Real Food Transition and a small rant

Yes that is some rice you see there. Sometimes I really want some “comfort food”. For me that is not mac and cheese or pizza, my comfort food is some yummy meat dish with sauce over rice. So last night I made some indian masala type dish with fresh ground lamb, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, onion, spices, tomato paste and a bit of coconut milk. I made a little bit of basmati rice to go with it. Two (2) tbspoons of yogurt with some turmeric, cumin, sea salt, mustard seed and cayenne is a nice dipping sauce and an easy way to get some good for you spices into the body. Especially this time of year, with so many people suffering through colds and flu, these spices pack a powerful anti inflammatory and immune system boost.

The reason I posted this dish, is because I want to do my share to help you if you are struggeling sticking to “paleo/primal/ef” way of eating.  Just the other day I read a comment on Chris’s blog by Asclepius. Mr. Asclepius has been around like me with a blog since 2007. He’s always got insightful and truthful posts that are well thought out. Another great “bricoleur” out there that investigates, applies and leaves behind, forever moving forward. He said the following in his comment:

We should all have had a rough idea of what to do to get a handle on this ‘paleo’ thing since ADV’s Essay on Evolutionary Fitness.

If you cannot get a handle on paleo from that essay then I’d suggest people are over-complicating things!

All the other stuff that has come out since GCBG, WWGF, NED, PB, PS etc… is just gravy. Useful resources and great reads, but gravy.

I like to read paleo-oriented books, papers and blogs to fill in the gaps in my technical understanding, but for me it is as important to read about practical application of the paleo framework and the real-world experiences of others.

There are only so many times you can read “cut grains/o6/HFCS” and “lights-out” or “saturated fat is good”, “sprint barefoot”, “power law yada yada” etc….

Better (IMHO) to see some blogs featuring diet and workouts accompanied by ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots (with the odd rant naturally)!

Devany’s fifth law: “We should recognize the limits of knowledge and just get on the path that favours better outcomes”.

 I have been thinking about this very thing a lot lately. Many people I know get caught up gathering more and more information. And what do they do with all that information?? Many can spew some great facts, findings and studies. But very few can relate their experiences and/or look the part. You know why? Because they just HAVE all this information. They have done nothing with it.

My old martial arts teacher used to comment on this very same phenomena in the martial arts community. People “collect” techniques. They can tell you all about a kata, or a form, but very few understand and know how to APPLY the principles behind it. What’s the use of “knowing” 73 techniques if you can’t really perform one well. You’re much better off knowing just 2 or 3 and really knowing the “ins and outs” of it and able to apply it successfully. This unfortunately doesn’t really excite most of our Western minds. Spending years with just 2 or 3 techniques. The paradox here is that if and when you DO spend the time truly incorporating these techniques into the fiber of your being….you never really need to “learn” other techniques. Because in essence all the principles are the same and if you truly have made it yours and understand it, you understand all the other techniques also. (this level of mastery is not often achieved)

 Now for the good news…when it comes to our ever growing paleo/primal/ef world, there are certain basics that are so simple, all it takes is some time and dedication to incorporate these guiding principles into your being. (really no different then the martial arts techniques as their basics are also very simple…they just take time and dedication ). In that light I would like to do a few posts over the next month that help you make the transition into the basic principles of paleo/primal/ef. The very first step I recommend is to focus on eating only REAL FOOD. and YES, rice, potatoes and yams are part of that REAL FOOD transition. Once you’re home cooking and eating 90% of your meals that consist of real food, you can start fine tuning according to your goals and specific issues. I’m going to venture a speculation here and say that by eating nothing but real foods for 2 months, you will notice incredible changes in the way you feel and function.

Forget about exercise if you are struggeling with it. Over the course of the next 2 months just take some nice walks, but the main focus should be your transition to eating REAL FOOD.  I’m not going to make a list for you…but you all know what NOT to eat. If you are used to eating a lot of dairy, try to make your portions a bit smaller for now, but DO NOT eliminate. My idea of a transition is that it should be an enjoyable experience. After all, you are trying to eat this way because you want to right? So starting today, focus on eating nothing but real food. I will post simple recipes as well as shopping list ideas to keep you on track for the next 4 weeks or so.

So the above dish is easy to recreate with lots of different flavors and meats. Buy some ground meat of your choice. Saute some garlic and onion (fresh please, not powder or flakes), add in your meat.  Now add some spices and when close to cooked to desired temp, add  1 heaping tbspoons of tomato paste for every 1/2 pound of meat. Mix well and next pour in about 1/3 of a cup of coconut milk or 1/4 cup heavy cream. Let simmer until it starts to reduce down a bit and the sauce thickens. Serve over small portion of rice. How’s that for easy?

If I can do it…anyone can do it. No fancy herb garden just a very large pot that I picked up at kmart garden center for about 5 bucks. Next I bought $5 woth of small seedlings of mint, replanted those in the big pot and added some soil (also from Kmart, $1.69) Now I have an overflowing mint pot, which is divine to make home made fresh mint tea. Perfect after dinner….and real food

I really want to show you how easy this is, so please share your questions, concerns and frustrations, I look forward to adressing them and getting you past them. I think you will be amazed at the results of this 8 week transition.

CARPE DIEM

Half Marathon

Sunday morning was the yearly Naples Half Marathon. Last year I decided to run on a whim having never ran more then 4 miles. Here’s the write up from last year. If you like to run in race and want to combine it with a vacation, I can think of no better place then Naples Florida in January, just before the actual “season” makes it so crazy busy here.

Eventhough I run races on the weekends (mostly 5K’s), I am by no means a regular runner.  The event this past Sunday morning was nothing short of spectacular! The race course through Old Naples is just stunningly beautiful.

I was up a bit too late the night before the race, enjoying company and excellent wine, after a delicious meal as well as a few small shots of homemade Hungarian moonshine called Palinka that one of my co-workers brough back from Hungary recently. When somebody said “what time is it?” we realised it was 12:35 am and the alarm was set for 5:15.  At that point we through caution to the wind had one more shot and called it a night. I can tell you that when 5:15 came around just a few hours later…I had that early morning “let me throw up now feeling” and thought to myself…”13.1 miles….hmmm that just doesn’t sound great right now. We got to the race site at 6:15 and picked up our race chips. A bit before 7 am the national anthem was splendidly performed by a few folks from our local Philharmonic center for the Arts. The gun went off and just over 2000 people took off to run 13.1 miles on a beautiful Sunday morning. About 55-60 degrees, no humidity and a sunrise about to transpire. Our little group (four of us and all in VFF Bikilas) decided to run a few nice and easy 10 minute miles to warm up and to not worry about the crowds at the start. The first 2 miles were a bit over 10 miles an hour pace, but it was enjoyable, and the wine and palinka stayed down in the belly.

After mile 4, I was feeling good and picked up the pace a bit. My goal was to run this thing in under 2 hours. Last years time was 2:10. I felt good throughout the race and enjoyed all the people running together and the spectacular scenery. When I saw the sign for mile 10, the clock said 1:31. With just 3.1 to go (just a quick 5K) I realised my pace had been steady enough that I COULD come in at my goal of under 2 hours.  I turned up the music and kept running…and then..I hit mile 12. The last mile of this race was on a “resurfaced street”. All I can tell you is that my feet hurt. I mean really really hurt. Each step felt worse then the last one and the only thing I could do for relief, was to run right on the yellow dividing line in the street which was the smoothest part of the street. I can say that as much as I tried to sprint the last 1/4 mile, I just didn’t have much left. I ran through the finish in 1:58. Actual time was probably more like 1:56, as it took at least 2 minutes to hit the startting line at the start of the race. The race chips they use do not calculate start to finish, but start of “race” till finish line, don’t aks me why. I’m sure there are better chips/systems out there, but hey, maybe it’s an expensive undertaking for a small local runners club/organization.I already look forward to running it agan next year.

Quick shout out to American icon Mr. Jack Lalanne. He was very strong till the end. Thank you Mr. Lalanne. Thank you for your conviction and energy, it truly made a difference for so many.

Coming up next…..”How to make a smooth transition to eating REAL FOOD”

Restaurant Paleo

 As I was picking up my place a bit last night and thinking about what to make for dinner, I got in the mood for “restaurant food”. I wanted flavor and texture mixed together in a way that makes you stop what you’re doing and you’re forced to take notice to say “dang this is good”. I’m sure eventually there will many paleo/primal restaurants to frequent, but for now, we will have to rely on each others ideas, creativity and sharing of recipes to serve some “restaurant paleo” food at home. I humbly share the following with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. As always; simple to make, real food and some love mixed together for a different dish.

Champagne braised turnips with shallots and miso. Fresh grilled gulf shrimp with a ponzu and wasabi butter glaze. 

I bought some delicious shrimp at the farmers market. These babies were just a day old and had the heads on. I also picked up some organice turnips and a few shallots. Pictures are a bit in reverse order but you get the point.

Simple stuff so here we go;

Slice up 1 large shallot nice and thin. Wash your turnips and slice. About 1/3–1/2 an inch thick. In butter saute the shallots and add the sliced turnips. Medium heat and give them time to brown on each side (bottom picture). Mix 1 teaspoon of miso with a bit of water and when turnips are browned on both sides add the miso mixture and make sure everything is coated. Now I had one glass of champagne on New Years Eve, so I saved the rest for cooking purposes. It was just a cheap bottle as I knew I would only have a sip. An adolescent experience has me not liking champagne all that much 😉 Pour the champagne on top of the turnips so that they are almost covered, turn your heat down a bit and let them do their thing. They are ready when easily pierced with a fork.

For the fresh shrimp, I grabbed a splash of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and a dash of chili powder. I let that sit in the fridge for the day. After taking the shrimp out of the fridge and letting them come to temperature a bit, I drizzled them with ponzu sauce and a dollop of wasabi. Now put them on the grill. The heads can take a bit more heat then the body so have them on the hottest part of your grill. I then took the ponzu wasabi left over sauce, put it in a small pan, added some butter and reduced it down. When the shrimps were almost done on the grill, I spooned the butter ponzu reduction over them on the grill for a bit of a glaze and extra flavor.

Next time you find yourself in Naples FL, come and have dinner with my girlfriend and I. And we will indulge in some “restarant paleo” food and some good conversation. Red wine and sake appreciated as houesewarming gifts. 😉

Enjoy your day!

Miso, Butter and Garlic Steak

What I’m going to share with you is so freakishly delicious and so super simple to make, you owe it to yourself to try it and then you owe it to me, to let me know what you thought of it. 😉

A very nice example of blending the flavors from different cultures. White Misopairs so nicely with garlic (I mentioned it in a comment just yesterday on www.perfecthealthdiet.com) yet you don’t see it used together much.  Do pay attention when you buy miso paste. Some of the products do have gluten and strange ingredients (organic nongmo soy bean, rice culture, sea salt and water is all that is in most). I go for organic on this one. I really like the “Miso Master “ brand.

So this is what you will need;

– Steak  (I have never used rib-eye for this recipe by the way)

– 1 tbsp miso paste

– 2 tbsp butter

– 2 cloves of garlic

Fire up your grill (or broiler) and get it nice and hot. Let your steak come to room temperature. In a small bowl combine the miso and butter. Heat softly until blended (you can give it quick nuke in the microwave also). Mince 2 garlic cloves and add to the miso butter mixture. Spoon the mixture over your steak on both sides. Let it sit for a few minutes so that the miso butter can soak into the steak. Now put it on the grill. Baste the steak while it’s cooking a few times. Cook till desired temp. Let it rest for about 5 minutes and slice.

I had some yellow pepper and young local onion, so I sliced and diced and tossed it together with a bit of butter and white wine. If you happen to have some sake on hand…use that instead of the white wine. 

“There is this feeling that, if you’re still in business, still going, still alive…..the problems can handled over time.”

My dad typed that up and gave it to me during a difficult time in my life…I have it in a little frame, good to look at and remember every now and then. Situations arise…nothing we can do about it. With an open heart and good intentions, handle what needs to be handled.

2011, A Magical Year.

My wishes to all of you and your loved ones. I hope 2011 is the year where you “DO” as you “KNOW”.

If you happended to have made some new years resolutions, good luck with them. Go easy on yourself and don’t be to drastic with your changes in the beginning.

Remember “You can never get enough of what you don’t want”.  Let me know if you want me to clarify that one.

Simple grilled steak last night. Mix up some sea salt, fresh ground pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Coat your steak and put it on the grill. Don’t cheat and turn it….let it do its thing for a good 4 minutes (high heat) per side if it’s a nice thick steak. (find the spot on your grill where it’s nice and hot, but where you don’t get flare -ups)

Cover with some alluminum foil after cooking and let it rest for about 7 minutes. Then slice and eat.

Do you ever look at your significant other and say to yourself  “how did I get this lucky?”        I do 😉

This week, spend a little time thinking about your loved one…how happy/good they make you feel…how you used to feel when you first got together….be grateful for them…and let those thoughts nourish good feelings inside of you.

Make it a great week everyone and here’s to 2011.