How much meat should I eat on the Paleo diet?

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The most popular post on my blog to date is still this one. It remains the case that I owe Paleo everything. It started me out on a glorious journey, where every day I’m one step / mouthful closer to eternal health fuelled happiness. I’ve tweaked the blue print, staying true to its principles to devise my own kind of Paleo. Eg latest rules on cake? If I can see who made it, I’ll eat it. I even got a lesson in sponge baking from a friend this summer.

Alongside a more relaxed approach to eating cake I’ve also become increasingly vegetarian and eaten a lot less meat.

One of the most common misconceptions about Paleo puts meat before vegetables. But think about the hunter-gatherer for a moment. It’s a lot easier to gather than it is to hunt. Hunting took time. Days. Sometimes even weeks from one carcass to the next. Sandwiched in between that was a ton of in season, antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory fruit and vegetables. When animals were caught and killed, meat was lean and of the highest grade. That animal had roamed free, eaten off the land and not been fattened on grain in a cage without enough room to swish its tail.

The 40:60 meat:veggies ratio is a good one to adopt when it comes to Paleo. And generally the greener and leafier those veggies, with a small amount of starch on the side, the better. Continue reading

Clean eating in the Cayman Islands

One of my longest standing school friends is perhaps the longest suffering when it comes to every fad diet she was forced to endure throughout our formative years as I dabbled with calorie counting, point tallying, not eating very much, gorging myself stupid and quite frankly living a life of relative meal time misery.

Whilst Anna never pretends to understand this clean eating lark (this is the friend that’s been the size 6 pain au chocolat for breakfast eating hottie for as long as I can remember…), she is certainly far happier sharing a dinner table with me these days than she was circa 2001.

Anna at Bread & Chocolate

Gilby

And there’s perhaps no better place to share that dinner table than in the Cayman Islands where she has now lived for the past two years. I headed over for a visit / warm-weather revision and for a chance to top up those all important vitamin D levels and slowly worked my way round the island’s eateries. The two week stay split down the middle with Week 1 being Treat Week and Week 2 being more about Cleaner Eats. After some hardcore effort in the Dragon CrossFit Clean Living Challenge I was determined not to undo all the good work but equally wanted to relax a bit. Continue reading

Results of the Dragon CrossFit Clean Living Challenge

Becoming part of Team DC and signing up to the Clean Living Challenge was a brilliant way to kick start 2014. It’s given me new training focus, new ambition, helped me appreciate my strengths and allowed me to understand more about the weaknesses that have held me back and how I can go about improving them.

For the statisticians amongst you the very end of this post carries the specific numbers. But, in summary, after 48 days of three CrossFit sessions a week, zero alcohol, zero refined carbs, no dairy and 30 days strict Paleo to kick start my fat loss efforts, here’s what happened:

  • I shifted some serious pounds that were accumulated during the annual festive splurge
  • I lost just shy of 10 inches total from various sites across my body
  • The biggest improvements / losses came from round my thighs and middle
  • I actually felt like the Incredible Hulk during the final testing when my 1RM back squat increased from 70 to 90kg *proud face*

Sweaty, post testing face!

Post testing pic

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Meeting PaleoChef

Regular readers of this blog will know I love to cook. The deal my husband and I have, with him on the washing up and the ironing and me at the stove and the supermarket, suits me just fine. His share of the bargain comes with the luxury of being able to generally do said chores as and when they suit, but dinner needs to be put on the table every evening. That’s more than fine most of the time but during more hectic weeks, even the keenest of cooks are happy to outsource. One thing I really miss about London is the luxury of easily obtainable, super nutritious dishes that could be collected on the way home from work – sashimi seaweed salads, bunless grassfed burgers, and organic plant-based delights.

Cardiff’s restaurant scene is awesome. It’s on-the-go, at home, clean eating friendly options less so. That was, until PaleoChef arrived.

The brain child and labour of love of Mari Griffiths and Pete Cookson, PaleoChef, is a meal prep and delivery service using the best ingredients and imaginative recipes free from grains, legumes, refined sugar and dairy.

I warmed to Mari and Pete the moment we met. It always feels so good to meet those that share your own passion, drive and enthusiasm and a determination to provide real, whole foods conveniently. Strong coffee and incredible pancakes were served shortly after my arrival, our stories and experiences shared and I was packed off with a cool bag full of lunch. Talk about making one seriously awesome first impression!

Pete the PaleoChef Cookson

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Coming up for air

Goodness gracious me it’s been some time since I checked in here.

As a blogger, there’s nothing quite as annoying as life taking over and weeks whizzing by without a moment to post.

For too long, this has been my view:

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Affixed to that spot, it’s been one great big freelance work and course assignment juggling act. But now, thankfully, I’m coming up for air!

So what’s been happening?

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Making a (duck) hash of it

This weekend I got invited to duck off.

No, no, it wasn’t like that…

Sally, Lindy and I were to take to our stoves and create something suitably delicious. Then we’d be judged. By you, the discerning people of the interwebz.

The rules.

Very few of them as it happens, aside from:

–       The dish must contain duck

–       The recipe must use one store cupboard ingredient…

–       …As well as a fresh ingredient

And we were off!

My chosen ingredients for the duck off

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But first a bit about duck.

In 2012 I ate a ton of the stuff. Training to run three marathons in three months required a LOT of food. Especially protein. I was also pretty keen not to bankrupt myself in the process. Gressingham duck breasts were a weekly, nearly always on offer, saviour.

Often cooked to this Gordon Ramsay recipe, served with some starchy veggies roasted in the delicious fat of the bird, it became a supper of champions.

If you’ve not tried it before, I’d compare duck breast to a stronger red meat (almost steak like) but a duck leg is much more akin to its other feathered brethren. Not chicken, not turkey but definitely poultry-esque in flavour.

It was coincidental that duck off week was not only the week where I cooked duck at home for the first time in a long time but I also chose it when out for a birthday dinner. I’m certain the Potted Pig’s duck hash was more or less made to this recipe. It was divine. Full of such incredible flavour. Like nothing I’ve tasted in months.

So I vowed to recreate it.

But without a lot of the frills or birthday-justifiable indulgence. Ladies and gents, I herby present duck hash that doesn’t require several swift after dinner laps round the block on finishing the last mouthful. A meal that is so easily and cheaply thrown together; can be eaten morning noon or night and quite frankly would probably work with any ingredient combos providing they were duck, a starchy veggie, an onion, a ton of garlic and seasoning.

Paleo-friendly duck hash

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Makes 4 starter-sized portions (serves one husband and wife team fresh from the gym!)

Ingredients

1 x bunch spring onions

3 x Gressingham duck legs

1 x large sweet potatoes

4 x duck eggs

All the crushed garlic you care to enjoy

Lashings of Worcestershire and Soy sauce

To prepare your duck

Duck leg is best cooked slooooooooooooooow. Real slow. It’s worth the wait, has so much more flavour and totally melts in your mouth.

Pre-heat oven to 150oC

Place duck legs on a non stick tray

Cook for 3.5 hours

Remove from oven, transfer duck legs onto a separate plate. Drain the excess duck fat into a mug to use later.

Allow the duck legs to cool before removing skin and meat from bone with a fork. It should form into super succulent shreds.

Set aside, discarding the skin / devouring it yourself / sharing with the cat if you’re feeling generous.

For the sweet potato

Peel and finely cube. Place into a roasting tin and add to the oven, 2.5 hours into the duck’s cooking time.

After 1 hour, remove from the oven and set aside.

Chop the spring onions. Heat a teaspoon of the saved duck fat in a large frying pan. Add the spring onions and garlic. Once browned, add the cooked sweet potato and duck, mix thoroughly. Add the desired lashings of soy and Worcestershire sauce. Leave to cook / warm through on a low heat for another 5-7 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat another teaspoon of duck fat. Fry your duck eggs.

Serve the hash spooned onto a plate topped with a runny yolk egg.

Voila!

Let Her Eat Clean’s year in review

The clock struck 9pm. “Happy New Year” we bellowed. There was no way Fi was making it to midnight. There was no way she was missing the last toast of her life. We adapted to accommodate her wishes. We shared a thimbleful of champagne.

2013 – it was the worst of times; it was the best of times

Year in review Collage

January notoriously sucks, doesn’t it? Losing a parent in January double sucks, believe me. But here’s the thing, you can wallow in that kind of suckiness or you can go on to do great things, you can live the life that person would have wanted you to. You can make every effort, every day to do something that person would have been so proud of.

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