Monday, June 25, 2012

Eat This!

Before we stumbled upon Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive, we complained a lot about not feeling well, being unhappy with our body weight, and (especially the kids) our tummies hurting.  Today, we don't hear that kind of complaining.  
These infographics are directly from Dave's blog, The Bulletproof Executive.  If you enter your email address, you get free access to his toolbox, including the diet, these infographics, and shopping lists.
We still eat like this because it makes sense to us and we've seen significant changes in our physical appearance and how we feel on the inside. 
We're still working through what the best things are for us to eat as individuals. Because we are all different, what works for you may not work for me.  For instance, I can't eat raw almonds, unless they are skinned.  So, even though it is in the green section of what to eat, I need to stay away. 
We're pretty serious about this.  This is our new food pyramid. It's working for our family. 
Now, it doesn't mean you won't see me at a graduation party eating tacos, rice, beans, and red vines.  Or that I won't enjoy a glass of wine.  Or that I won't have a slice or two of churro cheesecake at the birthday party and the next day at the potluck.  I'm not a saint and you shouldn't judge.
What it does mean is that for the most part, we make better eating choices today than we did a few months ago and we feel and look better for it. 
Come on, try it with us!  Let me know what you decide and how it changes your life. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cauliflower Poppers

Easy and super yummy as a side dish or afternoon snack.

Turn on the oven to 425º and by the time your oven is preheated you'll have your head of cauliflower chopped up.

Drizzle cauliflower florets with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

The first time I made this my kids and their friends devoured it within seconds.  Seriously!

I tried to tell my popcorn-loving friend this would be a good substitute for her popcorn cravings but after making and eating it again, it really doesn't take care of that need for crunch.

It is delicious, though!  I hope you try it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beef Fried "Rice"

Last night we celebrated Asher's 4th birthday with her favorite dinner, "Asian".  It gave me a great excuse to use my coconut aminos.

I followed the recipe from Enjoying Healthy Foods but without the pepper and worstershire.  Feel free to add whatever veggies you like.  In addition to the recipe I added zucchini and cabbage.  It was a huge hit - especially with the birthday girl.

The best compliment I got was from her 6 and 3/4 year-old sister, Hero.  She said, "This is the best Japanese food I've ever had".

Try it and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Easy Tacos

 Sometimes you just don't feel like cooking.  This can barely be called cooking.

1 lb Trader Joe's grass-fed ground beef
Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
Trader Joe's Just the Leaves Romaine (bummer, not organic)
Trader Joe's organic cherry tomatoes
Organic avocados
Organic Pastures Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese

I sauteed the ground beef, drained the juices, and added cumin, sea salt, and salsa verde to taste (I don't use too much because my 10-year old is not a huge fan).

I put everything is separate bowls and called the kids to build their own tacos.

Another 2-thumbs up family favorite!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Peanut Butter" Cookies

I've been on the hunt for a good cookie recipe that fits in with our new way of eating.  I came across a blog and instantly liked Tara because she was so honest about how her "peanut butter" cookies turned out.  She didn't like them and she told her readers not to make them.  I felt challenged and inspired.

Here is my version of "Peanut Butter" Cookies: 

  • ½ cup chunky, organic, raw almond butter*
  • ¼ cup coconut oil 
  • 3t stevia (we use NuNaturals brand NuStevia powder) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 ¼ cups Bob's Red Mill finely ground almond meal/flour 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Trader Joe's 73% dark chocolate candy bar, cut into big chunks
  • Directions:
  1. Cream together 1st four ingredients
  2. Stir in flour & salt
  3. Drop spoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet
  4. Add a chunk of chocolate to the top and press it in a bit 
  5. Bake at 350º for about 8-10 minutes

  • The cookies got two thumbs up from the whole family.  Carly, my 12-year old, said they tasted like almond butter.  I take that as a compliment.
  • And in spite of how her cookies turned out, you should check out Tara's blog, Always Underfoot.
  • *we don't eat peanut butter (or peanuts) anymore for a few reasons: they are one of the most common food allergens, they contain anti-nutrient lectins, and are especially susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.  Read more about toxic peanuts here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eat Real Food

"There is no one diet that will work for everyone, but if your diet doesn’t involve mostly REAL FOOD, then you are setting yourself up for failure." Yum Yum Fit

Doesn't it make sense?

We should eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, and nuts. We should choose foods that are raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.  Shouldn't we?

It shouldn't be a “diet” – we can eat as much as we need.  We're eating for fuel to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight.  We should aim for well-balanced nutrition, eating animals and a significant amount of plants.

Eating like this will help us look, feel, live and perform our best, and reduce our risks for a variety of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions.

It seems to go against everything we've grown up learning and doing.  That's why, when Brad started eating real food, I thought he was just asking for a heart attack.  What about the USDA Food Pyramid?
Since the USDA food pyramid was released in 1992, the obesity rate has increased unabated. Take a look around you. The obesity rate is the highest it’s ever been, and almost everyone who’s not obese is “just” overweight. Diabetes is on the rise. People live out the end of their lives relying on a complicated cocktail of pharmaceuticals and medical apparati just to eke out a few more years. All this, despite the majestic, all-powerful USDA dietary recommendations informing everything we put into our collective mouths. How’s that USDA food pyramid working out for us so far, I’d like to ask. I’m not necessarily assigning a causative role to the pyramid (though it certainly plays a role, in my view) in the obesity epidemic. I’m just saying that it has done absolutely nothing to stanch the rise of diet-related illness. I’m saying it doesn’t have a real impressive track record. 
Read more:
The first step to getting our health back and our bodies looking the way we want it to is to shift what we eat toward whole foods.

We’re still in the process of learning by doing.  Hope you'll come along with us and hang in there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Roast Chicken With Carmelized Shallots & Kale

I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz.  It was super yummy and incredibly easy!  My family gave the meal 2 thumbs up. I give it 2 thumbs up as a lunch and after school snack the next day.  
  • Put salted, grass-fed butter in a hot skillet that can be transferred to the oven.
  • Add 4 shallots, peeled and chopped, 1 T coconut aminos (a soy free soy sauce - my new favorite food find), and 3 T apple cider vinegar.
  • Add your chicken pieces.  I used two giant breast and 4 drumsticks.  Make sure your chicken* is pastured.  I found mine at Sprouts.
  • Coat the pieces in the sauce and stick in the 425º oven, skin side up, for about 20 min depending on the size of your pieces.  If you don't have a skillet that can go into the oven, transfer your chicken and sauce into a glass baking dish.
  • Flip the pieces, add a chunk of butter to the sauce, coat the pieces, and put the pan back in the oven for about 25 more min.
  • Remove pan from oven and chicken pieces from pan.  Add another chunk of butter and fresh, organic kale, chopped roughly to the sauce.  Toss to moisten and slightly wilt the kale.  Add salt to taste.
  • Pour the sauce and kale over the chicken and enjoy!

*Chicken is high in unhealthy polyunsaturated fats that oxidize easily during cooking and promote oxidative stress inside the body, making chicken low on the scale of protein choices.  Chicken and turkey should be eaten sparingly.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pesto Prawns

I can't stop thinking about this meal.  It was so delicious and so easy!  I trimmed & cut fresh, organic green beans then stir-fried them in olive oil.  Just before my green beans were ready I added my wild-caught, jumbo prawns, about 1T of unsalted butter, about 2T of homemade basil-almond pesto* and stir-fried until just cooked through - do not over heat your prawns.         

Another family winner.  Cooper doesn't like pesto so he could only give the rating 1 3/4 thumbs up!  I'll take it.

*handful of fresh basil, olive oil, raw almonds, salt - blend together - add additional ingredients to taste

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wait For It...

Brad and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary this weekend.  We're splurging with sushi!

I know, right?

Sushi is one of our favorite treats.  We don't go very often.  I've been gluten-free for over a year now and I haven't found a sushi place that uses tamari instead of soy sauce :).

The way we feel about it, if you're eating really well most of the time, you can afford a splurge.  Pay attention to how your body feels after your splurge.  You may need to consider different food adventures depending on your body's reaction.

I can't wait for the Mexican food splurge!


Friday, June 8, 2012

You Gotta Start Somewhere

Me, October 2011
The health of our families is important to all of us.  My family is learning to eat food for good health and striving for fresh, organic, whole foods.  What we're doing is working for us and I want to share our findings with you.
2012 started off with a cleanse.  We ate fruit, vegetables, and plant-based fats for a week then slowly over 3 more weeks added legumes, gluten-free grains, and seafood.  I thought it was a good, healthy move.  Then I chose to continue with no meat.  After 5 weeks I was so sick I couldn't even take my favorite yoga classes.  I was weak and tired and overall yucky.  Then there was my husband who at this point had started bulletproofing his diet.  He was losing weight and his body shape was changing.  Still my head said, "he's a heart attack waiting to happen and I'm making better healthy choices".  Clearly, I was wrong.

Me, end of May 2012
When I first joined Brad on his eating plan I needed to learn what my boundaries were so I could create nutritious after school snacks and healthy meals for dinner.  I was very overwhelmed with all the new information.  I was looking for something or someone to tell me what to eat.  I needed recipes and fresh ideas.  

I truly felt set free when I realized there was an outline on how to eat:  
  • Bulletproof Coffee in the morning
  • Healthy fats and proteins when I'm hungry
  • Healthy fats, proteins, and organic veggies for dinner

I could work within these boundaries but there were still so many questions.  What about fruit?  What about brown rice?  What about nuts? What about... Aren't these things supposed to be good for you?  We've been trained all our lives to eat the food pyramid.  But I'm here to encourage you to set those notions aside and try something different.   

Dave Asprey's site, The Bulletproof Executive, offers 14 steps to eating more healthy.  Change is tough so start out doing what you can.  But as Dave says, "the more you do, the better it works.  However, you'll be healthier and stronger by making even the smallest changes."
1. Eliminate sugar including fruit juices and sports drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup, honey, and agave.
2. Replace the sugar calories with healthy fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee, and MCT or coconut oil.
3. Eliminate gluten including bread, cereal, and pasta.  Do not make the mistake of resorting to gluten free junk food, which can be almost as bad.
4. Remove grains, grain derived oils, and vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola.  Also remove unstable polyunsaturated oils such as walnut, flax, and peanut oil.
5. Eliminate all synthetic additives, colorings, and flavorings.  This includes aspartame, MSG, dyes, and artificial flavorings.
6. Eat significant amounts of pastured, grass-fed meat from big ruminant animals such as beef, lamb, and bison.  Pair this with low-mercury fish, eggs, and shellfish.
7. Eliminate legumes such as peanuts, beans, and lentils.  If you must have your beans, soak, sprout (or ferment), and cook them.
8. Remove all processed, homogenized, and pasteurized dairy.  High fat items can be pasteurized, but they should be grass-fed.  Full fat, raw, whole dairy from grass-fed cows is okay for most people.
9. Switch to grass-fed meat and wild caught seafood.  Eat pastured eggs and some pork, chickens, turkeys, and ducks.
10. Switch to organic fruits and vegetables.  This is more important for some plants than others.  You can check out the What's On My Food website for details about pesticides.
11. Cook your food gently, if at all.  Incorporate water into your cooking whenever possible and use low temperatures.  Do not fry or use a microwave.
12. Limit fruit consumption to 1-2 servings per day.  Favor low fructose containing fruits like berries and lemons over watermelon and apples.
13. Add spices and other flavorings.  Favor herb based spices such as thyme and rosemary over powders. Use high quality ones, recently opened.
14. Enjoy your food. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


We make a lot of protein shakes (or smoothies as we like to call them).  The kids have them for breakfast and they are often a part of a quick, lunch or after school snack.

 Cooper made his first smoothie...

 and liked it!

Here's his story:

He used a single serving personal blender 
Added Organic Pastures Whole Raw Milk
Organic cocoa powder
Organic vanilla extract
Organic cinnamon
Organic raw almond butter
MCT oil
4 Vitamin D3 drops

I'm not listing the amounts - since we're not counting calories, I don't worry about how much.   
How much you use should depend on how hungry you are and how you want it to taste.  

Blend until smooth.  
Of course, he gives his smoothie 2 thumbs up!

*Upgraded Whey Protein is pricey.  It is most important that all forms of whey protein are cold-processed.  If you are sensitive to dairy use whey protein isolate that is cross-flow microfiltered.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fish and Chips

Lots of people are wondering what we're eating.  I'm up for trying almost anything - hope you are, too.
Tilapia Meuniere and Baked Zucchini Chips
Kid rating: 2 thumbs up

Meuniere is a fancy way of saying dredged in flour.  I used tilapia because it is a fish with low amounts of mercury.  You can enjoy low-mercury fish abundantly. 

For the baked zucchini chips recipe check out Vittles and Bits

My Tilapia Meuniere is adapted from Nourished Kitchen's Sole Menuiere.

4 Tilapia fillets (or other low mercury fish)
1/2 Cup almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 T fresh lemon thyme, chopped
salt to taste

Dredge your fish in the flour and place in a hot buttered skillet.  Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side.  I didn't have parsley or lemon so I chose to skip that step.  I bet it is delicious, though.  If you try it, let me know how it turned out.

It's that easy to have a healthy meal the whole family gave 2 thumbs up!

Butter In My Coffee

Brad and I have Bulletproof Coffee every morning for breakfast.  It took some getting used to for me.  I normally don't have a lot of cream in my coffee so this rich, creamy drink was very strange to my palate.

Here's the recipe - you should also check it out on the Bulletproof Executive blog:
  • Start with 2 mugs of good black coffee, brewed with mold-free beans.  Brad and I use Portola Coffee Lab's amazing coffee, and Alchemistic is my favorite.  Says the Bulletproof Exec (BE), "clean coffee actually fights cancer and provides antioxidants."
  • Add 2 Tbs or more of Kerrygold or other UNSALTED grass-fed butter.  Says BE, "Yes, butter.  All the benefits of healthy milk fat with none of the damaging denatured casein proteins found in cream.  Starting your day with grass-fed butter will give you lots of energy and it will give your body healthy fats that it will use to make cell walls and hormones."
  • Add 2 Tbs of MCT oil for max energy, weight loss and brain function
  • Blend with a pre-heated hand blender, Magic Bullet, or (best) counter top blender until there is a creamy head of foam
Why do we put butter and oil in our coffee?   Says Dave (and I've found it to be true for me as well), "It makes for the creamiest, most satisfying cup of coffee you’ve ever had. It will keep you satisfied with level energy for 6 hours if you need it. And because I’m having it for breakfast, I’m programming my body to burn fat for energy all day long!"

From Dave's blog:
It will take your body a week or so to fully turn on its fat digestion systems when you switch to a high healthy fat breakfast of Bulletproof coffee. If at first it is a little too rich, try using less butter at first and build up to the amount you like. Taking a betaine HCl or digestive enzyme supplement with your coffee will also help your body digest the butter.
Try this. After one drink of Bulletproof coffee, you’ll never be tempted to eat fat-free, insulin-raising, fat-storing toast and oatmeal breakfasts again!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What Are You Doing?

Rib eye, roasted zucchini, and steamed spinach with 100% grass fed butter
My husband started it.  He came across the Bulletproof Executive and began a modified paleo journey.  I thought he was a heart attack waiting to happen.  After he had lost about 20 lbs, I had to follow him.   After a month of following my husband and dragging my kids through a modified paleo diet I dropped 3 sizes.

Our friends began asking, "What are you doing?  You look so great and healthy!"  Then the next question was, "What do I eat?" It was time to start a blog.  Butter in my coffee is from the Bulletproof Executive's intermittent fast.  It takes some getting used to but the rewards are amazing.

We pretty much follow Dave Asprey's (the Bulletproof Executive) food outline.  This is from his website:
"Common dietary mistakes will sap your energy, lower your immunity, and make you cranky. Basic unsuspected foods can make you weak, soft, and fat. Replace them with Bulletproof foods that fill you up, keep you strong, and even make you smarter."
Dave and my husband are way more high-tech than I am.  I just want to know what to make for after school snacks and dinner.  Oh, and what are we feeding the kids for breakfast?  Eggs again?

My hope is to show you there are limitless possibilities and even after working all day you can come home and cook nutritious, healthy, life changing meals for you and your family - even you, Alison!

When I first began my journey I was quickly bored and overwhelmed, rib eye and veggies, again?  What helped me gain perspective was this rule of thumb:
When I get up I have bulletproof coffee and don't eat anything or take any supplements until I'm hungry.
When I'm hungry (usually around "lunch") I have protein and fat - good, healthy protein and fats: avocados, raw almonds, raw cashews, bacon, a 100% grass-fed beef or lamb burger patty, fish, protein drink, etc.  I also take my supplements now.

When I'm hungry next (usually around "dinner") I have protein, fats, and veggies.
In keeping with this theme I can easily provide meals that my family enjoys and  are good for them.