Kalbi Beef Ribs

galbi-ribsby Karen Frazier

Kalbi marinade is a Korean marinade that has lots of flavor and seems to have a true affinity for beef. I marinate flanken-style beef ribs, but you can use it on slices of beef or pork, as well.

  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 green onions, roots removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 packet of stevia (omit for Whole30)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang¬†(omit for Paleo or Whole30 and instead use 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds flanken-style spare ribs
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. In a food processor, combine the pear, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce or coconut aminos, stevia, gochujang or red pepper flakes, olive oil, and ginger. Process on high until smooth.
  2. Marinate the ribs in the marinade for eight to ten hours.
  3. Grill. I just pop them on the Foreman and grill them for about five minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions.

photo credit: moonlightbulb Galbi at Asahi via photopin (license)

Beef Bulgogi and Sweet Potato Bowls

beef-bowlby Karen Frazier

I’ve been on a bit of an Asian flavor kick lately – so this recipe probably won’t surprise you. ūüôā These bowls are nothing but goodness with lovely spiced beef, starchy sweet potatoes, and lots of garnishes.

  • 6¬†garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger root
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or coconut vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2¬†packet stevia or 4¬†tablespoons honey, divided*
  • 1 pound flank steak, hanger steak, or flat-iron steak, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips against the grain
  • 1 cucumber,¬†julienned
  • 4¬†tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger root, cilantro, coconut aminos, sesame oil, 1/2 cup of the vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and 1 packet of the stevia or 2 tablespoons of the honey. Process until pureed.
  2. Place the strips of steak in a gallon sized plastic zipper bag and add the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for eight hours.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 packet of stevia or two tablespoons of honey. Add the cucumber. Refrigerate for a few hours.
  4. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of the coconut oil on medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about ten minutes. Set aside tented with foil.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining two tablespoons of coconut oil on medium-high. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Cook the beef in the hot oil until cooked through, about five minutes.
  6. In a small nonstick skillet, fry two eggs, sunny side up or easy over. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To assemble the bowls, divide the sweet potatoes into two bowls. Top with the beef, the carrots, the pickled cucumber, the been sprouts, and the green onions. Top with the fried egg.

*For Whole30, omit the honey and stevia and instead add 1 chopped medjool date to the marinade and omit any sweetener from the cucumber pickle.

photo credit: Dolsot bibimbap @ L’Arbre de Sel @ Montparnasse @ Paris via photopin (license)

Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad with Crispy Pork Belly

3246364802_4c7c793966by Karen Frazier

I have to admit – I am not a huge fan of cucumbers except in certain circumstances. I won’t just sit down and eat cucumber – but I do like it as an acidic and refreshing counterpoint to something super spicy. So the other day, I picked up some organic cucumbers at the grocery store with the thought I’d do a refreshing and spicy dish of some kind. This is what I threw together today (I failed to take a photo of it – sorry), and it was super delicious. ¬†I just put crispy slices of the pork belly right on top of the salad.

It’s low-carb, paleo, and can be Whole30 compliant, as well.

Crispy Pork Belly

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced like thick sliced bacon
  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Preheat a skillet on medium-high.
  3. Season the pork belly slices with the seasoning blend. Put in the hot skillet. Cook just like you would bacon, until crispy. Slice and put on top of the salad (below).

Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad

  • 4¬†organic cucumbers, spiralized into angel hair noodles (or just julienne them)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 1 cup julienned radish
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 to 2 thai chilies, minced (or 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon expeller pressed sesame oil
  • 1 packet stevia (optional – omit for Whole30 or add 1/2 finely chopped Medjool date for a bit of sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  1. Put the cucumbers in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Allow the water to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse the cucumbers and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the radish, scallions, and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the ginger root, thai chilies, garlic, Chinese hot mustard powder, sesame oil, stevia, apple cider vinegar, EVOO, and the remaining half teaspoon of sea salt. Blend on high until emulsified. Toss with the salad.

photo credit: Vilseskogen harvest via photopin (license)

8 New “Rules” for Food: Honoring Body, Mind, and Spirit

kiwiby Karen Frazier

Almost every day, I write about food. On the days I am not writing about it, I am often editing something someone else has written about food. I spend hours a week combing through the latest studies about how food affects our bodies.

Scientific writings break food down into its components Рmacronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) Рand the roles each of these play in our bodies. Science studies and explains how food affects weight and how it affects health. It explains how our bodies break down and digest the foods, how they store them as saved energy (fat) or use them for current energy. It studies how our bodies absorb nutrients and what it does with them.

Science is at least beginning to acknowledge the foods we eat affect our physiology, and then people like me share that information with others who are looking to affect some aspect of their biology, such as gaining or losing weight, lessening inflammation, or controlling certain health conditions through food.

Food is fuel, we are told. Use it wisely, and your body can’t help but respond. Simple, right?

If it were that simple, everyone would be the picture of health. We would see food as fuel, eat the foods we need, avoid those we don’t, and all be in optimum health. Since we don’t and we aren’t, clearly something else is going on, as well. How food affects us physically is certainly an important part of the picture, but it’s not the only part. To pretend food should merely be treated as fuel does¬†everyone a disservice.

Humans are not like a simple gas-powered engine in which you pour the right amount of fuel and the engine performs. We are complex, multi-dimensional beings made up of far more than biology. We are body, mind, spirit, emotions, memories, conditioning, members of families and societies, and so much more. And food – which sciences suggests should merely be fuel – weaves itself throughout every one of these aspects of self, rendering it impossible to separate it into a simple biological component.

Close your eyes and think of a food from your childhood – one that you loved. How does it make you feel? I would guess that while there is a physical response, that is only part of the answer. Whatever food you are thinking of most likely has associations that are familial, cultural, emotional, and possibly even spiritual.

Food is deeply entrenched in every aspect of our lives. It is part of family celebrations and cultural traditions. We use it as reward and punishment. We connect it to abundance and scarcity. We use it in spiritual ceremonies and traditions. We use it to show love, generosity, and sharing. It serves as a way to gather socially. We use it for humanitarian purposes. Some control it in order to retain power. It can be used for social and behavioral conditioning. These are just a few of the many aspects of our lives in which food resides.

Here’s the problem I see: when we treat food as simply biological and fail to acknowledge the key position it occupies in mind, spirit, and emotions, we create a system in which people are most likely bound to fail in their goals about food. Food has to be more than fuel if we want to use to to improve our health. So people like me, who write about the health aspects of food, must find ways to make sure food continues to meet the¬†mental, spiritual, and emotional needs of the individual, as well.

Food has to do more than just be biologically nutritious if we want to make a lasting change that affects our¬†health. In order to truly connect to eating for health, we also need to connect ¬†to the things that truly matter about the foods we¬†eat. We need new “rules” about food in order to truly begin to nourish ourselves in the ways we need for good health.

1. Start With Foods You Know Will Nurture You Physically

It still starts with food and selecting those that will help build your physical wellbeing. Choose the most nutritious, ethically raised, healthful ingredients¬†available that you can afford. There’s plenty of information available about what these foods are – depending on physical health conditions and dietary needs. This is where you start, but it is important to go beyond just considering these foods as fuel.

2. Choose Foods That Please Your Senses

You eat with your all of your senses. Therefore, choose food that looks, tastes, and smells delicious. Consume foods with a satisfying balance of colors, textures, flavors, and aromas. Find foods with a delightful crunch or a satisfying slurp, or those that are pleasing to the eye and have your stomach growling before you take your first bite. Combine raw and cooked foods to vary texture and flavor. Cut foods into fun and interesting shapes. Use pretty garnishes. Balance the flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spicy, and umami.

3. Consume Foods From Cultural Traditions That Matter to You

Food is cultural. Therefore,¬†it is essential to create and find nutritious foods from cultural traditions that matter to you. That doesn’t just mean foods from your culture, but also from other cultural traditions that have meaning – or that you just love because they make darn good food. Use herbs and spices to create a variety of flavor palates, such as the piquant and spicy Latin flavors, aromatic Asian flavors, or hearty, classing Western foods.

4. Choose Foods Connected to Good Memories

Food is tied to memory and comfort. Because of this, it is important to consume nutritious foods that are in some way similar to those you have eaten that have brought you joy in the past. They don’t have to be exact replicas, but rather have the essence of those other foods.

5. Skip the Foods That Have no Soul

It’s so easy to mindlessly eat something that has very little meaning or soul. Twinkies come to my mind for me as the ultimate soulless food. There is no love there. Nobody lovingly prepared a Twinkie for you. It’s a Frankenfood designed to be quick, sweet, and easy.

I’m not denying a Twinkie has its appeal. But does it have soul? There is nothing alive. There’s nothing that will nourish you.

Nobody created soulless foods with the idea of nourishment in mind. They were created for one reason: profit. While it may taste good, does the food has soul? Ask yourself who has made it, and for what reason has this food been prepared. If the answer doesn’t have to do with nourishment or some type of a personal connection, chances are it’s not a food that’s going to satisfy your mind, body, emotions, or spirit.

6. Prepare Foods With Consciousness and Intent

As you prepare your foods, do it with love for yourself and anyone else who will be consuming them. Intend, as you prepare the food, that its ingredients and nutrients will nurture you not only physically, but will also honor you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

7. Give Thanks

Food is spiritual; it’s often used in spiritual ceremonies and rituals. Therefore, if food is part of your spiritual tradition (or even if it isn’t), engage in¬†a sense of spirituality and ritual when you eat. Before you eat, give thanks. If you eat animal proteins, honor the animal that provided the food. Give thanks to the earth for supporting and nurturing the plant-based ingredients you are about to consume. Then, offer the intention the food will nourish your body and your spirit, matching or raising your spiritual vibration.

8. Eat Mindfully

Pay attention as you eat. Make eating an event Рnot something you do as you engage in another activity. Create a space for eating where you are not distracted (put down the smartphone! Turn off the television!) Eat mindfully, chew slowly, and allow yourself the full sensation of that which you are eating. Notice how the food smells, looks, and tastes. Pay attention to its texture as you chew and how it feels as it travels down your throat into your stomach.

More Than Fuel

It’s time to acknowledge food is more than just fuel. To do anything else makes it difficult for us to truly allow foods to nourish us and support our overall health and wellbeing. Try these eight suggestions¬†as you pursue good health through food to acknowledge the role food plays in all aspects of your being.

photo credit: Neil Tackaberry kiwi via photopin (license)

Paleo (and Whole30) Chicken Pad Thai with Thai “Peanut” Sauce

img_2661by Karen Frazier

Oh man do I love pad Thai, and it’s something I’ve missed eating in the few years since I went completely paleo. I decided – after 2 1/2 years – to make my own. It’s a bit labor intensive, but if you love pad Thai like I do, it’s well worth the effort. I made my tamarind paste from pods, but if you can find some with paleo/Whole30-approved ingredients, feel free to use that, instead.

Tamarind Paste

  • 10 tamarind pods
  • Boiling water
  1. Peel away all the tough outer shell of the pods, and use a sharp paring knife to remove any of the woody spines and discard them.
  2. Place the tamarind in a heat proof glass measuring cup and just cover them with boiling water. Allow the pods to soak in the hot water for 45 minutes.
  3. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the soaking water and set aside. Discard the rest of the water.
  4. Put the tamarind in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Remove any solids (seeds or more spines) and discard them.
  5. Place a wire mesh sieve over a bowl. Spoon the tamarind into the sieve. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the tamarind through the sieve. Do this for about five minutes, using a rubber scraper to scrape the paste from the bottom side of the sieve into the bowl every minute or two. You should wind up with about 1/4 cup of the paste. The goal is to get as much of the paste as possible away from the seeds and pulp.
  6. Stir in the reserved liquid.

Thai “Peanut” Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar-free almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Juice of three limes
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1 thai chili, finely minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Pad Thai

  • 3 tablespoons Red boat fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 8¬†garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced and broken up into rings
  • 1 large carrot, julienned (or grated)
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1/4 cup tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 thai chilies, finely minced (or to taste)
  • 4 to 6 zucchini, spiralized into spaghetti style noodles (enough for¬†about five cups)
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, coconut aminos, 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper, and 4 of the garlic cloves. Add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 8 hours.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat two tablespoons of the coconut oil on medium high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, five to seven minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons of coconut oil on medium-high. Add the shallots, carrots, red bell peppers, thai chilies, and half of the green onions. Cook, stirring, for one minute.
  4. Add the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring, for three to four minutes more, until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add the remaining 4 garlic cloves and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tamarind paste, water, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Return the chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the noodles are coated with sauce and water evaporates, about two minutes more.
  6. Serve garnished with bean sprouts, the remaining green onions, the cashews, the cilantro, and the lime wedges. Spoon peanut sauce over the top.