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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recipe Post 1:  Bobby D's Primal Pancakes



When I first started living a Paleo/Primal lifestyle, as many have, missed the foods that flour helped produce.  Pizza, pasta, bread and bagels, cakes and muffins, and pancakes were some of the things I missed dearly.  To forge ahead in this lifestyle, I waved goodbye to that carb lifestyle and haven't looked back (2 years later).  I had to find substitutes to these foods that I came to love so much.  I didn't crave all those foods as I once had, but sometimes these foods seem appropriate.

One of these appropriate times I yearned for pancakes.  It didn't take much internet searching before I came across Mark Scisson's Paleo Pancake recipe (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/almond-banana-pancakes/#axzz2fGELK7tR).  I was so psyched to be able to make pancakes once again.   I quickly whipped up a batch for me and my family.  The overall consensus was that it was good but heavy.  You couldn't eat too many.  I looked at that as a win.  Why gorge on pancakes?  All you need is 2 or 3 silver dollar size pancakes and you are done. 

Over the past 2 years, I needed more.  The recipe was lacking structurally (the pancakes would easily fall apart and would be left with a fried banana mess in the pan) and I began to veer away from using almond products (at least to this extent).  I felt that almond butter and almond flour, while a safe and paleo/primal friendly food contains too many Omega-6 fats or PUFA's.  I believe that eating too much of these products has added to bloating and spikes in unhealthy LDL cholesterol.  Once again, I digress...Just know that if you are using almond flour and almond butter, to use it sparingly and space it out.  Gorging on anything is always a bad thing.

So I searched out other recipes (too many to even begin listing here) to perfect Mark's recipe.

Finally, two months ago, I decided to use my amateur culinary expertise and experimented with some "flours".  I've come up with, what I believe to be the perfect primal banana pancake recipe.  Below is the recipe and a picture of the final product (should appear above or below this post, hopefully).

Give the recipe a whirl and let me know what you think.  

Bobby D's Primal Pancakes


3 - Ripened Banana's (the more ripened the better)
2 or 3 Tbsp of Honey - depends on how sweet you prefer your pancakes *
2 Tbsp - Coconut Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill) **
3 Tbsp - Tapioca Starch (Flour) (Again, Bob's Red Mill)**
1 tsp - Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon to taste
1/8 tsp - baking soda
2 eggs

* I've made it sans honey to fine results - the more ripe the banana's the sweeter it already is.  If using not very ripe banana's, honey will be a necessity.
** At times I've used an additional 1/2 Tbsp on Coconut Flour AFTER all ingredients were added, IF the batter is too runny.  Same goes for the Tapioca Starch.  Coconut flour is highly absorbent, so you want to only add a little.  If you add the extra Coconut Flour, make sure you counter with the extra Tapioca Flour.  You should always have more of the Tapioca than the Coconut.

Using a potato masher, mash down the banana's to a very smooth consistency.  You don't want to have any lumps.

Add in the honey, coconut flour, tapioca starch (flour), vanilla extract, cinnamon and baking soda.  Mix well and be sure to flatten out any lumps from the flours as this will occur.

Add in your eggs and mix well.

The batter should should be between runny and firm.  If the batter is too runny, add in the extra flours as outlined above.  You don't want the batter runny at all.  You want some firmness.

Heat up a pan or skillet.  I like to add a little bit of ghee, butter or coconut oil.  Just enough to coat the pan.  When the pan is hot begin pouring the batter.  I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring tool and fill it 3/4 the way to get a little larger than a silver dollar size pancake.

Cook on each side about 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve with fruit, Grade B syrup (I get mine from Trader Joes) or eat as is...they are sweet enough.

As side note to this recipe:  I've added blueberries and chocolate chips to the batter before cooking.  My kids really enjoy the little extras in the pancakes...why lie, I've enjoyed having the extra's in there as well.


Hope you enjoy.  Let me know if anyone makes this and what they think.

*Gluten free

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Post 2:  Post Hockey/Cortisol Levels

It's been a while since my last post.  Life has been a bit on the busy side.  My oldest daughter started Kindergarten and turned 5 all in the same week.  I have been slowly adjusting to school schedules, nap times (for my youngest), preparing breakfasts, lunches and dinners at such a time restrained schedule plus preparing for my oldest daughter's 5th birthday party.  Now that life is starting to slow itself down a bit I can start posting regularly.

So a quick update to my last post:

The night of my last hockey session, I had concerns of cortisol levels being too high, so late at night and having an effect on my sleep.   So, results are in:  I was fine but I followed some tenets that I hope to continue, even when I'm not playing late night hockey.

1.  I had myself a decent meal earlier in the evening.  Now, when I say decent, this time around I had a primal-type of a meal.  Let me preface by saying that the meal that I had is not an every day or every week type of a meal.  For dinner, I grilled up some Nitrate-free Keilbasa from humanely raised pigs.  Now, this may not be grass fed, but it's the closest thing to organic that I will get... and purchasing products without nitrates and nitrites is a big deal for me and my family...plus, you can actually taste the meat for what it is and not chew on a mouthful of sodium.  I digress...

Keilbasa with sauerkraut and peas was my pre-hockey meal.  I had this about  2 hours prior to playing.

2.  I relaxed with my family.  We took a leisurely walk around the neighborhood and played briefly in the backyard.  Around 8 o'clock, we put our daughters to bed.  Following their bedtime routine, I packed up and left to play.

3.  I went into the session actually energized and for the first half, I played real well (well enough for my skill level).  It was only towards the 3/4 mark of the session had I started to really feel tired.  It's a 90 minute session without breaks.  I am a slave to the amount of people who show up to play.  If there are a lot of people, which that night there were, I take 1 to 2 minute shifts and then I sit for about 5 minutes or so.  If you continue this type of play for 90 minutes, all of that sitting in between long shifts takes a toll on the body.  As the night drew to a close, my shifts were more like 30 second to 1 minute shifts of me slogging up and down the ice and only pushing it if I could make a difference.

4.  Once I got home, I ate a small handful of raspberries and blueberries...the hardcore fitness/weightloss instructor may actually scoff at the berry eating, especially so late at night, but hell, I was hungry and wanted something refreshing, so sue me!!!  I then took a long, hot shower and then went to bed.  I had a nice, uninterrupted sleep and didn't feel any ill results from the late night session. 

Listen to your body.  If it's telling you to exercise or play hockey or hike in the evening or night hours, do so.  But if your body is telling you otherwise, don't let routine dictate what your body is telling you.  If you play hockey, for example, in the evening after having an early morning workout, plus being out with your family and chasing kids all day, your body may be calling for rest.  In this case, just because it's your weekly routine to play, like it is mine, skip it.  There is always another day.  I've pushed myself to sickness twice because I've overworked my body and did more than I should have.  I'm not Superman.  I'm not a professional athlete.  Despite what magazines, blogs and the entertainment world push on everyone, only a small portion of the population is built like Atlas.  Athletes are paid to workout everyday, all day.  We aren't.  The rest of us who are in shape or trying to get in shape are not this way and probably won't be this way.  That's ok.  Our lives are shaped differently than athletes.  We can only push ourselves so far.


Sleep well...Eat  well...Play well...Live life well...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Post 1: Evening Hockey Session

Here is my first official post as "the Primal Dad".

After 16 years off from playing hockey, I decided back in March that it was time to start playing again.  Since then I've played every weekend minus 2 weekends in May. 

Since April, I had enjoyed Sunday morning sessions at 9AM or the occasional Saturday morning at 7:40AM.  I prefer morning sessions for a couple of reasons:  1. I am done with it early in the day, 2. workouts/hockey sessions seem go hand in hand with morning elevate cortisol levels (more on this shortly).  Now that the hockey season has begun for most leagues, high schools, colleges and instructional leagues, these sessions are going away.  I am now relegated to Saturday night sessions.

Tonight, I luck out and the session runs from 9:20 to 10:50.  But in the near future, these sessions will start running past midnight...the worst!!!  Having an earlier evening session will provide plenty of time to get home, relax and bring my cortisol levels back to a norm.  Cortisol, is technically defined as follows:  Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism Anyone looking to lose weight has to pay attention to cortisol levels to some degree.  Going to sleep on high levels of cortisol after eating healthy or exercising hard is counteractive to losing weight.  Sleep is as important to weight loss as eating right...but I digress.

When thinking about tonight's session I started researching cortisol levels on my body for late night exercise.  Mark Scisson from Mark's Daily Apple has been a great source of inspiration and information during my health journey.  Below is a related article for my dilemma from Mark which he discusses exercise and it's different effects based on time of day.

As Mark Scisson points out in this article: 

"Even late night, “vigorous exercise” may not negatively impact your sleep, as a study in trained cyclists showed. The subjects were able to get to sleep 30 minutes after three hours of cycling at 65-75% of their max heart rate without issue."

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-is-the-best-time-of-day-to-exercise/#ixzz2eDLsYnHf

He mentions in the article that having already elevated cortisol levels going into a workout (or in my case a hockey session) will only keep said levels elevated.  But moderate or low levels of cortisol levels won't have as much of an overall effect. 

I'm not a trained athlete or possess the body of an athlete.  I'm a weekend warrior looking for additional exercise and to have some fun.  As always, I will listen to my body and see what works right.  I will experiment and try to go into the session with lower or moderate cortisol levels and see what the effects are in regards to performance and also the ability to get to sleep following the session.  Going into the session, I will relax after getting the kids down to sleep.  Maybe take a magnesium citrate supplement.  Following the session, a warm shower and a cup of Yogi's Bedtime Tea may help prepare me to fall asleep.


What is everyone's relaxation method for coming down from an evening workout session or from having a busy day?