Bulletproof Battle

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So, I have been hearing a lot about “Bulletproof Coffee” in the Whole30 and Paleo world lately. I have only recently started drinking my coffee black, thanks to my first Whole30 back in December. I never realized how much I loved the taste of just coffee. Before then, I always had it with 2 tablespoons of cream (yes, I measured it out). I thought I was pretty dark and bitter with just the cream since before then I always had it with equal or some other type of artificial sweetener.So, why not try another way to drink coffee in the morning since I’ve become pretty boring with my naked cup of black joe?

I have read many different recipes for Bulletproof Coffee….some including the addition of gelatin, or vanilla extract, or even something called Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. However, all of the recipes have some type of healthy fat  added to hot coffee (must be hot) and then blended together. I decided to do a few different variations to see which I liked the best.

For my first bulletproof coffee, I added a tablespoon of ghee to my coffee and used a super easy Magic Bullet to blend it. It was so fun watching the color of the coffee change instantly from black into a frothy tan.

IMG_2400 IMG_2401My first sip was heavenly. I couldn’t believe how I have missed out on this until that moment. Seriously. The entire texture of the coffee had transformed into this buttery, creamy, foamy, deliciousness while not manipulating the flavor of the coffee itself. I knew I was hooked after that.

The second morning, I skipped the ghee and opted for coconut oil instead. The same transformation from black coffee to foamy concoction took place in the blender.

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I thought it would taste very different, but surprisingly it didn’t. However, I could still tell the ghee apart from the coconut oil. It was hard to determine which tasted better…especially since anything with coffee in the morning is a winner.

Now, it was time to blend both together. I added a tablespoon of both coconut oil and ghee together to see just how Bulletproof my morning could get.

IMG_2426 IMG_2427This recipe with both coconut oil and ghee was Heavenly. I seriously couldn’t remember sipping on anything more pleasurable in my life…except for peanut butter milkshakes (you get what I mean though).

However, if I had to pick a winner out of the three, it would be the first recipe with just the ghee!

Why? It gave the coffee not only such a unique taste, but a smooth texture as well. Also, the third coffee concoction with both ghee and coconut oil, was almost too good. I found myself slurping it up instead of savoring it, which is why I really love coffee in the morning.

I have really been going through my little container of ghee so much faster now that I just about use it every morning to make my coffee. It is so worth it though! I get these little 8 oz bottles at Trader Joe’s. After my Whole45, I am going to experiment with actual grass-fed butter though! The adventure continues…

 

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Got Milk?

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Nope! My husband has been having a ball making fun of my “weak brittle bones” that I have which are due to the “obvious” fact that I don’t drink milk or consume any dairy. His sarcastic humor is undermined though by the amazing fact that my entire injury was simply just a hairline fracture in my elbow when it could have been so very worse. He likes to pick and get a rise out of me; but there is no way I’m eating cheese or drinking milk anytime soon. I found a great blog post on Eat Drink Paleo that sums up the Paleo Diet and Calcium very nicely. Not only does Irena give a nice list of food groups with their corresponding calcium milligrams; but she explains why eating a Paleo diet is already Calcium-friendly just in itself. The fact that I have not been consuming grains and legumes already helps my body absorb Calcium in my daily meals. She explains:

“There are also a few enemies to watch out for. Phytates or phytic acid is an anti-nutrient found in grains and legumes (not a problem for paleo folks),  seeds, nuts and some vegetables. The body binds phytates to calcium as well as other minerals, which prevents their absorption. Soaking, aslo known as ‘activating’, nuts and seeds and cooking vegetables removes most of the phytates, making the calcium and other minerals more available to the body.”

This information regarding phyates was also clearly summed up in “It Starts With Food”. There is a great section on dairy in Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s book. I can’t recommend reading this entire book enough! Just a few interesting points to take away from their dairy section regarding Calcium:

  • Our body’s hormones and anti-inflammatory status play a role in bone health.
  • Chronic blood sugar and coritsol levels (and systematic inflammation) all accelerate bone breakdown and inhibit the formation of new bone cells.
  • The US has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world, despite having one of the highest calcium intakes.
  • Too much calcium can be a bad thing; this generally happens when we are consuming dairy, plus calcium supplements, plus calcium that is naturally available in produce.
  • Calcium is most bio-available to the body in produce.
  • Weight-bearing physical activity stress our bones in a healthy way so they respond by becoming more dense.

So, maybe that Got Milk? campaign should be changed to Got Real Food?! Thanks to the Got Milk? campaign, it is no wonder why we all think our bones are going to become brittle and dissolve the minute we stop consuming dairy.

By the way, I had the biggest crush on JTT when I was in elementary school! You better believe I would have made my mom go out and buy all the gallons of milk left in the store if I had seen this ad back then!

I have been getting plenty of veggies, but it looks like I can make more of an effort to focus on the more calcium-rich greens like collards, kale, cooked spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, and okra. I have included cooked collards, broccoli, and kale in my meals since my fracture so I am on the right track! Also, I didn’t realize how rich in calcium seafood and fish are! Sardines are pretty high on the list with 382 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams. I foresee a sardine recipe search in my future….I’ve actually never had sardines before. I will just have to add it to my Whole30 “First Timers” list!

In all seriousness, I have been very happy with my progress so far. I was told by many people that the third day after a vehicle collision is when your body feels the worst. I have honestly not felt bad at all. Yesterday (the second day) my neck was very stiff; but no pain at all. Not even in my broken elbow! I haven’t taken any of the pain meds prescribed to me….nor needed the huge bottle of Motrin I purchased just in case. At my doctor’s appointment with the orthopedic specialist on Wednesday, I was told my left arm and hand would continue to swell up before it getting better. It hasn’t swelled up any more since that day! I am 100% convinced that I am experiencing such a smooth post-collision experience(not only with my body but also with my mind) because of my Whole30 diet.

My next appointment with the orthopedic is on Wednesday. They are going to hopefully take another set of X-Rays to make sure my elbow is healing well. I am really looking forward to it! For now, my arm’s soft cast is apparently the perfect pillow for Lady ma’am…and I’m okay with that!

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Tomorrow’s one-armed adventures include finishing up my homemade bone broth, car shopping with my mom, a hair wash and trim with someone’s hands that aren’t my own, and getting a rental car!

Vroom, vroom, baby.

Salt & Vinegar

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So, my husband conveniently had the day off from work on Opening Day and went to watch the Red Sox play at our local Buffalo Wild Wings joint. He has been planning this for weeks. He is from Boston and loves all New England sports teams but nothing holds a candle to Red Sox baseball. I worked today and went to the gym afterwards so we both ended up getting home around the same time. He asked if I wanted anything from Buffalo Wild Wings. He is so cute; he even thought if he ordered some chicken wings to come “naked” they’d be compliant. I had to break the news to him that he also had to make sure the cooking oil that the wings are cooked in isn’t processed or refined. He then reluctantly gave up…but it is the thought that counts!

I do remember the Salt & Vinegar chicken wings I had ages ago the last time I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings. I really liked them. Of course I did….I love vinegar! Remember that one time I posted a picture of my empty unfiltered apple cider vinegar bottle? I go through them so fast!

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Anyway, I got to thinking of recreating my own Salt & Vinegar chicken wings at home. Except, I didn’t have any chicken wings at home. But I did have drumsticks….frozen drumsticks! I didn’t think about defrosting them earlier today so I decided to boil a pot of water. I threw the drumsticks in once the water was boiling and let them defrost and simmer for a good 10 minutes. I then let the drumsticks dry and lined a pan with parchment paper. I also melted some ghee and mixed it with a good amount of apple cider vinegar and a bit of poultry seasoning. I then patted down the drumsticks to make sure they were dry and lined them on the pan making sure they didn’t touch one another. I brushed the vinegar mixture onto the chicken and gave a few good churns of salt before baking them in the oven. After 30 minutes I flipped them over and cooked for 10 extra minutes.

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They came out quite nicely! I wished for a stronger vinegar taste, but Hubs said it was very flavorful (granted he is a vinegar wussy and has the palate of a 5 year old). The texture was perfectly crispy though which was great! Not a bad alternative compared to the list of added ingredients that go into the BWW Salt & Vinegar wings: “SALT,SOYBEAN OIL, SODIUM DIACETATE, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, SPICES, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, DISODIUM INOSINATE AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE, AND SODIUM ACETATE and Less than 2% Silicon Dioxide to prevent caking.” 

What’s crazy is that this list of ingredients was probably one of the most minimal compared to the other flavors.

The Red Sox lost today; but luckily I am winning. 🙂

Why Whole45?

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Why not!? Actually, in all seriousness, I think completing a Whole45 would be a perfectly timed thing for me right now. I have successfully completed 2 rounds of Whole30 this year and always find trouble balancing afterwards. With each Whole30 though, I become a bit better and better at the balancing part. After my first Whole30, I ended with an out-of-town trip to a wedding. There was no time to dip my toes in and test the waters. Needless to say, I belly flopped and had a very hard time getting back onto land. Once back on though, I dedicated myself right then and there to a second Whole30.

The brother and I drinking beer before the wedding.

The brother and I drinking beer before the wedding.

After my second Whole30, I had a much easier time navigating the current. However, another out of town trip involving old college friends, a brewery, and late night pizza left me feeling discouraged. The weekend was such a great time though and I refuse to let myself feel down about that. I was able to get back on track and before I knew it, I had 2 weeks under my belt of eating Whole30 compliant without really trying.

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Reuniting with friends at a local brewery after playing paintball.

However, I have recently been having visits of my sugar dragon, which has led me to juggling a nut dragon as well. I have been consuming nuts just to cope with trying not to eat anything sweet. I think this is the perfect opportunity to buckle down and knock out this Whole45. I want to slay my sugar dragon while also making sure to stop a nut dragon from growing into a sugar dragon.  My Whole45 is scheduled to end on April 26th. I had to add a few days onto my Whole45 to make up for my nut-fests.

Why not Whole60? I actually thought about doing a Whole60, but I wanted to give myself enough space to not stress out about this new endeavor. I also wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to test the waters this round. I have two weddings in May…which means I also have two Bachelorette parties I will be attending as well. I don’t want to end my Whole stretch on such a high note only to come crashing down with wedding cake, free booze, and bad dancing.

Plus, a Whole30 is just not enough! At the end of each 30 days, I always feel like I am just getting started. This time, I will get extra time to choose how I take advantage of my new found energy. Plus, I need some incentive to look better than I do now in coral at my best friend’s May wedding.

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Here I come…Watch out you overpriced coral colored piece of fabric!

Beetspiration!

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I received some cute little beets in my mini CSA basket a couple of weeks ago and it was about time that I use them. I don’t know if I’ve ever had beets or not. If I have, I didn’t know it. Their rich hues can make any dish instantly beautiful, but also make them pretty fun to play with too (see photo below).

I had no idea what to do with these little guys. I searched the Whole30 Forum to get some beet-inspiration or “Beetspiration” as my title implies. I figured I’d just roast them in the oven since it was my first time. I sliced them and lined the baking pan with parchment paper first. I had no idea if the beets would end up dying the pan or not, so I played it safe! I drizzled some melted coconut oil onto the indigo dices and then came the salt and pepper. While they were roasting, I wondered how the shade of beet would look on me.

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I needed a little bit of a sharper beet to make sure I stay within the lip lines. Homemade lip stick could be a future project…or maybe I should get some more practice in with handling beets in the kitchen first?

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Hopefully practice will make less mess. Not that it was actually messy; I just had to make sure I didn’t become the beet version of Tobias during his blue man group phase.

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So, the verdict? At first taste, they were very earthy. However, I didn’t peel the skin off and these little red nuggets came straight from the farm. I am going to need a round two do give an objective taste test. I will plan on doing a redo. But for now, they added some brightness to my ground chicken and red onion dinner bowl.

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What the Chayote?!

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I keep thinking that today is Thursday and when I think about tomorrow being Friday, my brain chimes into my wishful thinking with a “no, that can’t be right…” Dang it, it is still just Wednesday. At least today is the last day of winter! Right?! Oh, the weather forecast just may be on my side with this one! After the past four days of cold rain the high is supposed to get up to 70 tomorrow. Yay!

I’ve recently felt like I haven’t accomplished enough of what I wanted to have completed by now. The New Year felt like it just passed and we are already approaching the first day of spring! I had visions of freshly coated painted walls in my house, new efficient window treatments in the bedroom and bathroom, and a fence gate that actually closes properly. After the washer machine breaking this weekend and our fence gate falling apart from the harsh wind storm we had a few weeks ago; I have been beating myself up a little bit.

And now it’s time to acknowledge it and let it go! I’ve put a lot of time and energy into getting into a healthy routine and mindset this year and that should be the top of the “to do” list. With spring coming (tomorrow) and hopefully warmer weather right around the corner, I am hoping I will get motivated to head start the house tasks and get most of them accomplished before the fall.

So, to say goodbye to winter and set the new path for spring; I decided to plan dinner tonight around a new food item I’ve never tried: chayote. I’ve been pronouncing chayote like “coyote”, but my husband pronounces it “chai-oat.” However it is pronounced, it is super cute and looks like a cross between a pear and a squash.

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It were super easy to slice and its texture reminded me a lot of an apple or a pear. I ate a sliver of it while dicing and it reminded me of a sweet-pepper-pear.

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I sauteed them with onions, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. I then added my chayote combo to some grass-fed beef and mixed an egg, cumin, celery seed, coriander and oregano all together.

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I then chayote-stuffed some peppers. Chayote! It’s also fun to use as an onomatopoeia. But most of all, it was the perfect addition of flavor to our dinner.

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And 45 minutes later, it was finally time to enjoy.

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Goodbye Winter; welcome Spring.

Evergreen Salad

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After such a beautiful and sunny day yesterday, this Sunday has been gray, rainy, and cold. II am so grateful I spent most of the day outside yesterday after seeing the rain fall all day. The rain has made a great day for watching movies with Hubs and Lady. I am trying to fill as much Irish culture as I can into today since St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow. We have watched “Waking Ned Divine” and “Far and Away” so far. That is my paleo version of “Irish culture” since I am choosing not to drink Guinness with my husband. I’ve also gotten some quality prep time in the kitchen as well. I have been roasting, slicing, peeling, and dicing! I also became inspired to throw in every green colored edible item I found in my kitchen to make a luscious lucky leprechaun loot of a salad.

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I had about 6 kiwis in my fridge. I peeled and diced them and tossed them into a bowl (which was also conveniently green-colored).

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I then diced some celery stalks and threw those in.

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Next came the avocados. I peeled and diced two avocados. They were the perfect ripeness too which made me super happy!

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I then poured a half cup of pistachios. These have been my go-to nut recently. I purchased these that already come un-shelled at Trader Joe’s for a great price. I hate fidgeting with the pistachios trying to get them out of their shells. I always have to end up using my teeth and then the cracklings of the shell fly everywhere and then I cuss out loud.

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To top it off, I added some mint flakes and squeezed some lime juice onto it. I also threw in a bit of fresh kale to give it a crispy texture and stirred it all up. I put some plastic wrap over the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let all the flavors meld together.

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I wasn’t sure how this salad was going to taste, but I figured it’d be fun to make. Surprisingly, it has the perfect variety of flavors and texture. The pistachios, celery and kale really help balance the mushiness of the avocado and kiwi. If you aren’t taming a sugar dragon, it would be divine with honey drizzled on it. I think I will put some chicken breast on it and eat it for lunch tomorrow!

I received a St. Patty’s Day present from a leprechaun this morning. I am so glad he knows me so well!

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I received beautiful wavy fresh red lettuce, scallions, dried apple chips, a green bell pepper and a chayote. I’ve never eaten or cooked a chayote. In fact, I had to look up what in the world it is. According to Wikipidia, a Chayote is in the gourd family closely related to melons, squashes and cucumbers. Fun! It kind of looks like a hybrid between a pepper and a pear. f anyone out there has any good ideas for ways to cook it, please let me know. My leprechaun received Guinness and a Mint Cookie Chocolate Bar. I’m not kidding when I say we love holidays. Happy St. Patty’s Day Eve!