Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tips for Succeeding on a Paleo Journey

I am now on day 67 of my whole 30 journey and I continue to enjoy the experience. To date I have lost 14.1 kgs (30 lbs) in 60 days and I continue to feel much better. A couple of weeks ago I actually forgot to give myself my arthritis injection as I was feeling so good. Previously that would have been unheard of and I would have been watching the calendar and crossing my fingers for a few days relief from all the pain.

For me the secret to success has been being organised. As a shift worker I have to have my meals planned, shopping done and as much food prep done as possible. Often before a series of shifts I will prepare a few days worth of meals in advance. Meal planning and shopping lists are therefore essential. Before heading out in the car to the shops, I have my lists broken into sections and I know exactly where I will get each item.  By doing this it guarantees that I am not wasting time running all over the city.   I also order some things online and have them delivered straight to the house.  This is perfect for saving time and a lot of money.  I shop from iherb and I have my delivery from USA to Australia in less than a week.  If you use code JMR789 of your first order you will get $5-10 off.

I have a few trusty meals that I turn to when I need to make something quickly, however I am mindful that in the past I have become bored with meals being repeated too often. I now have quite the collection of Paleo cookbooks and I am loving having them to flick through, cook from and use for inspiration.

What are your favourite cookbooks?

Here are some of mine

Against All Grain,
Well Fed,

Nom Nom Paleo,
and in less than a week Danielle Walkers new book Against All Grain: Meals Made simple hits the book shelves. I am so excited about this cookbooks release that I have had it on pre order since July. Danielle's first book was my first paleo cookbook and it helped me to fall in love with this way of life. We have a very similar health journey and I took inspiration from her health progress. If you get a chance I highly recommend checking this book out Against All Grain.

Do you have any tips for success in the kitchen?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Slow Cooked Whole Chicken

While on my Whole30 journey I have become more adventurous in the kitchen, however I still want good old wholesome food, like roast chicken and gravy.  Currently it is winter in Queensland so using the oven isn't any bother, however I am always looking for ways to cook my favourite foods without causing the house to overheat in summer.  Today I decided to play around with my Slow cooker and a whole chicken.  I was a little nervous that the chicken wouldn't cook properly but I shouldn't have worried, it was perfect and delicious.  Recipe below.


1 x Whole free range chicken (I had a 2kg chicken)
2 x onions roughly chopped
1 large Spring onion or 2 small spring onions
1 carrot roughly chopped 
4 cloves of garlic
500mls vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons Ghee
Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper

Add one tablespoon of ghee to your slow cooker on browning function and allow to melt.  Lightly cooked the onion, spring onions, carrot and garlic.  Once the onion has become translucent add the 500mls of stock and salt and pepper to taste.  In the mean time rub 1 tablespoon of ghee over your chicken and then liberally sprinkle smoked paprika and rub in. 

Place your chicken breast side down in the mixture of stock and vegetables.  Switch your slow cooker to LOW, place the lid and cook for 6 hours.  A smaller chicken will take less time. 

Please make sure that your chicken is fully cooked before serving.  The juices from the chicken should run clear and the meat should be white the whole way through. 

For the gravy, simply use a stick blender and blend the mixture of stock and vegetables.  If too runny then place some in a pan on the stove and bring to the boil, this will allow it to reduce to a gravy consistency.  Serve with vegetables of your choice and enjoy.  We had roast parsnip, carrot, onion, capsicum and kumara tossed in oil and mixed herbs then oven roasted. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bone Broth

Bone broth is something which features quite regularly in our meals here in the Keast household.  It is common to find half the freezer filled with tubs of this good stuff.  In fact prior to my surgery in May I made up lots to aid my recovery. 

What is so good about Bone Broth I hear you ask.  Here are just some of the amazing things about this amazing diet staple.

Firstly you will have made it yourself so you will know exactly what is in it! More on that later..

Bone broth is fantastic for aiding with healing.  There really is some truth in the saying "Chicken soup is good for the soul" and also why when we are unwell our bodies often crave soup.  It will help it fight infection and also help to fight inflammation (which was music to me with all my autoimmune issues).  It is so useful for all this healing because it contains arginine which is an amino acid, used in cell division, wound healing, removing ammonia from the body and boosting immune function.  Another amino acid found in bone broth is glycin, this is particularly useful as it has a calming effect on the body which is beneficial for sleep. 

Bone broth also contains many valuable minerals, these include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, glucosamine and chondroitin and also a few trace minerals.  In the broth all of these minerals are in a form that is easily absorbed by the body and therefore easily used by the body.  The absorption of these minerals will aid in having strong bones, reduce inflammation and pain in joints, healthy.

Gelatin is also found in bone broth, when ingested gelatin helps to control digestive juices as it attracts and holds juices.  This is useful in appropriate digestion.  Gelatin is also very useful in hair and nails, many who take gelatin will have extremely health hair and nails. 

This is definitely something I recommend you add into your diet.  Often I am ask if increasing the amount of stock e.g from store bough stock or stock cubes is ok.  The answer is no, it is not the same as making your own broth.  I have taken a couple of photographs of the ingredients list in store bought stock and we can compare it to what is needed to make your own. 

Below are some photographs that I took of mainstream stocks from in my local supermarkets.  Click the pictures to see the image a little larger.

The 2nd one in particular has me scratching my head.  Ingredients are listed in order of most prevalent in the product.  Salt is number one!!! I am at a loss for words when I see that sugar has been added to these stocks, caramel food colouring, rice flour, maize and other things I can not even pronounce.  You do not need to use these products and I will show you how to make your own and even better it freezes well whilst helping to heal your body and help every single cell function to the best of it's ability.

Firstly to make bone broth you need

Approximately 1kg mix of meat bones and marrow bones.  Do not skimp on the marrow bones.  Most butchers will have these.  I make sure mine are from grass fed organic animals.
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, rough chopped
1 Leak, washed and chopped
Mixed herbs
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

I make my bone broth in the slow cooker but I have previously done it on the stove top.  I'm just more comfortable with leaving something unattended in the slow cooker.

I add a tablespoon of ghee or oil of your choice to the slow cooker and have the browning function on.  I sauté the onion, carrot, celery and leak for a couple of minutes.  In this picture I have also add some parsnip.

Then I add the bones and a good pinch of mixed herbs.  Followed by 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar - do not skip this part, the apple cider vinegar helps to extract the minerals from the bones without altering the taste of your broth. 

I then add enough water to cover all the ingredients, place the lid and set the slow cooker to LOW and leave it for minimum 12 hours, often I will simmer it for 24 hours.  If you are doing it on the stove place a lid on your pot and let it lightly simmer on low for the same length of time.

Once the 12-24 hours are up I then strain my broth.  All of the flavouring will be gone from your veg into your broth so you don't need to keep it.  I just sieve the broth and then place it in a tub in the fridge overnight.  In the morning you will find that the fat has gone to the top and can be lifted off and your broth should have set.  If it hasn't do not panic, it just means that there wasn't enough gelatin in your bones but the broth is still good and still packed full of all those minerals.  I then portion my broth into 1 cup amounts and freeze.  In the fridge it will keep for a few days, in the freezer it will be a few months. 

Ideas for using your broth include

- Drinking it straight.  I had to work up to this as at first I found the flavour too strong, now I love it.
- Use it as the base for a soup
- I use mine to cook bolognaise, I add the broth straight from the freezer to my pot of mince and veggies and then add some tomatoes. 
- I also use it to slow cook some other meats in.
- As the base of a stew.

Enjoy making your bone broth.  Let me know how you go.