Is your family mixed up?

Some of us have household members that don’t eat as clean as we’d like, “mixed” shall we say – food-wise.

How to serve a mixed food family:  I might be the only one in my house eating Paleo.  What to do?  Well if I am the main cook, then I have the upper hand; I think.  You will too if you rid your house of the “bad” stuff and don’t replace it! Would it hurt them to  get hungry enough to try something else 🙂

It actually has taken me a while to transition my family to primarily paleo food.  Starting out, I just substituted healthier versions whenever possible, making everyone at least try the new item.  I also figured that I could cook a healthy meat dish and vegetable or salad, and then add a small amount of “healthy as they will consume” carbohydrate.  At first, I might choose a whole grain rice or ezekiel brand tortillas to accompany the dish.  Or, I might mix red potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and rutabegas together in roasted potatoes.  Another suggestion is what I do when I have family in town: when serving Sauce, I serve both spaghetti squash and a small amount of whole grain pasta (so it fills them up faster than traditional).

For breakfast, switching them from cereal and toast everyday was a challenge. In the beginning, all I did was switch out the regular toasted bread/muffin for ezekiel brand cinnamon raisin muffins; as well as switched them to natural peanut butter and fruit juice sweetened jam/jelly.  Then I also started insisting that the cereal must have at least three grams of fiber, 10 or less grams of sugar, and some protein. That one stipulation alone cut down the selection of cereals to a handful of choices, but at least they had some type of cereal they thought.  And bonus, it taught my children to read labels!  Sally Fallon would probably have me do no cereal whatsoever, but it helped transition my girls and hubby.

So, nowadays  I have successfully switched them to eggs and meat most mornings! We also have a new favorite smoothie, creamy macadamia coffee, that meets my criteria of good fat/protein/low sugar.  I admit, there are some days too that ezekiel bread is spread with natural peanut butter (or almond butter if we are out of the other – I wouldn’t be slow in buying more on purpose would I? ;)) and honey instead of jelly.  So I am happy for improvements and continue to educate on why traditional flour is inflammatory etc. Furthermore, they now know that if having bread, it needs to be from sprouted or soaked grains, such as Sally Fallon & Mary Enig recommend in their Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

So what do we do for a party, or superbowl since that is drawing near?  These are usually events that other friends and family expect certain foods, like birthday cake or chips and dip.  What do you serve?

For me, I’m thinking I will “health” up the traditional stuff.  This will mean some planning and making food from scratch I think; more meat and veggies, less simple carbohydrates.   I’ll make some kale chips, and if I’m lazy buy some veggie chips that are not baked in canola oil but in expeller pressed or olive oil…the best I can find.   Also, I’ll be making my own Fast Paleo hot wings this time.  Robb Wolf’s site also has a larger recipe for “dry” easy paleo chicken wings that look delicious!  A fruit salad (with a little splurge of chocolate added) will round out the options nicely I think.  What are you making for superbowl or your next get-together?


I know you want to know… Results of the Kidney Sampling

My daughters and hubby even tried the Lamb Kidney…prepared by an overnight soaking in lemon juice, then sauteed, and served in a wine broth sauce. So, I think I’ll freeze a different organ meat next time and shave it raw into smoothies or red sauce instead. I cannot say we enjoyed the texture or taste; but at least we had some variety! Thank you Ancestralize Me for getting us out of our comfort zone!

Truly Offal Contest

So I guess I should have known Amanda wouldn’t let this one get by me…
I’ve been watching this contest for a week, and so I picked something up from my grass fed meat guy yesterday. Sure enough Amanda posts on my wall about it, so I entered the contest too.
Truly Offal Contest
Need some ideas how to prepare it: take a look. Any suggestions?


F.O.C. Make the best choice!

What’s your FOC? Fat of Choice:-) Are you “scared” of animal fat like bacon or lard? Do you always choose the “cleaner” olive oil? Or are you the type to embrace all fatty cuts of meat and use it liberally in your cooking? And, isn’t coconut oil bad for us?

I hear this all the time from family and friends, and this is one of the fundamental transitions in thought when trying to lead a new “Paleo” or “Primal” food plan. These two are not completely the same by the way, as Mark’s Daily Apple points out. Anyway, most of us were raised to think that “cleaner/new” is better. Science and technology “know” best, but how modern science cleans our “food” leads a lot to be desired. We think if we consume canola or soybean oil they must be better, aka cleaner, because they are not meat based. Not so! Science and Man has been messing with these things. They are not even close to how they were when humans started cultivating them. They’ve been crossbred and become pesticide resistant as well as nowadays genetically modified. Most of us in this community don’t believe we need any grain, let alone mutated versions. In fact, those same fats we were told are bad for us, can actually be good for us. We will do articles that delve into this later or see some of my imbedded links. Science is finally coming around to this too!

So what do we do? What do we use instead of the refined and partially hydrogenated oils like canola, vegetable, cottonseed, and margarine? We go back, back before cultivation of grains and genetic modifying of those grains. To meat fat such as rendered lard, bacon grease, etc. Back to the pressing of olives for Olive Oil in the Mediterranean (has antioxidants too). Also to the tropical Coconut Oil. It is actually a favorite in the Paleo community because it has a perfect balance of omegas, anti-microbial properties, heart protecting medium chain fatty acids, medium smoke point so you can cook with it, is almost flavorless, and is what the beautiful people use (no kidding, that is what my jar says on it – don’t we believe all advertising?). Additionally, when choosing coconut oil, look for “expeller pressed, unrefined, naturally refined, or virgin” organic coconut oil – non-hydrogenated is key!

Mary G. Enig, PhD is an expert of international renown in the field of lipid biochemistry and has THE BEST article “The Skinny on Fats.” She also says saturated fats in general enhance the immune system,3 and coconut oil in particular increases body temperature and is preferentially used by the body for energy rather than storage. She says olive oil has stood the test of time but should be used in small amounts. Also, if you choose to use butter, then use that from pastured cows (not pasteurized) and/or make your own ghee (clarified butter). Whatever you do, do not use the highly processed stuff.

Also certain oils break down when heat is applied to them and they lose their nutritional properties. There is lots of information and study into this subject, but to cut to the chase, I’ll list for you the basics below and PaleoPlan has a well researched list that is broken down even further. Essentially, use the recommended fats and be careful with heating them. Also, avoid All hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, processed liquid oils such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola, or any of these used at high temperature.

So, to simplify, use these oils at the recommended temperatures for best results and health benefits!

  • For Salads/Room Temperature: Extra Virgin Olive oil, Expeller Pressed Flaxseed Oil, and Expeller Pressed Nutseed Oils
  • For Sautéing/ Medium heat: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Palm Oil, and Tallow & Suet (rendered from beef and lamb)
  • For Higher Heat Cooking: Lard, Coconut Oil, and Ghee (clarified butter for those who do dairy)

It is important to choose your F.O.C. wisely, use correctly, and with variety. A key factor to good health… getting nutrients from a variety of dense foods.

So, are you hungry for some beef or bacon yet? If so, try this delicious Meatloaf this week, grab some grass fed beef and pork and you won’t be disappointed! My family LOVED this recipe from Health-Bent, so I plan to make it for them again this weekend. Serve with mashed faux-tatoes, steamed brocoli or fresh salad and carrot sticks.

And, for those of you looking to make your own salad dressing with traditionally good oil, here is one of my favorite recipes for Balsamic Vinaigrette. Tip: Use a lidded container and shake until it emulsifies.

Paleo Meatloaf

Photo used courtesy of Health-Bent




Why the dead stop deadlifts?

Following information courtesy of CrossFit Oakland:

The deadlift can be a brutally difficult movement. It gets pulled off the ground from a dead stop, hence its name. Unlike a squat, or a bench press, where the weight is first lowered prior to being driven back up, the deadlift requires the lifter pull from the floor without the benefit of an eccentric contraction.

What is an eccentric contraction? I am glad you asked. An ecccentric contraction is where a muscle lengthens under a load. It is, for most purposes, the negative portion of a lift. Aside from being one of the primary causes of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), eccentric contractions also help to initiate stronger concentric contractions, where the muscle shortens under a load and presumably does the work in which we are most interested. The eccentric  contraction initiates the stretch reflex, sometimes called the myotactic reflex. As the muscle lengthens under a load, the nervous system is stimulated to encourage a more powerful contraction. We do this unconsciously when we jump. Try jumping without dipping down immediately prior to the movment. Even if you start with bent knees, you still will want to quickly bend both the knees and hips further before jumping. Doing this lengthens both the quadriceps and hamstrings to allow for a higher jump. That’s the stretch reflex at work.

Let’s return to how this applies to the deadlift. In a properly done deadlift, there is no eccentric contraction. The weight gets pulled off the floor and then is lowered back down and comes to a complete stop before the next pull occurs. Each repetition of a deadlift starts with an uncooperative bar. It doesn’t want to move and lifter must summon the requisite amount of will to make it happen.

In timed CrossFit workouts, the idea that the bar must stop on the ground is generally not followed. Not only does the bar not stop, it is often actively bounced off the ground. Perfoming the lift in this way now provides for an eccentric contraction. Additonally, the elastic collision between the rubber bumper plates and the floor imparts energy back into the bar making each repetition easier. This sounds good so far. The lift is easier, times get faster, and power output increases, right? Yes, but something is lost in the process, too.

The problem with bouncing the plates off the ground is that the lifter has now found a way to avoid getting stronger in the critical part of the movement where the bar breaks from the floor. To deadlift safely, the spine must be held in rigid extension while force is applied to the bar. Bouncing the plates off the ground all but prohibits the necessary setting of the back and encourages rounding instead. It shaves time off a workout, but robs the spinal errectors of necessary work that will make them stronger. An inability to pull even moderately heavy weights while maintaining spinal extension is often the result.

So, what to do? If your goal is to compete in CrossFit workouts, then you are going to need to learn to perform deadlift repetitions quickly and that means not pulling from a dead stop. However, if all you do is touch and go, or, even worse, boucing deadlifts, then you owe it to yourself to start training the deadlift as it is meant to be trained – from a dead stop. The bar should not be moving and the back should be locked in extension prior to every pull. The workout will take longer. It will be harder. It will build a stronger back with a decreased risk of injury. It will also build character.

The New Year is Here! Clean out and Lean out!

Hi guys!  Can you all believe it’s the Year 2012 already?

Our pastor challenged us today to “dig in” and do the part that God cannot do for us.  So with that thought in mind…  Are you willing to “dig in?”  To clean out / clear out the clutter?  To do the hard work (physical, mental, financial)?

Does that work include clearing out body clutter also?  So many who work out with us at CrossFit Confidence, as well as many others, are trying to get healthier and stronger this season.  One way to clean out is through a cleansing food regimen.  Whether you opt for The Paleo Solution, the “21-Day Sugar Detox”, a juice cleanse or a Biblically based fast – any of these will jump start your 2012 and shake up your body to wake it up and de-clutter some of the treats we all enjoyed over the holidays.  Grab a buddy from our box – Let’s clean out and lean out!

I personally prefer the Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  I do not feel deprived with Paleo and feel it leads to optimal healing and health.  It has changed my life by lowering my headache frequency and leaning out my waistline!  If you are unfamiliar, read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, or the newest Paleo reference book: The Paleo Answer by Cordain. I, myself, am cleaning out the pantry of the grains and boxed things that have snuck back in over the holidays. Instead I’m loading the refrigerator with energizing nuts and veggies.

Don’t forget those supplements if you aren’t getting enough vitamins through leafy greens and nutrient dense vegetables.  The links below go into detail, but you will find there and on other sites that  the main reasons to take Omega-3 are: to reduce inflammation in order to  improve blood health as well as to lower risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and alzheimer’s.  Robb Wolf recommends 2-4g of fish based Omega3. I have to take 6 of the ones from Costco to get enough.  Whole 9 Life gives solid dosage recommendations and WebMD can give a few more facts.  How do you take yours?  At night or sandwiched  between food?

The health community is also saying that at least 50% and up to 80% (mostly our children) of us are deficient on Vitamin D3!  Wow, right?  Vitamin D3 is important for bone health, muscle function, and neuromuscular health as well. Paleo Village and Paleo Diet Lifestyle sites have some really helpful info., and Dr. Mercola really dives into the subject.  It’s a good thing Amanda and her crew at CFC implement endurance WOD’s in addition to our strength training.  So get out and go for a run to get some sunshine as well as add a supplement if you like.

I hope you like my healthy snack suggestion – some Kale chips (My kiddos like this after school). Kale is a great way to get vitamins and these posted on Crossfit Zone satisfy that salty craving… .

I used Organic Lacinato Kale from whole foods for this batch:Baked Lacinato Kale in Season Salt & Coconut Oil

What are you all cooking up this week?  Anything to inspire us to eat healthy too?  Although I subscribe to PalePlan for weekly mealplanning/grocery lists, I may just have to make this Paleo Picadillo Casserole.

Are you all ready to “dig in” and get healthier so you you can tackle life’s other challenges?