Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Important Nutrients in Food Chart (CLICK to enlarge)
Since changing my diet from vegan to omnivore, I have found myself looking into which foods are optimal sources of various nutrients. As a result, I started making lists to compile all of the data in one place.
Here’s my latest version, which is a work in progress, but I thought I’d share anyway because it’s a nice starting point. I’ve selected nutrients that I feel are important for my family’s optimal health. The items are not listed in any order of importance.
You’ll notice that most of the best sources, for many of these nutrients, are from animals. But, I would never settle for just any animals. As someone who cares for animals, and appreciates them and the nutrition they offer, I will only buy grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animal foods: meat, fish, some dairy, and lots of eggs. To see a list of the various places I source our foods, see this blog post.
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Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Cast Iron Seared Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Steak Au Poivre #CoyoteCafe
We recently enjoyed a summer road trip all the way to Michigan from Arizona. Yes, that’s a looooong trip which is why many people ask why we don’t fly. Well, to be honest, apart from kind of enjoying time in the car (I get a lot of reading done: here’s a great book), there’s an important factor with which I am obsessed: Food. By traveling in the car (our mini van, specifically), I can pack things from my kitchen so that I can cook on the road for my family (induction hot plate, anyone?). As I like to say, “have induction hot plate, will travel.” Eating healthy and delicious food is my main passion so I do whatever it takes to make that happen.
We ventured to Michigan because that is where I grew up, and my brother, his wife, and their kids are there, plus my dad, step-dad, and dear sister-in-law-ish. At the time of our journey, our daughter had just turned four years old, and that meant shorter stretches of driving. Therefore, our days in the car maxed out at around 7 hours, if we could help it. That means lots of nights in hotels. How did I make high-quality, Real Food on the trip in hotels? It was fairly simple… with smart planning. I’ll detail it all in a blog post soon because I have a lot to share on the topic. I’ve made the trip twice now, a bit different each trip, and I like to think I have it figured out.
We didn’t eat every single meal as homemade though. Some of our meals, although just a couple, were enjoyed in restaurants. Enter: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, NM.
On the trip back from Michigan we decided to spend a couple of days in Santa Fe as a little break from the non-stop driving and to enjoy the local atmosphere of Santa Fe. So lovely.
One of the best meals of my life. And to think I almost opted for a different restaurant because of the Yelp Review stars I saw. Glad my husband urged us to go to Coyote Cafe. Greg had been there about 20 years ago (the place has been around about 27 years), and was itching to try it again.
The presentation of the meals was gorgeous and thoughtful. The decor of the restaurant was open and pleasing, artful, and chic although a bit dated. It is showing the years of wear and is overdue for a refresh.
The service was top of the line. Our server was Lynsey and she catered to our every need. I’d also like to mention that the support staff were equally great. So much of a restaurant experience goes beyond the food.
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I’m not going to lie…
Living a life, where Real Food takes center stage, can take effort and time.
But. I have good news. It doesn’t always have to. For those of you who are really busy but would love to have some truly easy and healthy meal ideas to throw together, then this post is for you.
Raw oyster. #RealFoodFastFood. #Zinc
For starters, let’s understand what Real Food is. Real Food, for me, is:
- Eating as many foods from scratch.
- Eating foods that are minimally processed.
- Eating foods that are close to nature.
- Eating foods that my great nana would make.
- Eating foods that rarely come from a restaurant and/or box.
This is how I keep my family healthy. This is what I love. This is what works for us.
But… A life full of Real Food based on those bullet points above takes time. Quite a bit of time, in fact.
Yes, there are quick recipes that can be made in a slow cooker like this chicken recipe, this grass fed beef recipe, this grass fed beef tongue recipe, and this grass fed bison heart recipe. And, with my recent experience in a Classic Cooking school, I’ve learned how easily fresh and delicious soups can be made (15 minutes of prep max with about 15 minutes of cooking time) and how to quickly sear a grass fed steak (a couple of minutes each side and finish in the oven – that’s pretty simple) topping it with a brown sauce, and properly cooking some vegetables for the side. As well, scrambling up some pasture raised eggs or blending a smoothie can be a fairly fast food experience.
Still… even those simplest of preparations actually do take time and maybe more importantly they take forethought. I have to thaw the grass fed meat. I have to wash the organic vegetables, prep, and cook them. I have to make sure I have demi-glace made (and thawed) for the sauce. As you can see, it can still be a bit of a draining experience from thinking about the process to actually making the food, even if the ultimate food prep is only 20 to 25 minutes for a fabulous dinner.
Where am I going with all this? Well, even though I do those things most of the time, there are times I just can’t.
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Mountain Rose Herbs Organic Tea Blends
Here’s how my three year old ate the other day… she’s a foodie rock star who routinely eats wild caught salmon roe, grass fed liver and heart, sardines out of the can, all of her veggies, and extra dark organic chocolate to name a few.
- Organic blueberries topped with 1) organic grass fed whole yogurt, 2) sprouted raw organic pumpkin seeds, and 3) raw organic coconut oil.
- Herbal tea Mountain Rose is my favorite place to buy herbal teas. They really know what they’re doing. We buy many of their blends (pictured above) as well as single leaf teas to make our own blends. Tea drinking is a ritual we take seriously in our house. Coffee too!
- Vitamin D3 supplement
- Grass fed organic liver and ground beef recipe with organic grass fed buttered mashed potatoes. I FINALLY nailed a liver recipe, after many attempts, that is so delicious. I eagerly want it every week and it’s loaded with nutrition. I will share it very soon so you, too, can happily reap the benefits of grass fed liver with a genuine smile.
- Grass fed organic mint chip ice cream.
- Filtered water
Grass Fed Beef Tongue Ratatouille
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil. High Vitamin Butter Oil. – I took a teaspoon of each and chugged them down with filtered water. They have fat-soluble vitamins that work synergistically to help boost immunity, longevity, and fertility. That being said, while I’m pretty sold on the beauty of High Vitamin Butter Oil, I’m not completely sold on the fermented cod liver oil. My jury is still out. I praise it for the high vitamin A content which is why I like it (along with the vitamin D), but I’m not sure we need fish oil in our diets especially if we already eat a low omega-6 diet, thereby requiring less need for omega-3? Not to mention, we eat sardines and wild caught salmon (along with other high quality grass fed animal products) giving us great sources of omega-3. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the answer so I usually choose to have the fermented cod liver oil on hand in the case of illness but not take it regularly.
- 2 raw pasture-raised, organic egg yolks swallowed from a shot glass and chased with iced herbal tea. Oftentimes I add 2 to 3 drops of this crazy hot and therapeutic cayenne tincture.
- Smoked Oysters (canned)
- Vitamin Supplements (various ones like magnesium, CoQ, organic turmeric – taken with fat, probiotic – trying a new one, multi)
- Decaf Upgraded Coffee with organic grass fed cream and Upgraded grass fed Collagen
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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
I keep these in the car for enhancing foods I eat at restaurants.
We had a very busy day so I thought I would share how we sometimes eat when we have a full schedule and we’re on the go. The majority of our meals are all made from scratch three times a day, and almost always eaten at home. However, sometimes I need a bit of help in the kitchen so there are few organic premade items that I buy from the grocery store (jars of organic tomatoes as they’re often more delicious than fresh tomatoes depending on the season, organic pasta sauce – with no sugar added, snack bars, gluten free crackers, sardines, smoked wild caught sockeye salmon, etc). And, sometimes we eat at a couple of carefully chosen restaurants.
Here was our schedule on this busy day…
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(low mercury) Tuna Salad Gluten Free
Kamea (she has an amazing appetite for Real Food)
- Raw grass fed cheese 5-Spoke brand found at Whole Foods. This gives us tooth building calcium and phosphorous plus other amazing fat soluble vitamins.
- 1 tablespoon wild caught salmon roe
- grass fed organic summer sausage
- soaked raw almonds
- 2 oranges
- filtered water to drink
- FCLO (fermented cod liver oil)
- Coffee Shake (today’s had MCT oil. Grass fed Butter. Vanilla drops.)
- Vitamins (multi, CoQ 10, digestive enzymes, chlorella, L-Carnitine, Organic India’s turmeric-n-ginger, HVBO (high vitamin butter oil), and FCLO). I heard in a health podcast that Americans who live to be age 85 have a 1 in 2 chance of having “diagnosable” Alzheimer’s Disease. I was blown away by that stat. It’s much lower in other parts of the world like India where their diets are rich in turmeric and ginger. And, if it’s diagnosable that means those people started down the Alzheimer path 20 years prior. So, it’s important to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods and I take supplements like Organic India’s Turmeric to help prevent Alzheimer’s in my future (while young, don’t wait). It’s a great product, check out the reviews. I usually take 1-2 in the morning and 1-2 in the evening. I also add organic turmeric to my food.
- Spoonful Coconut oil swallowed with water
- Wild caught salmon roe This is great fertility boosting, longevity, anti-aging and brain boosting food – loaded with vitamin D and other important nutrients like iodine, retinon (true skin building and immune boosting vitamin A), selenium, zinc, B vitamins, omega fatty acids.I’m not eating it for its flavor, though Kamea loves it. Wish I was raised on this stuff then I’d love it too. I simply swallow a big spoonful with water like they’re pretty little vitamin balls.
- Organic grass fed yogurt plus soaked raw organic almonds stirred in
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Friday, February 28th, 2014
Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Kamea (my 3.5 year old):
Greg: He usually doesn’t wake up until early afternoon, and at that time he has his Coffee Shake.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Here’s what’s on tap at our house…
Cinnamon Apple Chicken with Buttered Purple Cabbage
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Kamea when she turned three over the summer.
I frequently get asked about my life these days. How is my family faring on our omnivore diet since ending a decade of being vegan (read more about that here and here)? What are we eating? How’s life in general?
Life in general is awesome. :) I’m living a dream life and feeling overflowing gratitude every day. We’ve been traveling a bit, going on lots of play dates, spending extra time with my parents, and we have seen the movie Frozen three times. :)
What are we eating? Has anything changed since my last update? Not much. You can pretty much see what we’ve been eating from my food journals and all of the recipes I post. But, for those who are new here, our diet is higher in fat, moderate for carbs (with some days being lower in carbs), and comprises a ton of high-quality animal products, including:
- Wild caught fish, usually salmon (including wild caught salmon roe)
- Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats (including massively nutrient dense organ meats and bone broths) How can I eat organ meats? Well, it’s been a process to find the best way I like them but finally that’s happened. I hide liver in butter-and-brandy-rich pate as well as in cheeseburgers smothered in BBQ sauce like this one. I hide beef heart in stew and enjoy some weird beef tongue in this recipe here (and beef tongue in ratatouille is my new favorite way, recipe coming soon). I am determined to keep my family eating grass fed offal (i.e., organ meats), and so far they’re totally loving them, thankfully, because the nutrition is stellar and unbelievable. These organ meats are the true super foods of the world.
- Sardines, Oysters (and other shell fish)
- Pasture-raised organic eggs
- Organic vegetables
- A little fruit (usually in the form of berries)
- Grass-fed butter
- High-quality oils (grass-fed ghee, high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, MCT oil)
- Coffee shakes (yum!)
- Organic Norwalk cold pressed fresh green juice but the recipe is different from what I used to in the past (no heavy greens like kale, collards, or spinach because when we consume those now they’re cooked). The recipe is usually celery, cucumbers, romaine, cilantro, occasionally parsley and other herbs, and we might have a pint or two every week or so.
- Supplements These change based on our diet for the week as well as new things I learn every day. I’ll soon share how I make my own liposomal vitamin C.
- White rice (occasionally)
- Dark organic fair trade chocolate
- Raw organic sauerkraut (I love Farmhouse Kraut)
- Nuts and seeds (sometimes these appear in the form of paleo style treats like my Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cookies)
- Dairy products like raw grass-fed organic cheese, grass-fed organic ice cream (not raw, usually Straus brand), and grass-fed organic yogurt (not raw). After some experimentation it seems we tolerate them very well. The ice cream and yogurt make up a very small percentage of our diet and it doesn’t make a regular appearance, but we do have it sometimes. It must be from free range grass fed cows and organic. I go back and forth on dairy… some say it creates inflammation but others say if it’s high quality and tolerated then it can be very nutrient dense.Therefore, we enjoy it at times and other times we abstain for awhile.
As you can imagine, we don’t eat out very much. As much as I love cooking, I do need a break from the kitchen. I make almost everything from scratch, and that’s a lot of time in the kitchen for three meals a day. So on occasion we go out to eat for gluten-free pizza (maybe once every 10 to 14 days) and we also go to Chipotle every couple of weeks. I really don’t care for Chipotle’s crap oils they use on their rice and for cooking, but a girl needs a break from meal prep, ya know? I sure wish there were some options with truly high quality everything. I can find a grass fed burger here in Scottsdale, but the salad it’s served with has junk canola oil on it as an example. Sigh.
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