April 06, 2015

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Olive Beef Roast (Low FODMAP, Paleo, Gluten Free)




Happy Easter Monday everyone! Did you have an amazing long weekend? What did you do? Did it involve a yummy Easter dinner? I hope so!

I for one had a great weekend. And you want to know why it was so great? There was no studying involved! Nope I did not open a book once. It was glorious. Do you when the last time that happened was? Seven months ago. I forgot how much time there is in a day when you don't have to spend every second of it studying. I got to bake, cook, go to spin class, work on the blog, spend time with Erik, and most importantly, watch the Final Four! Those of you that know me know that I love college basketball. March Madness is pretty much the happiest time of the year for me because of all the amazing basketball that is on TV. Unfortunately, this year March Madness coincided with the month before my Royal College Exams so I barely watched any of it. Cue the tears. So needless to say I was pretty excited to get to see the games on Saturday.

Now I am a pretty big Duke hater so you can imagine that I wasn't too impressed by the outcome of the first game. Plus it's always more enjoyable when the games are a little closer in score. BUT, the second game was amazing. My sister is a pretty big Badger's fan so by default I was cheering for them. Plus it's always nice to see the number one seeded team fall to an underdog. Although it always breaks my heart when I see how upset the losing team is. They work so hard all year and have an amazing season with no losses and then it's all over in one game. Pretty much the definition of bitter sweet.

Will everyone be watching the final tonight? Who are you cheering for? (I hope it's not Duke).





Now this is another recipe that has been sitting in the closet collecting dust while I was busy studying. I posted a preview of the recipe on my Instagram account weeks ago and I have had a few people asking me for the recipe. So, finally, here it is!

I don't know about you, but I firmly believe that olives make everything taste better. And sweet potatoes for that matter. So it naturally made sense for me to put these two things together in one recipe. And the results are pretty amazing if you ask me. So good in fact that I have made this recipe at least twice more since I originally cooked it. Plus it is made in the slow cooker, which always guarantees extremely tender meat, with hardly any effort.

This recipe is also appropriate for the low FODMAP diet for those of you that are following it. I know it can be hard to find dishes to eat so I hope you like this one! And if you are on the SCD diet you could make this compatible by switching out the sweet potato for your favourite type of squash. There are just so many options.





Happy eating everyone! As always I would be thrilled if you visited me on my social media pages: PinterestInstagram, Facebook and Twitter 

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Ingredients

1 grassfed cross rib beef roast (~4lbs) (buy here
3/4 cup bone broth
1/4 cup dry white wine 
1 can organic black olives plus the juice (I like this brand
2 TBSP chopped chives (or you can sub one small onion, diced if not on the Low FODMAP diet) 
1 TBSP organic dried rosemary
1 TBSP organic dried basil
1 TBSP organic dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt (or more to taste) 
2 cinnamon sticks
2 red bell peppers, diced 
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (approximately 3 cups worth of chopped potato)





Directions

1. Turn your slow cooker onto high heat
2. Add the ingredients to the slow cooker
3. Cook for 6-7 hours stirring occasionally
4. Turn your slow cooker onto the "keep warm" setting, break the meat apart (still in the slow cooker), and let sit for another 1-2 hours - this allows the meat to absorb even more liquid and become super tender
5. Serve and enjoy!

Print Recipe











          

March 23, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Soup (Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Gluten Free)




Hi friends! Yes I am still alive. Just living in my little study bubble I'm afraid. It's not a very fun bubble let me tell you. Have you missed me? I've missed you! I decided it was about time I took a little study break to bring you another recipe because it has been way too long since I last posted. I'm sorry! Plus before it gets too warm outside I needed to share this soup recipe with you. Because, well, it's delicious. 




And besides being delicious this soup also contains some very healthy ingredients like bone broth, vegetables and coconut milk. Plus a little bit of bacon fat. Yes you read that right. Bacon fat. Because everything is better with bacon fat. Am I right? 

As a believer in eating real food, I think it's very important for you to know what is being put in your body. That is why I am rather upset to see that the newest genetically modified apple that doesn't turn brown when sliced, has just been approved for sale in Canada and the USA. Boo! 

It still baffles my mind that these genetically modified food items don't have to be tested for long term safety before they are placed in our stores for human consumption. Does this not seem totally bizarre to anyone else? I am really hoping there will be some sort of labelling put in place so that we can avoid this laboratory created little gem of a food item. What's wrong with a little bruising on an apple anyways? I mean seriously? Although to quote the creator of this new GMO apple, "We know that in a convenience-driven world, a whole apple is too big of a commitment". Um really? I can't remember the last time someone told me that eating an apple simply required too much commitment. It's like the apple has suddenly become a long term relationship or something. 

It's no wonder people have no idea what real food really is anymore, with products like this being touted as healthy and natural. And it's only going to keep getting worse as more of these GMO foods get approved by the FDA. Apparently a bruise free potato is what's next to be served up on our plates. I just can't tell you how many meals I have had ruined by a bruise on my potato. Sheesh. And yes I know the potato isn't really paleo. Let's not even go there people.  

I could keep ranting about this forever. But I will save you guys from that. If you do want to learn more you can read the whole article here 

And before I let you get to the recipe, as always, I would be thrilled if you visited me on my other social media pages: PinterestInstagram and Facebook
Oh and I almost forgot to mention that I just started a Twitter account. So you can find me there now too (since you can never have too many social media pages apparently). 

Happy eating everyone! 





Ingredients

3 large red bell peppers (or 4 smaller ones), diced
3 TBSP bacon fat
2 TBSP chopped chives (or sub one small onion, diced) 

2 lbs uncooked butternut squash (I used the pre-cut ones from Costco)
2 cups bone broth
1 can full fat coconut milk (I recommend this brand
1 TBSP dried basil (this is my favourite
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


Directions

1. Place a large frying pan on medium heat on on the stove
2. Add the bacon fat, chives and red pepper to the pan and cook until the peppers start to tenderize (the edges turn golden)
3. While the peppers are cooking place a large pot on the stove on medium heat
4. Add the squash, bone broth, coconut milk and remaining spices to the pot and bring to a boil
5. Once the peppers are done cooking transfer all the ingredients from the pan (including fat and chives) to your pot with the soup
6. Allow the soup to come to a boil
7. Once the soup is boiling turn down the heat and simmer for another 15-20 minutes
8. Remove from heat, and use your immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth
9. Serve and enjoy!  








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March 02, 2015

The Best Paleo Books (Real Food, SCD, GAPS, WAPF, Gluten Free)




Hi everyone. Sorry for all the silence around here lately. It is officially crunch time for my Royal College studying (are you sick of hearing about that exam yet?? You should be. I am rather sick of talking about it). I write the first half in 4 weeks (cue the palpitations... ) which means I won't be able to post as often as normal. I am apologizing in advance! Please forgive me.

I am breaking away from the usual recipes today to share a different kind of health related post. This one is all about books. Health and food related books to be exact. It's no secret that I like to read. A lot. Fiction, non-fiction, humour, mystery, drama, health, nutrition.... there is not a topic that I am not interested in. Ok that might be a lie. Romance. That is a genre I can honestly say has no place on my book shelf. My girly tendencies only go so far.

Over the years I have read many books related to health, food and wellness. Some of which have been instrumental to my healing journey, others which I thought were total bogus or not very helpful. And if you are just starting on your real food or health journey I know it can be overwhelming trying to find quality resources. So I wanted to weed through some of the junk out there and share the books that I think you might be interested in. And I am always looking for more reading material, so if you think I have missed an important resource please let me know!

*** Disclaimer: You can purchase any of these books by clicking on the link provided with each book title. You will be taken directly to the Amazon website. If you do purchase anything through the links in this post I will get a small portion of the cost which helps me keep this blog running, and which I thank you for! Note that the prices are the same as they normally are on Amazon.

Happy Reading!







This is the book that started it all for me. After having only minimal results by going gluten and dairy free, the health care practitioner I was seeing suggested I try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Now I had never heard of this diet but this book explains it all. The diet was originally created for patients with inflammatory bowel disease but has since been adopted for many other health conditions. And while this isn't necessarily a "paleo" book, the diet is very similar. The one major exception is that the SCD diet allows some forms of dairy. I owe the start of my healing journey to this book, and highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to start a real food diet. This is where I first learned about the healing powers of bone broth, the importance of the gut microbiome and is how I started to think of food as a form of medicine.


2. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price



This was the second book I came across on my healing journey. I had heard about the Weston A Price Foundation through various channels and wanted to learn more about the man who started this movement. Weston A Price was a dentist who travelled the world looking at traditional cultures, their dietary practices, and how the implementation of a "modern, white man's diet" changed their dentition and overall health. And what he found was dramatic. In the span of just one generation, the detrimental health impacts of refined sugars, white flour and processed ingredients completely changed not only the dental health of these people, but their overall health as well. Obesity, acne, cancers, joint pains... all of these problems appeared with the introduction of modern style foods. One of the criticisms I often hear against the paleo diet is that there is no evidence for it. Well I don't know if the evidence can get much better than this book. While I realize that this is not a randomized control trial, or formalized study, even the skeptical scientist in me can't ignore the harsh facts in this extremely through documentation. If you, or anyone you know is skeptical about the paleo or real food diet I would highly recommend reading this book.


3. The Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride




The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (also known as the GAPS diet) is very similar to the SCD diet. However, this protocol was originally developed for neurological and mental health conditions including autism, depression, ADD, schizophrenia and many more. However, I know many people, including those with autoimmune diseases who have done extremely well with this diet. One of the main differences between this diet and the SCD diet is the greater emphasis on quality meats and ingredients (think grassfed beef, pasture raised pork etc). The full GAPS diet also allows chocolate (hooray!) but does not permit dairy. And you may wonder if you really need to read both this book and the SCD book? Well that depends. The evidence presented in each book is quite different, and if you are one who likes to see the scientific evidence behind things (like myself) then I would recommend reading both. Plus the subtle differences in the two protocols can really be a game changer for some people.


4. Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo




Practical Paleo was one of the first paleo books on the market. Since publishing this book, Dianne Sanfilippo has become an authority in the paleo world, and for very good reason. This book is awesome. It is both a cookbook and a great resource. The recipes are not only delicious but very easy to make. This is usually the first book I recommend to my friends when they ask me for a great paleo resource. The introduction into why eating paleo is a good idea is extremely thorough, and she explains how to actually go about starting this diet. The ingredients you need, the tools you should invest in etc etc. And what you should see as results of the diet (there is even a poop chart to help you monitor your digestive symptoms). There is a reason this is one of the top selling cookbooks on the market (and not just in the paleo world).


5. The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan




This is by far one of my favorite books. I read this last summer and I just inhaled it. I couldn't get enough. I plan on re-reading it again once my exams are over. It is that good. Now this is not a book oriented to a specific diet or eating style, but what it is is a thorough documentation of how our current food choices have evolved over the last few decades. It is both horrifying and fascinating at the same time. Michael Pollan did an extensive amount of hands on research to write this book, and the things he saw and experienced were rather incredible. He does an amazing job of documenting how the food we are eating today has NOT been guided by evidence related to better health, but instead by corporations and individuals with political influence who have their own best interests at heart. He describes the horrific conditions in which modern animals are raised to produce mass amounts of food at low prices, and how the evolution of a few genetically modified products (namely corn) have allowed this all to happen. Ever since reading this book I have made a conscious effort to boycott any meat or animal products that haven't been ethically raised. His words are that powerful. I actually shed a tear or two reading this book. So you animal lovers out there have been forewarned. I could rave about this book forever, but the bottom line is that if you are at all interested in where your food is coming from and how it is affecting your health, you need to read this book.


6. Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe




This is one of the newer additions to my library. I got this one as a gift for Christmas and have been reading it ever since. If I had my way I would dedicate a day to read the whole thing in one sitting, but for now a page or two every night will have to do. And while I haven't quite finished this one yet, I feel confident in recommending it to you. Liz has a no-nonsense way of discussing food and how it relates to your health. Her sense of humour and non-stop jokes also make this extremely easy to read.  The book is broken up into various chapters, categorized by food group - fats, protein, carbohydrates - which make it easy to digest (no pun intended) and understand. One of the best chapters is the one on fat, where she outlines why dietary cholesterol is not the enemy, and how the recommendation for eating a low fat diet actually has no scientific backing. After I finish reading this one myself I will definitely be passing it around to my friends and family members!


7. The Wahl's Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls



I have so much respect for Dr. Wahl's. She is a physician who was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), ended up wheelchair bound, and through her own extensive research developed a protocol of nutrition and supplements that has allowed her to walk again and reverse many of the symptoms of her disease. Talk about will power and determination. She spent countless hours researching the advice that is given in her book, which covers everything from diet, to exercise to the supplements you should be eating. And while the book was written with MS in mind, the lessons in here can be applied to many other autoimmune conditions. This book also goes further into functional medicine than any of the other books that I have recommended. Not familiar with this form of medicine? In brief, it is almost like "personalized medicine" where treatments are based on your bodies biochemical test results. This is a very simplified explanation, but it would take an entire post to explain it properly. The bottom line is that many people who cannot find solutions through conventional medicine often find success using functional medicine principles. Like Dr. Wahls. So again, if you are interested in the science behind why diet and supplements work, this is another great one for you to add to your book collection.

The Books I Can't Wait to Read

Below are some of the books I have waiting for me on my nightstand when I finish my Royal College Exams. These all come highly recommended from both friends and other paleo bloggers who I reached out to for reading advice. 



Are there any other books you would have added to my list? Please feel free to share your suggestions!

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