Hi everyone, I’m still here! I know it doesn’t always seem like it sometimes since I post sporadically now, but I’m around and still care about my blog and all of you. As most of you know, I post when I can and when I have something I deem share worthy.
Meanwhile, I’ve been really enjoying my summer so far — crazy hot temps and all! Luckily, it’s supposed to start coming back to normal summer temps now. Anyway, you really can’t beat summer in Portland though. It’s kind of the best. My mom is coming to visit me in less than two weeks and will stay with me while Jesse goes home to Michigan for a visit. I’ll be going back home at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding and didn’t want to go back twice in a such a short period of time. Jesse did and had the funds to do so though, but I’ll be here working and hanging out with my mom. I’m totally good with that and am happy to stay here!
Anyway, with summer in full swing, I thought I’d share some things I appreciate and am loving lately. Here goes:
- Fresh-picked blueberries: Jesse and I did our annual blueberry pick this past weekend. You may recall my blueberry picking post from 2013 and 2012. Anyway, we picked a whopping 21 pounds in the mid-day heat. They are the best blueberries and so plump! We kept a big bowl in the fridge and froze the rest. Sadly, we did not make it to Besaws for breakfast this year before our annual pick. I did miss that part.
- Walks around my neighborhood: I walk all year round, but it’s wonderful not having to bundle or cover up in the summertime. I get a good dose of vitamin-D and take in both new and familiar surroundings. I love exploring and walking with no destination and finding the unordinary in the ordinary. Sometimes, I challenge myself to find 10-20 things I haven’t noticed before. The other day, I found this and thought it was a gem of a find and totally Portland appropriate.
- Kombucha “cocktails”: squeeze of fresh lemon, kombucha (I like this with GT’s Gingerade or Trilogy), ice and splash of sparkling water for extra fizz. If you wanted to make it an adult beverage, you could add a little vodka, which mixes pretty darn well with kombucha.
- Ham lettuce wraps: fresh green leaf or romaine lettuce, New Seasons fresh sliced honey ham (good quality and no junk), yellow mustard, cucumber and thin slices of grass-fed cheddar cheese. Sometimes avocado too. This has been my favorite lunch lately. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share, but I think you all get the idea, right?
- Jasmine Primal Pit Paste: this new Jacked-Up Jasmine scent reminds me of my late grandma. She often wore floral scents and I can’t help but think of her when I use this. It’s an added bonus to a product I already love. The smell is fresh, feminine and lovely. It works pretty well too, at least the strong does.
First off, I was really excited when someone from Step and Go™contacted me to test their product. I had been wanting to try a toilet squatting stool for a while now, so jumped on the opportunity when it was presented. I actually had to laugh at the subject line of the email – “Poop like a paleo.” It definitely caught my attention!
Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a free Step and Go™ to test out, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.
Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of talk floating around lately about proper elimination and bathroom posture. Squatting to poop is nothing new, but our modern day toilets don’t allow us to squat when going to the bathroom. If you visit other countries though, particularly in Asia, you can walk into a bathroom and still find a hole in the floor in which to poop. Traditionally, it’s the way we’ve always pooped and anatomically, it makes a lot more sense. If you ask me, it’s more comfortable too.
So, what’s the deal with squatting and why is it a more natural pooping position?
Well, for one, squatting allows for “a more complete and healthier elimination,” as stated on the Step and Go™ website. A squatting position opens the colon completely, whereas sitting causes it to break or kink. Forcing the rectum into a kinked position causes the need to strain, which can then lead to other problems such as hemorrhoids, constipation, fecal stagnation (major cause of colon disease), bowel herniation, etc. The website also states that most colon cancers develop in areas which can’t be fully emptied in the sitting position. Notice the difference between the two images below. The first shows the anorectal angle in the sitting position and the second shows it in the squatting position. Notice the kink in the first and the straighter line in the second. See how fecal matter could get stuck in that kink in the sitting position? Pretty gross and no wonder it causes problems!
So, how does the Step and Go work?
In a nutshell, it acts as a little step stool for your feet, so you can find your squat. It is designed for use with the modern day toilet and fits right at the base of the toilet bowl. When you need it, just slide it out and place your feet on top to find your squatting position. While going, you can comfortably rest your arms or hands on your knees. When finished, slide it back along the base of the toilet for easy storage.
Jesse and I have both been using the Step and Go™ for about two weeks now and based on our positive experience, prefer to always use it for elimination from now on. Before even trying the product, I knew I was going to be a fan and notice a difference because the whole concept made sense to me. Even after trying it just once, I already felt a greater appreciation for it. I didn’t really have any trouble going before trying the Step and Go™ (I did before paleo though), but using it seems to make everything that much more easeful and natural. Without getting too explicit, I’ll just say that I’m left feeling much cleaner and emptier when the duty is done. It’s comfortable, simple and works well.
I highly recommend getting a Step and Go™ for your own bathroom(s) at home, so you can start pooping better and improving your elimination health. It’s easy to use, affordable and appropriate for everyone, even kids. Lucky for you, the folks at Step and Go™ created a promo code just for Paleo in PDX readers! Enter the code PDX10 at checkout for 10 percent off your entire purchase! The code is good now through October 1, 2014. Go to the Step and Go™ website to get yours ASAP!
For those of you that currently use the Step and Go™ or a similar product, what do you think? Have you noticed a difference? Also, if you purchase a Step and Go™ report back and let me know what you think!
Well, summer is officially here! Jesse and I enjoyed the summer solstice by taking a nice stroll up to the Mississippi area and finding an outdoor patio to enjoy a couple happy hour cocktails. Once we walked back home, it was time to start dinner. I didn’t want to fuss with much and already decided prior we would have chicken breast and garlic scapes, but wanted a refreshing side salad to go with it. Luckily, I almost always have a bag of broccoli slaw in my fridge. Seriously, I love this stuff and its versatility. It works well for hot dishes or cold, and is one of my favorites in a veggie and meat sauté.
Normally, I think salads like this taste better the next day, but Jesse and I both liked it better the day I made it, after letting it marinate for about 20 minutes. It still tasted good the next day, but was a bit more mustardy tasting from the Dijon. It was more subtle on the day I made it and I guess we both liked it better that way.
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of granulated garlic
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz bag broccoli slaw
- 1/2 large or 1 small avocado, sliced
- 2-3 chopped green onions, optional
- Pour the broccoli slaw in a large bowl.
- In a separate small mixing bowl or dressing shaker, combine all the remaining ingredients, except the avocado and green onion. Mix well with a whisk or shake well if using a dressing shaker. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Pour dressing over the broccoli slaw and stir well. Add the avocado slices and chopped green onions, if using. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator 15-20 minutes. Serve with something grilled!
Yields: 4-5 side dish servings
I realized I never shared any photos from my recent honeymoon in Kauai and Oahu on here, so I thought I’d share some highlights. I had a recipe in store for today, but ended up not being completely satisfied with it, so decided to scrap it for now.
Meanwhile, here are some memories from our trip. Enjoy and happy Friday! Oh, and our 1-year wedding anniversary is this Sunday, June 8th. Hard to believe a year has passed already!
I’ve made this recipe three times in the past week because it’s so good (and also because I had a huge piece of ginger root). I first made it last Saturday, after getting home from a seven hour workshop with Steve Maxwell. I was pooped out, but still mustered to throw together this delicious, quick and nutrient-dense meal. The fresh ginger is what really makes this dish pop, but if you’re in a pinch, you can use ground ginger too.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I hope you’re able to get outside, play, relax, socialize, grill and enjoy. Cheers!
- 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- ~2 cups broccoli (peel and chop the stems too)
- 2 cups torn kale leaves
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut aminos
- Splash of bone broth (2-4 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Melt coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir and sauté 2-3 minutes. Then, add the ground beef and break up with a spatula. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Continue to brown the meat, stirring occasionally. After about 5-7 minutes, add the broccoli, coconut aminos, dried basil, cayenne or pepper flakes and bone broth. Stir well and continue to cook for several minutes, or until broccoli is softened slightly.
- Add the kale and stir. Season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes more or until kale is softened. Then, remove from heat and serve.
Yields: ~3 servings
Well, I’m back from my trip as of Monday night. It was awesome, wonderful, fun and relaxing, but it’s hard to believe it’s already over. Now, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, but am still feeling pretty exhausted from the travel and 3-hour time change. Hopefully, I’ll be good to go by the weekend.
Meanwhile, this is a recipe I made prior to my trip, but never got a chance to share. It came together somewhat unplanned, but after tasting it, I knew I had to share. The flavor reminded me of an Italian goulash recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid, which was actually my grandma’s recipe. I always loved it growing up and the flavor of this kinda brought me back. Grandma’s recipe included elbow macaroni, ground beef, celery, oregano and tomatoes, so obviously mine is quite a bit different, but still reflects a similar flavor. And the best part…it’s both delicious and easy!
- 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed ghee
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 1/2 large head of green cabbage, chopped
- 1 14 oz can no salt added fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano, plus more to taste if desired
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and fennel and sauté a few minutes, until softened slightly. Then, add the ground beef and break up with a spatula. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
- Once meat is done cooking, add the fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes; stir. Then, add the cabbage and season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper.
- Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If need be, cover with a lid to cook the cabbage toward the top (this is particularly helpful if skillet is really full).
- Once cabbage is softened, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve with grated raw Parmesan or cheddar (preferably grass-fed), if tolerated and desired.
Yields: 3 servings
As you know, my honeymoon is coming up. In fact, we leave for Kauai this Friday! That’s only two days away! I am so ready and beyond excited! Meanwhile, I’ve started packing and stocking up on some essentials to take with us. Aside from the obvious swimsuits, tanks, shorts, sundresses, sunglasses and camera, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’m including in our suitcase and/or carry on:
Epic Bars: these are great anytime, but especially on the go. Made of high-quality meat and low in sugar, these soft jerky bars really satisfy and taste great too. We actually bought a whole box (12 bars) and for doing so, got a 10 percent discount at Whole Foods. We did half beef (my favorite) and half bison (Jesse’s favorite).
Justin’s Almond Butter Packets: again, another easy food to travel with. Plus, Justin’s Classic Almond Butter is actually my favorite. The individual packets can be expensive, but fortunately, they’re on sale for $0.89 each at one of our local co-ops right now. Eat it straight from the packet or squeeze onto an apple or banana, which are easy to find at the airport (and also easy to pack in your carry on).
Dr. Mercola’s Sunscreen: inevitably, we’re going to get prolonged exposure to the sun. We practice safe sun exposure and eat plenty of foods that add protection, but we’re going to be in the sun a lot and for long periods of time, and covering up is not really desirable when it’s hot. We generally don’t use any sunscreen, except coconut oil, but in this case, realize we’re going to need a bit more. We avoid toxic chemical sunscreens, but are comfortable with something nontoxic and of high quality. Dr. Mercola’s sunscreen is chemical-free, hypoallergenic and biodegradable. We have a bottle of SPF 30 and SPF 15 to take with us. Read more about Dr. Mercola’s sunscreens here. We also prepared ourselves for sun exposure by supplementing with astaxanthin in the weeks leading up to our vacation. This is a potent antioxidant that basically acts as an internal sunscreen.
Coconut Oil: I don’t take the whole container, but scoop some into a small travel-size container. It’s a great after sun moisturizer and truly, great for almost anything! I don’t travel without it!
Rosewater Mist: I use this stuff as my face toner, but love it as a body mist too. It’s great anytime you just need a refresher, really. Its light rose scent is so pretty, fresh and delightful. It will be great to spray on after being at the beach or after a sweaty hike along the coast.
Minimal Sandals: I just treated myself to these new barefoot sandals (in the grey/silvery color) for our trip, and Jesse got a pair too. He actually got them first (the men’s version) and then I liked them so much, I went and tried on a pair. I know they’re spendy for such a minimal style sandal, but the brand is reputable and well made. These can also be worn in the water and are easy to clean. I like that they’re like a flip flop, but have a back strap and flatter sole. The back strap eliminates the need for the toes to grip to keep the sandal on the foot, which is what inevitably happens with flip flops. I admit that flip flops are convenient and handy for certain things, but for walking around, I’d rather have something like this. Better for the feet too.
Digestive Enzymes: when I’m regularly eating my meals out, like I will be on my trip, I like to carry these with me. I never veer from my version of paleo when traveling or eating out and always make my needs clear when I order. But, just in case cross-contamination happens, these help. See the link above for the brand I like best.
Lacrosse Balls: we always travel with at least one mobility tool and lacrosse balls are one of them. I like to keep one ball in my carry on and use it on the plane under my hamstrings, behind my upper back or manually use it along my chest/neck. It really helps relieve stiff tissues from sitting and makes me more comfortable on longer flights. Of course, we use them to a greater degree in our hotel room when we have more space and access to different angles in the body. We usually take a double lacrosse ball (two balls taped together like a peanut) or the MobilityWOD Gemini for the thoracic spine, and Yoga Tune Up balls too since they’re lighter and don’t take up much space. We have some other mobility tools too, but they’re better left at home due to size and weight.