Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate Review: Theo's 70% Cherry & Almond

By Benjamin Skipper

Mildness does not necessarily need to be a bad attribute; given the right context, it could really add depth to a chocolate. When the attribute is in balance with other flavor players and can be distinguished from them, for instance, it merely adds to the complexity of the treat. If it's so mild that it can't be detected, however, then why include it? Today in consideration is Theo's 70% Cherry & Almond.

Strangely enough, this was a difficult variety to unravel. I enjoy the intellectual challenge, but this was a challenge of digging up vices and not virtues. Just about every aspect of this bar is so weak that it hardly impinges on the conscious in any significant way and is hardly strong enough to stimulate pleasure. Plus it promises one thing on the wrapper and delivers another, and how disappointing it is to have promises broken by confectionery!

To start, the chocolate itself is quite bland. If it were any weaker then I'd imagine it'd be all texture and no taste. At 70% cacao I expect a somewhat strong experience, but it tastes merely of conventional bittersweet chocolate like you find in the baking aisles of your grocery store, and is equal portions bitter and sweet, which cancels each other out in a way. The cherries are there to be sure, but they're even milder than the chocolate itself, so they enter the field of awareness only on the very edge of one's peripheral perception. I can clearly tell that its cherry I'm tasting, but its so weak that I cannot identify its exact nature: no tang, tartness, sour sweetness, or the like. The almonds I could not taste at all, which is odd since I can clearly see them integrated in the chocolate: Here we have the odd paradox of something being present and absent at the same time. Furthermore, the whole experience is just one long boring note with no starts or finishes.

The mouthfeel is just acceptable. The sections snap loudly and there's a crunch at every bite, but it shortly enough become soft and yielding to your internal body heat. I fully expected the cherries to add some stickiness here and there, but here's where they themselves vanish without a trace and the almonds become assertive. The bite starts out hard and crunchy, slowly softens into a viscous paste, and finishes off dry. It's strange that something could be moist and be perceived as dry, but the almonds have pulled it off.

The aroma brings back to mind again the excessive mildness. The chocolate is the dominate player, but that's hardly saying much since the aroma is so weak as to be nearly imperceptible. The cacao is of a fruity nature, certainly cherry, but again its so mild that it hardly impacts the consciousness. As for the almonds: Where did they go again?

Let us not neglect the aesthetics: the ugliness is continued in this brand. I am more fond of the packaging of this variety than I am of the others since it's brighter and has nice photography of the cherries, but the chocolate bar is horrendous. Again: ugly rectangles without decoration, no shine, chocolate "dust" and shards everywhere, and even smears. Given that other companies can produce much cheaper chocolates and make them look worlds better there is simply no excuse for such ghastliness. 

The primary vice here is that everything is mild to excess. It hardly comes off as being anything of any sort, so any more mildness would just make this bar a block of "stuff." Since it includes both almond pieces and oil I would expect a far more nutty experience, but I can only detect the almonds in the finish of the mouthfeel. Everything is so boring that I find this variety to be totally worth passing up.

Theo is rather a mixed bag to my interpretation. I love the balance of their orange bar, but, in addition to the present variety in consideration, I dislike their mint since the cacao is weak in that one too and there was also an out-of-place note of rye. Given certain processes, base recipes, and premises a company should perform rather consistently, so I'm suspicious that it may be their very source of cacao that I dislike. Nonetheless, I have found value in this company and will continue watching them for more of their works; their single-origin chocolates are on my wish list.

Read more...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some weekly links for people interested in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome. The Secular Foxhole hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing what Objectivists are writing and doing, go take a peek!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

Read more...

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #049

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Yael Grauer presents Gluten-Free January: My Experience posted at Yael Writes, saying, "offers a personal comparison of gluten-free and Paleo diets."

Robin presents Paleo Challenge Report Part 2: What I've Been Eating posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "An overview of what a typical day eating Paleo looks like, with some of my favorite foods and snacks."

Whitney presents What do I feed a Paleo baby? posted at The Paleo Child, saying, "What to feed a Paleo baby."

Ravi presents Trolling for Farting Vegans & Nutritional Lessons Missed posted at DaiaSolGaia, saying, "This post came looking for me (not me for it!) - but it was yet again revealing why there is such ignorance about nutrition amongst veg-heads- even with the internet at their fingertips!"

Kristjan Gunnarson presents How to eat healthy posted at Kiddi's Diet and Exercise, saying, "A guide on how to eat healthy, based on the paleo diet with a few healthy additions"

Rafael presents ¿Como Lograr la Salud Perfecta? Introducción posted at Nutrición Primitiva y Salud.

NJ Paleo Girl presents No BEANS about it! posted at NJ Paleo Girl.

Nell Stephenson presents Make Some NOISE, Athletes Out There! Tell the USAT YOU WANT PALEO! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Homemade Coconut Butter. F Yeah. posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "I think $9 a jar for coconut butter is lame, so I made my own... with a little twist for extra yum!"

Paul Jaminet presents Ketogenic Diet for NBIA (Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation) posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "NBIA is a devastating genetic disease in which children become crippled and die in their early teens after excruciating pain. Amazingly, one of our readers has found that a therapeutic diet rescues her NBIA child from pain and restores function. A heartwarming story of a medical breakthrough!"

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Planning a Dirty-Kneed Grass-Stained Spring and Summer posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "Last year, I was way too much of a hermit. I'll own it: I love climate control. I love watching peaceful snowfalls from a warm house in the winter, and I really love me some AC in the summer. But I recently came to the conclusion that me staying indoors as the weather warms is not the example I'd hope to set for my daughters. Now that my youngest has started walking, I am planning a full springtime and summer. What are YOUR plans to take in some more sunshine, fresh air, and wide open spaces as the weather warms?"

Laurie Donaldson presents If you are orthodox paleo, don't read this... posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Not for the orthodox paleo..."

Todd Dosenberry presents If You Could Only Live on 9 Foods, What Would They Be? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Have some fun with this. Imagine yourself stranded on an island... if you could only have 9 foods to live off of, what would they be? Leave a comment and tell us if you eat primal, paleo or neither."

Mike Fout / New Renaissance presents Grilled Beet, Fennel, and Jazz Apple posted at Every Day A New Adventure, saying, "Beets plus Fennel plus Apple plus Fire equals a big serving bowl of awesome! *Also, there was pork."

Ryan presents Paleo Ice Cream Recipe posted at The Urban Cave - Chicago, saying, "When dessert cravings hit, paleo ice cream is a lifesaver!"

Crystal Meadows presents The Social Cavewoman posted at Against the Grain.

Beth Mazur presents Of hot dogs & eggs posted at Weight Maven, saying, "Cows and chickens eating a natural diet may make for healthier hot dogs and eggs, but neither is much of a protein source."

J. Stanton presents The Paleo Starter Kit, Part I: A Functional Paleo Kitchen posted at GNOLLS.ORG, saying, ""Going paleo" is great...but it can be intimidating to suddenly realize you have to cook all your own food. Here's my practical starter guide! (Also check out Part II, "A Basic Technique For Real-World Cooking""

Julia Campbell presents lamb burgers with fresh herbs + spiced yogurt + warm broccoli salad posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "These are the best burgers I've ever had! Filled with fresh herbs and topped with a spiced, cool yogurt sauce it's the perfect way to break out of a burger rut."

Pepper Ruper presents PCOS, cancer, pregnancy and more: Why taking Iodine may save your life posted at Paleo Pepper, saying, "The first in a series of posts on the relationship between iodine, hormone function, PCOS, and general health"
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Question of the Week: Yummy Vegetables

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of kathb)


Paleo Question of the Week: What yummy vegetable dish did you make this week?

We'd love to hear your answer to that question in the comments on this post... or you're welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

Read more...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pork Chile Verde + Ancho Chile Salsa

By Julie


I'm sorry if this dish is difficult for some of you to make. I stocked up on green chiles this summer (as everyone in Colorado does) and froze them. So I had New Mexican Hatch chiles at my disposal. If you're not as lucky to have these covetable chiles in your freezer, you can use Anaheim, which you may not have readily available in your grocery store. A well-stocked one should, but if not, you could use jalapeños, just a bit less. You might also have trouble finding tomatillos in a smaller, less well-stocked grocery store.


Green chile is very different from what most people think of chili. It's more of a sauce, it has no beans, and it's always loaded with pork. It's a big thing here - instead of talking about the place with the best pizza, people talk about the restaurant with the best green chile. You can use it as a sauce or you can eat it from a bowl, which is what I like to do.


If you'd like you could add extra vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, or carrots. I served this with avocado and cotija cheese, which if you haven't tried you must. It's a hard, salty, crumbly Mexican cheese that I think is to die for. Sour cream, extra cilantro, and guacamole are of course other toppings that would work.



The ancho chile salsa that I topped the chile verde off with is incredible. If you've never used dried peppers, don't be scared! They're not hard to use, and the flavor is unmatched. Ancho chiles are smoky and rich. I can't find exactly which pepper they are fresh - there seems to be some discrepancy on the world wide web about whether it's a pasilla pepper or poblano, as those two are used interchangeably often, apparently. In any case, dried ancho chiles are a deep red color and come sold in a plastic cellophane bag, like dried mushrooms. I plead you don't skip this step! You won't regret the bit of extra effort!



I made this recipe in a slow cooker. I started it after lunch time and let it cook until dinner time. You can certainly do this all on the stove as well. It all depends on your time frame. If you've got a bit of time in the middle of the day on a weekend, then I'd say go ahead and use the slow cooker. It would be hard to get this ready for dinner time on a weekday, unless you get home from work pretty early.


pork chile verde
adapted from Bon Appétit, serves 6

1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, washed, and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1/2 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems
olive oil/fat
3 garlic cloves
1 2 to 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 green chile (such as Hatch or Anaheim), chopped (or roasted, seeded, and chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1. Puree 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 of tomatillos, green onions, cilantro with stems, and garlic in a food processor. Set salsa verde aside.
A note on the salsa verde: You can substitute about 1 1/2 cup of jarred, prepared salsa verde for this step, which you can find in the salsa section, if you cannot find tomatillos. You probably will not need to add any additional salt to the overall dish if you do this.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon or so of oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add pork to pot in a single layer. You may have to do this in batches. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper as it's cooking. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned, 4 minutes total. Remove pork with slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add in cumin seeds and continue to sauté until onion is beginning to brown and the cumin seeds are toasted, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the rest of the tomatillos and cook until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. If you did not roast your chiles, you can add them in at this step along with the tomatillos.

6. Add contents of pot, pork, reserved salsa verde, 1/2 cup broth, chiles (if roasted and set aside), oregano, and potatoes to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes on using stove top:
After step 5, add in pork, salsa verde, 1/2 cup broth, chiles (if roasted and set aside), and oregano to pot. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for about 2 hours. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and thin with any additional broth if desired.



ancho chile salsa

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce of dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Heat oil in a small skillet and add the chiles. Fry them for about 2 minutes, until they become fragrant and turn a bit lighter. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.

2. In same skillet, add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 1 minute. Add water to pan.

3. In a food processor, add the chiles, garlic and water, honey, and cinnamon. Season with salt.

Serve the chile verde with the ancho salsa, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and/or anything else you'd like.

Read more...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

3-2-1-SLEEP!

By Crystal

Healthy Habits and Success in Sleeping
Cross-posted by Crystal Meadows from Against the Grain

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
- Aristotle

Proper habits are essential to success, in any venture.  Sometimes I think that unsuccessful people assume that those who achieve more are simply more fortunate or gifted.  In most cases, successful people are simply more consistent.  Set a goal, make a plan, follow through.  There may be setbacks along the way, but a successful person does not accept excuses - only results.

Health and fitness have been a tough journey for me, at times.  I was not raised with proper eating habits and have chosen to correct this as an adult.  It's an ongoing journey, for sure, but I'm definitely in the best shape of my life right now.  There are still improvements to be made, but I'm well on the way.  Creating healthy habits has been vital to the achievements I've made thus far.

This week I started a Paleo Challenge at Clear Lake Crossfit.  I love the way this challenge is set up by our coaches.  It is scored on a "points" system.  Points are earned for compliance, not weight loss.  What I love about this set-up is that the emphasis is on creating healthy habits.  Six weeks of focusing on Eating, Sleeping, and CrossFitting.  How can you go wrong?  Each day you start with 7 points:

1. Eat real food - meat (and eggs), vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.
2. No dairy.
3. No grains.
4. No legumes.
5. No sweeteners of any kind, natural or artificial.
6. No processed foods.
7. No alcohol.

So, if I follow 1-6, but have a glass of wine with dinner, I earn 6 points for the day.  Bonus points are earned for completing a WOD at CLCF (maximum of 5 per week) and for sleeping 8 or more hours per night.

Eight hours or MORE?  Are they serious?

Everything else is pretty easy for me, especially with a points system to keep me on track.  I'm an INTJ, so I generally do well with charts and scores and those kinds of things.  However, I am really having to work at getting enough sleep.  Part of the problem is my own busy schedule and lifestyle.  I generally get home around 9 or 10 in the evening, then eat dinner, catch up on e-mails or bookkeeping, prepare my meals for the next day, and go to bed.  If the next day is a CrossFit day, I have to get up at 6:45.  That doesn't leave me a lot of time to unwind, and I have often found myself tossing and turning, regardless of my bedtime.

This week I have been working on some new habits.  It has severely restricted some of my online time, but I don't think that's a bad thing, overall.  After reading a lot about how artificial light affects our sleep, I have been trying the following things:
  • Turn off all electronic devices and bright lights an hour before bedtime.
  • Sleep in a pitch black room.
  • No electronic devices in the bedroom.
  • Establish a routine of bedtime and wake time.
  • Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon.
I've been doing this for four nights in a row now.  Sometimes the computer doesn't go off until half an hour before bedtime, but it goes off.  I have my bedroom as dark as I can get it (I even cover up my alarm clock), and I leave my BlackBerry charging in the dining room.  Every night that I have done this, I've fallen asleep almost immediately.  I sleep through the night and often wake right before my alarm goes off.  It's awesome.

The other positive benefit I'm seeing from this is that I've created more time to read.  In that time that the computer and t.v. are off, I sit by a lamp and read or write in my journal.  Journaling is also helpful to clear my mind for restful sleep.  It has often been a problem in the past that I would lie awake, my mind racing.  Writing all of that out before bedtime helps tremendously.  I also try to read something light and positive before bed.

I'm not sure how the sleep and wake times will carry over into the weekend.  An active social life is important to me, as a single woman, so I'll have to make some adjustments on the weekends.

How are your sleep habits? What tips do you have to share?

As for my points on the Paleo Challenge, I've had 100% compliance so far.  7 nutrition points, +1 for WOD, +1 for sleep (YEA!) every day this week.  Today is my rest day, so no bonus workout point, but I'll get 5 in this week for sure.

Healthy Habits are working.  Eat, Sleep, CrossFit!

Read more...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Sautéed Apples

By Julie


We had the most beautiful day on Saturday. It starting out kind of warm and sunny. Joe and I went out and did errands and even sat outside and drank a coffee. As we were doing that, tiny little balls of snow started falling and the day turned grey and snowy. It was a steady, fluffy, non-stormy type of snow day. It was so cozy and a perfect day to cook lunch! Usually, lunch for us on the weekend is leftovers, or sometimes we don't even have it. So it was a special treat to make a dinner-like lunch.


The recipe here is a side dish, so you could have it alongside a whole host of things. I roasted a pork tenderloin, sliced it up, and put it on top and had it as a warm salad. You could also add some cheese and nuts and make it more a complete meal. Or, put a fried egg on top! I think everything is better with a fried egg on top...


This is so wonderfully simple - it might be my new go to way of making kale. It really is the addition of parsley to the greens, it makes it seem so special. Plus, there's the salty and sweet combination of the sweet potatoes and the warm, soft apples. Feel free to scale this recipe; what I made only served two. I was using ingredients that I had lying around - one sweet potato, one apple (a really, really sorry bruised apple), and one bunch of kale. But next time, when I make this as a thought out meal, I'll certainly double it. Hopefully I'll find less bruised apples.


Not only is the recipe easy, but you can also swap ingredients pretty easily to make an individualized recipe. Swiss chard on sale? Perfect! Turnip greens, mustard greens, collards, you name it - any hearty green will work. You can swap apples too, of course. If you have a Fuji apple lying around - use that! You could even use a pear. If all you have are regular potatoes, who is going to argue with baked potato fries? Butternut squash fries would be yummy too! No parsley? Try using another fresh herb, like rosemary or dill or basil. Experiment!

sweet potatoes, kale, and sautéed apples
adapted from chef Traci Des Jardins, serves 2

1 large sweet potato, cut in half crosswise and then into fries about 1/2 inch squared thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 bunch kale, leaves ripped from stems into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer in a Pyrex 9x13 inch baking dish, or a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through and nicely browned on the edges.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Sauté apple slices until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

3. In a large skillet, heat last tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add kale. If you've recently washed your kale, you should have enough water to help steam the kale. If your kale is dry, add a bit of water to the pan - about a tablespoon at a time. Sauté the kale until wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley.

4. Serve the kale topped with the apples and the sweet potato fries on the side. Alternatively, you can stir in both the apples and the sweet potato fries into the kale.


Enjoy this light and easy dish! Maybe you can even make it on a snowy weekend and have a nice hot lunch.

Read more...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

SnowCon: Weekend-Plus Objectivist Conference in Denver

By Diana Hsieh

I'm pleased to announce SnowCon -- Front Range Objectivism's weekend conference on Ayn Rand's philosophy in Denver, plus a few days of optional play in the snowy Colorado Rockies! SnowCon begins in Breckenridge on Wednesday, March 9th, shifts to Denver on Friday, March 11th, and concludes on Sunday, March 13th.

The core events of SnowCon will be held in Denver on Saturday and Sunday. Lectures include Dr. Paul Hsieh on the morality of carrying firearms, Dr. Diana Hsieh on moral character, Santiago Valenzuela on immigration, and Joe Collins on America's founding. Saturday night's keynote lecture will feature Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore on applying the principles of positive discipline to adult relationships.

SnowCon also offers a workshop on activist writing with Ari Armstrong, a discussion and performance of Beethoven by pianist Hannah Krening, a workshop on Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups, a demonstration of Liberty Toastmasters, and more. Other optional events include a tour of Denver microbreweries, a hike in Roxborough Park, a tour of the Denver Museum of Art, and a trip to a local shooting range.

For details, see Denver Activities and Schedule.

In addition, SnowCon attendees can enjoy three relaxed days of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other winter activities together in the Colorado Rockies before weekend in Denver -- from Wednesday to Friday. For details, see Breckenridge Activities and Schedule.

To attend SnowCon, you must register and pay by noon on Thursday, March 3rd.

The cost of SnowCon depends on when you register. If you register by noon on Thursday, February 24th, SnowCon costs $140 ($110 for students). If you register after that time, SnowCon costs $160 ($130 for students). That price includes Saturday's buffet dinner and Sunday's brunch. (Yup, you'll be able to eat strictly gluten-free paleo!) For details and to register, see SnowCon Pricing and Registration.

SnowCon welcomes all friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand's philosophy, regardless of their level of knowledge.

Also, I recorded a 14-minute video tour through the fabulous schedule of SnowCon events a few days ago. (It was totally unplanned, last minute, etc, but I think it turned out okay.) You can watch it on YouTube:



You can also listen to it as a NoodleCast podcast.

Read more...

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some weekly links for people interested in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome. The Playful Spirit hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing what Objectivists are writing and doing, go take a peek!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

Read more...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #048

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Endangered Species 70% Orange posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Aside from mint and coffee, orange is another one of those things I really like paired with my chocolate. The citrus is strong, though I think the balance may be off in comparison to Theo's, but I'm contemplating doing another tasting so as to be just."

Robin presents Paleo Challenge: The Report, Part 1 posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "I took the 30 Day Paleo Challenge, here's how it turned out."

Whitney presents Valentine cupcakes | Grain free! posted at The Paleo Child, saying, "Grain free cupcakes in pink to celebrate Valentine's Day!"

Pepper Ruper presents The Paleo Recipe Book posted at Paleo Pepper, saying, "I was so lucky to get to review Sebastien Noel's The Paleo Recipe Book. It is beautiful and thorough and truly "the only paleo cookbook anyone will ever have to buy.""

Julia Campbell presents pork chile verde + ancho chile salsa posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "Chile verde is a welcome deviation from the heavy winter chilis I've been making. Try it, you'll love it!"

J. Stanton presents Food Allergies and Food Intolerances Reveal The True Human Diet posted at GNOLLS.ORG, saying, "What does the pattern of common food allergies tell us about what humans should be eating?"

Todd Dosenberry presents 3 Cheap Primal/Paleo Nutrient Dense Foods to Eat Frequently While On A Tight Budget posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "There are plenty of foods that are primal or paleo budget friendly and in this post I elaborate on 3 that I eat frequently."

Dr. John presents Paleolithic Massage? posted at Paleoterran, saying, "New evidence shows massage increases vasopressin (lowers blood pressure), reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and improves immune function. When did it originate?"

Amy Kubal presents Defending Doritos - Food Industry Quote of the Week posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Can you say "Cool Ranch"???"

Ravi presents SALT, The Grim Reaper in a Shaker- or No? posted at DaiaSolGaia.

David Csonka presents The Impossible Happened, I Learned How to Cook (And You Can Too) posted at Naturally Engineered, saying, "Learning how to cook is essential if you want your whole food eating experience to be good tasting and affordable."

Kate Yoak presents Cave Kitchen: Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets posted at Cave Kitchen, saying, "After many tries and a lot of frustration, I finally made the kind of chicken nuggets that made me proud."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Sunday Cooking WOD posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Sometimes you've just gotta roll up your sleeves, crank up the stove, and make a big ol' pile of food."

Nell Stephenson presents Paleo In NY- Or Any Trip, For That Matter posted at TrainWithNellie.

Tyler presents Get Over Fear of Bacteria: Fermentation Primer posted at Evolutionary Health Systems, saying, "Fermentation is fun and has some serious health benefits. Here's a little primer on how it works, the history, and nutrition value of fermentation."

Jeff Callahan presents The Secret to Hack Seasonal Allergies posted at How to Die Young, saying, "How eliminating three simple things from your diet can help you finally conquer seasonal allergies."

Lindsey presents We are not perfect.... posted at Enjoying Healthy Foods, saying, "Last weekend we went to visit family in Chicago. We have not visited family since starting Paleo. The trip was challenging and ended up being a big splurge weekend and I am paying for it still. Grains and Dairy do not agree with me and my belly. Thank you again Paleo for showing how much I need you!"

Kerri Heffel presents scallops picatta posted at the functional foodie, saying, "after a few weeks off... let the blogging continue!"

Josephine Svendblad presents Cubed Pork Shoulder in Sauerkraut posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "This is a traditional dish from the “old country” – Austria. Since my mom is here she’s been busy cooking various delicious oldies such as this recipe from my grandma."

Primal Commuter presents Deaf By Choice? posted at The Primal Commuter, saying, "Fitness isn't just about diet and exercise and the body. It is about the mind and its health as well. Silence and meditation can nurture peace of mind. And while "silence is golden", it doesn't have to be the result impaired hearing."

Laurie Donaldson presents Chicken Broth to Soup 1-2-3 posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Because you know the cold weather is going to return..."

Patty Strilaeff presents Ham Hocks and Kale, and a Few Tidbits. posted at following my nose....

Ray Sylvester presents I'll Regret (Not Doing) This When I?m 80 posted at chowza, saying, "When my company announced a series of diet-focused seminars, I was tempted to show up and throw a wrench into things..."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Question of the Week: Box Jumps

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of ambernussbaum)


Paleo Question of the Week: What's the highest box jump you can do? Do you think you can do better?

I'd love to hear your answers to those questions in the comments on this post... or you're welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

Read more...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate Review: Dagoba's 74% Xocolatl

By Benjamin Skipper

Complex chocolates are by far my favorite to taste. Sure, a simple, two-note chocolate could still qualify as good given that the attributes are strong, complementary to each other, and balanced, but with complexity there's more substance to contemplate. You can't derive full enjoyment from such a chocolate just by passively eating it; your intellect and attention is demanded in order to obtain the full experience you can get from such a bar. Today in consideration is a particularly complex bar, Dagoba's 74% Xocolatl. I'm not sure what xocolatl means, so to be clear: This is 74% cacao chocolate with cacao nibs and chilies.

The first thing that struck me right off the bat is how different this bar looked. In contrast to the Beacoup Berries and Superfruit bar I reviewed, this bar is much darker in appearance; has no tone fluctuations, color hues, cracks, or "dust"; and has a pretty decent shine. It much more attractive than those reviewed before it; in fact, it looks pretty much the archetype of what you'd expect a dark chocolate to look like. Obviously this chocolate goes through the conching process for a longer period of time.

Biting in is to enter a world of complexity. For the first time in my tasting I've come across a chocolate that is neither sweet nor bitter: It's savory! It has a definite, mild chocolate note to it, but there's also a woody attribute that makes me think of trees in autumn. Every time you come across a cacao nib these savory notes give away to a burst of delectably sugary sweetness and pure fruit. I was surprised at just how fruity these cacao nibs were, given that I got a nutty impression in Endangered Species' own cacao nibs bar. This constant switching back and forth between foresty savoriness and fruity sweetness made for a novel experience.

After the first few bites I thought that the chilies added nothing -- I ignorantly thought they meant chili with an "i," my current favorite spice blend -- but when the heat caught on I was refuted. After quite a long delay, the heat climbed up to peak spiciness immediately and perched right at the top of my throat and lingered there for several minutes. For my own tolerance, the heat was perfect: no pain or disappointing weakness. I had not the least temptation to get any water or milk. This further adds to the novelty of the experience, as with small enough bites one could be entertained with constant climbs to and falls from warmth.

The mouthfeel gives further evidence that this bar has been conched longer, but not too much towards pleasure. Each bite is soft and yielding without being crumbly or causing messy fissures. It melts at an acceptable rate, but I do wish for something creamier. The nibs add a nice crispiness here and there, but not to the caliber of ES' bar. All in all, dandy and acceptable, but not great.

One thing that entertained me throughout my tasting is the aroma. It too is complex! It's all so subtle, but for once the chocolate doesn't dominate. Playing on stage alongside of it are notes of spiciness, perhaps that of ginger specifically, and a dried bouquet of flowers. All three notes have equal presence and sing in harmony. I daresay this would make a nicely masculine scent for a man to wear. I kept taking in the aroma right down to the last bite.

This bar must be savored. One cannot enjoy it as a simple quick snack. Given the time and patience, I recommend breaking off each rectangle in portions of one or two and taking as small of bites as possible. Given that each bar only comes in two ounce portions, you've got to make it last. I didn't find it particularly hard to distinguish the characteristics,  so if you'd like to practice your own chocolate connoisseurship, this is  a good place to practice: aromatic, shifting flavors, rising  and falling temperatures --.

There are still some improvements that could be made, however. The conching Dagoba did has certainly led to a better looking bar, but the mouthfeel leaves more to be desired. Also, the cacao nibs don't seem to make a dominant enough appearance, so I'd like to see a greater quantity of them incorporated in, or perhaps a another bar dedicated to it if the balance in this one is not to be upset. Otherwise: This chocolate is good.

In conclusion, this bar is assertive and recessive in all the right spots, wonderfully masculine in its aromatics, attractive, and beautifully balanced between all it's players. The savory note of the chocolate is a little off-putting for me, but it's so unique that I can't help but want to try this bar again; it's a true connoisseur's treat. I recommend this variety.  
.

Read more...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

Read more...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's Your CrossFit Style?

By Diana Hsieh

This post by Kelly and Jenn on the very different things they enjoy about CrossFit -- CrossFit Is Fun For All Personality Types -- nearly killed me with its sheer funny awesomeness.

As many of you know, I've been training at CIA FIT Gym in south Denver since mid-May. My appoach to training seems to be somewhere between Jenn and Kelly on many of the dimensions that they list, although definitely tilting toward Kelly. (I have a sneaking suspicion that they might have exaggerated a wee bit for dramatic effect!) So... what do I do?

I keep some records, but very few. I like to know my limits for a power snatch, for example, so I try to write down those weights. It's motivating to see my progress in objective terms. Plus, it's convenient to know about what weight to rack on any given day. I keep track of the medicine ball I use for wall balls, what bands I use for pull-ups, etc. -- but only in my head.

That's as much as I track my workouts. I often like good records of my doings, but sheesh, the workouts seem dang hard enough to do on their own! I don't need the added task of trying to remember or write down what I did, as that would only distract me from the workout itself. Seriously, I often have trouble counting to ten or twenty while doing burpees or ball slams. So the idea of trying to rigorously track everything about my workouts seems like more than I could manage.

For my overall strength, my standard measure comes outside the gym: it's my time for a one-mile sprint on our home rower. I do that about three times per week, so I can see the trends clearly. And I've been doing it for years, so it's a good long-range benchmark. Recently, I did an 8:00 mile for the first time ever, shaving about 45 seconds off my time in just a few weeks. That was pretty damn awesome, I must admit. Those gains are mostly due to the fact that we're doing more strength training at the gym. (Yay o-lifts!)

Also, I love the never knowing what we'll be doing in class. Usually, I don't know what we're doing until owner/trainer Kelli gives us our instructions. The workouts on the board are often so abbreviated that we can't do more than guess beforehand. (We don't follow the CrossFit WOD because Kelli trains us more broadly than just CrossFit. We do more kettlebells, more core work, less rushing for sheer time, etc.)

As for my goals in the gym, I must admit that I'm pretty lax about those too. I've got some goals, but not too many. Right now, I'm very consciously working on my form: with certain movements, I'm pulling up from my shoulders rather than using the upward thrust from my hips. So we're deliberately tweaking my movements to try to get the right effect. For example, I'm not doing kettlebell swings to vertical, but rather only as high as my hips will take me (now, to about 135 degrees), so that I use and feel my hips without pulling from my shoulders at all.

With a few movements, I have clear goals. I can do 27" box jumps, but I want to get up to the seemingly impossibly high 30" box. I was downright horrible at box jumps when I started, so I really like that. I like the fact that I'm scared to jump that high, but then I do them anyway and I don't crash! Yay me! Also, I want to be able to do unassisted pullups, but that's merely a wish right now, since I'm not doing anything special to work on them.

Of course, I have my global goal of being capable of doing all the things required for my life (e.g. farm chores) and happiness (e.g. crazy vacations like this snowshoeing hut trek). And for that, my time in the gym is exactly what I need.

For the other CrossFitters, what's your approach? Are you more like Kelly or Jenn?

Read more...

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Eat Paleo on a Budget

By Miranda Barzey


Whether you're a college student, a college dropout like me, or even a college graduate, you'll find it can be hard to stick to a paleo diet when there's not much in the bank. But don't reach for the ramen just because you can't afford grass-fed beef! There are many ways to eat healthy and save money.


  • Invest in filling foods. I find that eating meals high in fat keep me satiated throughout the day. A salad is perfectly paleo, but you might be hungry again soon. Buying foods that will fill you up longer will cut down your snacking and your spending. I recommend ground beef, fatty meat cuts, coconut oil, and nuts.
  • Make casseroles, stews, soups, and other nutrient dense meals. And make them big. By buying meats and veggies in bulk, you can create a cheap meal that will feed you several times over and contain protein, vitamins, and fat. I personally love making a chicken bake with carrots, peas, onions, and cheese. Look online for recipes and augment them for your own dietary needs.
  • Stop worrying about grass-fed, free range, and organic foods. Yes, they are wonderful, and if you can buy them, then do it. I don't dispute that these foods are cleaner and better for you, but don't think all is lost if you buy store-brand eggs. Take what you can when you're short and splurge when you can. I personally go by taste. For me some foods are worth buying organic because they taste better, like eggs and half and half. But I don't lose sleep at night that my hamburgers aren't grass-fed. Again, do what's right by you, but don't break the bank.
  • Go in with friends for farm-imported foods. If you do want to get the freshest food possible,consider going in with friends for an order and split the shipping costs. Or if there's a co-op close enough, take turns driving to pick up the goods. This works well for items hard to find in stores like lard.
  • Grow your own food. I swear, there's nothing better than a ripe tomato just picked from your back garden. If you have the space and enough light, try growing your food. Many plants grow well in pots and you can maximize space with hanging planters. I plan to do this soon on my own back porch!
  • Check the price per ounce. Most grocery stores these days have the price per ounce on the shelf tag, usually in the upper left hand corner. Pay attention to that while shopping. It can help you determine if it's worth buying a larger size or going with the store brand.
  • Buy in bulk and freeze in single servings. I hate going to the grocery store all the time, so I like to stock up. I buy large bags of vegetables and meat, then divide them into single servings in ziplock bags, and freeze. I can pull out food as needed and I don't waste any food by not eating it before it goes bad. This also works for cooking as well. You can have a big cooking day and then freeze individual portions of what you've made. Reheat for instant paleo-friendly meal.
  • Buy bone-in meat. Chicken quarters with bones and skin are incredibly cheap. Boneless and skinless breast meat requires more processing, thus costs more. But that works out just fine for paleo eaters; we can take advantage of the cheap fatty meats.
  • Save bones and vegetable bits for homemade stock. Chicken, pork, and beef bones can be frozen and saved to make homemade stock. Unwanted parts of vegetables like leafy tops and skins can also be saved to flavor the stock.
  • Buy produce in season. Fruits and vegetables will taste better and be cheaper if you buy them in season. Do a quick Google search for in season produce while making a grocery list.
  • Have a paleo potluck. Get together with other paleo eaters and have a potluck. You pay for one dish and get a whole meal. It's also a great way to learn new recipes and cooking techniques. Be sure to check for any allergies among participants.
  • Drink water. It's free at restaurants and cheap at home (unless you have yucky Atlanta chlorine tap water).
  • Limit eating out. Eat at home as much as you can. Pack a lunch instead. Fill it with all the yummy nuts, fruits, meats, and cheeses you can't get at most places. Bring a water bottle to fill up from the water fountain instead of buying water. Suggest friends come over for a home-cooked meal. If you can't avoid going to a restaurant, eat beforehand and order something small, like coffee or an appetizer.


Read more...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Webcast: Learn to Appreciate Art

By Diana Hsieh

And now, for something more "modern" than "paleo"... You're invited to February 23rd's OList Webcast: art educator Luc Travers will speak on Bringing an Artwork to Life.

I've heard rave reviews from friends about Mr. Travers' museum tours, but I'd never had the opportunity to enjoy one myself. So I'm quite excited for this opportunity to learn his approach to art appreciation from the comfort of my own home!

Here's Mr. Travers' proposal for the webcast on "Bringing an Artwork to Life":

Most people find that literature and movies provide a more accessible and more emotionally satisfying esthetic experience than the visual arts. However, the visual arts do have the capacity to provide the same kind of experience as other genres.

Most people believe that the extent to which one can experience an artwork is a quick look and a mild emotional response. If there is an artwork which someone finds interesting, the common approach to further appreciating the piece is to turn to an art history source for information about the artist, the culture, the style. However, these "DVD extras" are not a substitute for experiencing the "story" and "characters" in a painting and deriving personal meaning.

In this webcast, Mr. Travers will describe a fundamentally different approach to engaging the visual arts--one that treats an artwork as art and not as an historical artifact. In taking you through several powerful pieces, he will demonstrate principles and techniques that will help you immerse yourself into the "story" and grasp the deeper, personal meaning that so often remains untapped in great art.

Luc Travers is the author of Touching The Art: A Guide to Enjoying Art at a Museum. He leads tours at museums across the country and teaches art appreciation and literature at the VanDamme Academy in Aliso Viejo, CA.
Last Wednesday, Luc Travers gave a free preview for his upcoming webcast. You can watch the video of the webcast preview on YouTube:



The following slideshow was part of the preview:



You can find a larger version of the slideshow on the main page for this event: Luc Travers' Webcast on "Bringing an Artwork to Life".

The webcast itself will be on Wednesday, February 23rd at 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT / 8 pm CT / 9 pm ET. To attend, you must pledge. Let me explain how that works...

This webcast, like other OList Webcasts, is not funded by a standard admissions fee, but rather by pledges. So people who want to watch the live webcast or listen to it afterwards pledge to pay whatever they think reasonable, usually between $10 and $50.

If enough funds are pledged, then the webcast happens and pledgers pay their pledged amount. Only those pledgers are able to attend the live webcast and participate in its live chat. They can also submit questions in advance via Google Moderator. Pledgers need not attend the live event. They can view streaming video of the webcast and download an audio recording of the webcast.

However, if not enough funds are pledged to make the webcast worthwhile, then the webcast will be cancelled and the pledges voided. In that case, the pledgers owe nothing, but they get nothing.

In essence: You pledge what the webcast is worth to you, and you only pay that amount if the webcast happens. You must pledge before the webcast happens, on February 23rd. People who don't pledge for the webcast beforehand can purchase it later for $50.

If you have any questions about pledging, please visit the page for the webcast: Luc Travers Webcast on Bringing an Artwork to Life, then e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

If you'd like to pledge, you can do so using this form below.

Please remember that your pledge is a contract to pay for the webcast, if delivered, and you should consider yourself honor-bound to pay that pledge.



If you have any problems with that embedded form, try this form.

I hope to see you at the webcast on February 23rd!

Read more...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some weekly links for people interested in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome. Erosophia hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing what Objectivists are writing and doing, go take a peek!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

For studying Objectivism, I always recommend that people go to the source, i.e. to Ayn Rand's own writings. I'd recommend starting with one of her novels, particularly The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. After that, I recommend her anthologies of philosophy essays, probably starting with The Virtue of Selfishness or Philosophy: Who Needs It. For current commentary on culture and politics from an Objectivist perspective, I heartily recommend perusing The Objective Standard. You can find much of value and interest on the web site of the Ayn Rand Institute too.

Read more...

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #047

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo! And holy cow, it's huge with 28 entries!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: New Tree's 73% Mint posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I've been talking and talking and talking about New Tree's chocolates for a long time now, but have just recently gotten a hold of affordably and have started reviewing. Naturally, I choose their mint bar first to review."

Kate Yoak presents Coconut goodness posted at Cave Kitchen, saying, "Coconut: the various uses, magic energy drinks and why I love it."

Ravi presents Dairy Is Paleo Part #2/3 Who Says What is “Domestication”? posted at DaiaSolGaia, saying, "Part #2 in my case for paleolithic husbandry of animals - mainly goats - and the use of their dairy as a valuable nutritional adjunct."

Todd Dosenberry presents Are Macadamia Nuts Superior to All Other Nuts? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "On the paleo diet you are allowed a fair amount of nuts. But, would it be best to limit intake of nuts due to the excessive omega 6 fatty acids? Macadamias contain very little and thus may be the best choice."

Pepper Ruper presents Expectations in the Paleo World posted at Paleo Pepper.

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Staying Primal / Paleo with Healthy Eating During Church & Social Gatherings posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary.

Tara presents With a Little Help From My (buggy) Friends posted at Tribe of Five, saying, "A little tale about how I ended up finding a pain free body, after years of searching."

Adam Farrah presents Is it time for an intervention? posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "A motivational post that challenges us all to do things better than we're doing..."

Amy Kubal presents Food Label Lies - Don't Believe The Claims!! posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "What's in what you eat??"

Paul Jaminet presents Hunter-Gatherer Macronutrient Ratios: More Data posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "In this post I draw upon an anthropology paper to show that most hunter-gatherer tribes ate low-carb diets (~20% carb calories, most from starchy roots and tubers) while seeking out fats."

Brock Brown presents Ginger Pork Crackling and Cabbage (faux) Congee posted at My Paleo Life.

Nell Stephenson presents Technique- "Velveting" Paleo Style posted at TrainWithNellie.

Paleo Erin presents Cod Roe! And Norway enters Crock-pot mania! posted at Paleo Erin.

J. Stanton presents Does Meat Rot In Your Colon? No. What Does? Beans, Grains, and Vegetables! posted at GNOLLS.ORG.

Lindsey presents Super Bowl Treats posted at Enjoying Healthy Foods, saying, "I have always been a sweet lover. I do not crave them, just enjoy them! Starting Paleo I have not missed the sweets. When we were inviting to a Super Bowl party and asked to bring something sweet I couldn't wait to make something Paleo-Primal friendly and was equally delicious! I hope you enjoy!"

Dr. John presents Rejuvenation: Robbie Robertson and dopamine posted at Paleoterran, saying, "Listening to music you enjoy has its rewards."

Benjamin Skipper presents Potato Chip Fried Chicken posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I've found that I actually like fried chicken more now that I've gone paleo. I really like it better with things such as almond or coconut flour rather than white flour. This version uses potato chips, which I thought might make a good post-workout meal. There were some errors, but it's worth retrying."

Julia Campbell presents sweet potatoes, kale, and sautéed apples posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "This is a really yummy and easy way to eat your greens! Simple, customizable recipe that can be eaten as a snack or a side. Enjoy!"

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents "You're The Top" Tuna Salad posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Tuna with the sweet crunch of apples and nuts... 5 minutes from opening the can to eating the first tasty bite."

Jeff Callahan presents The Newest "Forgotten" Superfood posted at How to Die Young.

DebB presents Squirrels Know.... Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup posted at Increase Metabolism & Live Healthy, saying, "High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is nothing like real sugar and it is not even close to being natural, as described in the commercials. Watch squirrel video!"

Marisa presents A Recipe for Healthy Feet posted at Primal Pearls, saying, "This diverges from my usual "recipes," but I'd love the feedback from the Paleo Rodeo community regarding minimalist footwear for everyday use. There are two other food posts on the blog this week as well, so check those out, too!"

Beth Mazur presents Weight Maven's EZpoints posted at Weight Maven, saying, "Who needs Weight Watcher points? Here's an easy way to do points on a paleo diet!"

Kelly Elmore and Jenn Casey present CrossFit is Fun for All Personality Types! posted at Modern Paleo, saying, "This post explores our very different, but complimentary, personality types, and how those differences affect our participation in CrossFit. We think it's really funny too!"

Patty Strilaeff presents chowstalker - we don't do cupcakes. posted at following my nose..., saying, "This week I launched a new website, www.chowstalker.com. I hope it becomes a useful site for finding paleo recipes and blogs!"

Laurie Donaldson presents Hungry Girl posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Jamie Oliver vs Hungry Girl and a recipe for celeriac soup to boot."

Ray Sylvester presents My Kingdom for a Horse posted at chowza, saying, "The USDA is always good for a laugh--but we should be careful what we wish for when it comes to the health of others."

Diana Hsieh presents What's Your CrossFit Style? posted at NoodleFood, saying, "How does your personality mesh with your workouts?"
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Question of the Week: Olympic Weightlifting

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of singapore2010)


Paleo Question of the Week: Do you do Olympic weightlifting? What lift do you like the most -- and the least?

We'd love to hear your answers to those questions in the comments on this post... or you're welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

Read more...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CrossFit is Fun for All Personality Types!

By Jenn Casey

This post was jointly written by Jenn Casey of Rational Jenn and Kelly Elmore of Reepicheep's Coracle. It's just one of their many joint ventures. :)

Kelly and Jenn kick ass--but in different ways. Kelly wows people with her fiery personality, passion, and energy; Jenn wows people with her style of writing and telling a story and with her determination and drive. Since we've been going to CrossFit, we've seen our individual strengths and weakness play out in a whole new forum, and part of the fun of going is watching how the other one approaches the workouts. We've been going (Kelly says: "How long have we been going, Jenn?", and Jenn says, without hesitation: "Since September 28.") for only a little while, and we kind of mostly sort of suck, but we are making definite progress.

ABOUT OUR PERSONALITIES

You may be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (if you're not, you are missing out on both useful information and a super fun way to psycho-analyze your friends and family!), but it's a personality test you can take free and in your spare time. Jenn is an INTJ, which means that she recharges her energy alone or in small groups, likes the big picture over the details, likes distance from problems to analyze them, and likes structure, predictability, and plans. Kelly is an ENFP which means that she recharges in groups and social situations, likes the big picture over the details, likes to be right up in the problems having big feelings about them, and plans make her break out in hives.

We're different people and approach most things very differently; CrossFit is no exception. What we have found is that we both love CrossFit for different reasons. Just like in all areas of our lives, how we approach CrossFit and what we get out of it is heavily influenced by our personality types. There are advantages and disadvantages to all personality types; no type is inherently better than another. We're gonna explain some of the pros and cons of our particular types as we talk more about our CrossFit experiences.

RECORD KEEPING

In general, CrossFitters tend to track their progress in terms of time, rounds, how much weight lifted, and improvement over time.

Jenn: I love this aspect of CrossFit! I generally love measurement of any sort, and I actually get a little thrill every time I write down the Workout of the Day (WOD) in my iPhone. I love knowing how much weight I lifted last time, how much more I can do now, and I look forward to lifting more in the future. (I felt like such a badass the time I did a #95 back squat, and I can't wait for the day when I will do #195!) I even like the counting and tracking when we are in the middle of the workout; I love measuring my progress as I erase each little hash mark off of the whiteboard. In short, I love all the numbers and the measurements and think it is the most super fun thing ever.

Jenn, looking excited and intentionally psycho: "I can't wait to see how fast I can go through all these hash marks!"


Kelly: I don't keep records. Not at all. I couldn't care less how much I did last time or how much I will do next time. I take great pleasure in what I did this time, but the pleasure is the same whether I lifted 20 lbs. or 120 lbs. If I had to write anything down, I would quit, like tomorrow. We did some benchmarks not long ago, and our trainer actually asked Jenn to write down my times in her iPhone, which she was happy to do, cause she is obsessively fond of that record-keeping app. He didn't even mention it to me, observant man that he is.

"How many rounds have I done tonight? Jenn! How many rounds have I done tonight?"


The advantages of being Jenn and keeping records are that she can easily measure her progress, make changes if it isn't enough for her, and really celebrate her achievements in concrete ways. But it's easy to get caught up in the numbers, and sometimes her focus on the numbers keeps her from enjoying the experience and the afterglow of a good workout. She might not stop when she should, if the workout is too hard or she's in a little pain, because she wants to complete that next round. The advantages of being Kelly and not keeping records are that she can focus completely on the moment and the experience and not feel nickeled and dimed about her workout. However, she can sometimes miss patterns in her progress or her lack of it because she is without data.

GOAL SETTING

Jenn: In addition to specific weightlifting goals, I love the idea that one day I might be able to do an unassisted pullup. My goal before the pullup was to do real-live man pushups, a goal I recently accomplished! I amazed myself--and all the friends for whom I demonstrated my pushups. I like thinking about the things that are now within my reach because of CrossFit.

"Hooray! The WOD! I hope it's harder than last time!"


Kelly: I don't really set goals for CrossFit, though when Jenn mentions hers I sometimes say, "Yeah, me too!" I enjoy seeing the results of CrossFit, but planning ahead about what I want to achieve makes me feel bossed. When I found that I could jump up into a front support on a much higher bar at work (Kelly teaches gymnastics coaches), I was super pleased, but I didn't rush out to set another goal for the future. I'll just wait until the next time I do something new and cool and be happy to be surprised.

"Today, I'm going to . . . ooh, look there's a butterfly!"


The advantages and disadvantages of goal setting are pretty much the same as the record keeping. Another disadvantage for Kelly is that she might not always push herself hard enough since there isn't a goal she's working toward; whereas sometimes Jenn feels disappointed or impatient about the time it takes to reach goals.

ROWING VS RUNNING

Usually, at least during the warmup, if not also during the WOD, we do either running or rowing on a machine.

Jenn: Whenever I see rowing on the whiteboard, I'm pretty pumped. The machine has lovely little numbers all over it that tell you how far you went, and how many strokes per minute you are doing. I watch the strokes per minute as I row, and I try to make it go from 30 s/m all the way up to 40. Every once in a while (usually when Kelly is rowing next to me) I pretend I am rowing Frodo and Sam on the River Andouin, but usually I just watch the numbers. I focus on my rowing form and try to pay attention to how it affects the numbers. As a short-legged person, running has never been my forte or interest, and while I enjoy it more than I ever thought I would pre-CrossFit, the only way I can actually enjoy it is if I count my steps (1, 2, 3, 4) and time my breathing with my steps. I guess adding numbers to my activities makes them more fun for me!

Jenn, trying to get that strokes-per-minute number ever higher.


Kelly: I hate rowing. You sit in one place on a boring machine with all these F-ing numbers, and no matter how hard you row, you never go anywhere. I try to make it fun by singing in my head, but it never works. I do like the running, a lot in fact, way more that I ever thought I would. I enjoy going outside of the gym at night in the cool air, imagining myself on some kind of adventure. Sometimes, I pretend that I am Aragorn, running after the captured hobbits, never stopping no matter how tired until I find them and slay some orcs. Sometimes I am a Homo heidelbergensis running after a tired antelope until it collapses and I can eat it for dinner. Sometimes I repeat poems in my head, and sometimes I just look at trees and grass and cars and feel free.

Kelly, chained to the rowing machine, like a slave to the galley.


Jenn's disadvantages are that she doesn't have that fun "I feel free" experience. But she probably runs harder and rows faster, since Kelly's leisurely fictional workout is a disadvantage in intensity. Jenn has a lot of drive and intensity in her workouts, but sometimes she might be a little light on the fun.

COURAGE AND CAUTION

CrossFit sometimes demands skills that are new and intimidating for a lot of people; it's scary to put big weights up over your head and to jump up on boxes that look likely to trip you and to throw yourself hard to the ground in a burpee.

Jenn: CrossFit is my first real experience with any kind of weightlifting at all; I'm a total newbie. Also, I'm not a young whippersnapper anymore and don't want to hurt myself! I appreciate the fact that our trainer Chris teaches me new skills in a way that makes me feel safe. I prefer to work at lower weights for a longer time until I feel like my form is super great. Only after a longish period in my new comfort zone will I move up in weight. Fortunately, Chris is patient with that. Even so, sometimes it's scary and I have to just do it. I'm especially nervous about snatches (well, any time I need to hold something heavy over my head) and box jumps because of my huge hobbit feet (can we work the word hobbit into this post any more?). Part of the reason I am nervous about the overhead stuff is that I am afraid that I really might not let go and get out from under the weight (a downside to being so determined to follow through with every exercise, perhaps).

"I can do this; I've had three c-sections!"


Kelly: I am kind of a jump-in-er. I swashbuckle through our workouts, like a pirate, and I like to try new, hard skills. I love to add weight, though I make sure that I get the form right, and I don't feel afraid of lifts over my head. I know I can just let go and jump out from underneath if I have to. I have never once worried about hurting myself at CrossFit. I very well might; I just don't worry about it. Doing the fancy Olympic lifts makes me feel super tough and full of adrenaline. I find the challenge of holding good form and doing the complex lifts correctly under heavier weights intellectually satisfying.

"Woo-hoo! Bout to be a rockstar!"


The pros for Jenn are that she will likely avoid injuries, keep good form, and build confidence slowly. She also may not progress as fast as she could on the complicated lifts. Kelly progresses quickly on these lifts and learns new skills faster, but she is more likely to jump into a situation that is too difficult for her skill level. She's pretty good about realizing when she's in over her head, though, and because it won't get written down anyway, she can back off without shame.

VERTICAL VS HORIZONTAL PROGRESS

Jenn: I get most excited about the workouts in which I improve on something I have done in the past, either more weights, better time, more rounds, etc. This the vertical progress we are talking about. I wish we repeated WODs more often so I could see more of this kind of vertical improvement.

Kelly: I like to learn new skills more than I like to perfect the old ones. I would rather do a new lift than an old one with more weight. This is what we mean by horizontal progress. I love the variety of CrossFit, and if we did the same things a lot more often, I'd probably quit. I can face 20 hard minutes if they are a different 20 hard minutes than the last time.

The advantage of being a vertical progress person is that what you get good at, you get really good at, but you can get stuck in a rut or forget to appreciate the experience of learning something new. The advantage of being a horizontal progress person is that you acquire all the varied components of fitness in the CrossFit system, but you can be too much of a generalist and not push to our limits on specific skills. We both enjoy both kinds of progress; the difference is only in which kind keeps us coming back to CrossFit.

INTENSITY AND FUN

Jenn: I think I'm pretty determined and intense for most of the workouts. I try to stay focused on what I'm doing, monitor my progress (hash marks, rounds, time), and push through to the bitter end. Sometimes when I lag in the middle of a WOD, I motivate myself by thinking about ObamaCare (because I need to be strong and healthy now, the better to withstand the inevitable shortages and rationing!). I try to remember that my goal is to be healthy and that keeps me going to the end. Sometimes I'm too serious, and working out with Kelly reminds me that part of the fun of CrossFit is . . . fun! It's super awesome fun to move and lift things and be a bad-ass person!


"1, 2, 3, 4 . . . "


Kelly: I definitely work at a less intense level than Jenn overall. I can be pretty intense about the stuff I really really like, such as snatches and sprints. It's not that I go leisurely through the workouts, it's just that I don't push to my limits very often. It's motivating to me to look over and see that Jenn is going faster or harder than I am, and then I remember to think about whether or not I could go any faster. It just doesn't occur to me until I look at her to think about pushing harder. I'm mostly motivated by fun and so I do mind games with myself if I need to work harder, such as when I'm doing deadlifts, I imagine that I'm Pa (from Laura Ingalls Wilder) on a handcar, where you have lift up and down and up and down to move the car. The social atmosphere is also really fun for me. I like to see what everybody is doing and feel like I'm in the middle of a bunch of action.


"Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstairs to kiss her fella . . . "


AFTER CROSSFIT

Jenn: After a workout, I go over the numbers and progress in my head, and am usually already thinking about what I'll do next time. Sometimes I feel a bit disappointed and need to remember that my goal here is to move around and get strong and have fun, too. Sometimes I am in awe of my bad-assedness--I get so pumped when I realize that I really did 100 squats during a particular workout! I always have to tell Brendan (my husband) all about what I did, and sometimes demonstrate, too!

Kelly: After the workout, I immediately call Aaron and tell him every single thing we did and how awesome I am and how lucky he is to be with such a rock star! Then, I promptly forget everything that we did and don't think about CrossFit until the next time I go except when something particular happens that I want to blog about. Unlike Jenn, I don't think about the future. Each workout is an end in itself.

CROSSFIT KENNESAW

Jenn: Our gym is great, and the gym owner, Chris, is awesome to work with. He is great at teaching the skills as I mentioned before, and he lets me make progress on my own schedule. At the same time, he motivates me by saying "Yeah, go for it!" when I am slowing down during a WOD or am undecided about whether to move up in weight. I trust that he wouldn't push me too fast or too far. During the WOD, he notices if I'm questioning how I'm doing and doesn't hesitate to encourage or reassure me. Even when I come in dead last, which is often, he finds something encouraging and supportive to say. In fact, everyone at the gym encourages and supports each other, and I think it's because of the way Chris has modeled this as part of the way he runs his business. It's a great atmosphere.

Kelly: I like Chris because he's relaxed and fun and doesn't make me feel bossed. He gives me advice and guidance, but doesn't try to alter my basic approach. He's fine with me only coming in two times a week (which is all I've got, right now). He doesn't seem to care that I don't do recording. He doesn't try to have goal-setting sessions with me. Also, the music is fun (he plays Beastie Boys for me), and the atmosphere isn't like a muscle magazine. There's not a lot of super-loud grunting and there are no calendars with women and cars. Chris encourages me in a different way than he does Jenn. He sees when I'm slacking and gives me The Look that means "Get your ass in gear!" He's also really willing to answer my technical questions about the biomechanics of skills. Basically, he doesn't go all School Principal on me, asking where I was at the last workout or what I've been eating. And he doesn't make me feel like I'm too old or too out-of-shape to do CrossFit.

So there you have it! Two different people bringing different things to CrossFit, getting great results, and enjoying it, too! And that's the whole reason we wanted to write this post.

We have a mutual friend who was a little (maybe more than a little) turned off from CrossFit by reading Jenn's post about it, mostly, we think, because they are so different that it was hard for her to imagine that there were things she might like about CrossFit, too. Had Kelly written the same post, it would have been completely different, and probably have turned off a whole other set of people.

Now that we've (hopefully) shown that CrossFit offers different values to different kinds of people, we have one final point we'd like to discuss. Our different personality types make us excellent workout partners. It's because of our our differences that we motivate each other and make the experience more enjoyable. For example, when Kelly's wall balls start to look a little chill, there's Jenn throwing with all her might, reminding Kelly to throw a little higher, squat a little deeper. When Jenn is frustrated by tripping over the jump rope for the zillionth time, she looks at Kelly who is chanting "Cinderella, dressed in yella " and trying playground tricks, and remembers that once upon a time jumping rope was fun, and decides that maybe it could be fun again today. (Although jumping rope is much harder to do with boobs--and way more embarrassing--we have photographic evidence of this which you will never see!)

So if you are a structured person, go out and find yourself a flake to take to the gym with you. And if you're a free spirit, find somebody with an iPhone app and a couple of minor neuroses, and invite them to CrossFit! You'll each find something to enjoy on your way to becoming a bad-ass rock star. Like us.

BAD ASS
ROCK STARS

Read more...

Back to TOP