Simple Plantain Side 

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You may have heard of some A-hole called Gluten. Oh, who is Gluten you ask?

That’s the SOB that makes my body break out in a rash that burns like napalm and itches like a dirty pirate hooker. It’s also know as the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s made up of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten can cause a reaction in the body where it’s mistaken for a poison. Kind of like an enemy infiltrating friendly lines conducting sabotage. This falls under the “that ain’t good” category.

So what do you do? Well, you play with all the other food in the world except for wheat. Wheat…you suck, go sit on a hand grenade.

However, I found a new friend, Plantains.

They’re like bananas, just a little more starchy and less sweet. Perfect when fried in a little Grassfed butter! I love these like Private Pyle loves jelly donuts.

This was all made in one cast iron skillet. We like to rock out meals in one pan on a busy day. Less KP for the kids. 

 

Mission: Get a delicious starchy side without the gluten crap that messes up your gut health.

*We shouldn’t have to qualify this…but yes, all ingredients are organic and pasture raised when possible. Chickens should roam free and eat bugs and grass, cows should graze in green pastures and not eat shit like cement dust or sawdust to make them fat! We are into all that Healthy Shit and you should be too.

This feeds 2 people:

Arsenal:

  • 12 oz Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 10 oz fresh asparagus, trim off the woody ends
  • 1 plantain, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Grassfed butter
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Actions on the Objective:

  1. Coat the chicken thighs with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the skillet to a moderate high heat add the last tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter.
  3. Place chicken thighs in the skillet and cook on each side for 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate by covering with a piece of foil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium high.
  5. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan and after if foams up add the plantain slices and cook for about 2 minutes per side. When you flip them they should be a golden brown.
  6. Remove from pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper
  7. Add the asparagus to the pan and sauté for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and serve with the chicken and plantains.

Avocado with Honey and Lime

  • 1/2 ripe avocado, smashed
  • 2 tsp honey, raw local
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Mix this all together and top the chicken thighs with it.

This is a fast, one-pan meal, that doesn’t require spices from some exotic location. So don’t screw around and put this one off. Plantains are cheap and delicious. Don’t be jack ass! Get to the store and grab a few plantains and put some starchy goodness on your plate that isn’t filled with gluten.

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Merica!

Steve and Melody

Fix Your Lower Back Pain

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One of the biggest problems for the majority of Americans is lower back pain.

 

Back pain is a common problem among men who often carry heavy loads for long distances!

I often hear someone say they can’t do something because they have a bad back. When I ask how they’re fixing it, I usually hear the old rest and recovery program. I’m here to tell you that rest and recovery is not helping your back. But, we know not all back problems are the same. The majority are fixable with a few simple exercises and stretches.

Stop sitting around and hoping your back gets better. Get off your ass and make your back better!

Where do we start?

The most important thing you need to do is release the tension on the muscles that are giving you problems.  What you don’t want to do is try and stretch your back like your some kid in high school getting ready to run the mile. Traditional stretching is practically useless and will only contribute to the problem.

The key is myo-fascial release and trigger point therapy to target the strained muscles.

Now the secret is not in targeting your back, but in targeting your hips.  As you get older your hips get weaker and most adults do almost zero exercises which focus on the hips. The hips are the foundation of the body. The reason your back hurts is due to weak hips.

How do we fix this? 

The first part of this equation is to get a small trigger point ball. This will allow you to conduct deep tissue massage to release those strained muscles. This is going to hurt and you might feel like it’s doing more harm than good. But this type of massage will change your life.

Once you get this deep tissue massage down, we move onto a foam roller and the massage stick. This is your second step in getting your muscles ready. Use the roller and the stick to massage your legs, back and neck. The beauty of the stick and target ball are their portability.  You can take them with you to work and massage trouble spots during the day. Take them when you travel to massage trouble spots before working out. I train all my clients on how to get their muscles relaxed and ready to perform.

Once your muscles relax we can start working to make them stronger. The good news here is that working your hips only takes a few minutes,  but is the most import exercise you can do. I have clients with back issues that cleared up in days.  They had noticeable results using just a few myo-fascial release techniques and hip exercises. The strengthening exercises I recommend start by using some simple exercise bands. Place a band around your knees and your ankles. Flex the hip either standing or sitting, depending on your fitness level. It is a simple exercise but the results are almost unbelievable.  Relax your hip muscles.  Use a few simple exercises to get them strong again. And your back pain will start to disappear.

The last part of this simple equation is a quality stretch. Earlier I said stretching was useless. But the focus here is Active Stretching not a static traditional stretch. I recommend an exercise referred to as the Worlds Greatest Stretch. Once again, the focus of this stretch is the hips and getting them ready. Once your muscle relax you can stretch them the correct way. If you didn’t already know, flexibility is key to preventing injuries.

I can’t express how important this is to know and how it actually starts changing that old worn out back. If you live with chronic back pain and think it just won’t get better, your are wrong! You don’t have to live that way and I can fix it!

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Stevie B

Hormone Health and Why I Eat FAT!

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Hey Friends!

I wanted to share some information with you that has made a huge difference for me!

My guess is that if I have had some of these issues, maybe some of you have too.

  • It’s about getting older.
  • It’s about hormone related issues as we age.
  • It’s about how you can fix it with food!

I began noticing in my late thirties and early forties some unpleasant acne. Mostly in the lower jaw-line and upper back areas.

Another issue that was cropping up over and over…yeast infections. Yeah. I know it’s not a fun topic. Don’t go anywhere. I’m going to tell you some of my tips to get rid of these! For good! This is all about your gut health ladies!

Let’s start with the reason I had some of these issues.

One of the biggest diet mistakes I have made in my lifetime is eating a very Low-Fat to No-Fat diet.

Buying everything low-fat or non fat. From skim milk to bread. It was all low or no fat. I remember thinking, “I can’t have more than 25 grams of fat per day and a 1500 calorie diet.” Okay this is a set up for failure later in life. At least it has been for me. I’ll tell you why.

HORMONES!

You’re sex hormones are made when you eat fat. And I’m not talking about donuts and pizza. Im talking about healthy, nutrient dense fats.

What did I change to get my hormones back in sync?

I started eating FATS!

One of my favorites…Grassfed Whole Dairy that is not pasteurized! Milk, cream, yogurt, kefir, and cheese. All raw, grassfed, unpasteurized and nutrient dense! Why Grassfed Raw Dairy?

Because pasteurization kills vital enzymes and vitamins in your dairy products! Unpasteurized milk has Lactase! If you aren’t familiar with lactase, it’s the enzyme responsible for breaking down Lactose. When milk is pasteurized it kills the lactase, and therefore there is nothing left to break down the lactose. Very few of us naturally have lactase in our guts. This is why many of us experience discomfort with dairy. No Lactase…no breakdown of Lactose. Get the picture! Raw Grassfed Dairy has everything needed for it to digest in your system. *Some are highly allergic and/or sensitive to dairy, please use caution when adding dairy into your diet. Usually it is best to begin with fermented raw dairy such as kefir or yogurt.*

Some of you will not be able to access raw dairy products. But it is becoming easier to acquire. My local Kroger carries Raw Grassfed Cheddar Cheese. But! If you can’t get it raw, your next best option to find organic grassfed dairy. It’s full vitamins like A, D, E, K and K2 that are necessary for hormone production.

Other healthy fats we incorporated…

Olive Oil,  Grassfed Butter or Ghee, Coconut Oil(unrefined and virgin-cold pressed), egg yolks, nuts,and pasture raised meats are other food choices that fall under the healthy fats umbrella.

I’m not telling you to eat fat all day long only. We eat a good balance of healthy fats with tons of vegetables, some fruits, and pasture raised or wild caught meats and seafood. But we do have healthy fats with every meal.

Here are some of the simple changes that we made…

I switched out our egg white omelette for delicious nutrient dense pasture raised whole eggs. Yes, we eat the yolks. Usually scrambled with whole milk and grassfed butter.

After changing my perception of what a healthy diet is and beginning to eat these types of foods over the last several months, my acne went away, my yeast infections disappeared, and my skin looked better and more moisturized. I feel better! That’s the biggest win with any dietary change. And the huge bonus is that I have increased muscle and the fat hasn’t made me fat. Hormone regulation when you are in your more mature years comes in two different ways. Medication or Diet. I choose diet every single time. Your body is ever-changing. What seems to work when we are young may not work later in life.

This isn’t just true for us ladies. Men, you need healthy fats too. There are plenty of commercials on TV that let us know men face hormone issues too. Almost weekly I hear about someone discovering they have Low-Testosterone. We have been feed a low-fat/no-fat diet for years. And guys, if you have a female significant other, you have been forced to have non-fat creamer in your coffee, non-fat sour cream on your potato, and skim milk in your cereal. And you’ve eating so much lean chicken breast your going to sprout feathers. So now go on and grab the coconut oil or grassfed butter and cook up a nicely marbled grassfed ribeye. You’re Welcome.

Here are a few things that we have eliminated from our diet.

  • Refined Sugar
  • Gluten, that means all white,wheat, most grain based flour, chips and pasta (we eat white organic rice or rice products from time to time)
  • Processed foods, which include pasteurized dairy, industrial farmed meats, farm raised seafood, and of course most packed foods

Some Important things we have added to our diet.

  • Grassfed meats, pasture raised chicken, wild caught seafood, and raw nuts
  • Grassfed Raw Dairy, including butter! 
  • Whole eggs! No more egg white only stuff!
  • Lots and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits (not everything has to be organic, learn the clean 15 and dirty dozen!)

We have always eaten a lot of vegetables, but again everything was always NO-FAT! Now I toss my vegetables in a little grassfed butter, bacon drippings, or olive oil. This makes me happy as a chef, because Fat carries Flavor!

Your body needs fats! Funny thing…my parents told me this for years. Both were young adults by the1950’s. My Mom was raised on a farm and hated gathering eggs because there were always snakes trying to hang around. My paternal Grandfather spooned a little “bacon grease” over his food at every meal. But they lived what I call “The New Luxury.” They knew where their food came from…because they raised it.

So with that I’m going to go get my milk and cream down at the dairy where I can see the cows eating the grass that’s making my milk. Here’s to hormonal health and no more hormonal acne!

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Remember, these are the things that have worked for me. If you are looking for recipes and ideas for your meals, jet over to The Melody of Cooking where you will find something to get your started! Be sure to contact us for a more personalized approach to your health and fitness goals. We know you’re one of kind and there’s no one exactly like you!

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Melody

Clean Eating and Functional Fitness