Tuesday, February 25

Easy Salmon Cakes


Cook Time: 20 min.
Serves: 4-6
Tools: Parchment paper

These are so easy to make and delicious on salads or ask a snack on their own! They're great to make earlier in the week and have for lunches throughout the week.  We've adapted this recipe from the wonderful book: It Starts with Food

Monday, February 24

Houston Marathon

Welcome to Brian's Houston Marathon page! 

It is here that you will find links to all installments leading up, and related to, the 2014 Houston Marathon. If you're training for a race, I hope you find this to be an asset that can compliment your training regimen. If you're not training for a race, I believe you can still take some fundamentals from this series and apply them to your life. Hopefully this series makes a strong case that it is possible to run less, eat low-carb/Paleo and still perform. At the bare minimum, perhaps you'll get some joy just from reading about my journey!

Below are the links to each post, along with a short description of topics covered. The training program was 16 weeks. Each post has run mileage totals and commentary on the week of training. Most also contain a 'theme' that I highlight below.

Enjoy!

Back to Work: The first post! I establish my goal of running a sub-3hr marathon in Houston.
Baseline: I document my fitness before official training begins.
Week 1: The "Base" phase of training: Strength, endurance and proper run form/technique.
Week 2: Hill repeats to build strength.
Week 3: The critical nature of rest & recovery.
Week 4: Building confidence with "Training Races."
Week 5: Controlling emotions throughout training.
Week 6: Why allowing for adjustments in a training schedule is essential.
Week 7: The difference between volume and intensity.
Week 8: Mental strength.
Week 9: The impact climate has on training and racing.
Week 10: The "Build" phase of training.
Week 11: Injury prevention via sports chiropractic. 
Week 12: Massage therapy and its benefits. 
Week 13: Trusting in your training plan.
Week 14: Gaining confidence through key workouts.
Week 15: Tapering.
Week 16: Race week: the final days leading up to the race!
Race Recap: My post-race report, along with thank-you's to all who supported me!





Thursday, February 20

Houston Marathon: Race Recap

At the end of September 2013 I began a 16 week training program to prepare me for the Houston Marathon. After qualifying for Boston once before and still missing the registration cut-off, I knew I had to up the ante. So I set an aggressive goal: run Houston in under three hours. For the past four months I completed somewhere in the ballpark of 100 workouts, all complimenting each other and culminating at one 26.2mi run on January 19, 2014.


These workouts included 54 runs, which was a little over 300mi. They spanned across a couple of engagement parties, the Holiday Season, as well as my birthday and a Whole30. The runs took place inside and outside, at a track or around a lake. Some were great, others were awful. The sum total of all my runs made me faster and fitter than I've ever been. I was primed to run a sub-3hr race, but fell just short, running a 3:02:38 (6:58/mi).



Tuesday, February 18

Homemade Bone Broth

Bone broth is a great way to build-up your immune system, especially during flu and cold season. A great source of not only calcium, the broth contains other minerals that are difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet, such as magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. (Read more about the benefits in "Broth is Beautiful" and "The Superfood Drink That Will Keep You Going" articles)

Homemade bone broth is easy to make using the carcass of a chicken or turkey, or by saving the bones in meats you buy, and adding to it in a crock pot or dutch oven with some spices and veggies. 

As you'd suspect, the quality of the animal the bones come from is important. The best options for making bone broth are pasture-raised chickens, pork or turkeys, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught fish. This is because conventionally raised animals and fish may contain higher amounts of lead or other harmful toxins in their bones. Read Chris Kresser's article on "Bone broth and lead toxicity" to learn more. 

Makes: 6-10 cups
Cook time: 12 to 18 hours
Tools: Crock pot or dutch oven

Ingredients
Before cooking.
2 lbs of animal bones
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery sticks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pealed and smashed
1/4 c apple cider vinegar (this helps draw out the minerals from the bones)
1 tsp sage
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs thyme
1 tbs basil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sea salt
6-10 cups water (enough to cover the ingredients in the pot)

Instructions
After cooking.
1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot or dutch oven: bones, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, apple cider vinegar, spices, water. (You don't have to make it with all the spices if you're looking for a simpler broth - bones, garlic, vinegar, salt and water will work fine as well).
2. Cook on low heat for 12 to 18 hours, or if you're cooking in a dutch oven at 190 degrees for 12 to 18 hours.
3. Remove the broth mixture from heat and filter through a mesh strainer, colander or something similar. Throw away the bones and remaining contents. 
4. Use to make soups and other recipes, or drink by itself. The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for a week and will form a beautiful gelatin. (This is due to the presence of gelatin in the broth, so don't be alarmed when the broth congeals after cooling). If you're not going to use all of the broth within a week you can also store in the freezer for later use.
5. Enjoy!


Monday, February 17

Cauliflower Mash


Serves: 8 
Cook time: 20-30 min.
Tools: Food processor or high-powered blender

Ingredients 
·         1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
·         3 garlic cloves, peeled
·         3 tbs Kerry Gold butter (grass-fed) (or, Ghee for Whole30'ers), melted
·         1/4 cup of full fat goat milk yogurt
·         1 tsp saffron salt 
·         1 tsp freshly grated black pepper

Instructions: 
  1. Steam or pressure cook the cauliflower until soft. (If steaming on the stove, it will take approximately 20 min or so).
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter, and add the butter, yogurt, garlic, saffron salt and pepper to the food processor or high powered blender. 
  3. When the cauliflower's done, place directly in the food processor and blend all ingredients until smooth. 
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!

Thursday, February 13

Featured Whole30'er: Ian

Why did you decide to do Whole30?

Because I like a challenge!  And it was becoming apparent that if I didn’t, I would be the only member of my small group to have NOT done it.  But seriously, for several reasons:

I've always been healthy and in good shape. Not the healthiest or the best shape, but passable. I still wear jeans that I bought when I was 20. But even with consistent running, weight training, and avoiding soda or junk food, I had hit a plateau that I couldn't get past.

I wanted to try new foods. I like leafy greens and raw vegetables, but I don’t eat cooked veggies very often.  One of my goals was to branch out, try new things, and get over my long-held aversion to foods like onions, broccoli, and mushrooms.

My fiancĂ© agreed to do this with me.  We wanted to learn more meal and recipe ideas that we could make together.  Having a Whole 30 partner to be accountable to helped immensely.

What has been the hardest part?

Explaining the program is tough.  I tried to refrain from calling it a “diet”, but that was difficult.  My answer became “it’s whole fruits, vegetables, meat, and nuts.  Very similar to Paleo”. My fiancĂ© didn't want to make people feel uncomfortable by our choices, but I have no problem if I exude arrogance for something like this. After all, it started a lot of good conversations.

Monday, February 10

Zucchini Pasta


Prep and Cook Time: 10-15 min.
Serves: 4-6
Tools: Horizontal peeler 

Friday, February 7

Featured Whole30'er: Jennifer E.

Why did you decide to do a Whole30?

I decided to take on the Whole30 challenge for a multitude of reasons:
  1. The idea came from my fiance. He asked if I'd be willing to eat healthier with him for a month.  Although I had some hesitation and difficulty with "scheduling 30 days of healthy eating", he convinced me that we could still manage it. I'm so glad he did. It's brought nothing but healthy food into my life and a large amount of quality time with the man I love. We share hours of planning, shopping, communicating, cooking and eating with one another. And I've really enjoyed that part of Whole30.  The next time he asks me to do this- I won't hesitate. I will simply say: "Yes! I'd love to, when do you want to start?"
  2. I secretly love and enjoy challenges of all kinds, be it career goals, physical health goals, educational goals, financial goals or spiritual goals, I'm always up for setting new goals and creating a plan to meet them. I love having goals and challenges in my life.
  3. I have a fiance! Which also means I have a wedding and a honeymoon coming up... and oh yeah- a lifetime of love, joy and happiness ahead of me. I want to be ready for it all- and that means I want to be healthy for it all.
  4. In honor of my grandmother- I watched her fight stage 4 cancer for eight months. She passed away a day before I started Whole30. Recognizing that I have only so much time on this earth to love, I don't want to waste it. I realize that taking care of my physical fitness will allow me to do what I love most- spend precious time with my friends and family.

Wednesday, February 5

Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 4-5 people 
Tools: Roasting pan

Ingredients
2 lbs broccoli (~3 broccoli heads)
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs lemon zest
2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Crumbled goat cheese (optional - not approved for Whole30'ers)

Instructions
1. Chop broccoli into florets and dice garlic cloves.
2. Mix the broccoli with garlic and macadamia nut oil in a large roasting plan. Then, mix in salt and pepper to taste. 
3. Roast broccoli for 20 min at 425 degrees. 
4. While the broccoli is roasting, toast the pine nuts on the stove top over medium heat for a couple min. (They toast fast and are expensive so be sure to keep an eye on them!).  Set aside. 
5. When the broccoli is done, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts and goat cheese.
6. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 2

Spiced Pork and Butternut Squash


This is a really great recipe from Mark's Daily Apple that I've modified only slightly for Whole30 approval. It's become one of Brian and I's go to dishes as it's easy to make and tastes delicious! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-3 pork chops cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large butternut squash
1/2 tbs cumin
1 c chicken or bone broth
1/4 c coconut milk
6 tbs olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbs Ghee or grass-fed butter
1 tbs sage
tsp oregano

Instructions
1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2. Mix allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt and black pepper together in a medium sized bowl and add the cubed pork chops to coat them with the spice. Set aside.
3. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1 in. cubes. Then, spread the pieces in a large rimmed baking pan and coat with half (3 tbs) of the olive oil or coconut oil, 1/2 tbs cumin and a little salt. 
4. Roast in the oven for 45 min. stirring once or twice until the pieces are browned. Depending on the size of the butternut squash you're using you may need to cook longer than 45 min. 
5. While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining 3 tbs of oil on high-medium heat in a pot on the stove. Once the oil has warmed for a min. or so add the pork. 
6. Cook the pork for 5 min. without stirring so it browns, then stir and cook for another 3 min.
7. Add the broth and bring to a boil. If the broth does not cover the meat, add a little water until it does. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Let simmer for 30-40 min., stirring occasionally. 
8. After 30 min. or so, remove the lid and add the coconut milk to the pork mixture. Raise the temp to high heat until the liquid boils and then let simmer for 5 min. 
9. The squash should be done by now, so transfer it to a serving dish and then pour the pork mixture over the squash. 
10. Melt the butter or Ghee in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sage and fry for 3-4 min until slightly crispy and the butter is browned. Drizzle over the pork and squash.
11. Enjoy!


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