Thursday, February 16, 2012

Summer Ice Blocks

Jacinda cooling-down on a hot afternoon

A can of coconut cream
1 banana
one of the following options: cocoa, berries, pineapple, avocado

Blend everything in a blender and pour into ice block moulds

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oven Cleaning With Only Baking Soda and Water

It requires time and effort for me to source good quality foods and grow organic vegetables in my garden, so the last thing I'm going to do is undo it all by cooking in an oven full of toxic residue left behind from commercial oven cleaners.

A couple of years ago, I switched to using homemade cleaning products. There may be numerous toxins in our environment that I have no control over, but even though this is the case, I prefer to keep them out of my home as much as possible. Homemade products often work out cheaper, especially when compared to boutique 'eco friendly' products, and remove all risk of little fingers getting into highly poisionus substances when I'm not looking.

Cleaning the oven is usually being a task I dread, however the simplicity of this particular method was surprising.......

Things you Need:
A spray bottle filled with water
A shaker filled with baking soda

What To Do: 
Spray the water over the walls and bottom of the oven
Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda throughout the oven
If there are any dry patches, dampen with a little more water
Leave for Several hours
Wipe clean

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day Paleo!!

Bacon Roses anyone?!

10 things I love about Paleo
  1. Eating lots of fat...mmmm!
  2. Freedom from sugar addiction
  3. Freedom from snacking in between meals
  4.  Its good for the planet (less processing and packaging)
  5. Having big BBQ's with friends
  6. Getting creative in the kitchen (even if it means a few weird dinners!)
  7. Hardly ever getting sick
  8. Being able to eat heaps of food and lose the same time!
  9. Having so much energy that I must train, or something dangerous may happen.
  10. Smiling and nodding while talking to someone who's just realised all of the above and can't stop talking about it!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fridays, Out and About on the Web.......

We had a blast Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Takapuna Beach

Training on Gymnastic Rings..... On Santa Monica the 1930's

I've been really inspired by this BBC series lately


Rush Hour in Holland

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting Organised

All Ready for the week....

There is no hiding it. Eating wholefoods takes more effort than processed food. It may need to be washed, sliced or cooked and the dishes washed afterwards. This takes time and effort in an already busy week. 

Lately, I have got myself into the habit 'food prepping' as much as possible on the weekend. All I do is slice up all the vegetables into containers, blend up some 'cauliflower rice' for dishes such as my Pork Fried 'Rice' and pop some chicken drumsticks into the oven for an hour, so we have a decent source of meat on hand for a quick lunch or snack. 

My reward is then reaped Monday through to Friday, by being able to throw some goose fat, eggs, pre-chopped spinach and mushrooms into a pan for a quick breakfast or grab some chicken drumsticks, celery and almond butter within seconds if I need to.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Frozen Berries + Coconut Cream = Yummy Dessert!

I'm not even going to call this a recipe since it's more like, well.....mixing a couple of things together! 

All you need is a can of coconut cream that has been in the fridge for a few hours and some frozen mixed berries. Pop it all in a blender then serve (if it's too runny just add more berries until it looks like ice cream!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easing the Teething, Naturally.

Poor Lucy, she has been cutting teeth this week. It's been a painful experience for her with all the classic symptoms of swollen gums, red cheeks, nappy rash, general grumpiness. 

I always like to try my best to keep her away from anything unnatural, she's only 9 months old and this means that any chemicals or harsh ingredients will effect her more strongly than an adult. So, here are a few ways we have gotten through the week....

  1. Amber Beads: I don't really know for sure if these work, or if it's just a placebo effect. Apparently the naturally occurring oils have anti-inflammatory properties and these are released when the amber is warmed up against the skin.
  2. Cold vege slices:  Cucumbers, capsicums and celery are nice and cold for sore gums.
  3. Cornflour: And nappy-free time for nappy rash.
  4. Soft rubber toys: to chew on.
  5. Weleda teething powder
  6. Extra sleep time: I've just been going with the flow here, teething is hard work so an extra little nap has been needed some days.
P.S any other natural teething tips out there??....I may need a few more up my sleeve for when the next ones pop through!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pink Dip

Jacinda clearly enjoying her pink dip with baby carrots

Our garden is brimming with beetroots at the moment, we traded some with our neighbour for her abundance of green beans and then whizzed up the rest into a simple dip.

4 small beetroots 
1 pottle of greek yoghurt
2 cloves of garlic 

Peel and dice the beetroots and garlic.
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whizz.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Against The Grain Part 1: Insulin

Eliminating grains is THE most essential element of the Primal diet. It is also the most controversial, challenging and misunderstood aspect. So, I'm going to break this down into a series of posts. The first one being Insulin.........

Insulin is a hormone. Hormones tell our body how to react to our environment and can fluctuate with exercise, sunshine, sex, sleep, pregnancy and food. Insulin levels are determined by the amount of glucose (sugar) in our diet. Now, the sneaky thing about grains is that they eventually end up as glucose in the bloodstream, identical to how pure sugar would look. This means the body doesn't know if you have eaten a handful of lollies or a slice of bread, it's the same thing!

Now, that glucose (sugar) is also toxic when it enters the bloodstream. This isn't a bad thing it just means that it needs to get out of there ASAP. Firstly, it will see if the muscles need it, if not (because the muscle cells haven't been depleted of glucose via exercising) it gets stored as fat. Therefore, the more glucose in the bloodstream (from grains or just pure sugar) the more insulin rises, and the higher the level of insulin the louder and more urgent his message of "Store Fat!" gets.

Insulin levels can be kept low by eating vegetables and a little fruit for carbohydrate. This allows the body to maintain enough glucose in the muscles yet keeps Insulin's message of "Store Fat!" to a whisper.

From an evolutionary perspective, a big insulin rush had it's purpose. Imagine a Apple tree full of ripe fruit, a scarce and valuable find for the primal people. They would most likely devour as much as possible, embrace the insulin rush, store a little fat and then use it during a tough day of hunting and gathering.

Things are drastically different these days. A day without food is unheard of unless your doing the '40 hr famine' or are unwell. We eat vast amounts of sugar, including cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner...... and our body drowns in insulin screaming "Store Fat!, Store Fat!, Store Fat!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fridays, Out and About on the Web.......

The Sunday morning Hobsonville Point Farmers Market  is now on Wednesday evenings too

I wish someone like Mike  would drive down my street


"Float like a Butterfly, sting like a Bee".......Happy Birthday Muhammad Ali!!

Enjoy Your Weekend x

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Primal Lunchbox....10 Ideas.

For Lucy: Sweet Potato and Apple Puree, For Jacinda: Beetroot dip, Water, Bacon bits, Cherry Tomatoes, Sultanas & Walnuts, Celery Sticks for the dip and a Nectarine.

  1. Any kind of Deli meat
  2. Biltong
  3. A Boiled egg
  4. Paleo style baking*
  5. Dried Fruit
  6. Fresh Fruit
  7. Dips & sliced veges*
  8. Leftovers
  9. Greek yoghurt
  10. Baby carrots and cream cheese
* Paleo style baking and dips quite often have nuts in the ingredients which may not be allowed in some childcare centres

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mini Lunchbox Muffins

Pre-schoolers often aren't allowed any nuts in their lunchboxes due to the high number of children who now suffer from nut allergies. Most paleo baking recipes use almond flour, which is a no-no for Jacinda's lunchbox, so these mini muffins are a good alternative for creche days. I keep them in the freezer and pop one in her lunchbox in the morning, being so small they defrost well before morning tea time rolls around.

3 Eggs
3 Tbsp Butter
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius 
  2. Whisk the eggs
  3. Melt the butter. Use a little to grease the mini muffin tin, then mix the rest into the beaten eggs.
  4. Sift in the Coconut Flour, Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar and mix well.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for approx 15mins or until golden.
Makes 12 Mini Muffins

P.S For variety, how about adding some dried fruit, blueberries or dark chocolate chips to the mix?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Cafe Brunch - 4 Ways to Keep it Primal.

The "Vege Grill with a side of bacon but no toast" at Tongue and Groove Cafe, Birkenhead

1. Add and Subtract.
Think Bacon & Eggs, add side of spinach but no toast or maybe an Omelet, add a side of avocado but no toast.

2. The Triplet.
Don't overlook the awesome meal that can be created out of 3 'sides' about Bacon + Salad+ Avocado or Scrambled Eggs + Tomatoes + Creamy Mushrooms. These combinations often work out cheaper than the big meals on the menu and you can mentally tick off your servings of Protein, Fat and Carbs.

3. The Long Black with Cream
Why this is not on the menu surprises me (maybe because technically it is called a 'Vienna', although I hesitate to use the word since my 'Vienna' once arrived with ice-cream and a chocolate fish?!) however, if you ask you'll be in for a treat.

4. Downsize Me
If you have little ones, most cafes are happy to give smaller portions of the above. Mixing up some 'sides' and getting creative can be fun for kids. Jacinda's favourite is sausage + avocado + hash brown or sometimes I can get a half portion of fruit salad + greek yoghurt for half the normal price.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fat. The Innocent and Undervalued Nutrient

......and they look pretty healthy.

We live in the era of the Low-Fat diet. Simultaneously, we live in the era of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Suspiciously, our Great-Grandparents who enjoyed cooking with Lard and ate Bacon and Eggs for breakfast were a generation relatively free from the effects of these diseases. As our generation munches low fat cereal and sips at Trim Lattes, the rates of these diseases are escalating. Therefore the question must be asked.... If low body fat is achieved from a low fat diet, why are we not seeing the evidence in our community?

I've tried the low-fat diet. At the time I wouldn't have classified myself as being overweight though, I was competing as a lightweight single sculler in the sport of Rowing, this meant I needed to keep my weight down, regardless of my body composition in order to meet the weight limit of my races. During my efforts to eat low-fat I was plagued by a number of maladies that I now realize were caused by a combination of my low-fat diet and long endurance training sessions these included: constant hunger, frequent colds and flu, depression, chronic headaches, lethargy, amenorrhoea, high levels of cortisol in my blood (caused by stress) and deficiency in Vitamin D. Was I successful? well that depends what you call success, I got the number I needed on the scale and a few medals, but I wasn't lean and I definitely wasn't healthy.

One of the first things I did when I decided to go Primal, was to add fat to my diet and lots of it! While the typical dieter would fear butter, cream, full fat milk, avocado, nuts, chicken skin and pork crackling I was devouring the lot! waking up my poor neglected taste buds, replenishing my nutrient starved body AND mind and looking at the clock in astonishment as I went for 4+ hours without a hunger pang.  Now, I will forgive you if  you think this behaviour left me chubby and feeling breathless because it was the complete opposite of what a "healthy" individual would strive towards, I had my hesitations too. But I did some reading on the subject and felt confident that is was worth at least a try. This is why….

1. Fat does not induce an insulin response. Since excess insulin is what promotes fat storage,I would not risk gaining body fat.

2. Fat makes you feel full, meaning I wouldn't overeat or feel the need to snack on sweet foods in between meals. This would help the constant hunger that I was experiencing.

3. Fat aids the digestion of the Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. This would improve my Vitamin D deficiency naturally, which in turn would help my depression and immunity since I was experiencing frequent colds and flu.

4. Fat is needed for digestion. In Nina Planck's book 'Real Food: What to Eat and Why' she states that "Without Fat, digestion literally fails and you starve, even if you are eating plenty of food". Again, dietary fat would help the constant hunger that I was experiencing.

5. The human brain and nerves are made of 60% fat. Which would mean improvements in my chronic headaches and depression.

After a month of eating like a primal cave woman, fat and all! EVERY one of my previous complaints vanished and I was setting new PR's at the gym. As for my body composition, well, I was a few kilos heavier than in my rowing days, a direct result of muscle gain from lifting weights but I was leaner and stronger than ever.

Here's some of the small ways that I now get fat into my diet everyday:

 - Coconut oil added to smoothies, or just straight off the spoon!

 - Lots of Avocado and Olive Oil in Salads

- Snacking on nuts 

 - Cooking with butter, lard, dripping, goose fat  or duck fat- YUM!

 - Eating chicken with the skin on

 - Leaving the excess fat on meat

 - Using cream and full-fat dairy products

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fridays, Out and About on the Web.......

A few interesting links I've come across this week (not all necessarily food related)

See you next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parsnip Chips

For those times that 'Steak and Chips' are requested for dinner.......I kinda like how the name rhymes too!

Coconut Oil 
Mixed Herbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius
  2. Cut the Parsnips into chips and place on a baking tray.
  3. Using a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil until it is liquid. Then drizzle over the chips.
  4. Sprinkle on the mixed herbs and sea salt and toss until the chips are evenly covered with the other ingredients
  5. Place in the oven for about 10 mins or until golden, toss a few times so they cook evenly
P.S wouldn't this be great with other root vegetables? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My (almost) Paleo Babies.

I love good nutrition almost as much as my two little girls, Jacinda (2 yrs) and Lucy (8 mths), so what gets me excited....and I mean really excited!! is seeing with my own eyes the effect paleo nutrition has on them.

Cell by cell my children are growing into adults and the quality of these newly formed cells will be determined by the quality of their food. The biggest gift I want to give them is a platform of optimal health to achieve their dreams. It may be athleticism to play sports at elite level, mental clarity to create a masterpiece or the ability to be Mother one day. I want to hand that freedom and choice to them on a plate.....literally.

Unfortunately, modern culture clashes with ideal paleo nutrition. From day one, there can be challenges with breastfeeding, not enough time to prepare mushy food from scratch, sugary "treats" well-meaning people give to show their love etc, etc, etc, etc....... it never ends. Right up until my children become old and grey, they will live in a world that pulls them back and forth between great nutrition and harmful food. Therefore, rather than putting a barrier around them and making them feel weird, superior or resentful about their food I have decided I'm going to teach my girls how to prosper nutritionally in the modern world.

So, here is what we have done so far.......

Jacinda was exclusively breastfed, and continued until 16 months. She slept through the night beautifully from 5 weeks old and was a happy baby.

At 5 months old she began eating solids, pureed vegetables prepared at home. Then, when Jacinda was 6 months old I began eating primal myself. The impeccable timing of this change is something I will be forever thankful for because it meant that my baby would spend the next few months eating strictly paleo foods.

Then, she got bigger and I no longer had complete control over what went in her mouth. The first time I saw her eat lollies and biscuits I felt sad, my baby was growing up and I could no longer give her 100% of what I believed to be best for her. It's not my style to be an overprotective, controlling Mother so I knew right then and there that I had to change my game plan.

So, now we only eat, prepare and buy primal food. But, we also don't stress out if Jacinda bakes some muffins at creche or is treated to dessert at her Grandparents house. However, her 90% Paleo diet has certainly lived up to it's promises! with one runny nose in her entire life, long sleep filled nights and a laid-back persona. Well, for a 2 year old anyway!

Before Lucy arrived I was certain she'd be a champion sleeper. I read the words of paleo-eating Mothers claiming that nutrient-dense paleo breast milk would put their babies into a deep slumber. But despite my quality meals the mystery remains.....what DOES make a baby sleep?

My nutrient-rich milk was priceless though, Lucy put on weight effortlessly and had a calm nature. However, things were were more challenging second time around. Looking after a toddler and a baby was HARD and 2-3 feeds every night wasn't helping. So around 3 months, we made the decision that Dave would help out during the night by giving Lucy a bottle feed. Formula isn't paleo, I felt guilty about it, but looking after a toddler and a baby alone all day isn't paleo either and that couldn't change. I continued to breastfeed for 6 months, counting down the physically uncomfortable and sometimes painful days.

Lucy currently eats paleo mushy food, but to be honest, it's more supermarket jars of pureed pumpkin than home made pureed pumpkin these days. Someday soon I'll experience deja-vu as I witness her eating lollies and biscuits for the first time and stepping out into a culture that embraces harmful food. Then, I will help her live in it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pork Fried "Rice"

Cauliflower rice is a great replacement for rice when it comes to Asian dishes.

500g of Pork, diced (mince works well too)
1x head of Cauliflower, cut into florets and blended in food processor until it resembles rice
1 x Onion, diced
1x Red Capsicum, sliced
2 Tbsp of Coconut Oil
1 Tsp of Ground Coriander
Soy Sauce
a few Basil leaves (optional)


  1. Heat Coconut Oil in a large pan then add the onion and pork, stirring until lightly browned
  2. Add the Cauliflower "Rice", Capsicum and Ground Coriander, stir for about 10 mins or until it looks cooked
  3. Add a dash of Soy Sauce and stir for a couple of mins
  4. Serve in bowls topped with a few Basil leaves