Monday, February 28, 2011

Deadlifts and Double Unders

I realized today that I have been so focused on Paleo that I have been neglecting the Crossfit aspect of my blog. So for those who are just interested in the Paleo recipes this may not interest you, but for those looking to gain a little knowledge read on.

Our WOD (Workout Of the Day) today at Iron Tribe Fitness goes as follows:


Max double unders in 2 minutes
Max hand-stand push ups in 2 minutes
Max double unders in 2 minutes

For those unfamiliar with Crossfit this probably makes no sense, but essentially what it means is that I am looking to find my 3 rep max in deadlifts. That is to say, I'm trying to find the heaviest possible weight that I can deadlift three times. This is not one of my favorite exercises because I feel I have a weak back so I try to learn as much as I can about this lift in order to help my technique and keep me safe while lifting. I found this article in the Crossfit Journal and wanted to share it with all my fellow Crossfitters. Hope this newfound knowledge helps you to improve your deadlift even if only a little. Because let's face it...every pound counts with Crossfit.

As for the bottom half of the WOD, I will have to perform as many double unders (jump rope passing under my feet twice with every jump) as possible in two minutes, then as many hand-stand push ups (probably self-explanatory) in two minutes and then back to double unders for the last two minutes.

The reason this portion of the WOD excites me more than it use to is because my sweet hubby bought me an Again Faster speed jump rope for Valentine's and it has greatly improved my double under technique. They're still very difficult but with every WOD that comes along featuring double unders I know my technique will improve. I cannot say enough about how having the right jump rope can make all the difference.

So if you're an Iron Triber reading this, then good luck with the Deadlifts and Double Unders! Let's set some new PRs!!!

Mustard and Lime Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Elana's Pantry. She runs a gluten free website and is often a source I go to for yummy, healthy Paleo recipes. This dish has great flavor and is one of the hubby's favorite Paleo meals. It's also nice since the weather has been feeling a lot more like spring, so it's not too cold to fire up the grill. If you don't have a grill I'm sure this would taste yummy baked as well.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine lime juice, cilantro, mustard, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until well combined.

After cleaning your chicken breast pat them dry with a paper towel and place them in a ziplock bag.

Pour mustard and lime into the bag with the chicken and move around until well coated.

Marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours. Do not over marinate as the lime juice can start to "cook" the chicken.

Remove chicken from bag and grill 5 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through.

If you are like me you love sauces so I reserve the marinade and cook it in a small saucepan to add a little extra sauce once the chicken comes off the grill.  Make sure you heat the sauce well since it was hanging out with uncooked chicken.  The sauce is very tangy, however, so use just a little bit at a time.

As a side dish I usually serve sauteed peppers and a baked sweet potato.

For the peppers cut off the top and bottom and remove the insides, making sure to cut off the ribs.  If not removed they can make the pepper taste bitter.

Slice them up and saute over med-high heat with a little bit of olive oil.  Don't use too much olive oil or you won't get a nice brown on the peppers.

Saute for a few minutes.

They don't need any salt and pepper.  The peppers are yummy all on their own.

For the sweet potatoes, rinse and clean them then pat dry with a paper towel.

Rub them with a little bit of olive oil and place them in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil.

Bake at 500 for about an hour.

This is probably one of my favorite dishes I've done so far.  It's super easy and has a lot of great flavors.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meatloaf with a Parsnip Puree

I've been looking for a Paleo dish that resembled Southern comfort food, something that would stick to my ribs.  I found it.  This was a huge hit with both my husband (who's been doing the Paleo Challenge with me, but is a bit newer to Paleo) and my brother-in-law whom I make be my guinea pig on a few recipes.  Their plates were both licked clean so I consider that a success.

This recipe is also super easy to make and ready in less than an hour.  Serves 6 to 8 depending on how much they can eat.

Ingredients for Paleo Meatloaf:
2 lbs ground beef (I used 80/20 chuck because the key to great meatloaf is fat.  If you want to be a little healthier use lean ground beef and forgo the ground pork.  I just doubt your meatloaf will be as tasty.)
1 lb ground pork
1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1 cup semi-homemade tomato sauce (recipe below)
1 tbsp Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb Blend
celtic sea salt

Ingredients for semi-homemade tomato sauce:
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 roasted red pepper
(you can either roast this yourself or do things the Sandra Lee way and purchase already roasted red peppers...helpful tip, so you won't wander around the grocery store for half an hour trying to find them, they are located right next to the pickle section)
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, roughly chopped (you'll use the other half in the parsnip puree)
4 cloves garlic, minced
celtic sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine ingredients for tomato sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth.

In a large bowl combine ground meat, almond flour, eggs, one cup of tomato sauce, Mrs. Dash (or whatever seasoning you prefer or have on hand), salt and pepper and mix together with hands.

Place meatloaf mixture in a 9x13 baking dish. (If you choose to use a traditional loaf pan, then add 30 to 45 minutes of additional cooking time)

Top with bacon.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Turn oven to broil and crisp up the bacon for about 5 minutes.

While the meatloaf is baking it's time to make our parsnip puree.  I absolutely love this recipe because it is a fantastic replacement for mashed potatoes.  The sweetness of the parsnips also pairs nicely with the saltiness of the meatloaf.

Ingredients for Parsnip Puree:
2 to 3 bags of parsnips
1/2 a medium, yellow onion (roughly chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Gluten-free chicken stock
Celtic sea salt
Pastured (grass-fed) heavy whipping cream
Pastured butter
(The previous two ingredients are the two exceptions to the "avoid dairy" rule according to Whole 9, but should be used in moderation)

A parsnip is a white carrot that has a wonderful sweet flavor.

Peel, rinse and then chop the parsnips.  Place in a medium pot or sauce pan.

Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chicken stock and turn burner to med-high heat.

Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender.

The stock will reduce some so you may have to add a little more about halfway through your cook time.

With a slotted spoon, allow stock to drain off vegetables and then scoop into food processor or blender.  Add a tablespoon or two of butter.  (You won't want to add too much because pastured butter is not cheap.)

While blending add heavy whipping cream, a small portion at a time, until a desired consistency is reached.

If you want to forgo the dairy altogether, then 86 the butter and whipping cream.
Instead add a little bit of the stock left in the pan slowly to the parsnip puree until a desired consistency is reached.

Also while the meatloaf is baking, take the remainder of the tomato sauce and slowly simmer it in a small sauce-pan.  I added about a tablespoon of agave nectar for a little sweetness.  This is totally optional.

After the meatloaf is done, remove from pan and place on a platter.  Cut in slices against the bacon and serve over the parsnip puree.  Top with tomato sauce, eat and enjoy.

For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the end result, but I feel like I will be making this again very soon and will repost a picture.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


This soup was adapted from a friend's recipe to make it Paleo.  However after making the adjustments I'm not sure it would still be considered a "Minestrone".  It's now more like a chicken and vegetable soup.  Whatever the case, it is delicious.  I have found that lunch is the hardest meal for me to eat Paleo.  You need something that is quick and easy and that can be put in one container and taken to work.  I always double this recipe and we eat on it all week for lunch.

1 lb cooked chicken breast 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 tbsp dried basil
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
16 oz can tomatoes, diced and drained
32 oz container chicken stock (check to make sure it is gluten free, I use Kitchen Basics)
1 tbsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large stockpot combine olive oil, onions, garlic, carrots and basil.  Cook for 8 minutes.

I like to cut my carrots a little thicker and on a bias for a rustic texture.

Add chicken, zucchini, tomatoes, broth, cabbage, salt and pepper.

The stock should almost cover all of the ingredients.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for one hour.
Eat and enjoy.

A variation to this recipe (if you double it) is to use a whole rotisserie chicken.  This is how I make it, and I think the addition of some dark meat adds a really nice flavor to the soup.  The easiest route would be to buy a pre cooked chicken at your local grocery store, but if you have the time I encourage roasting your own chicken.  

I purchased this one from Springer Mountain Farms at Publix on sale for $1.69 per pound.  

Remove the innards (I know...kinda gross), rub the bird with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in roasting pan or baking dish.  
Preheat oven to 350 and cook 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes.
To ensure the doneness of your whole chicken I suggest buying a meat thermometer.  They aren't expensive and they are very helpful.
Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the thigh bone.  The temperature should reach 180 degrees F.

The roasted bird.

Also as a side note, and to save your fingers from being burned, wait 30 minutes or so before cutting the meat off of the chicken.  After you have removed all of the meat, you can either chop or shred your chicken.

This soup is very hearty and flavorful and like I said is perfect for a quick lunch.
If you try out this recipe and enjoy it let me hear from you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Challenge

As mentioned in my previous post I have a plan. The Paleo plan. Fortunately I have a group of people at Iron Tribe Fitness who are on the same plan which makes it all the more easier to succeed. We are now in the midst of a 40 day Paleo Challenge. 40 days, no gluten, no dairy, no sugar. It's now day 30 and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But needless to say this past month has not been easy. There are some days when my energy is through the roof and I feel like I could conquer any WOD with ease, and then there are days when I can't get enough food. I stay hungry all day, and when I am hungry I am not the most pleasant person to be around. I'll eat mounds of almond butter and there has even been a day when I ate five larabars. Shameful, I know. But even on those tough days I know there are a few fellow tribers I can call or text and they'll talk me down from getting in my car and driving to the nearest Sonic. It's also nice to know that there are other's out there experiencing the same difficulties as me. I hope in my being transparent I don't deter anyone from trying Paleo; that is why it is all the more important, when trying any diet or any new change in life for that matter, to have a plan of action. My goal for the remainder of this week is to post at least two new recipes each day in order to help those in the Paleo Challenge or even those new to Paleo who have no idea where to get started. I leave you with a few pictures of a woman name Sarah Fragoso.

You can go here to read a little snippet about Sarah's journey with Crossfit and Paleo. This is to show any skeptics out there that if you put in the time and hard work then you WILL see results. Intensity is the shortcut to results. Get moving!

"Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory."
~ General George S. Patton

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Diet

That word has such a bad connotation. Images of starving yourself, of eating things that you don't really want to, and for all intensive purposes, things that don't even taste good. There are tons of diets out there. Atkins, South Beach, Biggest Loser, there's even a banana diet. Google it...they love it in Japan. But diet shouldn't be a word we dread. A diet, after all, is a plan. We have plans for other areas of our lives. We have a budget for our finances. We have a calendar for our social lives. We have wills for after we pass. And we all recognize that if we don't have a plan for those areas they will suffer. But rarely do we have a plan for what we eat. We as a country are suffering. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity are just to name a few of the food-related illnesses we suffer from. Not to mention we are the second-most obese state in the nation. You could safely say that not having a plan for what we eat is spreading into an epidemic. I encourage everyone to watch this this video from chef Jamie Oliver. It truly is mind-blowing to realize that not only are we slowly killing ourselves but we are also setting a horrible example for the next generation. And what's crazy is that these diseases are preventable, but not without a plan. There are many things that I love about my box (name for Crossfit gyms), Iron Tribe Fitness, and one of those things is how they encourage every athlete to get in charge of their nutrition. And they have made every effort to afford everyone at Iron Tribe the information to successfully implement a plan for their nutrition. This is where I learned about The Paleo Diet. This diet consists of eating meat, vegetables, some fruit and nuts. No gluten. No dairy. No sugar. And I will preface this by saying that yes, this is not an easy diet. And this is where planning comes in handy. I have learned many times over the past year that if I don't have a plan for my diet, I will definitely fail. But a little planning goes a long way and the gains are worth every minute of planning. My goal with this blog is to make planning for The Paleo Diet a tad bit easier. I will be posting Paleo recipes as I go along. Please let me know if you try anything you like and feel free to e-mail me suggestions and recipes. I hope this blog will be a tool to encourage and inspire you along your Paleo way. Also if you want to learn more about The Paleo Diet I would highly suggest reading Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution".

"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are."
~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Passion.  It's what drives every human being.  Without it we live our lives merely wandering; allowing other people or even our own circumstances to make a path for us instead of blazing our own trail.  I will be the first to admit that, to a certain extent, I have lived parts of my life wandering instead of making my own way.  I tend to be a laid-back, go-with-the-flow type which can be both a blessing and a curse.  Don't get me wrong, I have a great life.  I have an amazing husband, a happy and healthy family.  I've been blessed with incredible people to do life with and I know I am the apple of God's eye.  But there are few things in life, aside from the aforementioned, that get me really excited.  True, passionate excitement.  Something that gives me energy, makes me giddy even.  I truly feel that I have stumbled upon something, an ideology if you will, that is not only life-changing but it's life-blazing.  It all started when I met a man in a grocery store who had recently opened a Crossfit gym only seconds from my house.  I had walked by the gym but was too intimidated by the unfamiliarity of the objects I saw inside to ever stop in.  After talking to Forrest that day in Piggly Wiggly, he had convinced me to at least stop by to check it out.  Knowing nothing about Crossfit, I marched into Iron Tribe Fitness totally looking the part.  I had my workout gear on, which by the way had not been worn in quite some time.  That February morning I was introduced to my first WOD.  For those unfamiliar, WOD stands for Workout Of the Day.  After a mere 10 minutes I was lying on the floor wondering why these people wanted to torture me.  I was hooked.  I know it sounds strange but something ignited me when I did this WOD.  It was intense and extremely tough, but something was sparked.  Little did I know that that spark was the passion that I would soon acquire for, of all things, a workout routine.  I've been doing Crossfit now for almost a year and I haven't looked back.  I look forward every day to the punishment my body will receive in the WOD.  It sounds abnormal to want to put myself through that, not to mention doing it on a daily basis.  But every time I walk into ITF that spark ignites again.  I look forward to pushing myself beyond what I think I can't do, and doing it.  It's uncomfortable, it's demanding and I love it.  This blog is dedicated to my journey through Crossfit, and living my life as prescribed.

                                                    "When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn."
                                                                                                                                            ~ John Wesley