Eat Sleep and Play Primally

Iron Chef Inspiration: Broc-N-Cheese!

I am addicted to the food network.  I have been watching it for years and one of my favorite shows is Iron Chef.  While I prefer the more campy style of the original Japanese version, I still enjoy the food network version.  I get lots of inspiration from this show.  I love that they focus on one ingredient and then make several dishes where that secret ingredient is the star.  The secret ingredient on the show I just watched was broccoli.  Growing up I was not a fan.  Its one of those vegetables that you either liked or didn’t like.  My parents didn’t understand this dislike, nor some of my other food quirks but always said that someday I would change my tune.  Well this is true for many things I wouldn’t eat as a kid.  I didn’t like tomatoes, mac-n-cheese, asparagus, peas, broccoli, and the list goes on and on.

These days I eat all of these items, including broccoli, and love them.  I don’t know why I did not like them as a kid, but I am glad as an adult that I am not missing out.  Anyway, after watching the last Iron Chef I was inspired to create a new broccoli dish.  It actually combined components from two things I wouldn’t eat as a child, broccoli and mac-n-cheese.  Of course, eating primally meant that I couldn’t use macaroni, so I combined the broccoli with the cheese sauce from mac-n-cheese  to create a dish that was truly delicious and of Iron Chef proportions: I call it Broc-n-Cheese. It looked so good that I coul not wait to eat it when it came out of the oven all hot and bublly and I forgot to take a picture until after we had already devoured more than half of it.  I’ll post the picture, but be warned, its not pretty.  It was pretty before I got my hands on it, but, oh well, if your squeamish, just don’t look, but be sure to make it.


This is not the broccoli with cheez wiz sauce your mom made at thanksgiving every year, but a more refined and tasty version.  The broccoli is roasted first to give it a crisper feel and better taste.  The cheese sauce is rich with egg and vermouth, and the crispy topping comes from pork rinds not bread crumbs.  Its perfectly primal and good for you and makes a great accompaniment to your favorite roasted meat.

Broccoli is known for its anticancer properties but did you know it could also boost the immune system in older people and slow down the effects of ageing, according to research by Dr. Andre Nel from UCLA.  A chemical found in this cruciferous vegetable called sulforaphane was found to activate a number of antioxidant genes and enzymes in immune cells. These prevent free radicals from damaging cells.  Free radicals are byproducts of normal body processes, such as the conversion of food into energy. They are a supercharged form of oxygen, which can cause oxidative tissue damage leading to disease – for example, triggering the inflammation process that causes clogged arteries.  So I say eat broccoli.

One of the challenges of making this dish is that most real cheese sauces use flour as a thickener so I had to come up with a way to make this sauce thick, delicious and creamy without resorting to flour.  Well this recipe uses no flour and the cheese sauce is as good as any you probably have had.  I used both sharp cheddar cheese and blue cheese in my recipe.  Understanding that alot of people don’t like blue cheese (however, like my parents said to me, i say to you “someday you wil change your tune”) you can leave it out and use all cheddar, or any combination of cheese you like.  I think that the blue cheese gives it a really nice sharp and creamy texture, however.  While this is not the easiest dish to make, it is well worth the effort and time. So, here’s the recipe:


You will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 nice size stalks of broccoli
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz. greek yogurt or cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 12 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese (or substitute and equal amount of sharp cheddar or your favorite cheese like gouda or goat cheese)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup ground pork rinds
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the Brow-N-Cheese:

Prepare the broccoli by cutting the tops into florets. Peel the stalk and slice into 1/4″ slices.  Place the broccoli florets and stalks on a cookie sheet and spray with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the broccoli to coat with the olive oil.  Place in a 400º preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  You want the broccoli to become browned well, but not burned, so keep your eye on it.  While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the cheese sauce.  Place the milk, yogurt or cream cheese and vermouth in a sauce pan and place on the stove over medium low heat and heat to just about simmer. Stir often and keep you eye on it so it doesn’t scald.   Beat the eggs.  When the milk comes to just a simmer, add some to the eggs, stirring to temper the eggs (you don’t want to scramble them).  Add the remaining milk to the eggs and stir to incorporate.  Place the egg milk mixture back in the sauce pan and cook on low heat until it starts to thicken.  Stir often.  I found that when the mixture coats the back of a spoon it is thick enough.  When the milk egg mixture has thickened, add  8 oz. of cheddar cheese and 4 oz. of blue cheese along with the cayenne pepper to it and stir to completely melt the cheese.  This makes a fairly good amount of cheese sauce and you may have some left over.  By this time, the broccoli should be done and removed from the oven. Lower the heat on the oven to 350º.  Now, in a medium size glass baking dish combine the broccoli and half of the cheese sauce.   You want there to be enough cheese sauce to completely coat and cover the broccoli.  Add more cheese sauce if necessary and keep the rest for another time.    Spread the remaining 4 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top and then spread the pork rind crumbs on top of that.  Place in the oven for about 30 to 25 minutes until it is hot and bubbly.  If you like the top browned and crispier you can broil it at the end for a couple of minutes.  Remove it from the oven and serve.
The next evening I used the remaining cheese sauce in a similar dish, but, instead of using broccoli, I used about 3 – 4 cups of cubed and parboiled rutabaga and butternut squash.  You can substitute other vegetables as well.  I think roasted cauliflower would be really good in this dish as well.  Play around using different vegetables and cheeses to come up with your favorite combination.

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 Recipes 4 Comments

My Just Desserts! Chocolate Cupcakes.

Primal Chocolate Cupcake

You probably have already figured out that I have a wicked sweet tooth. Consequently I find myself constantly trying to satiate my cravings by creating primal, or mostly primal desserts.  I say mostly primal because sometimes I use an ingredient that some primal folk may not even consider eating.  For instance, in the last week I made Chocolate Cupcakes and a Chocolate Cheesecake.  The cupcakes are mostly primal, I only used stevia to sweeten them and a very small amount of melted chocolate chips with cream to frost them.  On the other hand, the cheesecake is certainly less primal because I used considerably more of the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips (62%) which, of course, contain sugar.  While one slice of the cheesecake is fairly low on the carb count, not everyone will indulge.  I don’t feel so bad indulging once in awhile, especially since my carb count, even when I do, is usually well below 100 grams a day.  In addition, the sugar effect is less impactful due to the generous amount of healthy fat in the other cheesecake ingredients.  If you are just not that comfortable with the sugar, then go with the cupcake.  If you won’t eat any sugar at all, then skip the cheesecake and the icing on the cupcake.  Even without it, the cupcakes will be moist, decadent and rich, and especially good with a good cup of coffee. Alternatively, you could whip up some heavy whipping cream and cinnamon to top the cupcakes.  Here’s the cupcake recipe.  Later this week I’ll be posting the cheesecake recipe.

Primal Chocolate Cupcake

To make the cupcakes, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 heaping tbls. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cup of softened butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6-8 packets purevia (stevia) or 1/4-1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbls. heavy whipping cream
  • coconut flakes or chopped nuts for topping (optional)

To prepare the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl beat eggs, vanilla, and butter or coconut oil (and honey if you choose to use it as a sweetener) until creamy.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and all ingredients are completely incorporated.  The batter will probably be on the thick side.  Scoop batter into pre-greased muffin tin (I used an ice scream scoop).  You should get 6-8 cupcakes..  Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Check the muffins after about 20 minutes by sticking a toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean they are done.  If not continue to bake and check every 5 minutes.  You don’t want to overcook these cupcakes.  When the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, in a double boiler combine the chocolate chips and cream and stir until combined a melted.  When the cupcakes are cool, spread a thin layer of the chocolate on top of the cupcake with a small spatula and then dip in coconut or nuts.


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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 Recipes, Uncategorized No Comments

Loving My New Dehydrator: Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles

We recently purchased a Nesco Snackmaster Food Dehydrator – what fun.  The very first use was for beef jerky.  It turned out pretty good, but with a little tweaking it will turn out better next time.  Commercial jerky is so salty and my partner, who loves to snack on it, really watches his sodium intake like a hawk.  Making our own jerky leaves us in control and is more economical.  The cost is about 1/3, so the dehydrator will pay for itself in no time.  Plus, we will get so many more uses out of it.  Yesterday for lunch we enjoyed Shrimp Scampi, one of those timeless dishes that I like to revisit every once in a while.  It seems decadently rich, and is both mildly spicy and mildly sweet (not from sugar but from good quality Kerrygold Butter and delicious pink Argentinian shrimp).  Instead of serving it on pasta as is typical, I made a batch of zucchini noodles.  This is where the dehydrator comes in.  Previously, when making zucchini pasta I found that when you saute the zucchini noodles, they release alot of water and this will dilute the sauce you use with it.  so I decided to put the zucchini in the dehydrator.   It would have been a shame to ruin the delicious scamp sauce with watery zucchini noodles.  It worked like a charm.  The only drawbacks of putting the zucchini noodles in the dehydrator I can think of is the additional time it takes and the volume of the noodles decreases quite a bit.  next time I’ll dehydrate more zucchini.

Here’s how I made it:

Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles

To Make the zucchini noodles, you will need:

  • 3-4 medium to large zucchini
  • 1 tbls. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the zucchini noodles:

Slice the zucchini, lengthwise in thin pieces, about 1/4″.  Stack the slices and then slice again into noodles, again aboout 1/4″.  If you have a dehydrator, place the zucchini noodles in the dehydrator at the highest temperature for about 1 hour.  If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t worry, you can still saute them and then drain any excess liquid before serving.  Here’s how mine looked after coming out of the dehydrator.  If you use a dehydrator, check on the zucchini noodles periodically to ensure they don’t dry out too much.  This probably won’t be a problem if they are not in the dehydrator more than an hour.

To prepare the Shrimp Scampi, you will need:

  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp with the tail off (I found cleaned, tail off Argentinian Pink Shrimp in the freezer case at Trader Joes – they are sweeter than typical shrimp and have a flavor close to lobster – I highly recommend them)
  • 1/4 C. Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 tbls. good quality butter
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (or substitute with chicken broth)
  • 3-4 tbls. fresh or dried parsley

To prepare the Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles:

Heat I tbls. olive oil in a saute pan.  When the oil is hot, add the zucchini noodles and season with salt and pepper.  Saute the zucchini noodles until cooked through.  If you are using the dehydrated zucchini noodles, this will only take a minute or two.  If you are not using the dehydrated zucchini noodles, when they are cooked through and if there is excess moisture in the pan drain the zucchini noodles and set aside.

Now heat 1/4 cup olive oil in the saute pan over medium heat.  Pat dry the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Place the shrimp in the hot oil in one even layer being careful to not overcrowd the pan.  Saute the shrimp for about a minute or so, and then turn the shrimp and saute for another minute or so, depending on the shrimp size, until cooked through but not overdone.  With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the pan and place in a bowl.  Add the garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and white wine (or chicken broth) to the pan and saute for about 2 minutes, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the parsley and butter.  When the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce add the shrimp back to the pan and toss to coat.  Turn off the heat.

Now, divide the zucchini noodles between two plates and then top each with half of the Shrimp Scampi mixture.  You can garnish with additional chopped parsley, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese if you like.  Serve immediately and enjoy!


Thursday, August 26th, 2010 Recipes No Comments

The Never-Ending Search for Primal Substitutes: The Rutabaga

In my never ending search for the perfect primal substitutes I recently came across the rutabaga, something to date I’ve seen in the grocery store but never used or eaten. It seems to be a perfect potato substitute. To date, I’ve only used the rutabaga in one preparation, as Potatoes O’Brien  this past Sunday for brunch.  Yummy!

Rutabagas are often thought of as yellow turnips and  belong to the highly prized family of cruciferous vegetables. The rutabaga, a relatively newcomer in the world of vegetables, is thought to have evolved from a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. The earliest records of rutabaga’s existence are from the seventeenth century in Southern Europe where they were first eaten as well as used for animal feed. It’s funny that throughout history animals were often fed the healthiest foods, foods thought to be inappropriate for human consumption.  They are relatively low in carbs and check out these nutritional specs.

Rutabaga Nutrition
100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces

Nutrient Cooked Raw
Calories 39 36
Protein 1.3 g 1.2 g
Total Fat .6 g .6 g
% Calories from fat 5.1% 5.0%
Carbohydrates 8.7 g 8.1 g
Fiber 1.8 g 2.5 g
Calcium 48.0 mg 47.0 mg
Copper .04 mg .04 mg
Iron 53 mg .52 mg
Magnesium 23.0 mg 23.0 mg
Manganese .17 mg .17 mg
Phosphorous .57 mg .58 mg
Potassium 326.0 mg 337.0 mg
Selenium .7 mg .7 mg
Sodium 20.0 mg 20.0 mg
Zinc .350 mg .340 mg
Vitamin A 561.0 IU 580.0 IU
Vitamin B1 ­ Thiamine .082 mg .090 mg
Vitamin B2 ­ Riboflavin .041 mg .040 mg
Vitamin B3 ­ Niacin .72 mg .7 mg
Vitamin B6 ­ Pyridoxine .102 mg .100 mg
Vitamin C 18.8 mg 25.0 mg
Vitamin E .15 mg .30 mg
Folate (folic acid) .15 mcg .21 mcg
Pantothenic Acid .155 mg .160 mg
Saturated Fat .03 g .03 g
Monounsaturated Fat .07 g .07 g
Polyunsaturated Fat .04 g .04 g

So despite never seeing anything or reading anything about the rutabaga (other than a preliminary check on carbs to see it it met primal muster – it did) I decided to try and make hash browns or what I grew up calling Potatoes O’Brien.   It was delicious.  I peeled the rutabaga (they are pretty big – a nice size one was enough to serve 2) and started to slice it.  It seemed to be some what hard and “woody” and therefore I figured I would probably have to boil it before frying it. I cut it into a relatively small dice 1/4 – 1/3 inch dice, and this worked out perfectly.

Primal Potatoes O’Brien

Here’s what I did.  You will need (for 2 servings):

  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbls. butter
  • 1 tbls. olive oil or coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the Potato’s O’Brien:

Place a medium pot filled with water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, peel the Rutabaga with a vegetable peeler or knife and cut into 1/4″ – 1/3″ dice.  When the water comes to a boil place the diced Rutabaga in the water and boil for 10-15 minutes until the Rutabaga is softened.  Drain the Rutabaga well.   Now, place 2-3 tbls of butter and 1 tbls. olive oil in a good non- stick skillet over medium heat.  When the butter/oil mixture starts to bubble, add the diced onion, green pepper and garlic and saute for a few minutes until soft.  Now add the well drained rutabagas.

Saute the rutabaga mixture until well browned.  I found that it took a little longer to brown the rutabaga as compared to potatoes, so be patient (it might be because they have higher water content that needs to steam off).  Don’t disturb the mixture very much and it will brown very nicely.  Just check on it every few minutes.  When the rutabaga is browned to your liking, serve with breakfast or your favorite entree.

I will be trying other methods of preparation, including roasted and mashed.  I might even try grating it raw for a cole-slaw.  I’ll keep you posted and hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 Recipes 1 Comment

All is not Lost: Primal Lasagna.

There are certain things that I thought I would likely never eat again. One of those things was Lasagna.  This is something that I have always loved, but didn’t eat too much prior to going primal anyway, mostly due to the fact that my previous health conscience told me it was too decadent, too high in fat and simply not that healthy.  Well my thoughts in that regard have clearly changed, and sans the pasta, lasagna seems like a good primal fit.  I decided to revisit this lost favorite and ingenuity won out.  You may recall my previous post regarding making enchiladas where I sued an egg crepe as the substitute for the tortilla.  I figured I could use the same egg crepe as the lasagna noodle in this dish.  It worked very well and the lasagna turned out delicious and virtually undetectable from the high carb pasta version.  While somewhat labor intensive, it was well worth it.  It took about an hour to prepare and another45 minutes to bake and then 10-15 to rest. Give it a try when you have some time to devote to this delicious dish.

Primal Lasagna

First prepare your favorite meat sauce.  I start by simply sauteing a medium onion and about 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil.  I then add 1/2 lb. of bulk italian sausage and 1 lb. of hamburger to the same pan.  I add salt and pepper to taste along with a generous sprinkling of crushed red pepper (I like it spicy).  When the meat is browned I add a 24 oz. can of Trader Joe”s Marinara Sauce (perfectly primal with no sugar) or you can use your favorite homemade tomato sauce or jarred suace.  I then add about a tbls. of italian seasoning and more red pepper flakes.  I let this simmer while I prepare the remaining components. You want the sauce to be meaty and on the thick side so the lasagna doesn’t turn out runny.

Next make the egg crepes.  You will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2-3 tbls. water
  • 2-3 tbls. grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the egg crepes combine all ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.  You want to add the water to the eggs so that the egg batter is thinner and will result in a thinner crepe.  Heat a 12″ good non stick skillet over medium heat and spray with olive oil.  Add about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture to the pan and swirl to evenly coat the whole pan.  Cook the egg crepe until fully cooked through (you can flip it if you want when it is cooked through but this is not necessary). Set aside and continue making crepes until all of the egg mixture is gone.  You should end up with 5 crepes.

Next make the filling.  You will need:

  • 1 container of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbls. fresh parsely (or an equal amount of dried parsley)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbls. parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.

Now you can assemble the lasagna.  In addition to the ricotta filling, meat suace and egg crepes you will simply need 2 cups of finely shredded mozzarella cheese. As you can see from the picture above, I used a 12″ round stainless steel skillet because of the shape of the crepes. Spray the lasagna pan with olive oil. Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan and then place one egg crepe on top.  Spread this layer with a layer of the ricotta filling and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Place another egg crepe on top and spread with a generous amount of meat sauce.  Put on a layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese and then top with another egg crepe. Spread this layer with more ricotta filling, top with shredded mozzarella and then place another egg crepe over this.  Place a generous layer of meat sauce and cheese and top with the last egg crepe. Now spread the remaining ricotta filling and top with the remaining meat sauce.  Cover with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan.  Place the lasagna in a preheated 350º oven for about 45 minutes.  It should be bubbling hot by this point.  If the cheese is not browned, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is browned to your liking.  Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes so that it will set.  Serve with your favorite green salad and enjoy.  This should make4-6 good servings.


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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 Recipes 2 Comments

Let Them Eat Cake

Okay, sometimes a guy just needs some cake, chocolaty rich cake!  As a big sweet fan I miss cakes and cookies almost as much as I miss bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.  The other day I was thinking about the “Oopsie Rolls” I have been making and wondered whether I could make a cake using the same method.  I think I was successful, but will be trying out some tweaks in the future.  However, this cake was pretty darn good and so I thought I would share the recipe with you right away (I don’t want to deprive my Primal buddies for a minute longer than necessary).  I also made a quick strawberry ice cream that I layered between two pieces of the cake.  Oh my! The ice cream only took about 5 minutes to make and was really good, especially paired with the rich dark chocolaty cake.  After baked, the cake turns out a little on the thin side, so layering it with ice cream was the perfect solution.  (The next time I make it I will add additional egg whites to see if I can increase the volume). A word of warning, however.  I used stevia (purevia) as the sweetener and therefore some of you may shy away from this recipe.  But I only used 6 packets for both the cake and ice cream and felt it was well worth the splurge. Give it a try and I hope you like it as much as we did.

Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Ice Cream

For the cake you will need:

  • 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 packets of purevia (stevia) sweetener
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • water for thinning the batter
  • coconut oil to grease the cake pan
  • coconut powder as a garnish

For the strawberry ice cream you will need:

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries diced
  • 2 packets of purevia

You will also need a hand mixer and a stand blender or food processor.

To prepare the Chocolate Cake:

Separate the egg yolks and whites in two metal mixing bowls.  Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and blend until you obtain stiff peaks.  Now, in the separate bowl, add the cocoa powder and vanilla to the egg yolks and beat until smooth.  If the mixture seems to thick, add water a tablespoon or two at a time until you get a thinner batter that will be easy to incorporate into the stiff egg whites. Now slowly fold the chocolate batter into the egg whites trying to not lose the volume of the egg whites.  Pour the batter into a 8 inch square greased cake tin and bake in the oven at 325º for 20 minutes.  You can check the cake after about 15 minutes to see if it is done by placing a tooth pick in the center.  If it comes out clean it will be done.  Be careful not to overcook the cake as it may dry out.  when done, remove the cake and let cool before serving.

To prepare the Strawberry Ice Cream filling:

Pour heavywhipping cream into blender and add purevia sweetener.  Blend for about a minute at high speed until it starts to turn into whip cream.  Add the frozen diced strawberries and blend until incorporated.  don’t over process as you want to maintain the cold ice cream consistency.

Slice the cake into 4 even size pieces.  Place 1/2 the strawberry ice cream on two pieces of the cake and top each with another piece of cake.  Sprinkle with  coconut powder and serve immediately.

Variations:  You could also fill the cake with any flavored whipped cream and/or your favorite fresh berries.  You could also top with whip cream and drizzle with melted dark chocolate.

I hope you like this and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, August 19th, 2010 Recipes No Comments

Fun, Sun, Vitamin D and a Bright Healthy Smile

Pool side in Puerto Vallarta

I love the sun.  While I am not typically affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder) I do crave being in the sun.  I do worry about getting too much sun, as I have a somewhat fair complexion (I do burn), but love having that healthy looking tan.  I have noticed this year since eating a primal diet and using coconut oil on my skin, I haven’t burned at all this summer.  Im not sure why.  I want to attribute it to my new way of eating, but I haven’t seen much out there on this topic.  I have seen numerous accounts by others claiming that they no longer burn after using coconut oil and eating a primal/paleo diet. Regardless, I am, on a daily basis, amazed at the benefits of living the primal lifestyle.  One of the things that I try to do daily is get some sun.  Its very interesting what this can do for you.  Recently I came across a number of blog posts regarding the benefits of adequate sun exposure and vitamin D.

Did you know that according to a June 2007 study, not getting enough direct sunlight increases our chances of cancer by at least 70%? Why? Because our bodies need natural sunlight to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D in order to keep our bones strong and healthy, as well as support the immune system.  As little as 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day can give you all the vitamin D you need.  This varies geographically (do you live north or south) and your skin type (darker skin needs more sun exposure).  You can also get plenty of additional vitamin D in your diet. Foods that contain Vitamin D3 and the amount in International Units (IU):

* 1 Tablespoon Cod Liver Oil – 1,360 IU

* 100gr Salmon, cooked – 360 IU

* 100gr Mackerel, cooked – 345 IU

* 100gr Sardines, canned in oil, drained – 270 IU

* 250ml Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D fortified – 98 IU

* 1 whole Egg soft boiled, (vitamin D is present in the yolk) – 25 IU

Deficiency or insufficiency of natural sunlight and vitamin D has been associated with the following conditions:

* adrenal insufficiency

* Alzheimer’s

* allergies

* autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis

* cancers of the colon, breast, skin and prostate

* depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

* diabetes, Type 1 and 2

* gluten intolerance, lectin intolerance

* heart disease, hypertension, Syndrome X

* infertility, sexual dysfunction

* learning and behavior disorders

* misaligned teeth and cavities

* obesity

* osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia (adult rickets)

* Parkinson’s


* psoriasis

I encourage you do do some research yourself to determine if you are getting enough vitamin D.  There is plenty of information out there.

Did you also know that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D can help you heal your own teeth. Teeth are able to heal themselves. Apparently the Inuit can wear their teeth down to the pulp by chewing leather and sand-covered dried fish, and African Wakamba tribe can file their front teeth into sharp , yet still have an exceptionally low rate of tooth decay. apparently both cultures lost their resistance to tooth decay after adopting nutrient-poor Western foods such as white flour and sugar.  Numerous studies have shown that one can reverse tooth decay and fight cavities by eating a proper diet and getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D3.

So have some fun in the sun, consider a vitamin D supplement or have a big sardine omelet with a glass of milk and you will be on your way to a healthier body and brighter smile!

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 Uncategorized 2 Comments

Primal Chicken Enchiladas

Sadly all vacations must come to an end, and I am back at home and already ready for my next vacation.  This was my first real vacation to Mexico and it was no surprise to me that I would love it.  I used to live on the Mexican border in south Texas and have always loved the Latin culture.  Mexican food has always been a favorite of mine. While living in south Texas I learned to make some great authentic Mexican dishes.  However, I have cut back on eating at my favorite Mexican restaurants as many of my favorite dishes include things that don’t fit into the primal lifestyle. Additionally, many of these dishes are hard to adapt to the primal lifestyle.  I’m learning however that it is not not impossible.  I’ve got lots of new inspiration and ideas after this most recent trip so keep tuned in for more Mexican recipes to follow.  Many Mexican dishes use beans, corn, and tortillas, all things that are, of course, things that most of us Primal folks just don’t eat any more.   One of the biggest staples in Mexican cooking is the corn or flour tortilla.  They are perfect for wrapping up delicious spicy fillings.  I’ve come up with a substitute, that while not great for ripping apart and sopping up delicious sauces or salsas, is perfect for making many dishes, including enchiladas.  These “tortillas”  are simple to make. and make a great substitute from a taste and textural standpoint.  I hope you try this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as I do.

Chicken Enchiladas

To make these Enchiladas you will need about 2-3 cups of Enchilada sauce, homemade or your favorite commercial variety.  In a pinch, I use a commercial enchilada sauce that I buy at the local Mexican grocery.  When I have time, I will make it myself.  Here’s how to make your own homemade sauce.  This makes about 4 cups, so you can save half of it for later use.

You will need:

  • 12 ancho chiles (dried)
  • 4 chiles de arbol (dried)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion chopped into 4 chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of Mexican oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt to taste

Prepare the red enchilada sauce:

1. Rinse the ancho chiles and the chiles de arbol under cold water and pat dry. Tear open the chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Toast the chiles, the onion, and garlic in a dry pan over medium low heat until fragrant. This should take about five minutes. Keep turning the chiles so that they do not burn.

2. Bring six cups of water to a boil and add all of the chiles, chopped tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes.

3. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and add the oregano and cumin. Blend for two minutes until the mixture is very smooth. Place a towel over the top of the blender while blending to protect from any splatters. Be careful because the mixture is very hot.

4. Return the contents of the blender back to the pan by forcing the mixture through a strainer with the back of a spoon to remove the tough bits of chile skin that remain. Don’t skip this step it greatly improves the texture of the finished sauce.

5. Simmer the strained enchilada sauce for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Add salt to taste.

Now, to make the Enchiladas, you will need:

  • 1 whole roasted chicken (meat removed and roughly shredded)
  • 2-3 cups of red enchilada sauce
  • 6 eggs
  • 1-2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2-3 tbls. water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more if you like it really cheesy)
  • 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or cotija cheese (optional)
  • prepared salsa (optional)

First, shred the chicken in a bowl and add about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce to the chicken.  Mix the chicken and sauce until the chicken is evenly coated.  You want this to be on the dry side, not soupy.  Now, make the “tortillas”.  Break 6 eggs into into a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and add 1-2 tsp. chili powder and 3 tbls. water.  Beat well.  You want this mixture to be on the thin side so the tortillas will be thin enough when you make them.  I prefer larger tortillas so I use a good non stick 12″ skillet.  You can make smaller tortillas by using a smaller skillet.  The key is having a good non stick skillet.  Heat the non stick skillet over medium heat until hot. I usually spray the pan with my olive oil sprayer prior to making each tortilla.  Add about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture to the hot pan and swirl the eggs around until you have a thin even coating over the entire pan.  Use a spatula and push down the sides a little if necessary.  Cook the egg mixture until it is well done and cooked through.  It is not necessary to flip the tortilla, but you can if you like.  remove the cooked egg tortilla from the pan and place on a plate and continue to make the tortillas until all the egg mixture is gone.  6 eggs will net 6 tortillas if you are using the larger skillet.

Now place 1/6 of the shredded chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll, and place them in a baking pan large enough to hold 6 enchiladas.  Cover the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Bake the enchiladas in a preheated 400º oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through.  Place 1 or 2 enchiladas on a plate and garnish with grated queso fresco or cotija cheese and salsa and serve.

I hope you enjoy!

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Monday, August 16th, 2010 Uncategorized 4 Comments

Sea Buckthorn Oil – My New Favorite Supplement

Sea Buckthorn Berry

I think I have a very healthy diet, eating a variety of meats, fishes, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Despite this, I’m not sure that I get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients I need.  This is something that I have foundto be difficult to calculate.  So to be completely sure I am getting enough, I do take a few supplements every day.  I don’t go crazy, and only take 2 (now 3) supplements every day.  This includes a men’s vitamin supplement and a krill oil supplement.  I use to take regular fish oil for added omega 3’s, but in doing some research I learned that the best omega 3 supplement was actually krill oil.  I have also added a new supplement to my regimen: Sea Buckthorn Oil.

Last year, after 5 years of wearing reading glasses (and losing probably 100 pairs) I decided to get contact lenses.  I wear them for 30 days and then replace them with a new pair.  Since starting to wear contacts, I found myself waking up in the morning with really dry eyes, and I was barely able to see.  Sometimes my eyes were so dry, the contacts would pop out of my eye at night and I would find them stuck to my cheek or eyelashes.  I kept a bottle of eye drops next to my bed.  Once I put the drops in I was fine.  Im not sure if this is due solely to the contacts because I also found that my mouth and nose were relly dry when I woke up.

Recently I came across a post about Sea Buckthorn Oil and some research that said that it was found to be helpful with dry eye problems.  I had never heard of Sea Buckthorn Oil so I did some more research and decided to try it.  After taking it for a few days my issue with dry eyes and mouth was noticeably better.  Why am I telling you this?  Well, during the course of researching this supplement I found that not only had it been found to help with dry eyes, but it was also a nutritional powerhouse and a perfectly primal supplement.

Legend has it that in ancient Greece, when sick horses were let loose to roam and die naturally, the Grecians were surprised to find the horses were stronger and more energetic. This was traced to a plant the horses were grazing on called Hippophae Rhamnoides L, meaning trees that make horse shine.  This plant or shrub is now simply referred to as Sea Buckthorn.  Sea Buckthorn has a rich history of use in treating numerous medical conditions. It has been called a wonder plant in many Asian countries, including China, India, and Pakistan. The berries have been used for more than 1,000 years in Tibetan and Indian systems of medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to aid digestion and treat cough, circulatory disorders, and pain.

The small, yellow-orange to red berry of the Sea Buckthorn plant is an abundant source of vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and 27 trace elements. Sea Buckthorn oil contains 106 known nutrients and bioactive substances, including vitamins A, C, and E, polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, essential fatty acids and trace elements including zinc, selenium, manganese and iron. Many of these constituents help build, restore and improve immune function.

The juice, oil and berries of the Sea Buckthorn plant have been touted to provide many benefits to natural health.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The combined action of nutrients in sea Buckthorn oil provides integrative anti-cancer properties, according to a description on the website. It blocks the carcinogenic effects of certain substances and prevents the growth of cancer cells. The antioxidants in the oil prevent free-radical damage and cancer-cell formation. The seed oil increases antibodies and strengthens the body’s resistance to cancerous mutations.

Gastrointestinal Health

Sea Buckthorn oil also contains numerous anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer substances, providing benefits for gastrointestinal health. Laboratory studies confirm the efficacy of the seed oil for the treatment of gastric ulcers. The oil also provides a protective coating inside the stomach and intestines, preventing the damaging effects of pathogens.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Cardiovascular disease is closely related to free-radical damage of the arteries and high blood fat. Sea Buckthorn oil minimizes the effects of free radicals and reduces blood fat levels. It is a rich source of fatty acids that are conducive to heart health, especially oleic and linoleic acids. Both are known to reduce cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and inhibit blood platelet aggregation.

Skin Health

Sea Bckthorn oil is also widely used to treat various skin conditions, including burns, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, sunburn, wounds, frostbite, radiation treatment and cosmetic laser surgery. The oil contains a high content of nutrients essential for metabolism and regeneration of skin cells. Thus it is also effective to help minimize wrinkles and other symptoms of aging skin.

More Good News

Sea Buckthorn contains carotenoids, tocopherols, sterols, flavonoids, lipids, ascorbic acid, and tannins. Tocopherols and tocotrienols in the fruit or seeds of sea buckthorn, collectively known as vitamin E, have antioxidant activity. α-Tocopherol has the highest antioxidant activity and is the most abundant tocopherol, comprising approximately 76% to 89% of the berry.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to aid digestion and to treat cough, circulatory disorders, and pain. Because of their hemostatic and anti-inflammatory effects, the fruits are added to prescriptions in Indian and Tibetan medicine to treat pulmonary, GI, cardiac (eg, ischemic heart disease), blood, hepatic, and metabolic disorders. The flowers are used as a skin softener in Tajikistan.  In Mongolia, extracts from the leaves and branches of the plant are used medicinally to treat colitis and enterocolitis in humans and animals. In Middle Asia, the leaves are used to treat GI and skin disorders, and topically applied to treat rheumatoid arthritis.  In Russia, the oil from the seeds and fruits is used topically to treat chronic dermatoses, eczema, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, burns, frostbite, and cervical erosion. Oil from the fruit has been used to treat thrombosis. Oil extracts have been used in ophthalmology to treat keratitis, trachoma, conjunctivitis, and injuries or burns of the eyelid.

Well, the list goes on and on.  I have not found any side effects of the supplement, but the research indicates that it should not be taken by pregnant women as its effects have not been studied.  Sea Buckthorn has now become one of my daily supplements.  Is it right for you?


Thursday, July 29th, 2010 Uncategorized 6 Comments

Barbecue Without All the Sugar!

Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad

I love to eat barbecue.  Sadly, we simply haven’t barbecued that much this summer.  I don’t have a gas grille so that means getting the charcoal and the Weber out.  Most of the time its just too much work just to make dinner for two.  I feel like I’m wasting a good hot grille when you only cook a piece of meat for 5 – 8 minutes.  While not as good, I do use our cast iron grille pan quite a bit.  Well, last night we pulled out the grille and decided to have dinner outside.  So as not to waste all that good barbecue heat, we cooked a bunch of stuff so that we we could have several meals throughout the week.  We grilled pork steaks, ribs, turkey legs (what could be more primal than gnawing on a caveman size turkey leg) and vegetables.  Man, was it good!

One other problem with barbecuing, since going primal, is the seemingly lack of choices when it comes to barbecue sauce.  If they are not packed with high fructose corn syrup, they undoubtedly will have tons of sugar.  I make so many things from scratch now, I decided to make my own barbecue sauce.  Have you ever tried to make your own barbecue sauce.  so many recipes call for sugar, brown sugar and start with a base of commercial ketchup (also packed with HFC or sugar).  Of course I am not using sugar or brown sugar these days, but I do like a sticky sweet barbecue sauce.  I needed to find a way to to achieve a sweeter sauce without using sugar.  I think I did it.  Well, kinda.  I did use a little bit of honey, but the batch was big enough that I did not feel so bad about it.  I was also in a hurry and was able to find a commercially made ketchup that was very very low in sugar.  You of course can make your own ketchup as a base and I’m posting a recipe for that to get you started.

Our dinner last night was teriffic.  We invited my partner’s mother over to share.  She called shortly before hand to let us know she had made a macaroni salad to bring along.  Oops! When we told her that was very nice but that we don’t eat pasta anymore, she showed up with fresh sliced peaches.  they are in abundance now and were delicious.  Catastrophe avoided.  We started our dinner with a great Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad.  if you haven’t tried grilling romaine lettuce, your in for a treat and its really ease.  All you need to do is halve romaine hearts (if you have full heads of romaine, simply remove the outer leaves for another use).  Cut the romaine hearts in half, and spray with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Throw them on the grille for about 2 minutes per side until they are charred.  To serve, place a wedge on a salad plate with some fresh sliced tomatoe.  Drizzle the wedge with a balsamic vinaigrette (1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tbls. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbls. dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste) and then top with some crumbled blue cheese or feta.  For the rest of dinner, we had BBQ’D Pork Steaks, grilled onion,  and a delicious homemade cole slaw.

Now onto the barbecue sauce.  If you have ketchup you like, use it, otherwise make your own.

Homemade Ketchup


  • 12 ounce no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup tap water
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or 4 packets of purevia (stevia)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors develop.
Its as easy as that.  Now you have a good base for a tasty sticky sweet barbecue sauce.  While you can use stevia or honey to sweeten this sauce, its not absolutely necessary.  The onions will add considerable sweetness to the sauce.

Pulled Pork with Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce and Homemade Slaw

Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce


  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbls. finely chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (homemade or low sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 tbls. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbls. honey or 2 packets of purevia (stevia)(optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like your sauce a little hotter)


Slowly Cook the onion and ginger in oil over moderate to low heat until they are a caramel color.  You want the onions to caramelize to bring out all their natural sweetness.  This can take 30 -40 minutes, but if you are in a hurry, you can just saute the onions and garlic and ginger until the onions are soft and translucent.  At the end you can add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.  You can also add a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar at the end, but continue to cook the onions and garlic until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Now, puree the sauce in a blender or food processor in 2-3 batches.

Your sauce is ready to use.  I got 3 meals out of this batch, including all the barbecue we made last night.  After refrigerated, the sauce can get a little thick, so you can just add a little more vinegar and water to thin it down before using.


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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 Uncategorized 4 Comments