Where Did That Pork Chop Live?

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My brother, Thomas, is a farmer.  He, along with Bailey, have a farm in midstate New York.  There are chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, peacocks, and pigs.  I’m sure I’m forgetting someone in that group.  There are also gardens of the flower and vegetable persuasion.  Really, it’s a sustainable farm. They refer to it as a small, pasture-based farm.bailey

We recently had a lengthy conversation about food.  Paleo, clean eating, local farming, co-ops, farmer’s markets, cooking, baking. Just food.  It was a pretty fantastic conversation.  I was impressed and a little jealous as I listened to him speak.  With their farm, they gather what they need as they need it.  They sell some of it; give some away. Thomas said that they haven’t gone out to eat for months.  Home-cooked meals every night with THEIR ingredients.

I asked Thomas about his feelings on getting to know the animals, naming them, butchering, then finally eating.  He said that they have an understanding.  During the animal’s life, they take care of the animals.  The animals are fed, they are watered, they are loved.  Once it’s time for their life to come to an end, it’s their turn to do their part.  To provide meat, to take care of the farmers.  That’s a pretty legit way of thinking.  Respect for that.

The thing that he said that was the most impressionable was “We know our animals.  We know how they ate. We know how they lived; we know how they died.”  My brother knows every single thing that their pigs have eaten during their lifetime. He made the comment that each and every single one of their animals ran around the farm, played, enjoyed the sunshine. Each one of the animals died humanely and respectfully.  I think that’s pretty awesome.  To be a part of something like that….amazing.

I know I’m guilty.  I have no idea what kind of life that the cow had that provided me with its beef.  I don’t know where my pork chop lived. Paleo says free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, organic everything.  Really, that is the best way to eat.  I will be honest, it’s expensive, and  I don’t follow that very often.  I do the best that I can.  I think after talking to Thomas, I will make more of an effort to really know where my food came from.

Having your own farm is a pretty big commitment.  If you’re not able to partake in that, I strongly encourage supporting the local guys.  Scope out farmer’s markets.  Ask around about local co-ops.  Buy the local produce.  Buy the local honey.  Local bacon.  Talk to the farmers.  Ask them questions.  Know your food.

Another idea is a produce share program.  The city that I work in has a produce sharing program. City employees are encouraged to bring extra seeds and produce to a designated spot in city hall.  Vicky has way too many tomatoes this week from her plants; Linda is jonesin’ for some homemade tomato sauce.  Everyone wins.

Two really good documentaries about where food comes from are Food Inc. and Tapped.  They changed the way that I looked at food.  Eye-opening.  Watch Food Inc. for free HERE.  Watch Tapped HERE for free.

I guess, my point in this is to just know your food.  Make smart decisions. I mean, there is the saying “You are what you eat.”  That’s truth right there.

The link to Thomas and Bailey’s blog is HERE. I highly recommend checking it out.  Adventures.  Baby animals.  Farm life.  Farm struggles. 2 humble guys who have a knack for farming, writing, and throwing dinner parties.

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Steve’s PaleoGoods

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Here is what I ordered from Steve’s PaleoGoods.  I ordered a few Paleokits, some Paleo Krunch, a Paleo Krunch Bar, some beef jerky, and a marinade/dressing sampler.  Check out their website for more info on their products.

I opened their Paleo Krunch and the grass-fed beef jerky at work the other day.  Everyone commented on how great both products tasted.  The Paleo Krunch is grain-free dairy-free granola, sweetened with honey.  I was impressed.  Great flavor, a little crunch, and totally clean.  The jerky has a slight kick and the flavor is spot on.  The guys at work really liked it. 

Their Paleokits are pretty great as well.  Jerky, nuts, berries.  It sounds like an interesting combo, but it really works well.  The Paleokit that I opened today included beef jerky, cranberries, nuts, and some strawberries.  Awesome flavor.  The best part was that it was the perfect amount to tide me over between meals.  I WILL be ordering more of these.  Great for work, beach bag, post workout…

I also marinated some chicken in the peach BBQ and the ginger cilantro sauces then grilled it up.  Again, thoroughly impressed. The flavor is kickin, adds a lot to some grilled chicken.  These sauces even taste clean too.  No high fructose corn syrup, no sugar, no extras.  They’re simple and tasty.  As far as the rest of the items that I purchased, I’m giving them away.  Congrats to the 5 who won the contest on my Facebook page.  Enjoy!

Steve’s PaleoGoods are definitely a Paleo win! Not sure what to try?  I recommend getting a few sampler packs.  This way, you get to try a little bit of everything.

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Homemade Blueberry Preserves

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Since I was baking some grain-free bread, I thought it would be appropriate to make a jam to go with it.  Ridiculously simple and just as delicious.

You will need:
Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Honey
Lemon juice
Lemon zest

Smash the berries in a sauce pan. I used a potato mashed. Next, add the honey, lemon juice, and zest. I just bought a lemon and used the juice and zest. Pretty slick. Heat on medium-high and boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Once sauce thickens, take off heat. I am storing my preserves in a small mason jar.

I used the amount of honey that the recipe called for, and the sweetness was spot on. Texture is perfect. Flavor is great. More nutritious and definitely more delicious than that store bought garbage. Another keeper.

Try it yourself HERE.

Happy eating!

Grain-free Sandwich Bread

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Against All Grain is one of my new favorite sites. I was recently perusing through some of the recipes and found this recipe for bread. It looked fairly easy. I had most of the ingredients. It didn’t call for cups and cups of coconut flour. I was sold.

You will need:
cashew butter
Eggs
Honey
Apple cider vinegar
Almond milk
Coconut flour
Baking soda
Salt

Mix together the cashew butter and egg yolks. Set whites aside for later. Add honey, vinegar, and milk to the cashew/egg mixture. Beat the egg white in a separate bowl until peaks form. Set aside. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Once oven is preheated, add dry ingredients to mixture, then egg whites. Beat this mixture until its just combined. Don’t over mix.

Pour into prepared loaf pan, then bake for 45-50 minutes. It is imperative that you keep the oven closed during this time to allow the bread to rise.

The recipe says to wait an hour before digging in. I couldn’t resist. Warm bread fresh out of the oven with butter and some homemade blueberry jam…one of the greatest things I have eaten in a very long time. You can’t taste the coconut at all and there is an ever so slight nutty flavor of the bread. It was perfectly baked. Soft, not crispy.

This was definitely a treat. I will be making this often. The website also had a recipe for paleo French toast using this bread. Be assured, I will be posting about it soon.

Bread recipe can be found HERE.  You’re welcome.

GIVEAWAY

Steve’s Paleo Goods has a plethora of Paleo snacks available for purchase. But they’re not in it just for the money. 15% of all sales go towards a non-profit national program that brings fitness, nutrition guidance and mentorship to at-risk youth. So really, everyone wins.

I have ordered a few things from Steve’s Paleo Goods that I’m excited to share with you guys. This week, to get your name in the hat, first “Like” the Paleo Paramedic on Facebook.  You can find a quick link at the bottom lefthand side of this page.  Once you navigate to my Facebook page, look for the GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY post and follow the instructions. 

Good luck!

Legumes

Beans and peas and soy and peanuts.  What’s the problem?  I’ve been doing a little research lately.  I will do my best to explain it the way that I understand it. 

Legumes are from a plant family that includes a variety of beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, green beans, and peanuts.  On a sidenote, coffee, cocoa, and vanilla are not included in this family.  Often times, legumes are labeled as a healthy option due to their fiber, vitamin, mineral, and protein content.  However, when you take a closer look, A. Legumes are much higher in the carbohydrate department than protein. 2. When it comes to protein, you are far better off getting protein from meat, seafood, and eggs. C. As far as micronutrients and fiber, your fruit and vegetables trump legumes. 

When it comes to legumes, there are really 2 main issues with them: Phytic Acid and lectin.

Phytic Acid binds to nutrients, preventing absorption.  This essentially makes them inaccessible to our bodies.  In my research, I found that really, it depends on the amount that you consume.  It has been debated that it’s ok with smaller amounts.  Personally, I have decided that a snack of sugar snap peas or a small side of green beans is ok, but that’s my personal opinion.  Strict Paleo says no.

Legumes are a big carbohydrate source.  With carbohydrate comes sugar.  1. Beans have a higher glycemic load which Paleo purists try to steer clear of. B. Some of the carbs are tough to digest which may cause unpleasant digestive problems for some people. While this may not be a reason for everyone to avoid them, it’s definitely something to be mindful of…especially if you have IBS or similar digestive problems. 

Lectin proteins are found in all sorts of food, with levels being especially high in legumes, grain, and dairy.  Lectin is tough to digest.  Once in the gut, the still mostly intact proteins have the potential to cross the lining and into the bloodstream.  This is when we see an immune response which triggers systemic inflammation (see: leaky gut).  People react differently to lectin.  If you eat some baked beans, you may be just fine, while your neighbor over there may experience cramping, bloating, gas, and so on and so forth.  Same food, same amount, different reactions. 

I just wanted to take the time to elaborate a little more on GI distress.  Since choosing to adopt the clean eating lifestyle, I have taken an unofficial survey of other people who have also done the same.  I have had multiple discussions with a handful of people who have also decided to switch to clean food.  In our dialogue, I have found that the majority of them have noticed a significant difference in the way that they feel.  Sure, they have more energy, clearer skin, weight loss, etc.  But the main thing that they (we) have noticed is less GI discomfort.  When you start out maybe doing a strict 30 day challenge, after those 3o days, you may not notice a huge difference in the way that you feel.  It’s when you slowly start adding the grains, the dairy, the legumes back into your diet that you see the difference.  For the majority of people, they notice bloating, cramps, gas, and heartburn.  Just the other week, I sampled a little something at the fire station that had flour and sugars in it.  Later that night, I began to have some gnarly stomach cramps, bloating, and heartburn. I had it for the rest of the evening.  Before Paleo, I experienced these symptoms fairly regularly, but since making the switch to cleaner eating, I haven’t had any of these symptoms.  Cheats like that help me to remember why I choose to be Paleo.

I know of a few people who follow my blog who choose to be vegetarian for various reasons. How does one get protein if meat, seafood, AND legumes are removed?  Keep in mind, I write these “Paleo science” blogs from the strict Paleo point of view.  I’m just here to educate.  I believe that with any type of eating, you need to be smart with it.  You need to be mindful of the vitamins and mineral that you’re lacking and find other ways to get them into your diet, whether your Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, whatever.  I promote clean eating.  How you modify that is up to you.  Just be smart about it.

Again, everyone is different. You may feel just fine eating legumes.  Strict Paleo says no, but people modify their Paleo in all sorts of ways.  You need to experiment and see how legumes affect the way that you feel and how you look, act, think, what have you.  As always, comments are welcome.  I don’t know all of the answers, but I will do my best to figure it out.  I am very much still learning. 

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Paleo Mayo Round 2

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The last paleo mayo that I made was pretty mustardy. My husband doesn’t care for mustard, so I wanted to find a recipe that was a little more mild.

This recipe doesn’t actually call for Bacon fat, but I decided to try substituting the olive oil with Bacon fat.

Here is what you need
Egg
Lemon juice
Mustard powder
White pepper
Sea salt
Light olive oil -OR- bacon fat

Mix everything, except for the olive oil/bacon fat, together in the food processor. Mix until the concoction is almost frothy. The recipe says to add the olive oil VERY slowly. With the bacon fat, I made sure that it was cool, yet still slightly liquidy. I’m trying to think of something to compare the consistency to, but finding it difficult. I suppose you could compare the consistency to that of butter that’s half liquid/half softened. Anyway, once the bacon fat was cool enough, I added it to the food processor maybe a tablespoon at a time.

This mayo actually turned out perfectly. The texture is spot on, just like the real deal. The flavor IA subtle. Big on the bacon, light on the mustard.

I mixed it with some tuna and a pickle. Pretty great actually. I recommend it.

Baconnaise recipe is HERE.

Coconut Flour Apple Pancakes

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I have a rare day off today,  thought it would be a good day to try some apple pancakes.

What you need:
Eggs
Butter
Milk (non-dairy)
Honey or real maple syrup
Sea salt
Cinnamon
Coconut flour
Apple

Mix everything together except for the Apple. Once everything is mixed, fold in the Apple then stir it all together. Finally, cook up some flapjacks.

A. I was fresh out of almond milk this am, so I substituted the milk with heavy whipping cream.
2. The recipe says to either shred or chop the Apple. I chose to shred it. I used a larger grater, so in my mind, it was like eating Apple hashbrowns. Next time I would use a smaller grater or dice the Apple. Other than that, I was pleased with how the pancakes turned out.
C. I used maple syrup instead of the honey as a sweetener. I’m sure honey is just as delicious as the syrup.
4. It was nice to see such a small amount of coconut flour used. You don’t have to deplete your spendy grain-free flour stash with this one.

The Apple is subtle and goes well with the coconut flavor.  Growing up, my mom used to make these amazing Apple pancakes complete with powdered sugar on top. This was a decent substitute for the Apple pancake breakfast I remember from when I was little.

You can find the recipe HERE.

Pecan Hummus

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Since eating clean, I have missed my hummus….a lot. I used to go to town on the spicy pepper hummus and veggies.  Chickpeas fall into the legume category, which is not Paleo. Suffice it to say, I was pretty excited to find this recipe. 

4 ingredients
Pecans
Tahini
Salt
Pepper

I also added a little EVOO and used garlic pepper instead of plain black pepper. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor. That’s it. Easiest recipe. Ever.

I chose to try out the hummus by dipping some carrot sticks into it. I was expecting it to taste like hummus. Turns out, it doesn’t really taste like hummus…obviously has a nutty flavor.  This is a really good substitute for hummus. This would also be pretty delicious with ants on q log (celery and raisins). In the future, I plan to experiment a little more with other flavors (roasted red pepper, basil, green olives, etc.).

Try this one out. Let me know what fun ingredients you would add to the recipe.

Thank you, Cassandra, from Fed and Fit for posting such great recipes. 

Recipe found HERE.