Nom Nom Paleo

Giveaway Time! It Starts With Food & Socks!

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I’m not proud to admit it, but I rarely — if ever — pick up a book that isn’t a cookbook. But in recent weeks, I’ve happily sacrificed precious sleep to devour two non-cookbooks: Andy Cohen’s Most Talkative and Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s It Starts With Food. And as much as I love Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development and Talent, I haven’t yet gotten past page 56 of Cohen’s cheeky, breezy memoir. Despite my love of The Real Housewives, I pushed it aside to finish It Starts With Food. Why? Because the book is a wonderfully engaging and fun read, and because being the healthiest version of me is my number one priority. (Sounds awfully Oprah of me, huh?)

Written by the dynamic duo behind Whole9, It Starts With Food hooks you in with a casual, conversational tone that immediately puts readers at ease. It’s authoritative without being preachy — just like the authors themselves. When I read the book, I can literally hear Dallas and Melissa talking to me. Yes, there’s a lot of science and references packed into the pages of It Starts With Food, but the Hartwigs have distilled it all into clear, concise, and easy-to-digest (pun intended) concepts and analogies that even those among us who failed high school biology will easily grasp.

Here, for instance, is one way they explain the critical role of leptin:

Imagine that your brain is blind, unable to see your chubby reflection in the mirror or the creeping number on the scale. It needs leptin to give it the facts it can’t see. So until the brain hears leptin say, “OK, we’re fat enough,” the brain is going to keep telling you to eat more and move less, to ensure your survival… And without that leptin message, your subconscious brain will continue to direct your behaviors as if you were too lean — despite the fact that you know you’re gaining too much weight.

Believe me: I’ve tried to explain to people the science behind the way I eat, and despite my degree in nutrition and food science, I’m often greeted with blank stares. In contrast, Dallas and Melissa make it look easy.

Like most of you, I lead an extremely hectic life. But the main reason I’m able to thrive (and I’m not using that word lightly) is ‘cause I’ve got my nutrition dialed in. I’m not perfect by any means, but the food blueprint I follow is Whole9’s. From my blog, you can see that I pretty much eat according to the Whole30 program every day, along with the addition of a few foods that I’ve reintroduced into my diet based on self-experimentation and/or because it’s worth it (like dark chocolate and the occasional bit of whole, raw, grass fed dairy). This nutritional approach is so deeply embedded in my cranium that — without even thinking about it — I developed almost all my recipes in my iPad cooking app to be Whole30-compliant. (Did I mention that my app contains a Whole30 recipe category and is officially Whole30-approved?)

The Hartwigs’ new book is a fantastic reference for EVERYONE that addresses virtually EVERY conceivable question about how best to nourish yourself. Really. I tried to stump the book, and couldn’t. Got a question about the healthfulness of fruit smoothies? Page 193. The fiber content of grains versus vegetables? Page 110. What about nutrition for pregnant or breastfeeding moms? Page 245. Vegetarians? Page 240. It’s all in there.

For readers who aren’t yet fully on board with clean eating, It Starts With Food is disarmingly persuasive. Any and every roadblock that you can throw up is knocked down by the Hartwigs’ no-nonsense, well-researched answers. 

I’m not kidding when I say that I carry this book in my bag at all times. Ever since my preview copy of the book arrived, I’ve whipped it out whenever I’ve been asked a question about the way I eat — and I get asked a lot. When a co-worker told me that her brother was feeling tired and run down ten days into his Whole30, I flipped to page 214 and pointed out the section on “carb flu.” When friends asked me what dietary fats to prioritize, I told ‘em to read Chapter 15 (“The Right Fats”). Rather than stumbling through a rambling diatribe about nutrition, I can refer to the smart, succinct answers in It Starts With Food.

I also have to sing the praises of The Meal Map in the book. Designed by my super-fabulous foodie soulmate Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl, the Meal Map is genius, filled with inventive but simple meals that you can whip up from your well-stocked pantry and fridge. It’s the perfect cheat sheet for readers who are craving delicious inspiration for innovative, healthy meals.

I’m sure some of you will discount my high praise for It Starts With Food because you know I’m friends with the Hartwigs. Yes, I’ve shared laughs and meals with Dallas and Melissa, and I’m proud to say that Dallas and I once butchered a steer together. But that being said, I wouldn’t be pals with people I didn’t consider genuine, smart, and sassy. And I wouldn’t steer you wrong. This book is the real deal. I frequently joke that the Hartwigs are like Paleo superheroes, but in all seriousness, what they’ve packed into It Starts With Food will definitely save lives.

Now, that I’ve (hopefully) got you excited about this book, who wants to win a SIGNED COPY for himself/herself (or if you already have a copy, for a loved one)? Three (count ‘em — THREE!) lucky winners will receive autographed copies of Dallas & Melissa Hartwig’s It Starts With Food AND a pair of my sold-out Nom Nom Paleo socks.
You can enter to win this giveaway in multiple ways:
  • "Like" the Whole9 and Nom Nom Paleo Facebook fan pages and let me know by posting one comment below.
  • If you own my iPad cooking app, write a review on the App Store and let me know in a SEPARATE comment below (along with the username under which you submitted the review).
  • You can get up to THREE additional entries by sharing this link (http://app.nomnompaleo.com/) about the Nom Nom Paleo iPad App via Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Facebook — and posting SEPARATE comments below for each method you used to spread the word about my App. Note that you don’t need to own my app or an iPad to do this! 
In other words, you can submit up to SIX entries if you do all of the above!
Make sure you remember to post a SEPARATE comment for each method of entry. Entries must be received by Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. PST. Good luck!
**UPDATE ON 6/23/12 at 11:30 p.m.: We’ve got three winners! The contest is OVAH!**

Paleo Eats: 4/21/12

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After we awoke in our new (but hopefully temporary) pad this morning, the Nombomb clan hustled down to the dining room to check out the complimentary breakfast. I may come across as a spendthrift sometimes, but I’m no dummy: I ain’t gonna pass up a free meal.

Sadly, pickings were slim for our little Paleo family. There were gluten-packed carbs up the wazoo.

In the end, we piled our plates with scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and sliced melon.

Why did I think that a free breakfast in the lobby of a hotel would be anything but gross? Perhaps eating Paleo has made me too optimistic.

After our less-than-stellar meal, we dropped the kids off with my parents and drove to CrossFit Palo Alto to attend the Whole9 Nutrition Workshop. Over 100 people packed into the gym today to hear Dallas and Melissa speak — a new attendance record not only for a CrossFit Palo Alto event, but also for a Whole9 seminar.

Fitbomb had to cut out in the middle of the seminar to cheer for Big-O at his Little League game…

…and to attend Lil-O’s preschool fundraising fair.

Hey — one of us has to be a good parent.

While he was gone, I tweeted like a good geeky notetaker and munched on our packed nosh: a nuked yam, roasted chestnuts, and U.S. Wellness Meats beef sticks.

Although we attended Dallas and Melissa’s talk last year, we soaked up lots of new information. Formerly fuzzy concepts were clarified with cool analogies and new diagrams.

Plus, the Hartwigs are all kinds of eye candy.

I can’t even count the many lessons I took away from the seminar. The one that resonated with me the most is that you can’t eat your way out of bad situation — nutrition, sleep, stress, and exercise must be managed. I’m assigning myself some homework: To work on controlling stress and improving my sleep.

One of the highlights of the day was hanging and tweeting with Eva T., Olympian, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Famer, and CrossFit legend.

She shared with the crowd that training like an athlete won’t make you a healthy person. Amen, sister.

At the end of class, we hawked some shirts and socks before heading back to the hotel.

For dinner, I was inspired by Dallas and Melissa to pile my plate as full of veggies as possible. Besides, the shelves of our mid-sized hotel fridge were buckling from the loads of produce crammed in there.

I dug through our boxes of kitchen supplies…

…and pulled out my trusty cast iron skillet and a jar of Spice Hound’s seasoned sea salt.

I sautéed some cauliflower florets in coconut oil…

…and squeezed some lemon on the cauliflower to add some much needed acid.

As a second vegetable side, I stir-fried a pound of baby Asian greens in coconut oil and seasoned sea salt.

For our protein, I reheated the last of the leftover slow cooker roast chicken and plopped the pieces on top of the veggies.

I gotta get some shut-eye so I’ll be ready to carve up a cow at tomorrow’s whole beast butchering class at 4505 Meats.

Oh — I should mention that you should check back here tomorrow morning. I just might be hosting a bacon giveaway sponsored by the generous peeps at U.S. Wellness Meats.

Yeah, you heard me: BACON.

Paleo Eats: 8/4/11

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I’m gonna be straight with you guys: this weekend my blogging will be intermittent and sparse since I’m gonna be fully immersed in the whole Ancestral Health Symposium experience. A girl’s gotta sleep, you know.

This morning, Fitbomb and I piled our luggage and coolers into our trusty Prius and we drove straight from Palo Alto to Los Angeles with no stops. We weren’t even tempted by the In-N-Out in Kettleman City because I’d packed a ton of Paleo snacks in our cooler.

When we arrived at our hotel, I emptied out the mini bar and restocked it with our remaining perishable foods.

Since sitting in a car for six hours was so damn exhausting, especially when you’re the passenger, I took a quick nap before meating (pun intended) Dallas, Melissa, Melicious, and Dave (Melicious’s hubby) for dinner at Animal Restaurant

Can’t wait for the Paleo Nerdfest to begin tomorrow morning!

First Farmers’ Market Trip Post Whole9 Workshop

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After attending yesterday’s Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition Workshop, I was inspired to be more mindful of my purchases at the Mountain View Farmers’ Market this morning.

The number one take-home message Dallas and Melissa emphasized above all else was that you should try to buy the best quality animal protein you can afford. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Following their advice, I bought some short ribs from Full of Life Farm

…and a Wild King Salmon fillet from Mission Fresh Fish.

Since I won’t be eating the salmon until tomorrow night, I kept the fillet on a bowl of ice in the fridge.

The second point that the Hartwigs stressed was to eat tons and tons of veggies. Vegetables are a far superior carbohydrate source when compared with grains because they’re much more nutrient dense and contain gobs more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Plus, vegetables have lots of antioxidants and their alkaline nature may help prevent inflammation.

As a result, I went to the Heirloom Organic Gardens stand and bought two big bags of Bordeaux spinach…

…two bunches of broccoli greens…

…and a couple bunches of scallions.

At the stand across the way, I bought a bag of heirloom Italian broccoli rabe…

…and some carbohydrate dense veggies (Kabocha squash, carrots, and parsnips) for post-work out meals.

I bought a little fruit at the market but far less than in the past. I brought home a few Fuji apples…

…and three baskets of strawberries.

I always store my strawberries in a single layer in tightly-sealed, paper towel-lined storage containers ‘cause that way they can last for ~ 10 days.

Pre-Paleo, my farmers’ market haul used to be 70% fruit and 30% vegetables. Nowadays, the ratio is reversed. Dallas and Melissa reminded me that fruits shouldn’t replace vegetables on my plate. Mainly because fruit has lots of fructose and isn’t as nutrient dense as vegetables. For example, the highest ANDI score for a fruit is 212 (strawberries) vs. 1000 for kale. Sheeit.

See? I’m already practicing what I learned!

Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition Workshop Highlights

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Hmmm…which nutrition talk did I go to today?

Today, hubs, myself, and a gaggle of our fellow CrossFit Palo Alto members (including Trish and XFitMama) attended the Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition Workshop at Mad Dawg Fitness. You might think an eight-hour seminar about nutrition on a sunny Saturday would be painful to sit through, but you’d be wrong. The time flew. And no, it’s not ‘cause I’m a Paleo geek. The eight hours flew by because Dallas and Melissa presented the complex material in a relatable and easy to understand way.

The Hartwigs peppered the talk with funny anecdotes and real world analogies that paint a clear picture of what’s going on in your gut. They’re super charismatic, smart, and passionate about their work, which made it easy for the audience to soak up tons of useful information. Plus, they LOOK the part of nutrition superheroes, don’t they?

Although I’d completed the Whole30 about a month ago, I learned a ton of new and useful information today — all of which reinforced the need to eat healthy. Hubby and I furiously took notes throughout the presentation, and it gave me flashbacks to the two of us nerding out together in Chem 1A class back when we were freshmen in college.

Speaking of college, I really wish I knew then what I know now. As a nutrition and food science major in the early 1990s, I was taught that saturated fat was the antichrist and carbohydrates were a godsend. It’s taken a while to change my thinking but now I’m a full-on Paleo convert. I can’t tell you how many “Aha!” moments I had during the workshop or the numerous times when I wanted to blurt out, “That carb addict was me!”

In a nutshell, after attending the Hartwigs’ workshop, I’m really determined to eat clean and promote optimal eating habits in my loved ones. I mean, how can you disagree with someone who warns against eating “Paleo” pizza and pancakes by drawing comparisons to having sex with your pants on? (You had to be there.)

Paleo Eats: 3/5/11

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As soon as I woke up this morning, I barreled out of bed because I knew I had a s-load to do before attending the all-day Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition Workshop. First, I drove to pick up my weekly veggie CSA box.

When I got home, I quickly baked up a batch of mini frittata muffins with the curried ground beef, shallots, mushrooms, and chard filling I made yesterday.

I was bringing these savory cupcakes to snack on at the workshop.

(Note to self: don’t keep the foil liners on the mini muffins ‘cause they cause condensation on the bottom — eww!)

Before leaving the house, I scarfed down some breakfast: mini bratwursts, leftover roasted asparagus, and homemade guacamole.

We arrived at Mad Dawg Fitness right when the workshop started.

We quickly took our seats and geeked out big time to the scores of valuable and practical nutrition information presented by the Hartwigs.

We broke for lunch at 12:45 a.m., at which time I passed around the mini frittata muffins to my CrossFit Palo Alto peep. Then we walked to the nearby In-N-Out to grab some bun-less burgers. Hubs and I both ordered protein-style, triple meat, mustard-fried burgers with whole grilled onion, hold the spread.

Probably not strictly Paleo but them burgers taste good.

We walked back to Mad Dawg after lunch. The afternoon session, just like the first half of the presentation, totally fired me up to commit to eating clean for life.

I originally intended to order takeout for dinner but after the workshop, I decided to eff that notion and make some Whole9 approved nosh at home.

As soon as I got home, I quickly threw a pan of roasted chicken and shallots into the oven.

Melissa and Dallas told us to pile our plates high with veggies, so I chopped up half a head of cabbage and made some stovetop-braised cabbage

…and prepped some carrots that I roasted in the toaster oven.

By the time the chicken was finished cooking, the veggies sides were done as well.

Yummy and on the table in just 45 minutes.

Plus, my dinner isn’t pro-inflammatory. Score!

After dinner, I vacuum-sealed and seasoned two racks of pork ribs with Chili Con Carne seasoning, salt, and pepper.

I’m going to sous vide them tomorrow after they marinate in the fridge overnight.

Nighty night!

Does Paleo = Low-Carb?

Anonymous

Here’s what the smarties at Whole9 tell people in their “Whole9 Nutrition Elevator Pitch:”

I eat “real” food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.

It’s not a low calorie “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight.  In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you’d imagine.  Fat isn’t the enemy – it’s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I’m not trying to do a “low carb” thing, but since I’m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.

Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym.  It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

For the most part, I try to follow these guidelines but I do regularly eat cheese, yogurt, and dark chocolate.  Plus, if I’m at a fancy schmancy place where there’s a chef’s tasting menu I eat whatever they put in front of me.