Put Water Where It Counts

Hydration is probably the second most important factor (blood glucose being first) in effecting the pep in your step. In other words, if you want to feel good, know how to stay hydrated. Drinking water is important, but did you know that what you eat can drastically effect how well you absorb it?

Athletes who expend alot of water, for example, distance cyclists, runners, or swimmers, train their bodies for more than just endurance. They also train their bodies to store water well. Part of becoming  efficient at running is being able to store more of the nutrients  necessary for manufacturing energy.

A good athlete learns to drink water before, during, and even after a long workout. They become better in tune with symptoms of feeling dehydrated.

Many of the rest of us walk around every day, all day long, in a constant  state of dehydration, which not only effects our overall healthy, but also effects how good we feel.

Which is why, when Greg asked a question about hydration, I felt it was important to post, not just for the athletes out there, but for all of us who want to feel good.

When Greg started The Fifty Day Challenge he asked:

I do feel a lot better and the eating pattern real does not seem like a diet so I think it will be easy to stick to. One question I have is I have noticed that my thirst level really changed. I have to drink water all day long to stay hydrated. It seems I’m always thirsty. Is this typical?

Yes Greg,

Soluble fiber in starches soaks up water like a sponge. It hold water from your food. When the fiber gets to your lower intestine, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream, like squeezing out the sponge. That’s your main system for hydration.

When you make the transition of eating less soluble and more in soluble fiber it’ll take a few days for your body to adjust. in fact, you might find yourself using the bathroom more for a few days.

Hopefully, after three days or so, you’re finding yourself staying better hydrated and using the bathroom no more than every two hours. 

If you find yourself needing a little more water, another glass should do the trick.

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How to get the most out of a premium whole chicken

Antibiotic-free, air chilled, pastured organic chicken can get pricey. We can frequently find whole chickens for $.99/lb., but an Internet ordered certified pasture raised organic chicken can cost $6/lb. And that doesn’t include shipping either!

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts cost just under $6/lb. If you’re going to spend that much for someone else to trim your chicken breasts for you, consider raising the level of quality of your choice and do a bit of the work yourself. It’s an investment in your health.

One way you can stretch your investment in a premium whole chicken is to use more of it. Don’t throw out that Sunday roast chicken carcass after you’ve picked it clean. Save it to make flavorful stock at a later time. Just bag it in a resealable bag and stow it in the freezer. Add to it every time you make roast chicken. Eventually, you will collect enough carcasses to fill a stock pot. Add a couple onions, celery, carrots, parsley, two bay leaves, some peppercorns, and salt, cover it with water, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for a few hours. Strain the stock into clean containers and freeze it for future use. It’s a delicious replacement for water when cooking rice, making stew, or cooking vegetables.

Last week I picked up two broiler hens that claim to have been pasture raised. I’ve not visited the farm. I just have to trust them. I choose this sort of chicken because I have a food sensitivity to soy. Vegetarian-fed chickens are fed soy. And I experience inflammation when I eat them. So I have to spend extra money to buy this sort of chicken. If you don’t have a soy sensitivity, you’re safe with regular vegetarian-fed organic chickens. I’ve eaten this particular brand of chicken before and it didn’t bother me.

Roasters1So, first I roasted the chickens. Just a simple roasting, I seasoned with salt and pepper and some dried oregano, all over the chickens. The chickens came trussed, which insures that they cook evenly. I set them on a broiler pan so that the rendered fat and juices will drip into the lower pan. I roasted the chickens at 350-degrees F for about 90 minutes, until the skin turned a lovely golden color. You’ll know the chicken is done if you wiggle one of the legs and it moves easily. If it’s not done yet, flip the chicken over to let the skin underneath get some color too. Some people roast their chicken breast-side-down, to get a juicier breast. Just flip that over for the last 30 minutes to crisp up the breast skin.

Mmmmmm! Breast skin!

When the chickens were done cooking, I removed them from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes. This lets the juices move back into the meat as the chicken cools.

Once they rested enough, I moved the chickens to a cutting board and started to dismantle them. I didn’t want to eat them right away, but the chicken can certainly be served at that stage. A lovely golden roasted chicken, surrounded by steamed green beans, and a nice glass of buttery Chardonnay. Home-grown summer tomato salad on the side, dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar. And watermelon for dessert!

But I digress…

Roasters3I dismantled the chickens. All the meat went into two glass freezer containers and was squirreled away in the freezer. Sometimes I put the meat into single serving portions in small freezer bags. I poured all the drippings in the bottom of the broiler pan into a glass measuring cup. That went into the refrigerator. All the bones, skin and fat went into the stock pot. I added two quartered onions, and several celery stocks, peppercorns, two bay leaves and dried Italian herbs. Plus the juice of two lemons. Then I filled the pot with enough water to cover everything.

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Drippings from the roasting pan. One cup of rich-flavored, collagen-filled drippings, and half a cup of healthy and nourishing rendered chicken fat.

I put a lid on the pot and brought the it to a boil at a high heat, then turned it down to a simmer and let it coast all night long. 7 hours. That’s when DaisyMae decided it was smelling too good to leave it alone and she got me out of bed. I knew she would do that, but I had set the alarm too. I like to make my stock at night, because I don’t feel comfortable leaving the stove on during the day when I’m gone. If you have a pressure cooker, you can make your stock in a couple of hours. I’m thinking about buying one.

Step6I let the stock cool down some. Then I set up a large bowl with a colander over it so I could pour the stock into the bowl and catch all the bones, skin and vegetables before it falls into the bowl. If you want to have a clearer stock, lay a few layers of cheesecloth in the colander before pouring the stock through. Pour the strained stock into clean containers if you intend to freeze it. Then put it in the refrigerator to let the fat float to the top.

schmaltzEven the fat that floats to the top is a high-quality fat in which to cook your breakfast eggs and potatoes, or to sauté aromatics like onions and garlic. Chicken fat (also known as schmaltz) from well-raised pastured chickens, is high in monosaturated fat, which helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while leaving HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels alone. To save this fat, place your container of stock into the refrigerator to chill. The fat will solidify and then you can easily remove it to save it in it’s own container.

Do you know what the difference is between stock and broth? Stock is made from only the bones. Broth includes the meat and bones. Both can use aromatics and vegetables for added flavor.

Do you know how to cut up a chicken? Here’s a great video from the New York Times to help you with that.

– G

Bison Meatloaf

Last night I got home after work to find that my son had eaten an entire pound of this meatloaf. It’s that tasty!

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  • 1 Tbl good butter, like Kerrygold
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 2lbs ground bison
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • coarse ground sea salt, to taste
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 10-12 slices bacon (I suggest not using thick-cut bacon because it won’t crisp up enough.)

Preheat to 400°F.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and yellow peppers and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.

Add ground bison to a large mixing bowl. Add onion mixture, celery, oregano, basil, black pepper, coconut flour and eggs. Using your hands, mix until combined.

Pour mixture into a medium size glass baking dish. Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the mixture. Spread tomato paste across the top. Layer bacon slices across the top of the tomato paste.

Place glass baking dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

From http://paleoporn.net/paleo-meatloaf-bison/

Cauliflower-Cashew Soup with Crispy Buckwheat

cauliflower-cashew-soup-with-crispy-buckwheat-940x560Beth has shared one of her new favorites. It’s vegetarian-friendly. And while it includes buckwheat, it is not a grain. Buckwheat is a seed, naturally gluten-free and nutritious. In Lodi, Sheri’s Sonshine Nutrition carries it.

Servings: 8

  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets, stem chopped, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cashews
  • 6 cups (or more) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set ¾ cup cauliflower aside; add the rest to pot along with cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.

Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 20–25 minutes (check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; reduce heat if they are).

Add stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20–25 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 Tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium. Add cauliflower, cashews, and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.

Serve soup topped with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.

Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 1 month if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.

From http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cauliflower-cashew-soup-crispy-buckwheat#recipe-ingredients

Cashew Orange Chicken and Sweet Pepper Stir-fry in Lettuce Wraps

Paleo-Cashew-Orange-Chicken-WrapsJan has shared this luscious chicken recipe with us. It’s an excellent balance of protein, vegetables and healthy fats. Thanks Jan!

  • 1 Tbl oil (We suggest coconut oil, because it can be safely heated to a higher temperature for stir-frying.)
  • 1½ to 2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into thin bite-size strips
  • 3 red, orange, and/or yellow sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into bite-size strips
  • 1 red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp finely shredded orange peel (set aside)
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbl minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup unsalted raw cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup sliced green scallions (4)
  • 8 to 10 leaves butter or iceberg lettuce

In a large skillet heat the oil over high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add peppers and onion; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables just start to soften. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the wok; keep warm.

Wipe out pan with paper towel. Add the orange juice to pan and cook about 3 minutes or until juice boils and reduces slightly. Add ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Return the chicken and pepper mixture to the wok. Stir in orange peel, cashews, and scallions. Serve stir-fry on lettuce leaves.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe from The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook © 2015 by Loren Cordain

Arugula Salad

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law over the holidays and it’s quickly become a family favorite. I usually serve it as a side salad with whatever  protein Bob’s in the mood to BBQ. I added a couple sliced chicken breasts and served it as a dinner salad last night. With a glass of wine, it was a perfect  way to start the  weekend.

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2 Bags Baby Arugula
1 Leek
1 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Parmasean grated
Olive Oil
Green apple
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper  (to taste)

Put walnuts  in a skillet and turn on medium low  heat. Keep an eye on them while  you’re  prepping  salad. When you can smell them toasting turn them and turn the pan off. Let them sit in the pan.

Chop leek and add to pan. Drizzle a little oil and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until they start to  turn  brown. Heavily  salt them after their done.

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Put Arugula in a large salad bowl, add leeks, apple, and walnuts and lightly  toss. Add oil and vinegar and toss until you get the flavor you like. Lightly toss in parmasean and serve!

Green Peas And Ham

Hasn’t it been nice to start your day off with a good hearty breakfast? Eating something that “sticks to  your  ribs” allows you to focus on the details of your  day instead of  having constant distractions about food. It literally  makes you a better person!

When we think about lunch it’s usually a sandwich or a salad, so eating a vegetable dish that’s hearty, comforting, filling and portable, can be a nice change of pace from the usual lunch time routine. I made a super- simple dish this weekend. Then I packed a couple meal sized serving to go to make my work week organized and easy.

Green Peas and Ham (much better than Green Eggs and Ham)

I started with these super simple  ingredients:

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1/2 Onion
12 Ounces  Ham ( 1 1/2 packages)
1 Pound Green Peas

Sear the ham in a hot pan for 3-4 minutes. Dish the ham back onto the cutting board and add onions to the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil, stir, and let simmer until lightly brown.

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Add frozen peas straight into the pan, stir, and let simmer for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on how you like your peas. Six minutes will make them bright green and fresh and ten minutes will make then dull, sweet, and gooey.

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When the Peas are done, add a pinch of salt, stir, and mix the ham back in.

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Because the dish had 12 ounces of meat it’ll make 3 meals for me (12 ounces ÷ 4 serving per meal = 3 meals). If you need 3 protein serving per meal it’ll divide into 4 meals (12 ounces  ÷ 3 ounces per meal =4 meals). If you need 5 servings per meal I recommend  making the recipe with 16 ounces of ham (16 ounces ÷ 5 ounces per meal = 3 meals)

Divide the recipes into 3 separate dishes, eat one 🙂 and store the other two. You can store them for the fridge or the freezer, using a glass bowl or a plastic zip lock bag.

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Enjoy!