Tag Archives: paleo

Healing Chicken Soup—Paleo & Whole30

Healing Chicken Soup—Paleo & Whole30 |stupideasypaleo.com

It’s hardly a secret that chicken soup is “good for what ails you”—as my grandmother used to say. If you’re a science nerd like me and want to know the how and why, click here and here. If you’re just here for the yummy recipe, you can skip all that. Suffice to say, maybe this soup isn’t a panacea, but it is definitely delicious.

I kicked up the healing properties of bone broth with the trio of ginger, turmeric, and garlic. Besides tasting aromatic and well, decidedly victorious, ginger and turmeric bring their anti-inflammatory compounds to this dish, and garlic, its antiviral properties. Infusing the broth is well worth the extra twenty minutes!

You can really dress this up anyway you’d like. I added some shredded chicken, green onion, carrot and shiitake mushrooms (gotta love that umami!) along with some gluten-free noodles made from mountain yam. Consider the broth a blank palette upon which to draw with your favorite flavors.

Ingredients for Healing Chicken Soup—Paleo & Whole30

Serves 2.

  • 4 cups (946 mL) chicken broth (click here to read how to make your own)
  • 2 inch (5.1 cm) piece fresh ginger, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 inch piece (2.5 cm) fresh turmeric*, sliced into thin coins
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) fish sauce
  • 2 cups (280 g) cooked shredded chicken
  • 4 ounces (113 g) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 green onions (48 g), white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot (40 g), julienned or shredded
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Optional: 1 cup (227 g) zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, or mountain yam shiritaki noodles
  • Optional: Paleo Sriracha for drizzling

*If you can’t find fresh turmeric root, sub in 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) turmeric powder. When working with any form of turmeric, take care because it stains hands, clothing and porous surfaces.

Directions for Healing Chicken Soup—Paleo & Whole30

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a medium pot, and add the ginger, turmeric, garlic and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to really infuse the broth with flavor. Note: If using turmeric powder (ground turmeric), start with 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 gram), and increase to 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram), depending on your preference. I find turmeric powder to be insanely potent, much more so than the fresh root, so always add less and bump it up if you’d like. While the broth is simmering, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ginger, turmeric and garlic. Discard. Or, if you like to live dangerously, leave it all in the soup and pick around it while you’re eating (like I did in the photo). Just be aware: Biting into a large chunk of ginger, turmeric or garlic is usually not pleasant.
  3. Add the chicken, mushrooms, green onions, carrot and if desired, your noodles. Heat about 5 minutes on medium-low or until everything is warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of sriracha for some extra heat.

Change It Up!

  • Use beef or fish broth instead of chicken.
  • Use any protein you prefer or have on hand.
  • Add in your favorite thinly cut veggies.
  • Instead of fish sauce, substitute 1 teaspoon coconut aminos.

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Healing Chicken Soup—Paleo & Whole30 |stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

August Giveaway: $100 Gift Certificate for 5280 Beef

August Giveaway—$100 Gift Certificate for 5280 Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

August’s giveaway is gift certificate worth $100 for 5280 Beef!

When a box with a handwritten #meatgram hashtag shows up at your doorstep, you tend to take notice!

I’m so excited to offer up a $100 gift certificate for 5280 Beef for the August giveaway. I first learned about them when I saw them on Instagram. In a very short time, they’ve become an integral part of the Paleo / real food community because, simply put, the quality of their grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork (and soon to come, grass-fed lamb) is top-notch. Couple that with excellent customer service and the personal touches of a family run business, and you’ve got an unbeatable combination.

A little bit about 5280 Beef…

I sat down recently and interviewed Rachel and Ty Gates, 5280 Beef’s masterminds. They, along with Ty’s dad and brother, are responsible for everything that goes into running their Colorado ranch where the animals are raised. Ty recognized the growing demand for better-quality meat, and their family moved back to Meeker, CO to start 5280 Beef.

Says Rachel, “Ultimately, we wanted to offer customers meat products that were clean—meaning free of added growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics that are pumped into the animal’s feed. We are ultimately taking the large commercialization of animals and their meat, out of our equation. ” 

August Giveaway—$100 Gift Certificate for 5280 Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

5280 Beef’s cows (those are actually them in the picture above) are grass-fed which results in better quality meat—specifically an higher amount of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an important antioxidant—compared to feedlot, grain-fed animals. Because the cows eat grass, their natural food source, the result is not only healthier meet, but a happier, more ethically-raised animal.

Rachel notes, “…we wanted to raise animals in a conscious, humane environment—low stress, no feedlots or small cages, having the processing be done swiftly and humanely in a family-owned local USDA inspected facility. Each animal is treated with love and care and not taken for granted. These animals make the ultimate sacrifice so we can eat & nourish our bodies and with that, we owe them the utmost respect.”

The Gates family, though they’re relative newcomers to the Paleo community, have experienced firsthand why the movement toward real food is so powerful. Rachel adds, “There is a…demand from consumers to know more about their food and even more importantly, what makes up the ingredients in the foods we eat.”

I’ve cooked my way through several cuts of beef and pork from 5280 Beef (I even made jerky for my cookbook with one of their gorgeous rump roast…best jerky ever), and it’s absolutely delicious.

The winner will receive a gift certificate for $100 for any products from the 5280 Beef online store that (s)he chooses.

To enter for a chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate for 5280 Beef!

#1 Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

#2 Check out 5280 Beef’s products, and leave a comment telling us one thing from their store you’re most excited to try.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends August 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by September 2, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number (for shipping purposes) to claim the prize. Open to readers worldwide. If someone outside the US wins, a gift certificate to Amazon.com for $100 will be provided instead due to shipping costs.

Connect with 5280 Beef on social media: Instagram (they share TONS of recipe inspiration), Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Click here to pin this!

August Giveaway—$100 Gift Certificate for 5280 Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

Remember to comment below with which product—beef, pork or lamb—you’d be most excited to try!

(Image credits: 5280 Beef)

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s time to break up with the chemical-filled coffee creamers! One of the more common questions I get from folks is what to substitute for their favorite coffee creamer once they go Paleo. Luckily, with a few easy swaps, you can create your own deliciously flavorful dairy-free creamer. Customize it by adding a bit of natural sweetener if you prefer or leave it out for a sugar-free creamer. The choice is up to you! For a joint- and gut-soothing boost, add high-quality collagen.

To go with this Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer, I’m showing you how easy it is to make your own cold-brew coffee. Cold-brew is gaining in popularity because it’s less acidic and tends to have a smoother taste than other brew methods. This ratio of beans to water is perfect for my palate, but you can always cut back to 3 cups of water if you like it stronger. Of course, you can use the creamer in any coffee or tea you’d like.

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

For the Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer

Makes ~2 cups (473 grams).

Ingredients

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions

  1. Place the hazelnuts in a glass jar or bowl—I like to use a quart-sized Mason jar—and add 2 cups (473 grams) cold water. Cover loosely, and let the jar sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. When you’re ready to make the creamer, pour off the soaking water.
  2. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked and drained hazelnuts and 2 cups (473 grams) fresh water. Blend on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the nuts are broken down. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. Discard the pulp or save it to make hazelnut flour. Pour the hazelnut milk back into the blender.
  3. On a cutting board, use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the middle and gently scrape out the black seeds. Add the vanilla seeds to the blender. If desired, add the honey and / or collagen. Blend on medium-high for 15 to 30 seconds until everything is combined.
  4. Pour into a storage jar and cover tightly. Keeps for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

*Omit the sweetener for Whole30.

Note: You can replicate this creamer with whatever kind of nuts you prefer.

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

For the Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee

Makes 4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (50 g) ground coffee beans (look for a fair trade variety)
  • 4 cups (946 mL) water

Directions

  1. Pour the coarse-ground coffee beans into a 1-liter French press. Add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. Refrigerate the French press for 12 to 24 hours. Add the plunger and carefully press it down until the ground are filtered out. If your beans were finely ground, you may want to filter the coffee through a coffee filter before drinking to remove any excess residue.
  3. Pour over ice cubes to serve cold with Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer!
  4. Stores for up to a few days in the fridge when covered tightly (for best freshness).

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Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew—Plus a Chance to Win Meals Made Simple

Paleo Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Today’s recipe is a sneak peek from Danielle Walker’s new book, “Meals Made Simple” which releases on September 2, 2014. I’ve been lucky to preview the cookbook, and it’s amazing…great for newbie cooks or anyone who just enjoys simple, delicious food. Danielle notes: “Jicama may seem like a strange ingredient to add to this dish, but it provides a slight crunch similar to that of water chestnuts or bamboo shoots and adds a mildly sweet flavor.” 

Serves: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 5 to 8 hours

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed of fat
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 (13½-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups julienned carrots
  • 1 cup peeled and julienned jicama*
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

* Omit for SCD.

Directions for Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each batch of browned meat directly to the slow cooker, then continue browning. Wipe out the skillet between batches if a lot of liquid has accumulated at the bottom to ensure even browning.
  3. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and stir continuously to release the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the tomato paste, curry paste, fish sauce, lime juice, and salt, then pour the mixture over the beef in the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Add the broccoli, carrots, and jicama during the last 30 minutes if cooking on high, or the last hour if cooking on low. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Stretch It

The leftover meat tastes fabulous in scrambled eggs!

Make-Ahead Tip

Prepare Steps 1 through 5, then place the contents in an airtight container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator

The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Julia B. at a*****9@gmail.com!

To enter for a chance to win a free copy of “Meals Made Simple!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends August 10, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by August 12, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to US residents only.

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Paleo Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew | stupideasypaleo.com

Chicken Wings Scarpariello

Chicken Wings Scarpariello—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Today’s recipe is brought to you by my guest blogger Bob from Not So Fast Food. Bob runs San Diego’s first Paleo food truck and is mega-creative in the kitchen. You may remember him from this interview I posted last year. Enjoy this flavor-packed wing recipe!

Ingredients for Chicken Wings Scarpariello

Serves: 1 or 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

For the wings

  • 12 chicken wings
  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary (about 3 sprigs)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage (about 3 large leaves)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh oregano (about 3 sprigs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sauce

*use 2 extra tablespoons chicken stock if you’re avoiding wine or for Whole30

Directions for Chicken Wings Scarpariello

Equipment: cast iron skillet, cutting board, chef’s knife, tongs, baking sheet

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the avocado oil, lemon juice, garlic, and the leaves of rosemary, sage, and oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper before adding the wings. Mix thoroughly and add the chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate the wings 24 hours to marinate them.
  2. Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC), and line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Remove the wings from the marinade and discard it. Roast the wings in the oven for 15 minutes. Use tongs to turn over the wings and bake for another 15-20 minutes depending on level of crispiness you want.
  4. Meanwhile, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, sauté the shallots in ghee until soft.
  5. Add  the white wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice and bring it to a boil, stirring the sauce as it reduces. Add the wings to the skillet and toss for 1-2 minutes until they’re well coated.
  6. Serve immediately!

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Chicken Wings Scarpariello—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good: Ask Steph

3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

(Want to submit your own question to be feature on Ask Steph? Submit it via the contact form, and use the subject line “Ask Steph!”)

Julie H. writes:

I’m new to Paleo and want to eat better, but I get bored with a lot of the meals I cook. How can I make things taste better so I’m motivated to stick to eating this way?

Julie H.

A lot of readers here are probably not just new to Paleo, but new to cooking a lot at home as well. Creating flavor so that food isn’t boring on your palate is so important, and I’m here to tell you that it’s pretty simple if you remember some basics. When healthy food tastes good, you’re more likely to come back for more rather than turning to processed food loaded with salt, sugar and fat.

A Simple Formula For Max Flavor

When you have a really great meal at a restaurant and the taste harmoniously sings on your tongue, it’s most likely because the chef has done a great job balancing three or four different flavor components:

salt + sour + sweet or umami

The good news is that you don’t need a trip to culinary school to start experimenting with these right away.

Ingredient #1 For Making Flavor: Salt

The most strict of all Paleo diets calls for NO added salt to food. None. I have one word for that: bland. When food lacks salt, the result is a lack of flavor, unpalatable. You don’t want to go crazy in the other direction by over-salting, but adding salt to food is the most basic seasoning technique.

When you’re focusing on real, whole foods and avoiding processed, pre-made foods, your sodium intake tends to drop off dramatically.

There are lots of different types of salt, but sea salt is my favorite because it tends to be less intense than kosher varieties. There’s fine, medium and coarse grain and even flakes. I like a medium-grain sea salt for an all-around variety. What about iodized salt? I tend to avoid it because I’d rather get dietary iodine—an essential micronutrient—from whole foods such as sea vegetables, seafood and eggs instead.

Salt is also important in the cooking techniques like brining or sweating veggies to reduce their moisture content. That could be a whole post by itself!

What are some other ways to add a salty element to your food: using pickled or fermented veggies like sauerkraut or capers, cured meats such as bacon, olives or even coconut aminos.

Ingredient #2 For Making Flavor: Acid

Acidic / sour ingredients really help brighten up the flavors of a dish and are also good at cutting through an overly fatty dish. Typically, I add some acid right at the end of cooking to freshen up the flavor just a bit.

Another great way to add an acidic element to your meal is by incorporating a sauce such as salsa or vinaigrette. I always keep fresh limes and lemons in my fruit bowl for a quick squeeze of acid.

Some other ways to add an acidic / sour element to your food: using fermented or pickled veggies or different types of vinegars—apple cider and balsamic are my favorites.

Ingredient #3 For Making Flavor: Sweet or Umami

Using these two components can depend on the recipe you’re making, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Sweetness doesn’t mean you have to add sugar. Rather, consider sprinkling on some dried or fresh fruit; a drizzle of honey or maple syrup; or even roast veggies to bring out their natural sweetness.

Umami is basically a savory flavor that’s imparted by foods that have the amino acid glutamate. Note: Eating real foods that are higher in glutamate is not the same as using an additive like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Yuck.

Some ways to add umami to your food: using mushrooms (I like shiitakes), broth, tomatoes, fish sauce, coconut aminos or sardines.

Don’t Forget About…

Texture. Adding an element to your plate that breaks up the texture is another way to keep food interesting. If everything is soft, add something crispy / crunchy or vice versa. Some options: raw veggies, chopped nuts, plantain chips, etc.

Spices and herbs. Get your pantry stocked up with these because they’re awesome ways to add flavor. Click here to get my free guide.

Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration to make food that’s never boring!

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3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update!

Time for an update on The Performance Paleo Cookbook!

The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s been a crazy past few months working on the cookbook, but we’re at an exciting stage. I’ve turned in the manuscript and completed the photographs (still need to finish editing those) which means the lion’s share of the creative content is done. I’m still catching my breath a bit!

Originally, I wasn’t planning to take the photographs myself, but the opportunity arose and I knew we’d get the best possible outcome if I stepped up to the plate (no pun intended). What followed was a hectic month.

We—the hubs and I—built wood backdrops and shopped for props. (I definitely have too many bowls now.) I cooked every recipe again from scratch and according to spec to check the flavors one more time. I styled and photographed 90 of the 100 recipes in the cookbook here in the dining room of our tiny, 100-year-old cottage. I made a literal mountain of dishes and went through a figurative ton of food.

It was all worth it because I know the cookbook is going to be on point for y’all! So, what happens next?

Now, the book will be formatted, arranged and edited over the next few months, then it will go off to the printer so it’s ready for its debut on January 6th. (Remember, this is an actual print book!) I know it seems like a long time to wait, but the time will fly by, I’m convinced. The good news is that you can pre-order now and lock in the early bird price of 25% off! Click here for Amazon or here for Barnes and Noble. It’ll also be formatted into a digital version if e-readers are your cup of tea.

What’s going to be in The Performance Paleo Cookbook?

  • 100 recipes with 90 full-color photographs,
  • 50 recipe combo ideas to make full meals,
  • 7 different fueling protocols to help plan for whatever time of the day you train,
  • Pre- and post-workout snack ideas,
  • Tons of protein-rich and carb-dense recipes,
  • …and more!

Awesome, right?

So for now, I’ll be turning a lot more attention back to the site (we have a site refresh coming up to make it more user-friendly) and working on some awesome new resources. Thanks for all your continued support!

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The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question about The Performance Paleo Cookbook? Leave it in the comments below!

July Giveaway: PurePharma Prize Pack

July Giveaway: PurePharma Prize Pack | stupideasypaleo.com

July’s giveaway is a prize pack of fish oil, magnesium and vitamin D from my friends at PurePharma!

When it comes to supplements, I’m a minimalist and a skeptic by nature. I don’t rely on pills, powders and potions because when it comes down to it, good nutrition must have its roots in good nutrition. Put another way, trying to supplement your way out of a consistently poor diet is missing the point.

That being said, there are definitely exceptions I make when it comes to supplements, and this trio of products from PurePharma has been a consistent part of my regimen for the last three years and counting. I don’t take them all every single day; rather, it depends on what my diet might be lacking (because not even Paleo nutritionists are perfect) or I happen to be getting more of. For example, when I eat a gorgeous piece of wild salmon for dinner, I generally skip out on supplementing with fish oil. When I haven’t been training as hard, I’ll usually pass on the magnesium.

PurePharma is growing in popularity especially amongst the CrossFit community, but make no mistake: the core trio of fish oil, magnesium and vitamin D can be used by anyone, athlete or not. When I train hard, I feel confident taking PurePharma to supplement my diet because I know their products are backed by science and verified by stringent quality measures.

A little bit about the products:

PurePharma O3 is the ultra-pure fish oil with a 5:2 EPA/DHA ratio. I take it in small doses particularly because it calms the inflammation I tend to get from training. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are known to support heart, brain and eye health, too. Read more here.

PurePharma M3 is probably my favorite of the three. It’s two forms of magnesium (they’re way easier on the colon than Natural Calm), plus zinc. Mag and zinc assist in muscle recovery and help maintain electrolyte balance. Plus, when taken at night, many folks (including me) enjoy a calming effect. Read more here.

PurePharma D3 is vitamin D combined with coconut oil for better absorption. Vitamin D is implicated in many aspects of health including bone integrity and immunity. It might come as a surprise that most people are deficient in vitamin D, even those of us living in sunny locales. Read more here.

Here’s what’s up for grabs!

One PurePharma prize pack containing:

The giveaway is now closed, and the randomly chosen winner is Missy C. Thank you to all who entered!

To enter for a chance to win a PurePharma prize pack!

#1 Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

#2 In the comments below, tell me which of the three (fish oil, magnesium or vitamin D) you’re most interested in trying!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends July 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by August 2, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to readers worldwide.

Click here to pin this!

July Giveaway: PurePharma Prize Pack | stupideasypaleo.com

Comment below with which product you’d be most psyched to try out!

Paleo Substitutions for Food Allergies: Ask Steph

Paleo Substitutions for Allergies—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

Welcome to the first ever Ask Steph, a weekly feature where I answer a reader question in both an educational and entertaining fashion. *wink* You know what they say about questions: If one person has one, it’s guaranteed that others do, too. Want to submit your own question to be feature on Ask Steph? Submit it via the contact form, and use the subject line “Ask Steph!”

Here we go! Yvonne writes:

Hi Steph,

This site is very informative and we’re excited to try this way of lifestyle. I do have a question. We’re a family of five, and have food allergies. Just wondering substitutions for some foods like eggs, shellfish, and tree nuts / peanuts.

Thank you!

Yvonne

When you’re new to Paleo—like Yvonne is—it can be hard enough to cut out a huge section of the foods you’re used to eating. When you add in pre-existing food sensitivities or allergies, stuff starts to get real. Suddenly, many of the foods that are common in a Paleo template are off-limits. (In my household, we deal with this because my hubs has a food sensitivity to eggs and beef.)

Since you can’t realistically just get rid of your kids or spouse, the best solution is to find some substitutes. Exchanging allergenic ingredients for tolerable ones can make the difference between giving up on Paleo and finding a way to make it work with the limitations you’re dealing with. Here are some possiblities:

Paleo Substitutions for Eggs

If eggs are the main feature of a meal, there’s really no way to substitute them unless you toss in another protein. Example: Scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes could become shredded pork or chicken with sweet potatoes.

If you’re using eggs as a binder, there are some substitutions you can try out.

  • Chia “egg”: Mix 1 tbsp ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water for each egg you want to replace in a recipe. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before adding to a recipe.
  • Flax “egg”: Mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water for each egg you want to replace in a recipe. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before adding to a recipe.
  • Mashed starchy veggies or fruit such as sweet potato, white potato, pumpkin or banana. Use about 1/4 cup for every 1 egg.
  • Gelatin and water: Mix 1 tbsp gelatin with 1 tbsp cold water, then add 2 tbsp hot water to dissolve completely. Beat until frothy. This will substitute for 1 egg.

To substitute eggs as a leavening agent, you can try out a mixture of 1 tsp baking powder (go for aluminum-free), 1 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp water.

Paleo Substitutions for Shellfish

Generally speaking, if a recipe calls for shellfish, you can usually replicate good results using chicken breast. It may not have the same exact flavor, but it’s probably the next best thing. If you’re able to eat fish but not shellfish, a mild white fish such as cod would be a good substitute.

If shellfish or fish are part of a seasoning component to a recipe, such as fish sauce or mashed sardines, coconut aminos are a great substitute. Fish sauce and similar ingredients are often used because they lend umami—savory flavor—to a dish. Coconut aminos, essentially fermented coconut sap, also give umami without the use of fish.

Paleo Substitutions for Tree Nuts / Peanuts

If you’re using tree nuts or peanuts for texture or to give something added crunch, consider adding seeds instead. While they tend to be high in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, when bought fresh and kept refrigerated (to prevent the oils from going rancid / oxidizing), they can be a great alternative to nuts. If used in limited quantities—take the spoon out of the sun butter jar and back away slowly—they’re a fine substitute for tree nuts. Some examples: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

For sauces or in recipes, consider using tahini (sesame seed paste / butter) or sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) instead of peanut butter or nut butters.

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Paleo Substitutions for Allergies—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

Have other substitutions for eggs, shellfish and tree nuts that you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Paleo Baked Avocado Fries

Paleo Baked Avocado Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Baked Avocado Fries are a deliciously different way to enjoy this healthy fat source in your diet.

This appetizer was inspired by a dish the hubs and I enjoyed at a local cafe. While their version was gluten-free, I’m pretty certain they used rice flour and deep fried them. Convinced I could do better, I took some time off from shooting pics for The Performance Paleo Cookbook and developed these delectable little snacks. My first experiment worked! (These are also reminiscent of Fed and Fit’s brilliant guest post for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers.)

Basically, you’ll coat the avocado “fries” with crushed pork rinds. They bake up brown and crisp! I like this brand the best because it’s just pork, olive oil and salt already crushed up and ready to use. You’ll coat the avocado in arrowroot (tapioca) flour, egg wash, and finally seasoned pork rinds, then bake and eat. If you have Flavor God seasonings, just sub the spices in this recipe for 2 Tablespoons of any variety.

If you can’t eat eggs, I made a version without. Though I don’t have exact quantities, all I did was replace the egg with stone-ground mustard that I thinned with a little water. The result was just as tasty.

Ingredients for Paleo Baked Avocado Fries

Serves 2 to 4.

Directions for Paleo Baked Avocado Fries

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C), and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Slice the avocados in half, and carefully remove the pit. (To do that, place the avocado on a cutting board, and gently but firmly thwack the pit with a knife, then twist.) Cut each half into three or four slices, and set them aside.
  3. You’ll need three small bowls for the dipping stations. In the first, combine the arrowroot and half the seasonings. In the second, combine the beaten egg, water and mustard. In the third, combine the pork rinds and the other half of the seasonings.
  4. Dip the avocado slices into the arrowroot, then the eggs, then the pork rinds. Lay them on the baking sheet. When they’re all dipped, bake the avocado fries for 10 to 12 minutes, then flip and bake another 2 to 4 minutes. They’re best enjoyed while they’re fresh!

*Tip: To select avocados that aren’t overripe, flick off the stem. If it’s white / green underneath, you still have time before it’s mushy and brown. If it’s brown, avoid.

Paleo Baked Avocado Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

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Paleo Baked Avocado Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

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Paleo Portion Sizes: How Much Is Just Right?

Paleo Portion Sizes—How Much is Just Right? | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo portion sizes—how much is just right?

It’s a very common question I hear all the time, and rightly so. When you’re just starting out with Paleo, especially if you’re coming from a past of calorie-counting (and generally restriction) or other portion control tactics, it can be intimidating to think you’re just going to wing what goes on your plate.

The simple—and perhaps frustrating—thing is that there is no one correct Paleo portion size. If there was a magic calculator where I could plug in your age, sex, current weight and activity level and pop out a perfect number of calories, I’d be rich! Oh wait, there are already dozens, if not hundreds of websites (and books) that claim to do this. They all fail in my eyes and here’s why.

The Trouble with Calories

Let’s say you use AmazingCalorieCalculator.com (not a real site) to figure out your perfect caloric intake. It says 1400. So, you go about your time reading food labels and quantifying everything that passes your lips. Whether you’re paying attention to food quality or not at all—1400 calories could be meat, veggies and sweet potatoes or a mega-giant pile of M&Ms—even if you meet 1400 calories, you might still be underfed.

See the problem? If you’re trying to hit a caloric maximum for the day and end up still feeling hungry, low on energy, body composition not improving, moody and irritable and sleeping poorly, that’s a huge sign that something is amiss. (Into macros? Read more about The Problem with Macros).

One other thing: Paleo is not about severe restriction of calories or macronutrients. You’ll be nourishing your body, and while you may lose weight (fat) there are myriad other ways your health can improve. Here’s a list to read.

It’s Not a Caloric Free-For-All Either

While the “calories in-calories out” idea is basically debunked, it’s pretty fallacious to think one can binge on sticks of grass-fed butter, eat pounds of nuts and a side of beef daily and find optimum health. All food has calories, and how those foods affect our bodies biochemically is not the same. (For more on calories, I highly recommend this book.)

Where folks often find trouble with Paleo portion sizes is thinking everything is unrestricted. Eating a little too much one day and a little less the next isn’t a huge problem. Chronic overconsumption of calories, even from “good” foods like those that fit a Paleo template, can also lead to issues.

So, how much is just right?

Paleo Portion Sizes: Some Simple Rules

Following these simple rules when you’re starting Paleo will give you a framework around how to build a meal. It’s by no means an exact science. Remember, you’ll have to pay attention to the outcomes of what you eat. To borrow a Robb Wolf-ism, “How do you look, feel and perform?” It may take a while (read: a few weeks to months to even a year) to be able to eat intuitively without thinking about every morsel you put on your plate.

Paleo Portion Sizes Rule #1: Eat three meals a day.

Breakfast is not an option. Coffee is not breakfast. Three times a day, fill a plate with protein, veggies and some fruit, and healthy fat. If you’re training hard for a sport, eating a bit of protein and carb after your training session is a small fourth meal. (Learn more about that here.)

I get questions all the time about intermittent fasting, and it’s my belief that 1) it’s not for everyone and 2) you don’t earn the right to fast until you’ve been eating Paleo for at least six months. Feel free to disagree, but if you’re still a newb, eating full meals and getting accustomed to what that’s like and how it makes you feel is critical. Trying to food hack your way into Paleo when you’re starting doesn’t actually teach you how to eat properly.

For a visual on what a balanced plate looks like, see this guide by my friends at Whole30.

Paleo Portion Sizes Rule #2: Eat a balanced plate.

Protein, carbohydrate (in the form of veggies, fruit and starchy veggies…a mixture throughout the day, not necessarily all three on one plate) and fat need to feature at every meal. Remember, don’t start food-hacking your diet if you’ve just started Paleo. Give it time for your hormones to normalize and for real change to happen before you go for the trendy stuff.

Recognize that if you have more body mass, you need to eat proportionally more food compared to someone who has a smaller body mass. Example: If your friend weighs 60kg and eats 3 eggs at breakfast but you weight 100kg, that doesn’t mean 3 eggs is an appropriate amount of protein for you. It’s probably not enough.

Paleo Portion Sizes Rule #3: Reduce your dependence on snacks.

Snacks happen. That’s life. But, if you’re packing two or more sets of snacks daily to eat between meals, you need to eat more at meal time. Period.

Going 4 to 6 hours comfortably between meals is NORMAL. It gives our bodies time to digest what we’ve eaten and then lets our guts rest for a while. You’re not a cow, and you don’t need to graze all day. It doesn’t “rev your metabolism” or any of the other sexy claims you hear. What it does do is put constant demand on your digestive system to deal with a perpetual influx of food.

If you’re hungry after 2 to 3 hours, eat a bit more at meal time: a couple extra ounces of meat, another handful of veggies, another spoonful of fat, etc.

Paleo Portion Sizes: How to tell if they’re working.

Eating appropriate amounts of nourishing foods should support:

  • normalized body composition (reduced fat and increased muscle) OVER TIME.
  • stable energy throughout the day.
  • clear-headedness and mental acuity.
  • restorative and restful sleep.
  • a feeling of satiety after meals.
  • good mood.
  • a healthy sex drive.

These are just a few ways to tell if what you’re eating is really helping you thrive!

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Paleo Portion Sizes—How Much is Just Right? | stupideasypaleo.com

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Brined & Pan Seared Pork Chops—Plus a Chance to Win Paleo by Season

Brined & Seared Pork Chops | stupideasypaleo.com

When it comes to making succulent, flavorful meat, my pals Pete & Sarah Servold—the duo behind the upcoming book “Paleo by Season” and the successful business Pete’s Paleo—know how to do it right. I’ve had the good fortune to dine with them several times, and delicious meat is always on the menu. I jumped at the chance to share this recipe with you because I know you’ll love it.

Brining—letting meat marinate in a liquid of salt water and spices—is a really simple way to impart flavor and keep the meat juicy. There’s nothing worse than a dry pork chop, right?! In “Paleo by Season,” Pete dishes up tons of chef techniques and ways to create flavor that even the novice can learn from. Be sure to pre-order a copy of their new book—out in stores on July 8—and definitely make these chops!

Scroll down to enter for a chance to win a free copy of “Paleo by Season!”

Serves 2

Cook time: 15 to 25 minutes, plus 6 to 12 hours to brine

 Ingredients for Brined & Seared Pork Chops

For the Brine

  • 2 cups (473 mL) water
  • 2 Tablespoons (36 g) salt
  • 1Tablespoon (6 g) whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ sprig (7 g) rosemary, or any other fresh herb
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) honey*, optional
  • 4 cups (946 mL) ice

For the Chops

  • 2 (1-inch/2.5-cm thick) pork chops
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) avocado oil

Brined & Seared Pork Chops | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Brined & Seared Pork Chops

  1. A trick to speed up brine prep time is to use as little hot water as possible—just enough to dissolve the salt and sweetener—and then add ice for the remaining water content called for in the recipe. This allows you to add the meat immediately instead of waiting hours for the brine to cool. The total brine volume should be 1 cup of brine for every 8 ounces of pork chops.
  2. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring all ingredients for the brine, except the ice, to a rapid boil and continue to boil for 7 minutes.
  3.  Pour the hot brine mixture into a large heatproof bowl and add the ice. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, place in the refrigerator, and allow to brine for 6 to 12 hours.
  4. Remove the pork chops from the brine, pat completely dry with paper towels, and discard the brining liquid.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Have a sheet pan ready for the chops.
  6.  Heat a 12-inch (31-centimeter) cast iron frying pan over high heat and, once the pan is hot, add the avocado oil. Right when the oil starts to smoke, add the pork chops.
  7. Start by holding the chops upright with tongs so that the fat cap is facing down in the pan. Once the fat is rendered and crispy, roll over to the first side. Let sear for 3 minutes, then flip over to other side. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until good and golden-brown, then place the chops on a sheet pan. Finish in the oven for no more than 6 minutes for medium doneness. If you like pork cooked all the way through, bake the chops for a total of 9 to 12 minutes. Let them rest for 5 minutes once they’re removed from oven before slicing or serving. Serve with Cauliflower Dumplings (page 164) or Pumpkin Dumplings (page 165).

* Note: Before pouring honey into the measuring spoon, add a drop of oil to the spoon and rub it on the inside surface. The honey will easily glide out of the spoon, giving you more accurate measuring and no waste.

To enter for a chance to win a free copy of “Paleo by Season”!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends June 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by June 30, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to US residents only.

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Brined & Seared Pork Chops | stupideasypaleo.com

3 Muscle Myths That Won’t Die

3 Muscle Myths That Won't Die | stupideasypaleo.com
It seems like every time I’m in the gym training or I read an article in an online fitness magazine, I run across at least one of these three big muscle myths that just will. not. die.

Science may not be perfect, but these three gym fears no longer need to prevent you from getting stronger:

Muscle Myth #1 That Won’t Die: Spot training removes fat in specific areas.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that isolating and exercising certain fat areas of their body will help to burn calories in that area more; the most common example are crunches around the stomach. Dr. Carly Stewart says “Fat is burned or lost throughout the body on a more even basis.” In reality, aerobic and anaerobic exercises are the best ways to burn fat, not isolating specific body parts.

Muscle Myth #2 That Won’t Die: The more you work out, the stronger you become.

If you’re not feeling psyched to get in the gym, you’re irritable and not sleeping well and you’re feeling like every workout is a total drain, these are signs you may be overreaching or over-training.

Muscle Myth #3 That Won’t Die: Carbs are bad and will make you fat.

Eating real Paleo food has been equated with a low-carb craze, and it’s made people severely restrict their dietary carbohydrates. In reality, high-intensity training of any kind requires adequate carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment. Eating healthful starches, like starchy veggies, rice* and potatoes is an important part of nutrition people doing high-intensity training.

If you consider any of the above three to be true, you’re not alone. However, these myths may be detrimental to your goals and working against you.

Tuesday was the launch of the Muscle Collective bundle, a collection of 36 ebooks and resources with much more myth-busting goodness about training and nutrition. It’s available for 97% off the total price.

*Note: White rice, a safe starch, is a possible glycogen refuel for athletes with good body composition and good metabolic function. As always, please test new foods for potential sensitivities. I do not recommend starch-dense, relatively nutrient-poor sources like white potatoes, white rice, tapioca, etc. to folks dealing with weight management or metabolic issues.

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3 Muscle Myths That Won't Die | stupideasypaleo.com

Click here to Get the Muscle Collective!

3 Muscle Myths That Won't Die | stupideasypaleo.com

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette | stupideasypaleo.com

Kohlrabi is definitely not a vegetable I’d ever had gumption to try. Its funky, globular shape and oddly placed leaves always looked so strange to me. Let’s just say, kohlrabi was never on the menu…until now. I picked up a bunch at the store a few days ago and decided it was high time I give kohlrabi a try.

Interestingly, the word kohlrabi is a mashup of German phraseology that translates roughly into “cabbage turnip.” The flavor tastes of mild cabbage or something like broccoli stem but without the sulfurous undertones. In terms of nutrition, it’s rich in Vitamin C and the healthy phytochemicals that other members of the Brassica family are renowned for.

Photo Jun 14, 11 29 23 AM

I prepared this kohlrabi like a salad, but if you’ve got more time, you could certainly slice it thinner / smaller like a slaw. The simple apple ginger vinaigrette is a great complement to the kohlrabi’s crunch.

Ingredients for the Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

For the Salad

  • 1 lb (454 g) kohlrabi, tops removed, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 lb (113 g) carrots, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 lb (113 g) red apple (I like Pink Lady, about half an apple), sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed (3 oz / 85 g) fresh parsley
  • 2 large (1 oz / 28 g) green onions, white and light green parts, sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 lb (113 g) red apple (I like Pink Lady, about half an apple), chopped
  • 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 g) black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil

Directions for the Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

  1. Prepare the salad by mixing the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Make the dressing by combining the apple, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a high-powered blender or food processor. Run the blender until the mixture is broken down and starts to liquify, then with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly to combine.

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kohlrabi2

When Cheap is Actually Good

The Paleo Athlete Kindle Buck Sale | stupideasypaleo.com When I was about 21, I bought a car for $500. It was a beat up, white Plymouth Acclaim with maroon interior, and it sounded like a two-pack-a-day smoker when it ran. Sure, it got me back and forth the few miles between my college dorm and my job as a cake decorator at a local supermarket—how’s *that* for someone who was totally sugar addicted?!—but I knew its low sticker price was too good to be true.

As is with most things that are cheap, it was only a few months until the transmission seized, and I was sans ride.

From that point on, I’ve been a firm believer in the mantra, “Nothing cheap is worth buying.” Whether it’s food or books or even cars, I’ve held fast to the idea that you get what you pay for. When I see a deal that’s too good to pass up, it means I usually walk on by. That’s why I hemmed and hawed for quite a while about what’s going on today until midnight.

Yep, here’s something that’s cheap AND good.

Today, June 18, 2014 and today only, you can get the Kindle version of “The Paleo Athlete” for a buck. One smackaroo. Practically pennies. So cheap you’ll think you stole it. And once the clock strikes midnight tonight, just like a proper Cinderella, it goes back to its regular Kindle price of $9.99.

It’s never been on sale before, not in the 6 months since it was published, and it’ll never be on sale again. So, if you’ve been eyeing it or going to Amazon and hovering over the “Buy it now” button, today—no, right now—is the time to get it. If you don’t have a Kindle reader (I know I don’t), the folks at Amazon have made it really easy to read ebooks by making free reader apps for virtually any device—except flip phones. Time to enter the future, my friend!

Why does “The Paleo Athlete” rule? It teaches you how to eat Paleo for performance. If you care about getting stronger and faster, having better endurance and being able to not just make it to the end of your training session but smashing it, this book is what you’ve been waiting for. Or, if you care about being Happy, Healthy and Harder To Kill™—someone who’s ready for the zombie apocalypse or the White Walkers beyond The Wall—this book is for you.

You won’t have to walk around with a calculator attached to your hip, logging in points or calories or macros or blocks. Blah. You don’t have time to do that. Instead, I teach you the what and why so you can adjust your nutrition to virtually any performance goal or training scenario. Learn how to prep for competition day, too, and get 30 recipes to get you started and on your way.

Sound good? Good. Cheap but definitely one of those rare moments where it’s worth every penny. All 99 of them.

Get “The Paleo Athlete” Kindle version right now for a buck!

Offer expires June 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm PT, Cinderella-like.

June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs

June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs | stupideasypaleo.com

With summer about to officially start on June 21, I’m super excited to share this month’s giveaway with you!

Maintaining a proper electrolyte level when you’re exerting yourself through training or even strenuous work is really important. They help keep your muscles and nervous system functioning properly and guard against dehydration. Unfortunately, many electrolyte replacements available on the market are rammed with sugar and artificial ingredients. And that’s where Elete comes in! It’s a tasteless, colorless, sugarless liquid that contains vital electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, potassium and chloride.

Elete is something I’ve personally used since 2009 when I was racing mountain bikes, and I’ve definitely felt the effects of not using it—especially when I suffered severe double quad cramps during a 6 hour endurance mountain bike race in 2011. Coconut water has become a popular option for naturally occurring electrolytes, but know that it’s very low in sodium so isn’t actually a complete replacement. Bonus: Elete products are Whole30-approved.

Here’s what’s up for grabs!

THREE winners will each receive a prize pack worth over $40 with:

To enter for a chance to win an Elete prize pack!

The giveaway is now closed and winners are displayed on the widget below.

#1 Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

#2 In the comments below, tell me what sport or training you do and / or when you’d use Elete!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends June 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by July 2, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to readers worldwide. If a non-US resident wins, an Amazon gift card for $40 will be provided.

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June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs | stupideasypaleo.com

Comment below with the sport / training you do or when you’d use Elete!