could have chicken tenders for dinner. We recently had grain free chicken tenders at a Paleo party at a Crossfit box I will be soon joining (that is a post for another day!) and he asked me to try and make them. This is what I came up with and I must say, they were pretty tasty and went down a treat with the "big" boy too!




Ingredients (makes 9)
3 chicken fillets
1 cup of ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
2 eggs, whipped
Fresh Parsley (to garish, optional)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup coconut oil for frying

Cut the fillets into strips (you should get about 3-4 out of each depending on size) and season with salt and pepper
In a bowl add ground almonds, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic.
Add beaten eggs to a shallow dish
Dip the chicken pieces into the egg and coat well. Add to the ground almond mixture and ensure well coated with the almonds. Shake off any extra almonds. Place to the side and continue until all chicken is coated
Meanwhile melt the coconut oil in a pan until quite hot (you can add in a piece of chicken to check if it is hot enough)
Place the chicken pieces in, in batches and cook for 5 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 2/3 minutes until cooked through.
Put onto some kitchen paper to drain. Garnish with fresh parsley

Serve with homemade paleo ketchup and sweet potato fries!

Enjoy!

Take On The IPG 30 Day Paleo Challenge!








Introducing the IPG 30 Day Challenge! 
Back by popular demand!!



Get Ready For The Little Black Dress This Christmas While Beginning Your Road to a Healthier You! 



 


A 100% Paleo protocol aimed at eliminating sugar cravings once and for all, banishing inflammation, identifying and alleviating common food allergens and losing those stubborn inches!  Whether it is to lower body fat, support autoimmune disorders, improve digestion or overcome inflammatory issues such as skin irritation, IBS or respiratory issues, the Paleo diet can help you achieve your goals and enjoy the health you deserve.

This will be the last session of this challenge until January so don't miss out! 

To read more on what Paleo is click here 
To read more on why you should do this here 

What Will It Involve?
A closed group is a page on Facebook where only those who sign up or are given access to the area can see content. This means that only those of us participating in the group can actually post or read anything written in the page. This can be reassuring for those who may not wish for others to see what they are doing or who may be shy about their health issues or weight concerns. Everyone in there will have a shared goal of improving their health and will be a source of encouragement and support for each other. Having all the information in one place means we will never miss a post (we will be notified when a member posts something) and we can catch up easily on a conversation at a later date. It also means Facebook won't decide not to show you certain content or your news feed will hide content. 

How Many People Will Take Part?
There will be a limited places available -  Small enough to all get to know each other but big enough that we have enough input from group participants. I want to make this the biggest and best session EVER with new recipes and tips! 

What Will I Get From It? 
The closed group on Facebook will be a place for those of you who decide to sign up to participate in a private group with unique access to the following:

1. Weekly Meal Plans and Shopping List - Each week, on a Friday, I post the meal plan for the following week, complete with recipes and a shopping list. The meal plans have varied recipe ideas and some firm favourites include Coconut & Sweet Potato Curry, Crustless Quiche and Coconut Yogurt. I also post new recipes at various times throughout the week to keep things interesting. 

2. Access to Q&A Time Unique to Closed Group Participants - I will be available during a specific time slot during the first 7 days (9-10pm) to answer your Paleo questions. During this time you can ask anything and be confident in the knowledge that your question will be answered right away. As well as these time slots I will also be available to answer your questions via email during the day. Due to work commitments I won't be able to reply straight away but I endeavour to reply to every message or email within a few hours. Past participants can vouch for the fact that I do generally get back to questions fairly quickly. The reason the Q&A sessions are only set in stone for the first 7 days is that after this time participants tend to find their feet and do not need as much help (and I often find myself staring at a very quiet forum!) Rest assured that after the 7 days I will still be there to answer any question you may have anyway! 

3. Access to Group Recipes - Part of a successful group or community is the sharing of daily food photos and recipe ideas. Even if every person only shared one recipe or photo over the course of the week that would be 30 extra recipes for you to take away. The success of the group will depend on the level of participation from each member. The more we post and support each other the more each person will benefit. I will also post recipe cards on the closed group at various times throughout the 30 days to keep you all interested! 

4. Daily Tips To Success - I will be posting unique daily tips and hints which will only be available in the closed group. While I will still be updating my blog and facebook page the emphasis will be on the success of those signed up to the 30 day Challenge group during the 30 day time frame of 1st November to 30th November inclusive

5. Access to Practical Information - You will have access to a Shopping List, Seven Day Meal Plan and a "Where to Start" brochure to get you started. I also update the group with weekly meal plans every Friday morning. Once signed up you will receive all this information about one week before the start date, to give you time to shop and get ready for the challenge (unless of course you are late to sign up!)

6. Group Support and Encouragement - This aspect will be a very important component to your success. Everyone knows that having someone to encourage you who is following the same journey as you are can substantially increase your chances of meeting your goals. Sharing mutual concerns or challenges can also be incredibly helpful.

How Much Will It Cost Me? 
The 30 Days Challenge costs just €49.99. Keep in mind that I am now a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist and I feel the level of support you get is well worth the price. This price is likely to be increased in the future so don't miss out! I think it will be a good investment for you and your health and I promise to give you my all in the month ahead. 

What Have Past Participants Said About It? 


"I found the IPG challenge brilliant, it has totally changed my life and inspired me to stay paleo. Denise was a great support and very inspirational".


"You were v supportive Denise and gave v unselfishly of your time on a 24/7 basis which is to be commended. You didn't just stick to the hour q+a per day. Thank you".


"The recipes were a life saver for someone not paleo-savvy".


"I would highly recommend this to everyone! Denise has a fantastic approach; always at hand to help you, gives great advice and a super motivator! I really enjoyed the support of the group too. A big thumbs up from me"





You can read more reviews from past participants here: https://www.facebook.com/IrishPaleoGirl/reviews 

How Will I Pay? 
All payments will be made safely and securely through Paypal. 

How Do I Sign Up 

Step 1: Email me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com to express your interest.

Remember places are very limited so it will literally be first come first served. Once I reply to your email with paypal details, the first 50 people to pay will be those signed up. Simply emailing me to say you are interested is not enough. You must wait for my return email and make payment as detailed therein. Your place is not secured until you pay.

The first 50 people to pay will be in the group. First come, first served.

(Initial interest emails will be replied to within 24 hours. Please do not email me via facebook, email theirishpaleo@gmail.com) 


Looking forward to meeting you all! 
Denise 



Disclaimer:  All opinions and views posted on this blog, the closed group or any other are merely my own personal views and opinions based on my experience following a Paleo lifestyle. If you are anxious about your health you should speak to your GP. The advice of your GP should always be followed before undertaking a new lifestyle. 




Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Rapeseed Oil - Why I Wont Eat It




Rapeseed Oil 

So what is the deal with Rapeseed oil (aka canola oil)? Isn't it a healthy oil!? 

In my opinion, no. Rapeseed oil is pretty high in Polyunsaturated fats which are not heat stable. They should not be used for cooking at all, despite the fact that it is touted as a healthful cooking oil. It also oxidises easily meaning it goes rancid quickly. Like any seed oil it is pro-inflammatory and not something I am keen to add into my diet. 

Secondly unless cold pressed, rapeseed oil has gone through a highly refined process which involves the addition of chemicals and deodorisers to reinstate colour and flavours removed during processing. 

Did you know that rapeseed oil was originally so high in an acid called erucic acid (a toxic monounsaturated acid) that it was considered unsafe for consumption? It was then cross bred to develop a strain which contained higher levels of oleic acid instead. The effects of genetically modified foods is of yet unknown but I wont be enticing me to try it any time soon!  

I can't help but think that the Rapeseed boom is just a ploy by Irish and UK markets to produce an oil which they hope can rival the olive oil industry. It is easy to grow and very profitable with sales up 11% in 2013. But don't be fooled by marketing! 

What Fats Should I Use? 
I get asked this question quite a lot. "What kind of oil should I use to cook with". 

There are a few important things to remember when choosing the correct fats to use and the correct choice can differ greatly depending on what you want to use them for - cooking vs dressings.

First up, fats are important in the diet and should not be avoided! 

Your body needs fat and our brains are made up of roughly 60% fat. If you don't feed your body the RIGHT fats it can increase your chances of developing dementia and alzheimer's disease. Fats also make up our cell linings. Having the wrong fatty acids in our diet can lead to our cells becoming too rigid or too fluid. We want the right balance. Fats also play a role in skin health, hormone balancing fertility and mental health. 



Saturated Fats for Cooking
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sustainable Palm Oil
  • Ghee
  • Butter (not too high temperatures)
  • Lard
  • Duck Fat
  • Goose Fat
  • Tallow
  • Eggs 
Unsaturated Fats for Cold Uses

  • Olive oil 
  • Sesame oil
  • Nut oils (avocado, walnut) 
  • Flaxseed oil (do not overuse if supplementing with Omega 3)
  • Avocado
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Nut Butters (not peanut) 

Avoid these Fats: The Killers

Margarines
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats
Man made "Butter Spreads" (Benecol, Cant Believe It's Not Butter) 
Rapeseed oil* 
Vegetable oils
Safflower oils
Soybean oil
Corn oil 
Ricebran oil 



Get Your Facts Right: Get The Right Fats! 











Friday, 17 October 2014

Competition Time: October Giveaway "The Paleo Approach Cookbook"





Hi All! 

Hope you are all well and that you are as happy as I am that the weekend is here again! 

To celebrate the Friday feeling I have a fantastic competition to launch! 

Sarah of The Paleo Mom has kindly sent me a signed copy of her latest book "The Paleo Approach Cookbook" to giveaway to one lucky winner. 

This book is amazing and is the follow up cookbook to accompany her wonderful resource filled book "The Paleo Approach"

Sarah is a scientist with a degree in Physics and a PhD in Biophysics. She is the blogger behind the award winning blog "The Paleo Mom" 

Both books are MUST HAVES if you have an autoimmune condition and want to see improvements through food. While the original title book has a wealth of information on the benefits of the Autoimmune Paleo diet for helping to heal the body and reverse symptoms of Autoimmune conditions, this book is jammed full of healthy and delicious recipes which are sure to keep you and your family happy! 

While the cookbook does not go into too much detail on the benefits of the Paleo Approach it does focus on taking the diet into the kitchen easily and efficiently by explaining what types of foods are allowed and not allowed, providing detailed meal plans and shopping lists as well as tips on what equipment you need for your kitchen. 

The book is beautifully put together with fantastic photography and attention to detail but what really impresses me is the helpful tips Sarah adds to each recipe (such as telling you which components can be made ahead of time or telling you which cuts of meats would work best for each dish) These tips can be invaluable for someone who is new to cooking or may just be overwhelmed by all the changes they have to make. She also provides nutritional facts to each dish in the side bars including each amino acid and micronutrient present in the food. She also adds in notes for those who may be following a low FODMAP diet too (this displays the scientist in Sarah I think!)

I think this book is amazing and I really think it is an essential addition to your paleo bookcase, particularly if you have an autoimmune disorder or someone in your family has. 

If you wish to be in with a chance of winning this cool book, please like the post on facebook and leave a comment below outlining why you should win it. 

If you want to go ahead and just buy the book (which I recommend!) here are the links:

The Paleo Approach (original book) http://amzn.to/1tzLlNy
The Paleo Approach Cookbook (as reviewed above) http://amzn.to/1FcwvQb  

Best of luck! 




Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Easy Recipe: Home Fermentation - Sauerkraut





Sauerkraut is a wonderful addition to any diet. It is fantastic source of beneficial bacteria which are gut will thank us for. We don't eat enough cultured and fermented foods. Our ancestors would have included these types of foods frequently as they did not have refrigeration methods to keep their foods fresh. Not only did this mean foods which would only be available for short periods of time remain on the table for longer periods of time, they were also serving another important process: improving gut health.

Our guts are probably the most neglected system in the body! We often feed it bad foods and do not provide it with enough goodness. You don't get much more health giving than sauerkraut. Probiotic supplementation has become popular in recent years to help replace beneficial bacteria in the gut. It is something that is very useful in a clinical situation but can sometimes be quite expensive to implement, especially where large numbers of bacteria are required. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are an inexpensive way to get in these good bacteria and are up to 20 times more bio available than probiotic supplements.

Sauerkraut Saved the Seven Seas!
A fun fermented fact for you all to share with all your friends: Sauerkraut actually helped save the seas by preventing scurvy amongst seamen! Scurvy is a disease brought on by severe depletion of Vitamin C and was common amongst sailors due to the shortage of fresh produce on long voyages. It caused over 2 million deaths from the 16th to 19th century. Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and B vitamins which are created as a result of the fermentation.

How is Sauerkraut Fermented? 
Sauerkraut is made by lacto-fermentation: the beneficial bacteria is present on the surface of all fruit and vegetables such as cabbage. Lactobacillus is a strain of good bacteria which is present in probiotic supplements and yoghurt. When submerged in the brine lactic acid is formed which inhibits production of bad bacteria. It is important that if you buy sauerkraut that it is raw and unpasteurised. Otherwise there is no good bacteria in there.

How Can I make my own Sauerkraut. 
Not only is this fermented delight healthy, it is also super easy to make. It so much nicer than any store bought version you will buy and although it is an acquired taste at first you learn to love it!

This mixture will make enough to fit about 6 x 2lb Kilner jars or whatever jars you have.
You will also need rubber bands, cloths to cover the jars, a large mixing bowl and a sharp knife.




Ingredients: 
1 medium head of green cabbage (or red which makes a beautiful and pretty kraut!)
1 1/2 tsps of sea salt

1. Make sure everything is very clean. It is very important that you do not give pathogenic bacteria of any type the opportunity to grow. Ensure clean equipment and clan hands.

2. Slice the cabbage by cutting into eight pieces and discard the cord and outer leafs. Slice in to thin ribbons. I used a food processor to do this stage and it worked well.

3. Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the salt.

4. Massage the salt into the cabbage squeezing as you go. This will take at least 10-15 minutes and it may seem initially like there is not enough salt but bear with it. The cabbage will begin to wilt and water will start to be extracted. Keep going until the cabbage is soft and watery - almost like coleslaw.

5. Pack the cabbage into the jars. You need to ensure they are tightly packed. Use your fist to push it into the jar. This will ensure that the cabbage remains beneath the surface of the water which will eventually be extracted. Leave a gap at the top of the jar.

6. Cover the jars with a clean cloth and secure with a band to ensure no insects or dirt in but allows air to circulate.

7. Ensure you pack down the cabbage every few hours. If the liquid is not covering the cabbage after 24 hours make up a mixture of 1 cup water to 1tsp sea salt and top it up . It is important the cabbage does not go over the water or it will go off.

8. After about three days you can put the lids on and put it in the fridge. You should taste it first to see if it is to your liking. It will continue to ferment in the fridge but it is perfect to eat.



When you choose to eat it, start with a small amount to begin with - about a tsp. Build it up gradually as some can experience a "die off" effect as the good bacteria grows pushing killing the pathogenic, which causes the release of toxins.

Sauerkraut is an acquired taste but you grow to love it. And your digestive system definitely thanks you for it, as will your overall health!



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Easy Recipe Post: Nut, Seed and Date Bars.




These bars are raw and packed full of healthful goodness! They would make a perfect lunchbox filler for the kids or as an easy portable snack to take during endurance training. They also make a lovely "anytime snack" to have in your bag if a snack attack presents itself! 

They are super filling too so will definitely satisfy that craving for something tasty!






Ingredients

1 cup/140g whole nuts of choice (I used pecans and walnuts)
1/4 cup/30g mixed seeds of choice (I used mixture of pumpkin, sesame and pinenut)
1/4 cup/60g almond butter
1/4 cup/4tbsp of melted coconut oil 
1/4 cup/25g of shredded coconut (chopped finely)
8 dates, pitted

Soak the dates in a little water for 5 minutes.
Place in the food processor and blend until smooth, you may need to add a little of the water. 
Roughly chop the nuts and add them to a bowl with the seeds and chopped shredded coconut (reserve 1tbsp to sprinkle on top) 
Add the almond butter and mix well. 
Add in the dates and the melted coconut oil and mix to combine
Place in a layer on an oiled baking sheet (mine took up about a 1/3 of my standard cookie tray). 
Smooth and square if off. Sprinkle with the leftover coconut flakes. 
Refrigerate for about an hour to allow to set.
Remove from fridge and cut into bars. 
Makes 6. Store in the fridge until needed! 

Hope you enjoy!