Paleo-Friendly Snacks

 Posted by on 9 June 2012 at 10:00 am  Food
Jun 092012

Recently, I received free samples of “That’s It” fruit bars. They’re just dried fruit — no sugar, no preservatives, no nothing, except two kinds of fruit per bar. They’re really quite delicious, and they make a good on-the-go snack. If anything, they’re a bit too easy to eat. (I’m not anti-fruit, but I try to limit my fruit intake, particularly dried fruit.) If you can’t find these bars in your local store, you can buy online.

The “That’s It” Fruit Bars got me thinking about other easy paleo snacks, particular when I’m out and about. Here’s a few items that I like to mix and match:

  • Diced uncured ham
  • Apple
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto ham
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Diced cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Dehydrated fruit
  • Dehydrated roasted sweet potato
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Lara Bars
  • Banana
  • Dark chocolate
  • Sweet potato
  • Chicken breast
  • “That’s It” Fruit Bars
  • Greek yogurt

As for the sweet potato and chicken breast: I always keep small portions of them frozen for when I need a full meal while in town, particularly after my SuperSlow workouts.

I’ll roast about 20 pounds of sweet potatoes, cool them and remove their skins, and then pack 5 oz into each sandwich bag. I throw all the sandwich bags into a gallon-sized freezer bag, then store that in the freezer. I do the same for sous-vide chicken breast. (That freezes and thaws very nicely.) Then, even if I’m in a big rush, I can grab a sandwich bag of sweet potato and a sandwich bag of chicken for a decent meal.

As for my dehydrated fruit and sweet potatoes, I’ll save that for a future post.

What are your favorite paleo-friendly snacks?


Recently, I learned that the Institute for Justice (IJ) has taken the case of paleo blogger Steve Cooksey. He’s in trouble with North Carolina regulators who wish to suppress his freedom of speech. I couldn’t be more delighted, as the case combines two of my great loves: paleo and free speech.

IJ made an awesome video summarizing the case:

For more information on the case, see this page. The press release says:

Can the government throw you in jail for offering advice on the Internet about what people should buy at the grocery store?

That is exactly the claim made by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition. And that is why today diabetic blogger Steve Cooksey of Stanley, N.C. has teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a major First Amendment lawsuit against the State Board in federal court.

In December 2011, Steve Cooksey started a Dear Abby-style advice column on his blog to answer reader questions. In January 2012, the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition informed Steve that he could not give readers personal advice on diet, whether for free or for compensation, because doing so constituted the unlicensed, and thus criminal, practice of dietetics.

The State Board also told Steve that his private emails and telephone calls with friends and readers were illegal. The Board also ordered him to shut down his life-coaching service. Violating the North Carolina licensing law can lead to fines, court orders to be silent and even jail.

“You don’t need the government’s permission to give someone ordinary advice,” said IJ Senior Attorney Jeff Rowes. “North Carolina cannot require Steve to be a state-licensed dietitian any more than it can require Dear Abbey to be a state-licensed psychologist.”

This lawsuit seeks to answer one of the most important unresolved questions in First Amendment law: When does the government’s power to license occupations trump free speech?

“Advice is protected speech,” said IJ attorney Paul Sherman. “Just because the government can license certain types of expert professional advice doesn’t mean the government can license every type of advice.”

Steve Cooksey began offering dietary advice because he is concerned about America’s diabetes epidemic. Over 25 million Americans have diabetes, including approximately 800,000 in North Carolina. The human and financial toll is staggering. Diabetes is now a leading cause of stroke, blindness, kidney failure requiring transplantation, and amputation. Because diabetes is a condition of elevated blood sugar, Steve advocates eating foods that keep blood sugar low.

After being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, Steve did research and learned that the high-carb/low-fat diet his doctors recommended to him may not be best for diabetics because carbohydrates raise blood sugar. He adopted the low-carb “Paleolithic” diet of our Stone Age ancestors: fresh veggies, meats, eggs and fish, but no sugars, processed foods or agricultural starches.

Steve lost 78 pounds, freed himself of drugs and doctors, normalized his blood sugar and feels healthier than ever. He believes a low-carb diet is the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to treat diabetes. This goes against the conventional wisdom promoted by licensed dietitians, which advocate a high-carb diet and drugs to lower blood sugar.

“Diabetics need access to information from all points of view, including those that challenge the conventional wisdom,” said IJ client Steve Cooksey. “We cannot let government licensing boards censor the Internet and chill our speech.”

For more on today’s lawsuit, visit Founded in 1991, the Virginia-based Institute for Justice is a national public interest law firm that fights for free speech and economic liberty nationwide.

This case has huge implications for every advocate of paleo and other non-standard diets. Yet the principle is broader: every person has a right to express and advocate his own views, even when that person is not licensed by the state.

If you want to contribute to Steve’s fight against these government censors, please support the Institute for Justice by a donation!

How to Peel an Apple Like a Boss

 Posted by on 28 April 2012 at 12:00 pm  Cool, Food
Apr 282012

This video makes me want to work on my knife skills!

What Paleo Is

 Posted by on 7 April 2012 at 9:00 am  Food, Health
Apr 072012

When I posted this image to Modern Paleo’s Facebook Page, so many people liked it that I just couldn’t resist re-posting it here. And no wonder: It’s beautiful, tasty, and paleo! (Click to enlarge.)

It’s by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites (Facebook and Twitter).

Mar 172012

I’ve had a few books in my pile to review for the past few weeks — okay… maybe a bit longer than that. I’m super-busy right now with SnowCon 2012, so I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like, but I thought that posting these two reviews would be better than nothing! (Disclosure mandated by the turds at the FTC: These books were given to me for free as review copies.)

Well Fed by Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl

Well Fed is a fabulous addition my growing collection of paleo cookbooks. Its recipes are “made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol” — which I think makes it compliant with the strict demands of the Whole 30. (Oh look, I was right! The web page for the book says: “Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole9 wrote the foreword for Well Fed. And even better, they’ve given all of the Well Fed recipes (except for one dessert) their stamp of approval for happy eating during participation in the Whole30 program.”)

Also, it’s just beautifully done, with lucious pictures and sassy, easy-to-navigate design. It’s chock-full of useful tidbits like prep and cook time, good companion recipes, and more. Its tone is friendly and approachable: you feel like you’ve got a friend in the kitchen.

Mostly, I’m impressed that the recipes are not standard paleo fare: they’re a bit exotic and off-the-beaten path — and wow, they look amazingly delicious and not difficult to make. Alas, I’ve not yet had time to make any, but I will soon!

This cookbook would be particularly suitable for two kinds of people, I think: (1) anyone who has been cooking paleo for a while and wants some variety and adventure and (2) a foodie interested in eating paleo. It’s not that others won’t enjoy it — far from that — but this cookbook is definitely a must-have for the paleo foodie.

You can buy a PDF of this book for $14.99 or buy a softcover from Amazon. (If you buy the softcover, you get a coupon for the PDF for just $1.)

The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott

For me, this cookbook isn’t a great fit. Lots of its recipes use foods that I avoid, particularly gluten-free flours and sweeteners. Moreover, I’m just not interested in smoking candy cigarettes: I really enjoy full-blown paleo foods, and I don’t feel any need to make pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods. That’s mostly a problem in the breakfasts and desserts; the entrées and sides look far more appealing to me.

However, I imagine that some parents might find the recipes in this book really helpful when cooking for a family without a well-tuned paleo palate. Also, the recipes are not merely gluten-free: they’re also dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free. If you have an egg allergy or intolerance, this cookbook might be just what you need!

This cookbook is by the same publisher as Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo. So it’s quite beautiful, with huge mouth-watering pictures. Alas, the cookbook lacks a proper table of contents, which is a huge negative. I’d love the author to post a table of contents to the web, as Paleo Comfort Foods did.

I have two other books that I’d like to review… but first, I need to find the time to read them! They are:

If you’ve read them, feel free to post your thoughts on them in the comments.

Two Book Reviews: Kids and Paleo

 Posted by on 10 March 2012 at 1:00 pm  Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews
Mar 102012

Not too long ago, I received two books aimed at paleo kids and their parents to review. (Disclosure mandated by the turds at the FTC: These books were given to me for free as review copies.)

Alas, I disliked Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship. However, I loved Eat Like a Dinosaur. Let me explain why.

Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship by Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo

As you’ve probably gathered from the name, this book is a children’s story on eating paleo. I wanted to like it, but I don’t think that it does much to explain to kids what’s good about eating paleo or bad about eating the Standard American Diet. Also, I didn’t find the story compelling in itself: too much came across as propaganda, and I didn’t like that.

The two basic claims of the book about paleo are (1) that industrial food production is scarybad and farm-produced foods are goodygood and (2) that eating paleo makes you feel better, mentally and physically.

I strongly disagree with the first claim against industrial foods, and frankly, that’s not what paleo is (or should be) about. Farms can and do produce unhealthy SAD foods, and factories can produce healthy paleo foods. Similarly, “processed” foods are not inherently bad, as some people seem to think. All fermented foods — like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut — are “processed” foods. Anything cooked is “processed.” That some food is processed — or even processed in large batches under strict conditions (i.e. industrially) — reveals little about its nutritional value. Instead, what matters is the original quality of the ingredients, and then whether the processing enhances or degrades the nutritional value of the food.

While I’m not a fan of many foods sold in America today, the fact is that industrial production is huge benefit to everyone, particularly in terms of safety and cost. Every paleo-eater depends on the industrial food system in order to eat paleo. As much as I want to see changes — including the end of all government meddling — that doesn’t justify condemning industry. I’ll just vote with my wallet.

The second major argument for paleo in the book is that eating paleo makes you feel better, mentally and physically. I agree with that, but again, the book was mostly just asserting that, rather than allowing it to emerge from the story. So it seemed like propaganda.

If you’re a paleo-eating parent, I’d recommend reading how Kelly Elmore and her daughter eat, as described in this post: My Paleo Kid. And if you have any problems or challenges, ask on the PaleoParents e-mail list.

Personally, I’d not be willing to read a child this book, purely due to to its explicit anti-industry message and seeming propagandizing.

Addendum: I’m a person with strong opinions and a blunt style, and I like that about me.  However, I tend to err in the direction of “bull in a china shop,” and that can be misunderstood by more gentle people.  Here, I don’t want my review to be taken as any kind of personal attack or global criticism of Sarah Fragoso.  I didn’t like this book, and I stand by that judgment.  Nonetheless, I respect Sarah Fragoso and her work with Everyday Paleo. I’ve never met Sarah, but her blog is awesome, and I’m more than happy to recommend it to everyone, particularly parents.  And if you found value in this book — if it helps you explain paleo to your kids and grandkids — that’s fine by me… and you’re welcome to say so in the comments.

Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents

I love this book! It’s a kid-friendly paleo cookbook, with over 100 gluten-free, dairy-free, legume-free recipes for kids and adults to enjoy. Every recipe has a good picture, simple instructions, and a handy icon for what kids can do. (Obviously, what kids can do will depend on their age and skills.)

Kids could easily review the recipes to decide what to cook, review and assemble the ingredients, and then do much of the cooking. It would be a great first cookbook for kids to work through, and after much cooking from it, they could easily graduate into regular adult cookbooks.

I loved the cooking that I did as a child. I only wish that I’d done more nuts-and-bolts cooking of meat and vegetables, rather than so much baking and desserts. I’d strongly encourage paleo parents to teach their children to cook… and then let the kids do the cooking!

Modern Paleo in The Daily Camera

 Posted by on 18 February 2012 at 9:00 am  Food, Health
Feb 182012

The paleo diet was recently the subject of an article in Boulder’s newspaper, The Daily Camera: Paleo diet advocates claim increased energy, health benefits. Very unexpectedly, Modern Paleo was mentioned!

With more than 90 active members, the Denver paleo group on provides a way for paleo dieters to connect, support each other and share tips. In Boulder, more than 45 people are on a waiting list anticipating the start of a similar group. With the objective of creating an online community, University of Colorado graduate Diana Hsieh started

The article is pretty good, as much as I groan at the paleo “pancakes” featured in the opening and the closing.

How to Make Bacon in the Oven

 Posted by on 11 February 2012 at 5:50 pm  Food
Feb 112012

I make bacon on a regular basis, and I always make it in the oven in a glass pan. That’s the easiest, tastiest, and cleanest way I’ve found to to make a large batch of perfect bacon.

First, lay the strips neatly in a large glass pan.

The larger the pan the better! If the slices don’t all fit, I will overlap them, one exactly on top of another, then adjust them when I flip them. They shrink while cooking, so you’ll end up with more room.

Cook at 400F for 20 minutes — perhaps a bit less if you pre-heated the oven.

Flip over each slice, and re-adjust the placement as needed.

Cook for another 10 minutes. You might need a few more minutes after that — it depends on how crispy you like your bacon.

Save the grease for later cooking. Once the pan is cool, let the dog(s) lick the glass pan. (If you are missing the dog, adopt one!)

You can cook bacon at a lower temperature with more time too, but I don’t have the timing worked out for that. You can also use cookie sheets lined with tin foil in the oven too. That makes it harder for the doggies to enjoy, however. And the bacon doesn’t seem to cook quite as nicely as it does in a glass pan. I’ve seen some people recommend using a rack in a pan. I’ve never tried that, but it seems like more trouble.

How To Celebrate Randsday in Three Easy Steps

 Posted by on 2 February 2012 at 4:10 pm  Ayn Rand, Food, Fun
Feb 022012

How to Celebrate Randsday in Three Easy Steps:

Step 1: Buy up all the delicious uncured bacon at the grocery store.
Step 2: Take it home.
Step 3: Go wild. (This may take a few days.)

Happily, Steps 1 and 2 eased the pain of seven (!!) hours of errands today! (Due to the impending blizzard, I had to mush all my errands into one day.) Plus, the bacon was on sale! Score!

Jan 212012

Last week, I had a great four days of snowboarding in Beaver Creek, then one final day of skiing. Much to my delight, the third day offered six inches of glorious powder — and that much powder transforms snowboarding from “yay fun!” to “OMG OMG OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!”

My snowboarding skills are definitely improving with every day on the slopes. (These were days five through eight on a snowboard.) My turns are much better: I can do pretty flat s-curves down the milder slopes, and I can do turns on steeper slopes now too. I’m able to get off the lifts reliably, thank goodness. I’m only falling on occasion now too.

Interestingly, I’m pretty much ambidextrous on the snowboard. I’m goofy-footed, mostly because the inflamed nerve (morton’s neuroma) in the ball of my right foot is happier when strapped in full-time. However, I’m happy to go down the slope with left or right foot forward, and my turns are equally good (or bad) on either side. That flexibility is good: I can face whichever way makes the most sense given the terrain, not based on my own body’s preferences.

I snowboarded or skied for four to five hours every day. I was tired by that, but not wildly exhausted. (The only exception was the first day, but that involved waking up early and driving three hours to Beaver Creek, then snowboarding.) Also, I was sore after the first day or two in my quads, but that faded. That tells me that my 20 minute SuperSlow workouts once per week are keeping me in as good shape as CrossFit did.

By the time we went home, the only thing that hurt was the backs of my knees. I couldn’t figure out why… until I realized that the problem was likely my construction-style knee pads, because the main strap wrapped around the backs of my knees. I’ve ordered knew knee pads, so hopefully those will work without causing strain.

Finally, due to my still-super-strict elimination diet, I cooked all of our meals in the kitchen of the condo. We usually had bacon and grapefruit for breakfast. (Hence, the caption on on the picture!) Paul had coffee, and I had my cinnamon hot cocoa. I packed some meat (ham or leftovers), plus sweet potato for lunch. Then we had yummy dinners: slow-cooked pork ribs, roast chicken, pork roast, and so on. That worked really well: I kept strictly to my diet, and I enjoyed what we ate. Also, we probably saved a few hundred dollars, since eating out anywhere neat Beaver Creek is ridiculously expensive.

Overall, I’m really happy that I took up snowboarding this season. I’m enjoying the challenge of learning a new snow sport, particularly that difficult process of forcing myself by sheer will to overcome my fears. (I hope to write more about that later.) Mostly…


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