Monday, September 24, 2012

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

1. Chop up 10lbs of tomatoes, boil down into sauce

2. Add a large can of tomato paste (or equivalent of homemade paste if you have it)

3. Add in spices and simmer for 1 - 2 hours
1 TB cumin
2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
4 TB fresh basil
4 TB fresh oregano
1 TB smoked paprika
1 bulb garlic (crushed)

4. Chop ~6-8 cups of veggies, add to sauce, cook until tender (e.g. onions, peppers, mushrooms, celery, zucchini)

5. Cook 2lbs of ground meat (your choice .. I like beef + sausage) and add to sauce. Simmer.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sweet Potato Chili

Sweet Potato Chili

Tomato Base
1. Chop up 10lbs of tomatoes, boil down into sauce

2. Add a large can of tomato paste (or equivalent of homemade paste if you have it)

3. Add in spices and simmer for 1 - 2hours
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chipotle chili pepper
2 TB fresh basil
2 TB fresh oregano
1 TB smoked paprika
1 bulb garlic (crushed)
2 TB red wine vinegar


4. Chop veggies, add to sauce, cook until tender
2 sweet peppers, diced
1 yellow zucchini, grated
1 large onion, diced
bunch of mushrooms, diced :)
2 large sweet potatoes, diced

5. Cook 2lbs of ground meat (your choice .. I like beef + boar) and add to chili. Simmer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bev's Box September 13 2012

I just picked up my (large) Bev's Box from Real Food Connections and boy, what a haul! Seeing as how I've termed this "The Paleo Box", I think it is more appropriate now since it comes with its own CrossFit Workout (carrying it all to the van).

Contents of the large box ..


Beets (large box only)
Yellow Beans (more in large box)
Red Pepper
Yellow Zucchini (large box only)
Onions (more in large box)
Bok Choy
Eggplant (large box only)

Crab Apples
Apple Cider (or a dozen free range eggs)

Meat (frozen)
Chicken Drums and Thighs
Fresh Pastured Pork
Grass fed beef

Once I can find somebody who got a regular box, I'll try to post that as well.

Friday, September 7, 2012

RFC Grand Opening & Our Food Supply

It has been a number of months since Real Food Connections opened up their larger grocery store on Hanwell road, but the time has finally come ... it is time to party! Come out this Saturday between noon and 7pm to their grand opening and meet the gang that put together your veggie & grocery boxes each week. You can also chat with some of the local suppliers, sample some food, listen to live music and win some awesome prizes!!!!

Full details can be found here

Now, before I finish the rest of this blog post I want to clear up something that a few people have asked me. Yes, I am VERY vocal in my support of RFC .. but I have absolutely NO financial interest in the company. On the contrary, I wish! :) I'm just a regular guy who is very passionate about real food, who happens to believe what RFC is doing aligns very closely with what I'd like to see the future look like.

Which brings me to the second point of this blog post, our food supply. This year has had its ups and down. On one side RFC has grown and it seems that new suppliers are coming online every week. It is great to see that we have such a lively economy and people are finding an outlet for their products. I'm not sure if it is just my friends have changed over the last couple years or not, but it also seems that everybody and their dog is participating in some sort of veggie box or grocery box program. I'm a big proponent of "voting with your dollar" so supporting local farmers is high on my list, but that is the subject of another blog post altogether (coming soon). Anyway, it seems that, at least in Fredericton and the surrounding area, we are heading on the right track.

However, as with everything, for every few steps forward, there is a step backwards. This summer was also marred by the presence of "Egg Gate 2012". Quick recap .. RFCs very popular egg program was shut down earlier this year when it was discovered (i.e. some cowardly soul reported them) that they were storing ungraded eggs in their fridge for pickup by customers who pre-purchased them from the farm (Hilltop Farms). The eggs were not being sold on their shelves, and everybody knew the eggs were ungraded and came from the farm, so there was no anonymity. Some people tried to frame it as a "health" issue, but that didn't add up since the farm could sell the eggs directly to the consumer if they had the means. No, the issue here was simply the storage .. some bureaucratic rule from another time .. meant to "protect us".

Yes folks, we live in an age and time where tomatoes grown in compost, and milk that hasn't been heated to within an inch of its life, is considered too dangerous to consume. Yet packaged goods with 30 ingredients, none of which you can pronounce, are perfectly legit.

I'm not sure about you, but that sort of pisses me off a bit. I'm sorry to Hilltop Farms that the program got closed down. I'm also sorry that they couldn't make a go of it afterward trying to sell the eggs from their truck outside RFC. This day and age people live hectic lives, and it is hard to find the time sometimes. This just highlights the need of what the original program did. But most of all, I'm sorry we let the issue die down without a fight. That is a mistake I plan to rectify, because I think the tipping point is coming and I know which side I want to be on. I plan to fight for real food, and my right to choose what I think is healthy. I don't plan to listen to "government experts", because most of them don't seem to know what the hell they are talking about.  If you support real food and feel the need to fight for it, let me know. When the time comes we'll need all the voices we can muster.

In the meantime, I plan on supporting businesses like RFC all I can. To me, Levi has proved that there is a demand for real, unprocessed food in this province, and there is enough to go around, so far. I think we will need more farmers as the demand grows. I also think the RFC model needs to be adopted elsewhere in this province. We have a very special province here, and we need to get back to basics and utilize the land we have in a sustainable manner. Right now NB seems to be doing two things well, IT startups and real food. We seem to be doing a good job of incubating small IT companies, I think maybe we need to start incubating real food based businesses.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Some Egg (Dietary) Facts

Some folks have been a bit surprised that we (as a family) go through 3 to 4 dozen eggs a week. Maybe the surprise is just from the large consumption of a single item, or maybe it is because eggs have gotten a bad wrap, or maybe both. To the former, I just really like eggs. Eggs are tasty and highly portable and a breeze to cook when you are in a hurry. They are also very nutritious! Some weeks I consume a lot less just because I want to try something new, but generally this is the norm.

"What?", you say. Aren't they high in fat and cholesterol .. sure .. but read on.

So as to the cholesterol issue, sure eggs contain a decent amount of cholesterol. However cholesterol is an important nutrient in your body. It is a precursor to various hormones (especially sex hormones) as well as being vital to cellular repair. It is so important that every cell in your body has the ability to produce it by itself. Your body will also vary the amount of cholesterol it produces based the amount of dietary (i.e. exogenous) cholesterol you consume!

Other than a specific portion of the population (termed "hyper responders") most folks will NOT see an increase in serum cholesterol levels in the body based on increased intake of dietary cholesterol. While I do not have exact numbers, I would assume a decent amount of those hyper responders would be those with Familial Hypercholesterolemia, which is a genetic disorder whereby the LDL receptors in the liver do not recycle cholesterol properly (or at all). That is a huge simplification of the condition, but sufficient for my point.

So, to put it simply, I don't view the cholesterol levels in eggs to be even relevant for most folks eating a  healthy diet.

Peter Attia has a great series on cholesterol over on this website at if you are interested in learning more.

Consumption of saturated fat is frequently blamed as being a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However a 2010 meta-analysis of 21 epidemiological studies that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that "there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat". There are hypothesis' that overconsumption of carbohydrate may be to blame since excess glucose will be converted to palmatic acid (the body's storage form of saturated fat) when your body's glycogen levels are already full, but I have not been able to find a study that supports this. That is not to say that it does not exist, only that my Google Fu is lacking in that area :)

Saturated fat is also routinely blamed for increasing cholesterol levels. While this is true, saturated fat tends to increase both HDL and Total Cholesterol and generally results in a more favourable TC:HDL ratio, which is a much better predictor of CVD than TC alone.

If you do some digging around PubMed you will likely find that a lot of the current CVD risk research is focusing on LDL particle size and oxidative stress. Saturated fat is actually the least prone to oxidation, followed by mono-unsaturated and then polyunsaturated. When you consume fat some of it is used for fuel by your body and some of it is incorporated into your cells (as well as other uses). Consumption of fat that is already oxidized, or that can easily become oxidized in your body, would increase the amount of oxidative stress on your body (thus depleting anti-oxidant levels such as glutathione which are needed to deal with the free radicals). I will let you draw your own conclusion here but the conclusion of many in the Paleo realm is that saturated (from healthy fat sources like coconut and animals that were responsibly raised) is an ideal source of fat for this reason and many others. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from good sources are healthy too (polyunsaturated fats contain DHA and EPA for one, which are essential fatty acids that we need to consume) but one should not shun saturated fat!

Now that I've dispensed with some common objections to egg consumption, let us look at why you should be eating eggs (other than the fact they are delicious)! The image below shows a list of common nutrients found in eggs, split into white and yolk. I have left the table split since I do not want folks to think they can simply get all this from the white alone! Notably missing from the chart is choline. A 100g serving of egg yolk contains about 683mg of choline in the yolk and about 1.1mg in the white. A single egg generally contains about 250mg of choline which is about 25% of the daily recommended intake.

Bottom line: eggs are a nutritious and delicious part of a healthy diet!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Egg Update

Just a quick update for folks as it seems my little blog post has sparked a bit of local interest.

Levi Lawrence did an interview on Maritime Noon today which spawned a bit of a Facebook thread on the MN page. You can view it, as well as a link to an audio recording, here.

Levi also did an interview for CTV's Live At 5 that you can view tonight!

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Laura Brown of CBC NB this afternoon and that interview will likely play this evening on the CBC News either at 5:00 or 6:00 (or both, not entirely sure).

Thanks to everybody who retweeted, shared and posted on their Facebook pages and whatever else. Without you we would not have gotten this amount of attention. As of now we have over 500 page views on my blog post with more coming in every minute.

Huge thanks for your support of local, quality food!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hands Off My Eggs!

If you are a regular to Real Food Connections in Fredericton, or are a newsletter subscriber, you probably already know what they have temporarily suspended their direct-from-farm egg share program. The issue at hand is some "regulatory red tape"that has something to do with the fact that the eggs are not graded. I'm sure there is possibly more to it but I do not have full details yet.

Folks are probably vaguely familiar with egg grading (based on size) but there is probably more to it than you thought. You can read about it here but in essence it is an assurance of quality regulated by the federal gov't.

Now, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed this program since it began a few months back. I like knowing where my eggs come from and how the chickens are fed and watered. I like knowing that they aren't crammed into 1/2 sqft cages where they lay eggs onto conveyor belts. Most of all I like cracking open a farm fresh egg and seeing a nice dark orange yolk that tells me the chicken ate a nutrient rich diet appropriate for chicken (for the most part). The two farms the eggs were sourced from probably weren't a perfect "Paleo" view of what free range eggs were but they were MUCH better than what you get in the supermarket. With the loss of this program we've also lost the traceability back to the farm, which is unfortunate.

So, what do do now?

Well, for now I'm going to let Levi work his magic and hope that he finds a way to restore this really great program.

However, if it should come to it, I am prepared to stand up as a consumer and voice my opinion. We put up with far too much gov't control over our food supply "for our own good" and it is my opinion that we may need to take back some of that control. The fact that it is so HARD for me to buy fresh eggs or other products (folks who know me will know what other products I am referring to, leaving them out here for clarity's sake) from a local farmer THROUGH a great program like the one Levi offers is a complete travesty .. especially when you can buy so much high-fructose corn syrup laden, BPA packaged, processed food crap on just about any corner.

I will endeavour to keep you all informed on the situation as details come forth. However I ask that you share this post and visit the RFC Facebook page and let them know that you support them. If it comes to it, I'd appreciate your support in standing up and letting our elected officials know that we will not put up with interference with the food we choose to eat. It is our choice, and we are all big enough boys and girls to make that decision for ourselves.

 Thank You All!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: It Starts With Food

I'm pretty much finished Dallas & Melissa Hartwig's book "It Starts With Food" and I liked it so much I'm going to do something I've never done before, write a book review (well, other than when forced to in high school). I found the book enjoyable and informative, and I think there is something in there for everybody. So, not only am I going to review the book, I'm going to do three reviews in one. I'm going to review the book and tell you why I think each of these groups should read it: Folks not familiar with, or sceptical of Paleo/Whole 30, those already familiar with both, and the Paleo geeks.

Before I start, if you are reading this and have any of the following conditions you REALLY SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK. I get absolutely no $$ if you buy this book, this is really just me trying to help you. For about $15 and 30 days out of your life IT IS WORTH AT LEAST TRYING.

"diabetes · high cholesterol · high blood pressure · obesity · acne · eczema · psoriasis · hives asthma · allergies · sinus infections · migraines · acid reflux · celiac disease · Crohn’s · IBS bipolar disorder · depression · seasonal affective disorder · eating disorders · ADHD endometriosis · PCOS · infertility · arthritis · Lyme disease · hypothyroidism · fibromyalgia"

Since 2009, Dallas and Melissa have been using their Whole30 program to help folks get in shape as well as manage, and sometimes completely alleviate, symptoms of these conditions. Their program is not only based on clinical experience with real people, but also on numerous studies. The reference section alone is 20 pages long and consists of roughly 400+ reference studies/books/research papers, etc. THIS IS NOT FICTION, NOR RHETORIC.

Now, let us get started with the review for the skeptics and initiated ..

Perhaps you have heard of Paleo or the Whole30 program, or maybe not. If you have, or if you just googled, it, chances are you ran into something along the lines of "cavemen ate this" or "we are not adapted to neolithic foods like grains, legumes and dairy". You probably also have either read or thought to yourself that "cavemen lived short brutish lives" or "but whole grains are good for you" or something similar and brushed the whole concept off.

While it is true that the origins of the Paleolithic diet relied heavily on such observations, it has come a long way since then. Many of those involved in the Paleo or Ancestral Health movement are doctors, researchers, trainers or other folks that deal with health issues every day and are furthering our cumulative knowledge on how food affects our health.

Enter, Dallas and Melissa.

You will find a lot of things in "It Starts With Food" but what you won't find is justifications based on what cavemen would or would not have done. Dallas and Melissa outline their four food rules for healthy eating and then show you which foods fit into that template, and which do not. Their food rules are based on the over 400 referenced articles in their reference section, plus REAL WORD experience with thousands of clients since 2009. Their have been numerous revisions of their Whole30 program, and it shows!

This is not a diet book, this is a book designed to arm you with the knowledge you need to make good food choices and help you get healthy, and stay healthy, for the rest of your life! This is not to say that you will never be able to eat cheesecake again, but you will know exactly what the piece of cheesecake will do to you if you do eat it. I myself indulge from time to time, and enjoy it guilt free. Life is about choices, and this book will give you the necessary education to make them.

If you ever pondered trying a Paleo diet, but though it sounded crazy, this is absolutely the book for you. That may sound funny, but I truly believe this book reflects the current state of the Paleo/Ancestral Health movement and is worth the read. If this book does not convince you that eating this way is completely natural and healthy, then nothing will :)

Lastly, the book also includes a meal map which I think is worth the price of the book itself. With such great recipes as "Creamy Avocado Dressing" and "Mocha Steak Rub" it pretty much speaks for itself. I would have bought the book simply to get these recipes!!! After finishing this section you should have no problems filling 30 days full of absolutely delicious and filling meals, probably without repeating a single meal. You will not feel deprived, you will not let cravings drive your eating habits, you will feel awesome and energized and probably a little bit liberated.

For the Paleo familiar ...

All of the aspects I mention above are relevant to this group as well, since most of you probably came to Paleo or the Whole30 with at least some of the "caveman" reasoning. That is not to say that those observations are not relevant, but as you probably know, it is hard to convince some folks using that reasoning. So if you've had great results yourself but not so much trying to convince friends and family,  this book will go a long way to helping you convince them.

Also, if you are like me, you may find yourself starting to dip back into old habits from time to time. Sometimes that one "indulgence" meal leads to another, maybe a whole week ... not that I know know about the latter :)  This book reminded me just how powerful food can be, especially when you do a lot of hard exercise or are under a lot of stress. My weight has been pretty stable for over a year now so I have not really put too much emphasis on the occasional cheat, but I have been reminded that there are other factors other than weight that need to be accounted for.

Other than being helpful for convincing your friends and family, the biggest plus to this book is that it may inspire you to take an extra look at your food and health again, and maybe make some needed changes.

For the Paleo geek ...

Well, what can I say about this book from a geek perspective. If you enjoy reading blog posts by any of the popular Paleo bloggers, or you find yourself skimming Science Direct on a daily basis for the latest research, you couldn't ask for a better book. Dallas & Mellisa have distilled their knowledge from over 400+ articles plus over 3 year of experience with their Whole30 into one massive knowledge bomb of a book. Not only will you absolutely find tidbits of knowledge you NEVER KNEW all over the place, but the whole thing was reviewed and edited by some pretty big names including Matt "The Kraken" Lalonde and Robb Wolf!  You can rest assured that the science presented is sound and does not taken any liberties.

And lastly .. seriously .. mocha steak rub.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Article Roundup for May 3, 2012

Anybody that has followed my Facebook page knows that I tend to read a lot of scientific articles, mainly on Science Daily. Since a lot of folks don't use Facebook (or haven't found my page!) I am going to start blogging the links here as well as some commentary. Feel free to chime in with your comments, discussion (even if you disagree with me!) is welcome.

Why Hemoglobin A1c is not a reliable marker - for those not familiar with A1c it is a test used to measure the amount of sugar stuck to red blood cells. The theory being that most red blood cells live for 3 months so measuring the sugar stuck to them should give you an accurate view of how much sugar is in the blood on average during that time. This is an older post from Chris Kresser but I posted it today because I think it is an important issue to know of when going Paleo, as folks with normal blood sugar tend to have red blood cells live   MUCH longer than 90 days. As a result your A1c might appear higher.

Increased Fructose Consumption May Deplete Cellular Energy in Patients With Obesity and Diabetes - SAY WHAT? Simply put fructose has to be processing directly by the liver. It also preferentially fills liver glycogen stores. Excessive glycogen is converted to palmatic acid (type of saturated fat) and excessive amounts of that at  are at the origins of fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic).

Soy-Based Formula? Neonatal Plant Estrogen Exposure Leads to Adult Infertility in Female Mice - Research was done on mouse-models but raises an interesting concern over the consumption of soy during pregnancy, and the USAGE of SOY FORMULA for infants.

Eating Fish, Chicken, Nuts May Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease - Make sure you preferentially consume long-chain Omega-3 (found in fish) vs. short-chain (found in stuff like hemp an chia) as short-chain has an abysmal conversion rate to DHA/EPA (which are important for brain function)

Women, Weights and Bone Density - Another good one from Jason Sieb. Ladies, not only will lifting heavy things NOT make you a she-man, but it is also a protective factor in bone density and osteoporosis prevention!