Friday, April 27, 2012

Alternative to McDonald's Chicken Nuggets (A Top Secret Recipe)

Ok guys, I'll be nice and share with you my top secret chicken nugget recipe in hopes that you will cook it for your kiddos instead of feeding them something less healthy (like McDonald's).
I tend to be really messy in the kitchen. I don't follow directions or recipes, I just throw things together and hope it tastes good. One day I accidentally made some chicken nuggets that actually taste pretty darn good! I have to say that after I ate them I felt like I just had a "treat meal".
I can't give you amounts of anything since, like I said, this was a total accident and I didn't know what I was doing when I did it, but here is the "recipe".

Food Heals.

If you have not yet seen the above video, please take the time to watch. This woman cured herself from MS via diet. If that doesn't give you goose bumps and get you excited about eating right, I don't know what will!
I believe emphatically that food has the ability to either make us sick or make us thrive. Actually, it's not belief, it's fact. The reason Atlas CrossFit has a blog about nutrition is because it is a very big piece of the puzzle that many of us do not even realize, or , more likely, choose to ignore.
Still not reaching your performance or body composition goals? The answer is nutrition. Recall the CrossFit pyramid of health, the very base of the pyramid is nutrition. We eat roughly 3 times a day, 7 days a week - that's a lot of opportunity to either add to, or subtract from your health! Ask yourself if there is something from your diet you are missing, perhaps more green leafy vegetables? Quality sources of protein? Actually ask yourself at each meal; "Will my body view this as a poison?", "Will this help me to thrive, or make me sick?"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

7 Ways to Eat Guacamole (Without a Torilla Chip)

Who doesn't love guacamole? This post is dedicated entirely to the beloved green, creamy dip.
Last weekend I decided to make a GIANT bowl of the stuff in hopes that it would stay with me throughout the week. Nope. It hardly lasted 24 hours... The big question though was how to eat it without the not-so-good for you tortilla chip. Avocados are actually a very good source of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. When prepared and eaten in absence of other ingredients that negatively impact our health, (i.e. corn, sugar),  this can be considered a perfectly healthty, paleo-approved food! Below you will find 7 ways to eat guac without the traditional tortilla chip. Why 7? Because it's my lucky number of course!

7-Ways to Eat Guacamole Without a Tortilla Chip:

1. (My preferred method) Endive. Endive is sort of like lettuce, but very crunchy and perfectly shaped for scooping. look for it next time at the grocery store and try it!

2. Put it on top of your scrambled eggs

3. Mix it with tuna or shredded chicken

4. Use it a condiment for your grass-fed burger (no bun!)

5. Put it in your lettuce-leaf beef or fish tacos

6. Use any and all vegetables for scooping: jicima, sarrot chips, snap peas...

7. Wrap it up in a clean lunch meat

Classic Guacamole Recipe:

Guac is pretty easy to make and most people already have an established favorite recipe, but for those of you who have never made it on your own I will provide you with my very own classic guacamole recipe. There are other fun ways to spice it up, like with BBQ or bacon, but I usually prefer it in it's traditional form.

1 Medium yellow onion
2-3 red tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
3-4 avocados
Salt and pepper
1 lemon

1. Slice all avocados in half and remove seeds, then scoop out avocado meat into large mixing bowl.
2. Use a fork to mash up the avocado meat
3. Chop onion, tomatoes, cilantro and garlic (I like a chunkier guacamole so I chop the tomatoes a bit larger than the onion, etc. Garlic should be finely chopped)
4. Mix and mash all vegetables in the bowl with the avocado meat.
5. Squeeze fresh lemon and mix (this is a natural preservative)
6. Add salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Italian Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper

One of the hardest things about trying to improve your diet is all the cooking you have to do on your own! This is where cooking in bulk and making meals that can be turned into other meals comes in very handy. Below you will find the recipe for Italian Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers.

Ingredients for stuffing  :
Red Pepper
Roasted tomatoes in olive oil
Red Onion
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Garlic Cloves
Fresh Basil
Coconut oil (for sauteing)
Salt and Pepper to taste

*I apologize that there are no amounts here, I usually eyeball it!

1. Brown Pork and Beef in skillet and set to side (you may use all pork or all beef - this is just what I had)
2. Chop veggies in about 1/2 inch cubes: eggplant, red onion, roasted tomatoes
3. Finely chop fresh garlic and basil
4. Saute all veggies and spices in coconut oil about 5 minutes, add meat, mix well
5. Cut tops off of bell peppers and discard all seeds, place on baking sheet to be stuffed
5. Stuff Red bell peppers with meat mixture and put in the oven @ 375 for about 20-25 minutes until peppers reach desired softness

Breakfast: Since I can't get enough of the Italian-seasoned mixture that was used to stuff the peppers I decided to incorporate it into breakfast. This consisted of Italian blend of beef, pork and vegetables with spinach sauteed in coconut oil, roasted red peppers and two "folded" eggs.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Healthy Adventures

Recently I have decided to track my food (again) as a way to make sure I am on track with my goals and that my diet really is as clean as I think it is. One way of doing this is a food log. I am using a log to record my sleep, meals, vitamins/fish oil, workouts, etc. Another handy tool is my cell phone camera. Being a very visual person, I've decided to also take pictures of my meals. Lets be honest, snapping a pic with your phone is much more convenient than running to a computer to record what you ate!
I am hoping that this experiment will help some of you as well. With the CircuitFit 8-week challenge that just launched, and summer around the corner, there are lots of you out there trying to make some big changes to diet and lifestyle!

Here are a few pics from the week. More to come!

Sunday morning breakfast: Ham/Egg cups and veggies sauteed in coconut oil

Sunday afternoon picnic! This was the perfect way to end a 3+ hour hike in the state park and honestly can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday: Sun, leisurely exercise and clean eating!
A 10-minute stop at Jewel and dinner is ready :)

Lunch: Grass-fed burger from Burger Bar with fried egg and avocado, side salad. I used spicy brown mustard for a dressing.

Lunch: 2 Salmon Patty's & carrots

Lunch: Pasture raised honey roasted turkey breast from Whole Earth Meats, avocado, cabbage salad

Typical breakfast: two eggs, sauteed spinach in coconut oil, sauteed chicken apple sausage.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Grass-Fed Meat

As some of you may know, you can now purchase grass-fed meat through Atlas from Whole Earth Meats. What you might not know is why we have chosen to provide access to grass-fed meat.

It is not simply just a more expensive food, but rather very nutritionally different from other store-bought meats.

What makes it different?
First think about this: The best way to fatten cattle, and fatten them fast, is to feed them a grain-based diet (hmmm, makes sense that our own grain-based diets would have the same impact on our bodies!) Truthfully, the nutritional content of our food is dependent on the nutrition available to the animal or plant we are eating. Not only are we what we eat, but we are what they eat, too.

So let's talk about the main differences in grass-fed animals:

Fatty Acid Profile: This part can get very "nerdy, but stay with me. By this point I am sure you have heard of Omega-6's and Omega-3's. These are fatty acids that are essential to the human diet. Unfortunately Omega-6 can be inflammatory and cause a host of health issues such as asthma, skin issues, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, to name just a very few.
The American diet tends to be very, very high in omega-6, on average a ratio of 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3. Ideally, we want a closer to a 2:1 ratio of the two fatty acids to keep this inflammation to a minimum.
Your typical store-bought meat which came from an animal raised on grain, has a very unhealthy and unbalanced fatty acid profile, thus perpetuating our inflammation-caused health issues.
Grass-fed meat, however, contains twice as much omega-3 fatty acids as omega-6.

 CLA: Conjugated Linoleic Acid
This is an omega-3 fatty acid which has been proven to be a potent defense again cancer. The CLA levels from pastured animals are 3 to 5 times more than that of grain-fed. New evidence suggests hormones which are pumped into feedlot cattle reduces the levels of naturally occurring CLA.

Vitamins: Grass-fed meat is shown to be significantly more nutrient-dense than that of the grain-fed animals. Ruminants were build to digest green, leafy grasses. These green grasses ,which absorb energy from the sun, are full of vitamins and minerals. When the animals eat the nutrient-dense grasses, the vitamins and minerals are stored in the animals fat, and therefore available for us to absorb when we eat their meat.

Not only do we get the benefits listed above from consuming pasture-raised animal products, but we avoid the harmful hormones and antibiotics found resting in the fat and muscle tissue of animals who were fed to become as large as they can, as fast as they can, in the smallest, most un-sanitary of living conditions.
Give grass-fed a shot, just once. I promise it tastes 10x better than what you are used to! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

5-Minute Dinner: Stuffed Sweet Potato

There is a little bit of pre-planning that goes into this recipe so that during your busy work week you can turn it into a 5 minute dinner.
Does anyone else out there cook a lot on Sundays in order to have healthy prepared meals during the week? Cooking in bulk is a good tactic to stay on track with your diet during the busy week.

When I cook in bulk there are some items that I cook regularly. This includes whole sweet potatoes, chicken breast, and some sort of sauteed veggie (to eat with my eggs in the morning!).

Once you've prepared ingredients like this in advance, you can easily make a 5-minute paleo (or zone) friendly meal.

So here it is:

-Chicken breast
-Dried Cranberries
-Sauteed zucchini and squash (or veggie of choice)

1. Chop all ingredients in bite-sized pieces. Warm up by sauteing ingredients in coconut oil, salt, pepper, lemon, rosemary (whatever you choose!)
2. Scoop out some of the sweet potato and mix with sauteed ingredients.
3. Replace entire mixture inside sweet potato and pop in the oven to warm..or even use the microwave (gasp!) if you aren't opposed.