grain-free pumpkin granola

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes, I Just. Want. Cereal. Especially crunchy, delicious granola. This is coming from a girl who literally lived off of granola in college. I had it in yogurt with fresh berries in the warm months (and because I went to Cal Poly, that means about 10 months of the year), and I would go for this pumpkin flax granola in the winter months, when I’d warm it in *gasp* the microwave soaked in *double gasp* soy milk. There is something sentimental to me when I think back to that pumpkin granola, and even though you couldn’t pay me to drink soy milk, I sure could go for a big bowl of that pumpkin goodness on occasion.

I have come A LONG way since those days, but that doesn’t mean I don’t crave granola anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to beat a breakfast of pastured bacon and eggs, but with the seasons FINALLY changing, so have my cravings, and suddenly, I have found myself with all things pumpkin on the brain and an itch to get in the kitchen and try out my own take on that old favorite. Who can blame me, when there are beautiful squashes like this at our farmer’s market? I ended up bringing home 5 today. Organic canned pureed pumpkin is great, but nothing beats fresh roasted pumpkins straight from the oven.

IMG_5676

So with determination in my heart, I set out to make the perfect batch of pumpkin granola, and this recipe REALLY hit the spot. Enjoy cold or warm with whole raw milk, full fat coconut cream, or some delicious Uber almond mylk. You can even pack it on the go for a great snack! It’s free of any processed sugar and filled with healthy fats from coconut, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. Plus, it’s got some more added health benefits from cacao nibs and flax seeds. It’s super easy, and your kitchen will smell good all day. Can’t beat that!

So here you go! Introducing my Grain-Free Pumpkin Granola….

IMG_5678

Grain-Free Pumpkin Granola (GF, DF)

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

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 TB extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (fresh roasted or organic canned)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cups raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw cashews (you can sub pecans, walnuts, etc)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup organic flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup organic cacao nibs
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs (you could also use golden raisins or berries, but I love dried figs)

Ingredient notes can be found HERE**

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 300 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • in a small pan, mix together honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla
  • bring to a slight boil then remove from heat
  • stir in the pumpkin and spices
  • in a large mixing bowl mix together pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, cacao nibs, and chopped figs.
  • pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together (I like to use my hands here)
  • pour the mixture into the parchment paper and spread evenly
  • Bake for 10 minutes, stir it, flatten out again, and repeat every 10 minutes until it has baked 25-30 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn!
  • let your granola cool completely, place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight
  • break it up into chunks, store it in a mason jar, and enjoy on it’s own or in your favorite milk (raw whole milk, coconut milk, or my favorite Uber Almond Mylk)

Enjoy! And get ready because I have two new recipes coming in this week… paleo pumpkin bacon chili AND a new pumpkin pie recipe that will knock your socks off. Pie is just my favorite. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

battle of the fat camps and beef bacon bolognese

A couple weeks back, I had a client of mine send me the link to THIS article titled Embracing Fat for a Healthy Heart Is a Notion Based on Flawed Science. The writer, Dean Ornish, MD, is also one of the docs behind Forks Over Knives, a film that sets out to prove that many of the current diseases and health problems can be solved simply by getting rid of all animal products, fats, and processed foods. If this isn’t your first time visiting my blog, you know by now that I am not picking up what Dr. Ornish is putting down…

Getting rid of processed foods? Hell yes. Getting rid of animal-based products? Oh hell no. Been there, done that, and I am still suffering the consequences and working daily to heal the damage done.

It would be cool if I could end this post now. Sometimes I wish it were that easy, that I could just say “oh hell no” and you would believe me, and move on with your day content, but that’s not real life, and in fact, I am thankful that I get questions, that you want answers, and that you aren’t content to believe everything you read without seeking out the truth. It was contentment that led me to sickness, and it has been questioning and searching for answers that has brought me where I am today. It’s also built in me a desire to help others do the same. So, here I go, debunking this article, and of course, backing up my debunking with proof. Let’s dive, in shall we?

To start, here is the major claim and focus of the article, as it’s stated by Dr. Ornish:

In more than 37 years of randomized trials and demonstration projects, my colleagues and I at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine have shown that when people with even severe coronary heart disease change to a whole-foods, plant-based diet low in fat and low in refined carbs, their heart disease begins to reverse.

First, I would like to see a link to these randomized trials and demonstration project, but there is none given. Second, though, is this: The crazy thing is that I can actually agree with this claim despite the fact that Dr. Ornish and I have clearly opposing views on nutrition and health. There is one particular line of this argument that we might just be able to see eye to eye on, and that is the part about having folks change “to a whole-foods, plant-based [stay with me here] diet low in fat [don't bail on me yet] and low in refined carbs.” Let me break this down now bit by bit.

whole-foods

I go into much more depth on this concept HERE, but I believe you would have a VERY hard time finding a single person (educated in nutrition or not) who would argue that real, whole foods are not a better choice than anything processed or refined. Foods in their whole form carry all the nutrients we need to live, thrive, and hold off disease and are so much more powerful than many give them credit for. When I go to Farmers Market every Sunday, I see tables of preventative medicine that just so happens to taste amazing too!

plant-based

Ok, this is where things get a little weird, but stay with me. Do I think our diets should be 100% plant-based? Nope. What I do think, however, is that when you look at a plate, over half of it should be filled with bright, fresh, local, organic produce. If we do the hypothetical math here, and half the plate is filled with plants and the remaining part is filled with properly raised animal protein and high quality fat from those same properly raised animals, organic coconut, or other plants (avocado, olives, etc.) it becomes clear that yes, in fact, a healthy balanced diet SHOULD be primarily plant-based. Where Dr. Ornish gets this wrong, however, is in his interpretation of plant-based referring to 100% plant based, with no meat, little fat, and frankly zero fun. Not only is his approach to food uninspiring, it is also dangerous to your health. We need animal protein and fats in order for our bodies to thrive the way they are meant to (more on this to come).

low in fat

Again, you might be confused, but let me clarify. Not all fats are created equal, and the majority of the fats that the average American consumes are what I like to call crap oils (Thanks to Liz Wolfe for that one) like canola oil, soybean oil, and the like. These fats are cheap, easy to find, long-lasting, and of course, big money makers for the folks (Monsanto) that seem to have a death grip on the food pyramid, agriculture, and the vote. If Dr. Ornish is talking about these fats, then hell yes I agree with him. If he isn’t, well then he should be, and instead of low, he should have said “no.” For starters, there is THIS petition to get Whole Foods to stop cooking with canola oil. So that gets you thinking. Then, there is THIS great post by Diane Sanfilippo that goes into the details of canola oil making and its impact on our health: “rapeseeds + high heat processing with hexane (a chemical solvent) = a grey, awful smelling, non-smooth oil.” And this oil wreaks havoc on your insides. These man-made (non-real food) oils oxidize (go rancid) in the body, leaving your poor insides confused and unable to metabolize them, therefore, storing them in your fat cells. What do we get thanks to these nasty rancid, plastic-like oils? Inflammation. Yikes. And that’s just canola oil. There is also plentiful soybean oil that Americans also seem to consume by the gallon. These fats will make you sick, slowly but surely, but the kinds of fats I support and eat day in and day out are very different; they are whole, nutrient dense, necessary foods. More on the types of fats we SHOULD be eating plenty of can be found HERE.

low in refined carbs

And finally, low in refined carbs. Nailed it. This is an easy one that we can agree on in every sense of the words. Breaking the sugar habit can be as difficult as coming off an addictive drug (or maybe worse for some folks), but the importance of removing refined carbs from our diets is greatly undervalued (or maybe just pushed under the rug), in my opinion. The truth is that Americans are killing themselves slowly in death by sugar addiction, and this society just continues to fuel the vicious cycle.

So Dr. Ornish and I agree on a few things, but let’s get real; we couldn’t be more opposing on some major nutrition points; while he dictates removal of fats and animal protein, I am a HUGE advocate of these foods and for good reason too.

Dr. Ornish comes from a background that has led him to believe, buy into, and now teach what mainstream government and media would like to have everyone believe, and I have now decided to dedicate a large portion of my energy into proving him wrong. HERE is a great post on “4 Superfoods the Media Tells you are Unhealthy.” Imagine that; all 4 of these foods have research to back up their superfood properties AND each comes from an animal. Pastured eggs, grass-fed ruminants, organ meats from properly raised animals, and lard from the same happy creatures. Whether it’s the omega-3s and CLAs, the  B Vitamins and Vitamins A and D, or selenium, choline, iron, and riboflavin, each of these superfoods is PACKED with nutrients and healthy fats that your body literally NEEDS to survive, repair, and grow.

In THIS hilarious, albeit incredibly spot on, critique of the movie that made Dr. Ornish so well known, Denise Minger breaks down one of main arguments presented in Forks Over Knives. This bit is probably my favorite (though I recommend you read the whole review). She takes a line from the movie that clearly puts the producers and doctors behind the film in their place:

13:06—But when we consume dietary cholesterol, which is only found in animal foods like meat, eggs, and dairy products, it tends to stay in the bloodstream. This so-called plaque is what collects on the inside of our blood vessels and is the major cause of coronary artery disease.

And then follows with a witty argument against this claim:

Yikes! Did we slip and fall back into the ’80s? For starters, cholesterol from animal foods does not have some magical ability to set up permanent camp in your bloodstream and turn into plaque, just by sheer virtue of its animal-foodness. This was a common line of thought decades ago, but as research progressed, we figured out that the body is actually pretty awesome at regulating cholesterol production in response to what we ingest from food. As this paper from 2009 explains, the supposed link between dietary and serum cholesterol stems from studies that had fundamental design flaws, failed to separate the effects of cholesterol different types of fat intake, or were performed on animals that are obligate herbivores (hey there, rabbits!). The doctors in “Forks Over Knives,” it seems, are among the few stragglers who still believe dietary cholesterol is harmful.

It’s clear as day really, and it’s time all doctors, educators, RDs, parents, and law-makers got on board and put health before money, especially considering today’s kids are the first generation that is not expected to live longer than the generation before them. It’s heartbreaking really.

I would like to leave you with THIS amazing article courtesy of the Russells of CrossFit HQ. It provides the perfect example of why you can’t believe every “study” you read about because behind every study is a fallible and most likely very biased team of folks eager to prove their hypothesis and ready to “tweak” the findings to do so. In this case, an ACSM Fellow tries to de-bunk the Paleo diet and fails beautifully in the process. Ultimately, you can read every peer reviewed study you’d like to (and I recommend you do get your eyes on a few), but the real study that matters is the one you perform on yourself. Cut out the crap, increase the healthy animal fats that you consume, eat moderate amounts of protein to fuel your individual needs, and see how you feel. Add in more organic, local produce to your diet. What’s the outcome? If it works, well then keep on doing it. If it doesn’t try something else.

And ALWAYS feel free to reach out for help. With technology at our fingertips, there are so many bloggers, educators, Nutrition Consultants, and friends to reach out to for advice, support, or ideas. Don’t hesitate to ask for help because there is someone out there who wants to help. Heck, I am one of those people, and I am just a comment or email away!

Now, in honor of the celebration of the many benefits of FAT, here is a recipe for delicious, fat-filled beef bacon bolognese that will fill up your stomach and your soul, all while delivering the many health benefits of fats.

 baconbeef1

Beef Bacon Bolognese (GF, NF, DF)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 90 min
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1.5 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 TB butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pastured bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 TB tomato paste*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • the equivalent of 2 cans whole meaty tomatoes*
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • 1 large organic spaghetti squash

*make sure you go for a brand that is organic and has no added sugar or preservatives

More notes on ingredient choice can be found HERE

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • heat a large dutch oven or pot on the stove top and add 2 TB of cooking fat
  • cook the ground beef and bacon until cooked through
  • use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and set aside (leave the juices!)
  • cook the carrots, onion, garlic and oregano until soft in the meat juice on medium heat
  • add the tomatoes, tomato paste, meat a sprinkle of salt and pepper and bay leaf (make sure you add salt as you cook, not all at once)
  • bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, tasting, and adding salt if needed
  • now, cut your spaghetti squash in half length-wise and remove the seeds
  • rub the rest of your butter or coconut oil on the halves, place them cut side down on a baking sheet, and put in the oven for about 30 minutes
  • check on them at around 25 minutes with a fork. It should easily break in strands to form pasta (make sure you don’t overcook them, or you’ll have mush)
  • pull spaghetti from squash with a fork (this should happen easily) and serve in bowls
  • spoon generous portions of your meaty, bacony sauce on top
  • garnish with fresh tarragon and ENJOY!!

baconbeef2

There is something so deliciously simple about spaghetti squash and bolognese. Plus, leftover spaghetti squash is delicious all week long, topped with whatever your heart desires! Go enjoy  your fat today! Comment below with the benefits you have seen since adding more fat (and getting rid of sugar) in your lives.

 

perfect pumpkin pancakes

Happy Friday everyone! This week sure did fly. I feel like I was just making these pancakes for Rusty yesterday, when in fact, it was last Sunday. We are going to be busy for pretty much the next 6 weekends straight, so I decided to make Rusty pancakes. They are one of his all-time favorite meals (not just breakfast, either. He could eat them any time), and we haven’t had paleo pancakes in ages. Plus I had organic pumpkin puree leftover from when I made THESE scones a couple of days before. So why the heck not, right?

So, we sat on the back patio with the pups and enjoyed this wonderful treat of a brunch, enjoying the beautiful Fall weather, and relaxing, which is something I need double time of right now. I have been dealing with chronic neck, head, and jaw pain for about 9 months now, and one of the best things I can do to let my body heal is AVOID STRESS on the body. I’ve got the nutrition component of this down, but the mental and emotional part is a little bit trickier…. but I’ll save that for another post coming soon.

So back to pancakes. As I have mentioned before, I love Fall and everything that comes with it. There is a shift in what I crave, and I think this stems back to our ancestors and this idea that they had to eat what the earth could grow in that season, what was most bioavailable, and what their bodies needed based on the time of year. Which means that I am pretty sure my body NEEDS pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, butter, and anything maple. It must be science… Well maybe not, but there is something to be said for eating what your body tells you it needs (as long as you understand the difference between craving because of addiction to sugar, insulin resistance, etc. and craving based on nutrient needs).

In any case, we are making the shift from bright fresh summer berries to foods like pumpkin, squash, apples, and dark leafy greens (just to name a few). The crock pot will be out in full force, and I can’t wait to get creative in the kitchen. This is my first Fall as a blogger, and I CAN’T wait to have folks to share my recipes with. Bookmark my blog, and come along for the ride! Check in frequently because I plan to post a lot, and it’s only going to get better with the holidays.

So without further delay, here are my Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes (I might be biased). They are grain-free and can easily be made nut-free too….

IMG_5039.JPG

Perfect Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes (GF, NF)

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 large pastured eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple sweet spreads (almond or sunflower seed butter work too)
  • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 2 TB full fat coconut milk
  • 1 TB melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Find notes on all ingredients HERE!

WHAT YOU DO:

  • blend eggs, sweet spreads, pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut milk, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  • in a separate bowl combine dry ingredients
  • pour dry mix into wet mix and combine until you have an even batter
  • heat skillet on medium and add some coconut oil, butter, or bacon fat to cook with
  • use 1/4 cup to pour batter onto skillet (you can pick the size, but the bigger they are the harder to flip!)
  • let it cook for 3-5 minutes until you see little bubbles
  • flip them like a champ and wait about 2-3 min until cooked through
  • ENJOY warm! We had ours with pastured bacon and sunny eggs

What are some of your Fall favorites?? Next up for you guys is some amazing pumpkin granola… stay tuned!

 

fall is here, so let’s celebrate with pumpkin scones!

I love Fall. Fall means crisp air, warm sweaters, changing leaves, and pumpkin everything. Plus, everyone knows it’s baking season.

So when I woke up on Friday morning after coming home from a trip to San Diego (where the seasons don’t actually change) to the smell of Fall, my soul was happy. I’ve been in need of change after a bit of a rough summer, and the changing seasons bring with them some new perspective. I went for a walk to take it all in, and took the time to notice the beautiful autumn leaves everywhere, the crispness in the air, and a sense of peace (new morning routine) and I knew it was truly here. As soon as I got back, it was straight to the kitchen to get the creative baking juices flowing with that most special Fall ingredient.

IMG_4995

Who doesn’t love pumpkin? Who doesn’t love a warm cup of coffee with a delicious scone on a Fall morning? If you love these things like I do, keep reading. If you don’t, keep reading. I hope to change your mind by Christmas time. Expect lots of great recipes that include pumpkin coming your way, from desserts, and breakfast baked goods to stews, crock pot dishes, and all kinds of main meals. I don’t plan on overwhelming any dish with pumpkin, but a faint hint of this wonderful flavor can really do wonders for all kinds of dishes. It’s versatile, offers a great consistency, and is super healthy too! So here we go; Introducing my very first Fall recipe of the year, and therefore, my very first Fall blog recipe ever! Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones… a great start to any Fall morning!

 IMG_4983

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones (GF)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 TB coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold grass-fed butter (I used Paleo Butter)
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 1/3 cup organic pumpkin purée
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl
  • now, break your butter into bits and work into the flour until you have a crumbly flour mixture
  • in a separate bowl combine egg, pumpkin, vinegar, maple syrup, and vanilla
  • pour wet ingredients into dry and combine until you have a sticky dough
  • fold in your chocolate chips and make a dough ball
  • stick dough into the fridge for 20 minutes to make it easier to work with
  • now flatten it out on a baking sheet like a big thick pancake
  • cut into 6 even triangles and separate (at least 1/4 inch between them)
  • bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean
  • let them cool and enjoy!

* find notes on all of my ingredients HERE

These were a real hit in our house. Happy Fall everyone! What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? Give me some ideas in the comments below, and I’ll get creative!

1 2 18
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 517 other followers