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!