chocolate banana BROtein cakes

The CrossFit Games are upon us, and this year is going to be extra exciting and anxiety-provoking. We’ve got good friend, Jason Khalipa, going for gold as an individual, and our NorCal team competing for their spot too. On top of that, I’ll be pulling hard for my friends Margaux Alvarez and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (among other awesome colleagues). There’s little more inspiring than the effort, passion, and dedication these guys put into their training every single day, not to mention the fact that they balance family, work, and play in there too. I think people genuinely underestimate what it takes to get where these athletes are. Actually I know most do; there was a time when I did too! I’ve worked many a Level 1 Seminar where people will tell me of their aspirations to make it to The Games in a year, which (no disrespect to them) is just not realistic. It takes 100% dedication, LOTS of sacrifice, and perhaps some genetic advantage too.

These top level athletes earn their spot, and they have truly learned to dial EVERYTHING in. That includes nutrition. With so little time to food prep, it’s still really important for them to get high quality, nutrient rich, and energy dense foods to fuel their performance and keep them healthy, energized, and injury free.

Jason recently asked when I’d be baking something for him (I think I owe him a lifetime of baked goods, considering he was the one that got me in the doors of a CrossFit gym for the first time). Knowing banana baked goods are his jam, and that he’s fueling for the biggest competition of the year, I decided to throw something together that would provide just the sustenance needed, while still tasting DELICIOUS! I’ll be bringing these to our company brunch tomorrow. (Side note: how cool is that the NorCal coaches all get together on the regular to hang out?)

So, here’s what I came up with….

pic1

Chocolate Banana BROtein Cakes (GF, NF)

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 40-60 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (from the can)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate protein powder
  • 2 really ripe bananas
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • depending on the sweetness of your protein powder, you might want to add 4-5 drips of stevia or 1-2 TB honey*
  • ADDITIONS: chopped nuts and dark chocolate chips

*I assure you tasting a bit of batter will not hurt you (I have raw pastured egg yolks frequently)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • mash the bananas up real nice
  • add eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, and optional sweetener and mix well
  • in a separate bowl, stir up coconut flour, protein powder, baking soda, and cinnamon
  • pour wet mixture into the dry, and use a hand mixer or spoon to make it into a nice batter
  • add optional nuts and/or chocolate chips (I also sprinkle some chips on too because it looks nice)
  • use 1/4 cup to pour batter into cupcake wrappers in your muffin tin
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean)
  • ENJOY! Great for pre/post workout or as a delicious start to your day 

fluffy fudgey brownies and why the ones you love most are the hardest to help

I have been blessed with a pretty outstanding family. My parents are just the best, and I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood, or adulthood for that matter. My mom is the most selfless person I know, and my dad comes over just to hang out with my husband, which makes my heart so full. My brother and sister and I are three years apart (to the week), and they are my best friends, which makes me cool by association. Any time spent with my family is guaranteed to be hilarious and so much fun.

wedding-288-2812760580-O

Now, why so much about my family on my health, food, and fitness blog? First off, because their love and support are such a huge part of who I am and where I am now, but second, I have been thinking a lot about them recently, as I continue to help people with their nutrition and health concerns and goals. What I have realized is that while I take so much time to learn, educate, and teach about health to so many people, the hardest ones to reach seem to be the ones closest to me. I am still slowly (and I mean very slowly) working to help teach them about nutrition little by little, but I know they often think I am pretty crazy about all this stuff. To make things more difficult, they are family, and though the love runs deep, I think there’s some sort of genetic disposition that requires that we must resist; always resist.

“What do you mean I shouldn’t have diet coke and baked potato chips? It’s a healthier choice”

“No, it’s ok I am using fat-free milk  in this recipe, so it’s healthy.”

“My doctor has prescribed me more statins for my cholesterol because eating egg whites only isn’t helping.”

It’s not their fault; this is the stuff we have been trained to believe throughout a lifetime of crap infiltration – on TV, in magazines, and even in “health” books in school. I was even worse at a time in my life that I prefer not to think about but know I have to face. It’s no wonder they think I am a little nuts. I transitioned from being adamantly opposed to any and all animal products, while being pretty much obsessed with anything whole wheat and packaged in healthy-looking, soy-laden energy bar form. The worst part? I thought I was the picture of health, despite my high triglycerides, anemia, amenorrhea, and constant joint pain (which was exacerbated by miles and miles of running with improper fuel). It’s no wonder they aren’t super quick to buy into my nutrition epiphany and follow what I say without question. Who can blame them? It’s certainly not realistic to expect them to start prepping organ meats anytime soon.

The good thing is that they are finally coming around, little by little. I get to teach through example. I am clearly healthier than I have ever been; my “genetics-induced” high cholesterol numbers are beautiful, and I haven’t been sick in at least 3 years. Lead by example right? In a perfect world yes, but it’s not going to happen overnight. My dad and I will soon start a garden together, which I can’t wait for, leading us to enjoy home-cooked family dinners with produce straight from our garden and meats from the local farmer, which I hope to gradually convince my mom to eat at least 3 bites of (baby steps). My brother just moved home from college last month and starts up CrossFit at NorCal next week. And my sister? Well she is asking questions and showing genuine interest. As a junior in college, living in a sorority house (kegs anyone?), it is hard to make changes. But she is beginning to see the impact of her diet on her eczema and allergies, and with this realization, gradual change is coming.

wedding-129-2812674307-O

I have found that the best way to help the ones I love is NOT to push and prod and preach. Rather, I get to do something for them, which has universally become one of the best ways to show love – cooking for and nourishing with delicious meals. Having the family come together for a delicious meal, good company, and lots of laughs is the best way to create gradual change in perception of “healthy” foods. I get to do something I am passionate about, feed the ones I love, and hopefully begin to show them that true nutritiously dense, healing foods also (believe it or not, bro) TASTE AMAZING. There is a reason why the essential fats in grass fed butter and red meat tastes so good; our bodies need them to function. There is a reason why we feel bloated and lethargic after a giant bowl of pasta; our bodies struggle to function when we eat that stuff.

So for the people I love most, I show love in one of the best ways I know how… through cooking. Last night, I had my sister over for a movie and dessert. While even “clean treats” should be eaten on occasion, the quality of the ingredients provide nutrition that our bodies need, and the enjoyment of eating delicious brownies and bonding over a wonderfully sappy movie with my best friend… now that is priceless.

So I put together some low carb, incredibly clean, fat-filled, heavenly brownies, and we enjoyed the heck out of them while watching About Time (a FABULOUS movie by the way).

So here you go….

Fluffy Fudgy Brownies (GF,NF, low carb)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40-60 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar + 4 drips stevia
  • 1/2 cup butter or ghee (I used my favorite Paleo Butter)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 3 pastured eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1 ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar, mixed together in a separate bowl**
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda

NOTES:

OPTIONAL ADD INS: ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (at least 70% and sans soy), chopped nuts of your choice if you can eat nuts (I did raw, organic pecans)

Always get organic ingredients whenever possible

**I wish I could remember where I heard about this milk+vinegar trick, but it makes a buttercream consistency, and it’s so awesome when baking (this is where the “fluffy” comes in)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 400 and butter up an 8×8 baking dish
  • in a large bowl, combine coconut flour and coconut sugar
  • in a sauce pan, combine grass-fed butter, water, and cocoa powder and stir until boiling (don’t let it burn)
  • pour boiling mixture over coconut flour mixture and stir it up
  • next, add in eggs, coconut milk vinegar mixture, baking soda, vanilla, and stevia
  • mix it all up into a nice batter
  • add in any extras (here is where I added chopped raw pecans and dark choco chips)
  • pour batter into buttered baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • ENJOY! We had ours over a little bit of Coconut Bliss Vanilla Ice Cream

 

bone broth benefits… better than botox

So, I’ve been drinking A LOT of bone broth lately, and it’s delicious! More (or maybe equally) important, though, is the fact that bone broth is loaded with nutrients and has innumerable health benefits – from healthier, firmer skin to healthy bones, guys, and bones (more on this later). Just to clarify, this is NOT the bone stock or broth you find in a carton on the shelves of your local grocery store. This is the broth you make yourself from grass-fed beef (or pastured chicken) bones. Those weirdly shaped, sandpapery, hard exteriors are jam-packed with essential nutrients, anti-inflammatory and gut-healing proteins, healthy essential fats, and an amazing number of minerals that sadly so often get tossed i the trash (ouch, right?). I never thought I would get so excited about bones, but apparently that day is here.

 photo 3 copy

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here’s a list of the benefits you can get out of making your own homemade, super easy bone broth:

Good for your joints:

It’s no coincidence that eating this magical bone mineral-infused liquid helps heal our bones and keep them healthy. Broth made from bones and joints contains all of the nutrients that help strengthen our own skeletal system. Let’s start by discussing the protein (which, at this point, we know is a GOOD THING). Let’s start specifically with collagen, the protein substance in bones, tendons, and ligaments that is broken down into gelatin while your broth simmers. I’ll talk more about gelatin in an upcoming post, but for now, think jello or pudding but 10000x healthier). Gelatin gives us super important proline and glycine, which provide the raw materials to rebuild connective tissue (tendons and ligaments), which, whether you do CrossFit or not, are very important for simple quality of life through the years. These proteins also help with rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis. In fact, drinking collagen in the form of bone broth has been shown to greatly outperform any glucosamine and chondroitin supplement (it’s all about eating/drinking whole foods, people)!

Good for detox:

That glycine that I mentioned earlier is also great for detoxification (and I am not talking about some unrealistic fasting juice detox). You have your own kick ass detox system right in your own body – the liver. And glycine helps the liver in its task to remove the crap (removing the crap is just another way to say detoxify). That’s not all though! Glycine is also necessary for the synthesis of some of the body’s most important antioxidants, glutathione and uric acid, helping them to reduce oxidative stress.  Plus, Glycine from broths and cartilage can help break down homocysteine without the need for B vitamins, which most people lack enough of to handle the methionine found in large quantities in muscle meat (the part we usually eat without weird looks). We should be consuming the nutrients from the bones with the rest of the animal. Wasting is not only bad for the world, but it’s potentially bad for your insides too.

Good for digestion:

It is very uncommon these days to talk to someone who has never dealt with some sort of gut irritation. With the massive amounts of toxins, crappy, overly processed foods, and stress that is abounding in our society, it is no wonder that people frequently suffer from gut issues that so many have written off as being “normal.” People wake up, eat processed sugar-os, drink crappy coffee, stress all day, eat fast-food at their desks in a job they hate, come home, stare at a screen, and then struggle to sleep. Over exaggerating? Maybe, but any variation or piece of that lifestyle leads to a pretty unhappy environment for your gut, and therefor, your whole immune system. Dealing with constant stomach pain is not normal, and it is NOT ok. Enter bone broth. The glycine found in homemade broth stimulates the production of stomach acid to aid in the digestion process without the need for (seemingly counterproductive) antacids. In helping your body to secrete more stomach acid on its own, glycine can help prevent or treat this painful and potentially dangerous problem. This makes bone broth a delicious supplemental food for anyone suffering from acid reflux, IBS, or FODMAPS intolerance. Glycine is also necessary for bile acid, aiding in fat digestion in the small intestine. Plus, it also helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels (which contrary to popular belief, doesn’t mean super low numbers, but more on this in a later post).

If you have been following the Paleo blogging world, you have probably heard of leaky gut at this point. Simply put, this is a condition with leaky gut where the pores in your intestine widen, causing the undigested food particles and toxins that are supposed to be blocked to make their way into the bloodstream. Because this stuff is not supposed to be in the blood, it causes the immune system to go into attack mode, leaving you open to all kinds of autoimmune issues.Glutamine, another amino acid found in bone broth, helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall, preventing this damage from occurring.

Good for giving us marrow:

We often think of marrow as a delicacy at a fancy restaurant, but the beautiful thing is that you can make it in the comfort of your own home and enjoy it all the time. The even more beautiful thing is that it is LOADED with healthy benefits. There is a reason why animals go nuts to get through the bones to the delicious, meaty treasure inside.  I have spoken of organ meats before, and marrow is made up of these superfoods. Bone marrow is an essential part of the immune system and contains all kinds of cells necessary for immune function and bone growth, not to mention healthy cholesterol and Vitamin K2. It’s no coincidence that something so tasty is also so healthy. When we can ditch the cravings for addictive processed sugar, our bodies start craving nutrient-dense, flavor-filled foods like marrow.

Good for bio-available minerals:

I love this quote from The Nourished Kitchen,

“The problem with mineral supplements is that we aren’t what we eat. A more accurate statement is we are what we absorb from what we eat.”

Just because we take a pill with minerals in it, doesn’t mean we are going to absorb those minerals. Lucky for us, the healthy fats in bone broth help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths, and there are LOTS of minerals in homemade broth (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus t name a few). When we eat it in its WHOLE FOOD form, with all of the fats it’s designed to be consumed with, we get the full absorption of those minerals.

Good for staying forever young:

Healthy insides are great, but whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to look good too, right? Well, the amino acids in gelatin also give us great skin and hair. Skin, just like gelatin, is made of collagen. Gelatin-rich broths help build connective tissue, which makes skin smoother and healthier (think less cellulite and fewer wrinkles). Bones are good for your bones; collagen is good for your collagen (skin). As I always say, you are your own best experiment, and I can say for certain that I have seen a difference since starting up my bone broth drinking routine. What do you think? Try it out and see.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about how to make this delicious, flavor-packed, incredibly simple broth. Get ready for one of the easiest recipes I’ll post (and that’s saying a lot because I like to keep things simple).

Here you go…

photo 2 copy

Simply Delicious Bone Broth

  • Servings: 4 mason jars
  • Time: 8-24 hours
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

*there are a lot of variables here. Unlike baking, the ingredients and ingredient amounts don’t have to be exact. See, I told you this was an easy one.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 quarts of filtered water (I just fill my crockpot until about 1-2 inches from the top)
  • 1.5- 2 lb of bones from a properly raised animal of your choice (pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, etc.)**
  • cloves from 1 whole head of fresh garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 2 TB organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
  • 1tsp sea salt - or more/less to taste

OPTIONS: add chopped veggies or additional spices to your crockpot (I usually add carrots that have gotten a little floppy, along with oregano, thyme, and rosemary)

**when I make beef broth, I always like at least half my bones to be marrow bones because… marrow is amazing. For chicken, just use the whole carcass!

WHAT YOU DO:

  • put all ingredients in a 6-quart crockpot and set the heat to HIGH.
  • bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
  • cook for a at least 8 hours (I usually go for 24 hours for more flavor and more nutrients)
  • strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and save the marrow (I put mine on a burger)
  • let your broth cool and strain off the top layer of fat that forms (you can keep this to use for cooking)
  • pour the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) it is also great to freeze and pull it out as needed!
  • if you nailed it, your broth will have a gelatinous consistency when it cools all the way (super gelatin-rich)

I use it to flavor any savory recipe that calls for (and in place of) water, and mostly, we just drink it each night with dinner. It’s delicious, calming, and I can just feel the nutrients doing their thing!

Rusty’s summer berry cobbler

One of my favorite things about summer has to be Sunday Farmer’s Markets with the array of delicious (not to mention gorgeous) produce, loaded with nutrients, and just asking to be enjoyed. The phenomenal selection of freshly picked fruits and veggies is only made that much more awesome with the fact that I get to walk through the street perusing the selection, hand-in-hand with my best friend.

Excuse the sentimentality, but I’m missing him right now because he is in Asia for 10 days, and he’s just so damn special.

Anyways, because I married such an awesome dude, I really like to see him happy, and there’s no easier way to make the hubs smile than by baking one if his favorites. He has been asking for a berry cobbler since this summer season’s first official walk through the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market, but I haven’t gotten around to baking it yet (things have been a little nuts for me as of late). But since he was leaving for 10 days in Asia with zero chance of berry cobbler in his near future, I decided to bake something special for us to enjoy on his last night in America for a while.

This was a brand new recipe, made from scratch that evening, and BOY, did it work! This was an especially enjoyable one for me because Rusty helped, and baking with a buddy is fun!

This is now my official favorite summer dessert of all time. It’s loaded with freshly plucked organic berries and vitamin-packed grass fed butter. Now, that’s hard to beat. It’s also super simple, so give it a shot for your next summer get-together. You’ll wow the guests, and no one will even miss the grains or processed sugar in your average cobbler. The kicker is the way the berry filling bubbles over the edge of the cobbler when it’s done… Holy crap, you guys, this is good.

So here it is!

photo 4

Delicious Summer Berry Cobbler (GF, DF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 8-24 hours
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

for crumble topping:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup sprouted sunflower seeds
  • 2 TB cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3-4 TB honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar

for berry filling:

  • 1 cup black berries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3 TB grass fed butter (or more coconut oil)
  • more vanilla and coconut sugar to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 2-3 sprinkles of tapioca flour (as a thickener)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • put the cashews and pecans in Vitamix and spin till chopped into small pieces (or just chop like they did in the old days)
  • throw them in a bowl with seeds, nibs, flax, sea salt, and coconut sugar
  • melt coconut oil in a pan and put in a small bowl
  • mix honey and vanilla into coconut oil
  • pour over nut/seed mixture and stir to incorporate
  • now, onto the berries – throw them into a heated pan with the butter
  • let reduce, stirring frequently
  • add vanilla and coconut sugar to taste
  • after about 3-5 minutes add a sprinkle of tapioca flour to thicken until you have desired consistency (the progression will look something like this)
  • pour berry filling into baking dish and cover with amazing topping
  • let bake for 15-20 minutes (start checking at 15 and wait till the crumble browns and the berry filling bubbles at the corners)
  • ENJOY! We had ours over Coconut Bliss Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream… holy smokes.

 

fat poppers…. and could a ketogenic diet be right for you?

Ketosis: a word of many meanings (but really only 1), a tool used for all kinds of tricks (from aesthetic changes to managing insulin levels, and everything in between), and in my opinion, an important nutritional lifestyle that everyone should try out at least once in a lifetime.

Let’s start off by talking about WHAT KETOSIS IS before we dive into what it can do for you and whether or not it might a be something for you to try.

Put simply, ketosis refers to fat-fueled metabolism – a metabolic state where the body gets energy from fat. The beauty of having control over your own body is that this body that you are responsible for is very adaptable, and with small tweaks, you can fuel that adaptable machine for great success (or in some cases, utter failure, but let’s keep the glass half full, shall we?).

The Standard American Diet (SAD really) promotes diets loaded with carbs, leading to bodies fueled by glucose. If glucose is available, that is what will be used first because it’s the fastest form of energy. This energy, though, is also used up quickly, leaving that crash and burn feeling that so many refer to as feeling “hangry”. Also, if we run off glucose alone,

When we start to move into ketosis, we morph our bodies to fuel from ketones instead. As Dr. Mike Eades explains,“Ketones are basically water soluble (meaning they dissolve in blood) fats that are a source of energy for many tissues including the muscles, brain and heart. In fact, ketones act as a stand in for sugar in the brain. Although ketones can’t totally replace all the sugar required by the brain, they can replace a pretty good chunk of it. By reducing the body’s need for sugar, less protein is required, allowing the muscle mass (the protein reservoir) to last a lot longer before it is depleted. And ketones are the preferred fuel for the heart, making that organ operate at about 28 percent greater efficiency….Fat is the perfect fuel.”

More of the science behind ketones can be found HERE.

So ultimately, by training our bodies to utilize fat for fuel, we can go full speed ahead into fat-burning mode while maintaining muscle mass. It’s a win-win! Now, please understand that this is a VERY simplified explanation so as not to leave you too exhausted to continue reading. I highly recommend that you dive into the link above and read more if this is something you’re considering.

Also, please note that this way of eating is NOT for everyone. It requires a lot of discipline (especially at first as you retrain your body and brain away from the constant sugar cravings), and it simply can’t work for high-level athletes who need more carbohydrate to fuel hours of training. It also isn’t something that is easy to sustain 24-7, year round. How fun will you be if you’re the one at your friend’s birthday party refusing to indulge in the slightest? We have to live our lives, and more importantly, we have to ENJOY our lives, so PLEASE keep that in mind.

Now, who IS this for?

The people who will most commonly try out a ketogenic diet are those who are looking to lose weight (I am not one of those people, by the way). Multiple studies, like THIS one, have shown that a ketogenic diet has better results than your typical low-carb diet or a calorie-restricted diet when it comes to weight loss (maybe because each of those leaves you hungry and is not sustainable). Also, when the body is primed for running on fat for fuel, it becomes easy to burn the stored fat already on the body as well as the fat we eat.

I also know that right now, it is for me; as I take time off of training to heal, I have found I feel great and maintain as much muscle mass as I can with this way of eating. Fewer hours in the gym (and by fewer, I mean almost zero) means that I don’t fall into the category of people training hours a day, which means that my body is happy to fuel off of ketones. This is also really great for people who are struggling with insulin issues (constant “hanger”, crashes throughout the day, etc.), leaky gut (which you can find more information on HERE), neurological disorders (like epilepsy), weight gain, inability to lose fat, among so many other things. THIS article even goes into the possible benefits of a ketogenic diet in combating cancer.

The way I have made a ketogenic diet work for me is by sticking to it Monday-Friday. I’ll eat a FAT POPPER in the morning (but not until I feel like I need something) so that my body stays in the fat burning state of fasting that we are all in when we sleep. Then, typically about 12 or 1 pm. I’ll have my first real meal, which will consist of lots of leafy greens and raw fermented kraut, healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, maybe some seeds, and nutritiously dense, pastured, grass-fed animal protein. I’ll usually just have one more meal (similar makeup) for dinner, and along with some supplemental homemade bone broth, that tends to work really well. Then, over the weekend, I don’t think so much about it; I eat super clean still, but I’ll typically have a dinner out with Rusty or friends, I might indulge in some clean treats (or sometimes maybe just some real deal ice cream), and I simply won’t worry.

Now, I am not everyone, and all bodies are fueled differently, depending on needs. Initially, sugar and carb cravings might seem out of control, which will probably lead you to think you’re starving. My advice would be to stay strong. Eat when you’re truly hungry, learn to read your body, and fill it with the most nutritionally dense foods you can. If you do that (and eat plenty of high-quality fats along the way), those cravings will go away, and your body will become a beautiful fat burning machine! I am not saying this is for everyone, but I thought I would share some insight (remember, I am not here to diagnose or treat anything, but am just offering advice from my own experiences and studies).

You are your own best science experiment, so if you are intrigued and think this might work well for you, try it out! If you have questions, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.

Now, go and enjoy some fat….

photo 1

Fat Poppers (GF, NF, keto)

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 40 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED: (makes 10 bombs):

  • 1 ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup butter, grass-fed (*you can use more coconut oil as a sub, but I LOVE BUTTER)
  • cinnamon to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp)
  • 3-4 drops Stevia extract
  • pinch sea salt

(Note: 1 bag of the Let’s Do Organic shredded coconut makes exactly 2 batches)

WHAT TO DO:

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5-8 minutes until light golden (stir it up once or twice to prevent burning)
  • toss the shreds into a Vitamix or blender and turn on high, until they turn into a fine powder (*if you prefer the texture of coconut shreds, blend for less time)
  • melt coconut oil, add butter so it gets soft, and throw that in the Vitamix
  • blend until smooth and liquidy
  • pour into a bowl (I reused my measuring cup for one less dish)
  • stir in stevia, cinnamon, and salt to taste
  • use a tablespoon and pour a rounded scoop into tiny muffin tins
  • pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set (*if they haven’t set long enough, they will not pop out)
  • pop them out by banging the back of your muffin tin (kind of fun)
  • keep them in the fridge in an air tight glass container
  • ENJOY!! I recommend 1 a day to start your day, and perhaps an afternoon popper to hold you over until dinner, if needed. These are great pre-workout too!

Thoughts? Always feel free to reach out! Happy Wednesday. I hope you are all enjoying your week. Oh, and if you haven’t yet, check out the new Certified CrossFit Trainer website, recently launched by CrossFit HQ (my main gig). Pretty amazing things going on with the CrossFit Trainer Credentials!

10462908_10152132947752676_6801690736361790443_n

(image courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.)

 

game changing garlicky carrot rice and what to eat if you can’t train…

Hey guys! First off, I have to tell you how excited I am about the launch of the new Certified CrossFit Trainer or L-3 coming out of CrossFit HQ (my real job, which I absolutely love). After a lot of hard work, today’s CrossFit main site post finally announced this new certification with a beautifully written article from Nicole Carroll, Director of Certification and Training. Having the opportunity to work with Nicole is just so awesome. Anyways, all of you CrossFit trainers should definitely check this out, and those of you who are athletes, get excited because CrossFit coaches all over the world will be taking their education to a whole new level.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.21.56 PM

Now, onto the topic at hand. I hope your post-holiday week is off to a strong start. I kicked mine off with A LOT of cooking and meal prep for the week, which is always therapeutic for me and great for you because I have some killer recipes in the mix. Farmer’s Market brought on a lot of inspiration.

It’s beautiful to be back to doing some of the things I took for granted before my neck injury. I can spend a couple hours in the kitchen without serious pain, and I can look at my computer for more than 20 minutes without having to lay down. Progress!!

Now, what I cannot do yet is train. I’m sticking with really simple physical therapy exercises, lots of walks, some air squatting EVERY day, and a few yoga poses for now while I continue to heal. That being said, it’s super important for me to make sure that I am getting loads of nutrients, but NOT loads of carbohydrate because I’m simply not moving enough to require it.

Have you ever been in this situation? Taking time off from training is inevitable at some time in everyone’s life. Whether you sustain an injury, are traveling, get stuck in a crunch at work, or need to recover from adrenal fatigue or stress overload, sometimes you just can’t or SHOULDN’T go into the gym. Now, you should always move (ever single day) to whatever degree you can, but when you can’t train, you obviously can’t eat like you’re training.

What I have found to be very successful for me, is to keep carbohydrate levels lower, while increasing fat. My body has gotten really good at using fat for fuel, negating the need for high amounts of carbohydrate, and keeping my insulin levels very very level throughout the day. For this reason, and because of the high nutrient density of the food I eat, I don’t need to eat very often, and I never have to deal with insulin issues (that dreaded “hangry” feeling).

Anyways, I digress a little, back to my point. What should you eat if you can’t train? Carbohydrates are still essential for living, but with reduced training, we can cut WAY back and still have plenty of energy for the day. To do this, simply focus on eating leafy green veggies (kale, mixed greens, sprouts, arugula, spinach, etc.) along with moderate amounts of beets, carrots, and zucchini as your main sources, and eat starchy veggies and fruit very sparingly. The best fruit choices if you need a bit of sweet will be strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which have fewer carbohydrate and sugar content than other fruits. What I have noticed is that my sweet cravings have almost disappeared entirely, because I feel so satiated from the healthy fats that have replaced them and from th high quality protein that I get in. My next post will really dive into the concept of ketosis and whether or not it might be for you and the types of fat that work best (sorry but you can’t eat a jar of almond butter and call it healthy).

That being said, I still like enjoying a hearty dinner with my husband at the end of a productive day. That is why I created this garlicky carrot rice; it fills that desire with tons of flavor, lots of nutrient density, and only about 15 minutes of total prep and work time. These were a shot in the dark, but it TOTALLY paid off! Hubs was happy, I was happy, and enjoying these with a delicious steak was the perfect way to end a great weekend. So, here we go….

Garlicky Carrot Rice (GF, NF, DF)

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 2-3):

  • 3-4 medium carrots (we used some from our Farmer’s Market)
  • salt, pepper, and oregano to taste; at least 1 tsp of each (ALWAYS taste as you go)
  • 2 TB ghee, grass fed butter, or coconut oil (I used Paleo Butter)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (check out how gorgeous this one is that we got from Farmer’s!)
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of homemade chicken or beef broth (check out my instagram for a recent post on how-to)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • stick your carrots in the food processor, 1 at a time, and pulse until riced  (I used Vitamix)
  • warm a large skillet or wok and add in the butter
  • once the butter heats, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  • add in the carrot bits, season for the first time with salt, pepper, and oregano
  • stir it up and let it cook for about 3 minutes, stirring throughout and adding spices as desired
  • add in broth and let reduce, about 3 more minutes
  • once reduced, taste your rice, add more broth if desired, and give it a little more time to reduce
  • plate your rice with the meal of your choice and ENJOY!

the joy of food, fourth fun, and a guest dessert recipe!

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! Holidays like yesterday are such a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the ones we love and to truly appreciate all of the blessings in our lives.

photo (10) In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of any holiday or celebration is sharing delicious food with my favorite people. Food has a fascinating ability to nourish, heal, and bring joy. And the latter is especially true during special occasions. Nothing beats getting together with the people you love and sharing a meal. There is something about nourishing each other that brings loved ones closer.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the food has to be unhealthy, or that you have to choose options that will leave you feeling terrible hours, or even days later; there is nothing fun about that. With the internet and the LOADS of whole food bloggers out there, passionate about both taste and quality of food, the creativity possibilities are endless. There are countless recipes out there that transform some of the most decedent favorites into healthier, cleaner (albeit still pretty decedent) treats for special occasions. Though sugar is sugar, and anytime we over-eat it there will be an impact on insulin, there are better options (honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar) that are less processed, have a lower glycemic index, and are made from nature and use in their whole food form. Likewise, there are great substitutes for processed flour that, from my experiences with helping many people over the years, won’t leave folks feeling bloated, heavy, lethargic, or sick. By replacing processed flours and sugars with healthy fats (coconut, for example) and unprocessed sweeteners, we can still enjoy our favorite meals and treats without the damage (both on our bodies and the environment, but that’s a topic for another post)!

Yesterday, Rusty and I had such an awesome afternoon at the park. We shared a platter of deli meats (locally sourced with zero additives), raw sheep and cow’s milk cheeses, organic olives, and beautiful blanched asparagus. We also enjoyed a bottle of wine from one of our favorite vineyards in Paso Robles. We don’t have wine often, but special occasions sometimes call for a toast (in this case, to our wonderful country’s birth).

photo 2

Taking time away to picnic in the park was really awesome, especially with the way these past three months have been because of my neck. Escaping stress, laying on a blanket, and just getting quality time together was pretty amazing… simple, yes, but amazing.

photo 1

Later that evening, to cap off a wonderful day, I made THIS recipe from The Urban Poser to celebrate the 4th with family. If you haven’t yet, check out her blog for some awesome recipes. Her new book is set to hit shelves soon too!

the-urban-poser-logo-600x215

What a treat! Coconut flour replaced any processed, gluten-containing flour, and I used honey as the only sweetener. This was a delicious option to replace the pound cake that has been a family tradition since I was a kid. We layered in delicious coconut whipped cream and fresh organic berries for the perfect 4th of July treat. Because I know I can’t have gluten or processes sugar without feeling pretty awful, I wanted to make something that everyone would love; I felt wonderful afterwards, and no one else even missed those ingredients!

The pound cake was AMAZING…. (grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, processed sugar-free)

photo 1 (4)

We picked up these local, organic berries from Whole Foods…

We made our own coconut whipped cream….

And this was the final product… AMAZING!

photo 5

Try this one out before the holiday weekend is over. It’s delicious! Get out of the house and the gym this weekend and spend some time with the people you love, doing something new!

Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone! And happy birthday, America.

photo 3

1 2 8
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers