A Lil About Me!

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ACE Certified Personal Trainer; NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist; CSEP Certified Personal Fitness & Lifestyle Advisor; MaddDogg Spinning Instructor; NCCP SwimCoach; NLSC Aquafit Instructor; Wellness & Weight-Loss Consultant.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

For those who didn't know...

Short Version :: The point of eating Paleo is to be healthy. The idea is that for the large part of human history, we’ve eaten certain foods which are really good for us, old foods. And that only very more recently, we’ve begun to farm lots of foods that aren’t so good for us new foods and manufacture some things which don’t even count as food, fake foods. The theory is, Paleo works because you only eat old foods, and omit the new and fake foods.

The easiest generalization is: “don’t eat processed foods, grains or beans.” Processed foods are the “fake” foods, and grains and beans are the “new” foods.  *The more IN to Paleo, you become the further into that statement you can divulge, but essentially if you’re just starting out, just following that simple definition, even just the fake foods part, is a HUGE improvement to your lifestyle & health > Hello, CLEAN eating!

We can also phrase it positively: “Eat fruits, vegetables (*nothing in the nightshade family), meats (*yes, fresh/unfarmed fish counts), eggs, berries, nuts (*except peanuts!) and nothing else.” Again, for peeps just starting out, 90% of the good that will happen in your body from eating Paleo will happen from eliminating processed foods — especially processed sugars!!

Deciding whether sweet potatoes are Paleo or not and avoiding foods of the regions from which your paleolithic ancestors wouldn’t have had access, (*i.e. white Euro peeps, shouldn’t be eating pineapple, and other tropical fruit… why not? It’s GREAT for you!) The Anthropology, the SCIENCE *Nerd-gasm* can sound cool to think about, but save that for AFTER you’ve got the basics down.

Again, the point is to be healthy, and if you are coming from a SAD (read “Standard American Diet”) eating lifestyle, doing the aforementioned will VASTLY improve your health. Keep it simple >> Understand and DO the biggest, most important things first, and do them consistently. Commit to it for 9 out of 10 meals for a month. Once you have succeeded in that, focus on the details,

NB: Any time you make any adjustments in your body, even positive ones, there will be initial discomfort.  (*E.g. exercising for the first time in a long time, or quitting smoking: both can feel like crap initially, but you will eventually feel better and be WAY healthier.)

So what is Paleo? It’s about working WITH your body instead of against it. Period. People can argue about what cavemen actually ate, but that’s irrelevant. Once foods are nutritious AND my body has no adverse reactions to them, there should be no reason to omit them. When you eat things that are GREAT for your body, you don’t have to count calories. Obviously, bingeing on anything, isn’t ideal but the fats and protein work WITH your body to signal when you’ve eaten enough, and theoretically you shouldn’t experience hunger-inducing insulin crashes from low-fat whole grains.

All the books advise that you START from Scratch. That is, remove EVERYTHING that is Non-Paleo, and see what happens. From what I’m reading, you HAVE to go strict for a minimum of 3 weeks to reap the benefits. The 30 day strict programs are really popular for a reason: they yield results. If you completely remove grains, added sugars, potatoes and the like from your diet, you’ll see the greatest results, since your body will have enough time to spike, recover & adjust to the change.
(*Remember, in a past blog, I said: 3-6weeks on average for "results" in changes...)
*Disclaimer – I don’t “Eat Paleo” per se. I “Eat Clean” – I eat Grains, (a LOT of) Beans & (limited) Soy, but I do omit processed foods, especially sugars & bleached grains, and I avoid as much “fast” & “fake” foods as possible*

That being said, September 1 – 30, I’m doing a Paleo Experiment, 9/10 meals will be Paleolithic – the only MAJOR issue I see will be removing Beans (I LOVE THEM SOOO MUCH) & Grains (what will I do without OATS?), and re-adding “Real Meat” back into my usual diet (I may stick with Fish/Poultry, due to available cuts*)
I am excited to see what the “hype” is all about, first hand
The first couple weeks are probably going to be HARD going cold turkey, but (*as with quitting any - bad - habit) the cravings will disappear. Not only that, but “cheating” after going strict will actually feel like a punishment, and I always end up not wanting to eat that stuff anymore. (*You’ve seen my tweets about "real" French fries now causing my curling into the fetal position).

*blogger’s note :: because of the quality of foods available in Jamaica, I may still be taking supplements/ vitamins, I have yet to decide, I need to do more research.
I will do my BEST to keep up with frequent updates/progress with the paleo... please remind me via Twitter or here!

Sweet (Potato) ...Recipes!

Let's start with Breakfast!

Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple, Pecan Coconut Butter
Yield: about 20, 4inch pancakes

Pancake Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ c sweet potato (about 1 large)
  • ½ c almond butter
  • ½ c carton unsweetened coconut milk (we used So Delicious brand)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • coconut oil (*for the griddle/skillet)
For the Maple, Pecan Coconut Butter
  • 3 TB coconut butter* (or use butter if you eat dairy)
  • 3 TB toasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together, let chill and spoon on top of the pancakes.
*NB :: Coconut butter is a puree of coconut meat. You can buy it at many health food stores, or if fresh (medium) coconut meat is available you can make your own!

  • Peel, chop into small pieces, and boil your sweet potato until it’s fork tender.
  • Once the sweet potato is cooked and cooled, add all ingredients to blender and blend thoroughly.
  • Your batter should be pretty liquid-y thin. if it's too thick add more coconut milk until you get the right consistency.
  • Heat your griddle/skillet over medium heat. Melt a generous bit of coconut oil and pour in the batter, in whatever shape or size you’d like.
  • When the pancake begins to have surface bubbles near the center flip and cook other side (each side 2-3 minutes).

*Tip :: Add more coconut oil to cook surface as needed between batches.
Also, getting your heat right is KEY. If it’s too hot you’ll burn your pancakes before they’re cooked through! (*Try a small dollop of batter as a “tester”, so you dont botch your whole batch!)


Next up... Lunch!

Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

*2 things ::
1) if you don't like REAL bacon, we're not friends! **JOKING**
But, seriously, you may not enjoy Paleo, as many of the more creative/flavorful recipes involve REAL bacon
2) Turkey Bacon isn't Paleo, Cavemen had no processing capabilities. But, if you're not concerned about "eating Paleo", it WILL work for this recipe!

Ok... What you need
  • 2-3 large, uniform width sweet potatoes
  • 3-4 strips of bacon per potato
  • toothpicks (*or kebab skewers & you can do a few on each)
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and coin them (*slice them widthwise) at approximately a two-thirds of an inch section (*i.e. smaller than the width of a piece of bacon but still, nice wide chunks of sweet potatoes, don’t go to skimpy!)
  • Place in boiling water for approx 12mins (you want to soften them, but not cook right through)
  • Stick a fork in them, should still be a little hard in the center
  • Once done, drain them and let them dry a bit.
  • Wrap a piece of bacon all the way around the outside of the sweet potato piece and secure it with a toothpick.
  • When ALL chunks are wrapped, throw them on the BBQ (on low/med-low) for about 5mins per side (*until the bacon is done as you like it)

*TIP :: Make sure to watch them!!
Bacon has lots of fat & fat causes fire flare ups!
cooking them on low will help, but if you get lots of flames, move them so they don’t burn.
The cleaner your BBQ/grill, the better.

**Blogger's Note :: I usually have 2of these ON a Baby Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Raspberry-Walnut Vinegrette.

Dinner is SERVED!

This recipe is extremely easy!! It’s simply baking the sweet potatoes will oil and spices.
* TIP :: You can also use carrots, or any other root vegetable instead of sweet potatoes.

  • 2 Lb of sweet potatoes cut in large wedges. You can leave the skin on or peal it, I prefer to leave it on, for fiber & i like the taste.1/4 cup of olive oil, coconut oil. (*or mix 1/8cup of olive oil + 1/8coconut oil, to make sure your olive oil doesn’t burn)
  • 2-3 tsp of your favorite fresh/dried herbs & Spices (I like nutmeg & rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste. You can easily omit the salt, but it is a great taste addition, SPARINGLY.

  • Preheat your oven to 425 F
  • In a bowl, coat evenly the sweet potato wedges with the oil and the herbs.
  • Add the S&P
  • Place the wedges on a baking tray in a single layer so they cook evenly
  • Roast to sweet potato fries for about 20 minutes
  • Test with the tip of a knife and see if the knife easily slips in. If not, bake for an other 5 minutes and test again
When they're done... youre DONE!
**NB :: Obviously, this is a SIDE DISH, SO... Serve with your choice of vegetable/fruit/nut side (*I like Dark Greens with Nuts) & your Fish/Meat (*Again, Paleo abhors Soy-based products, beans & grains, which were NOT concidered historical "hominid" dietary ingredients)

**Blogger's Note :: I have served these with Turkey Burgers & Steamed Broccoli, Baked Salmon with Asparagus & Honied (*honeyed?) Pecans, and Grilled Bacon-wrapped Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions & Brussel Sprouts (*FYI :: that was AGES ago, haven't had a double-pig-day in a WHILE!)