Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Local produce-gasm!

I am eating the most delicious salad for lunch and felt compelled to write about it right away.  It has turkey lunch meat on it, but bear with me.  Said turkey is resting upon a mountain of gorgeous salad greens and boiled eggs from a farm in my area.  I added a dressing I picked up from Whole Foods- the ONLY paleo-friendly dressing I have ever seen in a grocery store!  It's called Tessemae's All-Natural Lemon-Garlic Dressing, and it's from Annapolis, a little over an hour from where I live.  All it has in it is olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt, and mustard.  Oh, and of course I added several strips of crumbled bacon.

Anyhoo, this salad mix (from the Funny Farm in Callaway, MD) is amazing.  It has some baby lettuce, arugula, some other leafy stuff and herbs I can't identify, and the result is super tasty.  Like, I never knew the base of a salad could be so good; it usually doesn't taste like much of anything!  I had been trying to call this farm to see about doing a tour with my Meetup group, but the phone number I found online was no good.  I sucked it up and headed over to the farm last weekend.  I went into their store and discovered they sell eggs and butter from the local Amish; score!  When I went to the fridge to get some, the lady at the counter told me about the salad greens, so I grabbed a bag of that too.  I asked her about their beef, if they just sell by the side or quarter, and she let me know there were steaks and ground beef in the freezer.  OH SNAP!  I had been ordering grassfed beef from Vermont, unaware that there was a source of smaller quantities, right on my own backyard.  All because I'm lazy and over-dependent on the internet!  So yeah, I'm so glad I popped in; now I have a new source for cheap, top-quality eggs and butter, and steaks too.

Soon I will have a new phone with a better camera.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Whole9 Virtual Workshop Experience!

Last week I saw on Whole9 that they would be piloting a new virtual workshop format, and would be selecting a handful of readers to participate in a free trial run.  Well, I am a major Melissa & Dallas fan, and they have quite a following, so imagine my delight when I saw that I had made the cut!  I submitted questions inquiring about their thoughts on cholesterol (and cholesterol meds), how much importance they place on organ meats, and about nutritional preparation for Tough Mudder (still toying with the idea of actually doing this).  There will be a future workshop focusing on endurance training, so my last question would be a better fit for when that event happens, but I got some great info on the other two, and also got a lot of good tidbits from the other participants' questions.

First off, I am pretty interested in cholesterol.  I remember the first time one of my friends told me that saturated fat intake and cholesterol was never proven to cause heart disease; I probably looked at her like she had eight heads.  Well, eventually I decided to stop believing things on the grounds they are repeated so much, everyone takes them as gospel.  The fact of the matter is, this whole idea is borne of a scientist cherry-picking data to suit his own pre-conceived notion, not good science.  These days, you can't watch TV for than half an hour without seeing a commercial for a cholesterol medication, showing some fit, active, middle-aged individual for whom "diet and exercise isn't enough."  Crestor is their final hope against certain death! Wellll, not necessarily.  There are millions of Americans on drugs to artificially lower their cholesterol, and there is much debate as to how effective these drugs are at preventing heart disease, especially in women.  Anyhoo, Dallas & Melissa's take was that high cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, but a symptom of inflammation (which is an accepted factor for heart disease), and we are better off concentrating our efforts on reducing inflammation by living a healthy lifestyle, rather than lowering cholesterol artificially.  Right on!

In other news, I was relieved to learn that the Whole9 folks are totally cool with my not eating liver, woohoo!  Grassfed offal can be a wonderful source of nutrients, but we don't need to worry about missing out on anything by sticking to muscle meats, of course along with various veggies.  I do have a grassfed beef liver in my freezer, and I WILL defrost and eat it one day, but I'm not going to sweat it after that.

There were some great questions from the other participants about stuff like gluten and protein powders for PWO nutrition.  One person reported that they were able to re-introduce gluten with no ill effects, and was wondering if that meant they could keep eating it.  Dallas explained that gluten can increase gut permeability and the damage can build up over time, even if an individual doesn't feel bad after eating it.  They categorized it as one of those things you should only eat if it's in the form of something really special and tasty.  I myself am gluten intolerant, so it's gotten pretty easy for me to resist temptation! 

As for protein powders, of course Melissa and Dallas recommend having real food after workouts, but they do recognize that life gets in the way, and sometimes a protein shake is in order.  They do not recommend whey protein though, which is a popular choice among paleo folk who shake it up.  Egg white protein is a superior choice because it doesn't elicit the inflammatory and insulin responses that dairy products do, and because it tastes like crap.  Yes, it is a better choice because it tastes like crap- protein shakes are convenience food, and you can't have your cake and eat it too (definitely don't eat cake after your workout!)For example, I have been having several whey protein shakes a week- chocolate flavored, and blended with delicious fruits and almond milk.  But, but, I go to a Crossfit affiliate 40 minutes away, and I'm just trying to get my post workout meal in as soon as possible!  Well, I'm going to suck it up and bring some real food to eat after my workouts- it really isn't that hard to make a big batch of mashed sweet potatoes & boiled eggs to eat over the course of the week.  And if I don't make the time make that happen, well, I'm not rewarding myself with a delicious chocolatey concoction.  Tough love!

So yeah, what a cool experience!  I'm really looking forward to signing up for future virtual workshops, and am so glad I had the chance to participate in the pilot.  I really like their style- they tell it like it is (but very nicely), and they make things easy to understand for us non-sciencey folk; if they hold a workshop on a topic that interests you, totally check it out!

Just fruit & coconut milk, I swear!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Food Pr0n

I have been massively delinquient in my posting lately, and I don't want to lose my five readers, so here's some food porn to tide ya over!  I apologize in advance if there are any duplicates here, and I will post full recipes for some of these soon.  Work, yada yada, school, yada yada, you get the idea...

Roasted duck with sauteed asparagus and blue skillet taters

Chicken breast wrapped in bacon with green beans
and teeny-tiny potatoes from Trader Joe's

An in-progress omelette- baby arugula and
Blarney Castle cheese

The bacon-wrapped chicken in leftover form:
over spinach salad!

I better warn my sister to avert her eyes- runny yolk alert!
(She has runny-yolk issues)

Soft-boiled egg, sauteed spinach, and oil-poached salmon