Monday, May 10, 2021

May's Challenge, Building a Recipe Box Hacks

                                         

Guilty as charged. I am a junky, reading and collecting recipes. I have hundreds saved in my Pinterest account, magazines, boxes, one might say it is a problem. I call it research. I love sitting down with a glass of wine and going through Bon Appetit! A simple joy and pleasure of mine. There are great benefits to reading recipes, you learn about combinations of seasonings, spices, acid, sweet, heat, new ways of cooking food, new ideas to try. It is fantastic research and learning. If you want to improve your cooking skills I suggest spending some time reading recipes.  

The struggle when you have hundreds, thousands of recipes, too many can be too many. They do begin to run together, sound similar and can overwhelm you. Find recipes you like and read through others to learn.

Two things I do to help with meal time prep and building a recipe box:
weekly menu
have themes for each day:
  • Monday- Grill/Bake
  • Tuesday- Tacos
  • Wednesday- Soup/Salad
  • Thursday- International day
  • Friday- Fish
  • Saturday- Try a New Recipe
  • Sunday- Steak
I truly made most of this up, a few of them I do follow. Come up with themes that will work for your needs, this is an idea to get you started. The benefits of this, you have an idea already each each day what you are going to make. It takes less time to prep and make a menu than if you come up with different things each day. Or you don't plan at all and are left going out to eat consistently. 

This will also help you with pantry and freezer items to keep on hand. You are low on taco seasonings, pick some up the next time you are at the store. You will begin to learn what you need to keep on hand. When you have items on hand you cook with and meal ideas already planned, you are less likely to be left with nothing in the fridge or no time because you don't know what you are going to make and have to go to the store because you don't have ingredients on hand. Easier at this point, order pizza.   

Sitting down and making a menu for a week or two, going shopping once saves time in the long run. Yes, it is some work up front, but you save time by already having the menu and ingredients on hand. 
This also helps with batch cooking. Say on Monday when you grill or bake meat, cook extra meat. Use it for leftovers at work but also on your salad/soup, or tacos. This will help make these meals even faster for you. Meat is already cooked, bring out the tacos ingredients and in 15 minutes or less you are eating dinner. Cooking more meat upfront takes some of the load off for other days. You are already baking or have the grill fired up, it doesn't take much more time to cook several extra pieces or add another protein to the cooking for another meal later in the week. Time saver. 

What tips do you have for building a recipe box? Have you tried any of these before, have they worked? 

Where your mitochondria goes, your health goes.
All my love
Jenn

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tuesday Recipe: Primal Granola

Grain free granola, full fat yogurt

Primal Granola
Ingredients:
A variety of nuts and seeds, what you like
Almonds
Hazelnuts
Cashews
Walnuts
Pecans
Flax seeds 
Chia seeds
Sunflower seeds

Seasonings and spices
Cinnamon, couple of teaspoons
Cloves, 1 teaspoon
Ginger, 2 teaspoons
Nutmeg, shake or two, optional
Allspice, shake or two, optional
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Coconut oil, 2-3 tablespoons
Honey, to taste 
Egg

Equipment:
Baking pan, one with an edged
Parchment paper to line the pan with

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375.
Blend the nuts, seeds and spices together. You don't want to grind it into powder, leave junks of the nuts. Place in a bowl.
In either a double bowler or in the microwave, melt the coconut oil, honey and salt together. Once melted, beat in the egg and all spices/seasonings, blend well. Pour over the nuts and seeds and mix well. Spread out on the lined baking pan.
Place in the oven. It needs about 20-30 minutes to bake, depending on how much you have in the pan. If you made a larger batch, you can split it between two pans to bake faster and more even.
Every 10-15 minutes, take the mixture out and stir around. Place back into the oven. Continue to bake until golden brown and crispy. When baked, let cool. Break it up. Store in an airtight container. 

Serve with fruit, full fat yogurt, milk or eat it by itself. 

When I went mostly grain free with Primal eating and realized my body did not tolerate most grains well and I did better on a lower carb lifestyle, I started to miss granola. It is worth the benefits of not eating grains to me to keep it out of my eating though. In my quest to have something similar, nut and seed "granola" came into my world. This is my take on it! I hope you enjoy deeply nourishing your body with this recipe.

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.
All my love

Jenn


Monday, May 3, 2021

May's Challenge: Building a Recipe Box, Dry Brining

Simple meal of wild salmon and mango salsa

I am a fan of May. The bitter cold of winter has loosened it's grip, we can still get snow but spring snow is different than winter snow. Flowers are in bloom! The bees are buzzing and pollenating. It begins to warm up, longer days, cool evenings. The heavier winter foods are being replaced by lighter foods. Grills come out. It is a month of transition in my neck of the woods.

With a new month, brings a new challenge! This month we are going to focus on cooking skills, building a recipe box, finding routines to bring simplicity to our lives.  

One of the struggles I uncovered and have set out to solve, too many today do not know how to cook. The generational skill of cooking has all but been lost. 

When it comes to food and cooking, I think there are some ideas we need to put to rest:
Every meal does not need to be a "foodgams".
Meals do not need to be complicated to be nutritious and give our bodies the basics building blocks they need to create us.
Simple meals with whole foods are amazing and can come together quickly.
As a general norm, items from a box with a long list of ingredients are not food.
Food is about nutrient density, intaking the building blocks for health, growth, repair, life, should be the focus.
When you learn some basic cooking skills, how to put flavors together, recipes aren't as important.

Take for example that piece of salmon in the picture.
I use a technique called dry brining. I use it on all meats, keeps them moist, juicy, tender and naturally flavors the meat with salt.
Dry brining in it's simplest terms is simply salting a piece of meat generously on all sides and allowing it to sit for a time. Simple and oh so tasty.
With the salmon, this day I put it with a simple mango salsa.
Other times I make a ginger, lime and honey mixture or a honey, paprika and lemon mixture and cook it in that.
I cook it on the stove in a hot pan and some butter. Sometimes I put in a splash of wine. Simple.
The base stays the same, dry brining. I bring flavors, added nutrients and fun with other whole foods. Bringing in acid, sour, sweet, spicy, savory, what ever floats your boat. 
This meal can be put together in about 20 minutes, depending on your knife skills which can be improved. The salmon does do better in the brine when it has sat longer, a couple of hours. When time is short, you can do it.

For this weeks challenge, try dry brining some meat, beef, chicken, pork, fish, turkey, they all lend nicely to a dry brine.

What you need:
Choice of protein
Kosher salt, preferably, any salt works
Time

Salt the meat generously, you want to be able to see the salt. Be generous, meat loves salt. 
Allow the meat to sit, preferably on a wire rack until the surface is dry. Large cuts of meat can sit and do best in the fridge, uncovered overnight. Cook your meat to your liking.

This technique takes a few tries to get the hang of and how you like it, play with it. The only way you learn something new is to keep trying. 

Where your mitochondria goes your health goes.
All my best
Jen


Saturday, May 1, 2021

I Am Verses I Have

 


I am verses I have. Maybe an odd thing to think about, maybe you never have. Very early on after my diagnose of CRPS and disability, this was a distinction I was able to make for myself. This has made all the difference in the world through this journey. I was able to say, I have CRPS and a disability. I am NOT either. Yes, they shape me and have a dramatic impact on my life, but they are not who I am. By not taking them on as who I am, they don't define me. It is not who I am in my core, my soul. The CRPS and disability have stayed external instead of being internalized, becoming who I am, consuming me and destroying me. When we become these things, they have the ability to destroy us, consume us and turn us into someone we are not. 

Who are you verses what do you have?

I hope this can help on your journey.

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.

Love you guys

Jenn







 

Monday, April 26, 2021

April's Challenge, Tasty Fat and Insulin

Breaking fast meal, fat and protein

For the last week of April's challenge on fat, I am going to focus on insulin levels. Maybe seems crazy, but as I say, there is a method to my madness. 

What is insulin? Insulin is a form of a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Insulin plays many important roles in the body. It is vital to life. Without it we would die. Too high, too low and havoc is wreak throughout the body. If insulin is consistently elevated, our health begins to unravel at the cellular level and beyond. Insulin is kinda a big deal.  

One of the roles of insulin to regulating blood sugar, glucose, in the blood. When you eat carbs and sugars, insulin is produced in response to the glucose. The body uses insulin to take the glucose out of the blood stream and push it into the cells to be used for energy, stored in the muscles or liver, if your stores are full, it is converted to fat and stored on the body as fat. Shuttling out the glucose from our blood stream is important because glucose left in the blood stream can become toxic. We need to flush it out, use it or store it.   

Another role of insulin is regulation of fat storage or break down. Yup, insulin tells your body to either store fat or burn fat for energy. If glucose levels are high in the blood, the insulin being produced and released by the body, keeps fat safely locked away on your body to be burned later for fuel. When insulin levels come back to stable levels, the body can begin to use your fat stores as a source of energy. You have to use glucose first, if it is left in the blood stream it can become toxic to the body. If you continue inputting sugar laden foods, your insulin levels remain high and fat continues to be stored on the body. 

There are many other roles insulin plays in the body, very important roles. We are going to stick with these two for today.

Remember, insulin is important in the body. We have to have it. It is about the levels we have it in. We need enough for all the roles insulin plays in the body, seamlessly rising and falling with in a narrow range for the vitality of life. We want to avoid the big waves, crashes, and consistently high levels. We want more of a whisper.

Insulin is triggered by the level of glucose in the blood stream. Eat a lot of carbs, insulin levels go up to shuttle this glucose out of the blood stream, then plummet. This triggers hunger. The more unstable and higher your insulin levels, the more hungry you are. Your body is trying to keep you alive here, too high or too low of insulin levels and we are in trouble. Mood swings, hangry, exhaustion, inability to think, focus, weight gain..... Getting the picture? 

If carbs, increase the amount of insulin produced in the body, what do we eat? Protein and our good friend fat. The bulk of your nutrient intake should be coming from fat and protein. How much? An idea is a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, ideal weight. More than you are eating. How much fat? Copious amounts of healthy fats that we have been talking about these last several posts. Protein has some impact on your insulin levels. For most, this impact is not a big deal, be sure to eat it with fat. Eat more protein. Fat on the other hand. well is basically is a free food. It doesn't impact our insulin levels. Keeps them nice and stable. Eat more fat.  

One more important thing, stable insulin levels leads to effortless weight loss and maintenance. Go eat some fat and protein.

More resources:

A Guide to Insulin

Dr. Cate Her book the "Fat Burn Fix" is fantastic.

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.

Jenn 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Trip Back in Time

New Beginnings 

I began my blog in August of 2011. Crazy. I consistently blogged for many years, weekly to multiple times a week. I put together challenges, monthly ones, year long challenges with monthly and weekly smaller challenges to go along with the greater goal of better health. I poured a lot of love into my blog for several years. It never went anywhere, but I did enjoy it. By the end of 2016, I wasn't as consistent and pretty much stopped other than a post here and there. Typing destroys my hand and arm. It causes tremendous bone pain, my arm will scream bloody murder for days to weeks if I type. It wasn't worth the pain I was in to continue typing. I stopped blogging and began using Instargram for a "blog". Went through a divorce. Began working on me, there was hell to heal from.  Recently, from the encouragement of my business coach, I began blogging again a couple of months ago. She kept reminding me how much content, love I had in this blog, I shouldn't let it go away. If nothing else, reuse content, there is so much here. She reminded me of my joy of doing this. I am loving it! Typing still sets my arm to hell. Sometimes I type with one hand, other times I push through and type with both hands, gets the thoughts out better. It is a work in progress, lets be honest.
 
I was browsing old drafts, see what I had began as ideas for posts and never did. I originally began this post in July of 2013. I need to ask myself these questions today, all these years later. 

What are you holding onto that you need to let go of to achieve this goal/dream?
Sometimes the thing we are holding onto the tightest is the thing we need to let go of to fulfill our dreams. This "thing" is what is keeping you from reaching your dreams/goals, new heights, being the person you want to be.
What steps are you willing to take to begin letting go of this controlling fear? This fear that is stopping you from reaching the heights?

Some powerful questions.

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.
All my love
Jenn

Monday, April 19, 2021

April's Challenge, Fat is the Preferred Energy Source

The color egg yolks should be deep orange

One of the beautiful aspects of Primal living is the switch in the paradigm of the body's preferred source of fuel. It is not carbohydrates it is fat. The body loves to burn fat for fuel. The heart and brain thrive on ketons which are produced by the body when we eat fat and protein. Yes, the brain needs some glucose. The liver is able to create enough of this to supply the brain with it's minimal need for glucose. For most of it's energy source the brain prefers ketons. This energy source is long lasting and there is ample supplies of it on our bodies. This reassures the energy hogging brain it will have all the energy it needs to thrive. It quiets down. Fat is clean burning, long lasting and stable source of energy and nutrients the body needs to function. The fat I am talking about is natural fats, animal fats, butter, full fat dairy, eggs, beef, pork, fish, lard, olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, foods our ancestors would have recognized and known what they were hundreds of years ago. 

What do I mean by clean burning energy? When the body breaks down nutrients to use an inevitable side effect is oxidative stress, free radicles are created. A part of the process no way around it. Different foods create differing amounts of free radicles. Sugars, carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils, these cause significant amounts of oxidative stress. We need more antioxidants then to clean up these free radicles. However, when we eat protein and healthy fats like I mentioned above, there is significantly less free radicles created in the break down processes. The body is able to more readily clean up after itself when fat is the primary source of fuel. We need less antioxidants to clean up after eating. Instead of putting those precious antioxidants to use cleaning up from our food choices, the body is able to put those to use in other ways protecting us from other damage, chemicals, toxins, stress. 

Another reason we prioritize fat for fuel is the amount of energy availed in fat. It is stable, fat doesn't disturbed our insulin creating peaks and valleys, high and low levels of insulin. This peak and valley in insulin leads to crashes in energy levels. With fat and protein insulin remains stable. Stable insulin relates to higher, consistent energy levels, fewer energy crashes, better mood, greater focus and higher quality sleep. 

For  endurance athletes, you know bonking all to well. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel and you are able to dig into your body's fat stores, you have abundant energy available to you. You become virtually bonk proof.  

Your body has to come back to it's God given natural state of being able to burn fat for fuel. Your mitochondria, the power plants of your cells, where your energy is produced, they have to readapt to burning fat. When you eat sugar and carbs as your energy source, your body changes at a chemical, cellular, physiological level. It has to relearn how to be a fat burner. Once it has gone through this period of time, around 21 days, you are on your way to better health, effortless weight loss or weight maintenance, stable moods, better sleep, mental health improvements and so much more.

The benefits of burning fat for fuel are endless, You have more bang for your buck when eating fat, there is a lot of energy in fat. It helps keep stable insulin levels leading to increased energy and more stable moods. It tastes amazing! How could eating a steak dripping in butter not be one of those most amazing things to eat?! 

Where your mitochondria goes your health goes. 

All my best

Jen