Quickie Coconut Milk

This labor day weekend has found me in the kitchen cooking up a storm and in the yoga studio getting my @$$ kicked while completing the pre-req hours for a yoga teacher training that I’m hoping to begin in January. ¬†So I’ve been sore and well-fed. ūüôā

I recently placed an order from Amazon for a Nut Milk Bag¬†and it arrived on Saturday!¬† This morning, after a brutal ZGYM workout, I made coconut milk from scratch and it came out amazing!! ¬†If you’re like me and have been shelling out too much money on Silk or So-Delicious coconut milk, filled with preservatives and often cane sugar, give this a try. ¬†With a Vitamix or high-powered blender it takes less than 10 minutes and is a perfect consistency.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flake
  • 1.5 cups Warm Water (not hot, warm from the tap or filtered that’s warmed up is fine)
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp. Honey, or sweetener of your choice

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup of the warm water to the coconut flake and blend in a Vitamix or high-powered blender and blend on HIGH for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Over a pitcher or bowl pour the contents into a nut milk bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Note: the milk will be HOT after being blended that long, I squeezed with a towel over my hand.
  3. Add remaining pulp back into blender and add the last 1/2 cup of warn water.  Blend on HIGH another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Once again, pour the contents through the nut milk bag and squeeze the milk out into your pitcher or bowl.
  5. If you want to sweeten or flavor the milk, put the milk back into the blender, add the vanilla and honey (or whatever flavors and sweeteners you’d like) and blend on 8 for ~20-30 seconds. ¬†
  6. Yeilds ~3 cups.  Recipe can easily be doubled.

Just like with the almond milk, I was impressed by how easy this is and how great the results are. ¬†I also greatly appreciate the control I get over the final product. ¬†I like to use a slightly sweetened vanilla milk in my morning smoothies, but I’ve found it’s impossible to find a vanilla coconut milk at the grocery store that doesn’t either contain cane sugar (which I’m allergic to) or artificial sweeteners. ¬†Also, even when I purchase unsweetened coconut milk it has stabilizers and preservatives. ¬†This way I get the freshest product possible catered to my own tastes.

Now, what to do with the remaining coconut pulp? ūüėČ

 

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WTF Workout?!

August has been a pretty crazy month for me, but while my blog entries cooled down, my workouts continued to fire up! ¬†I’ve been traveling a lot, which means my routine has needed to shift to accommodate my locale. ¬†

The first adventure was a five day intensive Lomilomi retreat. ¬†Lomilomi is a style of Hawaiian massage that I’ve been studying for about two years now. ¬†This was my third class and it was incredibly inspiring. ¬†I knew that I would be in a calorie-friendly environment, as our meals were all vegetarian, mostly made from ingredients found right on the land we stayed at. ¬†Speaking of the land, I already knew about Dreaming Mountain in Johnson, VT, but now that I’ve spent four nights there I’m absolutely in love with it! ¬†I had done a mini-cleanse before the trip, so I had already cut out alcohol, red meat and was strict to my food allergies diet (generally no sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, coffee and a slew of other random things). ¬†This meant that I didn’t feel the need to do my really intense workouts on the retreat. ¬†Instead, I did yoga daily, a martial arts dance that’s part of the Lomi training, and, of course, I was giving and receiving massage daily. ¬†I ended up dropping 5lbs just from living a healthy stress-free active life for a week!

The next adventure was much more challenging. ¬†My company recently opened up a new store in Key West, FL. ¬†It was my job to head down there to set up all the infrastructure. ¬†This meant taking three planes each way to a hot, sweaty tourist playground, working five 12 hour+ days in a row and attempting to stick to my diet and exercise. ¬†The first thing I learned is that the sun rises LATE in Key West, after 7am. ¬†So to keep up my workouts I had to just deal with getting up in an unfamiliar place in the dark. ¬†I did a combination of creating my own workouts in the hotel’s (really spectacular) gym and yoga on the beach. ¬†I should have recorded what I did in the gym but I didn’t think to. ¬†It was nice varying between being in the gym and being on the beach. ¬†I really didn’t get much time at all to enjoy the island so at least doing yoga under the stars, next to the ocean, and then slowly watching the sun rise through my vinyasas was pretty spectacular. ¬†I’ll admit diet was much more of a challenge there, and I made myself outright sick once or twice, but you gotta live too, right?

It’s nice to be back home and back to a more normal routine. ¬†Though, it seems my yoga is going to be ramping up as I’m trying to hit the minimum pre-req hours for a yoga teacher-training I’m hoping to start in January. ¬†I only just found the program and they require 35 hours in their studio before I can enroll. ¬†Since I live an hour away this is a challenge, but I’ve been wanting to get my yoga certification for years now and it’s a teacher I really like. ¬†Wish me luck!

So, today’s workout was really unusual for me. ¬†It’s a little bit of everything. ¬†I started out doing someone else’s workout (some of you may recognize the first few items) and then decided I wanted it to be more dynamic. ¬†This was LONG. ¬†My arms were shaking at the end and I was dripping with sweat. ¬†I feel it’s a good mix of cardio and strength training, though the cardio portion never really ends. ¬†Check it out:

8/27/13 – For Time (My Time = 24:50)
  1. 1 Min High Knees
  2. 1 Min Sprint
  3. 1 Min Low-Jacks
  4. 30 Weighted Burpees (I used 5lbs)
  5. 30 Knee Tucks
  6. 30 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  7. 30 Plank Side-To-Side Jumps
  8. 10 Prisoner Getups
  9. 10 Weighted Sit-Ups (I used 15lbs first 5 and then 10lbs last five)
  10. 10 Push-Ups
  11. 20 Knee Tucks
  12. 20 Side-Lunge w/ Floor Touch
  13. 10 Side Crunches, Right
  14. 10 Side Crunches, Left
  15. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Tricep Kickbacks in Lunge Position (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  16. 12-10-8-10-12 Pyramid Bicep curls (I used 8lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs)
  17. 10 Weighted Lunge Twists, 5 Each Side (I used 10 lbs)

After that, I needed some protein and amino acids!! ¬†Cut to today’s smoothie!

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This beauty contains pomegranate juice, coconut milk, spinach, flax seeds, fresh local blueberries, frozen mangoes, and a half-serving of vegan protein powder (Fat Flush). ¬†I’ve honestly moved away from using protein powders in my morning smoothie because I feel adding flax or chia seeds plus spinach gives me enough protein without making me bloat. ¬†But, today I really killed my upper body so it seems right to add in the protein and help rebuild my muscle tissue. ¬†

I also am on a daily gut repair formula from my Naturopath which includes l-glutamine. ¬†While new research is always coming out, there’s a lot out there showing a direct correlation between¬†l-glutamine and muscle recovery. ¬†It’s recommended post-workout, along with protein and carbs (1:4). ¬†We always hear protein protein protein after workouts, but that’s one time when I think it’s important to have carbs to help with the recovery. ¬†Frankly, I do think there’s such thing as too much protein. ¬†I’m definitely trying to build my muscles, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat 10 eggs and a bucket of protein powder in one day.

What post-workout drinks/meals/supplements work for you?

Workouts, Strawberries and a Positive Body Image

Another week, another workout!  Yesterday I had the day off for the US Independence Day.  In preparation of a few extra drinks I crafted a high-intensity full-body workout.  I was really happy with this one and felt it was pretty well-balanced.  It was also the first time I tried doing double kettlebell step-ups and I was surprised how much the 50lbs slowed me down.  It was a great exercise for legs, abs and balance; probably my favorite and the hardest of the whole workout.  Want to give it a try?

7/4/13 –¬†Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest. ¬†I used 25lb kettlebells and a 20lb free-weight for the ab twists.

  Buy-In: 1 min high knees
  1. Sumo Jumps
  2. Double KB step-ups
  3. KB Lunge-Row
  4. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  5. Pull-Ups
  6. Weighted Seated Ab Twists 
  7. Hanging leg-lifts
  Buy-Out: 1 min high knees
 
After that brutal workout (especially in the 90¬ļF weather we were having) I was ready for a reward. ¬†I found this¬†amazing recipe for vegan, gluten free, grain free strawberry icebox pie. ¬†I grabbed two pints of local strawberries and gave it a go! ¬†I added some raw chocolate to the crust but other than that I used the recipe as written, it is so delicious! ¬†And so healthy! ¬†You have to try it:
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I was really inspired by this blog post from¬†Marianne at myomytv.com. ¬†As someone who follows both her and Zuzka’s workouts it was interesting to see both in the same forum. ¬†I didn’t agree with all of Marianne’s points but I absolutely loved her sentiments about improving our bodies:
 
What do you LOVE? While achieving your strength goals, focus on what you love, not what you want to fix.”
 
THIS. ¬†Thisthisthis. ¬†I’ve mentioned before that I gained respect for exercise late in life, while attending school for Massage Therapy. ¬†I spent my childhood trying to feign illnesses to get out of gym class, and saying “I only run if someone’s chasing me.” ¬†
 
While I dabbled in sports in school, overall I had a very negative view of them. ¬†When I look at the reason for that it really came down to my values not seeming to fit in with the values being thrown on my in gym and on teams. ¬†For one thing, I never understood why people get so brutally invested in sporting events. ¬†I’m all for having fun and rooting for a team, but I can’t connect with the devastation feel when “my” team doesn’t win and how even when a team does win the reaction can be expressed by¬†rioting. ¬†I also don’t understand the amount of corruption in sports with athletes drugging themselves up, dramatically altering their diets to either gain or lose weight, and the perpetuated idea that if you don’t win you’re worthless. ¬†There seems to be a lot of shaming and negative reinforcement in our athletic fields. ¬†I could write a whole entry on this but this is not what’s really goading me right now. ¬†This is about body image.
 
The other issue that really bothers me in the athletic arena is the idea that people should exercise to lose weight, gain muscle, look like that trainer they’ve been ogling over, and basically that they have to change their body to fit some universal image of what “in shape” looks like. ¬†Now let me say right now, I’m not dissing the idea of exercising to lose weight or gain muscle, but I don’t think it should be the predominant driving factor. ¬†I believe that if we all took a more positive approach to diet and exercise as lifestyle choices that there would be higher success rates.
 
I work out and eat right because I love how it makes me feel. ¬†I love the increase in energy. ¬†I love feeling strong and flexible. ¬†I love seeing my body change in ways I didn’t know it could. ¬†It’s also AWESOME that weight loss and more muscle mass comes along with that but if I looked at those two as the defining factors of what makes me fit then I’d always be disappointed.
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Zuzka is gorgeous. ¬†But, if my goal was to look like Zuzka, I would be fighting an uphill battle that I can’t win. I heard a story on VPR recently that discussed a research study done with about 100 women. ¬†They were asked to record their daily diet in a notebook. ¬†Half were given a notebook with a slender woman on the cover and on each page, the other half were given a notebook with just a tape-measure on the cover and each page. ¬†The women given the notebook with the tape-measure lost weight on average. ¬†The women with the notebook with the slender woman GAINED weight on average. ¬†The group conducting the research study said that the women who gained weight just gave up when they realized they could never look like the slender woman. ¬†It actually caused them to over-eat. ¬†Body-shaming does not work.
 
I will never look like Zuzka. ¬†I frankly don’t have the bone structure for it, let alone the genetics to get my body fat percentage that low without working out 5-6 hours per day. ¬†And you know what? ¬†That’s totally ok!! ¬†I look like ME and the more I work out the more I get to discover how my body feels when it’s strong. ¬†I get to explore what¬†I look like when I’m in shape and I get to push my own limits to see what I can physically do. ¬†
 
The line that I’m sure all of you have heard before is Love Your Body. ¬†That’s really it. ¬†If you love your body then you’re going to want to keep it in shape. ¬†You’re going to want to exercise. ¬†You’re going to want to eat right. ¬†LOVE YOUR BODY. ¬†No one else will ever look just like you. ¬†You have the privilege of exploring what your body can do when it’s well taken care of.
 
We all have an inner critic and I know it can be really hard to see past that. ¬†But remember you have a choice. ¬†It doesn’t¬†have to be hard. ¬†It can be really easy. ¬†And it’s a choice you can continue to make. ¬†Did you decide to have a Philly cheesesteak and now you feel like crap? ¬†That’s ok, you can make a different choice tomorrow. ¬†Did you skip your workout for a day? ¬†A week? ¬†A month? ¬†THAT’S OK, because you can choose to work out RIGHT NOW. ūüėČ ¬†
 
Just do me a favor and don’t let your main motivation to be out of shame. ¬†If you work you for YOU there’s a good chance You WILL lose weight and you WILL gain muscle but the bigger point is feeling good in your own skin and letting the pride that you take in yourself be your motivator. ¬†If you truly want to get out of the cycle of working out for a few months and then giving up for the next six months then you need to get past the “90-Day Challenges” and the quick-fix instant-gratification crash courses and really think about the positive effects eating well and exercising have on your body. ¬†Love your body and you won’t have to think about short-term goals, you will find yourself in a healthy long-lasting fitness routine not because society is telling you that’s what you should want, but because that’s what YOU want.

Upper Arm Beatings and Post-Workout Pancakes!

One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook. ¬†She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs. ¬†Seriously, that’s it. ¬†They are AMAZING. ¬†Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).

Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs. ¬†Yesterday I did Zuzka’s¬†ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout. ¬†I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs. ¬†This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.

6/29/13¬†–¬†Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Swing
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Weighted pilates sit-ups
  5. Plank climbers
  6. Pull-ups (as many as you can do
  7. Dive bombers
  8. Renegade Row
  9. Single-Leg deadlifts
  10. Dragon flags

Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo High Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Banana
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Beat the banana and egg together. ¬†You’re done making the batter! ¬†No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier. ¬†I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand. ¬†I added cinnamon, which turned out great. ¬†I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it. ¬†You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
  2. Cook on skillet like normal pancakes.  I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).

I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave. ¬†Enjoy!!

Pies and Pushups

It has have been a while since my last entry but I’m still going STRONG on workouts and sticking to my food allergy/healthy diet. ¬†I’m really enjoying seeing my muscle tone improve and I’ve been taking on new challenges. ¬†I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and have also added some heavier free weights to my collection. ¬†My biggest struggle continues to be learning to do pullups. ¬†So far I can do ONE unassisted and that’s a good start.

To keep my workouts interesting I’ve been varying things a bit. ¬†I’m generally doing two Zuzka workouts per week (I’ve shelled out for her new ZGYM and in full honesty the first two workouts were worth more than the $10/mo price tag; they’re way harder than her free ZWOWs). ¬†I also do two workouts inspired by myomytv.com, which offers awesome free kettlebell and bodyweight workouts. ¬†I say “inspired” because while I sometimes outright do one of their routines, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own routines and so far I’m kicking my own ass. ūüôā ¬†I also do 1-2 pilates or yoga workouts per week. ¬†On top of that I’m still running 1.6 miles per day, happily on the Mad River Path with my pup. ¬†This has been a good mix for me and gets me moving at least an hour per day six times a week. ¬†I take a day off to rest.

I’m going to start posting my self-made workouts here. ¬†I’m not comfy recording videos yet, but I think I’d like to in the future. ¬†So here are my three most recent WOD’s. ¬†If you need a better description of the exercise just ask! ¬†I’d consider these intermediate->advanced. ¬†If you want to do them just listen to your body and adjust as needed. ¬†Beginners should use lighter weights, shorter reps and a longer resting period. ¬†If you’re more advanced use heavier weights, longer reps and a shorter resting period. ¬†In general I’m using a 25lb kettlebell (or two for doubles). ¬†My free-weights range from 5lb->20lb.

For an interval timer I’m using Seconds on my iPhone.

6/10/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Goblet Squat (20kg)
  2. Alternating KB Swing
  3. Alternating Curtsy Lunge (14kg)
  4. KB Single-Leg Deadlifts
  5. Skater Hops
  6. Renegade Row
  7. Chin-Up
6/11/13 РSet interval timer to 3 rounds 40 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Glute Bridge Booty Pump
  2. Single-leg deadlift R
  3. Single-leg deadllift L
  4. Eccentric Focused Chin Ups
  5. Push Up Lean/Push Up/Push Back Combo
  6. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  7. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  8. Dragon Flag
6/19/13 –¬†Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Reverse lunge
  2. Snatch R
  3. Snatch L
  4. Around-the-world KB swings
  5. Single-Leg Deadlift R
  6. Single-Leg Deadlift L
  7. Side-crunch R
  8. Side-crunch L
  9. Weighted sit-up
  10. Double KB Swings

And now for recipes! ¬†This past Saturday I hosted a large dinner party for my family. ¬†Along with accommodating my long list of food allergies, I also had to make the meal low-carb/sugar for my father who’s diabetic, low-salt for his wife who has high BP, dairy/gluten free for my sister-in-law (this is in line with my own diet too) and garlic-free for my brother. ¬†Even more importantly, I wanted it to be FREAKING DELICIOUS to help show that you don’t have to eat crappy-tasting food just because you have a dietary restriction. ¬†Also, since my family showered me with a ton of pie-making paraphernalia for Christmas, I made the meal Pie-themed.

Bring In The Pies!!

86aa7b8cd6c011e29c6622000a1f9e4a_7Paleo Shepard’s Pie (adapted from Elana’s Pantry¬†and The Functional Foodie)

Ingredients – Makes ~1 large deep dish pie

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 lb ground pork (I used a mild chorizo sausage from my local butcher which gave it a nice kick)
  • 1/2 lb uncured bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (can use Worcester Sauce if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme and parsley from my garden)
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft (I used one white and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or Virgin Coconut Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬ļF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Add shallots and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add bacon and saut√© until cooked, ~10 minutes (note: the bacon will not crisp, that’s ok).
  4. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and saut√© until soft (it’s ok of the carrots stay a bit firm), ~10 mins.
  5. Add the meats, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté until browned.
  6. Add the stock, wine, coconut aminos and a paprika. ¬†Stir and cook down broth until it’s ~60% evaporated.
  7. Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, coconut milk, Earth Balance/VCO, and a pinch of salt and pepper to your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes; this will not take long. ¬†Taste-test and see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the filling into a pie plate and top with the cauliflower mash.  Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the top for decoration if you like.
  9. Cook at¬†375¬ļF for 30 minutes, or until the inside is bubbly and the top is slightly firm. ¬†Let cool for ~10 mins before serving.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten and Dairy free, no sugar added to filling)

Ingredients

Crust (and trust me, it’s GOOD, the non-gluten free folks loved it!):

  • 1 cup Almond or Pecan flour (I was out of almond so I ground pecans in my Vitamix which worked out beautifully!)
  • 2 cups¬†Bob‚Äôs Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour¬†(my sister-in-law says next time I should try Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Mix)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you’d like, I’m just allergic to it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¬Ĺ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 5-8 tbsp Cool Water

Filling (adapted from here):

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
  • 2 tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon¬†Bob‚Äôs Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance cut into small slices
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Directions

Crust:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Add the coconut oil and beat until dough forms small balls.
  3. Add the water one tbsp at a time while mixing until the dough reaches the proper consistency (it should hold together well but not be sticky).
  4. Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough and add bottom crust to a greased and floured pie plate.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425¬ļF.
  2. Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into bottom crust.
  4. Dot with butter.
  5. Roll out top crust and top the pie (if you want to do the lattice design I did use a pizza-cutter to cut strips of the rolled-dough and a long spatula to carefully lift the crust from the counter to the pie).
  6. Brush top of crust with beaten egg yolk.
  7. Wrap aluminum foil loosely around the outside edge of the crust to protect the crust from burning.
  8. Cook at¬†425¬ļF for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375¬ļF and cook for another 40 minutes. ¬†The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling. ¬†I found the gluten free crust cooks faster than when using traditional flour so keep an eye on the pie so it doesn’t get over-cooked. ¬†Cool before serving.

I’d love to know if you try my recipes or workouts. ¬†Please pass along your feedback! ¬†Now it’s time for a run!

 

Day 55, 4950 Burpees, 31 Miles, PIZZA TIME!!

Wow, I’m already 10 days past the half-way point of my 90 day challenge! ¬†That is awesome!! ¬†I’m definitely feeling stronger and am seeing more definition in my muscles. ¬†I have a lot more energy. ¬†I can also admit that even though burpees still shoot my heart rate way up and cause me to lose my breath, I can do them faster and I’m recovering quicker between sets. ¬†It definitely helps that I’m doing the ZCUT workouts on top of burpees and running because Zuzka really pushes me both in cardio and strength. ¬†I basically¬†had to learn to recover quickly or I couldn’t make it through her workouts.

Today’s entry is primarily about FOOD. ¬†I’m continuing to find new recipes, along with surprising myself with safe finds from the grocery store. ¬†I’ve even managed to go out to eat a couple times and haven’t had a problem finding foods I can eat (as long as I go to a decent place). ¬†For example, the other night I had a tuna steak with sides of kale and broccoli, no dairy, gluten or any of the other allergens I’m avoiding. ¬†I’ve also done well ordering spinach salads with salmon or grilled chicken and sushi has been pretty safe as long as I’m careful (speaking of which, if you like sushi check out Food Babe’s article on Sushi Secrets). ¬†I just have to ask a few more questions before ordering but most places can accommodate my diet with only minimal substitutions.

The one junk food I¬†really love is pizza. ¬†I’ve struggled to make a really delicious gluten free, dairy free pizza. ¬†Well, I think I finally found a winner and I’m excited to share it with you! ¬†First, I have to talk about Socca (or¬†Farinata). ¬†An old friend recently posted a recipe for this grain-free chickpea unleavened bread. ¬†I tried it that night and found it was an AWESOME side-dish to my dinner:

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Gluten/Corn free breaded chicken, steamed baby spinach and socca

 

I did have to tweak the recipe because that day my local grocer was out of garbanzo bean flour. ¬†So the picture above is NOT grain free. ¬†Here’s what I did instead:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour¬†(top ingredient is chickpea flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt¬†
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper¬†
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil¬†
  • ¬Ĺ large onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, minced
  • 1 cup lukewarm filtered water

The directions are identical to the original recipe, but I’ll post them here for convenience:

1. Heat oven to 450¬ļF. Put a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch pizza pan or cast-iron skillet in oven. Sift flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper; then slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours (I tried leaving it both 30 mins and 6 hours, negligible difference). Batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream.

2. Stir all herbs, onion and garlic into batter. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into heated pan, and swirl to cover pan evenly. Pour in batter, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until pancake is firm and edges set. Heat broiler, and brush top of socca with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry.

3. Set socca a few inches away from broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to brown it spottily. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot, or at least warm.

It was SO FREAKING GOOD that a few days later I found actual garbanzo bean flour and, following the same recipe above I used it to make this gluten free, dairy free, grain free (Paleo friendly) pizza:

Image

Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-friendly pizza!

This was amazing. ¬†The one thing I’ll say is that using the garbanzo bean flour, while healthier,¬†it definitely tasted more like falafel and less like pizza crust. ¬†Next time I may switch back to the Gluten Free Flour since I’m not outright avoiding grains (just gluten, corn and oats). ¬†However, BOTH bread recipes held up beautifully and the chickpea flour had no trouble holding the heaping pile of toppings I piled on it.

Speaking of toppings, here’s what I used:

  • Sugar-free pasta sauce (I need to learn to make my own pizza sauce)
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Crumbled local bacon
  • Small amounts of Daiya mozzarella and pepperjack*

*A note on using Daiya “cheeses”, be very careful not to use too much. ¬†It’s a great cheese substitute because it melts well and gives a cheesy flavor, BUT if you use the same amount of Daiya that you’d use with traditional cheese you might find that it melts together and has the consistency and taste of mayonnaise. ¬†I find the mozzarella particularly has this issue, and as a result it’s not my favorite Daiya cheese.

So go wild and have some healthy pizza! ¬†I’d love to hear your variations on this recipe and other ideas!

810 Burpees in 9 Days. Let’s celebrate with ice cream!

I made something so delicious last night that I just had to blog about it!

ImageBlackberry Peach Nicecream¬†(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s “Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen peaches
  • Just under a 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (note, I used a full two and it was STRONG)
  • A few drops of vanilla

The directions are easy, you throw it all in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender until it turns to the consistency of creamy ice-cream (about 1 minute in a Vitamix using the tamper). So a couple differences here between the recipe I made and the one from Katie’s blog. ¬†The biggest thing is the raw chocolate. ¬†Raw chocolate has a much stronger flavor than cocoa powder (what the original recipe calls for) which is why I ended up adding in some agave nectar. ¬†The agave cuts the bitter of the chocolate without making it overly sweet. ¬†The benefits of the raw chocolate are plentiful. ¬†It’s a killer antioxidant. ¬†It also has a big punch of nutrients:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

I’m a fan! ¬†This low-calorie nutrient-rich snack is also so healthy that I had some for breakfast. ūüėõ

The one caveat I’ll admit is that this is no sissy’s ice cream. ¬†The flavor is STRONG, especially if you use the full 2tbs. ¬†Tone it down by using less raw chocolate, and add a little more agave if you’d like it to be sweeter. ¬†It was too much for my boyfriend but that just means more for me!

Before I leave you, I did try the Warrior Food protein powder in my smoothie this morning. ¬†I mentioned Warrior Food in yesterday’s post. ¬†I was really excited to try it since it has high reviews online and it’s the protein powder of choice of my favorite local raw foodie. ¬†I’ve got to say, I was not impressed but I’m going to give it another chance. ¬†Here was the recipe I used:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • handful of frozen pineapple
  • handful of frozen mango
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seed oil
  • 2 tbs Warrior Food

Since I left out the spirulina and didn’t use much spinach I was surprised the drink was green. ¬†Green drinks don’t bother me one bit, I was just wondering where the color came from and my current hypothesis is the cactus, but perhaps hemp turns green? ¬†The thing that got me was the flavor. ¬†I can’t quite put my finger on it but there was something odd. ¬†I want to try it in one of my strawberry recipes because it’s possible the pineapple-mango just wasn’t a good partner for the mix. ¬†It was also grittier than the other powders I’ve tried. ¬†I will say I couldn’t taste the stevia at all and despite the not-so-great initial taste there was no aftertaste. ¬†That was enough to get me to keep drinking it but in full disclosure I winced on each gulp. ¬†So far I’m giving it a C, but if I change my mind I’ll let you know!