Cookin’ for College!

I know I said I would have research on saturated fat posted by the end of the week, but that definitely didn’t pan out. I’ve Frozen Mealsdecided I want to do something similar to my cholesterol paper, where I look at the treatment of saturated fat in the Dietary Guidelines Report and see if their evidence holds up to scrutiny. Since nutrition misinformation is largely sustained because of the DGA, I figured that would be a pretty good place to start, plus it’s an approach that I haven’t seen yet amongst the many ‘saturated fat is your friend’ posts and papers that I’ve read. So, that is coming; just not yet!

Full disclosure: I stepped out of reality for a day and lived vicariously through the movie-girlfriends of Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson and Shane West. Let’s call it a mental health day. Everyone needs one of those occasionally, especially over winter break, right? But I’m back to real life now! Also, back to college and dorm life! Having a kitchen while I was at home was amazing, and I had a big cooking extravaganza this weekend to stock up on frozen meals that I can keep in my dorm freezer. Read on to see what I made! I’ll post a couple of the recipes as separate blog posts.

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Beware of Trader Joe’s!

That title makes this post sound way more serious than it actually is. But regardless, Trader Joe’s can be a dangerous place for Paleo folk like me who have a weak spot for delicious ‘Paleo’ Plantain Chipstreats. It’s far too easy to skip over their lovely meats and produce and head for their well-advertised ‘healthy’ snacks. I actually don’t shop there often, because I usually buy what I can at farmer’s markets, and get everything else at Whole Foods. But I went there a couple days ago in search of plantain chips, thinking that if I eat something I hate (sardines) with something I love a bit too much (plantain chips), I will eat reasonable amounts of both. That logic definitely didn’t hold up, and I still hate sardines. On the plus side, I think I made myself dislike plantain chips by association! Normally I think plantain chips are totally fine to eat on a regular basis, but the ones at TJ’s are made with sunflower oil, which isn’t the greatest. Plus, eating a whole bag of anything in one sitting is bad news.

But I also found a NEW treat at TJ’s, and this one is even more dangerous than the plantain chips. Read more →

New Year’s Resolutions

I hope everyone had fun last night! I know I did. In fact, I spent it in the exact same place with the exact same people as I did last year, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Even after spending a semester at separate colleges, barely getting to talk to or see each other, it was so nice to come home and spend New Year’s Eve with them.Hope

A lot has happened in 2012. I decided to attend UNC, graduated high school, moved away from home for the first time to live on campus, met a ton of new people, made new friends, and finished my first semester of college.

A lot of the changes were really good for me. For instance, I think I finally struck a decent balance between school and friends. I didn’t keep my 4.0 GPA, but there comes a point when having fun and laughing with friends is more important than perfect grades. I’ve always struggled with putting too much emphasis on school, and not enough on other areas of my life, so I’m happy I didn’t spend my first semester of college locked in my dorm room studying.

And surprisingly, the chaos of college life actually forced me to ‘go with the flow,’ and not be so stressed out. Moving to college forced me completely out of my comfort zone and made me realize that I really can’t control every aspect of my life anymore (as if I could before!), and you know what I learned? Whether or not you worry, and whether or not you stress out over something, things will turn out the way they will turn out. That realization, although it seems trite, makes such a big difference in my peace of mind. Read more →

Paleo New Year Recipe Roundup!

If I were to have a Paleo New Year extravaganza, this is the food that would be there:

Smoky Pear Bites from The Clothes Make The Girl

Smoky Pear Bites

Sweet and salty…yum

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Breaking my Kombucha Addiction (plus Meatball Wisdom)

Warning: This blog post is all over the place. But if you want to know about a delicious kombucha substitute, the merits of brown rice syrup, nice fish guys, or meatballs, read on!

Sock Monkey

My sock monkey onesie…and my sock monkey

This is low-FODMAP Paleo Day 15, and I miss garlic. My boss decided to eat an entire head of roasted garlic for lunch yesterday…bad timing, to say the least. But I’m finished interning at Leaflight until after classes start again, so now I get a real winter break! I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I got a guitar case and a sock monkey onesie; try not to be jealous.

For my holiday meal, I had Herbed Pork Shoulder and roasted sweet potatoes. It was delicious! So delicious, in fact, that I didn’t even think to take a picture. Gah. I’ll get better at this eventually.

Lately, I’ve been really digging the lemon water. My family has been sick, so we figured the extra vitamin C would be helpful. I’ve also been trying to break my kombucha habit (it’s so yummy!!), and I think I found a decent alternative! Ready for this?? Read more →

Policy Brief: Reforming the Dietary Guidelines

This is also a project from this semester, this time from my public policy class. I decided to post it because it’s also on the Dietary Guidelines, and you’ll likely be hearing about them a lot on this blog! It was a bit challenging to write because while there’s plenty of research on what the problem is, there really isn’t any research on possible solutions. So I had to come up with solutions on my own, and because of my limited policy knowledge, I have no idea if they’re even feasible. But I got a good grade, so I guess that’s something (:

Executive SummaryScreen Shot 2012-12-25 at 5.21.04 PM

This policy brief examines the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a policy that began in 1980 and mandates the periodic release of federal nutritional guidance. Based on the rising rates of obesity and the pervasiveness of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it is clear that the Dietary Guidelines have not achieved their goal of reducing the risk of chronic disease in Americans. In fact, research indicates that the Dietary Guidelines could actually be contributing to the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes. This is for three reasons: the Dietary Guidelines often exclude or misrepresent scientific evidence; the Guidelines have had unintended consequences for industry and consumer behavior; and the Guidelines cannot adequately address a diverse population with different nutritional needs. Read more →

Why The Dietary Guidelines are Wrong about Cholesterol

This is a research paper that I wrote for my English class this semester. I wanted to share it on this blog because it’s about eggs, cholesterol, and the Dietary Guidelines, three things that definitely impact the ancestral health community! 

Abstracthappy eggs

With rising rates of obesity and diabetes, most Americans feel more pressure than ever to make the right food choices. However, the country’s primary source of nutritional guidance – the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – has been criticized for being misleading, inaccurate, and potentially harmful to public health. In this paper, I present eggs as a ‘case study’ to strengthen the criticisms that others have brought against the Dietary Guidelines. The Guidelines advocate limiting egg consumption because of their high cholesterol content. However, having reviewed the scientific literature on cholesterol and health, I conclude that there is no documented health benefit to limiting dietary cholesterol. Additionally, eggs are an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that is sorely lacking in the diets of most Americans. For these reasons, the Dietary Guidelines should actually encourage egg consumption, rather than limit it.

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Low-FODMAP Paleo: Day 8 (I ate marrow!)

I just ate marrow for the first time! I used this recipe for marrow-infused pumpkin custard. Not really low FODMAP because of the coconut milk and the sweetener, but I discovered the recipe a couple weeks ago and really wanted to try it. I already had beef bones for making stock and I didn’t want to waste the marrow, and I figured the benefits of a superfood like marrow would definitely outweigh whatever the FODMAPs will do to me (probably nothing). Read more →

Herbed Pork Shoulder

So, the pork shoulder I talked about yesterday is kind of amazing! Especially considering how drop-dead simple it is. And I remembered to take a picture of it before I put it inHerbed Pork Shoulder the oven! But I forgot to take a picture after taking it out of the oven. Bummer. So you’ll just have to buy yourself a pork shoulder and see what it looks like for yourself! I’ll tell you what I did, and then what tweaks I would recommend to make it even better.

[Edit: I made this again and took my own suggestions (below), and it turned out great! So this is a legitimate recipe now, and not just me sharing my kitchen trials with you. But I decided to keep the original post too so you can see the (very short) evolution of the recipe. But I still forgot to take a picture of the finished product.]

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Yellow Beef and Rice

This is my first recipe on the blog! I’m not sure it’s spectacular enough to satisfactorily fill such an honorable position, but I Yellow Beef and Ricethought it tasted pretty good. Plus, I created it myself, and usually that ends in disaster. And I even took a picture! And used a garnish! You know it’s a big day when I try to make my food look less ugly.

And in case you’re wondering, it’s called ‘Yellow’ Beef and Rice because the turmeric makes the oil highlighter-colored. The steps are probably a lot longer than they needed to be, because it’s a dead-simple recipe. If you can even call it a recipe. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to post this because it’s so simple, but I’m going to anyways!

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