Category Archives: coconut oil

A POST-PRIMAL PRIMALPAT…OR HOW I WENT NUTS BEING PALEO

Dear friends,

I spent three years of my life living in fear of food. I had a very black and white view of nutrition as I relentlessly researched the webpages of Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, WAPF and similar sites. I joined Paleohacks. I ‘liked’ and joined many paleo/primal friendly groups on Facebook. It become my whole life. I was consumed.

I turned my physical and mental health upside down. I became a woman obsessed. I was labelled the “Food Nazi” by my family and I drove them crazy.

COMPLETELY CRAY CRAY.

I thought I was so smart. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

I was going absolutely bonkers inside my skull. I agonized. I scolded. I lectured. I turned into a complete asshole.

You, dear readers, have unfortunately been witness to this helter skelter journey.

I spent far too much money on supplements, naturopathic doctor visits, allergy tests of different kinds, and more supplements. I removed perfectly nutritious food because a blood test told me so. Blood tests I have now learned to be completely unreliable. I posted about candida like I was some goddamn expert. I was convinced I had it, and schooled others thinking “I’m so fucking smart!”

Meanwhile, my health continued to decline. My gastritis constantly seared the pit of my stomach eating high fat, loads of vegetables, meat and no fruit. I tried all sorts of different digestive aids to help combat this to no avail. INCOMING TMI: Bowel movements hardly ever happened no matter how much ‘roughage’, coconut oil or magnesium I was consuming.

Still, I could not let go of my primal/paleo/completely nutty way of eating even though it clearly wasn’t working for me.

One night, I found Matt Stone. I started reading his blog, and found other people whose health declined when they went primal/paleo.

We were told by other Primal-ites to “GROK HARDER”, “EAT MOAR FAT” or even worse “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”.

No, I wasn’t. I was super strict at my absolute worst orthorexic.

My wife and I had a long conversation about my relationship with food. We realized many things together, including:

I stopped enjoying food. It was no longer pleasurable.

I was more stressed about my health than ever, and spent far too much time researching on the internet about what my problems could actually be. I was digging myself into a hole of serious paranoia.

I decided life is simply too short to worry about food. I decided to reclaim my life back, to enjoy food, to stop being so obsessed.

This realization also came after completing an 8-week course in mindfulness meditation in late 2012. I will share more on this with you later. It gave me a much broader perspective about well-being. I learned that ‘thoughts are not facts’. I learned to return to my breath. It absolutely and completely changed my life. Suddenly, my priorities were changing. I started taking classes in 5Rhythms, a form of ‘moving meditation’. My mind was changing. I was learning to be calmer and less anxious. Both of these practices were forcing me to take a long, hard look at my eating practices, my food obsession, my health paranoia.

It dawned on me that relaxing my views on food, and practicing meditation daily was of much bigger benefit to my physical and mental health than eating primally ever was. Than researching ever was. Than being a know-it-all douche was.

Slowly, in the earlier part of 2013, I visited my much beloved health/food/nutrition websites far, far less. I started consuming less fat and eating potatoes regularly. POTATOES! MY POLISH ANCESTORS REJOICED!

I was tired of the paleo/primal community. Many folks who follow this lifestyle are oftentimes arrogant, smug, lecture on shit they really know nothing about, and become extremely hostile in the face of dissenting views.

Kind of life religious fanatics.

There are people in the community who eschew eating any fruit whatsoever, but consume gobs of butter and coconut oil in their coffee. I even posted about Bulletproof Coffee right here on my blog, although I never consumed it daily. I think it’s revolting, and I LOVE BUTTER.

I don’t have a problem with the message of eating paleo. I do have a problem with diets, or excuse me, ‘lifestyles’ becoming big money, and gargantuan empires of greed. Take my supplements! Buy my books! Pay for my coaching! I thought paleo was supposed to be about simplicity?

For the record, I have not completely given up on reading health related blogs. I am a big fan of Go Kaleo, 180 Degree Health, and Cheeseslave. I do not pretend to know anything anymore.

Food nazism doesn’t equal health. EATING MOAR FAT doesn’t work for everyone. We must look at the bigger picture.

LIFE.

BALANCE.

You can eat as ‘healthy’ as you imagine yourself to be, but obsessive mental patterns relating to your ‘health’, micromanaging every ounce of food that enters your mouth, spending vast amounts of time on the internet, and acting like a pompous, self-righteous ass is not HEALTH.

Spend time with your friends. Read fiction. Get laid. Hug your dog. Kiss your cat. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Take a deep breath. LIVE LIFE.

Eat, love, laugh, sleep, breathe.

In the face of life’s deep beauty and awe, what we think we know is utter nonsense. It means absolutely nothing when compared to The Big Picture, and is tantamount to ego stroking and proverbial dick measuring.

I refuse.

I bite my tongue.

To all of you, I give my sincerest apologies.

We have better things to do than argue with idiots on the interwebs.

We have better things to do than act self-righteous about how we eat.

No one wants to listen about how amazeballs you are for not consuming any sugar of any kind, how wheat is teh devilz, or what your Crossfit WOD times are.

I wasn’t sure how to approach this topic. I knew I had a lot to say. But I was pissed off, still in shock and denial, and needed to percolate before I could share this message. I was inspired by Melissa Mcewan’s post on the same topic. I breathed an enormous sigh of relief when I finished reading it.

“I’m not alone!”

No, I wasn’t. And neither are you.

I eat what I want now. Gluten, at it’s worst gives me headaches, although it is not consistent. I do not eat it all the time. I’m back to eating glorious, nutritious eggs, and yummy cheese. I’m eating rice, lots of potatoes, and FRUIT! I drink beer here and there too. BEEEEEEEER. I’ve been loosely following Matt Stone’s advice, although not going absolutely CRAAAAAAAAY over micromanaging myself.

Unreasonably Dangerous Onion Rings has a hilarious post on “Six Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Dietary Advice From Cavemen”. And a very good rebuttal to those rebuking the previous post.

Friends, if you came to my site and enjoyed my recipes, I’m overjoyed. I’m still proud of the food I posted for your eating pleasure. Please ignore all and any health advice I wrote about. I may edit those articles to strikethrough the nonsense, because I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not going to pretend to anymore.

Scott from RealFood University recently wrote a post on “What’s So Bad About Pleasure?” It put a big smile on my face. You know who would approve of this article?

My food and cooking mentor, James Barber.

James Barber: who talked about being relaxed in the kitchen, using what you have, never needing fancy equipment, and using love and enjoyment as a generous ingredient.

“Cooking is like making love: you do the best you can with what you got!”

James Barber ate whatever he wanted, and died at 84, sitting at the kitchen table, with soup simmering on the stove.

I want a death like that.

We’re all going to die. No Way of Eating, diet, or “lifestyle” is a magic pill. We must enjoy our time on this planet. We must savor every moment, stay present in every breath. If I wake up once day and find out I have cancer, will I vilify myself for not GROKING MOAR HARDCORE? For not eating enough grass-fed beef and leafy greens?

Nope.

Obsessing is not living. I choose life.

The great Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation. Including moderation”.

James once said, “Cooking, like sex and dancing, is a pleasure best shared”.

Fuck yes! Eat The Food!

Luscious Lamb Curry with Spicy Spaghetti Squash

This lamb curry is out of this world. Wow. I thought my butter chicken was awesome the other week, but this dish is special. However, I have successfully burned my tongue twice since digging in. You can’t fully enjoy food with a burnt tongue, or when it’s too hot. You end up gobbling it down and not really enjoying it at all. It simply becomes sustenance.

Amazing food should be like an awe-inspiring, brilliant album. Or amazing sex. You should want to talk about it, make it for all your friends and family, spread it around (whoa, ok, maybe not the sex part), and proclaim undying love for it. Food that is nourishing, not just filling, should do just that.

Marinating overnight helps flavours mingle and settle in. You know, get to know each other:

“HEY GINGER! Haven’t seen you in a while!”

“What are you talking about, garlic? We were hanging out with butter chicken last week!”

And so forth.

I love spaghetti squash. In fact, I knew not of its existence until a few years ago. It is a more than ‘good-enough’ substitution for actual spaghetti. It is slightly sweet, crunchy and satisfying. Ridiculously easy to prepare, as well.

This curry is full of coconut oil, and coconut milk. I even snuck in some butter. It’s a party going on in there, folks! An intensely flavourful, creamy, luscious party. You know you want to jump in.

Food has better parties than me!

Luscious Lamb Curry with Spicy Spaghetti Squash

Meat and Marinade

1kg stewing lamb chunks (about 2.2 lbs)
1 sweet onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 coconut milk
3 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 tbsp finely grated ginger (I keep mine in the freezer)
1.5 tsp cumin

Other Stuff

10 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 can coconut milk
1 large spaghetti squash, about 4 lbs in size
2 teaspoons turmeric
Black Pepper
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons organic butter
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the “Meat and Marinade” ingredients and marinate 24 hours, if not more. I think mine chilled in the fridge for about 26 hours.

Remove from fridge. Preheat a large pot, and add 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the pot. Brown this curried mix of lamb and onions in batches. You will need extra coconut oil for each batch. Oh no, more coconut oil. How horrid!

Once you’ve browned all your lamb off, set it aside. Empty 1 can of your favourite coconut milk into the pot, and add 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed, and one whole cinnamon stick. Let this simmer on medium high for about 4 minutes. Add your lamb in. Season generously with sea salt, as we did not put any into the marinade.

Stir. Cover. Add your 2 tablespoons butter. Turn the heat down to low for about an hour. Stir frequently, as coconut milk tends to stick to the bottom of your pot and burn. We do not want burnt coconut milk. No way.

Stab your spaghetti squash multiple times all over with a fork or sharp knife. Sorry squash, but your time has come!

STAB!
STAB!
STAB!

Are you done venting your days frustrations? Place the wounded squash into your microwave, and cook it on high for about 20 minutes. Mine was done at around 18 minutes. Your microwave will vary. If you hear steam escaping after about 15 minutes, take it out carefully with a set of tongs. Place it into a large bowl, and slice it open. Be careful with this step, as you may end up with a face full of steam, and a nice burning sensation that you did not ask for! Using a spoon, scrap out the seeds. Throw this away. Using the same spoon, continue to scrape out the innards of the squash, until all you have left is an empty shell. Discard.

After an hour, remove the lid, and crank the heat back up to medium high. We want to reduce the sauce to make it nice and thick, and make the flavours more intense. Stir frequently again. After about 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Add your cilantro at the very end.

In a large frying pan, add your 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil to a hot pan. Add in your spaghetti squash and leave it to slightly brown. Toss like a professional. C’mon, you can do it! Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric, and about 1 teaspoon black pepper. Season lightly with sea salt. Turmeric will turn the already beautiful, golden squash even more golden. It will add smokiness, depth and a hint of sweetness. Ah, turmeric. You sexy bitch you.

Look at the colour of that squash! This is before adding turmeric. Brilliant.

Serve this up, allow it to cool slightly, as it will be tantalizingly hot. And monumentally delicious. Savour each bite of tender, spicy lamb and aromatic squash.

This is what good food should do for you!

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Roasted Whole Chicken with Garlic and Lime FOR A GOOD TIME! PLUS: Sexy Sautéed Greens with Bacon

Linda came up with “for a good time”. It made me laugh out loud. I had to use it.

This meal also comes with sexy sautéed greens with bacon. BACON! What isn’t made better with bacon? Bacon is like butter. Everyone loves it, and if they don’t, they should. Actually, if they don’t…I worry.

I came home from work starving. The chicken was already in the oven for an hour, and needed some browning. On goes the broiler. It took me less than 30 seconds to sauté the greens once the bacon was done.

Roasted Whole Chicken with Garlic and Lime (FOR A GOOD TIME!)

Serves two very hungry people.

1 organic, or antibiotic free whole chicken, about 2 – 3 lbs
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons organic butter, melted
1 – 2 tablespoons dried sage
1.5 teaspoons white pepper
Sea salt
1 whole lime, rolled and pierced (WHA?)*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

*Take your lime and roll it against your countertop as hard as you can. This will loosen those pretty little cells of juice. Roll this around for a few minutes until it’s nice and loose feeling. Then, using the tip of a sharp knife, or fork, pierce it all over.

Take out your chicken, and stuff the cavity with your rolled and pierced lime.

Using your fingers, lift the skin off the chicken as much as you can, all around. You are creating a pocket for that awesome garlic you chopped up. Shove said garlic pieces under the skin: breast, thighs, drumsticks, everywhere. Nicely tuck the skin back in everywhere. Carefully pour your butter all over the chicken and make sure it’s nicely coated. Season generously with sea salt, and sprinkle white pepper and sage all over. Place your chicken into a baking dish.

When your oven is ready, pop that happy bird in. This will take about an hour or so. Broil it for the last 5 minutes to get beautiful crispy skin all around.

Remove it from the oven and let it stand for 5 – 10 minutes to rest. TEAR THAT BIRD APART AND ENJOY!

But not until you’ve made:

Sexy Sautéed Greens with Bacon

Serves 2.

4 huge handfuls of organic mixed salad greens
1 tablespoons coconut oil
3 slices good quality, pastured bacon
Sea salt to taste

On medium-high heat, use a pair of scissors to cut up slices of bacon. This is an awesome trick. Bacon is kind of a pain to slice with a knife. Drop this into your pan, add in your coconut oil. Allow your bacon to brown nicely, and keep stirring. Drop in your greens and toss until wilted. This will take less than 20 seconds! Add a pinch of sea salt to taste. Remove from heat immediately.

Serve with your delicious roasted chicken and most importantly: ENJOY! Don’t forget to destroy that tasty skin.

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