Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Going Against the "Grain"

Changing a diet drastically can sometimes wreak havoc on your system. I've come across this bump in the road and I refuse to give up. It works too well for me. It's the first time in years where I looked in the mirror and said, "Wow, it works!" Mind you, I didn't lose a whole lot, but the little difference (or big difference in my opinion) has me hooked on Paleo. Today, the scale told me I lost 12 lbs, so I'm even more amped. Since I have cut out all breads, pasta and refined sugars, I do sometimes go against the grain (no pun) on Paleo. Some people think eating green beans are debatable since they are legumes. They have phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid basically washes out most of the minerals in your gut that your body needs to absorb. Lectins stick to your gut wreaking havoc in other ways. Green beans however are debatable. Some people on Paleo have said, "Well, beans have been around forever and just because the cavemen didn't find beans just yet doesn't mean we shouldn't eat them." But maybe they didn't know about the health/gut risks. I don't know. But I'm not gonna get all crazy on it because well, I LOVE green beans. (In moderation.) Since being on Paleo for about a month now, I figured a little cheating isn't so bad once in a blue moon, so sometimes, I put a tiny bit, and I mean a tiny bit of breadcrumbs on my chicken for a crispy outer layer. This is for my guests usually, or whoever is eating with me because I don't eat chicken skin to begin with. So now that I gave you the lowdown on why I cooked this meal, here is the recipe for my delicious roasted chicken thighs. Also, if you have any opinions and factors of why legumes are terribly wrong or why you eat them or don't eat them, please let me know in the comment section? I always seek other people's advice, especially from the Paleo experts.
  • Get a tumbler out & pour whatever oil you prefer. I have to stick to my Paleo, so that's up to you. Coconut oil or bacon grease for me. 
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • A generous amount of parsley
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder (go by your own taste)
  • A jigger of white wine (or you can even use orange juice to replace it -- really goes well).
  • Squeeze an entire half of a lemon
  • Stir
  • Now, even before I put this concoction onto my chicken, I give my thighs a spicy rub. My chicken thighs. Hush. Then I add the oil and spices onto it.
  • Pour it onto the chicken generously. Squeeze some more lemon on top of it.
  • Preheat oven at 375 and in they go!
  • About an hour into it, I prefer to flip them over to cook fully.
  • The last 30 minutes, I flip them over, & place some breadcrumbs on the top of them with a little of the juice left in the pan.
  • The last 10 minutes, put dem' puppies on a high broil and watch how crispy those delicious thighs turn out. 
I steam my organic green beans for about twenty minutes and then let them cool off a touch. I add olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and serve.

This dinner is great paired up with ---- ANY wine. Because thighs are dark meat, a nice cabernet is wonderful with this dinner in my opinion, but you can enjoy this with any spirit of choice.

Bon app├ętit!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Debbie Had a Little Lamb

When I was growing up at home, Mom would make lamb chops. I never particularly cared for it. For me, it had a little bit of a gamey taste to it. As I got older, I would walk inside her kitchen and smell something wonderful brewing in that oven of hers. Sure enough, it was the lamb that I always detested. She made the chops only, where she taught me how to eat bone marrow as well. Best. thing. ever! So as my love for lamb increased, I began making it much more. I only use the rack of lamb chops because they're just fun to eat and the best part is - they're finger food, like ribs or anything else that has a "handle" made out of bone. I prepare mine with a rub and a touch of oil (preferably coconut oil for Paleo) or you can always use olive oil, consisting of salt, pepper, garlic, tons of mint leaves (fresh or flakes) and a touch of mint jelly to enhance the mint overtones. I got these puppies on sale yesterday while shopping and they looked too good not to throw into my cart.

Here are some health benefits of lamb...
  • Lamb is a good source of high quality protein and supplies the body with 60.3% of the daily requirement for protein. 
  • The meat is a good source of selenium, a mineral whose deficiency can lead to asthma attacks. 
  • Lamb is rich in iron, which is an integral component of hemoglobin and aids formation of red blood cells in the body. The form in which iron is present in lamb is easily absorbed by the body. 
  • The meat contains a high amount of zinc, which is required by every living cell in the body for healthy immune function, cell division and overall growth. It is a good source of vitamin B12, necessary to prevent a dangerous molecule called homocysteine from harming the body. 
  • It also promotes a healthy nervous system, supports the formation of red blood cells and prevents anemia. 
  • Moreover, vitamin B12 is found naturally only in animal foods. The niacin (vitamin B3) present in lamb provides protection against Alzheimer's disease, promotes healthy skin and keeps age-related cognitive decline at bay. 
  • Moreover, it retards the risk of developing osteoarthritis by as much as half. Lamb is good for health conscious people, as it is a source of ‘good fat’ in the body and has less saturated fat than other meat products.
The best thing about lamb other than eating it? It's the EASIEST and FASTEST thing to cook. Put your stove on high broil and watch them cook nice and crispy, flipping them on the other side after ten minutes. You'll have delicious crispy lamb chops with a little bit of rareness inside. It's great paired up with a chianti or pinot noir. 

Bon apetit! 

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Facing Challenges on Paleo

It's been like 100+ degrees here and my appetite has been next to none. Although I'm mostly in the A/C, anytime I go outside during this weather, I instantly overheat for whatever reason. I drink tons of water, so I'm not sure what my deal is other than good ol' menopause kicking into high gear. The last thing I want to do is go grocery shopping. Then again, if I did go, I'd loiter around the frozen section to cool off. Finding foods to eat while trying to maintain a Paleo lifestyle (or in my case, an 80/20 Paleo), it can be challenging to say the least. Yesterday afternoon, I went to go have lunch with Mom. She instantly said, "Well, what about pizza? What about a sandwich?" And although those would be perfect foods in the summer, I was craving a salad, or something light and healthy, even a smoothie, but that wasn't available yesterday. So, Mom got creative and made me a delicious antipasto salad (not the typical greens I would get) but wow, it was delicious. But I had yet another dilemma: dinner. I have to say this -- I have never, in my life, have made eggs for dinner. To me, it's like eating a hamburger for breakfast. It just doesn't cut it. I took out a leftover steak from the night before, cut it in half and placed two eggs on each of them (one for me and one for Madelene), and not only was it satisfying, but it didn't leave me so bloated with heartburn later in the evening. I'm at the stage where I'm finding I'd rather not eat at all if the only thing on the menu is bread-based foods. I'm still not sure if the "true" Paleo folks would accept me as their own (heh), but I'm trying my hardest to eat grass fed meats, hormone free poultry, fresh fish and seafood, organic veggies and berries and avocados.  That's basically my entire diet, and I'm pretty okay with that. I just can't do nuts. Never have, never will. Although I am nuts. (There's a few jokes that can be made with that.)

If you have any suggestions on what to do when you have zilch in the fridge or you can't get available Paleo when you're feeling hungry, please feel free to comment below and share. I would love some tips and advice. So far, right now - that's been the only real challenge for me.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Eating Out While On Paleo

Usually I cook from home because I can choose what types of meats and vegetables are being tossed into my system, but I do dine out every once in a while. Of course you can't ask the waiter if the chicken of the day is hormone free or if your steak is grass fed. So, I just stick to a no carb diet and hope for the best. But let me backtrack about why this blog is changing more into a Paleo or low/no carb theme... The past few years were really rough for me, trying to take care of Dad while he suffered greatly with cancer. Last year, he passed away. So, between the years of trying to take care of my parents and going through the grieving process, I packed on the pounds, this time, at an alarming rate. I wasn't exercising all that much because I was always in the hospital or trying to take care of Mom while Dad was gone. And not to place blame on anyone or anything, because yes, it is my conscious choice to put food in my mouth or not, but I started to figure out what it was to "emotionally eat". I wasn't even eating foods that were healthy. I even got excited to eat KFC if that says anything. So, I learned about a new lifestyle, (not diet) through my friend John. I tried it for a bit and really was convinced that this was really not for me. Not only was it about eating low/no carb, but it was more about eating cleaner foods, healthier foods and staying away from things like beans and things you would never think would be "unhealthy".

Anyway, now that I'm on the Paleo, the pounds are dropping slowly, but surely. Last night, I brought my wife and mother out to our favorite Italian restaurant. Now me being Italian, I grew up on pasta. I think my mom even spiked some pasta in my formula. As I'm sitting at the table with them, everyone is eating bread (and it looked sooooo good), and pasta. It does take willpower to say no to all those evil little pasta entrees that they have listed, especially your "usual". I'm a regular in this joint so they expected me to say the same dish, but instead, I ordered steamed clams and mussels in a white wine and butter sauce. I even ordered extra clams with it. I then had an antipasto and an arugula salad with grilled chicken on it. I felt satisfied and not stuffed like a balloon as I usually get ordering "the usual". I thought it would be extremely hard, but consciously ordering these other types of foods make me feel not only healthier, but I'm losing weight while I'm enjoying my time inside an Italian restaurant. Who woulda' thunk? I'm still quite new on this, but here are some of the delicious things I have ordered below. Bon apetit! 

There is no way I can ever complain about these dishes. My mom said to me, "Why don't you get it over spaghetti?" I just gave her a blank stare. Although I do miss my pasta, I'm very happy seeing my waistline gradually decreasing and hopefully my health increasing. I'm very excited about this new lifestyle choice, and pulling through even when nobody else is on the diet with me. I guess for now, I pray for self control, but at this point, I pray for health that comes along with this new change. 

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One Cheeseburger, Hold the Buns!

I'm guilty as charged. I love love love making burgers on the grill, but for the past five years or so, I have only eaten them without the bun. It was too heavy and filling. If I did have a bun, I wouldn't have any sides, not for any other reason than fullness. Since I've been on the Paleo for a bit, a friend of mine introduced me to portobello cap burgers. I couldn't believe how delicious it was. We got grass fed organic ground beef and marinated the mushroom caps in olive oil, salt and pepper for about 20 minutes before grilling them along with the burgers. I only put them on the grill for 5 minutes on each side. They're not greasy or slide when you eat them. I do an opened face shroom burger, while Madelene goes full steam ahead with the whole package. Try it, you'll love it!

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