Paleo Chilli Con Carne

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Chilli con carne is one of my all time favourite childhood meals. Back in the day, PPCE (Penny pre clean eating) I used to add ketchup and stock cubes laced with MSG and sugar, i knew no better, don’t judge me.

Nowadays I have a yummy version that is even diet friendly if you are trying to lean up for an event and its definitely a winter warmer. The Paleo diet is void of legumes and grains, so I have replaced the rice with cauliflower rice and the traditional kidney beans are simply replaced by packing it chock full with veggies. The use of cauli rice makes it low carb and high in fibre, and the meat and coconut oil make it a macro balanced power packed meal.

 

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Makes: 3-4 Serves

Ingredients:

500G Organic lean beef mince

1 jar of passata sauce (Italian tomato sauce)

2 long stems of celery, sliced

1 brown onion, diced

1 carrot, grated

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp of chilli paste

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 avocado, smashed

1 cauliflower floret

1 tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a medium size frying pan on high heat.
  • Add diced onion, and cook until browning.
  • Add mince meat.
  • Add all herbs and spices.
  • Add celery and carrot.
  • Add passata sauce and bring the heat down to low.
  • Let the chilli simmer whilst you make the cauli rice.
  • Cut cauliflower into pieces, small enough to fit in a food processor shoot.
  • Put cauliflower pieces into a food processor on coarse grater setting and “rice” the cauliflower.
  • Add the cauliflower to a separate fry pan to heat or alternatively a steamer, or the last and lazy option is to zap it in the microwave.
  • Serve the chilli over the cauli rice with a dollop of smashed avo.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Macros!

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After a few fans and followers letting me know they felt a little lost with macros I decided to share my knowledge, opinion and guidance with all things macro related. Where do I start with this? There has been so much around lately of macros. Either you count and calculate them fanatically or you don’t, but is there a middle ground?

 

What are Macros?

Macros are short for Macronutrients, which are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Fat

 

While each of these macronutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies.

 

Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.

Protein provides 4 calories per gram.

Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

 

Besides carbohydrate, protein, and fat the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, is not a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival, well maybe a glass or two of vino to survive a tough week at least!

 

We need all these macros to survive, that’s why its not recommended to avoid or dramatically cut any particular macro. For example, so zero low carb dieting for long periods or avoiding fat. They all work in synergy so its best simply to manipulate the amounts to get the results you want, I’ll go into more detail about this.

 

So what are Micronutrients? These are nutrients that our bodies need in smaller amounts, and include vitamins and minerals.

 

  • Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

 

  • Protein is found in meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and in smaller quantities in starchy foods and vegetables.

 

Now I am going to be cruel here and say that your best choices for protein are meat, poultry and fish. Yes other items have protein but if their main macro is carbs or fats then it is not a “protein source” in my book. For example: a banana has 1.3g of protein in it, it also has 23g of carbs, so don’t try and tell me it’s a protein source! It is a carb source!

When we eat these types of foods with protein, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need. Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids.

  • Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, oily fish, some grain products and salad dressings.

 

You should know now that not all fat is created equal, for example there are healthy fats like coconut oil, organic butter, olive oil, avocado and nuts and seeds, whereas man made or as I like to call them “pretend fats” are artificial, synthetic, industrial or manufactured trans fats and are caused by the way some fats and oils are processed. They are found in foods that use hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats, such as deep-fried and baked foods. They really are naughty stuff, so always check labeling and avoid vegetable oils, packaged soups, crackers, chips, baked goods, frozen foods and general processed food….but I am assuming you are avoiding these already!

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Ok, so now we know what macros are and what they do lets give a little insight into how we should eat and structure them. This may be controversial so I will try and keep it neutral as everyone has a different way of eating.

 

Macro timing

Some say, and there is science to back it up, that macro timing is key. Myself on the other hand I am a little more lenient when it comes to macro placing with my clients and myself.  Some say carbs only post workout, some say pre workout and some for breakfast, and some say all of the above. To be honest do whatever your practitioner tells you to do because they know you, but there are pros and cons to all. A general guide if you are unsure is “you have to earn your carbs”: So add carbs around workouts and when you need the energy. Personally I love carbs pre bed to induce sleep. A general rule is to avoid fats around your workout. But also, lets just make it simple: just eat healthy foods to nourish your body and its needs all day long and don’t get caught up in perfectly timing your macros. The world wont fall apart if you don’t have you carbs post workout one day.

 

How to structure your macros

  • A general rule is to make sure you are eating protein with every meal, which I believe is key. A guide to follow is either a palm size of protein, or you can weigh your food (but who has time for that!) I am a big believer in eating what you know is enough and not getting too caught up in exact measurements.
  • The next thing is fibre. A guide here is a couple of cups or a hand size of vegetables or salad. In the ideal world once your protein and fibre requirements are met I am happy for you to eat whatever you like! Just kidding…..but really, meeting your protein and fibre needs for the day is pretty hard so once this is achieved then you can start to play around with the other macros.
  • Fats. Let me make this perfectly clear. You need fat. Dietary fat and body fat. If someone tells you that you need to follow a low to zero fat diet I would run in the other direction as fast as you can! You need fat for so many functions, my world is hormones – you need fats for proper hormone function. So add anything between 2-6 additional serves of fats a day as well. My favorite are a teaspoon of organic butter or coconut oil on my veggies, or chuck ¼ of avocado into your green smoothie.
  • Next is Carbs, and they really are a tricky subject purely because everyone’s tolerance is very different. There are so many factors that play apart. With myself and clients I use Biosignature and their insulin profile to determine their carb metabolism rate. So for example I am a carbo type, my body like carbs (and my mind loves them!) so I do well on moderate protein, moderate fats and moderate to high carb dieting. But I could have a client that suits purely protein, veggies and fats. Your bodyfat and previous carb/sugar abuse has a massive impact on this as well. This all comes down to genetics, and all starts in the mouth when you eat carbs. Chewing breaks food into small molecules that combine with saliva secreted by the salivary glands in the mouth. Along with mucin and buffers, saliva contains the enzyme salivary amylase, which acts on the starch in food and breaks it down to maltose. Salivary amylase continues for the short duration that the carbohydrates are in the mouth, after which the mixture of the partially digested carbohydrates travels down the esophagus into the stomach. Everyone’s level of amylase is very different so you see when a practitioner prescribes you a generic diet with set carb macros majority of the time this doesn’t work because we are all snowflakes, our carb tolerance is very individual.
  • One thing to take into consideration is that very few people do well on high fat AND high carb intake. There are people that need an equal balance, such a ‘Mixed types’ but people usually need more of one or the other.

 

So you see this is where macros can be confusing, but don’t fret! Here are some troubleshooting ways to work it out:

  • Start with a balanced diet of protein, fats and carbs. Measure your success and results and alter from there.
  • Start the day, so your first morning meal, with a high carb meal and measure how you feel 20mins-2hrs later. If you feel like you need to go back to bed for a nap, sorry you are not a carbo type. If you feel alert, energetic and great then carbs suit you.
  • Try carb cycling. If I am ever unsure of a clients tolerance or they are simply border line carbo/fat and protein type this is a sure fire way to still get them loosing body fat whilst making them more tolerant to carbs.
  • Be intuitive! If you really listen to your body it will give you some clear signs that it likes what your doing. If you are not loosing body fat eating high carb and low fat, or vice versa, or you simply feel rubbish then adjust your macros accordingly.
  • Get your booty off to see a Biosignature Practitioner like myself to have them devise your ideal macros ratios. Most Biosigs practitioners will measure Hba1c, insulin and fasting glucose to determine your status.

 

So yes, I do believe there is a middle ground. Please don’t get too caught up in macros. Hit you protein, fibre and fat requirements and add in carbs where you need them. Simple!

Yours in health, hormones and happiness

Pen

xxx

About Penny Lomas

Penny Lomas is a Personal Trainer and Registered Level 2 BioSignature Modulation Practitioner based in Melbourne, specialising in hormone coaching, strength and conditioning, holistic lifestyle coaching, and body transformation. Penny is an Australian Health and Fitness Writer with extensive years in the Fitness Industry. Penny is a published Fitness Model, Athlete, TV Presenter on Living Lean TV, and Ecostore Australia Ambassador. Penny is also a 3 x Oxygen Magazine Cover-girl and Proud Ambassador. Penny is currently studying her PICP Level 1&2 and also Performing Circus Arts and Tumbling. To find out more about Penny or to train with Penny you can contact her here penny@pennylomas.com.au

Raw Strawberry Chocolate Hearts

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With a recent Valentines sneaking up upon me I was forced to drive around Melbourne for 2days trying to find a love heart chocolate mould for my chocoholic boyfriend, apparently around Valentines Day they are all sold out! They turned out to be a hit so it was well worth it. It was our first Valentines together so I had to set the bar for future festivities and really out do myself. Mission accomplished.

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You don’t need moulds of any shape or size for this recipe, you can simply use cupcake wrappers, make them small sizes though as it’s very rich.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

30-40g cacao butter

4&1/2 tbsp cacao powder

4 tbsp st Dalfour cane sugar free strawberry jam

2 tbsp raw or manuka honey, or a sweetener of your choice like maple syrup

a pince of salt

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Directions:

Place the cacao butter, coconut oil, cacao powder(sifted) salt and honey in a heatproof or glass dish and melt by placing the dish in simmering water on the stove, be careful not to burn the chocolate but instead gently melt by stirring.

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Once mixture is smooth and combined, spoon into the moulds to half fill them and then place in the freezer to set for 10-15mins.

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Remove from the freezer and spoon half a teaspoon of strawberry jam into the centre, then top up the mould with the remaining chocolate. Place in the freezer again.

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Leave to set for at least 1hour. Only remove from the mould once they are completely set. Then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month, not that they last a month in my household!

Happy Valentines All, Love Pen xxx

How To Make Spaghetti Squash

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Pumpkin is one of my favourite post workout starchy carbs, I am also a big fan of my mums spag Bol and comfort food so when I came across some locally grown spaghetti squash at my neighbourhood farmers market I couldn’t resist making it a regular addition to my diet. Spaghetti squash is a great way to enjoy your carbs without gluten or processed flours.

Step 1: With a knife, prick your pumpkin to allow for air ventilation. No one wants to be cleaning up an explosion of pumpkin from the inside of their oven. Speaking from experience. Place in the oven on the middle shelf. Cook for 60-80mins at 350′.

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Step 2: Once cooked through, remove from the oven and slice in half. Let cool.

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Step 3: With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Or plant in your garden!

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Step 4: With a fork, scrap out the spaghetti, it will form noodles as you go.

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Best served with lashings of a yummy sauce, meatballs, or it can also be baked into a spaghetti bake with leftovers.

My favourite is with my beef and flaxseed meatballs and sauce. Enjoy!

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Dessert Pizza

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This recipe tastes as good as it looks, and although I am an excellent cook (modest too) it is actually easier to make than it looks.

This is the perfect dessert for a casual dinner party or BBQ, and it went down well at a girls night in on the couch with a cheesy DVD. What i do love about this pizza is you can make it as clean or as dirty as you like, and the variations are endless: don’t like berries? replace with figs or banana, dont like chai spice? replace with cacao and make a chocolate pizza! What more of a decadent treat? Replace a 1/2 cup of cauliflower rice for almond meal to make the base more fat dense and crispy. Lacto-paleo? Chuck some cottage cheese or ricotta on top! Use your imagination. But if you stick to the below recipe it really is a nice clean treat with relatively lower GI load than your typical desserts.

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Equipment you’ll need:

A food processor

A pizza tray

Ingredients:

3 to 4 eggs

2 cups cauliflower rice (raw cauliflower coarsely chopped in a food processor to resemble “rice”)

A generous sprinkle of Cinnamon /or spices of your choice (Nutmeg, allspice, cardamon)

Fresh blueberries and strawberries, or fruit of your choice.

1tbsp Bee Pollen

1tbsp Cacao Nibs

1tbsp Desiccated Coconut

1tbsp Raw Cacao Powder

1/2tsp stevia powder

1scoop Vanilla Estrogenomics powder (or vanilla/chocolate whey protein powder) or even natural yoghurt, or coconut yoghurt with some vanilla powder….the options are endless!

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Blend your cauli rice, eggs and cinnamon in the food processor until it resembles a batter.

Spoon the batter onto the pizza tray to line it evenly.

Bake in the oven until just golden brown. Let cool.

Now comes the fun bit! You can now add all your toppings.

Mix vanilla topping of your choice with a little water and spread evenly on the base.

Then place berries on next.

Sprinkle coconut, cacao nibs and pollen on.

To make the chocolate cause mix cacao powder, a little water and stevia. Then “drizzle”, i love that word, the sauce all over the pizza.

Chill the whole pizza in the fridge.

When ready to devour, cut into pizza slices, sprinkle with mint leaf slices and enjoy. Would even go well with some coconut ice-cream too…..oh now thats just naughty!

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