Friday, June 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Muffins

So there's been a few requests for these little guys, and even though I actually made them last week, I'm finally getting around to posting the recipe.

Step 1: 

1/2 cup roasted sweet potatos. You can boil or microwave them if you're in a hurry, but roasting is the way to get those natural sugars going. I used the orange sweet potatoes in this one, and they're a lot less sweet than the purple Japanese potatoes. I also peeled here, but I've tried unpeeled, and you get a more "whole wheat" taste.
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
A few pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg
Fruit, nuts or whatever else you want to throw in, on or around.
1-2 tbs. Stevia or other non-sugar sweetener (optional) I don't bother, but if you like you're muffins sweeter, Stevia is apparently approved by the Paleo Police.

Step 2:

Throw everything in a food processor, blender, mixer or kick it old school and mix by hand until smooth. Some recipes call for a runny-ass batter, but I've had way, way better results with a thick as mud consistancy.

Step 3:

Use a clean spoon if you're a delicate flower, or your filthy hand like a real man (or really real woman), and scoop out some big balls of batter. I used the muffin paper cup things because I'm a lazy bastard and don't like washing up. They also transport better, and with that raspberry I stuck on the top of each one, showing these to family, friends and co-workers makes you like like a damned pro-fessional!

Step 4:

Bake at 180 C or 350 F for 20+ minutes, or until you can stick a fork/knife/toothpick in the middle and withdraw without taking any gooey muffin guts with it (and people say 'pulling out' doesnt work. Rubbish!). These things do take a bit longer to cook than flour based muffins, I suspect due to the lack of gluten holding things together.

Let them cool, and eat them up!

- Mr. Paleoporean

Fruitti Tutti

I have absolutely no inspiration on what to write about this week, so I will leave you with a collage of my breakfast eats for this week. 

Unfortunately, the blueberry promotion is over and its price is back to ~$4.50 per 125 grams. I did purchase almost 3 KG of it during the sales period but cos Pau and I are such big blueberries lover, we are down to our last 125 grams. However, I did find an interesting fruit at the wet market last week: the passion fruit. It was rather affordable, at $3 per KG and that came to about 6 fruits. When I first got them last Sunday, most of them were smooth. The fruit uncle was really nice to remind me that I had to leave it out till the exterior skin turned wrinkly, then it will be ready to be eaten. So I left them out for a couple of days and fridge them later. Actually, I have been a huge fan of passion fruit since I was a teen- when bubble tea first came into the scene, I'd always order a passion fruit milk tea or passion fruit green tea. Till now, it is still my go-to favor! When I sliced the fruit, I can immediately smell its tangy-ness, the unmistakable scent, which I have been smelling the past 12 years from my bubble teas. The pulp and seeds were stuck to the fruit but easily removed by scraping with the spoon. If you're not a fan of sour, you will probably not enjoy it, BUT I LOVE IT! Hopefully, I can get more this weekend and the auntie in me may just haul a crate back!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Big Fat Lie?

Sorry for the lack in entries lately, I was really busy at work to research about my latest entry and pole classes took up many days of last week that my shoulders and wrists were begging me to stop. But hey, no pain no gain, I was finally able to hurl my ass up into the 'DVD cover'! You probably have no idea what I mean, but in the future posts when I talk more about my workouts, you will know what I am talking about.

As we all already know, fat is the root of many medical problems. Consuming large amounts of fatty food not only added inches to one's waistline, many studies have confirmed that the accumulation of fat around essential organs, such as the heart, leads to heart attack and stroke. Hence, when we talk about diet and losing weight, the word 'fat' will never ever appear in the same sentence. 
This is not a real photo of myself, but it depicts 100% of how i fit into my jeans everytime.

I was very surprise to learn that in the paleo diet, I am allowed to consume fat- it's more than allowing, the paleo community actually embraces fat like a good friend! You must be thinking: sure or not? Eat fats and still lose weight?! Don't bluff laa~! Too good to be true isn't it. I don't believe either, until I delve into the subject and realize that fat is actually quite misunderstood.

Besides maintaining body temperature, fat is actually the densest source of energy in our body at 9 calories/gram! That is the reason why our body stores fat, for times when food is scarce or just for basic activities like walking or running. Carbs is recommended if one is doing crazy triathlons, or doing the insane Tough Mudder. But for anything else, fat will always be the preferred and most reliable source of energy. Fat also plays many beneficial role within the body. It is often required for the absorption of nutrients that are present in other foods, like leafy vegetables. On a cellular level, fat makes up half of the cell membrane structure, it is required for cell generation/repair and allowing nutrients to penetrate.
You're probably thinking: but isn't all that fat going to clog my arteries, increase my cholesterol and worst, make me fat!!?! 

First of all, fat is not the cause for clogged arteries, but low density lipoprotein (LDL). Atherosclerosis is caused by oxidised LDL penetrating the arterial wall, causing inflammation and damaging the arterial tissue. It is not like fat mechanistically attaching itself to the surface of the arteries like fat in a kitchen pipe. Atherosclerosis is really a complex process with many other factors beyond what’s in your diet, let alone the fat content. Next, choesterol has nothing to do with fat, at all. Lastly, fat is very very filling that I don't think one can overeat fat. A diet comprising of high fat and low low carbs makes the body easier to access fat for energy, as compared to a diet of high carbs. Cos when one consume more carbs, together with fat, the body definitely hits up the carbs first for energy as it is easier to break down. And what happens when the amount of energy one uses is less than the amount of carbs consumed? The excess carbs AND fat will be stored in the body as fat. Simple. Ooooo, bad news for the skinny jeans/ bandage dresses but good news for for London Weight Management! Therefore, the point I am driving at is, you want your body to use fat for energy, NOT carbs or sugar. And with that, it will be helpful for fat loss, aka weight loss. (YEAY!)

OK, you may be 50% convinced that fat is not that bad after all, but does that mean ALL types of fat are good? No no no!!! You need to choose the good fat of course! 
There are several types of fat: monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, essential fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3), saturated fat and trans fat. Out of this list, we should be consuming the 'good' fat, namely, the monounsaturated fat and essential fatty acids, specifically omega 3.
  • Monounsaturated fat is known to be very healthy and help reduce bad cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. It can be found predominantly in olive oil, avocado, nuts (almond, macadamia) and nut oils (walnut oil, macadamia oil) , as well as seeds (flux seed).
  • Omega-3 fatty acid needs no introduction at all. Many already know it for being a memory booster, reduce the risks of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, depression, and so on. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids include flax seed, wild caught salmon, sardine, shrimp and tuna. 
So, the next time you see the 'kong bak pau' (pork belly bun) or that expensive piece of wagyu beef, go ahead and sink your teeth into those juicy fatty meats. Cos as long as you do not eat them with any carbs, you need not worry about "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips".

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Grains no good? Impossible!

Last week, I mentioned that I am going to talk about my best friend and it is already Thursday! Where is the entry??? Honestly, this week hasn't been the smoothest. The failed experiments at work took up quite a chunk of my thinking bandwidth. More so, I did not feel educated enough to write about my best friend. I still feel the same now, but then if I never start writing, I will never feel educated. So please bear with me if I make any mistakes. 
Grains. My bestest bestest friend in the whole wide world and ubiquitous in all cultures, thanks to the Agricultural Revolution. Bread, chicken rice, gnocchi, curry puff, pizza, char kway teow, chai tow kuay, pasta, etc. The list goes on and on. Another point to prove how entrenched grains are in my culture- Chinese people, especially Singaporean Chinese, instead of saying 'ni hao' (how are you) as an initial greeting, we would often say: 'chi fan le ma', which literally translate to 'have you eaten rice'. And boy, we Chinese turbo love rice! Breakfast: congee, lunch: rice, dinner: also rice! Sick of rice? Don't worry, there are rice cakes! Sick of rice cake? Nevermind, can have rice-noodles! What type of rice noodles you prefer? Chor bee hoon, thin bee hoon, mee sua, kway teow? The Chinese really doesn't run out of ideas to modify rice into different forms! And why are grains my best friend, cos I super super LOVE noodles AND bread. Unfortunately, ever since I started eating paleo in February, it has put a strain to our (27 years long and loving) relationship. Which leads to the reason why I am not 100% onto the paleo-bandwagon, I'm still in love with it.

Besides making one fat from heavy consumption, there are actually scientific reasons why grains are bad for our health. Before I start, I will like to credit Mark's Daily Apple for a big part of my knowledge. He has written many awesome and convincing posts on why we should avoid eating grains and my mission is to read the articles, decipher the information and rewrite them in layman terms, that even your grandmother can understand. 

Ok, as with Mother Nature, ALL living things do not want to be eaten and the ONLY purpose of existence is to survive, procreate and propagate. Humans and animals employ various defense mechanisms to stay alive. For instance, those tiny bright-colored frogs produce venom in their bodies to prevent themselves to be eaten, knowing they will be easy targets, porcupines have thousands of spikes on their back to warn any starving predators, Pau has been learning BJJ for self-defense and to protect me. Plants are no exception. Their defense mechanism: toxic anti-nutrients, such as lectins, gluten and phytates. And plants know that humans cannot break down those anti-nutrients, so when consumed, it leads to a series of medical problems, such as autoimmune diseases, like lupus and thyroid disorders, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
  • Lectins attacks and degrades the protective lining in stomachs and the intestines. 
  • Gluten triggers celiac disease, which is an immune reaction in the small intestines. It damages the inner surface of the small intestine, resulting in inability to absorb certain nutrients.  Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment. 
  • Phytate, or phytate acid acts as a main storage of phosphorus in plants, aka, energy storage. We, humans, lack the enzyme to break down phytates and when that doesn't happen, phytates bind to magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron in intestines and take them OUT of our bodies! Talk about iron deficiency anemia! It could be part of the reason many people are deficient in magnesium, which can contribute to everything from muscle cramping to PMS. Zinc is SUPER important to our immune systems and reproductive abilities. Phytates chelate calcium out of our bodies, enuff said.
In short, our body lacks the enzymes to break down these anti-nutrients and hence not designed to consume grains. If these information are insufficient enough for you to think twice about cutting down, I don't know what will. Hence, the internal struggle inside me between a life-long love vs how detrimental it is for my health. Apart from maintaining social conventions, such as daily lunches with coworkers, eating big meals with family or an occasional birthday dinner, I am 60% grain-free. It is not easy as my body craves and expects grains but I am taking a slow, steady steps towards no grains. Eventually.

-Mrs Paleoporean

Monday, June 11, 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Brisket

Source: Huber's Butchery
Cut: Brisket
Feed: Grass, what else?

Ah, the humble brisket. This rather large and thankfully cheap cut comes from the front shoulder of the cow, or bull, or whatever. Being used a lot, by the whatever, for walking, jumping, maybe some beach vollyball, it gets tough and sinewy. Consequently, it needs to be slow cooked, at a low heat, over a long, long time. Like 7-9 hours long, depending on how bloody you like it.

Step 1:

Get a brisket. If you didn't already realize that was step 1, turn of the computer, and go lie down. You've got enough on your plate already, my poor, simple friend. We picked up our meaty monstrosity from the fantastic Huber's Butchery. They've supply beef, lamb, veal, sausages and seafood, in a wide selection of grass fed/organic/free range, and not so free range. I paraphrase Wu Tang Clan when I say that Huber's Butchery ain't nothin' to fuck wit.
Now season that big bastard. Lots, and I mean lots, of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and the dry rub of your choice. I used a blend euphemistically called "Mexican". Since I was neither stoned nor kidnapped after using it, I'm not sure how authentically Mexican it is.

During previous attempts, I've slathered the brisket in cayenne pepper and tomato paste, and besides making the brisket resemble a freshly hatched xenomorph emerging from a host, it didn't do much for the flavour, so I skipped it this time around.

Step 2:

On a high heat, in a big ass pan, pour a few splashes of coconut oil, or any paleo approved oil that can take the heat, and sear the shit out of that meaty bastard. Really, sear it like you've never seared before. Show no mercy. Let the brisket cook on all sides until dark brown. You need to almost burn it. Don't burn it, but almost burn it. I said almost!

Step 3:

In a slow cooker, combine some carrots and sticks of celery. You can chop them up into large pieces if you want, but I just broke them up with my hand, like the Hulk, if the Hulk hated vegetables, followed by a big manly handful of peeled shallots, and the same for cloves of garlic.

Step 4:

Stuff in your meat...hehe...meat. My brisket was so large, my wife came in while I was staring at the brisket, confused and full of doubt as to how I was going to jam it all in the slow cooker, and remarked "wow, that's a big piece of meat" to which I wittily replied "ya, that's what she said." Comedy gold people, comedy fricking gold.

In the end, I had to chop it in half and cram it into the pot with not so much as a half a cm to breath. As my dad would say, virgin tight. He's a very classy man. Unfortunately, the wily beast was so determined not to be cleaved in two, I went through a giant butcher knife, a steak knife and finally a now very gory pair of scissors getting through it.

A half-cup of free-range, organic chicken broth and you're all set. Put the slow cooker on low, put on the lid, and brew the beef for around 8 hours. I set it to cook before heading to bed, and turned of off when I got up for work, and voila, or, as the French say, voila. Tender, flavourful beef brisket that quite literally melts in your mouth, or anywhere else you feel like putting it, which is frankly, none of my business.

Eat some meat!
- Mr. Paleoporean

Don't Go Breaking My Heart!

Fire-grilled (ok, BBQ'd, but damn if "fire-grilled" doesn't sound sophisticated) are not exactly common fare for most westerners. For the more adventurous Singaporean palette however, these iron rich little gems might be just what you're looking to snack on over a icy-cold beverage of your choice. Being salty and mildly gamey, they go great with beer, a robust red wine, or tiger blood, depending on how paleo you like your drunk up to be.

Step 1: Hearts Ahoy!

Get some chicken hearts, and cut off those nasty-ass chunks of fat, tubes, ventricles, veins and what-not. You're dealing with an organ here, so there's gonna be some what-not. If you're squeamish, brace yourself, there will be blood.

Something I suspect most churrasco and yakitori places don't do is squeeze out the little pocket of coagulated life-juice in the middle of each heart. Once you've removed the fat and tubes, run each heart under a tap, and squeeze that stuff out like purple toothpaste. It's strong and metallic tasting, and personally, I do not like it.

Step 2: Smashing Hearts

Ok aspiring cave-man and cave-woman, it's time to go beast mode and smash some hearts. With a standard tenderizing hammer (mine's name is Mj√∂lnir), give each heart a light beating. Maybe three or four wacks on each side. Don't over do it, as they are pretty soft, and you could end up with liquefied raw chicken heart. I know, appetizing!

Dress the cleaned hearts in sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder, and add them to a marinate of the following:

Equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar
Chopped garlic and shallots
More sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder

Let it sit at least an hour, although overnight is better.

Step 3: Shot Through the Heart

Stick each little slice of love on skewers. Everybody says you need to soak the skewers in water for an hour before putting them on the grill, but since I'm habitually forgetful, and frankly, kind of lazy, I never do, and so far, nothing has caught on fire or been charred beyond edibility, so screw it. Save yourself some time and don't bother

Dust with more sea salt, pepper and garlic powder, and cook each stick on medium-low area of the grill for 4 minutes or so per side. This is the only tricky part, as under cooking will taste like you think a heart is gonna taste like; that is, blood, and an overcooked heart will be a flavourless ball of rubber in your mouth.

Now get your drink, take hearts in hand and go to work!

- Mr. Paleoporean

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My eats this week...

I was going to write a post about my best friend today (you will find out soon enough), but since it is the end of the week, I shall go easy with the content and post my eats instead. I must say, I am quite proud of myself this week as all the dinners were 100% paleo! *give myself a pat on the back* Not to mention, they were all prepared in a haste after coming home late from working out. I also did not eat any crappy carbs before the workouts and chose to snack on apples and sweet potatoes. Well, pau did not want me eating crappy carbs, so he packed the sweet potatoes every morning for me to bring them into work. I know, he is the sweetest man and I am a lucky woman. 

If you have liked my photos, thank you for your support! If you need any recipes, give a shoutout, I'll be more than happy to do a recipe post. It is the beer-fest this weekend and a birthday dim sum celebration, there will definitely be a series of #paleofail uploads.

-Mrs Paleoporean

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From zero to paleo

Growing up, I was ingrained with the mindset that if I did not eat rice/noodles/carbs, I would have no energy to do anything. And like most kids in Singapore, I was looked after by my granny, who would feed me anything I want! Happy meal everyday, no problem! Kway chap with pig intestines and 2 eggs, no problem! White bread with peanut butter or butter and sugar, no problem! I was such an easy grand-kid and she was pleased! For 25 years, I had terrible eating habits, even when Pau and I were dating, I continued to eat my usual fare while Pau enjoyed his healthier alternatives. We seldom have arguments but if so, it would be about where to dine. I remembered 1.5 years ago, I was recommended the Scarsdale diet by a no-longer friend. It had a 2-week meal plan to follow and wah piang, it was difficult and frustrating. (I included a link for any desperate people, dying to lose some weight. But I hold NO responsibility should you decide to try it out!) First, the meals were unappetizing, blend and totally unsuitable for the Asian eater. One will need iron will to get through the day, less mention finish the 2 week course. Second, I had to prepare the meals at home as there weren't close substitutes at the food court and I would get dirty stares from people for bringing packed lunch to a food court and occupying a space during peak lunch hour. Then, I had to endure the smell (and sounds!) of the lunches my coworkers were happily chowing down on. Worst of all, I was perpetually hungry. Honestly, I did know what spurred me to do that, perhaps it was my desire to lose some weight or just wanting to impress the no-longer friend. I was definitely scarred by the Scarsdale diet. 

                                         Graphic Source:
                                         The same link happen to have a good explanation on Paleo Diet too :)

When Pau decided to try out the Paleo diet earlier this year, I thought it was another diet fad. One day, out of curiosity, I decided to read on it and chanced upon many websites dedicated to it. Let's just put it this way, it didn't take much to convince me that, if there was any chance left in me to try another diet out, this will be it. Honestly, I am too lazy to write down the entire basis of the Paleo Diet and there are just so so so many other writers who introduce and describe it so well, there is really no point for me to re-write it here. Minus the fact I suck at writing. So, if any one is interested, HERE is a website that explains the Paleo Diet in GREAT detail, like turbo jammed packed with information, accompanied by tons of supporting references. In fact, I still read it several times a week to remind myself on certain information, in case any friend/ coworker would question. There is also Mark's Daily Apple- its writer, Mark Sisson is actually one of the pioneer advocates of eating Primal (aka Paleo) and in his 60s, he will put many 20 year olds in Singapore to great shame. Ok, even if you have absolute no interest, just click on the website and check out his body laa! My favourite part of his website is, every friday, he will feature true and successful stories of people who started eating Paleo and how it changed their lives completely- definitely a source of inspiration!. 

So if you may ask, so what if Grace is reading all these websites and eating Paleo (part-time) and inundating our instagram feed (username: glinrt. Add me add me!) with all her dinner photos, how is she benefitting? Well, ever since I started eating Paleo (part-time!!! emphasize emphasize!!!) around Febuary/March 2012, I have lose 2KG! For the first time since May 2008, I am actually less than 60kg. (FYI, even during my wedding, I was hovering around the 60s.) It is not very significant and even though I did not drop any dress size, I feel less bloated (aka look hotter in my dresses), more energised and more importantly, fulfilling my daily #2s (I used to be quite constipated). Hopefully, somewhere in the near future, I will gather more courage and inspiration and embark on Whole 30! It will be the day Pau will never dream of coming. We'll see!

-Mrs Paleoporean

Monday, June 4, 2012

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Ever since Pau started eating paleo at the beginning of the year, I have been looking for paleo-friendly recipes online. Nom Nom Paleo is my favourite go-to website as her recipes are creative and easy to follow. Not to mention, the drool-worthy food photos that she takes! It also helped that we already have most of the condiments she commonly uses and I could just read about a recipe at work and replicate it in the same evening, without a trip to the supermarket. However, there is always that one ingredient we would miss out and could NEVER find in Singapore: THE RED BOAT FISH SAUCE.

Pau and I had the misconception that fish sauce tastes super salty and fishy! So I was rather surprised to see Nom Nom Paleo uses it in almost all her recipes, whether it is beef sliders, stir-fried kale or damn fine chicken. It is everywhere! So we thought, how difficult it is to find the Red Boat Fish Sauce, it must be in Cold Storage/ Market Place. Boy we were wrong. We couldn't find it in any supermarket, we emailed several specialty stores and no avail. I was thinking, dammit, what is so special about this f**king fish sauce?
Unlike the regular fish sauce that you find here in Singapore, IT DOES NOT CONTAIN SUGAR! The Red Boat fish sauce contains only TWO ingredients: fresh wild caught anchovies and sea salt. slowly fermented in large tropical wood barrels and only the pure first press "extra virgin" fish sauce is bottled. 

Long story short, I ordered 2 x 250mL bottles from 2 weeks later and S$50 poorer, these bad boys arrived at the Paleoporean household. Can't wait to use it and share amazing recipes soon! 

- Mrs Paleoporean

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chops, Sausages, Steak and Hearts!

Last night we had Mo and Ah Boo over. Boo had made a big pot of clam chowder, featuring my old enemy, cream. Since I'm afraid of dairy, and it's potential to make me feel like I've been repeatedly kicked in the gut, followed up by a good raping, I decided to BBQ up a bunch of meat.

The meat-stravaganza going on here is pork chops, 100% meat sausages, sirloin steak and chicken hearts, all from Huber's. If you want to try cooking up those little nuggets of love known as grilled chicken hearts, stay tuned. I should be posting the recipe soon!

- Mr. Paleoporean

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This photo totally depict how I was in prep. advance class earlier today. A massive failure.  
After class, I decided to ran my fustrations away on the treadmill, 5K in 28:50mins. Now. I'm all set for Boo's delicious clam chowder and some grass-fed sirloin steak for dinner. Not entire paleo, but I need it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here's my 2 cents

Although I'm not a huge fan of Lady Gaga's brand of campy, fashioncentric disco-pop, it was a genuinely entertaining show, and well worth going, even if you're not into meat dresses and oil stained spandex...and I'm not judging you if you are.

Most of the show involves gay, S&M Blackshirts (although to be truthful, they were mostly shirtless) varying between goosestepping and twitchy dancing all over the stage for two hours. Gaga is born from a from a giant turkey, and it all takes place Castle Greyskull.

Imagine if the cast of Glee went completely batshit insane and started singing and dancing and worshiping Satan, who happens to be a giant, disembodied Lady Gaga head. Did I mention Castle Grayskull?

Lady Gaga is strange, yet familiar, in that she combines painfully cliched elements of dance, pop music, fashion etc. and takes them to their logical, sometimes horrible conclusions. People seem to think she's a genius. She certainly is a spectacle. Not a spectacle like a bloody car crash or Snookie, but a contrived and highly polished piece of deeply ironic theatre. At least, I think she's being ironic, or not. Fuck, I don't know.

 - The Paleoporean