Product review: Cave Foods Mammooth bar

Although I’m not very keen on caveman references in paleo-friendly foods, and do believe homemade food and not packaged foods should make the bulk of our diet, I do appreciate the convenience of portable crap-free edible products.

Thanks to the increasing popularity of Crossfit and paleo/primal approaches to eating, several companies have created more natural alternatives of protein bars. Cave Foods is one of the such companies, and their product is called Mammooth bar.

I grabbed a vanilla bar at Paleo Cafe (they didn’t have chocolate – bummer!) for $5. It comes wrapped in butcher’s paper secured by a sticker that reads: “No: gluten, added sugar, artificial flavouring or preservatives.” At the back you can find the ingredients list: natural whey protein powder, organic almond meal, raw organic cacao butter, raw organic honey, organic dates, organic dried bananas, raw organic vanilla powder. Inside the wrapping paper, the bar sits in an tight and easy to tear plastic wrap.

Cave Foods Mamooth bar

Cave Foods Mamooth bar

Cave Foods Mamooth bar

I had half the bar post-workout (shared with Alvaro). I don’t use whey protein regularly any more because it can mess with my digestion and/or respiratory system but the small amount in half a bar didn’t bother me. The bar has the distinct milky taste of whey protein shakes, and was unexpectedly sour, but not in a bad way. Vanilla is not normally my preferred flavour unless I’m mixing it with something else. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for an opportunity to try the chocolate version.

Cave Foods
5 Allens Pde
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
www.cavefoods.com
On Facebook

Recipe: Arroz con pato (Peruvian duck with rice)

Yes, rice. Not cauliflower rice, but real rice. Although I consider white rice a relatively safe starch, I don’t eat it very often because it can stuff up my digestion and make me chubby. After 3+ years of not cooking rice, Alvaro asked me to make arroz con pato (literally “duck with rice”) for his birthday.

Arroz con pato (Peruvian duck with rice)
Yield: 6 servings

Arroz con pato

Ingredients

  • 6 duck marylands
  • 175 ml gluten-free beer
  • 175 ml plain kombucha or chicha de jora
  • 1 teaspoon fat (duck fat recommended)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo (yellow chilli powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 25 g pumpkin, grated
  • 1/2 litre chicken broth
  • 500 g medium-grain white rice
  • 75 g pumpkin, diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 red capsicum
  • salt and pepper
  • salsa criolla, to serve

Directions

  1. Marinate the marylands in a large ziplock bag with the beer and kombucha overnight.
  2. Drain the marylands and keep the marinade.
  3. Heat the fat in a large pot, brown the marylands in batches and set aside.
  4. The marylands will release a lot of fat (sweet!). If the amount makes you gag, get rid of some. Otherwise, set the temperature to low and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, add the chilli and cumin and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. While the aderezo cooks, chop the stalks and leaves of the coriander, and blend with just enough broth to make a paste.
  6. Add the coriander paste and grated pumpkin to the pot, cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the marylands, marinade and rest of the broth, cover pot and cook for 1 1/5 hours.
  8. In the meantime, roast the capsicum directly on the open fire of your stove or grill, or in a hot oven (210+ degrees), turning it periodically until the skin is completely black. Carefully remove the skin, stem and seeds and cut the flesh in strips. Reserve.
  9. When the marylands are cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm.
  10. Add rice to the pot, cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Add diced pumpkin, cook for another 10 minutes.
  12. Cook the peas in boiling water with salt (don’t overcook them, you want them bright green).
  13. Season rice with salt and pepper, serve topped with peas and capsicum, with duck and salsa criolla on the side.

Ketosis and athletic performance

The Sydney Morning Herald published an article on this topic last week (you can find it here). In it they describe how endurance athlete Tim Reed adopted a mostly ketogenic diet and the impact it has had on his performance. They also present work by professors Tim Noakes and Grant Schofield who are very well-known in the low carb high fat community.

Anyway, the article is pretty decent, except that they show a picture of a breakfast entitled “full fat: slow burn food?”. The plate contains potato chips, half a roasted tomato, 3 strips of roasted capsicum, baked beans, a sausage and a slice of toast topped with a fried egg. It looks very carb-loaded to me! I ran a search in MyFitnessPal.com and lo and behold, here’s the rough composition of the meal:

Food Portion size Fat Carbs Protein
Fast foods – Potato, french fried in vegetable oil (Generic) 1 small 16.0 34.0 4.0
Beans – Baked, canned, plain or vegetarian (Generic) 1/2 cup 0.0 27.0 6.0
Sausage – Beef, fresh, cooked (Generic) 50 g 14.0 0.0 9.0
Roasted Roma Tomatoes (Eurest) 1/4 cup 1.0 2.0 0.0
Pepper Red Roasted (Parkhurst) 1 Oz 0.0 1.5 0.0
Bread – White, toasted 1 slice 1.0 12.0 2.0
Eggs – Fried (whole egg) (Generic) 1 large 7.0 0.4 6.3
Total 39.0 76.9 27.6

Moral of the story: if you feel inspired by Tim Reed’s story give ketosis a shot but don’t think a breakfast like that will take you there.

If you want to learn more about ketosis and athletic performance check out Ben Greenfield and Dr Peter Attia‘s work.

Review: Kitchen Green (Eveleigh Markets, Darlington)

Kitchen Green

Thanks to my sis for letting me know there was a stall selling gluten-free yumminess at Eveleigh markets. Yes, everything at Kitchen Green is gluten-free and they also have dairy-free, egg-free, vegan and raw options (watch out for soy, though).

Kitchen Green

Kitchen Green

Kitchen Green

Kitchen Green: Muffins

My first purchase was back in Easter, when they were selling amazing hot cross buns. Later on, I’ve tried a couple of their veggie soups with gluten free toast ($7), a brunch tart ($5.5) with kale, pumpkin and feta cheese, a savoury mini muffin with pumpkin, the brekkie banana, prune, coconut & chia loaf ($4) (you can add roasted macadamia butter for an extra dollar), the roasted sweet potato, prune, walnut & chocolate brownie ($4.5) and one of their green smoothies ($7) with kale, english spinach, banana, mandarin, lemon, mint, ginger, tumeric & coconut water.

Kitchen Green: Soup pot

Kitchen Green: cauliflower and leek soup with gluten-free muffin toast

Cauliflower and leek soup with gluten-free muffin toast ($7)

Everything I’ve had there has been tasty and IMO worth the extra bucks (although some of their sweets, like the brownies are a bit too sweet for me).

Kitchen Green: Porridge pot

Kitchen Green: Brownies and smoothie sign

Kitchen Green
Eveleigh Markets
245 Wilson St
Eveleigh NSW 2015
02 9699 2337
0417 442 095
info@kitchengreen.com.au
On Facebook

Recipe: Supercharged hot chocolate, two ways

It’s still winter! I don’t know about you but when it’s cold I don’t fancy a smoothie, but a hot chocolate. I wouldn’t have one at a regular cafe because of the dairy and sugar content, so I make my own in my trusty Klean Kanteen insulated flask. It’s pretty filling thanks to the fat content, so it can easily replace breakfast.

Supercharged hot chocolate, two ways
Yield: 1 serving

Hot chocolate

Ingredients

Maca version:

  • 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon MCT oil
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • optional: 1 tablespoon collagen hydrolysate
  • 1 cup hot water

“Bulletproof” version:

  • 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon MCT oil
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  1. Choose a version and mix all ingredients in flask (shake well) or in a blender (be careful with the hot water!).

Product review: Herbs of Life crispbread

Now that we don’t eat regular crackers we sometimes miss a salty crunchy vehicle for butter. We like Flats and are not that fond of Kitz crackers (although their sweets are sensational), but our favourite cracker substitute without a doubt is Herbs of Life crispbread.

We’ve tried the herbed almond crispbread (oh man!) and the herb flax crackers (too flaxy for my taste). We’ve also tried the cinnamon almond crispbread (perfect not-too-sweet sweet crackers!). Check out the lists of ingredients in the photos below. Most ingredients are organic and locally sourced, and the snacks are dehydrated at low temperature (technically raw). The prices listed below are from Dr Earth Newtown.

Herbs of Life: Herb almond crispbread

Herbs of Life: Herb almond crispbread

Herb almond crispbread ($9, $7.11 discounted price)

Herbs of Life: Cinnamon almond crispbread

Herbs of Life: Cinnamon almond crispbread

Cinnamon almond crispbread ($9, $7.11 discounted price)

We try not to overdo the gluten-free grain & grain-like substances so we haven’t tried the buckwheat lavash yet. We have tried a few of their kombucha flavours, all good so far.

Herbs of Life
Unit 4/114-116 Somers Street
Lawson NSW 2783
(02) 47593852, 0448 523 438
info@herbsoflife.com.au
www.herbsoflife.com.au

Review: Burger 10 (Glebe)

Burger 10 is one of the newish players in the local burger scene. Like Grill’d, they target consumers looking for a healthier option (grass-fed beef, grilled burgers) with a unique spin: internationally inspired flavours (reminded me of my beloved Bembo’s).

Burger 10

Burger 10

Burger 10

We decided to try it because they do gluten-free buns and the day we stopped by to buy a takeaway serve of chips, the friendly guy behind the register explained us which options could be made gluten-free by swapping the bun.

We ordered a couple of sides to share: a serve of potato chips and salad… sort of… served underneath the caramelised smoked BBQ glazed pork belly. Chips were hot and crispy and the serve was generous. On every table there’s a set of condiments that include Dijon and wholegrain mustard, salt, ketchup and 4 types of Tabasco sauce (can I suggest mayo?). The pork belly was just okay. I think the sauce was the main culprit.

Burger 10: Caramelised smoked bbq glazed pork belly, chips

Caramelised smoked bbq glazed pork belly ($12.50), potato chips ($3.50)

Burger 10: Condiments

Alvaro and I shared the classic beef burger (grass fed beef patty, tomato chutney, beetroot, pickled cucumber, rocket leaves and mayo) and the smoked chicken thigh burger (thyme and lemon scented smoked chicken thigh fillet, beetroot, rocket and fennel aioli). I liked the chicken better, as the beef patty was not very juicy.

Burger 10: Classic beef burger

Classic beef burger ($9.50 + $1.00 for the GF bun)

Burger 10: Smoked chicken thigh burger

Smoked chicken thigh burger ($10.95 + $1.00 for the GF bun)

Gladys had the lamb burger (lamb, oregano, mint and feta cheese patty, charred eggplant purée, red capsicum, Spanish onion, kalamata olives and cucumber tzatziki), also nice but not very juicy.

Burger 10: Lamb burger

Lamb burger ($12.90 + $1.00 for the GF bun)

Feeling like we could fit in a little something else, we ordered the Cajun spiced smoked crispy potato with bacon & cheese sauce, but without the cheese sauce. For some reason I thought it would be potato chunks and soft fatty bacon, but it was the same potato chips with Cajun seasoning and crispy strips of almost burnt bacon. I guess the cheese sauce makes a big difference, so my bad for suggesting having it dairy-free.

Burger 10: Cajun spiced smoked crispy potato with bacon & cheese sauce

Cajun spiced smoked crispy potato with bacon & cheese sauce ($7.50)

Burger 10
39 Glebe Point Road
Glebe NSW 2037
(02) 8283 3878
info@burger10.com.au
burger10.com.au
On Facebook

Burger10 on Urbanspoon

The day liver kicked my ass

I love liver. I grew up eating and loving a soup my granny made with liver (superfood!) and fried liver with onions that my mum still makes for me when I visit her. I still eat liver regularly as pate or mixed with mince at breakfast but there was something I hadn’t tried yet: raw liver.

Liz Wolfe had been mentioning raw liver shots in the Balanced Bites podcast for a while. They day she posted the actual instructions and photo I knew I had to try it. The benefits (vitamins A, D, iron, increased energy, etc.) seemed to outweigh the potential grossness and, to be honest, the photo didn’t look bad at all (have a look here).

Liz mixes the liver with berries, and that’s what I did, too. I used 1/4 cup frozen berries (defrosted until syrupy as per Liz’s recommendations), a 24g square of frozen blended liver and 1/2 cup water. And I drank it. And it tasted like blood. And berries. But mainly blood. I don’t even know if the smoothie gave me the energy it was supposed to give me, all I know is I’m not doing it again. Please note, however, that cooked liver is my thing, so raw liver might be your thing. Give it a shot if you’re brave enough. Once again, here’s the link to Liz’s post.

Nutritional genomics

Last week I attended a seminar on nutritional genomics organised by the Nutrition Society of Australia. Presenters were Prof. Michael Fenech from CSIRO, Dr Jennifer Cropley from Victor Chang, Cardiac Research Institute and Melissa Adamski from Nutted Out Nutrition. Here’s a summary of their presentations.

The OMICS and ETICS of personalised nutrition and lifestyle recommendations
Prof. Michael Fenech

  • Nutrigenomics refer to the impact of diet in nutrition and medicine. Nutrigenetics refer to what has been programmed in our DNA.
  • Diet has an impact in our DNA (the blueprint and its stability), RNA (the transcript) and proteins (the products), the way genes are expressed.
  • Exposomes are things we’re exposed to that can cause DNA damage. These include: malnutrition, lifestyle toxins (e.g. alcohol), psychological stress, environmental toxins. There’s a higher risk earlier in life.
  • Some nutrients that are important to make good DNA are folate, methionine, vitamin B12, zinc. However, elevated doses can be as harmful, e.g. folate exposure can be as harmful as X-ray exposure.
  • DNA repair can be performed by homologous recombination (error free) or non-homologous recombination (error prone, i.e. repair happens but introduces errors in the genome).
  • DNA damage can be decreased by dietary intake (not supplementation) of iron, vitamin E, calcium, folate, retinol and nicotinic acid. It can be decreased by dietary intake (not supplementation) of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin. Beta-carotene has a U-shaped effect.
  • Telomeres are important in DNA damage. Currently the main focus is on length but quality is also important. Longer telomeres are found in association with folate, vitamin E, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, cereal fibre, multivitamin use. Shorter telomeres are found in association with polyunsatured fatty acids, oxidative stress, obesity, psychological stress.
  • Cancer growth can be controlled by methionine restriction.
  • Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases can be improved by acetyl-L-carnitine, choline, omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Carriers of the APOe4 gene are better adapted to famine, and so may be respond better to a paleolithic-type diet.

Influence of parental obesity on offspring
Dr Jennifer Cropley

  • Experiments with mice where the mother is predisposed to metabolic disease via a Western-type diet, this predisposition is inherited in the second and third generations.
  • When the father is the carrier of the predisposition, it’s carried up to the grandchildren. miRNAs and tRNAs in sperm that encode transcription factors are different in obese vs non-obese fathers.
  • The predisposition, even with a healthy phenotype (not displaying signs of metabolic disease) can be passed on.

Nutrigenetic testing
Melissa Adamski

It was a great seminar with plenty of useful information and not a bunch of conventional wisdom thrown at us. I was also glad that catering in charge of About Life.

Product review: Luz cold pressed almond milk

As a FFG (former fat girl) I’m cautious when it comes to liquid calories. I drink mostly water, mineral water, black coffee or tea, but when I saw these little bottles in my local health food shop I couldn’t resist.

Not only the bottles were cute, but the label read espresso with cold pressed almond milk followed by “gluten free, dairy free, soy free, cholesterol free (duh!), no additives or preservatives”. Sounded too good to be true. The label on the bottle next to it read Medjool dates with cold pressed almond milk.

Luz cold pressed almond milk

This is *real* almond milk (as opposed to the boxed varieties), so it sediments (give it a good shake before drinking) and has a very short shelf life. Alvaro loved the almond milk with dates, which contains filtered water, premium Australian almonds and Medjool dates. I thought the almond milk with coffee was unsweetened but it actually contains almond milk with dates (84%) plus espresso (16%). It was delicious, BTW. I think the serving sizes are small enough to not be a big deal if you’re not metabolically broken.

They also sell larger bottles of pure cold pressed almond milk. BTW you can totally make all of these beverages at home but it’s nice to drink something out of a cute bottle once in a while, no?

The Luz Almond Company
Level 11, 110 Mary St
Brisbane QLD 4000
www.luzalmond.com