Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipe Thursday: Coffee Rubbed Beef Brisket

One of the best things I have ever made, and amazingly perfect for special events, is a coffee and spiced rubbed beef brisket. It sometimes can be a little pricey, but the first bite you have will have you wanting more and more.

Thursday Recipe:

Coffee Rubbed Long Roasted Beef Brisket

Pick a beef brisket of your choice, size doesn't matter much unless you are trying to feed a larger crowd. Since we aren't grilling this, there is no sauce that will be needed, just your oven.

1 Tbsp Garlic
3 Tbsp Coffee grounds
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Onion powder
1 Beef brisket (7-15 lbs)
2 Tbsp Oil of choice (Olive, coconut, lard, bacon fat)

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure there are no lumps.
2. Set the oven for 250 degrees.
3. Heat the oil in a pan that the brisket will fit in on the oven top. Once it is warmed up, cook brisket on all sides for 1 minute each. After each side has been seared remove from the pan, and let cool for 5 minutes.
4. Once the brisket has cooled enough to handle, generously pat the rub into all sides of the brisket making sure to cover it fully.
5. Place brisket in preferred roasting pan, and then place in oven.
6.  Cook for approximately an hour per pound, and allow your home to fill with the delicious smell.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Changing to Keto/Paleo for Beginners

The biggest challenge that most people may have while learning and adapting to Keto or Paleo, is that carbohydrates aren't necessarily the enemy. It is very important to watch your intake, but even if you change your diet, you still won't lose weight if you eat an excessively high calorie count. Highly processed carbohydrates (sugars, grains, etc) can be very addicting and have a hard time breaking the habit, not only chemically but also because everywhere we go, it is considered normal to consume them. Nearly every restaurant I visit insist on placing rolls, bread, or some other product on my table before I even get my meal.

Just like quitting cigarettes, when quitting processed carbohydrates, often times we compensate by eating large quantities of food. Our bodies go through cravings, and it seems like we can satiate those cravings with more food, more meat, more cheese, more butter, more fat. This often times has us crossing a threshold of what our body uses, and then we don't lose weight, (or possibly gain weight). This is a hard part on most beginners, because they also don't realize how small serving sizes are (on the package information), and often consume far more than they believe they do. I know I had this problem, as my first two weeks looking back on what I ate, I probably ate 4000 or more calories a day, and was fairly sedentary.

Eat your vegetables (especially the green ones, those are usually best for you), as they are much more filling, and make sure to eat healthy portions of fat and protein to keep you satiated for longer time. Drink your water, as that helps your body transition and keeps your body well hydrated. Avoiding grains (rye, wheat, oats), corn, rice, and sugars will take you 90-95% of the way to your goal, but remember there is no magic to this lifestyle, it is how the human body works, eating too much will always be a problem, with or without bread.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recipe Tuesday: Parsnip, Herb and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

I experiment with new foods all the time. I will habitually buy something in the store that I have not tried before just for the chance to experience what it might be like. I made this recipe before and it was loved by it's audience. This recipe is more geared towards a Paleo recipe, but it can be modified very simply.

Tuesday Recipe:

Parsnip, Herb and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

4-6 medium sized parsnips
4-6 oz of sun-dried tomatoes (your brand of choice)
4-6 oz of feta cheese
8 oz of low-carb beef broth (your brand of choice)
2-3 tbsp Avocado or Extra Virgin Olive oil
Herb of choice (I used mint, but basil would probably be as good)
Pepper/Kosher Salt to taste
Optional: Pepperoni slices to add more protein to the mix

For my taste I found that using equal parts of ingredients allowed it to mix very well. (4 parsnips, 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes, 4 oz of feta cheese, but everyone's taste is different)

1. Peel parsnips much like a carrot or potato. Once complete cut into small 1/2"-1" squares. Place in a pot, with the broth, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until parsnips start to become soft.
2. Dice sun-dried tomatoes and herbs adding as much as you would like for your taste, and then put in a bowl.
3. Once parsnips are done, remove, strain and let cool for 5 minutes, before adding them to the bowl with the sun-dried tomatoes.
4. If adding pepperoni, add now, and oil of choice, and then salt and pepper to taste.
5. Crumble feta cheese into mix, and fold with a mixing spoon, be sure not to stir, and crush the parsnips as they will be relatively soft.

Ready to serve. No additional baking, or cooking needed.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Science Monday - Cholesterol and Insulin

One of the biggest arguments against this diet or lifestyle by most people are of two points. One, and first that eating such large amounts of meat, and other fatty products must raise your cholesterol to dangerous levels, will cause heart attacks and is very unhealthy. The second is that there is little chance you can lose fat while eating fat, and that any weight lost would most likely be attributed to a calorie shortfall, and so any low-calorie diet would work just as well.

The body produces cholesterol, and it is a needed requirement for the body to operate properly. Cholesterol has several uses, including having a high concentration in cell membranes, necessity for bile production, and is a hormone precursor. With that in mind, an abnormal level of any substance in the body whether produced or not is typically going to be bad, but diet has less of an effect on cholesterol production, and more of an effect on how that cholesterol affects us.

The danger with cholesterol lies with inflammation, which causes cholesterol to accumulate on the walls of blood vessels. The key here is to understand what causes the inflammation. This inflammation is caused by "the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods." Dr. Dwight Lundell

To defend the second point, the key here is to understand how insulin mechanisms work in our body. When insulin is released it is a trigger to store fat, rather than use it, to try and lower the blood sugar levels by having your body burn  carbohydrates for energy primarily. If you do not trigger a significant insulin response your body will have a harder time storing that fat, and will need to use that energy instead. Insulin release is the result of high blood sugars (or excess amounts of carbohydrates, especially simple, highly processed carbohydrates), though it can also be triggered by very high levels of proteins.

The point here is to realize that if we have low levels of insulin in our blood, our bodies cannot effectively store fat. This means eating a food or meal with high levels of carbohydrates, and fats is a very dangerous combination. Eating low carbohydrates every day will allow your body to more efficiently burn fats for energy (a longer burning energy source), and will help prevent inflammation in the blood vessels. Low carbohydrates does not mean you should ignore healthy sources, from fruits and vegetables, but rather to keep a watchful eye on where your sources are coming from  and to be vigilant on levels you are trying to maintain. (Keto - 20g, Keleo - 50g, Paleo - 100g)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ketosis, Pictures, and a Challenge

The real question is what would make people understand how to lose weight, feel healthier, and want to experience something better. Some pictures maybe of my transformation?

This isn't the end, as my energy rises, my fitness increases I find more enjoyment out of things both big and small in my everyday life. For some people this change won't be about losing weight, but more about being healthier in general, and having more energy.

Ketosis is a state in which your body converts from burning sugars, or carbohydrates to a primarily fat burning system. This method breaks down fat into ketones, a more long term better supply of energy. It can take days to adjust, and this is often known as Keto Flu, for it's similar symptoms. It can take several weeks to become fully adapted, and it is usually recommended to avoid strenuous exercising until after the first month after the diet change, but that doesn't mean you won't lose weight!

Some might think, I have heard of this before. Meat, bacon, nuts, cheese. That is the Atkin's diet. The truth is that this diet has been around long before, and will be long after, and it is not a fad, it is just not widely accepted as general practice because it is hard to imagine that EATING FAT, makes you skinny. Giving up bread, pasta, rice, corn, sugars is hard as well, because they become addictive. I know, because I had to stop eating/drinking most of what I had before.

If you do nothing else, try cutting down on those items, instead of eating bread everyday, try every other day, or less. Try having more green vegetables instead of starches, and cut down on the sweets. I honestly challenge everyone to try for 30 days, and see how you feel after, and I can almost guarantee you will feel stronger and better than ever before.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recipe Thursday: Bacon wrapped Jalapenos

Thursday Recipe:

Bacon wrapped Jalapenos Stuffed with Cream Cheese

1 lb of bacon, (approximately 10-12 slices of normal cut bacon)
10 Jalapenos
1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese
Kosher salt
1 Cored pineapple, fresh (optional)

A nearly perfect snack.

1. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise, making sure to clean out seeds and membranes. This will be plenty spicy for most people, and if you prefer more spice you can always add a little extra cayenne pepper.
2. Let cream cheese rest at room temperature, until it is softer. Placing it in a bowl, add a couple dashes of kosher salt and black pepper until it looks creamy.
3. If you plan on using the pineapple, cut into thin strips just shorter than the jalapenos and make sure they can fit inside.
4. Cut the bacon strips in 1/2 width-wise doubling how many strips you have.
5. Assembly: Place about a tablespoon of cream cheese inside the jalapeno and lay a slice of pineapple on top (pineapple is optional, and not recommend if you are in full keto). Then take a strip of bacon and wrap it around the jalapeno, pulling it a little tight, but be careful not to rip it. Once the bacon is wrapped around most of the jalapeno, place on a cooking sheet. Repeat the process for as much jalapenos and bacon that you have.
6. Place in oven at 350 degrees, and bake for 15-20 minutes until bacon is crispy. 

Lifestyle Information on Eating

Normally on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would post a recipe, (and still will today) but I wanted to go over more of the specifics of my diet (and by diet, I mean lifestyle change, and not a temporary idea).

There are two specifics types of diets that I have incorporated into my life. The first is named Keto (short for Ketosis), and Paleo (Short for Paleolithic). Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but I try to strive for a middle ground what I consider to be Keleo (Yes, a made up word, but it is mine!).

Keto - Eat a diet consisting of 60-65% fat, 30% protein and 5% carbohydrates. For most people this is a hard limit of under 20g of carbohydrates a day, regardless if your calorie intake is much higher or not. Restriction of foods, generally includes starchy vegetables, most fruits, higher carbohydrate nuts, all wheat, sugar, rice, and corn. Dairy, meat, and mostly green vegetables are huge staples of this diet. (Green vegetables: Broccoli, Zucchini, Asparagus, Spinach, Lettuce, etc)

Paleo - Very similar to Keto, it has a higher carbohydrate limit, and incorporates more fruit, and starchy vegetables. With Paleo you strive to keep your carbohydrates under 100g a day, and generally is for more active people who aren't trying to lose as much weight, but just have more energy and feel healthier. The goal here is to eat as a "Paleolithic" man might have ate, avoiding processed foods, including sources of legumes as well (peanuts, peas, etc), as dairy products. Fruits, and vegetables, especially higher starch sources (sweet potatoes, carrots) are acceptable and even encouraged.

Keleo - A combination of both. Still we avoid legumes, and still limit some sources of dairy, focusing on creams (Heavy, Light), and dryer cheeses. In this we try to keep our carbohydrates under 50g a day, to try and focus on remaining well into ketosis, but allowing some freedoms in our diet.

Whichever form you are most comfortable with, the most important aspect is to avoid wheat, corn and rice. Those sources are very rich in dense processed carbohydrates which are typically not healthy for your system, or for your digestion.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learning Life Part 2

Two years later.

I am still learning, and have found a sly happiness.  One that you can feel, but still creeps up on you and plants a smile when you least expect it. I have found further passions in my life, intensified my experiences and found new avenues of expression.

I want to help other people, not only accomplish what I have, but to forge their own paths to make themselves happy. Food, Travel, Reading, Games, whatever it is, I am positive there is a way to get enjoyment and realize a level of happiness.

In the two years since I started this blog, I had only ever made one post. Just one. It was almost a mission statement to myself, to bring me out of my slump, drive me to a precipice, and then push me over. It worked. I have lost 190 or so pounds and counting. I am stronger emotionally, physically and mentally than ever before.

If you want to know my weight loss secrets, they aren't hidden. I would love to share them with everyone and anyone willing to read;

Rule #1 Understand any dietary changes you make can be disconcerting, and uncomfortable, not only to you, but to those that think they know best for you.

Rule #2 I recommend this dietary course, not because I am a doctor, but because I have experienced it first hand, and have succeeded dramatically.

Rule #3 Wheat products, Corn products, Rice products, and Sugar is not allowed. This includes most oats, and similar products (rye, quinoa, couscous).

Rule #4 Saturated fat is not bad for you. Carbohydrates (especially from sources mentioned above) are a large culprit in many, if not most cases of type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Rule #5 Drink plenty of water. Yes, tea, coffee, and such is good, but you should still be drinking lots of water.

Rule #6 Your plates should include hearty portions of vegetables, especially non-starchy varieties.

I cannot possibly post an exhaustive guide in one day, but with regularity I intend to update, with recipes, article reviews, and training/diet updates.