Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fully Loaded Taco Meat from Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes

Hi, guys!

I’m so excited to share a recipe from Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes, a new ebook by Arsy Vartanian from Rubies & Radishes. I’ve followed Arsy on social media (and podcasts) for year nows, and I love hearing what she’s up to, so I was really excited when she reached out about her new ebook. As you know, I love a good slow cooker recipe, especially ones that are easy, nutritious, and delicious, and she kindly offered to share her recipe for Fully Loaded Taco Meat, which, of course, I am super psyched to try. We love tacos in our house! 🙂 Without further ado, here’s Arsy!

Hi, Carrots ‘N’ Cake readers! I’m so excited that I get to introduce you to my new cookbook, Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes.

There’s nothing better than coming home at the end of the day to a delicious and nutritious meal that required minimal effort, and each one of the 70+ recipes in Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes hits that mark. I wrote this book for people who feel they’re too busy to stick to a healthy diet, or who believe that nourishing food can only come after you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. The truth is, with the right ingredients and a slow cooker, you and your family can enjoy healthy, flavorful meals.


Each recipe is strictly Paleo and Whole30-friendly! No grains, dairy, sugar, natural sweeteners, legumes or alcohol – just real food and flavor. And you can try ALL of them! Use the code CARROTS30 at checkout and get 30% off the ebook!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I make at least once a week: Fully Loaded Taco Meat! Never buy premade taco seasoning again – make your own and tailor it to your tastes. I hope you enjoy!


Fully Loaded Taco Meat from Real Food Slow Cooker Recipes

Author: Arsy Vartanian

Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine all of the spices.
  2. Add the beef, tomato paste and spices to the slow cooker. Use a spoon to mix up the ingredients and break up the meat.
  3. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  4. Break up the meat some more.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow cooker and serve.

Chef’s tip: You can reserve 2 teaspoons of the taco seasoning and add it in the last 30 minutes of cooking. This extra step isn’t necessary, but it will heighten the flavor of the meat!

from Carrots 'N' Cake

41 Primal Action Items and Individual Experiments for Success in 2017

Inline_41_Action_ItemsNot every challenge has to be massive. Not every action item needs to take you to the promised land of optimal health and body composition. Sometimes, you just want a writer you trust to devise a list of potential little mini-challenges, short self-experiments, and approachable action items.

This is that list. Browse it. Jump around. See what resonates. Then get moving, and make them happen. I’m partial to 1, 5, 9, 13, 19, 20, 22, 26, and 30. But I’m sure whichever you choose will help you succeed this year.

  1. Take a 15 minute walk after every meal. There’s a good reason many traditional cultures recommend walks after eating—it reduces blood glucose and improves the overall metabolic response to the meal.
  2. Do 100 squats a day. Air squats are plenty, unless it gets too easy. Then add a little weight. Not all in a row (unless you’re a glutton for punishment). Pepper them throughout the day. If squats aren’t working for you, try something else.
  3. Do burpees (or their alternatives) after every meal. Somewhere in the range of 10-20.
  4. Try some lentils. Instead of your normal carb source, eat some black, green, red, or French lentils. Remember from the legume post, lentils go a long way. They’re surprisingly low in digestible carbs and high in micronutrients and protein (not enough to be your main source of protein, you plant-based readers you).
  5. Go for a hike on a rainy day. Not drizzly. Not sprinkling. Raining. A downpour is even better. Get wet. Take your shoes off for a portion. Bonus mindfulness exercise: hike with hands outstretched, palms facing up, and focus on the rain drops hitting your hands. Nice, right?
  6. If you’re really into training (think CrossFit), try carb cycling. Eat higher carb, lower fat on training days with most of your carbs coming post-workout, and higher-fat, lower carb on rest days. Keep protein fairly constant. Many hard-training folks find this way of eating speeds fat loss while retaining performance.
  7. Learn and master one new recipe each week. Get to the point that you can make it in your sleep without measuring. Have people over for dinner to test it out.
  8. Go volunteer. It needn’t be through an official agency. Offer to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog or mow their lawn. Maybe you just spend a day at the beach or park picking up any bit of trash you see.
  9. Go to your favorite cafe, grab a cup of coffee, and spend half an hour brainstorming. Business ideas, 5-year life plans, book ideas, trips around the world. Anything. Just think (relatively) big, write down what you come up with, and see where it takes you. Tea is permissible.
  10. Pick up an instrument. If you’ve got the time, take a class.
  11. Plumb your life for the things you know aren’t working out. Pick one of them—a food you eat but always regret, a workout you never quite get to, that elusive 11 PM bedtime—and make it right.
  12. Stop consuming the news for two weeks. Spending energy and time on events that are outside of your direct control is wasteful, stressful, and counterproductive.
  13. Read fiction before bed. Bedtime stories are the best part of being a kid, and it’s probably one of the things I miss most. Reading fiction gets you into the right state of mind for dreamland. One I’ve liked lately is Twain’s Innocents Abroad (more of a travel memoir).
  14. Sincerely compliment someone. Don’t pick just anyone. And don’t come up with something you kinda sorta admire about them. Do it for real.
  15. Take 30 slow, deep breaths first thing in the morning for two weeks.
  16. Dance every day. It’s better with partners, but not necessary. Even better: dance naked. Betterer: dance naked with naked partners.
  17. Smile as you eat. Yes, you may look a little demented sitting there grinning into your Big Ass salad. That’s okay. Just try it.
  18. Walk the silliest way you can. Preferably in public. Check the ministry for ideas.
  19. Each time you go for a walk, duck walk for a portion of it. Go as long as you can.
  20. Swap out plain water for mineral water for a month and see how you feel. I’m a fan of Gerolsteiner (as I’ve said many times before), and I’m convinced we’re adapted to obtaining a decent portion of our minerals through our water.
  21. If you normally sleep 6.5 hours or less, add an hour. If you normally sleep 8.5 or more, try sleeping slightly less. Notice anything?
  22. Do max rep pushups and/or pullups every hour on the hour. If that maximum number of reps declines throughout the day, that’s fine and totally normal. It means you’re working hard.
  23. Carry something moderately heavy around with you all day. 32-pound kettlebell, sandbag, sack of cat litter. Yeah, it’ll look a little weird. But it’s just a day. It’ll pass.
  24. Get 10,000 steps a day for the duration of the challenge. Pace the room if you have to. Just get your steps.
  25. Roughhouse. Playful and intense physical encounters are good for you, but, as adults, we don’t get many chances to do it. Find a friend or loved one willing to go toe to toe with you—without getting angry. Wrestle. If you’ve been thinking about starting a martial art, now’s your chance.
  26. Visit nature at least every other day for an hour for the duration of the challenge. Forest, beach, desert, city park. Get into a green space. How’s your stress?
  27. Go swimming, wading, or bathing (minimum 5 minutes) in uncomfortably cold water twice a week. Not ice water. Not cold river water, necessarily. But cold enough that you give a sharp exhale upon entry.
  28. Try a sauna, steam room, or other heat self-therapy twice a week. Notice any benefits? Bonus points if you mix it with the cold plunges.
  29. Start learning a new skill. It could be physical—the clean and jerk, skateboarding, juggling—or it could be mental—a new language, an instrument, something from Coursera.
  30. Sprint. I say it again and again. Sprinting—it doesn’t have to be running full out on a flat track, or running at all—is essential. You have to move your body extremely quickly from time to time. Just once a week is all it takes.
  31. Switch to candles and firelight after dark (or the high-tech adjustable hue bulb equivalents). This eliminates blue light and introduces calming orange/yellow/red light. Plus, everyone likes a good fire. Fire is in our DNA.
  32. Refrain from browsing your phone when nothing else is going on for the duration of the challenge. Waiting in line? Commercial break? At a stop light? Be present in the moment. Be okay with “boredom.” Okay, okay: do try it for a week at least.
  33. Let yourself get hungry before every meal. Not fasting, necessarily. But feel real hunger pangs. Eat because you’re truly hungry, not because it’s “time” or you’re bored.
  34. Only wear shoes if you have to. Wear shoes in stores and while traversing those mythical city sidewalks strewn with syringes, glass shards, and steaming piles of dog poop. Job interview, wedding? Wear shoes. Other than that, go barefoot.
  35. Go for a long, slow, easy run. Not every endurance session turns into chronic cardio, but many people fear it’s what happens when you run longer than a mile. When I say “easy” I mean easy. You should be comfortable. You should enjoy yourself.
  36. Immerse yourself in a movement medium you’re uncomfortable with and work toward getting comfortable. Maybe you’re not a good swimmer. Maybe you’ve never really tried the rower, or ridden a bike for more than a mile. Maybe the weight room intimidates you. Move toward your anxieties. You may not master them, but you can reduce the discomfort.
  37. Start eating more collagen. Make bone broth, or buy it. Add gelatin to pan sauces. Try the new sea salt macadamia nut collagen bars. Just get some into your diet, especially if you’re dealing with any joint issues.
  38. Organize a regular dinner party. There’s nothing quite so special, intimate, and Primal as a dinner party with close friends.
  39. Do a squat challenge. Accumulate 20-30 minutes of sitting in a full squat each day. Time yourself.
  40. Do a hang challenge. Like the squat challenge, accumulate 5-10 minutes of hanging from an overhead bar or ledge each day.
  41. Plan a trip. It can be somewhere close, a weekend getaway. It could be a month in Southeast Asia or through Europe. Whatever it is, planning ahead of time increases your enjoyment. You get to anticipate the trip. You get to experience the trip. Then you get to bask in the fond memories for the rest of your life.

Do one, do several, do as many as you feel up to doing (you probably don’t want to try them all at once). Let me know which one(s) you chose, how they work out for you, and whether I should add any quick and dirty action items to the list.

Thanks for reading, and Grok on!


The post 41 Primal Action Items and Individual Experiments for Success in 2017 appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Why Should You Care About The Microbiome?

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the term microbiome, which refers to a collection of microorganisms or “good bacteria” that live inside your gut. The microbiome is a relatively new term in the nutrition world, and it’s rapidly becoming an increasingly important field of study among scientists. Millions of dollars are being poured into research to reach a better understanding of the microbiome and its role in disease. Here’s what you should know:


About the microbiome

The human body contains 10-100 trillion microbial cells, which consist of about 1000 different strains of bacteria that make up the microbiome. It exists in the skin and mouth, but the largest and most diverse part of the microbiome is found in the gut. Beginning at birth, a human’s microbiome is formed with the microorganisms from the mother’s birth canal and skin. Breast milk is also rich with good bacteria that populate the baby’s gut. By two years old, the adult microbiome is almost fully established, but it can change throughout the lifetime. An individual’s microbiome is not just a random collection of bacteria; each organism works together to create a thriving healthy environment inside the body.


Are all microbiomes the same?

Studies suggest that an individual’s microbiome is unique to them. However, your skin microbiome will be similar to other peoples’ skin microbiomes, and your gut microbiome will be similar to others’ gut microbiomes. The Human Microbiome Project, funded by the National Institute for Health, was established in 2008 to characterize the strains in the human microbiome and understand their role in human health and disease.


How can the microbiome affect your health?

While we often think of bacteria as potential pathogens, certain bacteria like E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium difficile are found in healthy individuals and only cause illness when the microbiome is disturbed or imbalanced. When that occurs, a variety of health complications may ensue. Preliminary research suggests that a stressed microbiome may be associated with gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases like Celiac disease or asthma or even larger health complications, like obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Such imbalances may occur after taking an antibiotic, which disturbs the normal microbial gut community. Other risk factors include a poor diet, lack of sleep or excessive stress.


How can you create a healthier microbiome?

Eat a diet that is rich in ‘prebiotics,’ fiber found in fruits and vegetables, which induces the growth of healthy bacteria. Adding probiotics—aka live bacteria—to your diet can also help maintain a flourishing microbiome. Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut, and they are also available in supplemental form.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one that has millions of live cultures from multiple strains. Because supplements are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, make sure you choose a trusted brand, like Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora with 50 Billion live cultures and 10 probiotic strains per capsule.

Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., is a media dietitian, food and nutrition writer, spokesperson and blogger at Nutrition Ă  la Natalie.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Contest: Grokpose for $1000!

win3The Prize:

$1000 gift certificate to Want a year’s supply of Primal Fuel? Done. How about enough PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Mayo to fill up your bathtub? Done. Today’s winner gets a thousand big ones to spend like cash and get whatever he or she wants at

The Contest:

Pose like Grok. Take a photo of it. You know Grok, right? Here he is…

Pose like that. Whether in mid air, on the ground, hanging from the underside of a stairwell, or lying on the dirt. If your body roughly matches the positioning of Grok, you’re qualified. If you’ve got a spear, awesome. If you have some other representation of a spear, that’s fine too. If you’ve got an “air spear,” that’s acceptable as well. Creativity is encouraged. Once you’ve figured out how to do it, get someone to take a picture of you in your Grokpose. Then, post your photo to Instagram, tag @MarksDailyApple and use hashtag #GrokInTheWild in the post text so the Worker Bees and I can see your entry.

Need some more inspiration? Check out last year’s submissions here.

Don’t have an Instagram account? No problem, Email me the picture instead. Please use the email subject heading “Grokpose Submission.” Otherwise, there’s a good chance I may miss your submission.

Who is Eligible:

This one is global, so anyone can enter!

How A Winner Will Be Decided:

Photo submissions will be reviewed, and a select few will be posted toward the end of the Challenge. The Worker Bees and I will choose a list of finalists to be voted on by readers.

Deadline: January 22nd, midnight PDT.

Fine Print:

MDA reserves the right to publish all submitted material.


The post Contest: Grokpose for $1000! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Cooking Club Camp For Kids

I am so excited to write about Mazen’s latest camp experience! Remember last summer when I wrote that a friend of mine told me about Supper Club Camp? Her son had spent a week learning to prepare healthy meals and came home with dinner for the family each night. I knew this would be such a fun opportunity for Mazen, and I signed him up for two different enrichment days over the Christmas break. The first day was all about the holidays, and they made a variety of Christmas cookies and ornaments. And the second day was a one-day version of Supper Club Camp. Mazen came home with a delicious dinner!

I will let him tell you what he made:

He was SO proud of his dinner, and we had so much fun together setting the table and getting everything ready to eat.

The vegetarian chili was delicious, and I loved the honey butter on the cornbread! (I put cubes of cheese on mine because I was out of shredded cheese : ) )

And best of all? He actually ate the chili! It was funny to watch him because he had been saying how much he “loved soup” even though I’ve never been able to get him to try it before. When we sat down I started eating and raving about how good it was and he hesitated and just looked at the soup for a minute. Then he cautiously dipped in his spoon, and took a slurp. He needed a little encouragement to continue eating the chunky parts, but he ate about half of his bowl overall. ‘Tis totally true for us that the more involved he is in the kitchen the more likely he is to eat something. He and Matt cook together almost every night, and I am working on ways to get him more involved in my house too.

I loved the chocolate shortbread cookies for dessert. (He says they are peanut butter in the video because he and Matt put peanut butter on cookies the night before.)

Miss Rita and Miss Christina, the mother-daughter duo who run the camp, are amazing and they said Mazen did a great job participating (and had excellent manners too!)

Cville friends, you can find out all the details for future enrichment days and camps on their website here. 2017 dates to come soon they say!

The post Cooking Club Camp For Kids appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food