Archives for the month of: February, 2011

The individual quest for knowledge should never be discounted, especially when it comes to health. I know that many people become disgruntled and borderline hypochondriac trying to diagnose themselves using WebMD, “health” magazine questionnaires, and the ever popular self-help section of the bookstore, however, an intelligent pursuit of scientific as well as anecdotal answers to biological concerns is a noble one.

Right now, as I finish up my culinary studies, I am well-aware that my learning and growing does not stop once I drive away from Santa Cruz. In fact, I have a lengthy list of books and topics to read and research once I have a bit more time on my hands!

As of right now, the best I can do is Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. It’s a really great reminder of why I do what I do, why I cook what I cook, and why I preach it to everyone else. Reading the evidence, the scientific backing for Paleo creates a mindfulness that is shrouded when the world closes in with it’s questions, criticisms, and denials. I like to keep myself constantly in the intellectual circle of food and it’s effects on the body because without the reassurance that comes from other people’s stories and countless medical studies, I begin to lose sight of the greater importance of teaching others about their food choices. My personal experience definitely has helped me, but is that enough to change someone else’s mind. Well, the unfortunate truth is a resounding “no”. People need to be convinced. Believing is seeing, and seeing from all angles in all different lights.

Here’s my Paleo Sunday

Coffee with freshly made Cashew Coconut Cream (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Raw Honey and Eggs

Curry Flax Crackers with Smoked Oysters and Avocado

Sautéed Italian Chicken Sausage and Kale with Garlic

Apple, Dark Chocolate, and Salted Marcona Almonds

Cashew Coconut Cream

2 c. soaked cashews
4 c. coconut water
2 dates, soaked
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
 
1. Blend cashews and coconut water, strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Discard or save solids (use in paleo pancakes or crusts.)
 
2. Put cashew milk back in blender with other ingredients and blend until frothy!

coconut milk in coffee

 

As this week of conscious Primal effort comes to a close, I have noticed that I am much more mindful of the food passing from my hand to my mouth. Eating clean, whole foods takes some thought, some self-control, and some preparation. I enjoy cooking but as I talk to others and step into their “food” universe, I realize that most people do not have the time, knowledge, or determination to stick with eating the Wild and Free way.

Today, I had the pleasure to cook with some fellow Crossfitters. The meal was simple, seasonal, and Paleo but I realize that no matter how simple the preparation or how beneficial the nutrients, people must make a choice to commit to their kitchen or they will succumb to the pressure of the microwave oatmeal, the taco bell drive thru, or the pita chips and hummus. The way that you eat is entirely up to you. No one can force you to buy organic, spend time in your kitchen, and experiment with recipes.

With that said, here’s another day of deliciousness.

9:30 am – coffee at Mr. Toot’s coffeehouse and a bowl of papaya, orange, coconut, and cashews

12 pm – As I walked out of the newly opened Staff of Life natural foods market, they handed me a dark chocolate heart… Okay! Off to Crossfit for the catch 22 workout:

22 Deadlifts (103 lbs. )

100 m Farmer’s walk

22 Dumbbell Squat and Press

100 m Farmer’s Walk

100 m Sprint

22 Chest to Bar Pullups

400 m Run

22 OH Squat (53 lbs.)

400 m Run

2:30 pm – Made some fresh almond milk from soaked almonds, coconut water, vanilla extract, and a spoonful of honey. A raw lunch: Zucchini noodles with a basil/artichoke pesto, sundried tomato pieces, and smoked oysters

6 pm – Began my paleo cooking consult.

Menu:

Winter Citrus and Avocado Salad

Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Arugula, Olive Oil, Avocado

Roasted Vegetables

Beets and Kabocha Squash

Chicken with Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto

Organic Chicken, Cilantro, Pistachios, Cardamom, Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Pepper, Sea Salt

Chocolate Mousse with Cashew Cream

Dates, Avocado, Cocoa, Vanilla, Honey, Cashews

Successful evening of good instruction resulting in good food. Here’s the Pesto recipe…

Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

1 c. pistachios
2 c. cilantro leaves, packed
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cardamom
3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Here we go again! Sorry, no pics from today… but hopefully I’ll get some good ones tomorrow.

8:30 am – green tea

10:30 am – 1/4 papaya, 1/4 c. coconut flakes, and 1 Tbsp. pecan pieces

12 pm – Crossfit! ( I was forced to take a bite of a horrendous macaroon upon arrival… pshhh.)

2 pm – snacked on some walnuts while making a basil-artichoke pesto

2:30 pm – The always delicious skillet. Cabbage, 1/2 beet, 2 mushrooms, 1/2 onion, broccoli slaw, 2 eggs.

3:30 pm – unsweetened chocolate (or as the BF calls them = dirt. I call them delicious)

6 pm – sweet potato chips and blood orange

7:30 pm – 1 can tuna, 1/2 jar TJ’s salsa verde, 1 avocado, 1 cucumber, hot sauce and chili pepper flakes

9 pm – pink lady apple and a handful of almonds

Still a few too many nuts throughout the day but overall I feel pretty good about today’s eats. Papaya in the morning is my new favorite thing. It helps start my day with some good natural enzyme power!

Papaya with Coconut Flakes (this pic was taken in Hawaii!)

Papaya –  a wonderful source of carotenes, anti-oxidants present in orange colored fruits and vegetables. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties such as papain and chymopapai, digestive enzymes which help break down proteins in the digestive process. Papayas also provide immune supporting vitamins such as Vitamin A and C.

Saturday

Had an early morning at Crossfit and then headed up to San Francisco to hang out with some friends…

8 am- pre-workout green tea and some date/nut/cacao balls.

12 pm – post workout Skillet! 1 sweet potato cut into rounds, chiffonade kale and beet greens, shallots and garlic, sesame oil, and broccoli slaw with 2 fried eggs

Sweet Potato Skillet

3 pm – smoothie: 1/2 banana, 1 avocado, vanilla extract, flax, chia, and hemp seeds, water, raw cacao, 1 date.

7 pm – restaurant in the city: 1-2 glasses of red wine, brussel sprouts with pine nuts. Salmon with asparagus, red pepper puree  and balsamic.

Dinner in the City

8 pm – Raw chocolate tart with blood orange

Sunday

9 am – coffee with almond milk and leftover raw chocolate tart

11 am – green tea from Starbucks in Burlingame

12:30 pm – seaweed salad from the Korean market in San Jose.

1 pm – 5:30 pm – Helped at a Raw food cooking class at New Leaf Market in the westside. Sampled some yummy things:

fresh coconut water, fresh almond and coconut milk, carrot juice, asian parsnip rice with avocado, raw chocolate mousse tart in a macadamia nut crust with coconut cream and raspberries.

7 pm – Korean fish mixture with radish and chilis, a pear and some dark chocolate

9 pm – sweet potato chips

Wayyyy too much sugar related items today, but I was somewhat at the mercy of my surroundings.

I’ve also noticed that every time I have more “raw” based meals, I feel a lot more vibrant and just plain wonderful! This makes me want to try having a more raw based diet. Maybe in the next couple weeks I’ll give it a try.

This one’s a doozy. Mostly because I had school today, which means there were 8 meals/snacks prepared for us for final presentations.

Here we go:

7:30am – yoga and coconut water. followed by an Americano at Verve Coffee.

10 am – SCHOOL! tea, 1 oz. serving of a papaya, flax, ginger, and coconut yogurt smoothie

11 am – 1 avocado, 3 kumquats, 1 handful blueberries

12 pm – 1/2 c. egg salad with roasted squash

1 pm – (seriously, on the hour… every hour) 2 oz. of an endive, avocado, grapefruit salad and 1 oz. of a pureed greens soup.

2:30 pm – Nori, lettuce, avocado, carrots, pickles, tomatoes  all wrapped in different combinations.

3:30 pm -WORK! 1/2 raw beet, handful of almonds, handful of cashews

6 pm – more leftover ceviche with cucumber slices, orange

6:30 pm – a few pinches of coconut flakes

9 pm – apple

Just for fun, here’s all the things that I had to turn down today at school and work since they are not PALEO:

lentil coconut curry, Greens with a miso dressing, chicken and brown rice dolmas, Gluten-Free crackers, Brown rice medley, Chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate and dried fruit candies, rice and nut burgers, tempeh and brown rice sushi rolls, lemon bread, brownies with frosting, sesame honey almonds. 

This may seem like a seriously random food day, but i assure you, this is a pretty typical Santa Cruz day for me.

Willpower won today, and to be honest, so did the looming thought that I would have to post this tonight. This week is good for accountability.

This day was a bit easy since there were absolutely no demands on my time or food preparation obstacles, but it was also nice to get a break from the constant shuffle of life.

Here’s the daily breakdown:

8 am – woke up, had some green tea and prepared a raw chocolate tart crust for this weekend (Valentine’s dessert!). Did some dishes, folded some laundry.

10 am – sat on my porch and read in the sunlight ( getting my Vitamin D… very paleo). Chomped on some papaya covered in coconut flakes and remnants of some trail mix left in a jar that I needed to clean.

12 pm – CROSSFIT! Today’s torture/fun consisted of some hand stands and pullups. And the WOD was a 21-15-9 set of kettlebell swings, weighted sit ups, box jumps and a 400 M run. I was pretty tired afterwards but recovered quickly.

2 pm – Sat out on the porch (again) to eat my leftover Poisson Cru in lettuce wraps and some cabbage with some awesome Trader Joe’s salsa fresca (it’s delicious, go buy some).

3 pm – Walked about a mile down to Peet’s Coffee and chatted on the phone while basking in more sunshiney Vitamin D. At Peet’s I ordered a double Americano in a mug (saving the Earth, one to-go cup at a time) and poured in some of my coconut milk that I just happened to bring along.  Sat and read some more.

5 pm – Walked to the produce stand and picked up a bunch of large organic spinach, avocados, a lime, and some mushrooms.

6 pm – Made the filling for the chocolate tart (yum!) and I may or may not have had a few licks of the bowl. This, however, did not spoil my dinner because I went on to make a pile of food in my skillet. The pile consisted of sun-dried tomatoes, 1 shallot, a bunch of spinach, 3 mushrooms, and 3 scrambled eggs.

7:30 pm – Went downtown for a night of browsing the shops… ended up getting a couple of things at Urban Outfitters (which has recently banned plastic and paper bags… kind of cool!) and a couple of cookbooks at Logos, the local used/discount bookstore.

10 pm – a couple pinches of coconut flakes and a glass of Trader Joe’s Reserve Pinot Noir.

I’ll be heading to bed around 11:30 pm.

I need more days like these. Days with no obligations, just  preferences.

Pure Paleo is no easy feat, especially while attending culinary school. I’ve had more grains, legumes, sugar, and dairy beautifully displayed before my eyes (and stomach) three days a week for the past 5 1/2 months. My 80% Primal goals have tumbled to a more lenient 70%… maybe 60% Paleo regime. Unfortunate yes, but also very educational.

I have learned a multitude of reasons to continue to embrace a clean, original human diet vs. following the modern “health” standards. I’ve been faced with the comments and judgement of critics, the constant psychological obstacles, as well as the questions and concerns of the less or mis-informed public. All these things combine into one great learning experience.

While I do not wish to repeat the experience, I do value the knowledge and insights obtained during my brief stay in Santa Cruz and my journey through Chef school.

In an attempt to get back on the wagon, so to speak, I’d like to propose a public rebirth into my Paleo values. It seems like a necessary step, seeing as how I’d like to primarily focus on Paleo cooking as a Paleo Chef. Right now I feel like somewhat of a hypocrite due to unneccessary amounts of neolithic foods in my diet.. not to mention my days as a whole.

In the spirit of renewal and change, I propose an online daily report of my endeavor to return to the Paleo fold. This will most likely include a run-down of my daily Paleo-eats and activities. My attempt at optimum sleep, sunlight, and stress relief. As well as my fight to maintain Paleo composure in the face of all things sugared, flourescent, and unnatural.

So… starting tomorrow, you will see a daily post related to my assimilation back into Paleo heaven. It will not be easy (can you say “sugar withdrawal”?), but it will be worth it. My legitimacy as a Paleo professional hinges on my ability to practice what I preach.

So here we go!

Enjoy the ramblings, as I’m sure there will be many.

Today I was able to share some Paleo food with my class for my final presentation. And even though my final was based on a Gluten-Free condition, I incorporated Paleo recipes into my demonstration.

It seemed to be a successful presentation and I hope you love these dishes as much as I do.

Poisson Cru

2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 red onion, finely diced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced.
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, cut into 1/2″ cubes

  1. Set the tuna aside and combine everything else into a large bowl.
  2. Add the tuna and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain excess liquid and serve.
    Option: Serve with avocado half.

Recipe by Laird Hamilton, Force of Nature

Poisson Cru and Papaya

Papaya and Cabbage Salad

1 papaya, battoneted
½ head cabbage, shredded
1 tsp. lime zest

  1.  In a bowl combine ingredients and toss with cilantro-lime dressing.

Optional plating: place papaya cuts on top of some shredded cabbage, drizzle dressing and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

3 limes, juiced
1/3 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. sea salt
½ c. cilantro, chopped

  1. In a blender, combine juice, spices, and cilantro. Slowly add oil to emulsify.

If you’re curious, here’s the handout from my presentation today… enjoy!
Student Handout – Bauman College 2011

Had an early Crossfit workout today, but before I head to work I must refuel!

This means Paleo Breakfast time… My personal favorite.

Here’s what’s on my plate today

Fried Eggs and Papaya and Avocado Salad

3 organic jumbo eggs
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. jalapeno hot sauce (trader joes)
1/2 organic Papaya
1/2 organic avocado
3 Tbsp. coconut flakes
Juice of 1/2 small lime

1. In a skillet, heat coconut oil and fry eggs on both sides, drizzle hot sauce on top.

2. Cut up papaya and avocado into chunks and mix with lime and coconut flakes.

Saturday's Paleo Breakfast

Other items on the menu for today:
Turkey Jerky
My favorite trail mix: coconut flakes, goji berries, cashew pieces, and cacao nibs
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie (recipe forthcoming)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Curried Turkey Tender and Sweet Potato Mash

I looked in my fridge today and created this delectable plate of happy. It was momentary inspiration. It was Kismet… Fate, if you will. Please make it, because I’m sad that I’m the only one who was able to savor every blissful bite.

Curried Turkey Tenders with Sweet Potato Mash

1 Turkey Tender, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. salt
1 cooked sweet potato
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3-4 organic mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 avocado, sliced

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil on low and carmelize onions. Add mushrooms, cook until soft. Chop up sweet potato and add to skillet to heat slightly. Take off heat and mash together in a bowl.
2. In a small bowl mix turkey, curry and salt. In the same skillet add a little more oil and raise to a medium heat, cook until almost done. Remove from heat.
3. Add sweet potato mixture back into skillet and add garlic, warm the mixture until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and mash.
4. Add meat to skillet to cook till done.
5. Serve turkey over mash and garnish with avocado.
Serves 1.