Spicy Surf and Turf Caesar Salad Recipe Plus Health Benefits of Cooking with Curry During Winter

This curry spiced surf and turf caesar salad is a healthy dish great for spicing up your salads while keeping your immune system strong! Easy to make and my version is gluten free of course! 

This curry spiced surf and turf caesar salad is a healthy dish great for spicin' up your salads while keeping your immune system strong! Easy to make and my version is gluten free of course!

I will confess. The kiwi and I are not romantic. In fact, we’re quite boring. But hey, that’s us, right? We spend a lot of date nights in because

  • A- I like to cook, it’s my therapy and my excuse to have wine. Ahem… guilty.
  • B – The Kiwi has a lot of long rides and runs during the weekend, so I try to make meals that will be quick but nutrient dense.

One of my favorite meals to make on a cold weekend night is this Spicy Caesar, but let me tell you why it’s good during cold months.

This curry spiced surf and turf caesar salad is a healthy dish great for spicin' up your salads while keeping your immune system strong! Easy to make and my version is gluten free of course!

For one, the Steak and Shrimp are great sources of Iron and Amino acids, we need that for muscle regeneration.

But the Curry, oh yes, it’s magical! Curry powder is actually a mixture of several spices –> turmeric, fenugreek, curry leaves and even coriander. Curry has many health benefits, but the one benefits that I really APPRECIATE during the colder months is it’s effect it has on joint care and blood circulation in the body!  If regularly consumed, it can help reduce stiffness that often occurs in the joints and muscles during winter. And if you’ve ever trained for a marathon or triathlon or anything for that matter during the winter months, then you’ll definitely know that feeling. Am I right?

So, a little curry every day is a great way to spice up dishes and loosen up those joints. Yep, we’re curry obsessed.

This curry spiced surf and turf caesar salad is a healthy dish great for spicin' up your salads while keeping your immune system strong! Easy to make and my version is gluten free of course!

Okay okay, enough nutrition talk, let’s get to the recipe. Oh my goodness is sooooo good and so easy!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Spicy Surf and Turf Caesar Salad Recipe (gluten free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 6-8 oz steak fillet (or two 4 ounce fillet)
  • 10-12 medium shrimp
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • lime juice
  • ¼ tsp each black pepper and sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder or minced
  • 1 bag of iceberg lettuce
  • hard shredded parmesan
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cup black rice
  • Caesar dressing of choice
Instructions
  1. First prepare your rice. This is optional but it gives a nice crunch to the salad. I make the black rice ahead of time and use a vegetable broth with a pinch or two of chili pepper when steaming/boiling. Black rice usually takes about 30 minutes or so in rice cooker.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare your proteins. In a small bowl, combine your oil and your seasoning. Mix together. Then coat the steaks and the shrimp in the marinade with the curry and balsamic vinegar. Place steaks in the over at 400F for 20-25 minutes. The last 15 minutes or so, add your shrimp. Broil the last minute. If the steaks are extra thick, they might need longer time.
  3. Once everything this cooked, combine a little bit of rice with the steak/shrimp and toss together with more curry and black pepper if you'd like. Place on a bed of lettuce, sprinkle with parmesan, lime juice, and drizzle with your dressing. It's delish!
Notes
to make dairy free and paleo, omit the cheese. I also like using this paleo recipe for the dressing http://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-recipe/caesar-dressing/

And if you actually use chop sticks to eat the salad, you get bonus points because it’s hard and takes a lot of patience when you are hungry. Just sayin…

surf and turf ceasar curry salad ! Creamy and spicy and perfect quick dinner or date night in! Gluten free too!

What’s your favorite way to use curry? I’d love more ideas, always!

Happy weekend, happy training, happy EATING!

And stay warm.

Cheers,

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p.s. I have another FAB gadget giveaway this weekend. And the Healthy Bites/Lovegrown giveaway ends Monday. WHOA! Go enter!

One Dish Fish and Veggie Bake {Paleo Friendly}

One dish meals. Oh goodness, we love them! I mean, throw everything in a pot or pan, cook, serve, bam! You’re done.  And if you’re like us, maybe you make a couple of dishes and save some for the next day? Leftovers for lunch is like GOLD!

Really though, one dish meals can save you a ton of time in the kitchen and make week night dinners delicious and healthy.

One Dish Baked Fish an veggie potato bake! #paleo friendly. Easy week night dinner. Healthy and delicious! @cottercrunch

When I cook one dish meals, I focus on making them balanced. This means healthy fats, protein, carbs, and flavor. Hey, good taste has to be included, right? You don’t want a one dish meal without flavor, that would be a waste. Flavoring is KEY to make the whole dish come together.

One dish fish and veggie bake - @Cottercrunch Now I know what you’re thinking…. fish, again? How in the world do you flavor fish along with all the other ingredients in the ONE DISH?

Here’s my fish dish trick. —> Try pairing light fish (like cod or haddock) with a starchy vegetable and then add a more fats by roasted the potatoes in ghee, duck fat, or butter. (optional). Or choose a fatty fish (like salmon) to go with a fruit grain (like wild rice or quinoa) and keep the veggies more green based, like spinach, kale, etc. I use lemon and olive oil to keep the flavor light with more fatty fish.

one dish cod and veggie bake #paleo Easy dinner!

5.0 from 2 reviews
One Dish Fish and Veggie Bake {Paleo Friendly}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup diced onion and celery (1/4 cup each)
  • 1½ cup to 2 cups shaved Brussel sprouts
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper or paprika
  • dash of sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic.
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cod fillets (4oz-5oz) - Or other white fish. I use sizzlefish Cod
  • ¼ cup honey mustard dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • feta cheese or goat cheese to top (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or duck fat
Instructions
  1. First, lightly pan fry your potatoes in sea salt and duck fat. cook until slightly tender but not all the way cooked. Next, coat your fillets in a mustard dressing and lemon juice then set aside. Combine your veggies and potatoes together, mix with balsamic vinegar and the rest of your seasoning. Place your fish fillets in a casserole dish, add your veggies and potatoes on top along with feta cheese. Bake at 450F for 15-17 minutes. Broil the last minute to make Brussel sprouts crispy!

Both of these styles of fish dishes are great for those looking to refuel after a workout or for growing kids! A good source of omegas, glycogen from the rice/potatoes, and antioxidants from the veggies.

Mmm k. Who’s hungry?

One dish fish and veggie bake - Week night meals made easy! #paleo friendly and delicious! @cottercrunch

What’s your go to one dish meal? I’d love more ideas!

Cheers!

signature1

 

 

 

Gut Loving Cranberry Pineapple Elixir with Turmeric

Here we go! Second week of 2015. How’s it been treating you? Are you one to start the detoxing and cleansing? I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t believe in detoxing. But that’s just my personal preference. To each their own. I think the liver is the only one that needs to focus on detoxing for us, but sometimes we just need to give it a little TLC or support. I know my liver and digestion definitely need some extra support after a few month’s of crazy eats and frequent stress. I also think it’s great to support the liver when you are doing heavy training or racing. Which is why I have the Kiwi supporting his liver too, ya know?

Okay, so instead of focusing on detoxing and cleansing by eliminating foods, let’s maybe shift focus on adding in nutrients that support the liver in doing it’s job.

  • Nutrients like bromelain (a proteolytic enzyme found in pineapple) that helps support digestion by breaking protein.
  • Nutrients like Turmeric (a powerful ant-inflammatory spice) that can help reduce inflammation in the gut and whole body. You can see my whole post about turmeric HERE along with another recipe.
  • Nutrients like those found in Cranberries (including digestion-aiding enzymes). In fact, a new study has been linked cranberries to helping prevent attachment of bacteria to the stomach lining,  You all know i love a good soothing cranberry smoothie.

And thanks to antioxidant rich Bai Drinks, I can now add in coffee fruit to that list of nutrient packed ingredients. Coffee fruit is the fruit in which the coffee bean grown. Remember, I used it in my SUPER FRUITCAKE smoothie. Yep, that delicious one! Coffee fruit is a amazing SUPER FRUIT rich in antioxidants and helps fight free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage. Free radicals are caused by… well… STRESS.

Which leads me to this recipe.A new Gut loving Elixir recipe.

Cranberry Pineapple Elixir

It’s like a tune up for my liver and gut. Ahh.. post holiday tune up’s feel nice!

Gut Loving Cranberry Pineapple Elixir with Turmeric
 
Simmering will extract the beneficial compounds from the turmeric
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 6-8 oz fresh pineapple juice (i use bai bubbles Peru pineapple).
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Lemon juice
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Optional - honey, stevia, etc.
Instructions
  1. There are two ways you can make this. You can just add in the the turmeric, or you can boil it first it first like i did with this recipe! See link --> http://www.cottercrunch.com/2014/06/chronic-inflammation-turmeric-ginger-lemonade/
  2. I highly recommended boiling a tsp of your turmeric in 2 cups hot water first, then strain the turmeric and add in lemon juice. Let it cool. Pour into cup and mix in your pineapple juice and cranberry juices. Sweeten with stevia or even ginger if you'd like. 
  3. Note: If you don't have Bai Bubbles, you can use 4oz pineapple juice and then 4 oz sparkling water to make it bubbly. Although using Bai has the best taste! Serves 2!
Notes
Recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch

Cranberry Pineapple Bai Elixir - cottercrunch.com

Can you see why I’m so hooked now? Plus the color along just makes me smile. Speaking of smiles, Bai Drinks would love for one of you all to try out all their drinks, so their offering a giveaway. Your smiling nowm aren’t you?

bai bubbles

For today’s giveaway, one lucky winner will receive onec ase of Bai5 (pic below) or Bai Bubbles (pic above), or a mix of both! That’s  twelve bottles.

bai 5

Enter in below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I actually first found Bai 5 at my local grocer and at Target. I fell in love with Molokai coconut and was about to work may way through buying and trying each flavor when Bai contacted me. So honest to goodness, this is why I am sharing and why I wanted you all to try it too! I was compensated for this review, but just keepin it real ya’ll.

Do you detox? Or do you find ways to support the body?

Cheers!

 

Gut Loving Cranberry Pineapple Elixir with Turmeric
 
Simmering will extract the beneficial compounds from the turmeric
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 6-8 oz fresh pineapple juice (i use bai bubbles Peru pineapple).
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Lemon juice
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Optional - honey, stevia, etc.
Instructions
  1. There are two ways you can make this. You can just add in the the turmeric, or you can boil it first it first like i did with this recipe! See link --> http://www.cottercrunch.com/2014/06/chronic-inflammation-turmeric-ginger-lemonade/
  2. I highly recommended boiling a tsp of your turmeric in 2 cups hot water first, then strain the turmeric and add in lemon juice. Let it cool. Pour into cup and mix in your pineapple juice and cranberry juices. Sweeten with stevia or even ginger if you'd like.
  3. Note: If you don't have Bai Bubbles, you can use 4oz pineapple juice and then 4 oz sparkling water to make it bubbly. Although using Bai has the best taste! Serves 2!
Notes
Recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch

Dairy Free SUPER Fruitcake Smoothie {Paleo}

When I was a kid, I used to get giddy when we hit the last 5 days till Christmas. It meant school was out and I hadn’t a worry in the world. Plus I knew I was on the nice list. I was a goody two shoes, so Santa loved me! ;-)

Well, today that giddy feeling is kinda still there, but along with it is a feeling of being rushed. Like an “oh crap I haven’t bought any gifts yet” kind of feeling. And an “oh my gosh why are these lines SO LONG let’s hurry it up people” kind of feeling. I know you can relate, right?

Yes, I am that woman. The last minute shopper. One who rushes to get it all done in one or two days! I blame my husband. He’s super low key and saves everything to last minute, and over the course of our 7 year marriage, I’ve adapted to his ways…. hence Crazy Cotter Syndrome.

Okay okay, I don’t blame everything on him, but I do blame myself. Being caught up in “life” obligations can be distracting. It can can cause me to miss this whole “HOLIDAY” season. It can cause me to STRESS instead of slow down and DE-STRESS. It can cause me to forget to rest and digest.

Rest and Digest –> physically and mentally. Take a day, or two, or three, to digest REAL food. To let the nervous system calm down from all the hustle and bustle. To digest the SEASON (the slower the better).

This past weekend I took “DIGEST ” day.  And to kick it off, I focused on MAXIMIZING my nutrients with a festive SUPER “fruitcake” smoothie.

super fruitcake smoothie (paleo)

What’s in my SUPER FRUITCAKE smoothie?

super fruitcake smoothie (Paleo 2)

  • Grass fed Beef Gelatin ->  helps soothe the colon so that nutrients may be absorbed and reduce any reflux caused my acid binding foods. Plus did you know that it actually has an ANTI-STRESS effect? It’s TRUE!
  • Pumpkin – Vitamin A and Fiber
  • Banana- Potassium
  • Cocoa – Unsweetened. Packed with Antioxidants
  • Chocolate Nuttzo – Good Fat and Omegas (plus the brazil nuts have serotonin –> good for adrenals)
  • Coconut Milk – Dairy Free and Good Source of Saturated Fat (the good kind)
  • Blueberry Bai 5 – An antioxidant drink with Coffee Fruit (don’t worry, doesn’t taste like coffee, it’s the fruit in which the bean is grown). Coffee fruit is a amazing SUPER FRUIT rich in antioxidants and helps fight free radicals. Remember, free radicals cause cell damage. Free radicals are caused by… well… STRESS.

bai 5

See, a fruitcake in a DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS form!

Dairy Free SUPER Fruitcake Smoothie {Paleo}
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup blueberry Bai 5 drink (Or Blueberry Juice)
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chocolate almond or hazelnut butter (I used Nuttzo)
  • 2 tbsp grass feed beef gelatin -- The one that dissolves, not gels. (or whey protein if you prefer)
  • optional add in --> frozen berries
Instructions
  1. Add liquid ingredients to blender. Then add in your fruit and puree and protein. Blend and serve! YUM!
Notes
Recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1

You diggin this yet? If not, you so should! Trust me!

super fruitcake smoothie 2 (4 of 1)

Alright friends, time to tackle the last bit of shopping. I’m feeling energized and FESTIVE! The countdown to Christmas is on, bring it!

Favorite festive smoothie? Are you taking time to digest during the Holiday season? 

Stay thirsty, HEALTHY, and have a marvelous Monday!

Looking for More MEATLESS Monday recipes? Check out Deborah and Tina’s Link up!

LC (aka Crazy Cotter)

 

Soothing Coconut Cranberry Smoothie {For Gut Health}

I love the Holidays! I do, really! But I will be the first to admit, no matter how hard I try, I still have my moments of exhaustion and stress. It’s my own doing. And I’m learning to say NO more and slow down. My body is the first to tell me to do so.

If you’re like me, you carry stress in your gut. If you’re like me, your gut lining may take a beating and need some TLC. This means I need to focus on eating NOURISHING HEALING foods, yoga, and easing back on intense exercise. These are KEY to helping the body manage acute stress.

coconut cranberry cleansing smoothie 2 (4 of 1)

IMG_4822

If you’re like my husband (aka the Kiwi), his stress comes from big career decisions while still in the middle of training for an Ironman. WHOA! That’s a lot of physical stress!

Either way, stress is stress. Mental or physical. And FOOD can help heal and repair when the body starts to break down. The rest is up to you to take ACTION and slow down. AM i right? YES!

 

coconut cranberry cleansing smoothie (4 of 1)

Two of my favorite foods for gut health and coconut and cranberries. You can read up on why I love Coconut MCT oil Here, so let’s focus on the other… CRANBERRIES!

Unsweetened Cranberries rank right up there with berries when it comes to antioxidant content! Antioxidants are essential to for combating the free radicals that can damage our DNA.  Free radicals attack the body when it is ….. STRESSED (physical or emotional).

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Raw Cranberries also provide you with an array of nutrients, including digestion-aiding enzymes. In fact, a new study has been linked cranberries to helping prevent attachment of bacteria to the stomach lining, similar to what it does for the urinary tract. This is good news for those who are prone to stomach ulcers. Source.

coconut cranberry smoothie 4 (4 of 1)

Okay, so we’ve talked about cranberries, and coconut. Now let’s talk about this smoothie recipe and what else I add to it to make it good for the gut.

Soothing Coconut Cranberry Smoothie {For Gut Health}
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened cranberries
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • ½ banana (Optional)
  • 1 tbsp MCT Coconut oil
  • 1 Scoop Vegan or Whey Protein (I Used the My Cotter Creation Vanilla with digestive enzymes and L- Glutamine)
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
  2. See link below for My Mix Protein info!
Notes
if you are unable to consume protein powder (for dietary purposes), then sub in coconut yogurt or kefir to get in probiotics.

Recipe By Lindsay @ Cotter Crunch

You’ve got your coconut, you’ve got your cranberries, now let’s about how to get in more probiotics, enzymes, and protein!

This is where  MyMix  come into play! I really enjoy this product and what the company is about. They really do TAILOR to your dietary needs. Basically, you create your own nutrition supplement (pre or post workout).

My Mix Protein

I created two custom nutrition mix powders with specific supplements and allergy friendly combos that we need each day. One is vegan (with hemp and probotics) the other is more paleo friendly with grass fed 100% whey protein, a B vitamin complex for energy, a digestive enzyme and L-Glutamine (to help absorb our nutrients more). Both great for muscle repair GUT health. I like to alternate plant/animal protein so that the body get’s a variety of nutrients.

If you’re interested in trying out my personal COTTER CREATION mixes, check out these links below. It will take you straight to the store. Use Code CCRUNCH10 for 10% off

Now go blend this and stay stress free! ;-)

coconut cranberry cleansing smoothie 3 (4 of 1)

Disclaimer: My Mix allowed me to create my personal protein mixes free of charge. We love them! Yes, that is our honest opinion. Always!

What’s your go to HEALING food?

Do you ever use unsweetened cranberries in more than a sauce? If not, it’s time to start!

Cheers,

LC

Why White Rice Makes a Nice Recovery Food

Questions I get asked a lot —>

Is white rice Paleo? Shouldn’t I eat brown rice instead? Shouldn’t I avoid carbs at night? Isn’t white rice high on the Glycemic Index?

And truth is…. IT DEPENDS. It depends on the person, their gut health, their activity levels, and the way they prepare grains. Yep, it depends.

In all honesty, I prefer to eat my carbs in the form of plantains, potato, or squash. But you see, I’m married to man who runs his but off for a living. And who already started training for an 2015 Ironman. Which means it’s bulking season at our house. No, not the muscle kind. The BULK cooking kind. And rice is EASY to make in batches and use in SO MANY WAYS!

Let’s talk about why rice is nice (for recovery), shall we?

white rice dishes for recovery

Rice is calorically dense so you can replace calories without having to scarf down a bunch of food, especially if you don’t feel like eating much after a workout. White rice has a high glycemic index which helps to get those calories in fast and restore glycogen. Most endurance athletes need to consume food with high Glycemic Index (GI) to restore glycogen level FAST and white rice increases blood sugar level which then increases the GI.

Hence why I make RICE BOWLS for post swim breakfast. It’s best to soak your rice before cooking.

Soaking allows the nutrients in grains to become more digestible and more easily absorbed. Similar process to that of beans and lentils it, soaking for hours or overnight breaks down the enzymes from the grain that inhibits absorption.

This one has white rice, dried fruit, seeds, berries, kefir yogurt, and coconut butter (sweet spreads cinnamon roll flavor)

rice and kefir bowl

I also soak rice in coconut milk or other cultured products-such as kefir, and buttermilk– they provide the beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacilli, which can actually help pre-digest the grain for you

Now you know why I love coconut rice bowls too!

coconut-fig-rice-pudding.jpg

Speaking of bacteria… cold rice is also resistant starch. Which means it can help feed your good bacteria in your gut. Rice Cakes are ideal for snacking in between workouts or to use when you have a heavy week of training. Keeps you fueled and can potentially boostsyour immunity while doing so! That’s if you practice good recovery in ALL areas (not just food). Great to feed kids who are busy playing sports as well!

My favorite rice cake recipes are the mango vanilla rice cakes, bacon rice cakes (for savory craving), and Cherry Vanilla.

Remember these?

Mango Vanilla Rice Cakes
 
Ingredients
  • One 7oz bag of dried mango (can also use Apricots or fig)
  • 4-5 cups of white rice (preferably sticky rice)
  • 2 scoops (about 60 grams) protein Powder
  • honey or maple syrup (this can be however much or little you want here)
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ cup almonds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • butter or coconut to mix into rice after cooking
  • Optional – shredded coconut for topping or filling.
Instructions
  1. First, rinse your rice and let it soak for 20 minutes. Then cook according to directions in a large pot or rice cooker.
  2. Note: Rice cooker works better for stickiness.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a large bowl and mix in a few tablespoons of coconut butter or butter and your protein powder. Then add in a fair amount of honey. I think I mixed in at least ¼ cup. Once that’s done, set aside and let it get sticky.
  4. While your rice is sitting, blend your filling, the mango, almonds, and optional coconut. Set aside.
  5. Next, place foil in a 9×3 casserole dish. Spread half your rice on the dish and press down to make it even. Then add in your filling and spread it out evenly. Drizzle your almond butter on top of the filling. I actually added in a little molasses as well. That’s why the picture below has dark colors. But molasses is not needed in the recipe. Just FYI
  6. mango vanilla almond rice cakes 3
  7. Once done with the filling, add the rest of your rice and press down to make even and flat. Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes. Just depends on your oven. Let it cool.
  8. Once cooled, you can either remove foil and slice into squares, or cut with foil and wrap them up to go right then.
  9. Makes about 12-16 squares depending on your cutting technique.

And these?

honey-bacon-and-vanilla-honey-bacon-rice-cakes_thumb.jpg

I make the cherry Vanilla Rice Cakes the same way I do the Mango Vanilla, but use coconut butter instead of almond butter and then roll them into balls and bake versus in a square pan.

cherry vanilla rice cakes

Rice is an ideal dinner or recovery meal as well! It’s a fast uptake carbs which you can then mix with quality proteins, and fats to refuel your body quickly for tomorrow. Try mixing it with lamb, plantains,  zucchini, MCT oil or butter, spinach, and turmeric and you’ve got yourself the perfect anti-inflammatory meal!

Grilled-Lamb-with-Turmeric-and-steamed-spinach.jpg
Or switch out your meat for fish and make it rich in Omegas! which is also great for recovery! That reminds me, I need to post my  Sriracha Salmon recipe soon, yes?

Sriracha salmon

Well, are you sick of me talking about rice? Nah.. never! Rice is nice. ;-)

What’s your take? Do you eat white rice in your diet?

Cheers!

LC

Only 3 more days to enter the Bourbon PB Gingerbread bite giveaway with A Loving Spoon Nut butter! See HERE TO ENTER! 

Stay Healthy Gift Guide for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts

It’s here. The weekend of sales galore! Except now stores are opening on Thanksgiving, so I guess Black Friday is really Blackish Friday? Haha. Either way, people will be (if not already) starting to Holiday Shop. For me, I’l be doing my shopping in my PJ’s, at home. Yes, online shopping for today, small business saturday, and cyber monday! WOO!

And if you’re like me, you have a friend, family, or spouse that is in the midst of training for a certain race or event. Or they might be planning on training for some event/race come 2015. Either way, they need to be on top of their nutrition game and they need STAY healthy during the holidays in order to keep training. This is where my STAY HEALTHY gift guide comes in!

get healthy, stay healthy guift guide

Food and recovery --> SO SO Important when it comes to staying healthy while training! That’s why I am going to BOAST about my favorite FOOD and RECOVERY gifts for athletes or fitness enthusiasts. Yes I said BOAST, because I love them all and we could NOT survive endurance training without all of these products. And lucky for you, they all have sales going on NOW!

Okay, let’s start!

1. MCT OIL —> You’ve heard me go on and on about this. It’s a MUST HAVE and a great gift or stocking stuffer for everyone! These fats are digested fast and easily.  It’s fast and can be converted to ENERGY STAT! This is why it’s great for ALL athletes, quick energy! This is also why some endurance athletes carry MCT oil on their long rides, runs, etc.

I think Vitacost will be having coconut oil products on sale, so that might be a good place to start looking. If not the Barlean’s Site itself!

Ways to use MCT oil

 

2. Enduropacks – The EnduroPacks Daily System

  • Each pack includes a 30-day supply of our: Liquid Multi-Vitamin, Concentrated Electrolyte Spray, Essential Amino-Acid Patch, and L-Glutamine Recovery Complex.
  • Includes the essential PRE-, DURING-, and POST-workout vitamins and minerals for athletes.

We Love our monthly shipment of Enduropacks and take the Multi- V daily! James (aka the Kiwi) uses the amino acid patched after each hard training session. I use the L-Glutamine after my strength sessions and for gut health. Both are great for replenishing msucles, boosting immunity, and speeding up recovery.

Black Friday Sale  –> For 48hrs Enduropacks will give 20% off of a one month pack.  The promo code is “TGIVING20″.

3. Flapjacked Protein Pancake Mix–> OH HOW WE LOVE THEM! This company has done wonders with their protein packed product this past year! We use their protein pancake mix in more than just pancakes.
flapjacked mix
You’ve see my HEALTHIFIED recipes with them and my Healthy Bites recipe! I love that I can use this mix to give an extra protein boost and reduce sugar.
cranberry white choc pumpkin bars (GF)
Plus I love their ingredients; oat flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour, etc. Heck, I’ve even made protein mug cakes with their mix in the microwave! A great gift for the whole family or a stocking stuffer!
Flapjacked BLACK FRIDAY SALE -> 

4. And last, but not least … SIZZLEFISH. What we would do without our beloved Omegas? I cannot express ENOUGH how important OMEGA 3’s are for the body. You can check out my whole post here about the benefits.

Plus cooking fish takes about 10-15 minutes. Seriously! I made this dish in 15 minutes flat!

southest sage trout 2

But let’s talk about Sizzlefish. It’s Wild Caught Fish (only a few types are not wild), pre portioned, and delivered to your door. You can buy one month or even a 3 month subscription! We eat fish about 5x a week because of this and it has helped our nutrition improve ten fold!

Black Friday Sale –> For 24hrs only: Introductory offer of 33% off for first 100 orders of Wild Caught Paleo packs  (Paleo Prime, and Paleo Prime Plus packs).

sizzlefish 24 hr sale

Well folks, that about wraps up my gift guide! I truly believe in ALL these products and did not get paid to write this. Which is why I am BOASTING about them. Genuine companies, great nutritious products, GREAT gifts to keep YOU and YOUR FIT Family well and healthy!

So cheers to a Healthy Holiday!

What’s your favorite Nutritious Gift?

Cheers!

Sherpa Wife Cotter

 

p.s.

If you want more great black friday deals, check out Livewell 360 Shop and Save Sweepstakes (all weekend) and The My Mix Nutrition Sale –>  “Turkey30” for 30% off!

 

 

3 Ways to Eat (or Drink) MCT Oil

MCT Oil. It’s the new craze, isn’t it? Well, at least that’s what I’ve been hearing and what I’ve been asked about over and over again. What is it? Why is it so good for us? How should I use it? Etc. Etc. Etc.

I will be quite honest, it can be confusing. All this good fat vs saturated fat talk. I am pretty sure our society is confused as well; Fat has been used in such a negative for the past 20 years. But there’s hope! Yes! All we need is a little clarification and explanation.

So let’s talk about it. Fat. Saturated Fat. MCT oil (Fat).

Ways to use MCT oil

I’ll explain how we use it and why I think it’s a great NUTRITION tool for endurance athletes. Sound good?

First things first. What is MCT oil?

MCT oil is Coconut Oil made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Medium chain triglycerides are a special kind of lipid (fat). These triglycerides are quite unique in their chemical formal (structure) in that they bypass the regular digestion: intestines, to liver to, blood.

Instead, these fats are digested fast and easily.  MCTs are absorbed right away and taken to the liver, where they are used directly for glucose. Similar to the process of simple sugar/carbohydrates absorption. It’s fast and can be converted to ENERGY STAT! This is why it’s great for endurance athletes. Instead of a spoonful of sugar, try a spoonful of MCT oil for quick energy! This is also why some endurance athletes carry MCT oil on their long rides, runs, etc.

That being said, the way each body rapidly DIGEST fats is very individualized. So it’s best to test it out for yourself first. Usually 1-2 tbsp a day is plenty. We use Barlean’s MCT Swirl and 15ml dosage.

MCT-Coconut-Swirl-16oz-SFP

Another reason we LOVE MCT oil is to regulate blood sugar and use insulin better. We usually take MCT in between meals for this very reason. The last thing we want it for blood sugar to spike and cause more hormonal fluctuation or adrenal fatigue. Remember that topic? see here to refresh.

And lastly, I personally use MCT oil to get in more fat. Since having a parasite, my stomach is sensitive (at times) to FODMAPS and certain fats. Using MCT oil is easy on my gut and can help me SAFELY increase my fats. But I also make sure to take my digestive enzymes, for maximum absorption. For more on that topic, check out this article.

Okay, now we know why MCT oil is so awesome. But how can we use it? Well, that’s easy. You can use it in almost EVERYTHING.

Here are our 3 favorite ways to use MCT Oil.

bulletproof-smoothie-with-flapjacked.jpg

First, The Coffee (Bulletproof) Smoothie. Oh yes, you’ve heard me talk about it before. Sometimes we use ghee or butter, but most the time it’s MCT oil, organic coffee, almond milk, and maybe some whey protein. Taste like a latte, but the energy lasts much longer! You can also just add MCT oil to your coffee to get it an extra PERK. ;-)

Second, i LOVE to use in baking. I don’t do it often (due to budgeting) but when i do I use in place of butter or chocolate for dairy free baking/treats. Try this homemade hazelnut latte coconut bark.

hazelnut fig bark

[print_this]

Ingredients

1 cup melted coconut oil (you can use half coconut butter if you want to save the MCT oil)
1/4  cup toasted shredded coconut (optional)
tsp of vanilla extract
1/2  cup nuts/seeds (I used hazelnut)
3-4 dates- chopped
1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (optional)
25 grams Vanilla Protein powder (or Flapjacked Banana Hazelnut)

Instructions:
Mix together oil, coconut, dates, protein, and nuts. Line a pan with parchment paper.  Pour the oil mixture onto the parchment paper. Freeze for at least 30 minutes then remove and break apart into pieces to create bark. Store in the freezer. [/print_this]

And last but not least, MCT oil is great to use in cooking. You can use it to sear or pan fry fish. Like we did with salted cinnamon salmon.

salted-Cinnamon-Spiced-Salmon_thumb.jpg

Or you can replace your standard olive oil dressing and use MCT oil. I made one with MCT oil, lemon, yogurt, and avocado. Simply delicious on a cranberry walnut salad!

MCT oil avo yogurt dressing

Hope this helps clarify the saturated fat and MCT oil confusion. And if you are looking for more oil blends that are good for your health, I highly recommend Barleans Specialty Swirls. Love them!

Barleans Specialty Swirls

Okay, nutrition overload. Hope you made it through the post.

Do you use MCT oil? If so, I’d Love to hear how! 

Cheers,

LC

Disclaimer: Barleans sent us these products free of charge. We love them. Yes, that is both our opinions. Always.

Paleo Ginger Spiced Pear Muffins and Grain Free Perks

A couple weeks ago we had a few fellow triathletes stay with us for the Austin 70.3 ironman. It was good fun and of course lots of time was spent in the kitchen. Eating, prepping, talking, etc. One of my husband’s triathlete friends has gone through a whole scew of health problems and started asking me questions about eating grain free.

Should he try grain free? What type of person might benefit from eliminating grains (temporarily or all together)? When’s the best time to try eating grain free?

I’d say anyone wanting to reduce inflammation in their body (hence why we eat grain free after certain training blocks), and for anyone who might be suffering from low immunity or food allergies.. or STRESS! Gosh, that sounds like a lot of people these days, myself included!

But let’s back up here. What are grains made up of?

Wellness Mama had a great definition ->

Grains contain Phytic Acid, a mineral blocker that prevents absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains as well as the outer coating of seeds and nuts. Even after grains became more mainstream during the agricultural revolution, grains were allowed to sit in the fields for several weeks before thrashing. This allowed the grains to be exposed to the elements and to sprout. Evidence shows that sprouting increases the content of many important vitamins, and breaks down the phytic acid.”

Does that mean we never eat grains? Of course not! We love our GF oats, rice bowls, quinoa, etc. But for me (us), I know when my body starts to break down due to ANY of the stressors mentioned above, it’s best to switch to grain free for a period of time (1-2 weeks) until I can resolve them and REALLY absorb my nutrients. Make sense? But don’t worry, there’s plenty of GRAIN FREE Goodies you can make in the mean time!

paleo spiced pear muffins (paleo) 2 (4 of 1)

For the Kiwi, I think offseason is a great time. He doesn’t require as many carbs or maximum glycogen storage for endurance training. Plus he can really focus on DE-STRESSING the mind and the body. Fueling with a grain free diet (temporarily) can often help accelerate that healing process and maximize nutrient absorption. Although, I’d say it’s definitely individualized. Like any elimination diet!

Many people think baking grain free is difficult, and it can be if you haven’t played around in the kitchen. Luckily, I’ve taken the guessing game out of it for you today.

paleo ginger spiced pear muffins

Yes, super good and easy to make paleo muffins! Naturally sweetened and of course grain free. Okay, enough grain free talk. Let’s get to the recipe.

Paleo Ginger Spiced Pear Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 3 small Seckel Pears (these are smaller pears)
  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup Zevia Ginger-ale (or club soda)
  • ¼ cup and 1 tbsp honey (You'll use 1 tbsp separately)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ⅓ cup nut/seed mix (I used Larabar Renola)
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • dash of sea salt
Instructions
  1. First, skin your pears and chop into pieces. Place in bowl and mix in melted butter, ginger ale or club soda, 1 tbsp honey. Let that soak.
  2. In another bowl, combine your eggs and spices. Beat until fluffy. Then gradually fold in your flours and nuts and mix together. Add in your pear and ginger mixture plus the extra ¼ cup honey. Mix again.
  3. Pour batter into oiled muffins cups and bake on center rack at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown. Let them cool and top with more cinnamon.
  4. Makes 10-12 muffins
  5. Optional --> for more sweetness - ⅓ cup baking stevia or more maple syrup
 spiced pear muffins (paleo) 3 (4 of 1)

What’s your go to grain free treat? Or muffin in general?

You know you have one!

Cheers,

Sherpa Wife Cotter

How I Got a Bunch of Triathletes to Go Dairy Free and Gluten Free Pre Race Week!

I did it. I successfully convinced the triathletes staying with us last week to go DAIRY FREE and Gluten free pre –race week. And you wanna know the best part? They didn’t even realize it until I told them. Silk Almond Milk to the Rescue!

silk almond milk

Why the dairy free part? Well, to be honest, the mold air allergy in Austin is very high at the moment. Foods like dairy and peanuts can aggregate it more and suppress the immune system. Also, dairy contains lactose — the sugar is hard for the stomach to digest, especially when your gastrointestinal tract is already under stress from the hard training or running. So it’s best to avoid close to a big workout or race.

That’s why most runners tend to avoid dairy at least 24 hours before a big race.

I didn’t want these boys (I mean triathletes) to have any chance of that, ya know? We had to keep them healthy, and absorbing LOTS of good nutrients to fuel the body! 

I fed them my gluten free and dairy free curried chicken pad Thai

I MADE A TON!

curry-thai-chicken-noodles.jpg

I fed them smoothies with good carbs and protein and omegas, like this one!
pumpkin smoothie with silk

Pumpkin puree, banana, silk almond Vanilla, protein powder, and a coconut omega swirl mixed in!

I fed them GF oats cooked in Silk Vanilla Almond, and… nope; they didn’t even realize there wasn’t milk in there. In fact, they loved the “creaminess!” Their words! Haha, Sherpa Wife work at it’s finest!

gf lovegrown oats and granola

Come race morning, everyone was healthy and ready to GO FAST! That’s a good sign!

Post race, I let them in on my SILK TASTE TEST SECRET.

Verdict is in… SILK APPROVED. My job is done!

Have you tried SILK almond milk? Do you eat/drink dairy free before big races or events?

Share it via twitter! #TasteSilkAlmond and @LoveMySilk.

Want to give SILK ALMOND a taste test yourself? Sign up for the Silk eNewsletter and get a free coupon to try Silk at silk.com/signup.!

You can find out which of your local retailers carry Almondmilk here: http://silk.com/where-to-buy.

Cheers,

Sherpa Wife Cotter

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

p.s Don’t forget to enter my LARABAR giveaway! ending next week!