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Saturday
Jun212014

From a Tidal Wave of new Paleo Cookbooks... A Few Good Ones

Paleo cookbooks, Paleo "lifestyle" guides, Paleo foods... I'm surrounded by them. Here are a few notable recently released Paleo cookbooks:

The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks is Nina Planck’s beautiful look at simple, from-the-land recipes and food usage. A Virginian who founded London, England’s first farmer’s market, her book is a useful guide to creating dishes that actually may find themselves onto your dinner table. There’s a meatloaf recipe in here, for instance! I found myself encouraged that earlier in her life the author was a low-fat vegetarian. Now she’s gone full circle and is using organ meats in her cooking! In this world of pretty, fluffy, semi-useful cookbooks, Planck’s Real Food Cookbook earns it’s spot on my kitchen shelf. (Bloomsbury)

 

Steven Raichlen may prove to be Julia Child for the modern man. His new Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook For Guys is vibrant with energy. Raichlen teaches readers how to use knives, why food and drink kick up so much passion within us, and what to do about it. His personality and real-life attitude help make Man Made Meals a cover-to-cover read; there is much more here than recipes. By the time you get to the back cover you’ll be passionately engaged with your kitchen. Man up and cook, indeed! (Workman)

Joshua Weissman tells an unusual story. The teenage author of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook (and the Slim Palate blog), he turned his life around after too many years living massively overweight. Learning how to eat and prepare food helped Weissman lose more than 100 pounds, and now as a high school senior he’s living an entirely different, healthier and happier, life. Now I know why the recipes in here appeal to me so much; my inner teenager, the guy who chowed bowls of cereal and ate sandwiches, relates to what’s going on in the Slim Palate book. Useful, simple and delicious recipes abound. I like this cookbook a hell of a lot. (Victory Belt)

I love ice cream, but only indulge once a month or so. Ben & Jerry’s is my traditional go-to, and I’m known to mess it up adding protein powder and stirring it all together. Then Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream arrived, reminding me how many tasty versions of ice cream are possible, without eggs, gluten, soy or refined sugar. I appreciate a book such as this, I applaud Brozyna’s effort at teaching the preparation of healthier ice cream dishes, but frankly I’ll never make any of these, nor do I have a taste for them. Over the years I’ve successfully programmed my mind to eliminate desire for sugar. (Primal Blueprint)

 

Paleo Girl is an interesting shot at helping teenage girls attain better physical condition, and learn to take care of themselves, throughout their difficult puberty years. Insight from teenagers portrayed by author Leslie Klenke, fun and interesting conversations, help Paleo Girl introduce the Paleo diet and lifestyle to a new audience. Another lesson concerns navigating today’s intense world of social media, peer pressure and the bullying culture. I cannot applaud Leslie Klenke enough for the classy Paleo Girl. I’m hoping she gets copies into the hands of those who will benefit the most. (Primal Blueprint)

When Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking appeared, my initial impression was that Peter Servold’s book would be useful only to vastly experienced foodie-cooks with Food Network-worthy kitchens. Hell, someone’s using chopsticks in the cover photo! I’m a fork and sharp-knife guy, but I relaxed and dug into the pages. Turns out that once I got past the art-book-quality photography, and some of his recipes that appear to be for tiny people, I found a series of recipes I’m ready to try. I’m most impressed with the seasonality of Servold’s approach, and the simplicity of his recipes. Give Paleo By Season a real try; I see food stains in my copies’ future. (Victory Belt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@VictoryBeltInc

@Leslie_Klenke

@PrimalBlueprint

@SlimPalate

@WorkmanPub

@BloomsburyPub

Thursday
Jun122014

My Current Kale Shake Recipe

"What's in that shake you're drinking?" is a constant question for me. Whether I'm at CrossFit or the globo-gym, just what's inside those green shakes I drink generates questions. Here's what I'm doing lately. Keep in mind, using a blender for meal shakes is an exercise in flexibility, imagination and taste buds. There are no rules!

Assume a full blender creates two meal shakes; that's how I approach this. Dump in a half can of coconut milk (love that fat!). A couple of tablespoons of almond butter follows, then a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, some Fiberlyze (from Species Nutrition), four scoops of whey protein (I use vanilla, haven't used chocolate with kale yet), filtered water, a handful of strawberries, blueberries in season, a cored apple, sometimes a carrot. Oh yeah, and a hell of a lot of kale! Cut the kale from the stems, build a pyramid of it, use a ton, as the blender will bring it down to size.

Sure, your shake is bright green. Your insides, your digestive system, your muscles, your body will be happy as hell. Maybe people will ask you "what's in your shake?" too.

Monday
Apr212014

My No-Fat in Coffee Experiment is Over!

I lasted three weeks drinking black coffee (no coconut oil, no MCT oil, no grass-fed butter). My intention was to sustain a full month, but I couldn’t do it!

My little trial was to see if the significant amount of saturated fat I was consuming in my daily coffee was affecting my bodyfat levels. As best I could, I made no other dietary changes these three weeks. Kept my red wine habit going, plenty of protein and vegetables, starch around workouts, etc.

I’m telling you, my taste buds are angry and want the three weeks back. My Peet’s coffee had less flavor, less body. Every cup was flat, and I didn’t enjoy my coffee like I want to.

One long day last weekend I was out of town, at a CrossFit competition, with only Quest and Rx bars to get me through the day. My breakfast was bacon and eggs, so my saturated fat quota began well, but with no meals prepared for the trip, I envisioned a no-fat 12-14 hours ahead of me. I neglected to bring MCT or coconut oil on the drive; blame my early morning start. 

So I fired up the Starbucks app on my iPhone, located coffee on the route and near my destination, and got back into the fat! Remember, Starbucks uses wonderful, grass-fed Kerry Gold Irish butter. Each Grande Americano I drank had two pats of butter added.

Oh, these coffees tasted wonderful. Smooth and creamy, full of flavor - just as I remembered. The saturated fat in my coffee throughout the day helped get me through a long event, and the 2 1/2 hour drive each way.

So just how much saturated fat did I cut out of my life for three weeks? My MCT oil has 14.2 grams of fat in a tablespoon (128 calories). Kerry Gold butter has 100 calories, 12 grams of fat, in a tablespoon. I’d estimate that in my half dozen or so 12-16 oz cups of coffee or Americano each day, I added 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter (at Starbucks it’s only butter; at home it’s butter and MCT oil). 

I’m pretty careful with how much MCT oil I add; the stuff is expensive. In an average day it’s only a tablespoon total; on a weekend it can be a bit more as I’m drinking all my coffee at home.

My average saturated fat consumption in coffee each day turns out to be about 250-300 calories, or 25-30 grams of fat. So over the course of my three weeks I saved 5500-6000 calories, about 575-600 grams of fat. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? 

Based upon casual mirror examination (no selfies!), and a couple of off-hand comments from others in the gym, I may have stripped a little bit of body fat. Performance in the gym didn’t change; during this three weeks I suffered a couple of nagging injuries (elbow, calf, rotator cuff flare-up), so my workouts changed a bit, but not the intensity nor number of workouts. In my view, I’m utilizing the saturated fat in my coffee as fuel, and protection against inflammation.

Keep the fat in coffee! Enjoy life, enjoy coffee

 

@rxbar, @QuestNutrition, @BPambassadors, @bulletproofexec, @Peets_Tweets, @KerryGoldUSA

Friday
Apr042014

Cutting Back on my Bulletproofing

I’m giving up adding butter and oil to my coffee for the month of April. Black coffee only. Nothing else in the cup.

For more than a year I’ve eagerly added grass-fed butter and coconut  / MCT oil to my coffee. Every cup. Daily. Eight to ten cups. When traveling I educate baristas at Starbucks about dropping one or two Kerry Gold butters in each of my Americanos. Some are grossed out, most are interested and ask pertinent questions.

Dave Asprey and others have firmly convinced me Bulletproof Coffee is a wonderful food in my life. I love the taste and texture. Even my beloved Peet’s coffee doesn’t taste as good to me as it used to, without butter and oil.

I train at a CrossFit gym four times weekly. I workout a couple of times weekly at a globo-gym. My food quality is high; my splurges or “cheats” are few and widely separated by days and weeks of proper “competitive CrossFit Paleo.” In other words, I eat tons of meat, vegetables, rice and potatoes. Little fruit, some dairy. Lots of fat from coconut oil, bacon, and butter. Oh, and I drink red wine. A bit, most evenings.

But I’m not as lean as I’d like to be, nor is my bodyfat where I anticipated it would be in the last six months. I wonder if in the big picture, I’m taking in too many calories. Great, healthy, wonderful calories, but too many?

When summer finally arrives in Wisconsin I’ll ramp up my running track intervals, get in some cycling, and generally become even more active in life. I realize this changes the equation a bit, but nonetheless, this month away from butter and oil in my coffee creates an interesting self-experiment. 

I’ll make no other food or drink changes in April. All will stay the same, other than the significant amount of butter and oil I’m no longer dropping into my coffee cup. I’ll be reporting the results.

@jeremykinnick, @daveasprey, @KerrygoldUSA, @Peets_Tweets

 

Saturday
Feb152014

No Longer Paleo (but just what am I?)

Sometime around now is the third anniversary of my eating Paleo. Whatever that means today, back then I was a hardcore Robb Wolf-Paleo-is-the-best-thing-ever guy. No gluten, no wheat, no dairy.

 

My first year eating this way was filled with reading and research, discovery, feeling better, improved energy, losing bodyfat, and deeper immersion into CrossFit. Vegetables became a big player in my daily life; I’m confident in the past three or so years I’ve stir-fried more broccoli, asparagus, kale and many others veggies than in a couple of decades combined before. Bacon re-entered my life, happily.


Over time I added to my knowledge of food and nutrition. I know enough to realize there’s always so much more to learn. Intense exercise on a very regular basis creates special nutritional needs, my body finally told me. Even though I’ve eaten healthily, in a bodybuilding-weight training kind of way for many years, Strict Paleo let me down early in my second year. There just aren’t enough calories, starches and easily-burnable carbs in strict Paleo to support four-five days per week of CrossFit, plus another one or two traditional weight-training workouts. 

Paleo makes all kinds of sense for most people. If nothing else, those on a Paleo diet or leading the Paleo lifestyle eat very little crap, damn little sugar, and no gluten. I’m good with all this, considering putting no poison into my body an easy position.

 

Fat has steadily become a bigger player in my total calories. I’ve been consuming grass-fed butter and MCT oil in my coffee for more than a year now. Lots of it. Eggs to the tune of two or three dozen weekly. My blood lipid levels, total cholesterol and anything else testable is superior. My calcium heart test result score is zero. Nada. 

Heading into year four, I’ve intensely modified my positions. Life and gym experience has sent me a firm message. Perhaps it’s also age and decades of weight-training and sports taking a toll on me. Paleo remains a framework for my food/fuel consumption, but around my workouts you’ll find a great deal of rice and potatoes. Sweet potatoes and yes, white potatoes! Dairy came back into my life a few months ago, with no apparent harm done. Full-fat cottage cheese, aged white cheese, goat and feta. Great protein and fat sources!

High-quality whey protein is important as well. Supplements are critical in the immediate post-workout window, in my opinion. I use Progenex Recovery and Vitargo for that still-in-the-gym shake. My only insulin spike of the day, hopefully, takes place then. Jam that protein into your muscles and accelerate the rebuilding of your muscles and body.

So I’m no longer Paleo, but Paleo has proven to be critical as a template for healthy eating. Maybe I’m Paleo / Zone. I prefer to think of myself as smart, thinking, eating as much real food as possible, and a healthy man. Yes, a Master’s category CrossFit athlete, but healthy and active for real life first.