Paleo Challenge – Final Results

The HWCF Winter 2013 Paleo Challenge was a fantastic success!

Collectively our 33 finishers…

  • Lost 146 pounds
  • Dropped 55.5 percentage points of body fat
  • Lost 15.1 hip inches and 30.8 waist inches
  • Gained 424 reps

Whoa.

And congrats to our top winners (based on combination ranking of initial wod, wod improvement, and body fat loss):

Ladies Division

Overall Winner – Katy Weseman
Runner Up – Liz O’Connor
Most Body Fat Change – Sarah Riddle

Mens Division

Overall Winner – Kenny Meylikhan
Runner Up – Stephen Heinz
Most Body Fat Change – Stephen Heinz

Thanks everyone for your participation, your enthusiasm, and your recipes!

And if you haven’t filled out our survey yet, we’d love to have your feedback so we can make these events amazing – it takes less than 5 minutes.

 

Last Challenge Meeting Tonight and Beef Coconut Curry

Bring your questions – especially ones relating to reintroducing foods that you’ve eliminated during the challenge. The idea of ending of ending your challenge with a giant binge might seem appealing, but you’ve spent the last month building a great opportunity to learn from experience how certain foods might negatively affect your health.

BEEF COCONUT CURRY

This is one of my favorite easy recipes of all time. We almost always have servings of this on-hand in the freezer. If you haven’t made the switch over to grass-fed beef yet, let this inspire you to make it happen. When you’re shopping, make sure to ask for 100% grass-fed – this means no grain finishing. We order most of our meat from Wallace Farms, Nick has a great price on ground beef by the case. Another local option is Tallgrass Beef, which you can get over at Paulina Meat Market. For other options, check out the wonder of Yelp.

Also, we make our own curry spice because we’re avoiding nightshades, but if you want to make it even easier, just trade the spices for 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) of your favorite curry powder. As it is here, this recipe packs no heat at all.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed (whole)
  • 2 tablespoons corriander seed (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 fresh tumeric roots
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 onions medium dice
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 head cauliflower (cut into medium or small florets)
  • 3-4 carrots (medium chopped)
  • 2 bunches lacinato kale

 

Instructions

  1. In a saute pan lightly toast the whole spices on medium heat stirring constantly.Remove from heat, combine with powdered spices and grind and mix using a spice grinder.
  2. Puree, finely chop or grind the ginger, garlic and turmeric. If you use the grinder clean well with a damp paper towel and make sure it is unplugged while cleaning.
  3. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large pot. Add both spice mixtures and the onions and saute, stirring occasionally. until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the ground beef and stir regularly to break up clumps (about 5 minutes).
  4. Stir in the stock and coconut milk, cauliflower, and carrots. Pile the kale on top and rest the lid on it – it will shrink very quickly. Once the kale fits in, give everything a good stir, put the lid back on and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Taste for salt and adjust. (If you happen to over-salt a bit, a squeeze of lemon can balance it back out.)

 

How to Make a Super-Fast Breakfast

If you don’t have a Blendtec, Vitamix or other high-powered blender, I highly recommend getting one. I use mine at least twice a day for shakes, soups, muffin batter and bulletproof coffee.

Collagen is a great source of supplemental protein for people who are sensitive to whey or who are more focused on joint health and healing. I have two different collagen powders that I use: Upgraded Collagen (higher quality, more expensive) and Great Lakes (cheaper).

MCT oil is an extraction of two medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil – capric and caprylic acid. Your body burns this fat very efficiently. The only MCT I’ve ever tried is the Upgraded MCT, which is 100% pure.

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) MCT oil (ramp up to this amount to let your belly adapt)
  • 1/2 head romain lettuce
  • 1/3 english cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • 2 tablespoons collagen powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 an avocado

MORE OPTIONS FOR INGREDIENTS

  • replace the cucumber with a small raw beet
  • add a raw egg yolk
  • try whey in place of collagen or leave out the protein entirely
  • try spices like turmeric to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Put everything in the blender and switch it on. Depending on the quality of your blender you may have to chop things a bit smaller, our you can just chop for fun (my husband does this).

 

Last Full Week of Paleo Challenge + Butternut Squash Meatball Sauce

Not much time left now! Body fat and performance testing will be happening next week, so watch your email for announcements about that.

I got a special request from Tony to post the recipe for the meatballs that we brought to the potluck, so that would be today’s recipe except that the meatballs themselves came from our Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook and unfortunately the recipe isn’t on her site so I can’t legally share it here.

It is an outstanding cookbook and I highly recommend it. I’ll bring my copy to the gym tonight and leave it for a few days so you can have a look through after you wash the sweat and chalk off your hands. (Hint – check out page 211).

The sauce, however, was my husband’s creation. Of course you could use a standard tomato sauce, but we eliminated nightshades for the challenge, so we had to get creative. Apparently these meatballs are originally intended to be served without a sauce, so you could also just serve them up on a bed of greens. The sauce doesn’t actually require the meatballs either – you could just as easily make it while frying up some burgers. If you increase the amount of stock then you’ll have a yummy soup as a side.

IMG_2367

Butternut Squash Sauce
  • 1 Butternut squash
  • All the pan drippings from cooking the meatballs
  • 1/2 c. Chicken stock
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1/2 t. Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

IMG_2351

Before starting the meatballs, turn the oven on to 350. Cut the squash in half long-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves cut side down in a baking dish and add enough water so it’s about half an inch deep. Bake for 40 minutes and then test for doneness by pushing a finger into the skin. It should feel quite squishy, so give it as much additional time as it needs to get there. In the meantime, your meatball making will look something like this…

Once the squash is done, scoop out all the cooked innards into a medium mixing bowl. And once the meatballs are all cooked and removed from the pan, pour the drippings into your mixing bowl.

Put the pan back on the flame and pour in 1 cup of chicken stock to deglaze the yumminess that’s stuck to the bottom. Use a wooden spoon to scrape it all off and then pour it all into the bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix everything up with an immersion blender.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender will work if it’s large enough – make sure to only fill it half full and cover the lid with a towel and your hand before you turn it on.

Add more salt to taste, serve and enjoy!

Bacon-Basil Zucchini “Pasta”

Thanks to Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom for permission to repost this recipe. If you don’t want to get a mandoline for making the “noodles”, a julienne peeler is also an option, and if you have the patience you can just use a knife.

I bought myself a relatively inexpensive Mandoline Slicer and I love it! It makes so many jobs in the kitchen so much faster. There are some jobs that would take so long with a knife that I just never even bother. Making paleo “noodles” out of vegetables is one such job. If you’re looking for a mandolin, make sure you get one that can do a fine julienne. A ton of different vegetables can be julienned into long strips and steamed, braised or sautéed as mock noodles. And my kids LOVE them (there’s something so satisfying about a long skinny slurpy noodle, especially if it is a carrot noodle, a turnip noodle, or a broccoli stem noodle). This recipe features zucchini as a mock noodle, which has such a lovely flavor for Italian-inspired dishes. Omit the walnuts to make this recipe autoimmune protocol-friendly. This recipe makes enough for 3-4 hearty side dish portions. Alternately, you could add some grilled steak, prawns or chicken and turn this into a main dish for two. If you don’t have an oversized frying pan (which is another kitchen must-have!), you could try using a Wok.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large zucchini (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup bacon grease (crispy bits make it even better)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions:

  1. Finely julienne zucchini lengthwise to create long strips of zucchini. Toss with salt in a colander and let sit in the sink for 1 hour.
  2. Rinse the zucchini very, very thoroughly (have a taste to make sure it’s not salty at all). Drain on a tea towel or paper towels to get rid of as much moisture as possible.
  3. Heat bacon grease in an oversized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini and sauté, stirring frequently until zucchini is cooked “al dente”, about 4-5 minutes (should be a very hot pan).
  4. Toss in basil and walnuts (if using) and cook another 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  5. Serve!

 

How to Make “Creamed” Vegetable Soups using Cauliflower

This soup template makes for a delicious way to clean out the fridge before your veggies head south. In the non-paleo world, creamy vegetable soups use roux (a mixture of flour cooked in fat) as a thickener and then are enriched with cream and/or butter, but a paleo version of these soups can be easily achieved by using cauliflower. If you want to be prepared for this option at any time, keep a bag of frozen cauliflower on hand.
soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fat
  • 2 pounds uncooked veggies roughy chopped (at least 1/4 pound is cauliflower)
  • 1 quart liquid (barely enough to cover)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Bonus Ingredients

  • Dried herbs and/or spices (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Fresh herbs (a couple of tablespoons)
  • Lemon and/or ginger juice (1 teaspoon or more to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, sweat aromatic vegetables (e.g. leeks, onions, garlic, shallots) in a little lard, ghee or coconut oil. (To sweat use much lower heat than sautéing and keep the lid on the pot. Stir often to make sure no browning starts to occur, and if it does add in a little water to bring the temperature down.)
  2. Add vegetables – except leafy greens, liquid (water or bone broth), salt, and dry herbs or spices. Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid ajar.
  3. Add leafy greens and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and puree the soup using an immersion blender, blender, food mill, or strainer. (Don’t use a food processor – your soup will just run out the bottom.)
  5. Stir in fresh herbs and lemon and/or ginger juice, adjust salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!

 

3 Awesome Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower

Cauliflower is great for paleo eating because it’s:

  • High in fiber and micronutrients
  • Easier to digest than it’s cousin – brussels sprouts
  • Low in carbs – 5 grams of carbs per cup (if you care about that sort of thing)

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable sharing the family Brassicaceae with cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and others. The alternate family name – Cruciferae – refers to the flowers being shaped like a cross.

Cruciferous vegetables can be hard to digest for some folks, but if you tolerate them well, then here’s three delicious recipes for you to savor!

Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” from Nom Nom Paleo

I just got this cookbook last week and have loved everything I’ve made so far, but I loved this one so much I’ve already made it twice.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust by The Lucky Penny

This one comes highly recommended by Niki’s K & M, and Kenny.

Cauliflower Rice by Primal Palate

And this one I have yet to try, but it’s on the list (for as soon as I get tired of the “potatoes”) – let me know how it works for you!

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Thanks to Diane Sanfilippo over at Balanced Bites for permission to repost this recipe. It is just one of over 120 delicious and easy recipes in her book, Practical Paleo!

A traditional meat sauce, Bolognese is usually made with heavy cream and a variety of meats. To keep this one dairy-free, use coconut milk instead of cream.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 60 minutes
YIELD: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or grass-fed butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or finely diced
  • 1/2 lb ground veal or beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional, you may replace with beef broth if you feel you need to add some liquid)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise so that two shallow halves remain. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes translucent in color and the skin begins to soften and easily separate from the “noodles” that make up the inside.
  3. Allow the squash to cool enough so that you can handle it, and then scoop the flesh out from the inside of the skin into a large serving bowl. Set aside until the sauce is finished.
  4. While the squash bakes: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the bacon fat or butter, and sautée the onions, carrots, and celery until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add the ground veal, pork, and bacon, and cook until browned through. Once the meat is done, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and white wine (optional), and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is well combined and any alcohol is cooked out (if you added it).
  6. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste before removing the sauce from the heat.
  7. Serve over the roasted spaghetti squash.

 

How to Make Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of the best foods you can eat if you want to be healthy. It’s chock full of bioavailable minerals and gelatinous collagen to set you up for optimum performance and recovery. It is also very healing for the gut which means it can reduce allergies, enhance immunity, improve digestion and much, much more.

Ask at your store’s meat counter for these bones if you don’t see them sitting out. If they don’t have them you may need to go to a butcher. I get my bones directly from the farmer through a bi-weekly delivery from Family Farms Coop.

This is just one option for how to make bone broth, consider this recipe to be a loose template, not an exact science. You could also use a whole chicken carcass (or 2) or whole fish carcasses once you’ve eaten all the meat. Just store them in the freezer until you’re ready to make your broth.

Here are the total(ish) cooking times that you’ll want to use:

  • Beef bones: 48 hours
  • Chicken bones: 24 hours
  • Fish bones: 8 hours

Ingredients for large-slow-cooker-sized beef bone broth:

  • 2 pounds grass-fed marrow bones
  • 1 pound grass-fed meaty soup bones
  • A hearty splash of apple cider vinegar or juice from one lemon
  • 3-5 carrots, large chop
  • 1 onion, large chop
  • 3-5 sticks of celery, large chop
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon sea salt (optional – you can always salt when you use the broth)
  • A few sprigs of parsley

Instructions:

  1. Place the bones and vinegar/lemon juice in the cooker or pot, cover with water.
  2. Cook for 24 hours: for a slow cooker use the low setting, for stove-top keep at a low simmer. If the water ever looks too low, just add a bit more. For chicken and fish broth, add the veggies, peppercorns and salt now too.
  3. Skim the layer than has floated to the top and discard. For chicken and fish skip to step #. For beef, grab the marrow bones with tongs and make sure the marrow has fallen out of the center.
  4. Add the veggies, peppercorns and salt and cook another 12 hours.
  5. Add parsley and cook 30 more minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let stand for a couple of hours.
  7. Strain through a mesh strainer and divvy up portions. Freeze what you won’t use within 5 days and try and drink some every day in soups, smoothies or as a savory snack!

Note: Once the broth cools you will (hopefully!) get nice layer of fat that floats to the top. Feel free to use this with your broth, or to set is aside and use for cooking. Or you can feed it to your dog and experience an entirely new realm of devotion.

Eggs in a Nest

Week 2 Day 2’s recipe is a repost courtesy of Jen’s Gone Paleo:

“This is the best idea! And, so easy.”

eggnest

Ingredients

  • Two eggs
  • 2 bunches chard
  • 2 large zucchini (grated)
  • 1/2 large avocado

Instructions

  1. Saute your veggies (i.e. chard, spinach, kale, zucchini…), until almost cooked.
  2. Create a “nest”, for your eggs, with the veggies.
  3. Crack the eggs into your “nest”.
  4. Cover your pan with a lid and cook eggs to desired doneness.