Best Paleo Chili Ever

Chili is so perfect for winter. It is hearty, nutritious and uber easy to make. This December I made one of my best batches yet. Here is what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of grassfed beef, ground
  • 2 6 oz. cans organic tomato paste (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced organic tomatoes (Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 bell peppers, varying colors
  • 10 carrot sticks, organic, about 8 in. long (Trader Joe’s; 1 bag)
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • Spices – 3 T cumin, 2 T chili powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 T pepper, 1/2 T crushed red peppers, 1 T oregano, 1 T paprika – all measurements depend on your taste.
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot sauce (yes, you read that right)

Method:

Place slow cooker on high. Once warm throw in the half diced yellow onion, followed by the can of diced tomatoes. Add in the meat. Let cook for about 30 minutes.

During the 30 minutes, chop the bell peppers and all but 3 stalks of carrots into 1 inch pieces. Turn the slow cooker to low and add the bell peppers, carrots, tomato paste, spices and hot sauce. Stir until spices and tomato paste are evenly distributed.

Let the chili cook for 8-10 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Once you get to the end of the process, turn off the heat, add 3 stalks of chopped carrots and the spinach.

I like the variable (crunchy) texture and that is why I add more carrots at the end of the cooking process. As well, adding the spinach provides a more nutrient-dense punch to the meal. Vitamin C can easily be damaged with heat and that is why it is added at the end.

Once cool store half of the chili in your refrigerator and the other half in your freezer, so you have something healthy to eat next month when your time is tight.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Nutrient Dense: Slow-Cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup

This soup, by far, has been  the best chicken soup I have ever HAD and made. Pure deliciousness.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 T of coconut oil, or grassfed butter
  • 1 chicken breast, free range, skin and bones
  • 2 drum sticks, free range, skin on, bones in
  • 4 cups, gluten free chicken broth, enough to cover the soup ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced, add more if your prefer
  • 1/2 yellow onion, add more if you want the soup to be sweeter
  • 7 carrots stalks, chopped
  • 1 celery heart, ~10 stalks,  chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 T rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  • Turn slow-cooker on to high. Add coconut oil or butter.
  • Add in the garlic and onion and let it heat up and the flavors marry before adding the chicken (5-8 minutes). Place in the chicken.
  • Begin chopping and prepping all other ingredients. Add all ingredients, including broth and spcies.
  • Change temperature to Low, and cook for 8-10 hours. Remove chicken and once cool enough to touch, remove the bones and shred the meat. Place the meat back into soup mix.
  • Stir and then enjoy.

What may be different with this soup than ones you may find on Recipe.com or other quick-and-easy recipe sites? I have included chicken that is organic, free range, in the bone, skin on. Why? The nutrient density goes up substantially with these components.

Corn Syrup in Soy Sauce?!

Getting comfortable upon our return to the US, post living in Australia for two years, I cannot help but find myself feeling “culture shock.” Maybe, “food shock” is a better term.

No doubt, I love America and the lifestyle it offers, yet, since being accustomed to daily food markets, butchers with fresh, free range meat and eggs, it is overwhelming walking into a Giant Eagle, let alone Costco these last few days.

Goodness, I bet my bank account I found a kiwi in Costco the size of a mango. How is this natural? And wow, I could literally get any cuisine I wanted in one store, regardless of the season. They had seaweed salad in Ohio! I mean this is great, but is it that great? The salad was delish but after reading the food ingredients, it lost it’s appeal seeing there were at least 3 food coloring’s in it. Why would my seaweed need to be more green? I wish we had an option.

And whereas it’s lovely to get any ingredient you want, it makes it tough to know what is truly in season. In Australia I literally bought produce by the season and made recipes accordingly. I remember one day I wanted red grapes (out of season) and the supermarket clerk looked at me like I had two heads.

Also, whilst visiting with family, my mom asked I help point out some healthier choices for her to eat/prepare for meals and I was/am more than keen to do so. This morning I began helping her by proofing her cabinet and found science experiments of ingredients. What do I mean? Some of the items in the pantry would never pass as food if it weren’t for the label or food container. I nearly fell over when I saw corn syrup in soy sauce! Why? I mean really, why? I know corn is cheap and before you know it, it is going to be found in our chewing gum. Oh wait…

I am probably coming off in this post as harsh, but the point I want to make is it’s not anyone’s fault for not knowing what is best for them to eat or feed their family with. There are so so so many mixed messages in the media and heaps of information to sort through. Most recently I had forgotten how hard marketing makes it on the regular consumer in knowing what foods to choose for health.  If you need some clarifying, I am happy to help. Send me an email and I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

A pointer to start you off with is a line by Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Most plants.” And sure as heck eat real butter!

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Food For Thought: Himalayan Crystal Salt

Do you take a multivitamin? If so, would you be willing to swap it for something more natural and perhaps cheaper?

http://www.ecokitchen.com
http://www.ecokitchen.com

When eating a paleo or primal diet, there is little room for processed foods thus a low intake of sodium. Plus the hard cold facts on the idea of consuming salt/sodium is bad for your health is yet to be proven. Physiology clearly demonstrates that salt intake is managed by the healthy body itself (kidneys) and research indicates that a low-salt diet can actually be bad for us. A low sodium diet can activate the rennin-angiotensin system and the sympathetic nervous system, increase in insulin resistance and cause overt hydration.(1). Therefore, it is important to have some sodium in your diet and today’s post is to persuade you to go the extra mile to swap regular iodized table salt for the pink Himalayan Crystal salt. Here are a few selling points to ponder on how Himalayan Salt can be beneficial (table salt cannot hold a candle to this):

  • Regulates fluid balance
  • Promotes a healthy pH balance
  • Promotes blood sugar regularity
  • Supportes respiratory health and muscle cramps
  • Promoting sinus health
  • Promotes bone health and skin health
  • Regulates sleep
  • Supports sex drive
  • Regulates blood pressure in conjuction with water
  • Slows the processes of aging

Himalayan Crystal Salt has 80 plus minerals and elements including: potassium, calcium and magnesium (2).. So what do you think? Ideally I use Himalayan Crystal Salt in all of my cooking (when needed) and in my homemade nut butters. Side note, homemade macadamia nut butter is my new favorite thing. Oh my goodness is it good. Overall I have always salted my food; well have tried not to, but now table salt does not taste good to me. Himalayan Salt has a different taste and a much better one. Make the change and let me know how you go. I hope this information offered some new knowledge for you. Cheers to you and good health! 1. Harrison RA, Edwards R. Was Sid the slug worth GBP4 million? A population perspective or policy based evidence. 2. Frezenius Institute in Europe

Are vegetables and fruits equally good for my health?

Has this inquiry ever crossed your mind? I absolutely love vegetables but I have been finding myself choosing fruit over vegetables lately. I know that both fruit and vegetables are great food choices, yet I’ve never delve too deeply into the thought of which is better for me.

I came across a newsletter from one of my favorite websites whfoods.org that depicted the research behind this ponder. Enjoy and thank you George Mateljan for your wisdom.

Fruits vs Veggies

As you know fruits and vegetables are at the pinnacle of the Healthiest Way of Eating. That being said, Readers ask me whether fruits and vegetables are equally important. Here’s what I tell them:

We included a long list of both fruits and vegetables in the World’s Healthiest Foods, and we did so not only for health and nourishment reasons, but also because of the beauty and diversity of these foods. There are so many unique fruits and vegetables growing on the earth! The colors, shapes, and tastes of these foods are totally unique and unsurpassed within the food world! It’s impossible for us to imagine the experience of the World’s Healthiest Foods without ample amounts of fruits and vegetables.

When you compare fruits and vegetables on a nutritional basis, however, there is no question that vegetables are more nutrient dense and contain a much wider variety of nutrients than fruits. If you think about the lives of the plants, this difference makes sense. In the world of vegetables, we eat many parts of the plants that either grow very close to the soil (like stems and stalks) or beneath the ground itself (like roots) This closeness to the soil brings the plant into contact with the diversity of soil minerals, and almost all vegetables are richer in minerals than fruits for this reason. Fruits are also more of an end-stage occurrence: in the case of an apple tree, for example, the tree has already lived and developed for a good number of years before it produces a significant amount of edible fruit. Unlike a root, which is in charge of nutrient delivery from the soil up into the rest of the plant, the fruit (like an apple) is not nearly as active in supporting the life of the plant (although it’s seeds are dramatically important in allowing the tree to produce new offspring and create future generations of apple trees). Because the stems and stalks and roots are more involved in the plant’s life support, they also tend to have a greater variety of vitamins (especially B complex vitamins) than fruits.

Most fruits have a concentrated amount of sugar, and for this reason, are higher-calorie and less nutrient dense than most vegetables. Starchy root vegetables like potatoes are closer to fruits in calorie content, but green leafy vegetables are enormously lower in calories and greater in nutrient density.

In summary, if you had to choose between fruits and vegetables as a foundation for your health, you would do best to select vegetables because of their greater nutrient diversity and nutrient density. Luckily, however, it is not an either-or situation, and you can take pleasure in the delights of both fruits and vegetables while increasing your reliance on the World’s Healthiest Foods!