Primal Challenge #2 and My Elimination Diet

from my nutella video

Primal Challenge #2

Remember last year?  I did this Primal Challenge hosted by Mark’s Daily Apple.  I took pictures of my groceries and made a video about my homemade nutella!  Well, Mark is at it again and since I’m on an elimination diet right now, it seemed rather easy to join in the Primal Challenge!

What’s the elimination diet?

Evidently, I’ve got some food allergies, according to my doctor.  So, after some crazy blood tests, I’ve eliminated about 45 different foods (from beef and egg to mustard and blueberries) for two weeks.  When the two weeks are up, I will bring them all back in, one at a time for two days at a time, to see which are the real offenders.  One of the big offenders was wheat and all it’s gluten grain cousins.  But that’s no big surprise.  All that said, since last year’s Primal Challenge, I’ve been eating pretty primal!  And I recently had some blood work done that confirms for me that it’s working.  I’m only young, but even I can see an improvement in my cholesterol numbers.  Yay!

But since I’m eating rather low carb anyway, and I’ve cut out gluten grains for this elimination diet, it’ll make this years Primal Challenge more like a celebration of eating fewer foods…  Er, or something like that.

Gluten-Free Timbits!

Timbits!!  What’s a timbit?  You must be American.  *sweet smile at you*

Timbit (proper noun): a bite-sized doughnut hole sold at Tim Hortons in Canada. Introduced in April 1976 these treats are now available in various flavours that differ from store to store. Flavours include chocolate, jelly-filled, “dutchie”, honey dip, sour cream glazed, and apple fritter.

Sour cream glazed is my favourite.  But now that we’re going more gluten-free/paleo/primal, we’re trying to limit the amount of (wheat) grain products we have in our diet!

So a while back I had this brilliant idea to try frying my coconut flour muffin batter in coconut oil.  “Would that make a timbit?” I wondered.  So today I tried it.  Yummy awesomeness!!

Here’s the recipe!

Gluten-Free Timbits!

  • 1 1/3 cups coconut flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • stevia to taste (or your preferred sweetener)
  • tbsp butter

And…

  • lots of coconut oil

Throw the coconut flour, eggs, vanilla, stevia and butter together in a bowl. Mix well with hand-held mixer.

Heat coconut oil (one (1) inch in the bottom of a stainless steel pot) on low to medium heat.

Roll dough into one (1) inch balls.  Drop one at a time into hot oil.  Fry until dark brown but not burnt.  Cool on paper-towel-covered plate.

After my timbits were cool, I dipped them in melted chocolate (Ghirardelli) and while they were cooling, I sprinkled cinnamon over them.  Heavenly!

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it goes!!

Noodle-less Stroganoff-ish

This was a delightful dish that was super easy.

I started with two slices of grass-fed flap meat, cut into slices (about 0.75 lbs).  They went into a cast iron skillet and browned and cooked.  While they cooked, I sliced up four zucchinis into quartered slices.  Once the meat was browned and cooked, I added the zucchini.  With the cover on, the zucchini steam-cooked with the meat.  Once the zucchini was cooked (nice and soft), I added:

  • three (3) tablespoons of goat’s milk yogurt
  • two (2) tablespoons of gorgonzola cheese
  • one (1) table spoon of cooked spinach (leftovers)
  • salt and pepper

Then I mixed all that together with the “au jus” from the beef (and the beef and zucchini).  It turned into a lovely brown gravy-like sauce that tasted similar to stroganoff!

It was so yummy!  Ryan and I each had seconds.

Tea or Tisane?

Herbal tea – aka tisane – is a joy to me. Ima coffee-in-the-morning* and tea-in the-evening gal and one of my favourite teas is Good Earth (thanks to Amy Mac for introducing me to it!). But I’ve been troubled by the number of boxes and teabags that I find myself recycling and tossing, respectively. Even though I’m recycling, I’d rather not even do that to the environment. So recently I’ve been dreaming about being able to make my own herbal tea and avoid the use of boxes and teabags. I’ve been dreaming about making my own ginger-mint tea.

So on Sunday, I harvested some mint from the urban garden that Brian and I share (I left the mint from my previous post on my patio to continue to grow roots) and cut up the fresh ginger root that I had in my fridge and spread them out on two dehydrator trays and left for the day. When I got back, I had dehydrated mint leaves and ginger!

Today I ground up some cloves and chopped up some cinnamon bark to go with them.

Clockwise starting top left: Mint leaves, coarsely ground cloves, dehydrated ginger root, and chopped cinnamon bark.

Then I took 1/2 tsp of each and mixed it together in a bowl and added boiling water – one cup. I have two bowls because I tried adding desiccated coconut and pepper to one bowl to see if it added flavour. It did not.

After 5 minutes steeping time, I strained the tea into a mug! It tastes spicy and yummy! I added a small amount of stevia to heighten the flavours.

I’ve been sipping this tea as I write this blog post.

Next time I think I’ll try adding some loose leaf rooibos or star anise seed. Also, I think I’ll try using less cloves and more ginger.

Have you tried making your own tea?

* It’s actually a double americano with cream but who’s counting?

Mint Transplant Success

My friend Brian and I share a plot at a local urban garden. We’ve planted carrots and broccoli and cabbage among a few other things. Brian’s been growing herbs over at his apartment but I was too scared to try herbs. Until recently!

I saw that there was wild mint growing near the water hoses at the garden – many different varieties of mint! So I asked the garden manager if I could dig some up and take it home to grow on my balcony. He said yes!

Last weekend, I pulled up some regular mint and some chocolate mint and using the leftover dirt from Brian’s herbs, I transplanted the regular mint into an old coconut oil bucket and the chocolate mint into a plastic bag-lined paper bag on a tin pie plate. Then I watered them both well.

Over the last few days I’ve been checking the dirt and pulling off dead leaves so the plant can give energy to the live leaves. And today! Today I noticed that the live leaves no longer feel wilted! They’ve livened up! The roots have started to grow! The transplant was successful!! I know it’s only mint and mint is hardy and it was likely to succeed. But I’m still excited.

Homemade Ginger-Mint Looseleaf Tisane for me!!

Tasty Trailers: DIRT

Dirt. It’s a good thing. I consider it mother nature’s vaccine. I like to play in it. Grow stuff in it. And sling it at that cute boy I married.

We can tend to sometimes think of dirt as dead. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, ya know?  But dirt is a community of organisms. It’s alive. And we’re killing it.

Modern agricultural practices are eating away at our soil.

One of my favourite food bloggers linked to a new film called, you guessed it, DIRT.

Here’s the trailer…

Just like FOOD INC, KING CORN, and BIG RIVER were all films worth talking about, DIRT is worth our time.

And what about stevia?

I little over a year ago, I wrote about how stevia had been approved by the FDA for human consumption.  I’ve been using stevia for about five years now and so-far-I-haven’t-had-any-problems.

A day or two ago I came across this little tidbit on a paleo blog I read.  And I wanted to share.

There’s some scientific evidence to support the notion that Stevia is safe, even in type 2 diabetes patients1, 2. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated to have antihypertensive properties, as shown by Chan et al.3 and a long-term study4.

The bottom line is that Stevia seems to be safe, but we need more research to rule out possible side effects.

Yay!  Stevia = safe!  But hmmm…  Could there be side effects?  Wonder what those could be…  Perhaps it’s best to continue to use stevia in moderation, eh?

The great thing about this post too, is that they list references.

  1. Gregersen S, Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K. Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects. Metabolism. 2004 Jan;53(1):73-6.
  2. Barriocanal LA, Palacios M, Benitez G, Benitez S, Jimenez JT, Jimenez N, Rojas V. Apparent lack of pharmacological effect of steviol glycosides used as sweeteners in humans. A pilot study of repeated exposures in some normotensive and hypotensive individuals and in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;51(1):37-41. Epub 2008 Mar 5.
  3. Chan P, Tomlinson B, Chen YJ, Liu JC, Hsieh MH, Cheng JT. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral stevioside in human hypertension. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Sep;50(3):215-20.
  4. Hsieh MH, Chan P, Sue YM, Liu JC, Liang TH, Huang TY, Tomlinson B, Chow MS, Kao PF, Chen YJ. Clin Ther. 2003 Nov;25(11):2797-808. Efficacy and tolerability of oral stevioside in patients with mild essential hypertension: a two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study