The Simple Detox Guide

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.  Something along the lines of detox = juice cleanse, right?  WRONG.   I cannot emphasize enough how ineffective long-term that juice cleanses are (at least, from my personal experience).  So, when Alexa Shirm of Simple Roots Wellness announced that she was releasing a simple guide to how to properly detox without starving yourself, I was ecstatic.  She even opens up this ebook with a page on “Detox Lies!”  Talk about great minds thinking alike, right?

This Simple Detox Guide is the basic how-to ebook for using food to remove the crap dumped on and into our bodies every from our modern world.  Shirm even delves into the lymphatic, cosmetic, and environmental toxins around and on us as well, but she does a great job of keeping it simple.  Whether you’re like me and want to know the “why” behind it all or simply want to know what to consume and avoid, this book will satisfy you.  There is also a great aesthetic to the layout of the plan that accompanies the ideas set forth very nicely.  In my opinion, the book can totally be judged by the cover.  And font choice.  And photography… which Shirm totally dominated, so the looks get an A from me!

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Chai Spiced Yogurt. Photo via simplerootswellness.com

Some of the big parts of this guide include a toxin-avoiding shopping guide, everyday detox hacks, substitutions for toxic foods, and tons of drink recipes to help you along the way.  In my opinion, one of the best additions to this guide is the list of the top-20 best detoxing foods.  I knew several of them , but was also surprised by a couple.  That proved to me that there is good in so many more foods than we tend to think about!  We can literally eat our way to health.  Did someone say, “eat?”  I’m so there.  Speaking of which, the food recipes at the end of the ebook are beautifully photographed and mouth-watering to read the ingredients.  I’m talking things like Plantain Chips & Guacamole, Chai Spiced Yogurt with Warm Berry Sauce, and Egg Roll in a Bowl.  Yeah.  I know.  GET IN MY BELLY, PLS.

The ebook, which can be downloaded here, will launch in March 2016 and will run along with a full detox program that Simple Roots Wellness is hosting in April.

*Disclosure:  I receive a small compensation for these reviews.  This does not affect my honesty about the product.  Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at flabstofitness@gmail.com.*

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Ditch the Wheat

Y’all… I got a pre-release copy of Ditch the Wheat in the mail the other day.  Wow, oh wow.  I am so impressed with this feat!

Written by Carol Lovett of the blog with the same namesake, Ditch the Wheat is a fun resource from start to finish.  It’s chock-full of information regarding paleo and Lovett‘s personal journey to finding it, all the way through to a variety of recipes (120 of them, actually!) to adhere to this lifestyle.  She shuns the notion that anything should be “given up” when dealing with GI distress, food sensitivities, or just the choice to be healthier.  This dogma is hugely apparent in her recipes for things like Grain-Free Lasagna (which is a GENIUS version like I’ve never seen, mind you), Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sandwich Buns, and even Birthday Cake.  I’ve already made the Swedish Meatballs and they took me right back to my childhood!  Needless to say, I cannot wait to get to making many more of these beautiful creations from Lovett‘s book.

The first thing I noticed about this book upon opening the package I received it in was the stunning cover.  I mean, yes, you tend to see the cover of a book first.  But oh. my. LORD.  The photography in Ditch the Wheat is absolutely marvelous.  Judging a book by its cover would definitely work with this one; the vibrant colors and fun font used throughout are appealing to the eye without being too overbearing.  It strikes a wonderful pose for the crafty side in all of us (and don’t lie, I know you have one of those!).

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Photo via Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

There are two distinctly unique sections I’d like to elaborate on about this book.   There are parts on the somewhat-standard-at-this-point information about paleo eating, kitchen stocking, and tools for a successful kitchen.  But on top of these, Lovett has included a section in the beginning of her book on kitchen tips that would be an enormous help to the beginner in regards to meal prep.  This includes a spread with pictures on how to cut up a whole chicken, how to properly cook mass amounts of starches, and how to make veggie noodles.  Following these how-tos are ideas for quick breakfasts and lunches because in reality, those are usually rushed meals for us Americans and convenience plays a huge factor in what we eat at those times.

The second super cool section Lovett has included is an entire chapter on fermentation.  Sure, many recipe books have recipes involving fermentation.  But Lovett has a “Fermentation 101” spread as the opener for her recipes in this category.  This was HUGELY beneficial for me to read because, though I’ve made my own kombucha before, I tend to heavily rely on store-bought products for my other sources of probiotics.  This simple layout of the different kinds of fermentation clarified so many things for me and made making my own pickles and sauerkraut seem a lot less daunting!  I will be taking advantage of this guide in my near future… I can feel it. 🙂

You know what?  I think you need a teaser recipe from the book, if my portrayals and summaries just haven’t pushed you over the edge to pre-order it yet.  Here is the recipe for an oh-so-easy snack, dessert, finger food, appetizer, or all of the above – straight from Ditch the Wheat.  I made it for a birthday party last week and it was a huge hit, so I know you’ll love it, too!

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Photo via Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

Salted Mexican Chocolate Clusters

Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 7 minutes, plus 30 minutes to freeze

Yield: 20 clusters

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raisins

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for garnish

 

Directions

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Place the chocolate chips in a heavy-bottomed 1-quart pot over low heat.  Stir continuously until the chocolate chips have melted.  Alternatively, you can place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted.
  3. Place the melted chocolate and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Using a large spoon, scoop up some of the mixture and place it on the lined baking sheet.  Use your fingers to form it into a round shape.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture until you have 20 round clusters.  Lightly sprinkle salt on each cluster.  Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the clusters firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Store the clusters in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

If you would like to pre-order a copy for yourself, Ditch the Wheat is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble‘s websites.  The book will officially release on February 23rd, 2016.

*Disclosure:  I receive a small compensation for these reviews.  This does not affect my honesty about the product.  Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at flabstofitness@gmail.com.*

The Healing Kitchen

Wow, what a busy semester it has been for me!  For those of you who follow my Instagram and Twitter accounts, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit more MIA lately.  As I’m a double-major, I’ve taken 17 or more hours per semester the last year and a half to try and graduate on time.  This semester was the hardest yet, with a course load that was 19 hours strong.  On top of “hell week” (the week before finals), I was working backstage as a spotlight operator for UT’s fall musical, The Wild Party.  It was tiring, but so fun.  It definitely reminded me why I’m working just as hard for my acting degree as I am for my kinesiology one.

Finals finished for me last Thursday, the 10th, when I left my 7-10pm Spanish test.  I’ve spent the weekend getting back to “reality” and also visiting my grandmother, who fell and broke her pelvis a week ago yesterday.  Luckily, she healed weeks faster than they anticipated and is already back home from the hospital!  The doctors and I both credit her active lifestyle before the injury for her rapid recovery.  Just another reason to keep up the physical activity throughout your whole life!

With the end-of-semester craziness finishing up, I was even more excited to receive a pre-release copy of The Healing Kitchen by my friend Alaena Haber (of Grazed and Enthused) and Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (AKA The Paleo Mom).  Alaena recently moved to Austin and has joined the Paleo Girls’ Night that Leslie Auman started up with a bunch of us paleo eaters and bloggers in the area.  She is so fun to be around and we are all very excited for her publishing debut with Dr. Ballantyne.

THK Cover

Each of these women knows what she’s talking about when it comes to using food to heal. Both of them have fixed a number of issues in their lives, ranging from a slew of autoimmune diseases each to achieving major weight loss and maintenance thereafter.  And if their personal experiences with these things aren’t enough to qualify them for the task of writing this book, their professional experience sure does.  Alaena has a huge compilation of beautiful paleo/AIP recipes on her website, built up from years of eating paleo and AIP-compliant to heal and improve her way of life.  Dr. Ballantyne has spent many years researching in different areas of science, spanning from physics to immunology. She has won dozens of awards for her scientific achievement over the years and now applies that knowledge to help others achieve the health success that she has.  These two women put together make dynamite!

A section unique to this book that I really like is the explanation of functional foods with the visual help of balance scales.  These pages show different types of food and “weigh” the good vs. bad aspects of each one.  If the good is heavier, it’s worth eating to further your health.  If the bad is heavier, it’s best avoided in a healing kitchen.  This is a great harmony of science plus application.  If you’re the type to want to know what’s in your food and why it does (or doesn’t) help you, then the explanatory pages before the visual help will benefit you immensely.  If you are really just interested in eating according to a set of guidelines and aren’t big into knowing why they help, simply go to the “yes” and “no” food pages at the end of the section.  The best of both worlds are right there for both types of people!

After the first half of the book comes the recipes.  And let me tell you, these babies are KILLER.  Classic favorites like biscuits and gravy, oven-fried chicken, and strawberry milkshakes are strewn throughout each section.  New creations like spicy African kale, monkey bars, and pesto chicken pizza are also just as prominent.  So whether you’re looking to recreate a favorite meal in a healthier fashion or are an ambitious cook looking for a new taste, this book caters to both desires!  No pun intended.  Okay, maybe a little.

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Healing Kitchen for yourself or a loved one (or both!), it is available online both at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

One last thing – I’ve got a recipe from the book to share with you!  I will definitely be making this one throughout the holidays.  Hopefully it’ll help you spice up your gatherings, too.  Thanks to Alaena and Dr. Ballantyne for allowing me to post it!

Red Sangria

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: None   Total time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

1 pear, diced

3 strips fresh orange peel

1/2 lemon, sliced thinly

5 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 (16-ounce) bottle unflavored kombucha, chilled

Ice, for serving (optional)

 

Directions

    1. Combine all the ingredients except the kombucha in a large glass jar or pitcher.  Place in the refrigerator to steep for 8 hours or overnight.
    2. Just before serving, remove the cloves and cinnamon stick and stir in the kombucha.  Serve over ice, if desired.

THE HEALING KITCHEN 1000-288

*Disclosure:  I receive a small compensation for these reviews.  This does not affect my honesty about the product.  Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at flabstofitness@gmail.com.*

The Paleo Cupboard Cookbook

Wow… what a week this has been for new recipe sources!  First Michelle Fagone released Ladle, a soup and stew ebook which you can read about here.  Then yesterday, Anne Marie and I released The Paleo Cookie Exchange, a FREE ebook perfect for the holidays that can be downloaded here.  And now today Amy Densmore is releasing her debut cookbook, The Paleo Cupboard Cookbook.  I am so excited about the chance to share about all of these with you!  This post is focused on Densmore’s book, because it deserves every positive review you are sure to read about it.

Paleo Cupboard is a blog with modest beginnings, as so many of the best ones are.  After ditching her low-fat, calorie-counting eating habits for a paleo lifestyle, Densmore’s family wanted in on her new-found energy and weight loss.  She began Paleo Cupboard as a way to easily share her recipes with those in her life who were curious about why she felt so good.  In time, she began gaining more readers and the website grew to be a huge influence in the paleo community.  This cookbook is like an all-star conglomeration of her best recipes, plus new ones written exclusively for the book.

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It is clear that Densmore truly put a lot of time and care into this piece of work.  Besides the incredible recipes (which cannot be understated), she has included an “about me” blurb, the story behind the book, an informational section about the paleo lifestyle and which foods to enjoy/avoid, how to stock a paleo kitchen, a clarification on different flavor types and how to create them with real food, and even an 8-week meal plan with a shopping list.

I have seen many of these features included in other books, but the flavors section is something new that I never would have had thought to include if I were writing a book.  It is something that many people don’t think about because the different flavors are recognized without needing names, but Densmore’s decision to elaborate on how to make them is a genius move.  I know I can get stuck in flavor ruts, so I’m sure everyone has the same issue from time-to-time.  This is a great resource to have no matter what your cooking experience is.

On top of all the features that make up this book, Densmore has done a fabulous job of capturing her personality along the way.  She is charmingly funny and from what I can glean from the few personal exchanges I’ve had with her, very friendly.  You can truly tell when reading everything from the prose to the recipes that she genuinely loves what she does and wants to make others smile when she shares it with them.  That is something truly special.

Okay… one more awesome thing.  Amy is letting me share this butt-kicking and oh-so-simple recipe from her book.  It also happens to be the food featured as the cover!  I made these babies for dinner and they are just as easy as they are delicious.  Give them a go this week while you’re waiting for your copy of the full book to come in the mail! 🙂

Lemon and Thyme Chicken Thighs

Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs

Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes   Total time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), lard, or tallow

1 large lemon, sliced

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat the ghee in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking the thighs without touching them for another 10 minutes, or until the skin has released from the pan (the skin will initially stick to the pan and then will release once the fat has rendered).  Drain any excess fat from the pan, then transfer the skillet to the oven (remember, the handle will be hot).  Cook for 10 more minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the oven and flip the chicken pieces over.  Nestle the lemon slices and thyme sprigs between the chicken pieces, then return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear when a knife is inserted and the meat is no longer pink inside, or the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF.  Remove from the oven, drizzle with lemon juice, and serve.

If you would like to purchase The Paleo Cupboard Cookbook, it is available NOW from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

*Disclosure:  I receive a small compensation for these reviews.  This does not affect my honesty about the product.  Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at flabstofitness@gmail.com.*

Ladle Ebook

Winter is coming.  My little Texan heart doesn’t like to admit that, but it is.  And in Austin, that means plenty of weeks where the weather shifts from 70’s and sunny to 40’s and storming in a matter of hours.  Don’t forget about the flash flooding, too!

The cold and rain are NOT my favorite things to deal with, especially as a student who has to be outside for it all in order to get across campus and go to class.  Having a nice, big pot of warm food at the end of the day as I sip some hot tea and strut around in as many layers as I can fit on my body is a good thing to look forward to when I’m sitting in a lecture hall and doing my best to “will away” the oncoming pneumonia.

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That being said, I’m always on the lookout for great and unique cold weather food.  Since it’s warm most of the year here, we tend to drift toward the same staple cold-weather options.  While those are delicious, I was SO excited to see the variety offered in Ladle, Michelle Fagone of Cavegirl Cuisine‘s latest ebook.  It’s filled with 50 different recipes for soups, chilis, stews, and even things in-between (like the recipe I’m about to share with you!).  Scrolling through this book made me realize how unoriginal I’ve been in the soup category.  Did you know you could put STRAWBERRIES into tomato-basil soup and it would be GOOD?  Because I never would have thought that one up!

On top of this huge list of recipes to warm up your taste buds, Fagone also includes a quick introduction about herself and the paleo lifestyle, an informational page on the many benefits of soup, a list of soup-cooking kitchen tools that will be useful with her recipes, and even several pages of the different types of broth and how to render them yourself.  She squeezes a ton of information into a concise format that will be great for any beginner without leaving anything out.  The whole look is brought together by beautiful photography (trust me, taking pictures of soup is NOT an easy task) and polished off with the final editing, done by Leslie Auman of The Whole Life Balance.

Long story short:  You need this ebook to get you out of your hot-food rut.  And it is on sale NOW for a steal of a price – $9.99 until November 30th!!  That gets you 50 unique recipes to keep you warm all winter long.  Make sure to grab yourself a copy before the price increases to $14.99 after November!  Go ahead and click here to buy it before you forget. 🙂

Okay… Michelle is pretty awesome, because she’s also letting me share one of the recipes from her ebook FO FREE.  Right now.

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This is the Chorizo-Chicken Chiloup from Ladle.  I made it for dinner this week as part of my meal prep, and it is SO.  GOOD.  I really was not sure what to expect when preparing it, because I’ll be the first to admit that I over-use spices most of the time in my recipes and this list didn’t seem to have too much seasoning involved.  But seriously… the stuff on the ingredients list is all you need.  I’m so happy I have this “chiloup” (part-chili, part-soup) to look forward to before I head off to each night of rehearsals this week.  Do yourself a favor and make it ASAP!

Chorizo-Chicken Chiloup

Ingredients

1 lb loose chorizo, or cut from the casings

1 red onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, or color of choice, seeded and diced

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, or mushrooms of choice, sliced

2 tablespoons ghee or real butter

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

1 pound chicken thighs, lightly cooked and diced (these will continue to cook in the soup)

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, strained

Optional garnishes:

Sliced black olives, fresh cilantro, diced avocado

 

Directions

  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook chorizo, onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms until chorizo is browned.
  2. Add ghee, celery, carrots, coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add chicken, broth, and diced tomatoes.
  3. Cook covered on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Continue to simmer uncovered for one hour.  Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with optional toppings.  Enjoy!

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To purchase Ladle, click here.

*Disclosure:  I receive a small compensation for these reviews.  This does not affect my honesty about the product.  Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at flabstofitness@gmail.com.*

All-American Paleo Table by Caroline Potter

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Wow, am I excited about what I have to show y’all today.  I got my hands on a pre-release copy of All-American Paleo Table to review and I could not be happier about it.  Written by Caroline Potter, this book is her publishing debut with a fantastic compilation of favorite American recipes that have been stripped of their allergens, but not of their flavor.  Potter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 20.  Soon after her diagnosis, she sought a whole-foods approach to coping with her illness and spent a lot of time frustrated that she could no longer enjoy the foods she so loved with the rest of her friends.  After much determination, she finally decided that her food sensitivities should not be a limitation to enjoying the foods she had always loved.  Hence, the basis of this cookbook was born.

I can’t explain how pumped I am about this cookbook.  As soon as I received it in the mail, I wanted to make every recipe I flipped to!  Case in point: it includes foods like corn dogs.  PALEO. CORN DOGS. _MG_5453

Another awesome part of the design of Potter’s book is that each recipe includes the list of food sensitivities it caters to at the very top of the page.  This is important for those wanting to cook from All-American Paleo Table, as Potter sometimes uses dairy in her recipes.  However, if a recipe includes dairy, it also includes a variation on how to exclude it if that is one of your allergies.

I drooled over the majority of this book, finally settling on a recipe to make first and share with y’all.  The Buffalo Chicken Meatballs are an easy recipe that brought out my love of hot wings and still got in a serving of leafy greens in the process.  What?  I never thought I’d se “hot wings” and “leafy greens” in the same sentence.  Another good thing to note is that this is one of the recipes which includes dairy (blue cheese inside of the meatballs), but the simple variation for dairy-free is to simply omit it.  The texture of the meatballs is not compromised and they still stay fully intact throughout the cooking process.  Now that is a sign of a solid recipe!

Before I go into sharing the Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with you, let me just go ahead and get you excited about some of the other incredible creations from this book:

  • Slow-cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches (p.102)
  • Chewy Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies (p.92)
  • White Sausage Gravy with Biscuits (p. 46)
  • Steak and Egg Breakfast Fries (p.42)
  • Crunchy Cinnamon Toast Squares (p.18)
  • Creamy Chocolate Peppermint Truffles (p.224)
  • Sausage, Apple, Mushroom Stuffing (p.206)
  • Loaded Nachos (p.158)
  • Duck Fat Fries (p.140)
  • Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake (p.208)

And the coolest part about these recipes is that Potter arranged each of them around a well-known American holiday.  This includes a Thanksgiving, Christmas, game day, and even a movie night section.  Meal and party planning will be a breeze with these classic recipes already bundled up for whatever occasion you are celebrating!

All right, now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… here is that awesome recipe!  Please let me and Caroline know if you make it and what you think!

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes   Cook time: 20 minutes   Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 meatballs

Ingredients
1 cup (110g) almond flour
2 tsp (10g) salt
2 tsp (6 g) garlic powder
2 lbs (907g) ground chicken
1/3 cup (45g) green onions, chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, for searing
2/3 cup (158 ml) buffalo hot sauce*
2 handfuls fresh arugula leaves
4 oz (113 g) blue cheese crumbles, optional (omit for dairy; the photos of my batch are dairy-free)
Coconut oil for greasing hands
Ranch Dressing (page 168), for serving

*Potter recommends Frank’s hot sauce.

_MG_5428 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC) and warm a large nonstick skillet to medium heat.
  2. In the bottom of a mixing bowl, sift together the almond flour, salt and garlic.  Add in the ground chicken and green onions.  Use your hands to mix together the meat, incorporating all the ingredients, but be careful not to overmix because the chicken will become gummy.
  3. Lightly grease your hands with coconut oil, shape the chicken into small meatballs, and set them aside on a plate.  If the chicken becomes too difficult to work with, wash and re-grease your hands.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil in the warm skillet, swirling around to coat all sides of the skillet.  Sear the meatballs for 8 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes so that all sides are seared.
  5. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish, placing them close together so that all sides are touching.  This is easiest if the baking dish is similar in size to the meatballs; I find that a 9 by 13 inch (22.8 by 33 cm) dish usually works well.  Pour the hot sauce over the meatballs and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve over a bed of arugula with blue cheese crumbles or Ranch Dressing._MG_5440

You can purchase All-American Paleo Table now on Amazon.com or from Barnes & Noble.