To back up my last post on fermenting foods I thought I’d give you a sweet treat to have afterwards. So without any further ado I give you…
6 egg yolks
540ml coconut milk (I use 2 x 270ml cans AYAM brand)
2 ½ small ripe banana
2 Tbs raw organic honey
!/4 tsp Upgraded Bulletproof Vanilla
1 Tbs Upgraded Bulletproof MCT oil
1 Tbs Extra Virgin coconut oil
In a jug blender, puree the banana, vanilla honey and coconut milk. Pour this into a saucepan and bring to scalding point.
Whisk this liquid onto the yolks in a large bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir the mix continually, turning the bowl every 30 seconds.
After 10 minutes the mixture should be very hot and thick but not have scrambled egg through it. Take it off the heat and whisk in the 2 oils until thoroughly mixed. Allow to cool and churn in an ice-cream machine.
Alternatively leave in the bowl and place in the freezer. Take out every half hour and run a whisk through the mix to prevent ice crystals forming. Using this method you should let it freeze hard and take out 5-10 minutes before serving.
3 egg yolks
3 Tbs raw organic honey
280ml Coconut water (I use green drinking coconuts for this)
2 Tbs coconut flour
200g organic blueberries
Cream the egg yolks and honey until pale and creamy. Sift the coconut flour onto the yolks and mix thoroughly.
Bring the coconut water to the boil and whisk onto the yolk mix. Return to a clean saucepan, bring to the simmer and while stirring cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and in a jug blender, puree with the blueberries. Set aside to cool.
Per 3tbs soufflé mix whisk 1 ½ egg whites stiff. Stir ½ the stiff whites into the mix then carefully fold in the remaining whites. Spoon into a ramekin and with a wet finger wipe around the inside of the ramekin to a depth of 1cm.
Place into a 190’c preheated oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
Serve with the ice-cream and some extra blueberries.
Sorry it has been a while. I have been busy getting my eldest daughter enrolled in High School for 2014, attending Open days and nights and also trying to give my Aussie Paleo Chef profile a bit of a caveman kick in the butt.
Anyhow, this rattle is about my new found favourite accompaniment for meat dishes, (in particular, steak) fermented vegetables. Don’t be deterred by the name, your Paleo palettes will love the sour, salty, crunchiness of this pile of absolute goodness.
There are a great range of raw fermented vegetables these days available from good Health food stores. German sauerkraut (which is simply fermented cabbage) is the most famous and common of all the varieties and compliments homemade curried beef patties like nothing else. Korean Kim Chi, which is usually a spicy blend of cabbage, carrot, apple, pear, ginger and chilli, is my personal favourite with a juicy steak. Kim Chi can take some working up to as it can be very spicy but once you are used to it, you will be addicted.
A natural probiotic, fermented foods improve digestion. Fermenting foods is essentially partially digesting them before we eat them. They also restore proper bacteria in the gut and are rich in enzymes. These enzymes enable us to properly digest, absorb and make use of our food. Put simply, we can ingest a huge amount of nutrients but unless we are actually absorbing them they are of no use.
Aside from the health benefits, fermenting foods preserves them, is cheap to do (once you know how) and adds a whole lot of flavour to your meals.
The process of fermenting vegetables (also called lacto-fermentation) isn’t difficult; however I would suggest using a culture starter to achieve a more consistent product. There are natural bacteria in the air and on vegetables at any given time and with a little salt and water fermentation can be achieved (this is how it has been done for thousands of years) but this can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. Most culture starters will include a basic recipe/instruction for the process but as you become more experienced with fermentation try experimenting with different spices, vegetables and even fruits. The products sold at stores are quite expensive considering they are really so cheap to make, it just requires a little time and some loving care, however once you have mastered the art you will save yourself a fortune, greatly increase your stomach health and really bring your food to life.
I would highly recommend you explore the world of fermented vegetables, get an idea of what suits your palette and then try and incorporate these type of vegetables into your diet on a regular basis. There are a host of reasons to be eating fermented vegetables, and in terms of ‘superfoods’ this truly is one.
1 x head of cabbage (red or white/ or half of each)
2 x medium carrots
5 cloves garlic
1tbs juniper berries
1tsp each of dill and caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
1 tbs peppercorns
1 pkt culture starter mix
In 1 cup of water warm dissolve 1tbs honey and the culture starter mix. Cover this and allow to begin to ferment. Don’t worry about the honey, the bacteria will feed on this and by the time your vegetables are ready for consumption there will be no sweetness, the bacteria would have already consumed and utilised the honey for reproduction.
Shred/slice the cabbage, carrots and garlic (if the vegetables are too fine the finished product will be like mush. 1cm slices of the cabbage, 3mm x 3mm sticks of carrot and garlic slices2-3mm thick). In a large bowl mix the vegetables with the spices until well combined.
Firmly press the vegetables into an airtight (sunlight free jar/ ideally a fermenting crock). Pour your starter mix onto the vegetables and continue to press down and add more water unti the vegetables are fully submerged and atleast 5cm from the top of your jar/container. Using a small plate or something similar weigh the vegetables down to ensure they remain submerged the entire fermentation.
Leave the crockpot/ jar at room temperature for 7 days (ideally about 20-22’C). Do not open the crockpot during this time. After the week, harvest (or jar) your vegetables. At this time I stir through some dried seaweed flakes, usually dulse or nori. This will assist creating a nice saltiness in the creation. Your vegetables will keep in the fridge indefinitely.
Enjoy in good health
Aussie Paleo Chef
Here’s the situation: You wake up half way through the night (usually to go to the toilet) and then spend a couple of hours tossing and turning in bed trying to force yourself back to sleep. I’ve had this happen to me for as long as I can remember, and it always used to cause me great stress, which in turn kept me up at night. I was so worried about get the mythical ’8 hours of unbroken sleep’ that I’d have trouble getting to sleep at all. But is it really necessary to get eight straight hours?
Finally about 18 months I decided not to fight it anymore. If I woke up in the middle of the night and didn’t go back to sleep then I’d get up and do something (usually work related, or reading – basically something where my mind was active not passive like watching TV). I found that after an hour or two I would usually fall back asleep quite easily. Further to this I also stopped trying to get 8 hours total sleep per night and just started sleeping until I felt I’d had enough.
The result of this change was that I wake up now more often than not feeling restored and ready for the day ahead. Turns out I may not be that weird. I recently read this article from BBC magazine title ‘The myth of the eight-hour sleep’. In it the author, Stephanie Hegarty explains that there are many historical examples of this two separate chunks of sleep.
Natural sleep patterns, or cycles, have us coming in and out of different states of sleep throughout the night. The different levels correspond to different states of mental activity and awareness. Most importantly for recovery are the level 4 and REM states of sleep. Level 4 is the state where the body recovers, sending blood to the muscles to aid in repair, whereas REM sleep, where we dream, is where we sort and store information that we’ve picked up throughout the day and helps with restoration of our cognitive ability.
We ‘cycle’ through these various states through out the night (4-6 times on average), however the majority of Level 4 sleep (physical recovery) is happening in the first half of sleeping and the majority of REM sleep (mental recovery) is happening is happening in the second half. It makes sense that perhaps these are two different macro cycles or patterns of sleep.
Of course this is based on my experiences and could be totally different for you, but it may be worth experimenting with. But if you do find yourself awake in the middle of the night what’s the harm in squeezing in a bit of extra work? I often find it is one of the best times to get things done. No emails or status updates to distract me and with the knowledge that the rest of the world is sleeping, I often feel ‘untethered’ and more creative. At the very least it’ll probably help you stress less about not being able to sleep, and that’s never a bad thing.
At a class recently I was asked why I teach 180 beats (or foot falls) per minute is the most efficient. My answer was “because science said so”. So to prove that I wasn’t lying and to make up for my brevity in the initial answer, here is the science:
Check out this blog post from one of my favorite bloggers Alex Hutchinson of Sweat Science (now writing at Runner World). I came across it when I was first looking into running cadence and it remains (in my opinion) one of the most succinct writings on the topic. Be sure to check out some of the original articles linked in there as well as the video. He has a little more on the subject on the blog as well so be sure to check out the other posts.
This post is actually linked in the above one but it’s definitely worth a read by itself, from Dave Munger at Science Based Running
And just to offer some counter point to the theory check out this post from Peter Larson writing at Tread Lightly on how 180 is not the be all and end all.
At the end of the day I believe that 180 is a good target for most people to have, especially if there are not experienced runners. But as you can probably tell there is plenty of information out there on the subject so read up and inform yourself.
For thousands of years our bodies adapted to the environment around us. Our surrounds forced us to walk, crawl, run, jump, climb etc etc. Our bodies look and move the way they do because they were forced to adapt and evolve to the stressors that the environment placed upon them. So if we became who we are today by our environment, what happens to us if we take away that stress?
Modern life is a pursuit of comfort. We constantly seek out easier ways to do our daily activities. We create more and more ergonomic designs for our environment. The upside is obvious – our lives are easier – but do we ever consider what the long term effects are, and I mean long term as in multi-generational. In short, what are we doing to the evolution of our species? By making things easier in the short term we are actually making them harder for us in the long term. Just ask anyone who has suffered lower back pain or RSI of the wrists from sitting a desk for too long. We weren’t built to do these things. We will adapt but it will take time and will be painful.
It’s not that we are devolving, we never really devolve (or de-evolve?), we just evolve in a different way. We become most ‘fit’ for what we need to do. The problem being here is that today we don’t need to do anything. We can almost get away with sitting in chair all day. To me that’s a bit of a scary thought, It’s not something I want to particularly become adapted to. And then what if we were suddenly forced to rely on our bodies again to survive? How many people could?
Evolution by it’s nature is an adaptation to environmental pressures, so if we control our environment, we technically control how we evolve. I like to think of it as that we now have a choice. We can continue to utilise technology and ergonomic designs to make our lives easier and evolve to the current state of our environment OR we can continue to utilise our bodies the way they where made to – by placing them under stress, even if it’s simulated, and pushing them beyond what they could previously do. We can either forget the genetic heritage we have been given or we can choose to build upon it.
Just a little something for you to mull over while you’re thinking about your training this week. Maybe instead of picking up that weighted bar, which just so happens to be the perfect size for a closed fist, try picking up a log, sand bag or rock. Pull ups onto a tree branch. Box Jumps onto a rock. All the environmental stressors your body needs to adapt to are out there, you just have to get out and use them.
I have said before to remain committed to Paleo, it must be sustainable. In a dietary sense, that to me means there must be a few rewards from time to time, or Paleo treats as I like to call them. It should be something that feels a little indulgent and gives you that, “I’ve just done something naughty” feeling. A Paleo treat in my house might be a fruit crumble, coconut slice, cake or even ice cream made with ingredients that are all deemed “Paleo friendly”. It is important to note that I have used the term ‘treat’ so all these food products should be considered as exactly that. Numerous products on the market use the description “Paleo friendly”, which is technically true, the ingredients are considered to be Paleo acceptable; however this does not necessarily mean that the product is nutritionally sound. In fact, some Paleo friendly treats are no better for you than a candy bar or Tim Tam, but this does not mean you should avoid them all together but instead be aware of what you are ingesting and respect that ‘treat’ is not an everyday item.
The first recipe is so simple and a fantastic summertime reward.
Paleo ice cream
Essentially you will need two key ingredients, frozen fruit and Coconut cream. (I use Ayam brand because it is purely coconut kernel with no stabilisers or emulsifiers).
If using fruit like ripe bananas or mangos with a naturally high sugar content then the ice cream will have a nice sweetness, however if you opt for a berry ice cream you might want to add a tablespoon or two of Raw organic honey to the fruit when you blend them. After a couple of batches you will know what suits your palate.
If you think back to my second blog you will remember I suggested owning a quality blender, this is a time when it will really come in handy.
Into the blender place 250g of frozen fruit (and honey if required) and one 270 ml refrigerated can of coconut cream. Blend the ingredients and once smooth and creamy work quickly to get the cold thick puree into a plastic container and place back in the freezer until set. Take the ice cream out of the freezer about ten minutes before serving to soften. A decent ice cream scoop will carve delicious scoops from your creation. I guarantee you will be blown away by how good it is, the coconut cream gives your ice cream the most fantastic texture, the hardest thing is to not eat the whole batch.
Generally, bananas give a creamier texture ice cream due to the lower water content and therefore when frozen are not as icy as other fruits. Another tip, if using bananas, is to sprinkle some cinnamon into the blender before pureeing. Bananas and cinnamon are a fantastic combination, or alternatively try experimenting with a little raw cacao for choc/banana or blueberries for blueberry and banana. A scraped vanilla pod always adds a beautiful dimension of flavour, as does a few leaves of fresh mint in a strawberry batch. Why not get back to me with some of the flavours you have come up with, and post it in the comments (and the Tengeri community could release the first Paleo ice cream book).
This next recipe is also very simple and damn addictive. I originally designed these to accompany my mid-morning coffee (one or two) but have had to stop making them because I was regularly eating an entire weeks’ worth in one day.
Paleo Chocolate Truffles
Preheat the oven to 170C. In a Kitchen Wizz or Mix Master, with the blade attachment measure the following:
Blend these ingredients for a couple of minutes. As the mix heats up the LSA will release its natural oils and the ingredients will come together and form a sticky ball. At this point turn the machine off.
Using your hands, roll the mix into 2cm diameter balls and place onto a slice tray. Sprinkle more raw cacao and desiccated coconut over the balls and agitate the tray so the balls roll around and coat themselves in the coconut mix.
Place in the oven and bake for 6 mins. Allow to cool, if you can resist eating them (they become chewy as they cool), and store in an airtight container. These are so good and because they have nuts in them the kids can’t take them to school (so you get to keep them J). If you want them to last however you need to make sure you have hidden them before they get home.
Finally, I have a wonderfully addictive crumble topping to grill over any poached fruit. You can make the crumble mix and store in it the fridge for when you need it.
In a bowl measure: 1C Almond meal, 1/2C Coconut sugar, 1 1/2tsp Ground cinnamon, 1/3C Coconut flour and 50g Coconut oil. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until they form a breadcrumb like consistency. When desired, pile over poached fruit in a bowl and grill until the top begins to brown. I’m not saying it is good for you, but it is a nice reward, ENJOY!!
Remember these are treats, something look forward to and enjoy occasionally.
Until next time, love your grub.
I recently cooked a 5 course dinner party which I described it as ‘Pimped Out Paleo’. Thought I might share the menu and a few photos for a bit of inspiration
Hopefully this has inspired you to create some Paleo gourmet magic of your own. If you have any questions about this menu please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Love your grub,
The Aussie Paleo Chef
This post has been inspired by a friendly confrontation on fructose content in children’s diets hat I had with a teacher from my children’s school. Before I start I should state that, for the most part, the body of this blog is my personal opinion, however I have included scientific facts where possible to substantiate my beliefs
One evening, at a get to know your child’s teacher event, a staff member bailed me up to query her observations. “Mr Barrett,” she began. “I have noticed that your children generally bring far less fruit to school than the other students. Also I have never seen them with fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks, and even in the heat of summer an iceblock. Do you have any particular views on this as it is obvious their diet is distinctly different to the other children?” Needless to say she had now opened a can of worms and this is basically the response she got:
To begin, let’s look at fruit poppers, cordials, soft drinks and iceblocks. As a rule, there is a nasty little ingredient hidden in nearly all of these products, named High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS. It is made via a process involving heat, mechanical breakdown, chemicals and enzymatic action to reduce corn starch into syrup that contains 90% fructose. This is then mixed with glucose syrup to produce a variety of HFCS’s used in carbonated drinks, drink syrups, canned fruits, sauces, soups condiments, baked goods and many other processed foods. Scarily, this stuff is damn cheap to make (due to Governments subsidising corn crops) and is sweeter than table sugar, therefore very palatable to our increasingly overweight population. In a basic sense, fructose has a structure that differs from that of natural sugar and our bodies our simply unable to metabolise it (or at least very poor at it). In scientific terms there is no chemical bond between the fructose and glucose, therefore no digestion is required and they are absorbed more readily into our blood stream. The fructose goes straight to our liver and triggers the production of fats, including cholesterol, and is a major cause of liver damage, or “fatty liver”. The glucose triggers big spikes in insulin, our major fat storage hormone. Combined these features lead to an increase in metabolic disturbances that promote appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and the list goes on!
HFCS’s also contain contaminants such as mercury and medical and nutritional experts do not support the use of HFCS in the human diet. If you would like to frighten yourself a little more read this article by a DR Mercola, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/sugar-may-be-bad-but-this_b_463655.html.
So what does fruit have to do with all of this I hear you ask. Good point, firstly we need to look at fruit consumption from an ancestral perspective. The original human were Hunters and Gatherers and a result would only had access to sweet fruit seasonally, meaning it was consumed in very small quantities on very few occasions. So let’s discuss sugars, as the body sees them.
Glucose is the good sugar; it can be used by all our cells for energy and is essential for some parts of our bodies. The best sources of natural carbohydrates are starchy vegetables such as Kumera and Yams. Starch is a complex polymer of glucose molecules that disassembled in our digestive systems and absorbed as glucose. Now generally our bodies can handle small amounts of fructose very well, it has for a couple of million years, but in over consumption becomes toxic. Unfortunately this means you can have too much fruit. Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and is therefore useless to the body. Excess fructose damages the liver and has the same effect on the organ as alcohol. Fructose reacts with proteins and polyunsaturated fats in our bodies 7 times more than glucose. This reaction creates Advanced Glycation End products which are products that create damage in our cells and lead to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases. Fructose increases uric acid production which in excess can cause gout, kidney stones, and aggravate hypertension. The body’s cells cannot use fructose as a source of energy but the gut can. Excess fructose can cause gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and pathogenic bacteria. Fructose can cause all the problems associated with the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc. Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose and excess fructose also affects brain functioning, especially as it relates to appetite regulation.
You have probably been scared enough by now so it is important for me to profess that I do send the children to school with some fruit, usually berries, just not all the time. I substitute fruit with carrot, cucumber, celery, capsicum and seed butters. I never allow them to have fruit juices, which are simply concentrated forms of fructose but rather eat the whole fruit. From time to time I put whole fruit into the blender with coconut water and make smoothies or mix the puree with soda water and freeze for healthy iceblocks. I laugh when I see long lines of people dressed in expensive exercise gear lining up at juice bars in shopping centres and food courts, living the delusion they are doing themselves good. They might as well drink coke!! Another important thing to remember is that because someone looks healthy on the outside does not necessarily mean everything is just as rosy on the inside.
As I’m sure you can imagine I don’t get asked questions any more about how I feed my kids, but I know I am doing the right thing. They are healthy, fit and love their grub. The other kids in the playground are forever trying to do “deals” to swap food with them, and we are the creators of new food trends amongst the children. We make our own jerky and dehydrated vegetable chips, and eat a wider variety of foods than all of them. I know I am doing all I can to ensure my kids have great longevity and a disease free existence.
So the next time you say to your kids I don’t mind how much fruit you eat because it is good for you, question yourself, “is it really?”
Something to think about.
Until next time, love your grub,
The Aussie Paleo Chef
The Australian Government released it’s new Dietary Guidelines recently (following a 3 year review) and some of the new guidelines seem to be causing a bit of a stir. A friend of mine asked for my thoughts on the matter so I thought I’d post my views up here.
I was studying nutrition when they were drafting this so it’s something that I have been waiting on with interest. Being of the Paleo persuasion, I am never going to feel that they go far enough with their recommendations, but at least it’s a (sort of) step in the right direction (albeit via omission rather than admission). Here’s my views on a few of the key changes:
Finally, there is a recommendation to limit sugar. As good of a step as that is, it’s also an admission that they have the evidence of how bad sugar can be in our diets, so why not say that? Well one reason is probably because of the uproar that this small change has already caused (check out this article on the matter from abc news).
Low Fat Foods
I’m super happy that they took out “Aim for low fat versions of foods” as these things are invariably a chemical cocktail. The new recommendation of aiming for good fats instead of bad fats is fine, but I feel they are still basing the saturated fat bashing off one old study that showed correlation not causation between sat fats and heart disease.
The Food Pyramid
Thank Odin they have eradicated the pyramid, which, in my opinion, is one of the worst things to happen to nutrition. Also grains have slipped down the list to be replaced by fruit and veggies. It’s not a win, but it’s a start.
The recommendation for exercise has gone from 30 mins a day to 60, and in the case of formerly obese people, 90 mins a day. Unsurprisingly I think this recommendation is awesome, however a little more detail into the types of exercise and into what actually constitutes exercise would be better.
At the end of they day they (the Government) are dealing with a bell curve of statistics, and they have to do the best for the most whilst bringing no harm (or as little as possible) to the few, so although I feel the recommendations are a little weak, they are still miles better than what they used to be.