"I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand." -Ben Franklin

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca is traditionally made with prosciutto and sage cooked in white wine and butter, and some recipes call for cheese such as mozzarella or provolone as well. I slightly altered the recipe found in The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Dr. Cordain and used ham instead of turkey breast (or prosciutto) and used multiple sage leaves instead of just one.

Ingredients (serves 4):
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-4 thin slices of ham
-extra virgin olive oil
-fresh sage leaves
-black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium; cook sage leaves for thirty seconds on each side and let drain on paper towel.

2. Season chicken breasts with black pepper. Place one piece of ham on each chicken breast and cook in skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side.

3. Place chicken in baking dish and place sage leaves on each chicken breast. Cook in oven for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Quote of the Day:
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

(This post is featured in Primal Cave #9.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Natural Movement: Grok On!

Like many people, I don't like working out. I really don't like treadmills (I can't vary my speed without pressing buttons), tracks (I'm not a hamster or lab rat-- going around in circles isn't my thing), or any of the other machines or conventional ways of exercising. But since I don't want to be skinny-fat, working out is a must.

However, after reading the Paleo books, Frank Forencich's Exuberant Animal, and sites like Wild Movement and MovNat, I realized that typical gym machines and tracks aren't necessary, and neither are workout DVDs (though I must admit that I do kind of enjoy the Urban Rebounder). The Paleo way of working out doesn't involve any of that stuff-- instead, you need to embrace your inner caveman or animal and get outside!

If you live near a woodsy area, perfect: you've got an entire Paleo playground at your fingertips. If not, try a local park-- usually there are things there that you can use. You don't need much more than logs, rocks, and anything else found in nature. Take a look at this video by MovNat founder, Erwan Le Corre-- he demonstrates many ways that you can use what's found in your natural environment for your workout:

I did something similar to this today (though not nearly as intense or cool as in the video)-- I strapped on my Vibrams and headed into the woods for a morning of log-lifting, sprinting, and rock climbing. It started with moving logs from point A to point B (and sprinting back to get more logs), then climbing up a giant rock and throwing logs or rocks off of it, then climbing down and moving the logs again from point B to point C... then more rock climbing and throwing and walking over logs for balance training. Then, of course, the logs were moved back from point C to point A, with sprinting in between. It was a workout that engaged every muscle group and was completely natural-- Grok didn't lift weights in 5-pound increments, and he certainly didn't have access to tracks, DVDs, and exercise machines. The cavemen got their exercise by sprinting after animals (or their kids), climbing boulders and trees, swimming, moving logs and rocks, and walking long distances.

Mark Sisson says the following about Primal fitness:
He also says to:
-Avoid chronic cardio
-Avoid chronic strength training
-Avoid regimented schedules

Logan Marshall of WildMovement said in a recent post, "The Secret to Physical Longevity," that there are "six pillars of lifelong movement":
1. Go barefoot: "If you are serious about physical longetvity, the first thing I recommend you do is lose the shoes." (Read Born to Run and/or check out another great WildMovement post, "Getting Started with Barefoot Running.")
2. Mix it up: "Instead of moving your body in one repetitive way, move it in every way you can think of."
3. Sprint: "Sprint hard every few days, your body will thank you." (Check out Mark Sisson's sprinting routine!)
4. Go functional: "Dodge trees, hurdle logs... train your body for the real world by performing real world functional workouts."
5. Muscles are built in the kitchen: "Achieving optimum physical mobility and maintaining it is so much easier when your diet compliments your activity level."
6. Go flexible: "If they aren't regularly stretched and contracted, muscles become fossilized in bands of non-pliable iron."

Everyone also agrees: play! Go to a playground (check out this month's issue of Paleo Magazine for how to do Paleo workouts at one), play games of frisbee or soccer or anything else with your family and friends, and just be outside and move naturally!

How cavemen sprinted and lifted heavy things:

Agriculture = declining health study:
I encourage you to read this article from yesterday's Science Daily, "Dawn of Agriculture Took Toll on Health."

Quote of the Day:
"Being fit isn't about being able to lift a steel bar or finish an Ironman. It's about rediscovering our biological nature and releasing the wild human animal inside." -Erwan Le Corre

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Look at the US News Diet Ranking and the Paleo Infographic

A few days ago, US News ranked the Paleo Diet as #20 (out of 20) on its "Best Diets Overall" list. This is completely ridiculous and kind of ironic because, as of the time that I'm writing this blog (5:45PM on June 9th), Paleo has the most "yes" votes out of all of the diets for the "Did this diet work for you?" question, with 113 votes. The highest-ranked diet (DASH) only had 3 "yes" votes, and the next-highest "working" diet was Atkins (ranked #19) with 25 votes. So this makes perfect sense-- the lowest-ranked diet seems to work for the most people... or, perhaps, all of the enraged Paleo enthusiasts (myself included) clicked "Yes" to show support.

Regardless... this list is bogus, because when you look at the breakdown/statistics of Paleo, the two major "cons" are "Goodbye to grains and dairy" and "pricey" --which aren't bad at all (and you can make super-cheap Paleo/Primal meals)-- and none of the statistics are conclusive or informative, such as follows:
-Will you lose weight? No way to tell.
-Does it have cardiovascular benefits? Unknown.
-Can it prevent or control diabetes? Unknown.
-Are there health risks? Possibly. By shunning dairy and grains, you're at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients.

This is absolutely ridiculous, because if the people actually did their research, they'd know that 1) Paleo will help most SAD people lose weight, 2) It will prevent and control diabetes, and 3) You can get the nutrients in dairy and grains by eating vegetables. I'm not a doctor, but I've read the Paleo books and the scientific papers and peer-reviewed studies that show all of the health benefits of the Paleo lifestyle... so I highly encourage you to read Dr. Loren Cordain's response to this for a more detailed explanation that cites many of these studies. Also, Sarah Fragoso (of Everyday Paleo) has this great "Stay Positive. Eat Food. Keep it Simple." post to tell you just that: stay positive, eat food, and keep it simple.... and don't listen to these "experts." Like I said a few posts ago: do your research and learn to keep questioning these articles and Conventional Wisdom.

On a more positive note, it's really interesting to see how SADieters react to eating Paleo/Primal for a few days, because they immediately notice the difference. We recently had some family members stay with us for a few days, and my cousin remarked to me how much better she felt after eating our Paleo/Primal meals than when she ate stuff at home, and my aunt kept talking about how much better she felt and how much energy she had after eating healthier. They even asked me to photocopy the Primal Palate recipe from Paleo Magazine for them to take back home! (Speaking of which, the first issue of the magazine was amazing-- I highly recommend subscribing to it or buying the online version of the issue!)
So if you still haven't tried Paleo, just give it a few days: you'll immediately notice the difference. Once you go Paleo, you'll never be "SAD" again!

Further, take a look at the infographic that just came out today from PaleolithicDiet.com. It provides really fascinating information and statistics and is really easy to read and understand:
Paleolithic Diet Explained

Quote of the Day:
"As much as 90% of published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed." -Paleo Infographic