Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sponsor a Soldier

First, the link:

The "Donate" button is at the bottom of her post. I threw them $20 just now.

Second, the explanation:

Our soldiers are working hard around the world to protect our freedoms. Most of them didn't choose to get sent out there, but dammit, they are doing their job like they were told to do. Some of them, like my friend Jeremy, come back after getting partially blown up by the opposition and have months of rehab ahead of them.

Unfortunately, military foodstuffs are not the greatest. My boyfriend and brother are both in the military, and I think they can attest to the less-than-ideal conditions of chow halls. It is possible to make good choices, but it gets even harder when you're out in your battle-rattle.

I highly support Melissa Urban's blog; she has pumped me up more times than I care to admit, and administers the tough love with regards to PR's, Crossfit, and now Paleo dieting. They are partnering to bring good Paleo-version MRE-style kits, along with some Crossfit training, to soldiers stationed out in the Middle East.

So, I'm asking for your support. A measly $5 donation to the Paypal button on her blog gets one Paleo kit sent out. $20 gets four kits, plus the guy who makes the kits will throw in another for free - so you get 5 kits total.

$5 is probably a good size Starbucks drink, less than their cheese & fruit plate (ask me how I know).


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hot Links: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Star Anise, Ginger & Lime

Sweet potatoes aren't bad for you, and they are tasty.

There's no additional sugar in here, just spices, salt & pepper, olive oil, and some lime. Yum!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Star Anise, Ginger and Lime (courtesy of TheKitchn)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hot Links: Double-Under Tutorial

This was posted by a friend on Facebook, as a great tutorial on achieving "double-unders", or the skill of passing the jump rope twice under your feet in one jump. It's hard! I plan on studying this closely and seeing how to improve my skill.

Other goals for me include a 90 kg deadlift, and getting to a dead-hang pullup. Onward!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Batch Cookery

No pictures today, unfortunately.

Sunday is usually a day when I get a batch of cooking done to at least let me coast through the first couple of weekdays ahead.

Today was no different, although there wasn't as much cooking as usual.

I made a pound of bacon in the oven, which I purchased from Jensen's Smoked Meats in Seattle. While they do not use grass-fed animals, they do smoke only wild-caught salmon, and provide fabulous customer service (and tasty jerkies). If you go visit them soon, they just came out with a new batch of smoked savory King salmon that is very tasty, indeed.

I also hard-boiled six eggs for later use. I start my eggs in cold salted water on the stove, and once the water boils vigorously, I cook them for 10 minutes.

That was it. Apart from that, I assembled my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow, breakfast consisting of some of the cooked bacon, and a bowl of roasted pumpkin with some hazelnut oil, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. I really prefer butter, but was out, and hazelnut oil is healthier, anyway! Lunch is a bowl of leftover chicken soup. I also threw in some fresh carrots and an apple from the farmer's market, and a satsuma I bought a couple of days ago at Whole Foods. I need to pack some additional beef jerky or sausages for snacks.

Hopefully one day after work this week I will cook up that chicken curry soup!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hot Links: Curried Squash & Chicken Soup

My mom is kind enough to forward me emails containing recipes she thinks I'd like.

I found this one in a list of chicken soups. And it's Paleo! Yeah!

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup, courtesy of

A few notes:

- I suspect you could use a canned pumpkin, or just roast your own squash if you are so inclined (I usually am so inclined for dishes like soups. If I make a pumpkin pie, I use canned pumpkin because most people can't tell the difference).

- I would use dark chicken meat. I have never had great success keeping white chicken meat from becoming tough in a soup-type application. Plus, the dark meat is where the flavor is! You can probably find some boneless thighs in a decent grocery's meat section.

- I would eliminate the brown sugar in the recipe. Two teaspoons won't make any difference in such a large soup, and if you use a fresh-roasted squash, I bet it'll be sweet enough! Might as well not get your body in a fuss over such a small amount of sugar, anyway.

- You could easily substitute Swiss or Rainbow chard for the spinach in this recipe. Whole Foods often has them even pre-cut in the produce section (at least, the Whole Foods in the Roosevelt neighborhood in Seattle does). But spinach also has plenty of vitamins, so I wouldn't worry too much.

This recipe intrigues me; I think I'll have to try it on Sunday (my traditional day to cook up food for the week).


As some brief life-happens notes... I came down with a cold last Saturday evening. It began as a sore throat, and went from there. I definitely credit doing Crossfit regularly with reducing the severity of the cold. What used to happen with me was when I got sick, I invariably got a respiratory infection of some sort, and went on antibiotics regularly.

I haven't been to the gym since last Thursday, and I am really anxious to get back. I knew that going would delay my return to wellness, so the only exercise I really got last week was meandering around my neighborhood after work. And I worked from home, too, after taking a sick day on Monday. I am grateful that my job allows for that (both sick days and telecommuting), and that my coworkers weren't subjected to watching me use piles of Kleenex and taking a nap during lunchtime.

Other mitigating steps I took to keep the viruses and bacteria at bay were taking tons of natural supplements:

- daily multivitamin
- 2 x 1000 mg vitamin C pills (you just pee it out, so I take one in the morning and one in the evening until the cold is gone, then I revert back to a daily 1000 mg)
- echinacea tincture (1 tsp, twice a day)
- oregano oil (2 drops, twice a day)
- cat's claw tincture (1 tsp, twice a day)
- twice-daily nasal wash using X-Clear nasal wash (saline + xylitol)

Apart from that, I drank tons of fluids - mostly iced herbal tea, hot herbal tea, and unsweetened flavored fizzy water. I tried to eat well, and last Sunday I made a chicken soup using ginger, lemongrass, and plenty of garlic. I also added sriracha sauce (an Asian hot pepper sauce) to help clear out any remaining sinus gunk. I avoided dairy because milk thickens mucous. (Another point in favor of So Delicious coconut milk!)

However, I had a couple of relapses... when I'm sick, I admit - my willpower goes to hell. I had a few sweets.. *sigh*.

Oh well. Back on the wagon!!! Nobody said it was easy, but I hope my blog at least helps make it more palatable.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Back to Basics

I've gotten off track as of late.

Licking the frosting off a cupcake once a month turned into once every two weeks, then once a week, then "Oh I'll just have a bite" and "one glass of wine, please..."

'Twas a downward spiral, full of sugary profanity.

So I decided to be proactive and get back on the Paleo horse (woolly mammoth?), and commit to another 30 Days of Strict Paleo.

I am Tweeting my eating; you can follow me on Twitter as "@dhshippie".

Now, if you go back, you'll see that last night (end of Day 5), I fell off the horse. I had a glass of champagne at a clothing sale, followed by an appetizer of calamari, and a reasonable dinner of chicken pho (Vietnamese soup) without noodles, then a half-scoop of frozen custard. The custard was probably the worst thing, since it was dairy + sugar, but you know what? I'm back on the horse today.

And I think that is what it's all about - life happens (in this case, a friend's birthday), you try and mitigate ( I threw away the custard after eating half, because otherwise I would have eaten it all), and then you clean up your act and move on.

And you know what happened today? I was shopping and kept coming upon bakery after bakery after candy store. And I bit my tongue until it hurt and tried to walk faster past those places even though I desperately wanted to go in and order Four Cupcakes To Eat Right Now, Please. Yes Actually Just The Frosting, Just Inject The Sugar Into My Bloodstream. Thanks!!

And then I came home and ate tomato soup and steak for dinner. And lots of flavored (unsweetened) herbal tea.

And I may have bought a skein of sock yarn. :-)

Coconut Milk Latte

Here's an easy way to Paleo-ify yourself - try coconut milk in your coffee instead of cow's milk!

Paleo people have their reasons for not eating dairy. For me, I discovered I was lactose intolerant at an early age... that is, until I stopped eating grains! It was just shy of miraculous that I could eat dairy products again. However, now that I am paying more attention to my diet, I have decided that I can live without milk (maybe not the occasional ooey-gooey slice of Brie or a nice Roquefort or California ripe chevre, but most of the time, yes).

So, if you're not eating dairy and you still want something creamy in your coffee, what do you do?

Well, for Paleo folks, bean-milk (soy) is out. So is rice and oat milk (grains!). Hemp milk would probably be OK, because it's a seed, but I have noticed that most of these milk-substitute products that come in Tetra-Paks also have added sweeteners (bleh), and sometimes weird ingredients in them, to boot!

Hence the coconut milk.

Now, I did experiment - I tried first using full-fat, canned coconut milk in my coffee one morning. It turned to a syrupy sludge (all the fat in the milk, I suspect). It would be amazing poured over a snow-cone, but not for me as a morning beverage. Seriously. I could have scooped it out of my mug with a spoon.

So the next day, after work, I stopped in at Whole Foods and bought a half gallon of So Delicious Unsweetened coconut milk (in the refrigerated case). It ain't cheap - here in Seattle, it set me back $4.69, but I think that is on par with some of the more exotic milk-substitutes (or raw milk, which is highly delicious, lasts about 3 days before curdling, and runs about $5-6 a quart in these parts).

The flavor is... great! It's a very subtle coconut flavor that is just barely noticeable, which I suspect that the manufacturer's removed some of the coconut's natural fat and replaced it with some stabilizers. I don't entirely agree with that, but they did maintain a pretty good profile of fats in this product. They also added a bunch of vitamins, which... whatever. I'm neutral on that.

The texture is slightly viscous, and it gives a mouth feel of having used half-and-half. I am sure the Original or Vanilla flavors are much more tasty, since they both have added cane sugar, but I am pretty happy with the Unsweetened. Plus, the Unsweetened has the best (i.e. no sugar!) nutritional profile out of the three (check the website for yourself).

I have a Starbucks Barista espresso machine in my condo, and I steamed the coconut milk in preparation for a latte a couple of days ago, and it was great! I took the coconut milk to 150 deg F, my standard temp for cow's milk, and nothing happened - it didn't curdle or separate or do anything weird.

So now I can enjoy my latte and be Paleo, too!

* I even went so far as to dump the remaining quart of organic, pasture-fed cow's milk down the drain... that is saying something!

Useful Stuff: Thermos

I have this problem. Or, rather, I used to have this problem: I would go to the trouble to make a latte before I left the house, then I would get to Crossfit, and then drive to work, and by the time I got into the office and settled down to drink the coffee, it would be sorrowfully cold.

Clearly, I needed assistance.

Enter, a heady resource for all things coffee related. Well, I entered "thermos reviews", and came across the Thermos Nissan backpack bottle. Reasonably priced, and it appeared to be well constructed.

I love it. It keeps my coffee pretty much at the temperature I finish making it (roughly 150 deg F), until I am ready for it.

It doesn't leak, at least not if you screw on the lid correctly. That is an important note - make sure you do it right! There is a little metal loop that lets you hitch it over the top part of the lid and it keeps the leakproof lid shut even if the spring-release button gets pushed inside your bag.

Conclusion? $30 well spent.