Category Archives: Nutrition

Nomnom Paleo Cookbook Review

About two weeks ago JEdible Arrangementsesse surprised me with a birthday gift of assorted fruits arranged to look like a bouquet of flowers. It was really quite amazing and the perfect gift for a whole food fanatic. To top it off little rounded pieces of apple had been dipped in dark chocolate. We couldn’t wait to devour it but we thought it was wise to gobble up the treats throughout the week and share the splendour with our roommates instead. Sharing is caring, and to be honest I couldn’t eat all that fruit by myself. Anyways, long story short a certain someone could not resist the temptation of the chocolaty goodness and within a day all of the little chocolatey apple bites were but a thing of memory.

I guess that certain someone was feeling a bit guilty about eating all the chocolate. To my surprise the next evening I discovered “nomnom paleo” cookbook hiding underneath my pillow before bed. Apology accepted. In fact I was so happy I even gave the book a hug, like it had feelings.

You see, I’v never actually owned my own cookbook before and I had my eye on this baby for awhile. The bright colours with the bold print hooked me in like a moth to bright light. I’m surprised I didn’t buy it myself actually. These past couple of years I have been more and more interested in cooking. Normally I get most of my recipes online (see resources) but having a cookbook with readily available ideas is surprisingly useful and rewarding to have on hand in the kitchen. Michelle Tam and Henry Fong’s nomnom paleo cookbook is not only hilarious but an excellent introduction and resource to paleo cooking. So much so that I decided to write a review on it.

Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution) –  “I don’t care if you’re a discriminating foodie or a picky tot: If you’re a human who eats food, you need this book.”

 

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1. INTRODUCTIONIMG_3390

Michelle Tam first started sharing her zest for delicious paleo cooking on nomnompaleo.com in the fall of 2010. Since then she has received awards for her blog and inspired many with her unique, playful and heartwarming approach to healthy cooking. Michelle along with her husband Henry finally decided to release a cookbook filled with recipes free of grain, soy and added sugar. When talking about inspiration, the visuals alone are enough to inspire you to eat healthier but I personally think it is Michelle’s unique passion and humour that really shine through in this book.

“There’s a contagious joyousness about the way Michelle presents food that makes you want to cook along with her. I want to cook Paleo because she makes it look so fun!” -Michael Ruhlman

2. LAYOUT 

The book is broken down into very practical chapters that are tailored towards a paleo diet. For example preparation is very important when eating paleo because if you want a bit of extra flava flave on your omelette, grabbing the sriracha sauce from the store will add a lot of unnecessary sugar and sulphites. Instead if you want sriracha you will have to make it yourself. Fortunately this iIMG_3419s very do-able and tastes super delicious (i’v tried it!). Chapter One: Building Blocks has a bunch of excellent paleo prep meal tips and ideas like home-made sriracha, paleo mayonnaise and easy guacamole to name a few. If you feel like your options are or will be limited on the paleo diet a simple solution is to be prepared! Dedicate a day of the week (Sunday works for most folks) for food preparation so your week can be filled with delicious, no stress feasts! If you don’t have any ideas, grab a cookbook or start to browse online recipes (check resources). Other chapters include Eggs, Plants, Soups and Salads, Meat, Seafood, Nibbles and *gasp* even some Desert!

3. TONE

Michelle does an amazing job at keeping the tone of the whole cook book simple, hilarious and very personable. She is realistic and extremely relatable when addressing the paleo lifestyle. She discusses her challenges and successes with the family eating paleo, her own health journey and a realistic insight into what it is like to live this way. A simple introduction to paleo foods at the beginning of the book by using a “Green Light, Red Light, Yellow Light” list of ingredients keeps the focus less on rules and more on the delicious food. Throughout the entire book there are funny little comics that offer cooking tips, answer questions about Michelle’s life and add comedic expression to the beautiful food photography and practical layout. There is enough information about the diet to get you started and help you feel confident in your choices but not so much that it takes away from the main focus of the book which is clearly that eating paleo is delicious!

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“THIS IS MY DAD. LAMB IS HIS FAVOURITE FOOD.” “MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB. UNTIL I ATE IT”

“Use a Julienne peeler or a spiral cutter. (Of Course, if you’re a certified kitchen ninja, feel free to hand-cut your zoodles)”.

4. FOOD

The themeIMG_3420 is oriental flavour meets trendy Californian attitude. Too many recipes can become overwhelming but this book has the perfect amount. Enough to keep you curious and satisfied but not too many that you never actually get around to cooking anything! You don’t have to be a master chef to enjoy any of the foods either, simple steps for delicious meals that pretty much everyone can do. All the recipes all paleo friendly and provide some innovative cooking ideas to make the transition a bit easier. Like cauliflower rice and an assortment of paleo “chips”. Some of the recipes do require extra equipment though. Like the spiral cutter mentioned above. It cuts things into noodle shapes, yay! For example you can make zucchini noodles… or carrot noodles too. If you are going to be spending more time in the kitchen (which you will) it’s probably a good idea to stock up on kitchen tools anyways.

5. SUMMARY

IMG_3422This book is a must have for any whole food or paleo enthusiast. Perfect for any beginner who doesn’t know where to start or is a bit confused about what to eat. Even if you are a seasoned vet in the kitchen, some of the ideas and tips in this book could refresh your creativity and liven up your palette. If you are caught in a rut of eating chicken and vegetables every night for dinner then do yourself a huge favour and check out this book or visit Michelle’s website first for a taste of what you will find in the book. The website is how she got started and offers lots of recipes for you to try. Check it out! http://nomnompaleo.com/

Anyone who says there isn’t enough to eat on paleo needs this book and they need it now. Did I mention I was a fan?

6 . TESTED RECIPES

Caramalized Onions: Success
great to cook them in bulk and add to meals through the week

Paleo Mayonnaise: Disaster, then Success
First attempt I ignored the instructions and blended it all at once. Don’t do that. Second attempt was a success and I made Louisiana Remoulade with the mayonnaise!

Paleo Sriracha: Okay
The taste is phenomenal but I couldn’t find red jalapeño peppers anywhere so I settled with green. Just not the same without that fiery red…

Holy’Moly (Easy Guacamole): Success
So simple, so delicious

Apple Chips: Okay 
I found these too sweet and they took a long time to cook. Not worth it in my opinion. They resembled apple crumble flavour though so they get an okay stamp.

Kale Chips: Success
A new staple in my diet.  Many people seem to have trouble with these. Either too soggy or too burnt. Follow this recipe. When you master them, you will never turn back. Also, a note from my aunt: Don’t refrigerate.

Chopped Liver + Bacon: Success 
Some people can’t stand liver. I have to confess, when my mom used to cook liver in the oven as dog treats and the house filled with an unmentionable odour, I was sure i’d deny liver foreverrrrr! This recipe blew my mind though. Unbelievably flavourful, great as a dip and a fantastic source of Vitamin A.

Chinese Egg Foo Young: Okay 
I wasn’t sold on these. Although I used tuna as a meat filling instead of the recommended ham. She said use any meat you like!! The recipe makes a large batch and they don’t keep well. You should eat them right away.

Zoodles: Success 
I first tried these in NZ thanks to my host mom’s ingenuity. These are for the pasta lover. I mean c’mon… ZOODLES! How fun is that?

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig: Success 
The slow cooker can make almost anything taste good but this was so unbelievably flavourful Jesse and I both had extra servings.

Thanks for reading.

– Jules

What About Fruit?

If you are currently digging the morning fruit smoothie routine that’s been established because you read somewhere that they are delicious AND good for you then prepare to cringe.

In 1 large fruit smoothie with 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 cup of berries, 1 cup of skim milk and 1 fat-free berry yogurt you are consuming roughly 83.8 grams of sugar.
To put that in perspective that’s almost the equivalent of a LARGE Dairy Queen chocolate sundae.

Recently I have been receiving a lot of questions about fruit. If sugar is bad for me and there is sugar in fruit then is fruit bad for me too? If sugar causes fat gain then won’t eating fruit cause me to gain fat as well? How much fruit should I have a day? Should I never eat fruit again? TELL ME WHAT’S UP WITH THE FRUIT!?

Let me try to explain why fruit consumption still seems to be a mystery for some folks. According to Canada’s Food Guide the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables ranges from 7-10 servings a day. There are no recommendations as to how you should split your servings of fruit and servings of vegetables. So in theory according to Canada’s food guide If you were to drink the smoothie with 83.8 grams of sugar you would be getting a seemingly modest 4 servings of fruit, totally healthy right? … right? Not exactly.

All sugar is linked to fat storage because it is directly responsible for the secretion of insulin, which is the hormone that is responsible for fat storage. Insulin’s job is to transfer energy from the food you eat into your body’s cells to be used as energy. Glucose is the bodies preferred source of energy from sugar and it is mainly stored in the liver and muscles. Your body only has so much storage for glucose before it reaches capacity and begins to store any excess as body fat through a conversion process that happens in the liver.

So essentially all forms of sugar including carbohydrates eventually get converted into glucose to be used as fuel.  Any excess will be stored as body fat.

If you think you eat a lot of fruit, pay attention. Fructose, the simple sugar that is found naturally in fruit and tastes very sweet is metabolized first by the liver to be converted into glucose. When too much fructose is consumed, the liver cannot convert it fast enough and so most of it will be stored as body fat instead.

To sum things up all excess sugar that the body cannot use is stored as body fat. Sugar from fruit can only be metabolized by the liver and the liver can only do so much at a time. There for the majority of fructose is more likely to be stored as body fat.

 So what’s up with fruit? You can enjoy it in moderation without risk of fat gain because your liver can metabolize small amounts. A general rule of thumb for maintaining weight is 1 serving of fruit per day. Do not shun fruit from your life forever. It is important to try and understand how and why certain foods affect your body the way they do. You might want to think of fruit as an occasional treat and start including more colourful veggies into your diet. If you really love the convenience of smoothies but want to avoid the potential sugar bomb then here is a link on how to make green smoothies which won’t be as sweet but will be kinder to your waistline and encourage you to eat more healthy green veggies! Yay!

How to Make a Green Smoothie

Hopefully after reading you feel a bitter more confident about fruit. If you found the information of value I would really appreciate it if you could share the link with friends or family. Thanks for reading!

– Jules

Resources:
Canada’s Food Guide        Glycogen
Calorie Count                    Fructose
Insulin/Glucagon               Fructose and Fat Storage

Cut Sugar From Your Diet – 5 Resources to Explain Why

You may have heard it before or you may just be starting your personal journey now (congratulations!) but any health, fitness or weight loss journey should begin with the food choices that you make to fuel and replenish your body. It has been said by experts again and again that results come from   80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This is mostly true with the addition of other important aspects of health such as sleep, environmental, social, emotional and psychological health. If your nutrition isn’t great then it becomes more difficult to make better choices towards each aspect of life.

You cannot experience optimal health and body composition if you don’t make informed decisions about what you eat. With so much conflicting information out there about what is right and what is wrong it can be extremely daunting and discouraging when you want to make better health choices but don’t know who to trust. Eat low fat foods and dairy, avoid saturated fats, eat fewer calories, try the Atkins, Zone, Dukan, Juicing, Vegan, Paleo and Raw Food diet or even *Gasp* Canada’s Food Guide. How can you feel confident about taking control of your health when everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong?

You deserve to look and feel your best at every age. Optimal and dare I say extraordinary health is in your grasp and my intention for this blog is to empower you with the right information and resources so you can really start taking control of your health. In next week’s post I will introduce you to a few life changing resources that challenge the status quo on health and have been making incredible strides in providing new foundations on how to be and feel awesome. There is an entire community of people who live and preach the same concepts that have helped literally millions of people truly change their lives. In the meantime however I want to provide you with some insight into what you can do TODAY to kick start your journey by highlighting THE most important piece of information you can use towards fat loss and better health:

Carbs_Are_Killing_You     *Gasp*

This is pretty standard common knowledge in the fitness, health and science world but yet diet companies still label their foods low-fat or non-fat for profits and subsequently fill their product with processed SUGARS that keep you sick, addicted and frustrated with your lack of results. Not only does sugar play a role in fat storage it can also mess up your hormones, mood, satiety and a bunch of other nasty stuff.

 CUT REFINED SUGAR COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET

Instead of regurgitating information that has already been beautifully communicated, take the time to look at these resources about the effects of sugar on the human body:

1. Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Sugar

Full article here > Definitive Guide to Sugar

 

“Sugar stimulates a physiological stressor-reaction cascade that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release and thickens the blood.

-Sugar effectively disables your immune system by impairing white blood cells’ functioning.
-Sugar decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation.
-Sugar induces significant oxidative stress in the body.
-Sugar appears to fuel cancer cells. (Check out Free the Animal for much more on the cancer connection.)
-Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain.
-Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
-Sugar intake over time spurs insulin resistance, subsequent Type II diabetes and the entire host of related -health issues like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
-Yes, sugar is one insanely powerful drug. Addictive, to boot.” (Mark Sisson, 2010)

2. How Sugar Affects the Brain

3. CARBS (sugars) ARE KILLING YOU

Ok, Carbs are definitely not KILLING you, but simple sugars might be! A good representation of the process your body goes through when you consume sugar (simple carbohydrates)

Carbs a

4. Jean-Luc Boisoneault, owner of Free Form Fitness Ottawa, uses an excellent visual to demonstrate how your body utilizes sugar and subsequently stores fat. SKIP to 2:30 in the video.

5. Dr. Mark Hyman answering the question “is saturated fat really that bad for me?” with some truth about fat and sugar in your diet.

 

Please share this blog with family and friends it you found it helpful. Sharing is caring 🙂  Feel free to leave comments or e-mail me with questions or feedback.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post and thanks for reading!

– Jules