BACON! Yup, it’s good for you.

3 Oct

So here’s the amazing NEWSFLASH:

Bacon is GOOD FOR YOU!

Ok, stop shaking your head.

Bacon contains fat- Yes. But it’s the good kind called monosaturated fat. The good-for-you, oleic acid, fat that can help lower bad cholesterol levels; the same fat found in olive oil. There are lots of studies that have revealed that eating a protein-rich diet in the morning (eggs and bacon), lowering your carb intake, and eating smaller meals throughout the day will in fact leave you feeling full longer, help you lose weight, and boost your energy. SCORE! Add in a good amount of exercise and you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off. DOUBLE SCORE!

Some people still think saturated fats are evil, and because of this misconception have banned bacon from their homes. GASP! However, fatty acid experts today say that saturated fat from natural sources like meats, dairy, and tropical oils (coconut, palm) are not detrimental for our health, but instead much better than the polyunsaturated and hydrogenated substitutes we’ve been recently using. I cook with coconut oil ALL the time and find it amazing, nutritious, and delicious. No, it doesn’t taste like coconut. Well, if you douse your food in it, then yes, it will taste of coconut. So just don’t do that. 🙂

Lots of people believe that starting the day with cereal or pancakes gives you a strong push to get through the day. However, this is not the case. “A breakfast high in carbs would promote carbohydrate utilisation throughout the rest of the day, whereas if you have a fat-rich breakfast, you (can) transfer your energy utilisation between carbohydrate and fat,” says Dr. Martin Young of the University of Alabama at Binghamton. He says the first meal of the day is what programs you for the rest of your day. So filling up on fat-rich foods is actually a good thing, not something to be shunned as it was in the past. You spend the day burning that fat. Loading up on carbs simply causes that dreaded insulin spike which causes you to store any fat you eat as opposed to using it the right and best way for your body. YAY for bacon in the morning!!!

Ok, but put down that pound of bacon you just reached for. We still need to practice moderation. Anything in excess is not good for you. Bacon has amazing benefits and so many misconceptions that hopefully this article can help clear up- however- eating an over abundance of it isn’t the smartest choice. Just add it to your weekly menu 3-4 times a week (along with dropping the excessive carbs and getting your butt off the couch a few times a week) and watch and see how your body thanks you 🙂

DISCLAIMER: Remember, I’m no doctor. This post is simply for information in a easy to digest (see what I did there??) way. For more information regarding high fat diets and how good they actually are for you (AND the precautions you still must take)- check out this article from Marksdailyapple.com.

Ready for some recipes???

Here’s a bunch of bacon goodness:

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/for-the-love-of-bacon/

Crispy bacon

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries (EEEEE!!! How good does that sound??)

www.health-bent.com/pork/paleo-bacon-wrapped-sweet-potato-fries

paleo bacon wrapped sweet potato fries

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

http://paleodish.com/2012/05/07/bacon-wrapped-mushroom-chicken-thighs/

Bacon Pesto Stuffed Hamburgers

http://www.amazingpaleo.com/2012/08/24/bacon-pesto-stuffed-burgers/

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‘Tis the season…for apples and acorn squash

2 Oct

****Krista****

I have always wanted to eat locally and in season, but walking into a grocery store makes that hard to do! Although there is some local produce at my favorite shopping establishments, it’s so easy to get distracted by everything else. We can get pineapple in winter, apples in the spring and acorn squash in the summer if we want to!

But that’s now going to change. Last week, I finally got the call that I was off the waiting list for a local CSA type organization (Alan’s Orchards) and I started picking up my seasonal fruits and veggies from farms around my area. I’m very excited to share what I receive each week and to help you plan some seasonal and local meals!

The goods

Kale: Place in a plastic bag — but do not close — and refrigerate.

Arugala: Wrap the stems in a moistened paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the most humid area of the refrigerator (usually the vegetable drawer)

Chives: Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Green Leaf Lettuce: Store in loosely closed plastic bag or crisper. Do not wash till you are ready to serve.

Onions: Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Do not store in a plastic bag.

Apples: Keep in refrigerator.

Tomatoes: Keep on counter until ready to eat.

Portobello Mushrooms: Place fresh portobello mushrooms in paper bags or wrap them in paper towels for storage in the refrigerator. Plastic wrapping can trap in moisture and should be avoided

Red Peppers: Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag in vegetable drawer.

Eggplant: Store in warmest part of fridge or coolest part of house.

Acorn Squash: Store in cool place outside of fridge.

The Recipes

Kale Chips

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Marinara Sauce

Harvest Salad: green leaf lettuce, arugula, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, grilled chicken, homemade balsamic vinegrette

What are your favorite seasonal recipes?

Balanced Bites Paleo Workshop

26 Sep

This past weekend was crazy busy!!! The adult side of me bought a beautiful set of antique bedroom furniture, the crafty side of me shot photos of East Coast Bride’s latest Etsy shop additions, the kid in me celebrated my husband’s 31st birthday at the bounce factory with inflatable slides and 2-story laser tag (see picture below), and the nerd in me went to an 8 hour paleo workshop.

The workshop was presented by Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe of Balanced Bites (check out their webcasts and super informative podcasts). I was pretty excited to actually hear people speak about paleo, since everything that I’ve learned was by book, website, or phone conversations with Liz (my holistic counselor). Even though I was familiar with much of the information covered, I learned some great facts that I wanted to share with everyone!

  • “It runs in the family”…the phrase many people use when diagnosed with health problems. While you may be genetically susceptible to certain illnesses, it does not mean that you do not have control over how susceptible you may be! By eating the right foods and getting vitamins and minerals through meats, fruits and vegetables, you can possibly avoid or lesson the severity of “genetic illnesses”.
  • Did you know that getting 8 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is an antioxidant? Problems with sleeping (such as being wide awake at night and hitting the snooze a few times) is a known carcinogen. Make sleep a priority!
  • Digestion begins in the brain! Bring back the family dinners or eating solo at the dining room table without TV, internet or distraction. Sit and enjoy that delicious meal!
  • Whole food is packaged with all of the vitamins and minerals needed to process it successfully. Refined food is not (synthetic additions cannot be compared to the real thing).
  • Many articles that I’ve read blame the agricultural revolution for the demise of our health; however, when looking really closely, the last 100 years have been the most influential towards the rapid increase in disease (diabetes, autoimmune, cancer, etc). So what has happened over the last century? More and more food has become refined and processed. Take these foods out of your diet and your body will thank you!

Well, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of the information I learned at the workshop. I am continually amazed at how much I did not know about health before being introduced to paleo a few months ago. The nerdy part of me definitely looks forward to learning more, incorporating it in my life, and sharing it all with you!

Walnut Coffee Bread

24 Sep

Yes. You read that right.

Seriously amazing combination right? I found this little gem while looking for a new dish to bake last night. I have this amazing app on my phone called “Fast Paleo” (get it… NOW.) It’s part of www.fastpaleo.com and is a great on the go resource to find yummy recipes and all the ingredients you need. This works perfect for when you are already out! Check the recipe list from your phone and head to the grocery store. Easy peasy. My kind of app.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 120g crushed walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Steps:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a bread loaf pan with coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients (almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt)

Add the remaining wet ingredients (melted coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, coffee, and honey) to the dry ingredients. Mix together.

Add crushed walnuts into mixture.

Pour into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the middle is completely cooked through.

Let cool then……. NOM NOM NOM!!!!

(yea… so my iPhone is obviously not as cool as most peoples considering these photos are CRAP lol but hopefully you get the idea of how yummy this bread is! Soon, I plan on taking a day or two to recreate recipes and take REAL photos!)

Let me know what ya think 😉

The 80/20 theory..

23 Sep

“It’s too much work.”

“I don’t have time.”

“I don’t have the will power to keep it going.”

Does this sound familiar???

photo courtesy of toptvstuff.com

Yea.. those are some of the most common phrases uttered by people who just can’t seem push themselves to make a change. I know those phrases well. I SAID THEM FOR FAR TOO LONG!

Here’s the coolest part about Paleo….there is this little, eensy weensy theory that we use (use, not LIVE BY) that says:

STRIVE FOR 100%…KNOWING THAT YOU MAY ONLY BE ABLE TO HIT 80%.

Life happens. Things come up. And situations don’t always allow us to be perfect cavemen(women). Ever since processed foods have been introduced into modern society, we sort of can’t avoid them depending on where we are. If we are always home, never leave, and never eat out- sure! 100% Paleo is a breeze. But that type of lifestyle is just not realistic for most people. We eat out and menus don’t always offer the best solutions (though most restaurants do! I have NO problems eating out now that I’m Paleo!)

Once of the things that got me on the Paleo train at first was the fact that there is this 80/20 theory that simply says you can abide by the Paleo lifestyle 80% of the time while 20% of the time you are non-paleo. If you hit the 80/20 ratio, you will still see excellent results…. more energy, weight loss, health benefits, etc. When I realized that I could change my life slowly, still eat the things I really wanted until I was ready to give them up, and I’d still see results?? I was in. Sign me up.

Photo courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Best thing about this is simply this: I don’t beat myself up if I have something non-Paleo. I don’t stop eating for two days because I had something that was  unacceptable to my lifestyle. I tell myself “80/20 Kristina. It’s all good. Tomorrow is another day.” I don’t stress. I don’t freak. It’s amazing. Because let’s face it- every once in a while you are faced with that delish Carvel ice cream cake for someone’s bday or a night out with friends during which you find the menu offers nothing exactly healthy. This is part of life and I’ll be darned if I lock myself up to avoid it.

So, those of you out there saying, “I just don’t have time.” Or patience. Or money. Or will power. Whatever it is you are using as an excuse- let it go. Paleo allows you to follow your own course and do it in your own time. There is no “bad girl” feeling if you go off course. And once you find the Paleo foods that you love, you will see how easy, quick, and delicious your meals become! I have never again uttered any excuses when it comes to our menu each week. We look forward to food shopping, planning our meals, marinating hunks of meat, persusing the farmers market, and cooking after work.

80/20 guys. Try it. I’m 99% right now, but certainly started 80/20! And every once in a while, I really work that 80/20 theory…. especially when I hit little Italy and Ferrara’s Bakery is calling my name…

Photo courtesy of culinaryfool.com

Let us know your thoughts and whether this 80/20 theory can help give you that little push. I know it did it for me 🙂

The Paleo Kitchen

17 Sep

Hello everyone! I am truly excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the Girls Gone Healthy blog and share my paleo-riffic experiences with you. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Krista (see my reasons for going paleo here) and I have not eaten a grain in almost 3 months (and feel fabulous)!

It can be extremely overwhelming when first going paleo. I scoured the internet, just trying to figure out what I needed to stock my kitchen for this new lifestyle. After some trial and error, this is now our go to list each week. We’re still working out some kinks, but overall we’ve been really successful as long as we have the following items!

In the fridge

Eggs (lots of them – some hard boiled for snacks)

Bacon (and a nice little jar of bacon fat)

Chicken

Ground beef, pork, or lamb (for a quick chile or burgers)

Veggies (broccoli, green beans, peppers, beets – anything I can steam, grill or boil)

Carrots, celery, onions – always have for a quick chicken noodle soup or one pan roast

Garlic (fresh or the minced jar from Trader Joe’s)

Almond milk or coconut milk (great for smoothies)

Salad Mix

Flax Seed Meal (mix in with food or smoothies for some Omega 3’s)

Fresh Herb (Basil, Oregano and Dill are our favorites)

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

Grass-fed butter, clarified butter or ghee (optional)

On the kitchen counter

Sweet Potatoes

Apples

Bananas (even when they go bad – freeze them for baking or smoothies)

Lemons or limes (for marinades)

Any other seasonal fruit that looks good

By the stove

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Various dried herbs and spices

Baking Pantry

Almond flour

Coconut flour

Coconut Oil

Cocoa

Baking soda

Vanilla

Salt

Raw Honey

Maple Syrup

Various nuts and dried fruit

Enjoy life chocolate chips

Beverages

Tea (green and herbal)

Filtered water

Not so bad, right?

And now…drumroll please…my favorite recipes!

Basic Spinach Quiche: Paleo Diet Lifestyle

 

Lime and Basil Beef Kebabs: Marks’ Daily Apple

 

Slow Cooked Coconut Ginger Pork: Mark’s Daily Apple

 

Greek Style Lamb Meatballs: Balanced Bites

 

Bacon Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs: Balanced Bites

 

Banana Bread: Comfy Belly

 

Paleo Chewy “Granola” Bars: The Paleo Mom

 

Breakfast Cookies: Comfy Belly

What are your favorite paleo recipes? Did I forget to add any must-haves on the kitchen list?

Paleo “Tortilla” Chips

16 Sep

Hope for guac and salsa is not lost!!

Enter Paleo chips.. tortilla style!

I’ve been needing a tortilla chip substitute in my life since I went Paleo and this recipe made my wish a reality… easy as pie too!

Paleo “Tortilla” Chips-

2 cups Almond flour

2 eggs (the recipe I found said egg whites only.. I said no.)

1 tsp oil ( i use coconut oil of course!)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper to taste

Mix together into a dough and separate into two balls.

Roll each ball out super thin between two pieces of parchment paper.

Score the flattened dough into desired shapes.

Bake at 325 for 15ish minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

ENJOY! Leave a comment below with your thoughts and how it went if you tried them!!