June 30, 2014

Paleo Parsnip Mash (Paleo, GAPS, Gluten Free, Sides)




Happy Monday everyone. I realize the title of this one isn't that exciting. I couldn't think of anything clever! If you have any suggestions please let me know. I am willing to change it!

Did you notice anything different about the photos of this recipe? I sure hope so! These were taken with my brand new fancy camera. Yep I think I can officially call myself a blogger now… maybe… I don't really like that term very much I must admit.

Now I am still getting used to this new beast but already I am so happy with the photos I have taken. So much more detailed and crisp looking! Now unfortunately I still have a bunch of recipes left that I had already photographed with my old camera so you will have to put up with those for a while longer… sorry.

Now I know that most of you will already be familiar with paleo 'faux' potatoes using mashed cauliflower. Well this is an extension of that delicious recipe, but made even better (in my humble and unbiased opinion) by the addition of parsnips! These make a great side dish for almost any dinner, or are delicious eaten alone.

Please let me know what you think of this one!

And as always please like us on Facebook and Pinterest to find even more recipes and health information.

Ingredients

1 small head organic cauliflower, chopped into large pieces
2 large organic parsnips (or 3 small ones), diced
2 TBSP coconut oil (this kind is my favourite) 
Sea salt to taste (I use this brand
Optional Spices: paprika, cinnamon or ground pepper 



Directions

1. Steam chopped cauliflower and parsnips until soft (about 30 minutes) - alternatively you could place a small amount of water in a large pot (think 1-2 cm) and boil for the same time until soft 
2. Remove from heat and place the vegetables in a large glass or ceramic bowl
3. Add coconut oil and sea salt and optional spices if using them 
4. Using your submersion blender puree the vegetables until you have a smooth consistency
5. Serve and enjoy!

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Have a great week everyone! Let me know what you think of this dish if you make it! 

June 28, 2014

Paleo Plantain Crisps (Paleo, Snacks, Gluten Free)



Hey everyone. How is your week going? Are you ready for a new recipe? I sure hope so. And guess what? This one is super simple. Even if you are new to cooking and the idea of paleo recipes is completely foreign you will be able to handle this one I promise. Yes promise. These Paleo Plantain Crisps are so easy and so delicious, I bet you won't be able to eat just one.  



If you follow me on instagram (and if you don't you should!) you will have seen me posting these a few times already. I am obsessed with this snack right now. These are so good! I was hesitant to try plantains for a long time because they are not permitted on the SCD diet. But as you know I have been slowly adding things back into my diet, and so far so good! Although I do seem to tolerate green plantains much better than the yellow ones. I think it has to do with the starch content, as the sweeter yellow plantains must be higher in starch. That's my theory anyways… Plus I like the crunchiness that you get with the green ones better. Something about that crisp texture. Am I right?

These are super easy and are ready in minutes which is always a bonus! Erik also agrees that these are delicious. Again, it's hard to really call this one a recipe since they are so easy and only use three (yes three) ingredients. But they are so tasty I just had to post them! Enjoy!

And as always I would be thrilled if you followed my social media pages on  Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter

Paleo Plantain Crisps Recipe


Ingredients

2 green plantains
3 TBSP coconut oil (this brand is my favourite) 
sea salt to taste (I recommend this kind



Directions

1. Place a large frying pan on the stove on medium heat and add the coconut oil
2. Open your plantains (the easiest way I have found to do this is to cut off both ends, slice the skin lengthwise down the plantain and then peel away the skin)
3. Cut the plantains into thin slices (3-4mm)
4. Place the plantain slices into the pan, making sure they don't overlap (they won't cook properly if they do)
5. Cook for a few minutes (usually about 4-5) on one side (until golden brown) and then flip and cook for a few more minutes (again until golden brown)
6. Before removing from the heat sprinkle with sea salt to taste
7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
8. Serve and enjoy!

NOTE: The reason why I like green plantains for this recipe is that they turn out crispy. I have tried this with the yellow, sweet plantains, and while they taste delicious they don't have the same texture. But feel free to try both and let me know which kind you prefer!

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June 26, 2014

Pure and Simple Guide to Post Workout Body pH

Hi again! It's me Erik bringing you more information about post workout nutrition. This time we are going to focus on your bodies' pH. Intrigued? Well read on!

As always, please follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for even more health information and recipes.

We also just wanted to announce that we have partnered with US Wellness Meats so if you are looking for that ethically raised and grassfed meat we are always raving about they are a great option!





Your Body pH: What is it? And Why Does it Matter?

The pH of your blood is probably something that most of you have not considered when thinking about workout recovery. I know that as a national level swimmer, it certainly never crossed my mind, nor was the concept ever introduced to me! It was not until recently that I have become more aware how blood pH can impact the body.

Impact of Acidity

When we exercise, body fluids shift towards a more acidotic state. If this acidic state persists for an extended period of time after exercise, there is a great risk for nitrogen and calcium loss. This happens because the body detects the shift in pH and attempts to compensate by releasing minerals into the blood. Primarily calcium from bones, and nitrogen from muscles are extracted to meet these needs.
When this happens you are essentially losing bone and muscle mass in your urine as the acidity of your blood stays high. This process chemically balances the body fluids, but is a biologically expensive process for athletes. Body acidity can have negative impacts on performance, overall health, and even compromise muscle and bone mass.

Foods That Help

Fruits and vegetables are the only foods that have a net alkaline enhancing effect on the body. Meaning that fruits and vegetables will have a positive impact on your body fluid pH after working out, helping to resist the acidic state by exerting their alkaline effects. By incorporating fruits and vegetables into your recovery drink or meal you are not only replacing carbohydrate stores, you are also potentially sparing your bones and muscles from being broken down.
Here are some examples of fruits and vegetables that you could incorporate into your post-workout meal: (These are listed in order from most helpful to least helpful).

  • Fruits: Raisins, black currants, bananas, apricots, kiwi, cherries, pears, pineapple, peaches, apples, watermelon
  • Vegetables: Spinach, celery, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, radishes, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, chicory, leeks, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, broccoli, cucumber



Foods to Avoid

Just as fruits and vegetables lower acidity, there are some foods that will promote body fluid acidity and the inflammatory response. So immediately after a workout it is best to stay away from the following foods: (These are listed in order of most detrimental to least detrimental).

  • Grains (not that we recommend eating these at any time): brown rice, rolled oats, wheat in any form, pastas (whole wheat, rice, or white), corn
  • Dairy: Parmesan and processed cheese, hard cheese, gouda cheese, cottage cheese, whole milk
  • Legumes: Peanuts, lentils, peas
  • Meat, Fish, and Eggs: Trout, turkey, chicken, eggs, pork, beef, cod, herring




In a Nutshell

Exercise, whether it is prolonged or short with high intensity, will cause your body fluids to become more acidic. It is important to take control of this acidity, and the easiest way to do this is with your post-workout nutrition. Try to focus on taking in alkaline foods such as the fruits and vegetables mentioned. In terms of protein, even though some meats are listed as negatively impacting body pH, they are not as detrimental when you consider the benefits provided by the BCAAs they contain and the muscle generation that is promoted when they are consumed. Nor are they nearly as detrimental as the grains or dairy listed. As discussed in my post on post-workout nutrition, remember that it is important to start refueling in the first 30 minutes after working out.
The way I would explain this concept to my athletes is to think of it like a teeter-totter, on one end your blood pH is acidic, on the other more alkaline. Exercise loads the acidic end and brings it down to ground level. After exercise we would want to load up the alkaline end with all of the amazing fruits and vegetables to bring the alkaline end back down to ground level.  I hope that helps simplify the concept! I also hope this has helped to reinforce the importance of nutrition as it relates to exercise.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any topics you would like me to discuss please let me know!

June 24, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Lemon Squares (Paleo, Egg Free, Dessert)



I have to admit I forgot about this recipe! I actually made this one months ago but it has been sitting in the archives collecting dust. Sad I know.

So since I made my last announcement that I have finished my internal medicine rotations I have made it out to the Okanagan Valley for a well deserved vacation. If you are looking for me over the next two weeks I will be beside the pool with a book, working on my tan. There is nothing that makes me happier than laying in the sunshine with a great read. It is no secret that I love reading, and unfortunately during most of the year I don't have a lot of extra time for it. I make up for that on vacation let me tell you! Have you read anything good lately? I would love to get some book suggestions.

Now I happen to love lemon flavour desserts, but I know that a lot of people don't. It seems to be that way with lemon desserts; you either love them or hate them, there is no in between. So if you are one of the haters I apologize in advance because this one is not for you. But for everyone else keep reading and enjoy! These Paleo Chocolate Lemon Squares have been taste tested and approved by my non-paleo mother so hopefully you will like them too!

I recommend making this one the night before you need it, as letting it sit in the fridge overnight leads to the best texture.

And as always if you are looking for more recipes and health information please follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!





Lemon Crust Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanced almond flour
1 cup coconut flour (like this one
2/3 cup coconut oil (I recommend this one
1/3 cup grassfed butter or ghee (I use this kind
1/3 cup organic honey (find it here
1 tsp lemon extract (I use this brand
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
pinch sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
Optional: 2 eggs (this will hold the crust together but are not necessary if you don't tolerate eggs) 

Lemon Crust Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F 2. In a large glass bowl add the coconut oil and butter and microwave for 45-60 seconds to melt the oils
3. Add the remaining crust ingredients to the bowl and blend well with a pastry blender

4. Line an 8x8 glass baking dish with parchment paper 

5. Pour crust ingredients onto parchment paper and press down well until you have an even layer

6. Cook for 15-17 minutes at 350F, until edges are golden brown

7. Remove from oven (but don't turn it off) 


Chocolate Layer Ingredients 

1/2 cup coconut butter (or manna, or concentrate) (Find it here
1/4 cup coconut oil (I like this kind
3 TBSP organic honey (like this one)  
3 TBSP organic cocoa powder (like this one) 
1 tsp organic vanilla extract (I use this type
1 TBSP + 1 tsp coconut flour (I use this brand

Chocolate Layer Directions

** Note: Make this while your lemon crust is cooking**
1. Place a small sauce pan on low heat on the stove
2. Place all ingredients except for the coconut flour into the pan and allow to melt, and stir to combine
3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the coconut flour, stir until dissolved
4. Pour onto lemon crust and spread with a knife to form an even layer (this is a thin layer)
5. Place back in oven and cook for another 10 minutes 
5. Remove from oven and place the entire square into the fridge and allow to cool overnight
6. Remove from fridge, let sit for 10-15 minutes cut, serve and enjoy!
NOTE: Allowing these to sit in the fridge overnight makes the lemon crust less crumbly as it reabsorbs moisture as it sits 


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Please let me know what you think of this one! And if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. I love hearing from you guys! 

June 22, 2014

Weekly Recipe Wrap-up

I realize it has been a while since I have posted a wrap-up. Sorry about that! Have you missed them? Or do you prefer my own recipes? 

Great news… I ordered a new camera! It will be my first DSLR type camera so the learning curve will be a little steep. But I am hoping my food pictures will start looking nicer now. Although I still have a few posts saved up so you will have to suffer through my poor photos for a little while longer while I figure out how to use my new gadget. 

And even more great news. I finished internal medicine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes that really did require that many exclamation marks. This is a big deal people. My fellow medical friends will understand that. Now I get to focus on rheumatology for the next couple years (minus my evil general medicine exam next year which I don't even want to think about). This means no more 24 hour call shifts, no more inpatient medicine, and no more rotations that I am not interested in. Yes it is a good day. 

I have collected 10 amazing looking recipes for you this week. I hope you agree that they look delicious. As always, these are not my own recipes and have been collected from sites around the web. Please click on the recipe title to be taken to the recipe and its original source. 

And for more recipes and health information please follow us on Facebook and Pinterest


1. Maple Pecan Ice Cream Bites from Healthy Eats Real 



2. Paleo Chicken Chipotle Lime Kabobs from Paleo Newbie 



3. Paleo Blueberry Scones from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition



4. Orange Chocolate Raw Cheesecake from Rawmazing 



5. Tropical Strawberry Bliss Smoothie from GI365



6. Paleo Egg Rolls from Delicious Obsessions 



7. Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream from Whole New Mom



8. Basil Beet Burgers from Savory Lotus 




9. Icy Mint Raw Chocolate Cups from A Skinny Dish 



10. Coconut Fudgesicles from Healthy Eats Real 



I hope you all are having an amazing weekend. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments or feedback! We love hearing from you. 



June 19, 2014

Pure and Simple Hydration

Hi everyone! Erik here again to provide you with more information to help optimize your athletic performance. Since my last post was all about nutrition, this time I will be focussing on the importance of hydration. I hope this information will be useful! Please let me know if you have any feedback!
And as always for even more recipes and health information please like us on Facebook and Follow us on Pinterest.


What causes dehydration and how is it impacting my body?


Anybody that has ever been involved in athletics has heard coaches preaching about adequate water consumption. Hydration is easily as important as nutrition when it comes to athletic performance. Because of the quick pace in which liquids are emptied from the stomach when compared to solids, taking in calories from liquid sources during exercise is your best bet.

Dehydration occurs when fluid intake is well below sweat rate for a long period of time. This triggers the body to divert body fluids away from the digestive system to the skin for cooling and muscles for work production.  Elite athletes can lose up to 1800 mL of water per hour of work. Though we might not be training at quite the same level as elite athletes, it is important to recognize how easy it is to lose fluid. As a competitive swimmer, it was easy to lose track of how much sweat was leaving the body because I was surrounded by water. It is nearly impossible to fully recover from exercise in a dehydrated state, so hydration during and post workout is crucial. The recommended fluid intake after working out is 500 mL (16 ounces) for every pound lost during exercise. Depending on your sport this may be very difficult to achieve in the first 30 minutes post exercise. Throughout the day you may need to consume up to 150% of the weight lost during exercise to keep up with your body’s demands throughout recovery.

How to determine your fluid intake needs

You will need to determine your ‘optimally hydrated’ body weight: weigh yourself in the morning before breakfast, and after drinking water to satisfy thirst. Do this for 3-4 days while you are doing less exercise. This will be your reference point to compare to post workouts. Following exercise try to return to your predetermined ‘optimally hydrated’ state quickly, and as early as possible before your next training session.

What does it mean to ‘hold onto water weight’?

When fully hydrated and glycogen loaded, you carry ‘extra’ fluid. This means that muscle is being loaded with glycogen due to reduced training. Typically, for every gram of glycogen stored in the muscle, 2.6 grams of water are stored with it. Exercise uses this stored glycogen as fuel, and as it is expended the stored water is released. This release of fluid is helpful for the body at work, but these benefits are minimized by fluid losses such as sweat. Your optimal training body weight lies between your fully rested and post exercise body weight.




Muscle Cramps

Unfortunately, no one has been able to determine exactly what causes muscle cramps, but there are a couple of prevalent theories.

I am sure many individuals who are, or have been involved in an aerobic sport have shared in all of the joys that come with cramps. As a swimmer I had the delight of experiencing many bouts with cramps, usually in the hamstrings or calves, often simultaneously in both legs. That sharp, stabbing, often excruciating pain that was followed by the development of a rock hard lump of useless muscle left me an immobile mess. Now as a coach I continue to see localized muscle cramps in my athletes and hope to offer more insight as to how they can prevent this pain for themselves. When I look back, I recall coaches offering the same advice: “you need to drink more water”, or “you need to eat more bananas”. In my mind theses suggestions made sense: more water because I am losing so much through sweat, and bananas to replenish potassium. This advice was pretty general, and as a youngster in debilitating pain I followed the advice, but found that I always struggled with leg cramps despite making these changes. It was not until I was nearly finished competing in the sport that I tried different cross training that incorporated Olympic and power lifting which helped me to develop strength and coordination that I could not develop in the water, eliminating the muscle imbalances that likely contributed to my cramps. This reasoning is supported by the neuromuscular control theory, which explains that strength imbalances are thought to play a large role in muscle cramping. Neuromuscular control can impact the muscles of the body: fatigue of untrained or underdeveloped muscle groups can cause disturbances in the central, and peripheral nervous system, and the skeletal muscle system causing muscles to cramp.

Exercise associated muscle cramps are most widely believed to be caused by electrolyte depletion or dehydration. In 2008 author Michael F. Bergeron published an article on the subject titled Muscle Cramps during Exercise-Is It Fatigue or Electrolyte Deficit? Bergeron found that deficiency of sodium and other electrolytes may lead to contracted interstitial fluid compartments, which may exacerbate the muscle cramping. According to this theory, “the increased blood plasma osmolality from sweating sodium losses causes a fluid shift from the interstitial space to the intervascular space, which causes the interstitial fluid compartment to deform and contributes to muscle hyperexcitability and risk of spontaneous muscle activity.” Because the loss of electrolytes is closely associated with fluid loss, I can see how my coaches assumed that it must be the loss of water that was causing my discomfort. Perhaps a pinch of salt in the water bottle may have helped my body manage the workload on these days.



Electrolytes: What are they and why do they matter?

The main electrolytes in the human body are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate. Sodium is the main electrolyte found in extracellular fluid and is involved in fluid balance and blood pressure control. These ions help regulate blood pH and are critical for nerve and muscle function. Both muscle tissue and neurons are considered electric tissues of the body. Muscles and neurons are activated by electrolyte shifts between fluid compartments. A muscle contraction needs calcium, sodium and potassium to be present. An imbalance in these electrolytes can lead to either weak muscle contractions, or muscles that contract too severely (cramp).
 
As mentioned by Bergeron, hyponatremia (low sodium) can be caused by the excessive consumption of fluids low in sodium, and can actually trigger or aggravate cramps. So yes, drinking too much water can actually have a detrimental effect on your workouts. It is important to stay hydrated, but also to replenish electrolytes.
 



How to Fight Hyponatremia


Many people swear by sports drinks when they exercise, but those of us who believe in a whole food or paleo type diet do not agree with the ingredients that can be found in drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. To address the needs of a workout that lasts longer than 1.5 hours, steady consistent intake of carbohydrates, water, and sodium are crucial, and should be taken in as fluid. Not only is this a more convenient method, but it will also be used more rapidly when compared to solid foods. Try adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt with a lemon to your water bottle while you workout, or try making your own electrolyte drink with the recipe below.
 


Simple Homemade Electrolyte Drink 

27 ounces water
Juice from 1/2 - 1 Lemon
3-4 slices fresh ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sea salt (we recommend this brand
1.5-2 Tbsp Local Raw Honey (like this kind



Well there you have it everyone. Everything you ever wanted to know about hydration and exercise. I hope you learned something that will help you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me! 


June 17, 2014

Spiced Slow Cooker Chicken with Cauliflower (Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Chicken)



I have to say I am pretty impressed with the flavour of this one. The combination of spices in this recipe just somehow works. And because it was made in the slow cooker it is also very easy! I love my slow cooker for this reason. Anything I ever make in that thing turns out delicious! And the meat is always so tender. It's a love love relationship that we have if you couldn't tell. I don't know what I would do if that thing died. I don't even want to think about it.

So I have decided it's time for me to invest in a better camera. Apparently that's pretty important for taking pretty pictures. And I sure do like pretty pictures, especially when it comes to food. But the problem is I don't know anything about cameras. So if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them!

I hope you like this one! And as always if you follow me on Facebook you will find even more recipes and health information.


Ingredients 

1 cups bone broth
2 tsp chili spice (I use this brand because it is SCD legal)
1 tsp cumin (I recommend this one)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (buy here)
1/2 tsp onion powder (I used this one)
1/4 tsp sea salt (this brand is great)
6 ethically raised chicken breasts or thighs

1 head organic cauliflower, chopped


Directions

1. Place the bone broth and spices into your slow cooker and stir to blend
2. Add chicken and cook for 3 hours on high heat
3. Place the chopped cauliflower on top of the chicken and cook for another 1-2 hours 
4. Serve and enjoy!

This pairs well with avocado or guacamole. I also garnished mine with a combination of sprouts for some additional flavour. But feel free to experiment!

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As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me!