Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting rid of sandwhiches...

Jennifer Fugo at Evolving Well wrote a great blog post called Death to the Sandwhich that I think is incredibly relevant to the readers of my blog as well.  Check out her post and let me know what you think, its funny that one of the first questions I get when I mention what I eat and don't eat is, what do you eat for lunch!  My husband took turkey roll-ups - turkey lunch meat wrapped around spinach and sliced peppers, to work for lunch and got some questions about what the heck he was eating and why didn't he have bread along with his turkey meat.  So as Jen asks at the end of her post - if you're eating Paleo or Primal, do you miss eating sandwhiches?  What are you eating instead?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fight Inflammation Naturally

I've spoken before about the importance of managing inflammation in your body, through eating whole foods: vegetables, meats, seafood, fruits, some nuts and seeds. You want to reduce inflammation since it seems to be the root of many diseases – so an easy way to stay healthy is to reduce inflammation. You can reduce inflammation by NOT putting inflammatory things into your body like gluten and lectins, which means removing certain foods from your diet. Another thing you can do is put good things into your body that are anti-inflammatory. Spring is in the air and so are the beautiful cherry blossoms, and cherries have a lot of great nutritional properties and are something that you should consider including in your diet as part of your plan to reduce inflammation.


Cherries are a rich source of:

• Vitamin C
• Potassium
• Boron, a mineral that plays an essential role in bone health, especially for women

...and help control inflammation

 One way to use cherries is to think of them as a great post workout tool, like taking extra fish oil after a heavy lifting day, you can incorporate cherries and natural unsweetened cherry juice into your post workout recovery routine. According to this article by Leo Galland, MD through the Huffington post cherries may be as effective as aspirin, are great for workout recovery, and may even be able to help with gout. He quotes a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that states that consuming cherries “before and after strenuous work” (Crossfit anyone?) “may have a protective effect to reduce muscle damage and pain.” My additional two cents, try cherries but make sure you’re checking for added sugars and be careful how much fruit you're eating, espeically if it's dried fruit. Munch on dried cherries on a long run, experiment with the concentrated unsweetened cherry juice as a post workout recovery tool, and once they come in season grab some from your local farmer’s market and enjoy as a recovery tool and delicious snack!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why go Grass Fed?

My last post talked about the 1/8th of a cow I got through Philly Cow Share. You may be wondering why go grass fed? To start, there is some truth that you are what you eat, and as I mentioned in the Optimal not Tolerable post. What I didn't mention is that you also are what you eat, eats. When you eat conventionally raised meats and farmed fish which are fed lots of corn, soy, antibiotics, hormones, and questionable feed (mixed in animal products in some cases) that food is what is being used as the building blocks for that animal's fat and muscles. So when you eat conventionally raised meats and fish, they have a higher amount of Omega 6 fats (that cause inflammation) from eating all of the corn (Corn oil's Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is 46:1). Not to mention any antibiotic or additional growth hormone that may also be there.

Grass fed meats are healthier because the animal is eating what it was evolved to eat, so it has a more complete nutrition profile and doesn't have industrial by products. When your animals are eating grass, seeds, grubs, insects, etc (depending on what the animal is) it has a healthier profile, grows at a natural rate and has less Omega 6 fats since it's not eating any corn. You naturally are getting a some amount of Omega 3's since cows are eating a diet that is natural to them along with some other good stuff like CLAs. When you eat higher quality meats you are fueling your body with more optimal sources. Starting to be concerned about quality is the next level of optimizing your food choices, after you've changed your food choices to primarily whole foods - focusing on meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Where can you find grass fed or pastured meats, the first step is to start asking and looking for it. Often times it's in with the Organic meats. But if something says vegetarian fed or organic that doesn't mean that it's grass fed or pastured. Be careful what you are buying and decide for yourself what is worth the additional money. Check out farmer's markets in your area, try to find a local farm, look for resources like Philly Cow Share and Farm to City that serve the Philadelphia area. Other great resources for high quality meats are: EatWild and US Wellness Meats where you can order meat that is delivered right to you door.

Are you ready to make a commitment to improve the quality of what you're eating?

For a more depth description of the differences between grass fed and grain fed, check out this post by Mark Sisson on Mark's Daily Apple.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Holy Cow, that's a lot of meat!

Finding high quality pastured or grass fed meats is something that can be difficult and expensive.  The cheapest way to buy high quality foods, is to buy in bulk.  So I signed up with 8 other people to share a whole cow through Philly Cow Share and it was delivered to us yesterday.  Despite my fear of getting literally 1/8th of a cow, our share came in two cardboard boxes, weighing about 45lbs (If you're wondering I did weigh it). Each box contains portions of grass fed meat, vacuum sealed in individual cuts in sizes that you would be able to buy if you were going to buy meat from anywhere else.  Everything is frozen, in fact it was ROCK solid when we got it.

Cow Share Boxes!
So what do you get when you order 1/8th of a cow?  The two boxes are divided into a steaks and roast box and ground beef and patties box.  You are really able to get some savings when you buy the whole cow - and find 8 other people to split it with.  Your portion comes out to about $6/lb ($6.22 according to Peterson who actually did the math), which I think is a really good deal.  Local, grass fed meat at my farmer's market at it's cheapest for ground beef is $5/lb and at Trader Joe's it's $6/lb.  Steaks and roasts start at $12/lb and up to $30/lb or so for the higher quality cuts.

Half Share is on the table, Other Half is in the box
I know that you are all thinking, what do you do with all of this meat once you have it?  Fortunately I have a second refrigerator in the basement and both boxes fit neatly in there.  If you don't have a second freezer, I recommend sharing a 1/8th portion with a friend so that you can fit it and still have some other food options in your freezer.  I'm excited that it's finally spring, the weather is warming up, and that I have lots of options to try out on the grill.  I have no idea how long it will take for us to eat all of this, but based on my experience so far, I'm already thinking about signing up for another portion of a cow - I'm thinking mid to late summer will be the ideal time.
Fits in your normal size freezer, but takes up most of it!