Sunday, June 30, 2013

Upper Body Workout

Equipment: Pull-up bar, TRX bands; my TRX bands are homemade from lashing straps, PVC pipe and grip tape they cost me about $15 and took around an hour to make. The hardest part is tying the knot. Here is a great tutorial. He links his together, I just hang mine from my pull-up bar.

Warm-Up: 5 burpees, 15 crunches repeat 3x
Warm-down with a light 5 min jog or a long walk. I walk for an hour/3 miles every morning.

Remember you can modify everything as needed! Can't do a pull-up? Try the first one, and then use a chair, do jump pull-ups or do negative pull-ups where you start from the top and lower yourself down. Pull-ups take time to master, so don't be discouraged! To modify pushups you can do "girl" push-ups on your knees, or put your hands on a bench to make them easier. To make them harder put your feet on the bench, or in the straps of the TRX bands(these are killer!) For inverted rows plant your feet and hold onto the TRX bands facing forward. Lean back, adjusting the angle of your lean will change the difficulty of the row. Using your back and arm muscles pull yourself forward like you are rowing a boat. Lower yourself back to the starting position for 1 rep. Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes. Feel free to post the number of rounds you made it through!!

EZ Eats: Taco Pile-On

Tacos are a huge tradition in our family and we have a family recipe that we love! Sadly it has flour in it :( It can easily be omitted, but it is not quite as savory. Here are the seasonings I used:

2 lbs ground beef
1tbs cumin
1tbs garlic
1tbs cayenne pepper

Cook all ingredients on a skillet on the stove until meat is cooked through. Serve over a bed of lettuce with any veggie you can think of. We had tomatoes, bellpeppers, jalepenos, mushrooms and a side of avocado. Don't forget your cauli-rice!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bullet Proof Coffee

This coffee is uber popular in the Paleo community. I only stumbled upon it recently on Instagram. People are pretty vague about telling you what's in it, but I did some research and found its super easy to make! All you need is coffee, butter, and coconut oil.

Brew your coffee and then blend in 1tbs of grass-fed butter and 1 tbs coconut oil. This is an incredible energy boost! Caffeine combined with long lasting fat energy. Coconut oil has a whole resume of health benefits and grass-fed butter has a great healthy fat profile.

I should mention that ghee will work great instead of butter...sadly no one sells it in this small town. 

Tired Workout

We were incredibly lucky to find a giant tire in the field behind our house. Someone had dumped it there. I ran past it a few times before I decided it needed to come home with us. I laugh at the memory of E and I rolling it through the neighborhood back to our house. Some of my students live in the neighborhood and asked me funny questions about it the next day. I'm not sure what we'll do with it when we eventually move because I'm already pretty attached ;)

Warm-Up: 7 squat jumps, 3 perfect push-ups, 20 crunches, repeat 3 times.
Warm-down: Walk around the block and stretch!

Workout Tips:

  • Land softly when doing box jumps and bend your knees.
  • Pump your knee into the air when doing step-ups and alternate legs.
  • Our tire is incredibly heavy, so I was only able to do 1 flip per round. Adjust the number of reps based on your ability. If you do not have a tire, find something else that is heavy and lift it up!
  • Aim for 4 rounds, but if you're exhausted after 3, throw in the towel and set a goal for next time.

EZ Eats: Beef and Broccoli

This is one of my favorite meals at Chinese buffets, but those are a thing of the past for us these days. I cringe to think what additives they put in the food.

Printable Recipe

2lbs Beef top-round steak, cut into strips
2 cups broccoli
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp ginger
1 tbs coconut oil

Add the coconut oil to a skillet until hot. Add in the broccoli and soy sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes to soften. Add in the beef and spices and cook until no red is showing in the beef. Serve with a side of cauli-rice! We had cauli-rice last night so I roasted an acorn squash for E.

Friday, June 28, 2013

EZ Eats: Bomb A Salad

This is E's favorite salad ever. He named it Bomb A$$ salad in honor of all its amazingness. Its so simple to make that I feel silly blogging about it! All you need are sliced strawberries, blueberries, mixed greens lettuce, avocado and your favorite dressing. We love the dressing pictured from Whole Foods. It has wholesome ingredients and no sneaky additives. I also like to make a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette. Toss everything in a bowl and serve.

EZ Eats: Paleo Fajitas

I mentioned earlier that we have an 1/8 of grass-fed cow hanging out in a freezer. I've had a good time coming up with new recipes to use all the different ingredients! Here is one of my favorites:

Printable Recipe

1-2lbs skirt or flank steak
1 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs cayenne
1 tbs garlic
bell pepper sliced
mushrooms sliced
onions (I despise them, so I omitted these, but I know some strange people like my momma love them)
1 tbs butter to grease the pan

Add the veggies to the pan and sautee. Add in the spices. When veggies start to soften add in the meat. Cook the meat until no red is showing. I served these with coconut flour tortillas. I am still perfecting that recipe, so you'll have to check back later to find it! These would be great with a side of "cauli"rice Mexican style!

Juicy Juice

Juicing is quite the rage at the moment. It has always been trendy among dieters. For some reason the idea of drinking food is always paired with weight loss. This does not make sense in any shape or form!! I decided to test out the juicing fad when I spent the weekend with my momma. It did not work out for me. I was hungry within in an hour, my sugar cravings were through the roof, and I ended up taking in more sugary carbs, and calories in general. I also felt sooo guilty tossing out the pulp (fiber!). I do understand the good side of juicing. Some people claim it detoxifies your body, but eating healthy real foods will rid your body of inflammation just as well if not better. It seems to be easier for your body to absorb the nutrients from juiced foods quickly without having to go through the digestive process, but what happens when you skip the digestive process? You gain weight. Especially if you are insulin resistant and carb sensitive (ME!!!). Your body is doing less work for more nutrients, and it is likely going to store those bad boys. Juicing isn't "bad" for you, but if weight loss is your goal, I do not recommend it. It is better to eat the foods in their whole form. You will be more satisfied and you'll burn calories in the digestion process. Now if you're just into juicing for the occasional treat go for it! Everyone is different so if juicing works for you let me know! I'd love to hear your side of the story.

Update: A friend asked me about juicing tonight and I had a revelation! I think that juicing is a great way to kick start a real food diet or and changes from processed food to all natural food. It gives your digestive system a break and helps it transition from junk food to healthy fruits, veggies, and proteins. 

Here is a juice I did find a use for! I made this as a pre-workout drink to boost my electrolyte stores and give me a minuscule (lemons and limes are not high in fructose) jolt of quick energy from the fructose in the fruit. It was tangy and E said it made his whole mouth explode (you know that tingling feeling you get when you eat something sour). Also did you know you can use a blender and a nut milk bag to make juice! No need to invest in a juicer.

Mean Green Kool-Aid (E named this)
1/2  lemon peeled
1/2 lime peeled
1 small cucumber
1 broccoli stalk
1/2 cup almond milk
*This is not a sweet drink. If you are dying for something sweet throw in half an orange, but remember that it is packed with fructose.

If you have a juicer add everything to the juicer and you're good to go. If not add everything to your blender and blend until its nice and chopped up. (You can juice the lime and lemon instead of peeling them if you'd like). Strain through a nut milk bag. Save the pulp for another recipe or discard. Did I mention I hate throwing things away?!

This website has a whole list of juice pulp recipe ideas. This is the one I can't wait to try!

P.S. Juicing is so not Paleo. Cavemen didn't own juicers ;)

Bacon Egg Cups

These are a yummy no fuss breakfast. They store well and are great for breakfast on the go!

Printable Recipe

6-12 eggs
3-6 slices uncooked bacon cut in half

Line a muffin tin with the bacon. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and crack an egg into each muffin cup. Return to the oven and back for 30 minutes until egg is cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. These store great in the fridge for a day or two and reheat well.

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia pudding is super popular lately and with good reason! Chia seeds are high in omega 3 oils and they expand in your tummy leaving you feeling full long after. This pudding is similar to tapioca and is incredibly easy to make. Here's how it goes:

Printable Recipe

2-3 tbs chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk (you can use almond milk, but it won't be as sweet)
fruit & nuts (optional)

Combine the chia seeds and coconut milk in a sealed container. Leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The chia seeds will swell and become jelly-like. You can leave it overnight if you like. Remove from fridge, add in any of the extras and serve!

The variations of this are endless! You can add cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice. Let me know what you try!

EZ Eats Egg Burgers

I used to love Eggs in basket where you cut a circle in toast and crack an egg in the middle. Being grain free doesn't allow for this, so we use hamburgers instead! These are incredibly easy to make and tasty to eat.

1lb Ground Beef
4-5 eggs

Form the ground beef into balls and flatten into a burger patty. Using a cup or cookie cutter, remove the center of the beef. Place the patty in an oiled skillet and crack an egg inside. When the white has turned from clear to mostly white loosen the patty from the pan and flip! Cook another few minutes and remove from the pan. You can serve these wrapped in lettuce, on a bed of lettuce, as sliders on a sweet potato bun or simply by themselves! We had ours with a side salad, sweet potatoes, and roasted brussels sprouts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Roasted Red Peppers

I love roasted red peppers, man are they expensive at the store not to mention all the unnecessary ingredients added in.  Our grocer had a sale on fresh red peppers this week so I scooped some up and roasted them for later! 

Cut your peppers in half and lay them on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until the skin starts to blacken. Remove from oven and place in a sealed container until cool. This takes at least 30min. When cooled remove from container and peel off the skin. Discard the skin. If the skin doesn't come off easily, cook them longer next time! Slice the peppers to the desired size and store in a jar. You can add white vinegar and olive oil in a 3:1 ratio if you want. I just leave mine plain because I eat them too quickly!

These pictured are not done! They need another 10minutes to get blackened skin. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I had never tried brussels sprouts until visiting my sister Rosita in Seattle. She made them and they were delicious!

Printable Recipe

1 bag of brussels sprouts
bacon or bacon grease
sea salt

How to:
Cut the brussels sprouts in fourth and spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with bacon grease (you can use melted butter or coconut oil as well). Add chopped uncooked bacon. Season with salt and garlic. I used garlic powder, fresh minced is better. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until some of the outer leaves brown and look crispy.

Boiled Eggs

These are our farm fresh eggs. Aren't they beautiful! The larger ones are actually turkey eggs. Turkey eggs have a harder shell and a little firmer yolk. They taste just the same to me! I've been searching for the perfect hard boiled and soft boiled eggs and I've finally found it! 

Soft boiled:
Bring water to a boil and place fridge cold eggs in the water. The water should cover the eggs. Let boil full blast for 8 minutes. Drain and place in cold water in the fridge to stop the cooking process. The goal is a soft runny yolk and a firm white. Serve anyway you like!

Hard Boiled:
Place eggs in a pot of water and bring to a full boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place in cold water in the fridge to stop the cooking process. The goal is to have a firm yolk without any gray coloring. These are great in egg salad.

Peeling tricks:
Crack the egg gently on the counter all around. Focus on the rounded end (the bottom). Rub the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Start peeling from the bottom and try to get under the membrane. Use the pads or your fingers and not your nails to keep from taking chunks out of the egg white. You can crack it under cold running water, or rinse it after you have the shell off. I am a terrible egg peeler due to my lack of patience and these tips really help me!!

Make Me Burpee

In college we had to do burpees as a punishment, so I consider myself and all my teammates professionals. Surprisingly I am not scarred from these, and enjoy adding them to my workout schedule. Daily Hiit uses them often. I really enjoy the workouts on Daily Hiit, but their website interface is not my favorite. I have had great results with their workouts, but some require too much equipment. Their website inspired this workout!

Warm-Up: Jog in place for 1 minute, do 5 pushups. Repeat 3 times.

Cool down with a walk around the block and stretching!

I walk everyday for about an hour, and then do these circuit style hiit workouts or weight lifting for my strength training. I do not encourage heavy cardio for weight loss. It tends to make you hungry, tired and stress your body out. It also does not promote fat loss. I would've been a twig when I was swimmer if cardio was the only thing needed to lose fat.

Workout Tips:

  • A broad jump is simply a forward jump as far as you can go. Think long jumper. 
  • Remember burpees include a pushup. I give a longer explanation here
  • If you need better explanations of any of the exercises please ask!

Tahini Muffins

I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I was excited about it not have much sweetener, and not using almond butter. We eat a lot of almond based foods around here, so having other options is a necessity. The recipe was pretty basic and is vegan. I think I would try using real eggs next time because I am not the biggest fan of flax. It contains phytoestrogens (a nasty plant hormone that mimics estrogen in our bodies) and can't be eaten in its natural state. It has to be ground up to be edible making it very similar to grains. Mark Sisson has a great article explaining the pros/cons. On to the recipe!

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup ground flax and 3/4-1 cup water
1/2 cup tahini
2 ripe mashed bananas (the ripeness of the banana can change the taste)
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tbs vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbs honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup canned coconut milk

Mix all ingredients in a kitchen aid mixture, or with a hand beater. Transfer to greased muffin cups. To grease my muffin tins, I use coconut oil and rub it around. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The recipe mentioned 20-30 minutes, but mine were far from done at 20 minutes. A fork test will not tell you if these are done because they are very dense. Enjoy!

Nutrition Notes: 1-2 muffins is the best serving size. Keep in mind that replacing all your normal eats (muffins, pancakes, cookies) with healthier versions does not promote fat loss.

Green Chile Stew

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 onion chopped (I leave mine in giant chunks so I can pick it out :))
2 lbs stew meat
juice of 1 lime
1tbs garlic
1/2 cup chopped green chile
1tsp cumin
1 tomato diced
1tsp oregano
1tsp salt

In a skillet brown the beef. Add all ingredients to a crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours. My crockpot cooks hot! so I only did 6 hours. This is great served alone, with "cauli"rice or baked potatoes. I made E a baked potato, but I just ate the stew.

Sauerkraut Skillet

Fermented food is all the rage lately and with good reason! Fermented foods contain probiotics, good gut bacteria. This bacteria replaces bacteria that may be lost from antibiotic use, excessive starch/sugar consumption, and candida overgrowth. A year ago I had severe acid reflux and drinking apple cider vinegar, a fermented food, cured it! My doctor wanted me to take a prescription and get a quick fix, but I knew better. After some research I found out I had overgrowth of a mean bacteria in my gut. More research told me I needed to up my probiotic intake and cut back on starch and sugar. No wonder the apple cider vinegar got rid of the symptoms. Coming back from my tangent, probiotics are great for digestive health and can be found in fermented foods (sauerkraut, homemade kefir, kombucha, yogurt, etc.) or taken as a supplement. Sauerkraut is my go to fermented food. It's cheap, easy and stores well! To get the best benefits eat it raw, but you can heat it to about 105F without killing the bacteria. I tried out a few recipes and here is one of my favorites:

1 chicken breast cooked and diced (you can precook this or throw it in before the other ingredients and cook until no pink is showing)
1/2 cup sauerkraut
1/2 cup cooked Brussels sprouts
1/4 red pepper diced
Fresh Diced Tomato
2 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
3 mushrooms chopped

1 cup lettuce of choice
1tbs coconut oil 

In a skillet heat the coconut oil and add in all ingredients except the lettuce. Cook until all ingredients are heated. Do not overcook as it will kill the probiotics in the sauerkraut. Serve over the lettuce. I did not need dressing but olive oil and lemon juice would go great! Vinegar might make the dish too sour since the sauerkraut is pretty sour itself. 

Notes: I take a probiotic supplement every other day. I no longer drink apple cider vinegar because my symptoms are gone since changing my diet. When I did I would mix 1-2 tbs in 8oz of tea. Water would also be fine. Do not drink vinegar without diluting it first! I learned the hard way and burned my throat. 

Almond Pulp

Once you have homemade almond milk you'll never go back! I've noticed that most people discard the almond pulp after they make the milk, so I wanted some options for putting it to good work.  I've made a fancy almond pulp granola and this time I made a low key granola with ingredients on hand.

Dried almond pulp
2 tbs honey
2 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tbs pumpkin seeds

How to:
1. Dry the almond pulp on a cookie sheet for an hour at 250F
2. Transfer the dried pulp to a bowl and stir in the other ingredients. 
3. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until golden in color. 
4. Serve alone, with almond milk, or with homemade whipped cream!

Another option is to simply dry the almond pulp and use it as almond meal. I was so excited when I realized this. You could even use it for chicken strips!

Monday, June 24, 2013

All-Star Workout

Warm-up with 50 butt-kicks, :30 rest, 50 high knees, :30 rest, 5 push-ups

Cool Down
10 min walk around the block and stretching

Workout Tips:
  • For the burpees start in a standing position and jump down to a plank position (keeping a flat back). Do a push-up then hop back up to your feet landing in a squatting position. Reach for the sky and jump straight up! That is 1 rep. 
  • Knees to elbows is a crossfit move using a pull-up bar. Start in a hanging position and crunch your abs to bring your knees to your elbows. Return to hanging. That is 1 rep. 
  • 20 total walking lunges means 10 each leg. Don't let your knee go past your toes and make sure to keep a stable core. 
  • Plank is holding a push-up position, but on your elbows. I've heard it called "bows and toes" before which explains it perfectly. Keep your back in a flat stable position. Do not let your back bow by lowering your hips. 

Along with this workout, I try to walk an hour each day.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


White rice is ok on occasion on the Paleo diet since it doesn't have the same inflammatory properties of other processed grains. I choose to not eat it often because it is high carb. Carbs tend to promote fat storage and weight gain. Carbs are great for endurance athletes, but not for the average person who spends most of their day on their booty in front of a bright screen like I do :). "Riced" cauliflower makes the perfect substitute for rice and its extremely easy to make.

Printable Recipe

Here are 2 different ways to make it:

1. Cut cauliflower into florets and discard the stems and leaves.
2. Toss in a food processor or blender.
3. Blend until the consistency of rice.
4. Pop in the microwave for 3 minutes.
5. Remove and serve!

1. In a pot of water boil the cut cauliflower until soft. You can also use a steamer and steam the cauliflower if you have one!
2. Remove from stove and drain.
3. Transfer to a blender and process until rice like.
4. Remove and serve!

EZ Eats: Breakfast

E eats at work during the week, so I pre-make his breakfast the night before. He usually has scrambled eggs with either bacon or sausage. Sometimes when things are hurried I send him out the door with hard boiled eggs and fruit. Here is a simple recipe for the loaded scrambled eggs I make.

3 eggs
1/4 a red pepper chopped
1 small jalepeño chopped and seeds discarded
1 mushroom chopped
3 slices bacon or 1/4 of a roll of sausage 
1/4 cup of spinach or a handful will do. 

In a frying pan, I prefer a cast iron skillet, cook the sausage/bacon until no pink is showing along with the peppers and mushrooms. When the sausage/bacon is cooked through add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Lastly crack the eggs into the skillet and stir to scramble. Continue to stir to keep the eggs from sticking to the pan. Cook until the white of the egg is no longer liquidy. Serve with a side of fruit or avocado! 

Health Notes:
This is a meal high in protein which is the ideal breakfast. Protein wakes the brain up and keeps you feeling full until lunch. Traditional breakfasts are high in carbs (usually sugary carbs) which leave you hungry and craving sugar soon after eating. Adding in veggies helps boost the fiber and vitamin content making this a well rounded meal. 

Paleo Bourbon Chicken

My sister, Rosita, used to make Bourbon Chicken and Chicken Fried Steak every time I came to visit! She also used to carry around pickles and lunch meat for me to snack on ;) Anywho, I was staying with my momma for the week, so we decided to edit the Bourbon Chicken recipe and make a "Paleo" version. Liquor technically isn't Paleo, but everything else in this meal is right on point! This is a quick meal and extremely tasty!

Printable Recipe

3/4lb of chicken, diced
1 tbs coconut oil or butter to grease the pan
3 cloves of garlic crushed, or 1-2 tbs minced garlic
1tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup bourbon (Momma likes Jim Beam, so that was the brand we used)
2 tbs tahini (you could try almond butter if you have it on hand instead)
1 tbs soy sauce

Brown the chicken in coconut oil in a skillet, add in the garlic, herbs and other spices. Pour in your bourbon slowly. When the chicken is no longer pink, add the soy sauce and tahini, stirring to blend completely. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil(optional) and bake for 30 min. We served this with a side of fried cabbage and cauliflower rice. It was amazing! Who needs Chinese take-out?

Fried Cabbage

Printable Recipe

1 small head of cabbage
4 strips of bacon
Tbs garlic
Tsp salt

Chop the bacon and toss into a pan on the stove. Cut the cabbage into strips and add to the pan once the bacon is crispy. Add in the spices and sauté until the cabbage is soft. 

Nutrition Notes:
Cabbage is a great source of Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Bacon adds a good dose of protein and garlic is high in vitamins and antioxidants. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Heavy Lift

Workout Tips:
  • We did the single arm bench on a decline. 
  • Remember it's ok to modify pull ups until you get strong enough to do them on your own! You have to start somewhere! 
  • Dead lifts are killer, so make sure to use good form. Meaning, lift with your legs and not your lower back. 
  • Increase weight as you go through the sets trying to max out by set 4. 
  • Have fun!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heavy Liftin'

Here is one of our heavy lift workouts from this week. Lift as Heavy as possible with proper form to get the most out of the workout. We have experience lifting with trainers from LSU, so make sure you have your form rock solid before you start adding the pounds. Lifting weights tones muscles and converts fat into muscle mass.

Warm up: 5-10min cardio machine, 10 medball throw-downs, 10 push-ups, 50 abs of choice
Warm-down: 50 abs, 15 min of stretching

Lift heavy, then take nap. -Old Chinese Proverb 

E tried to nap instead of lifting, but we dragged him to the gym anyway.

Workout Tips:

  • Dumbbell incline chest flies: Using dumbells, lay on an inclined bench. Starting with your arms straight in front of you, lower the dumbbells out to the side until you are in a T-position. Make sure to have a little bend in your elbows. Using you chest muscles, return the weights to the starting position.
  • Front Squat: Start with a good stance, feet planted and turned slightly out, core tight, hips inline, knees slightly out. Think about screwing your feet into the ground. Sit back like you are sitting down into a chair until you reach 90 degrees. Return to the starting position. Focus on your legs muscles and do not lift with your back.
  • Single arm pull: these are a lawn mower motion and are done on a machine. They are intended to work your back muscles.
Note: I promise to post demonstration pictures in the future!