Green Curry Pheasant

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.50.53 AMHere is a recipe from Rob Paetzold. Rob was kind enough to provide me with all the ingredients, including the pheasant. I highly recommend this dish. It is super tasty and about as organic as it gets because the bird was shot down in a local field last fall. If you don’t have pheasant, use a chicken. Also, if you’re doing the Eat Well Challenge, you have two options: either reintroduce snow peas, like we did, or leave them out of the dish.

Here are Rob’s ingredients and instructions:

I have snow peas in this curry, but use whatever you want, so long as it’s green. Asparagus, regular peas, sugar snap peas, more herbs, bok choy, green beans; you get the point. Serve curry with long-grain rice. Since you are doing the paleo challenge, I would rice up some cauliflower.

Bone out the pheasant like you would a chicken. I always brine mine over night. I always soak in salt, pepper, and a bit of cane sugar (no sugar for you, eat well challengers).

Ingredients:

1 small onion, sliced thinly from root to tip
1 Tsp oil
Salt
1 15-ounce can of coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)
3 citrus leaves (optional) (we used lime)
2 Tsp fish sauce or 1 Tsp coconut aminos
3 to 4 Tsp green curry paste
1 pound skinless pheasant breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 to 4 serrano or jalapeño chiles, sliced thin
1/2 pound snow peas
1/3 cup chopped Thai basil or cilantro

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Sear the onion over high heat, stirring it often, until it browns on the edges. Salt the onions as it cooks.

2. Pour in the coconut milk and the stock, if using. Fill the coconut milk can halfway with water and pour that in, too. If you are not using stock, fill the coconut milk can all the way up and pour the whole can into the pan. Add the citrus leaves, as well as the fish sauce and the curry paste. Bring this to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the pheasant breast and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Then add the chiles and snow peas and simmer another 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the basil or cilantro and serve.

Green Smoothie For Breakfast

IMAG3815Since starting the Eat Well Challenge a couple weeks ago, I have woken up every morning and made a green smoothie. At first I was skeptical; I didn’t think a smoothie would fill me up. But as usual, my wife was right. A smoothie for breakfast leaves me satisfied for hours and gives me energy to kick off the day with a hard workout. Here’s one variation of what I have made:

1/2 C mango kombucha

1 banana

1 red Swiss chard leaf

sm handful spinach

sm handful parsley

2 brazil nuts

4 walnuts

2 splashes filtered water

1 T finely ground chia seeds

5 ice cubes

Blend the ingredients and enjoy!

Shepherd’s Pie

IMG_8242

Eat Well is in full force and here is a recipe from Sunday nights potluck.

Funny story is that I forgot to take a picture of the first batch that I brought to the potluck, so this lovely piece of deliciousness pictured is from round two. And let me tell you it was as good as the first, for those of you that were at the potluck a few days ago.

The original recipe is from my favorite paleo cookbook, Well Fed. I have cooked this many times, but have made my own additions to this recipe.

The author, Melissa Joulwan has another book out that I do not own yet, Well Fed 2, and I’m sure it has equally tasty recipes in it.

Here are the instructions on cooking this dish for those of you that are interested:

Ingredients

1 batch cauliflower rice- (riced in a food processor)
1.5 TBSP- coconut oil
1 medium onion- diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots- peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
2 lb. ground lamb (I used ground beef instead)
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tsp coconut aminos
1 tsp dried rosemary
.5 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 egg whites
paprika

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Over medium heat, add the coconut oil for 3 minutes. Once it is heated add the onion and carrot and reduce heat to medium-low and cover; allow the veggies to get soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic to the pan until fragrant, about 1 minute.

With your hands crumble in the ground lamb/beef and break up big chunks with a wooden spoon.

Sauté until the meat is browned, 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with pepper.

Add tomato paste, broth, coconut aminos, rosemary and thyme to the pan.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Then let mixture simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Set the pan aside and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Scramble the egg whites until frothy and blend into the meat mixture.

Add 1 TBSP of coconut oil to another small pot and heat on medium. Once oil is heated add the riced cauliflower along with 1/8 cup water.

Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes then take off heat.

Now it’s time to combine everything. In a 12×6 baking dish, first put in the meat mixture and smooth it out evenly. Next, add the cauliflower rice to the top and also spread out evenly. Lightly sprinkle the top with paprika.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top begins to brown.

Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

One Step At A Time

10422080_942381635780033_319106715722349795_nOf the people who submitted their goals for the New Year, 20% of you eluded to wanting to improve your body composition. Countless others have mentioned wanting to improve their body comp in class and one-on-one meetings.

For those of you not doing the Eat Well Challenge, what is your game plan? Do you have one?

Does losing weight, increasing lean muscle mass, decreasing body fat, or whatever your specific goal, really matter to you?

Or was it just a logical goal to put down that is more wishful thinking than anything, and if you happen to stumble across it through 2015 it would be a job well done?

One month of the year is already past us, some who started off on the right track have now resorted to their old ways because it is comfortable common ground that they have to put very little time and energy into doing.

If you haven’t read coach Kayser’s blog post from last week, do so. To echo what he is saying in four words, “nothing good comes easy”.

Isn’t that true for anything that you have accomplished in life? Don’t you feel great when all of your hard work has paid off and you achieve what you put so much effort in to?

Sure we all want to win the lottery, but you have a better chance of being struck by lightning, so why not have a backup plan.

Whatever your goal is around body composition, does it seem like an insurmountable mountain to climb? Does the thought of it alone just depress you or make you nervous to even take the first step?

One of the great life lessons that I have learned from this Eat Well Challenge, is just that- you need to take the first step. Personally speaking, and you can ask my wife or any of the coaches how nervous I was to begin this challenge, I was actually more scared of doing this challenge than taking a step into fatherhood, which is now around five weeks away.

How foolish! Looking back the thought of not being able to order that pizza or grab a fresh pack of Swedish fish whenever I wanted was terrifying! I now know how stupid I was for saying and thinking that way.

For the past five weeks, I have told myself just to keep taking that next step; keep putting yourself in smart situations; keep your eye on the prize.

I can honestly say that I feel the best that I EVER have! Not only because of my physical health, but because I have done what I said I was going to do. I did not take the easy way out. Mentally I feel as strong as ever, because I know how hard I worked in just this short amount of time to get to where I am. I would not have changed a thing!

What is holding you back from getting started on your pathway to achieving your body compostion goals? Fear, procrastination, laziness? Ditch your excuses and get a game plan together.

If you need help with putting together a plan or being held accountable, hit up your personal coach.

Take the first step towards climbing that mountain in your life. Don’t look back; keep taking those small steps, all while keeping your eye on the prize!

Healthy Eating: All It Takes Is Discipline And A Game Plan

foodHere’s the deal: eating well is not that hard. It just takes is a bit of discipline and planning.

Leading up to our Eat Well Challenge, my diet was absolute crap. I’m talking cake, ice cream, cookies, and burritos regularly. It’s no surprise that thinking about cleaning up my diet and eating cleanly made me anxious.

But after waiting for that “hard” part of cleaning up my diet to kick in during the first week of our challenge, and then the second week, it never came. This barrier that I thought I would have to get over never ended up presenting itself. I am not saying that this is always the case, but for me it was. If you hit that barrier, dig deep and bust through it. You are strong enough!

Not once have I craved sugar, pizza, or anything I’m not allowed to eat during this challenge. This isn’t due to luck or superior will power, it’s because I came up with a game plan and then executed the plan. It is that simple. The reason I’m not ordering Chinese food in a pinch is because I have a refrigerator stocked with good, nutritious food.

Every Sunday night we meal plan and make a grocery list. This usually gets us through Wednesday when we make another list and go to the store. Is game planning and going to the store a hassle? Sure, it is a little time consuming and puts a dent in the wallet, but to me it’s worth it. Since I started eating to fuel my body rather than just feed it with whatever food was available to me, I feel fantastic. You can’t put a price on that.

I get it, you’re busy. So if making two weekly trips to the store isn’t feasible, then invest in a meal plan from a company like Origin Meals to get you to your goal of maintaining a healthy diet.

My number one piece of advice to make this work is plan ahead. One of our members has spent two weeks of our six-week challenge on the road. He did a little research before his trips and found that the two cities he would visit, Boston and Dallas, had companies like Origin Meals that would deliver his meals to his hotel.

We are all busy. We can all come up with ten excuses as to why we can’t make a healthy diet a priority. But let’s face it, excuses are a way to justify our weakness. I know; I was that guy four weeks ago. I’d make every excuse in the book to justify making poor food choices. This is why I can tell you that if you really want to dial in your nutrition you can. Suck it up, make sacrifices, and get it done. Don’t be weak. You will feel better, sleep better, and perform better in the gym.

It comes down to whether you want it or not and whether or not you are willing to work hard to attain your goal of maintaining a healthy diet. Commit to your goal and stop making excuses.

Creamy Spiced Kale

IMG_1793

Tired of eating the same old chicken breast, wishing that you had a great side dish to compliment it?

Say no more.

Try this tasty kale dish that takes less than ten minutes before its ready to devour.

Ingredients:

- 1 large bunch of kale

- 2 teaspoons Ras el Hamout (bunch of spices thrown together- look below)

- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

- pinch of salt

- 1 teaspoon coconut oil

- 1/2 cup coconut milk (make sure to buy a brand without guar gum in the ingredients)

- (optional for more spice)- 1/2 jalapeño pepper finely chopped or 2 tsp crushed red pepper

Ras el Hanout- This is good to have on hand for different dishes that you make. Combine all spices and herbs together and mix. Store in airtight container.

- 2 tsp salt

- 2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp powdered ginger

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:

- Wash kale and remove large stems. Tear into smallish pieces. Don’t dry off leaves before cooking. Wet leaves are good for steaming and softening harder greens.

- Over medium heat, toss in half the kale and stir until it begins to wilt and then throw in the remaining leaves. Cover with lid.

- In a small bowl mix Ras el Hanout, garlic and salt. If you chose the optional jalapeño or crushed red peppers, add them in.

- When leaves are dark and have begun to wilt, remove the lid and slide the kale to the side of the pan.

- Now add coconut oil to the pan and pour spices directly into the melted coconut oil.

- Lastly pour in the coconut milk and stir until everything is mixed evenly.

This was an instant classic at our house and probably will  be in yours too!!!

Why I Eat Rice

rice
I can’t help but laugh as I write this. It’s ok if you’re laughing too. Let’s face it. Asian people eat a lot of rice.

But for me it was not always thus. When I first discovered the Paleolithic nutrition plan, I was neurotically strict.

No grains means no grains, right? I was so strict that I would discard the rice bowl at the Korean BBQ. I was that guy.

But something always bugged me about the eliminationist aspect of Paleo. Ethnic differences are a matter of evolutionary forces. I don’t look like other people. Maybe I shouldn’t eat like other people?

It’s not so far-fetched. Geneticists know that most Asians lack the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. (Which explains the red, puffy faces you see at the karaoke bar) If most Asians don’t tolerate alcohol is it so unreasonable to think that most Asians do tolerate rice?

My theory was put to the test the first time I visited my mom after going Paleo. In my mother’s house you do not refuse food. So I ate the rice she put in front of me, convinced that I would be convulsed and retching into the toilet within minutes.

Lo and behold, I was fine. I did not get a headache and drive my car into a tree. My butt didn’t explode. Cool.

In the ensuing months I learned something very important. Rice doesn’t make me sick but it does make me fat. I eat rice sparingly now, primarily in the context of a recovery meal, when I am very motivated to get my insulin levels up.

The main point I want to make here is that I only made this discovery because I started from a clean slate. I knew what it felt like to be on a clean diet so I had a point of reference when I started to introduce a questionable food.

If you want to learn how to thrive; if you are sick of one-size-fits-all diets, join us in our Eat Well challenge. The challenge is six weeks long. The first four weeks will be a reset where we rid our diets of foods that are known to be problematic (think processed foods). During the final two weeks we will systematically reintroduce the foods we eliminated to see how our bodies react to them.

It’s going to be awesome. Register here.

Eat Well – The Nutritional Challenge That YOU Need

Kale
Eating well is a constant challenge. We live in a world where gluttony is the norm and the worst food for you is the cheapest to get and easiest to find. Despite the challenges that eating well presents, there truly are countless benefits for those dedicated to putting their diet first.

This January we are kicking off our first nutritional challenge in quite some time. Our past events were plenty successful, but unfortunately the benefits were usually only as long-lasting as the challenge itself. So this time we are taking a slightly different approach.

Everyone’s body reacts differently to certain foods. A certain food might sit perfectly fine with some, while leaving others with major digestive issues. It is crucial to plan for these differences. This is why we will follow an approach outlined in Chris Kresser’s book Your Personal Paleo Code, where we will use the foundations of the paleo diet to figure out which foods work best for you.

The challenge will last six weeks. During the first four weeks we will reset our diets by eliminating anything that could be problematic. The last two weeks will be a trial period where we systematically reintroduce the foods that have been removed to see how our bodies tolerate them after we’ve gone without them for a month.

I’ll be the first to admit that this will not be easy. However, the knowledge that you will leave with at the end of the six weeks is something that you can use to inform your eating choices for the rest of your life. Worth it? I think so.

Preparation and community are the two pieces that will make or break our collective success, so we are going to host group gatherings every Sunday night to hang out, eat amazing food, and answer questions that come up over the previous week.

We are fortunate enough to have our friends at Origin Meals on board to help too. Everyone that signs up will get three pre-made, challenge-approved meals on the night of our first get-together. Origin Meals will also provide information about how their meal plans work, and will supply free samples of their culinary awesomeness.

We will provide all of the details on what you can and cannot eat at the opening night get-together of the challenge. My challenge to you: sign up!

Here are the details:

Sign up on Zen Planner
$50/person (includes introductory week meals from Origin)
Opening night – Sunday Jan. 4, 6:00pm
Superbowl party – Sunday Jan. 25, 5:00pm
Closing Party – Saturday Feb. 14, 4:00pm
Weekly get togethers will be on Sundays at 6:00pm throughout.

Need Something Easy In the Morning?

Breakfast Casserole

What do you do for breakfast when you are in a rush? Do you grab a banana, eat a quick yogurt, or do you just get caffeinated and try to make it through until lunch?

Most of us are in a rush in the mornings, but all of us need fuel for the day. Something that works well for me, so that I don’t always need to be cooking in the mornings, are egg bakes. There are many variations but most paleo options have similar ingredients.

What works well for us is preparing this on Sunday so that we don’t have to slave over the stove on weekday mornings.

Here is one that we made recently that was quite tasty. We used turnips, but a safer bet if you haven’t tried an egg bake before may be rutabagas or sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

- Coconut Oil
- 3 turnips, 2 rutabagas, or  2 sweet potatoes- your choice (peeled)
- .5- 1.0 pounds of ground pork or beef (we cut the casings off of 3 spicy italian sausages)
- 4 scallions, green parts only (chopped)
- 8 eggs, beaten

Breakfast Casserole

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil
3. Grate the root vegetables or use a food processor
4. Brown the meat with a little oil in a large pan until not quite cooked through
5. Then toss in rest of ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes
6. Spoon into baking dish and cook for 45 minutes
7. Enjoy for the next few days!!!

Holiday nutrition game plan

Apple_pie

It’s that time of year again; the holidays are right around the corner!

The holidays are a fun time of year filled with family, friends and festivities, but they also present a challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Bad food choices are everywhere you go from late November through the new year. But if you come up with a game plan, and have self-discipline, this year’s holidays can be stress free when it comes to your diet.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the holidays and hit 2015 with your nutrition in check:

Don’t go it alone. Enlist a family member or friend and hold each other accountable for your holiday eating habits. This doesn’t mean guilt one another when you drink too much eggnog, but if you have someone you’re accountable to you might think twice before reaching for that second piece of pumpkin pie.

Moderation is key. It’s okay to eat bad food sparingly. Maybe one slice of pie per week, or whatever makes sense for your situation. Enjoy the holidays but don’t go off the deep end.

Work out. Stay active with backyard football games, hockey on the pond, family plank challenges, or whatever makes you sweat. In other words, don’t stuff your face and sit on the couch. Keep moving.

Drink a lot of water. Drink a glass of water before meals. Water is essential to digestion, but it also makes you feel full.

Opt for smaller portions and eat slowly. Try to fight the urge to go to pound town and inhale your food. Chew and enjoy your food.

Don’t binge on alcohol. Liquid calories are the worst and quickly derail your healthy nutrition habits.

Eat until you are satisfied, not full. After you eat, wait fifteen minutes and drink more water. Then, if you are still hungry, eat some more.

Don’t stress, it’s the holidays. Come up with a game plan to make good decisions and follow-through.

Stay tuned for details on our 2015 Nutrition Challenge.