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.

Kale Chips (Cooked in Coconut Oil)

If there is any of you out there who have not tried Kale it! Kale chips are a great alternative to popcorn on movie night and jam-packed with nutrients.

I typically use olive oil, but since coconut oil stands up better to heat and has a healthier fatty acid profile I would recommend giving coconut oil a whirl!

See the (very simple) recipe for kale chips below:

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 25 minutes

  • 8 loosely packed cups kale, torn into 1" to 1½" pieces, tough stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted and still warm
  • 1/4 tsp salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. Rinse kale and dry thoroughly. Place in a plastic container or large bowl.

3. Poor warm oil over kale, close container lid, and shake to coat (alternatively, stir to coat in a bowl).

4. Spread out onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt (careful, it doesn't take much).

5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until crispy.

Banana Butter Cups

Servings: about 12 cups
Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil melted
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if using jarred butter with added salt)
1. Cut the banana into slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Place a bit of the almond butter mixture to cover the bottom of each cup in a mini muffin tray.
4. Place a banana slice on top of the almond butter.
5. With a spoon, scoop the almond mixture unto each banana slice and cover completely.
6. Place in the freezer to set.
7. Store in the fridge or freezer. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Patty's Paleo Recipes!

It's time for some St. Patty's recipes that fit the Paleo bill!

Irish Soda Bread [From Elana's Pantry]

2 ¾ cups blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup raisins
2 eggs
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons appple cider vinegar
pinch of caraway seeds
  1. In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and raisins
  2. In a smaller bowl combine eggs, agave and apple cider vinegar
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Place dough on parchment paper and form dough into a large, lat circle that is 8 inches across an 1-1/2 inches tall
  5. Using a serrated knife, score top of dough a half an inch deep in shape of a cross
  6. Sprinkle top of bread with caraway seeds
  7. Transfer dough and parchment to baking sheet
  8. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, then turn off oven and leave bread in for 10 more minutes
  9. Cool bread for ½ hour then slice and serve

Zucchini Cranberry Bread []

4 eggs
2 medium zucchini grated
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup cranberries
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda  (gluten free)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Separate egg yolks and egg whites in separate bowls in bowl 
  3. Beat the egg yolks and combine remaining ingredients, except for the walnuts and mix well
  4. In a separate metal bowl, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
  5. Fold in the eggs whites with the zucchini mixture
  6. Add chopped walnuts and cranberries and mix well
  7. Pour batter into a prepared 9x5 loaf pan. Bake approximately 60 minutes until golden brown
  8.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Slice, serve and enjoy

Irish Stew


300g Diced Lamb
3 cloves of Garlic sliced
1 medium onion chopped
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 x tbsp mixed herbs
1 x dried parsley
1 x litre chicken stock
2 x tbs olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (reduce heat to about 140C if you are cooking slowly for more than 2hrs, you may need to add more stock intermittently)
  2. Heat your crockpot on the stove top and add 1tbs of the olive oil.
  3. Add onions and garlic and cook until they start to color, remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add remaining oil to pan and add the lamb. Brown well as this will help to add to color of sauce.
  5. Return onions and garlic to the pan and add the herbs and peppers.
  6. Add hot stock and bring to the boil.
  7. Add carrots, cover with lid and place in the oven
  8. Serve in bowls with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Salmon Patty Breakfast

This was a great alternative to eggs- a very fresh, light breakfast!
Whole Foods, while often times expensive, is really great about having pre-made, healthy foods. I bought a 3-pack of pre-made salmon patties for $14.99 and a pre-made container of apple-pear salsa for $4.67, which will provide a good three meals - could be worse!
It took less than 10 minutes to cook up the salmon patty and sautee some spinach in coconut oil, then top with the salsa. Yum!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wok It Out!

Shrimp, Scallops, Brolly & Purple Cabbage Stir Fry: A recipe developed by our very own Kevin Slaughter!

What you will need:

1.5 lbs of shrimp
1.5 lbs of scallops
Purple cabbage
Red peppers
Coconut Oil
[amount of veggies and oil per your discretion]


1. Sautee onion, garlic and peppers (in coconut oil) until onions are transparent
2. Add seafood until fully cooked
3. Finally, add remaining vegetables and cook until desired softness

(We encourage all Atlas Athletes to send any Paleo or Zone recipes you may have to

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chard, Bacon & Apple

Walking through the grocery store the other day I was trying to find new vegetables that I hadn't tried before. Spinach and kale were getting old and I know that trying new, brightly colored vegetables and fruit is a great way to get different nutrients into your diet!
What caught my eye was rainbow chard, with its red, yellow and orange stalks, like celery.
After a quick google search, I found this delicious can't go wrong with bacon!


3 slices bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 organic Gala apple, cored and diced
1 bunch (about 3/4 pound) organic chard, well rinsed
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper



Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in apple.

Meanwhile, cut off the stems of the chard and slice them thinly. Chop the leaves. Stir stems and leaves into the skillet along with the bacon, salt and pepper. Pour in 2 tablespoons water; cover the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until chard is tender, about 8 more minutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Does "Organic" Mean?

There can be some confusion about what exactly an "organic" food is these days. Often times there is an idea that a food is healthier for you and will help you on your journey to fat-loss if it comes with that label.
In reality, "organic" means that your food was produced without pesticides. This is a good thing, yes, and important when you are purchasing fruits or vegetables with thin, permeable skins that require extra doses of chemicals to keep the pests off.
Blueberries or apples, for example, are typically loaded with pesticides because they are particularly susceptible to pests.

When we are talking about most other organic products though, the organic label is pretty useless. A waffle is still carbohydrate dense and will produce a significant insulin response regardless if it is made with organic wheat, or not.

It's important to remember that when it comes to fat-loss, our big ticket is monitoring portions and our macronutrient ratios. In terms of ideal body composition, top priority is making sure we get adequate protein throughout the day, balanced with some healthy carbohydrates and fat, therefore controlling our insulin response.

Sunday Morning Buttercups

Here is a recipe for "buttercups" to pull out on a lazy Sunday morning. Also a great "finger food" for when you have weekend guests as they are easy to make with relatively easy clean-up.

Ingredients used: Eggs, ham, coconut oil, and pepper.
(I used humanely raised eggs and an Applegate Farms, uncured ham which was free of nitrates. )

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Grease muffin tin with coconut oil, then place ham slices inside.
3. pour whole eggs gently into each cup
4. Sprinkle pepper and cook for 15 minutes