Short Rib Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Today has been a great day all around. I started off the morning training one of my clients in Northampton. He is improving so much every time I work with him and his motivation and excitement are contagious. From there I went down to CFIW to tackle the open workout 15.1 & 15.1a. For those of you that don’t follow crossfit, this week was the first week of the worldwide open competition which is a qualifier for the regional competition and subsequently the Crossfit Games. If you have been following my blog you already know that I have been recovering from a pulled muscle in my back and reoccurring nerve pain in my neck. With that being said it has been pretty hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I might just have to do all of the open workouts scaled, even though I know I could do them RX’d (as prescribed).

I went into the workout with pretty low expectations because I wasn’t sure how I would feel after not having done a workout in a few weeks, or lifted, or done anything besides squats for that matter! I also just finished an intense week of the Smolov Squat program (4 days of high volume at 75-87%) so I would normally have been pretty fried, but surprisingly I was feeling good. I finished the scaled workout with 238 reps of the first part and hit my max clean & jerk of 125#. Boy do I miss WODs and lifting!

After going through mental ups and downs all week wondering if my legs would hold up to all of the squats, wondering how my body would feel by today, and getting past my desire to do the opens RX’d, I feel humbled. Compared to the last time I did this same squat program I feel MUCH stronger and more capable. My body is finally absorbing nutrients, my energy levels after working 8-10 hours on my feet and then heavy lifting are still sustainable and I am able to wake up and repeat the process day after day. This is a HUGE change from a year- or even a few months ago. Even though my body isn’t in perfect health yet, I can feel that it’s getting there and healing more every day. I am looking forward to seeing how much improvement I can make next year and hope that I can prove myself in the RX division of the opens then. Setting my goals now! 🙂

In other news: we had these burgers for dinner last night and they were amazing!

I made my weekly trip to our local butcher shop on Thursday to grab some local grass-fed marrow bones, and these burgers caught my eye. Short-rib is one of those things that I haven’t experimented with much because it’s on the expensive side so I figured a burger would make the perfect first recipe! The only downside was that our grill is still buried in several feet of snow/ice. But not to worry- if you have an oven and a cast-iron skillet you can still make some juicy burgers!

Here’s How:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Place cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat

-When skillet is hot sear the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side

-Once seared, place the whole skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 6-10 minutes depending on what temperature you prefer them

-Make sure you cook multiple burgers because one is never enough!

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I chose to not season my burgers because I wanted to see how they taste and let me tell you- I don’t think they even need seasoning! I topped them with some spinach sautéed in coconut oil and coconut aminos and used pan fried sweet potato rounds as my buns! To make the sweet potato buns simply cut a thick sweet potato into 1/4 inch rounds and fry them in coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 6-10 minutes per side, or until fork tender.

The finished product: (does’t include me kicking myself for only getting two burgers! Waaahh!!)

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A side note: you can make these burgers yourself if you have a meat grinder! If you don’t, you can simply go over to your local butcher and if they have short-rib in stock you can ask them to grind it up and make patties for you! Sutter Meats in Northampton has amazing customer service if your are in the Western Mass area!

Egg-less Break-fast. (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Breakfast is one of the meals thats like clockwork to me. I have just about the same thing every morning which takes all the planning and stress out of my morning routine. I make small tweaks to my breakfast when certain foods aren’t available but I generally keep it as: some sort of meat cooked with a leafy green or other vegetable, 1/2 an avocado and a soothing warm beverage. This breakfast works well and enjoy it so much that I actually looked forward to breakfast before I go to bed. (Or maybe I just love to eat?)

One of the hardest parts about starting the Autoimmune protocol was changing my breakfast… NO eggs, and NO coffee! I’ve had eggs and coffee for breakfast for the last 6+ years of my life! It was the epitome of breakfast to me and I had a REALLY hard time trying to wrap my brain around not consuming two of my favorite things anymore. Lucky for me I knew the day would come when I had to follow strict AIP and therefore had mentally been preparing and brainstorming ways to survive when the change occurred. I started slowly switching over to decaf coffee to avoid the caffeine-headache-withdrawals, while also trying to have bone broth with breakfast instead of coffee from time to time. This process got more difficult when I started working at a breakfast restaurant and am surrounded by eggs and coffee all day… but anyone who has been battling with severe autoimmune disease will tell you that there is nothing more motivating than the thought of one day being out of pain.

I also, fortunately, love all food, so having something different for breakfast wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I knew I would miss the convenience of eggs.

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So my new AIP and low-FODMAP breakfast now consists of:

  • 1/4 lb. of ground beef, turkey or pork
  • 1-2 cups of kale or spinach
  • 1/2 cup avocado*
  • 2 TB. coconut oil or tallow
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup bone broth

* avocado is listed as a moderate FODMAP food, but for those of us that need larger quantities of fat (are very active), avocados that are NOT very ripe contain less FODMAPs!

I usually start by throwing my bone broth in a pot and bringing that to a boil. Once boiling I remove it from the heat and put it in my mug with 1 TB. of coconut oil. Once the oil has melted I blend and forth it with my handily frother and set it aside to cool.

In a large skillet I melt the other TB of coconut oil or tallow(from the broth) over medium heat. Then I add in the greens, pre-cooked meat, turmeric and salt. Sauté until the greens have wilted and the meat is warm, then transfer to a bowl or plate. Top with avocado and enjoy with the bulletproof bone broth

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Shepard’s Pie (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Shepard’s pie is one of my all time favorite meals and generally a crowd pleaser for paleo and non-paleo folks alike! This recipe can also be modified in many areas and still come out amazing! My recipe in particular is an AIP and LowFODMAP version, so I made sure to find bacon that did not contain sugar or nightshade spices, used veggies that were low in FODMAP’s and topped the pie with mashed butternut squash instead of potatoes.

The Wellshire brand of bacon is a great Sugar-Free option if you can find it! They carry it at most Whole Foods and at River Valley Market in Northampton if you live in this area. I would also advocate still reading the label, the bacon in the picture I found still contains trace amounts of nightshade spices while a slightly different one from the same brand did not.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
  • 6 slices of bacon (or more if your like me and have a hard time resisting the bacon while your cooking… hashtag: no self control)
  • 2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 TB. coconut oil
  •  2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Put a large pot of water on the stove over medium-high heat until boiling and preheat oven to 350 degrees

-While water is heating up peel and scoop the guts out of the squash then chop into 1/2 inch chunks

-Place squash into boiling water and cook for 30-40 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a fork

-Drain squash and set aside in a large bowl

-While Squash is boiling, start cooking the bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until bacon is cooked- but not crispy

-Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside to cool, keeping the bacon fat in the skillet

-Add carrots to the skillet and cook for 6-8 minutes until they are fork tender

-Remove carrots from the skillet and set them aside

-Add ground beef to the skillet and cook for 2-3min then add in the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper

-Cook until meat is almost brown, then add the carrots and bacon back into the skillet with the meat

-Add the spinach to the mixture and toss together for 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are combined

-Add the coconut oil and cinnamon to the squash and mash with a fork or hand mixer until no chunks remain

-Scoop the squash onto the top of the meat mixture, spreading evenly over the entire dish

-Place the whole skillet (if you are using cast iron) into the oven and bake for 20 minutes **Be careful if you are using cast iron, the handle will be piping hot and it will be heavy!!

-Turn the oven to broil for 2-4 minutes at the end if you prefer the pie to be a little crispy on top

-Let cool for 5 minutes before digging in!

Try not to eat this all in one sitting- It’s hard, trust me!

 

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Notes: I recommend using a large cast iron skillet if you have one, it will save you some clean up time in the end by only having to use one pan! This can also be made in a large regular skillet and transferred to a deep baking dish when you are ready to put it in the oven.

Here are some of the variations I have made the pie with:

  • Topped with mashed cauliflower (any colo-white, orange, purple)
  • Topped with mashed sweet potatoes (any color-classic, purple, white)
  • With carrots, green beans, celery, mushrooms, onions, or spinach
  • Used ground beef, ground bison, or a mixture of beef and bison or beef and ground pork

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Banana Bread Bars (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Often times its hard to stay on a “diet” when you don’t get to have things that you have grown accustomed to having on a daily basis. Although I believe that Paleo is a lifestyle and should be treated that way, I know a lot of people that use it more as a diet and thats okay, to each his own!

As I have been on my super-strict AIP and Low FODMAP diet (I will call it a diet because I hope to be able to re-incorporate many paleo foods that are currently restricted once my gut has healed) I have missed having a treat now and again. So I set out on a mission to create something that I was able to eat that was egg-free, nut-free, sugar-free and etc. So I did some searching around and found this recipe for AIP banana bread on the “He won’t know its Paleo” blog and my problems were solved! I followed the recipe but left out the honey because I can’t have it, and in my opinion the banana is sweet enough!

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I also made the recipe using tapioca flour instead of arrowroot and it comes out pretty similar. I did recently read that tapioca can sometimes be mistaken for gluten in the gut, so if you are doing strict AIP like I am the arrowroot is likely a better option. Also if the dough seems to be too dry then you can add in a TB or two of unsweetened applesauce (if you aren’t worried about FODMAPs) or water. The dough will generally be on the thicker side but it should’t be stiff as a board 🙂

Once I make a batch of these delicious non-sweet treats I usually cut them into squares and individually wrap them and throw them in the freezer. That way when I am on the run I can easily grab one as a snack or defrost one for a treat after dinner. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Check out http://hewontknowitspaleo.com/category/blog-news/ for more great AIP recipes!

Everyday Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that while I was traveling across MA I tuned into the Underground Wellness Radio‘s interview with Vani Hari, also know as the Food Babe. After listening to the intro about the criticism and controversy of Vani’s new book and campaigns, I was interested to learn what she was all about! It turns out she is a super strong and powerful woman who advocates for transparent food labeling, as well as the removal of clinically proven harmful toxins in our “foods” that have already been banned in other countries. Pretty cool! I highly recommend checking out her blog and following her campaigns to find out ways that you could also help clean up America’s food supply.

In other news, it was a whopping 45 degrees yesterday! I had the windows down in my car and felt like I was in bermuda!

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Of course the latest weather report is saying “record low” temperatures for Tuesday… good feelings gone.

Anyways, I wanted to share this meatball recipe because its super easy and you can substitute lots of ingredients and still have delicious meatballs!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 TB. parsley
  • 1 TB. oregano
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/1 tsp. sea salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Combine herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl

-Add ground beef and bison to bowl and mix until incorporated

-Add kale and work into meat. Then begin forming into 1-1 1-2inch balls

-Place meatballs in a baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning halfway

-Enjoy these on top of some spaghetti squash, salad, in soup, or however you please!

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Note: You can substitute the kale for spinach, swap out some spices, use a combo of beef & pork, just beef or bison, add in some onions or garlic if you aren’t worried about FODMAPS.. get creative! 🙂

Ginger Citrus Drumsticks (AIP, LowFODMAP, Paleo, 21dsd)

Today was a great day overall. I got up around 5am to feed the hungry beast, aka our kitten Murph, who as you can see from the pic below, looks like he could be part leopard!

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After a fun warm up of cleaning the snow off of my car I headed east to meet my mom at the barn to ride my horse. It’s always a good day when I can hang out with my mom and play with my horse while getting some fresh air! From there I went up to CF Home Base in Canton to participate in Nikita’s olympic weightlifting seminar. Note to anyone that is interested in getting better at Olympic lifting: if you EVER have a chance to lift or simply watch Nikita, do it!! He is an outstanding coach and I learn so much every time I lift with him. Today’s seminar was light and technique based, which was perfect for me as a refresher since I haven’t been lifting due to a pulled muscle in my back. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt pretty good with the exception of the front rack position… a few more weeks of recovery and I will be back at it.

From there I headed back west after stopping at whole foods to grab some ingredients for tonight’s dinner. I usually go for whatever good quality meat is on sale, but there wasn’t much that fell into that category today so I went with chicken drumsticks which I haven’t had in a while.

When most people think of chicken “wings” they often think of a crispy fried wing tossed in a thick BBQ or buffalo sauce. While I have made a delicious AIP BBQ sauce before, I wanted to try something new tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lbs. chicken drumsticks
  • Juice + zest of 1 lime (or half a lemon)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 TB. coconut aminos
  • 3 TB. water
  • 1 TB. minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. cilantro

Instructions:

-Blend together all ingredients except the chicken and cilantro

-Add marinade to chicken wings in a large bag or bowl, then add cilantro. Mix well and let soak in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

-Heat oven to 400 degrees

-Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and put a wire rack on top

-Place drumsticks on the rack and bake for 40min, flipping halfway

-Switch the oven to broil and and continue cooking for 4-6min until crispy, turning to get all sides

-Enjoy!

The setup and the finished product, paired with some balsamic brussels and sweet potato fries

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Beef Roast with Carrots and Turnips (Paleo, AIP, Low FODMAP)

For those of you that don’t know me, I am a few months into my own personal healing journey. I have some underlying autoimmune conditions that I have been working diligently to reverse. With that being said, I am currently following a strict Autoimmune Protocol while also eating as low FODMAP as possible.

If this sounds like gibberish to you, no worries! A short explanation of the Autoimmune protocol is basically avoiding foods that are common allergens and irritants to the gut. To learn more about AIP check out THIS link

AIP Avoid list:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Legumes/Beans
  • Refined sugar and alternative sweeteners (stevia, xylitol, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • NSAID’s
  • Processed foods
  • Nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, spices like paprika, cumin, chili powder, etc.)
  • Chocolate
  • Vegetable oils

While low FODMAP is essentially limiting foods that are high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols.

High FODMAP foods to avoid: (this is a short list that basically includes many of the above restrictions in addition to the following) to see a complete list a guide check out THIS link

  • garlic
  • onions
  • artichoke
  • asparagus
  • beetroot
  • cauliflower
  • celery (one stalk permitted)
  • leeks
  • mushrooms
  • savoy cabbage
  • shallots
  • apples
  • ripe avocados
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Grapefruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Tinned fruit in apple / pear juice
  • Watermelon
  • Honey
  • Coconut water

As you can see, the lists are pretty limited! But that does not mean I have been eating basic, boring foods. I continue to vary my diet as much as possible and have been enjoying each meal as much as I would have without the additional restrictions.

Without any more anticipation, here is the Beef Roast recipe that I made for dinner tonight:

Ingredients:

2-4 lb. grassed beef chuck roast

4-6 medium carrots, roughly chopped

1 large purple turnip, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup bone broth

1 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. sea salt

freshly ground black peppercorn to taste

Instructions:

-Chop carrots and turnip and place in the bottom of a 7-QT crockpot

-Add meat on top of carrots and turnip, then add bone broth and seasonings

-Secure lid and cook on low for 10 hours

-Enjoy!

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Surviving New England winters with Bone Broth

As my very first blog post I thought it would be relevant to share a recipe that has been a staple in my life and kept me healthy all year long.

Bone Broth has definitely gotten its share of press-time this winter! I can remember the day that there was an article about bone broth in the Valley Advocate (our local paper out here in the Pioneer Valley) and I got swarmed with people seeking validation of this seemingly-foreign concoction. I think it surprised people when I reminded them that bone broth is nothing new! It’s sad that the over-proccessing of “foods” has lead people to believe that most foods come from bags and boxes… not from nature.

Bone broth is simply broth or stock that is made from bones. You can make chicken stock from chicken bones, fish stock from fish bones, beef stock from beef bones, and etc. The importance of making your own broth versus buying that boxed stuff in the grocery store is that: you know where your bones came from and you know what is in your broth- or more importantly- what ISN’T!

Most broths bought from grocery stores contain dyes, artificial flavorings, preservatives, GMO’s and probably a few other ingredients that look like they are part of some chemistry experiment. None of those ingredients are beneficial for your health, in fact most are quite harmful.

Without getting into the negatives of the “standard american” shelved broth, lets talk about the positives of homemade bone broth. Bone broth made from healthy animals contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, collagen, gelatin and amino acids such as glycine and proline. If you would like to know more about how glycine and proline interact with the body I would highly recommend visiting The Paleo Mom’s blog post titled “The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

What is considered “healthy” for meats? I would recommend finding a local butcher shop that you trust and that sources all of their meats locally if possible. For beef it is important to get grass-fed beef that is hormone and antibiotic free. I typically go to Sutter Meats or River Valley Market in Northampton which is a local non-GMO certified coop. Of course getting the meat directly from the farmer would be even better. For chicken look for organic, free-range meats, also hormone and antibiotic free. Pork should be pasture raised, organic and hormone/antibiotic free. Fish should be wild-caught.

Now, back to the recipe! Bone broth can be made many different ways to cater to your own personal tastebuds. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables, spices, types of bones, etc. The recipe that I use is AIP friendly and Low-FODMAP. It has been a staple on my healing journey throughout the Autoimmune Protocol and SIBO protocol.

Ingredients:

2-3lbs. grass-fed beef marrow bones

2 TB. apple cider vinegar

1 TB. parsley, fresh or dried

1 TB. thyme, fresh or dried

2 Bay leaves

1 tsp. turmeric power

1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt

Filtered water

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees

-Place fresh or frozen marrow bones on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes

-Move bones and any drippings/fat into a 7 quart crockpot (this is the one that I have that I got at BJ’s for $35!)

-Add vinegar, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, turmeric, and salt to crockpot, then cover with filtered water until the you reach the top of the crockpot (just under the lid)

-Seal lid tightly and turn crockpot to high for 3-4 hours until the broth is boiling

-Once the water is boiling turn the crockpot to the low setting and let simmer for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 48 hours, depending on how gelatinous you would like your broth.

-When you have reached your desired time (I usually stick with about 24 hours) shut off the crockpot and let your broth cool for 20-30min

-Using a large pot and either a mesh strainer or a regular strainer lined with cheesecloth, pour the broth through the strainer into the pot, straining out the herbs and bones

-If bones are still viable you can save them in the freezer to use in your next batch, if they are brittle and falling part throw them out

-Transfer broth to containers and leave about an inch of space at the top if you plan on freezing them, they keep in the fridge for about 4-5days

You can use broth as a base for soups, stews and sauces or you can drink it as is! I typically have 1-3 cups per day (more so on my autoimmune protocol) in place of coffee which I cannot drink at the moment. To (literally) froth it up I add about 1/2-1TB of coconut oil and use my further to incorporate it into a delicious, bulletproof broth! You can also use a blender.

Finally: the fat from the bones and any meat that was left attached to the bones solidifies on the top when the broth cools. This fat is perfect to save and use as a cooking fat, waste not!

🙂

Enjoy!

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Bulletproof broth:

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