Nutrition-Weight Loss – Blogs, Post, Recipes
Get ready its hot outside. Read this post by Coach Sean….and get hydrated for your training
The biggest problem that most people have with sweet potato fries is getting that satisfying crunch. They have a tendency to come out unpleasantly soggy and limp, a serious disappointment even for the true sweet potato lovers. The thick-cut wedge shape means that these potatoes won’t have the same overall crispiness as thinner versions, but this recipe pulls out all the stops to prevent flabby fries. First of all, it calls for blanching the potatoes, which gives the resulting fries a much better crunch. A coating of olive oil (instead of the rancid fryer oils you’ll find at chain restaurants) prepares the outside of the fries to dry into a tasty “skin.” And finally, grilling the fries instead of tossing them on a baking sheet reduces the danger of the precious outer layer sticking to the pan.
If you can stop yourself from munching them all down one by one as they come off the grill, these wedges are a delicious side dish for any kind of summer party, especially if you’re hosting neighbors who aren’t used to Paleo cooking, and show up at your door expecting big bags of chips or other junk food. This recipe blows the cheap barbecue chips right out of the water: show your guests how delicious real food can be, and give yourself a reward for your trouble at the same time.
Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges RecipeServes 4 Prep Time: 10 min. Cooking Time: 15 min.
- 2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into wedges;
- 1 tbsp. olive oil;
- 1 tbsp. mixed or black peppercorns, ground;
- 2 tsp. dried sage;
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano;
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme;
- 2 tbsp. paprika;
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper;
- 3 tsp. garlic powder;
- Preheat the grill to medium-high.
- Bring a pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Blanch the wedges 3 to 4 minutes and drain.
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the spicy seasoning.
- Place the wedges in a big bowl, drip the oil onto them, and mix well, making sure all the wedges are coated with olive oil.
- Add the spicy seasoning and mix well again, making sure everything is well covered. You might not need to use all of the seasoning.
- Grill the wedges for approximately 10 minutes, or until nicely charred and soft, turning them once in a while.
Serves 2 to 4
Prep. Time: 5 to 10 min.
Cooking Time: 25 min.
- 1 large butternut squash;
- ¼ cup of olive oil or coconut oil;
- 2-3 tsp. fresh dried herbs of your choice; (optional)
- Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- Cut the butternut squash in two and remove the seeds. Wash the middle and cut away the peel. Then cut the squash in wedges or sticks in your favorite size.
- In a bowl, evenly coat the butternut squash fries with the oil and the spices.
- On a baking plate, place the fries evenly on a single layer. You can place a piece of parchment paper between the cooking plate and the fries if you don’t want them to stick to the plate.
- Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
And to think that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy mayonnaise ever again on the Paleo diet, boy was I wrong! The Paleo diet is the chance to discover blends and flavors of mayonnaise that will stay unknown to most people. For example, the baconnaise, the duckonnaise or the beefonnaise all made from the fat of their respective animal, pork, duck and beef. Most people think that this is an heart attack in a jar, but we know better and know that it’s really a health food.
I’ll give you two different versions of mayonnaise recipes today, a coconut oil mayonnaise and the now famous baconnaise. The technique of preparation is the same for both and also keep in mind that you can extend this delicious concoction with spices, fresh herbs (dill is delicious in it), garlic or even chopped pickles for a tartar sauce.
As for the technique, you can use either a blender, a food processor or your soon to be sorehand and a whisk. I prefer the version made by hand because it’s really not that hard and it makes for less things to clean afterwards. The technique is basically the same for all those methods, so I’ll explain it in a comprehensible way for the three methods.
The coconut mayonnaise is made with half olive oil because it would become way too hard in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend a full olive oil mayonnaise unless you use a light tasting olive oil because it will taste too strong.
Ingredients for the coconut Paleo mayonnaise (yields about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp mustard (this is optional)
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup liquid bacon fat (you can of course use rendered lard, it’s the same thing) in place of the olive and coconut oils
- Put the yolks in a bowl (blender, food processor) with the mustard, if using and 1 tsp lemon juice and mix those ingredients together;
- Start whisking vigorously (blender or food processor on low) while dripping the oil very slowly, even drop by drop in the beginning. You’re creating an emulsion and if you put too much oil at once, it will separate and will be very hard to save. Whisk non-stop and use a towel under the bowl to help stabilize it;
- As you add more oil, the emulsion will form and the mayonnaise will start to thicken and you can pour the oil faster at this point;
- When all the oil is incorporated and the mayonnaise is thick, add the rest of the lemon juice and taste your creation. You can season to taste with salt and pepper;
- Enjoy without guilt and put the store in the refrigerator!
There are so many occasions that call for a quick and easy tray of food for a crowd: club meetings, dinner parties, team celebrations after a big game…if you’re in charge of the menu, finding a Paleo substitute for the typical tray of sandwiches or pile of pizza boxes is a tall order.
Here’s an answer for that problem: a trio of salad recipes that can easily be folded up into any kind of lettuce leaves and served as mini-wraps (for extra pizzazz, garnish each roll with a colorful toothpick). The lettuce sandwiches are easy to eat as finger food, and having three different flavors ensures that everyone can find something they like. If you don’t use any animal fat in your mayonnaise, the egg salad is even vegetarian. Needless to say, all three of the recipes are much healthier than anything you can order from a fast-food joint or pick up at a restaurant deli counter.
All the salads require some Paleo mayo, so make sure you have a jar ready before you start; if you don’t, it’s simple enough to throw together a quick batch. The lettuce can be any variety – I usually go for Boston lettuce, since it has a nice crunch and a convenient size. Butter lettuce is also great for wraps, since the leaves are very flexible and not prone to breaking. If you have some kind of Paleo bread or Paleo crackers, you can also use that instead.
Chicken Salad Recipe
Prep Time Total: 30 min.
- 1 ½ cups cooked ground chicken;
- 3 tbs. green onions, finely chopped;
- 1 large hard-boiled egg, chopped;
- ¼ cup celery, finely chopped;
- 1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
- In a bowl, combine the chicken, the green onions, the celery and the egg and toss gently.
- Add the mayonnaise. Season to taste, and stir to blend well.
- Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes.
Egg Salad Recipe
- 8 hard-boiled eggs;
- ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped;
- ¼ tsp. paprika;
- ½ cup homemade mayonnaise;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- Mash the eggs with a potato masher.
- Add the mayonnaise, paprika, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to blend well.
- Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes.
Ham Salad Recipe
- 1 ½ cups ground cooked ham;
- ¼ cup red onions, finely minced;
- ¼ cup sweet pickles or sour pickles, finely chopped;
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard;
- ¼ cup homemade mayonnaise;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Season to taste, and mix well.
- Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Confused as to why your NOT losing weight even though you don’t eat “a lot”…and even if your eating “healthy”. The truth is that while “quantity” does matter, it’s possible to still over consume calories if choosing the wrong foods.
Some foods, even though they’re considered very healthy, carry loads of calories in a very small amount of food. We call these calorically dense foods and if your diet is comprised of a bunch of them, you can easily gain weight even without eating “a lot” of food.
Now, I am not a big calorie in and calorie out kinda guy. After the initial weight loss calorie counting doesnt work, but you cant totally ignore it either.
Here are some “healthy” examples of calorically dense foods:
– 1. Granola – granola, especially the varieties mixed with nuts can pack as many as 500 cals per cup!
– 2. Pasta – a moderate 1 and 1/2 cups of most pastas yield more than 60 grams of carbs and almost 350 calories
– 3. Avocado – avocado is awesome and a great source of monounsaturated fat, but one single avocado is over 300 calories and 30 grams of fat
– 4. Nuts and Nut Butters – nuts are super healthy, but one of the most calorically dense foods around. A few ounces could mean 400+ calories
– 5. Fruit Juice and Smoothies – all fruit juices are loaded with sugar and so are most “smoothie” shop smoothies (make your own with whole fruit)
– 6. Dried Fruit – dried fruits remove the water content which dramatically decreases volume…what’s left is high in sugar and very calorically dense
– 7. “Whole Wheat” Breads – even the 100% whole wheat variety can pack a mean calorie punch if you’re eating a lot of grains as part of your diet
– 8. Whole Grain Bagels – a large “deli” bagel is loaded with carbs and calories, many times over 400 cals in a single bagel
While some of the foods above are only “thought” to be healthy (fruit juice, whole grain bagels, etc), stuff like nuts, nut butters, and avocado are foods that I’d recommend in just about everyone’s diet and they are indeed great choices.
That said, these calorically dense foods require that you monitor your intake of them closely. A few ounces of nuts, a couple tablespoons of nut butter, and an avocado is NOT a lot of food, but if you ate all of these every day, you’d be getting close to 1000 calories just right there.
You know, we’re surprised that there’s still a LOT of folks out there who don’t know that this stuff is pure poison.
We’re talking about: Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
This ingredient is the code name for “trans-fats” and it runs rampant in fried foods and packaged goods…it also has been closely linked to these conditions:
High Blood Pressure…
And how about this one? DEATH.
And that’s even by consuming just a small amount daily.
What foods most commonly contain trans fats? Here are some of the most common:
French Fries – 14.5 grams of trans fat in the average medium sized order of french fries! Eat that every day and you won’t be living long. Go with baked sweet potato fries instead.
Margarine and Vegetable Shortening – Anywhere from 30 – 40% trans fat…no thank you! Go with organic butter instead.
Fast Food – An original chicken dinner at KFC will reward you with 7 grams of trans fat, but it’s not just the fried foods…it’s even in the desserts! You’ll find trans fat in almost all heavily processed foods, and there’s very few foods more processed than fast food!
If you want a quick meal on the go that isn’t full of trans fats, go with our favorite “quick service” joint as of late, Chipotle. A full meal including hormone free meats, fiber rich legumes, and a bunch of tasty, low-calorie topping choices…all for less than $7. Can’t go wrong with that!
Donuts and other baked goods – BAD. Trans fat often in the batter and dough and then many times fried on top of it! This includes cookies, pastries, muffins, brownies, and just about every other baked good you can think of. Instead, go with true “baked” baked goods (not fried) and try some of the gluten-free varieties to avoid the wheat on top of it. We just tried a gluten free brownie mix made with rice flour and a pretty healthy ingredient profile…not bad for a sweet treat every so often!
Cereal (even most “healthy” varieties) – For example, Post Selects “Great Grains” contains 2 grams of trans fat per cup. NOT so healthy. Go with old fashioned oatmeal instead, or a true sprouted grain cereal that doesn’t contain processed wheat.
Salad Dressings – Notorious for containing loads of partially hydrogenated oils and trans fat, steer clear of most store-bought salad dressings. Instead go with a homemade recipe that calls for extra virgin olive oil at the base.
And there are a bunch of others, but those are some of the biggest culprits. Again, read your labels and make sure you avoid partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils like the plague.
Confused about losing weight…… Those that know me know I say to get off ALL breads, pasta, and rice.
You’ve probably heard that carbohydrates are perhaps the WORST thing you can eat when trying to lose fat or transform your body, and for most people, that’s 100% true.
You see, due to years of consuming a diet full of processed carbs, most people have grown VERY insensitive to one of the most important hormones in our body—a hormone that can either be a huge asset to your body transformation goals, or a total fat loss and health-derailing nightmare.
Its name is insulin, and it’s function is to help your body keep blood sugar at bay, clear it quickly from your bloodstream after a carbohydrate meal, and (hopefully) shuttle those carbs to be stored in muscle tissue for energy instead of fat.
I say “hopefully” because that’s actually the exact opposite of what occurs when most people eat carbs.
Going back to insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance, due to a diet full of processed, insulin- and blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates, most folks are suffering from some level of insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin is no longer able to efficiently remove blood sugar from the blood stream.
The result? Dramatically reduced fat burning and increased fat storage.
Even worse, insulin resistance can (and often does) lead to type II diabetes and an array of other health problems over time, and it all leads back to insulin sensitivity.
Ideally, when you consume carbohydrates, here is what you want to happen:
1. Minimum insulin release. This occurs when your body is highly sensitive to insulin. When it is, only a small amount of insulin is necessary to effectively and efficiently clear sugar from your blood to its storage sites. This is great news because your body has an incredibly difficult time burning fat in the presence of insulin. The less insulin you have floating around, the better.
2. Quick and efficient blood sugar clearance. Again, this will occur when your body is highly sensitive to insulin.
3. Maximum glycogen uptake. Glycogen is the term used for stored carbohydrate in muscle. When muscle tissue is highly sensitive to insulin, the vast majority of blood sugar will be stored in muscle (to be used as energy), not fat.
4. Minimum fat storage. When you increase insulin sensitivity, especially in skeletal muscle, your body will choose to store your carbohydrate intake as energy in muscle tissue instead of body fat.
Again, your body’s ability to tolerate carbohydrates all comes down to your insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to quickly and efficiently shuttle carbohydrates to lean tissue and not fat.
Did you know that almost ALL yogurts are flat out bad news for your waistline?
“Light” yogurts, for instance, are absolutely terrible for you, and for more reasons that one.
First, most “light” yogurts are loaded with artificial sweeteners and/or high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is one of the top 3 WORST ingredients you could ever consume. First, as it’s name suggests, it’s made of primarily fructose, a sugar that easily spills over to fat storage when consumed in sizable quantities.
And artificial sweeteners are…well…artificial. Do you really want to put chemically altered, man-made ingredients that don’t exist in nature into your body? Me either.
Second, HFCS is made from genetically modified corn.
Third, HFCS spikes blood sugar and insulin like almost no other food or ingredient.
Bad news all around.
Bottom line, just because something is low calorie (i.e. “Light”) doesn’t make it a healthy choice, or even a choice that will positively affect your fat loss goals.
What about “fat free” yogurts?
Well, hopefully we all know and understand by now that fat isn’t bad. Fat is a critical nutrient to both your health and your fat loss efforts and actually helps to naturally stabilize many important hormones in your body that play a key role in optimizing your body’s fat-burning environment.
Secondly, most fat-free yogurts are LOADED with sugar. Here’s a plan: Let’s get rid of the naturally occurring healthy fats and load up on sugar instead! Sounds like a plan to me…a really bad one.
So does that mean you should be avoiding all yogurts?
No, in fact there’s ONE type of yogurt that I highly recommend you use as part of your fat-burning diet…and that’s Organic Plain Greek Yogurt.
First, Greek yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurt, so you get more protein punch in every spoonful.
Second, by choosing the plain variety you avoid all the extra, unnecessary, artificial ingredients along with calorie-boosting excess sugar.
Lastly, by going organic you’ll avoid the hormones and antibiotics that are otherwise generally injected in the typical cow.