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.


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?


Here’s a report from the Atlantic about some Canadian’s who are bucking the law for the sake of their health and/or their pocketbook!  Well, I suppose I can’t say why they’re doing it.  But I know why I would!

First of all, as fellow Canadian Meghan points out (in this excellent little blog post), good eggs are incredibly healthful.  Second, most commercial eggs pop out of sick, deformed, mal-nourished hens, so their nutritional content is all but non-existent.  Third, those pitiful hens are indeed poorly treated.  And finally, happy eggs from happy hens (well-treated and pastured) are expensive and tedious to acquire!  I make a special trip to a farmers market in another municipality for my pastured eggs!

So in order to save money but get happy eggs from happy pastured hens, I would indeed consider raising my own chickens in my own backyard!

Unfortunately, my apartment building doesn’t even allow me to have cats right now.

But would I do it if it meant breaking the law?  Golly.  I can’t even see that bridge yet.  Would you?

Primal Blueprint Recipe: Homemade Nutella

As you know, I’m participating in the Primal Health Challenge hosted by Mark Sisson and his Worker Bees over at Mark’s Daily Apple.  The challenge has daily contests from big prizes to little ones.  One of his contests is the Primal Blueprint Recipe Video contest.

So I shot a quick ‘n’ dirty little recipe video for my homemade nutella.

The winner of the contest will receive:

  • 1 Excalibur Food Dehydrator
  • 1 pair of Vibram Fivefingers
  • 12 canisters of Damage Control Master Formula
  • 1 bottle of Vital Omegas
  • 1 canister of Responsibly Slim
  • 1 “Grok On!” T-Shirt (your choice of size and color)
  • 1 copy of The Primal Blueprint (Mark’s book)

I don’t think I have a great chance of winning (there are already tons of great videos submitted), but I had fun making the video and it’s fun to share recipes with people in such a unique way! But I really want that food dehydrator. And a pair of VFFs for my husband.


Wednesday is grocery day.  Depending on the week, I get up early (earlier than normal) and trot to Trader Joe’s.  Sometimes I head to Whole Foods or Ralph’s if necessary.  If I’m really good, I’ll make it to my local farmers’ market.  At Trader Joe’s, I typically purchase organic and local (if available).  I also try to avoid products with stuff in them I can’t pronounce (and some stuff that I can but I want to avoid).  Trader Joe’s has lots of options.

One reason why I can’t get into the habit of going to the local farmers’ markets and I’m reluctant to join a CSA (or something similar) is because I LOVE LOVE LOVE my weekly grocery trip.  When I lived in Vancouver, I signed up for a Local Organic Food Delivery Service.  Every two weeks, my basket of local, organic foods would show up at my studio apartment’s door.  But I often found myself at the grocery store on a weekly basis (often oftener), to pick up this or that.  I missed the shopping!

When I get home from my shopping trip, I have a routine.  I call Ryan from about 2 minutes away and have him (and Justin or “the intern”) come out to help me bring in the bags.  I usually have four heavy bags.  Once they’re inside, I move all the food from the bags to the counters.  Then I move them from the counters to the fridge, freezer, and cupboards.

In that lovely middle space, when the food is sitting on the counters, I like to take a brief moment to admire my bounty.  It’s usually subconscious and lasts only a few subtle seconds.  But for those brief seconds I feel somewhat like a hero coming home from a successful battle.  I enjoy the visual luxuriousness of all my spoils (yet unspoilt) spread out before me on my counter.

A while back, Time Magazine had a photo essay called What the World Eats.  It was a look at other people’s bounty on dinner tables from around the globe.  The photographs were by Peter Menzel.  I found this photo essay fascinating and enlightening.  A friend commented that he was going to buy stock in Coca-cola because of the number of photos that included the nasty stuff!  Some of those families could have made use of a good nutritionist.

Speaking of, I’m participating in the Primal Health Challenge hosted by Mark Sisson and his Worker Bees over at Mark’s Daily Apple.  The challenge has daily contests from big prizes to little ones.  One of his contests is called “Show Us Your Groceries.”   Mark found Time Magazine’s photo essay just as interesting as I did.  And he wants to see what his online community is eating!

I had wanted to shoot this photo when I first saw the Time Magazine’s photo essay but Mark is offering an opportunity to win 5lbs of fresh Kenai River Sockeye Salmon overnighted to my home!  I’m so down with that!

And today is grocery day!!  So once I got home, I put all the groceries on the counter like I normally do.  But this time I arranged them so that they all faced one direction.  I pulled stuff out of the cupboards and snatched stuff from the freezer and the fridge.  I pulled Ryan away from his work (for only 2 minutes, Justin!) and set up the timer on my Nikon D70.

What’s pictured here is more than a week’s worth of groceries.  But you get the idea!

Team Fritch's Groceries

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Any comments or questions?


I have a blogroll of food blogs (and healthy living) that I check daily.  I love the ideas and encouragement as well as challenges that that I get from the women (and men) that host these blogs.  Here’s the list:

Here are a few more resources:

The internet can help us become healthier?  Who knew!?