Sustainability, Stress, and Abs

Sustainability, Stress, and Abs or What I Took Away from Paleo f(x)

It’s difficult to write a blog post when a large purring orange cat is curled up on your arms and partially on your computer, but it’s even more difficult to write a blog post when you are still overflowing with information and processing it all. Paleo f(x), if you are unfamiliar with it, is a 3 day conference in Austin Texas covering all aspects of health from nutrition, to movement, to products.This year was my first year attending, and I was blown away by the impact the event had on me. There was an expo floor where I got to meet some of the amazing people behind my favorite companies and learn more about other products. Cooking demos and presentations by authors, bloggers, health professionals, and more were on-going all three days, it was often hard to decide which presentation to attend because there were so many amazing topics. With only 5 minutes between presentations it was often a mad dash to get to the next one. I attended workshops where I learned about training using biofeedback with Jen Sinkler and David Dellanave, plant medicine for the mind with Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larsen from Barbell Shrugged, and speed under the barbell with Dutch Lowy . I even got to briefly share a barbell with Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo and Stacy from Paleo Parents, both amazing women I respect greatly who help to encourage strong female lifters. I even got to be there and cheer on Nicole from Merit + Fork as she attempted her first barbell cleans. I had an amazing inspiring chat with other 21 Day Sugar Detox coaches, Diane Sanfilippo, and her team. And that isn’t even getting to the tip of the iceberg on other experiences.

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I know I’m missing touching on many other experiences, such as coincidentally finding out I was on the same flight to Austin and one row behind Suzie from The Tasty Remedy an amazing woman, fellow 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach, and friend. Or eating, and drinking butter coffee, at Picnik everyday we were in Austin or having some killer BBQ and eggs benedict. I was able to meet people I admire (or people I have only spoken to online) and new to me people I look forward to getting to know better such as Everett AKA Paleo FatKid, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDX, and Holly Morello from Nourishing Excellence.  I listened to presentations from some pretty amazing people such as Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Diana Rodgers, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDXBen Greenfield, Sarah Ballantyne, Dr. Andy Galpin, and so many more amazing people that it would take me forever to mention.

My overall takeaways from the weekend were a focus on reducing stress, the effects stress has on our every day lives, and sustainability is greater than abs. I learned about many applicable topics such as anabolic windows, carbohydrate timing, using real food to fuel for athletic activities, who a ketogenic diet may help and who it may be detrimental for, food and autoimmunity, and stress reduction. I came away feeling like I was hungover with information but so inspired to get back home to put everything in use for myself, family, and clients.

Oh, about those abs! Visible abs are such a sought after ideal that there are billions of dollars spent in the health and fitness industry to attempt to achieve them. Just watch television late at night or early in the morning for evidence. Most of the information shilled is false, if it were that easy or true everyone would have abs. It’s not always healthy to obtain those abs either at the cost of what else is sacrificed, such as hormonal health for women. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the idea of having visible abs myself, but the reality is it’s not possible for every man or woman to reach that ideal. And that is okay! Overall health and being at the right body proportions for your own body is more important. I do know people that have those visible abs and they have genetics on their side. In other words sustainability is greater than abs!

Overall Paleo f(x) was a whirlwind of activity that I hope to never forget. I’m already looking forward to next year for Paleo f(x) 2016!

Banana Breakfast Muffins

Banana Breakfast Muffins

The San Juan Islands are always beautiful and amazing. Cell phone reception is spotty and terrible, which is wonderful! No work emails, voicemails, etc. But the San Juan Islands during the tourist off season are magical. It’s so quiet. Sometimes the only sound is your breathing. Hiking Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island is a favorite activity of ours when we visit. It’s even better when it’s cold as the view is spectacular and there aren’t many others as crazy as you to hike the mountain in the cold, so it’s pretty much just you up there. It’s spectacular.

As our Christmas and anniversary gifts to each other, the husband and I went to the San Juan Islands without the girls last week. Since it was a holiday week and the off season, and in an effort to eat well, I packed a cooler full of food to bring with us. I had some bananas and thought about making banana bread, but banana breakfast muffins seemed like a better idea since they would be more portable.

I didn’t have a recipe to follow, I just winged it. To the banana muffin batter I added almond butter and coffee to make them breakfast on the go muffins.  The response on Instagram and requests for the recipe were positive, so for the first post of 2015 I’m giving you the Banana Breakfast Muffins recipe!

Below the photos from our trip is the recipe. Enjoy!

Banana Breakfast Muffins

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 12 Muffins

  • 4 Bananas
  • ½ cup Almond Butter, salt free
  • 1 cup strong Coffee
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ⅓ cup melted cooking fat, such as coconut oil or ghee
  • ½ cup Coconut Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Starch (or tapioca flour)
  • 1 teaspoon Double-Acting Aluminum Free Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°
  2. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.
  3. Mash bananas in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine almond butter, coffee, eggs, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and cooking fat in a large mixing bowl with bananas.
  5. In a separate bowl mix coconut flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and optional xanthan gum together until well combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Batter will be sticky.
  7. Fill muffin liners ¾ full.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cooked all the way through, toothpick will come out clean when cooked through.


Keep Portland Weird… and Tasty

Conference food is a wasteland as far as the eye can see of bagels, muffins, croissants, oatmeal, pasta, soup in a can, a few leaves of lettuce, and no protein to speak of. It’s a sugar and carb crash waiting to happen. I learned the hard way last year when I attended the same 3 day conference for work in Portland, Oregon to not trust the food served during the conference. Thankfully I was smarter this year and planned ahead. I packed Epic bars, jerky, cut veggies, packets of coconut oil, and apples from a co-workers girlfriends parents orchard to eat instead of the food provided. At the end of the day, I was one of the only ones awake and functional because I had protein, veggies, and healthy fats to eat during the day. Although I would never say no to a good nap.

The timing of the conference coincided with the Portland stop of The Paleo View book tour with Stacy Toth from Paleo Parents and Sarah Ballantyne from The Paleo Mom. The Q&A session was the best I’ve ever witnessed. Most of the time, at other book signings, I’ve heard people ask where to buy coconut aminos and then have nothing else to say. Perhaps having Heather Hunter, from Cultured Caveman (which I sadly missed eating at this trip, I’ve been to the food cart but not the restaurant yet, and highly recommend it), toss Exo Bars to those who asked questions helped! But it may also have been the energy and humor Stacy and Sarah brought. I have a tendency to clam up around new people, introvert problems, but I thought about what I would say before I met Stacy and Sarah. I had a nice brief talk with Stacy about lifting and my 10 year old loving Paleo to Go and it getting her interested in food and I told Sarah about how her books have helped my family get off medications.

Stacy Toth, Me, and Sarah Ballantyne

When I wasn’t at the conference or at the book signing, I bundled up and braved the miserable wind and cold and was either on my own or with co-workers for dinner. This enabled me to hit up some of the amazing places to eat in Portland. While I’m a Seattle girl through and through, I do enjoy eating my way through Portland. My choices were not always Paleo perfect, but I was able to stick to gluten free options.

Here’s where I ate.

Dick’s Kitchen

Dicks Kitchen Paleo Plate

Protein patties including beef and a weekly rotation of either elk, venison, wild boar, lamb, bison, and dork (duck and pork) plus veggies, coconut bliss shakes, and kombucha on tap! Yes please! I like Dicks Kitchen so much I ate here two nights in a row and visit every time I’m in Portland. The first time I had the Thai Burger bowl. Essentially it’s a salad with a tasty spicy lime chili dressing with a grass fed beef patty cooked to perfection on top. I ate this with a cup of gluten free smoky tomato soup and a glass of raspberry kombucha. The second night I had The Paleo Plate with a grass fed beef patty, salad, and the rotating greens (that night it was kale and chard if I recall correctly). I’ve never had a bad meal here and the service has always been good, sometimes the servers forget to bring an item ordered but they always correct it quickly.

RingSide Fish House

RingSide Fish House

Thursday evening 2 of the 4 co-workers who attended the conference with me, and I decided to take the max downtown. We did some window shopping and wandered around a bit before deciding we needed to get out of the ice and cold and into a sit down restaurant for dinner. A security guard recommended Buffalo Wild Wings, which we unanimously rejected. We walked a few blocks in the miserable cold and nixed a $36-a-plate tavern before we went into Nordstrom to get out of the cold. The sales woman behind the counter recommended RingSide Fish House, but gave the worst directions ever taking us in the wrong direction. Eventually we ended up at the right place and could warm up and eat. I ordered Salmon with potato gnocchi, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, bacon, brown butter, and pickled red onion. The salmon was cooked nicely and the pickled red onion really brought the whole dish together. My co-workers enjoyed their meals, as well as a Nor’wester and Army Navy cocktail.


The best way to get to experience what Teote has to offer is ordering the La Cena Carne, a family style platter served with black beans, rice, cabbage salad, teote salad, fried plantains, buttered arepas, and any 3 meat choices. While this meal included non Paleo beans, corn, and cheese it was all gluten free. I knew I wanted mole (Painted Hills brisket cooked slow in homemade mole) and smoky pollo (chicken slow cooked in a smoky green chili), but I wasn’t sure which to chose for the 3rd option. At the recommendation of the staff I went with el diablo, pork belly and roasted poblano chileʼs glazed in a red chili maple sauce. I’ve never had an arepa, a flatbread made of ground maize dough, and now I want more. The arepas were delicious buttery goodness. The el diablo ended up being my favorite of all the meat choices, I’m usually a mole girl. El diablo was porky spicy rich meaty heaven.

Urban Farmer

Oh brunch, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. One: sleep in. Two: eat. The husband rode the Amtrak train south to meet me for some tax free holiday shopping and Saturday brunch. Urban Farmer, located in The Nines Hotel downtown, is where we decided to eat. The hotel and restaurant is in the Meier & Frank building, which holds the distinction of being the location of Clark Gables place of employment before he found fame as an actor and is also the location of Departure Restaurant  (which is on the top of my list for the next visit). This building is truly gorgeous and decorated with a modern decor that contrasts beautifully with the traditional architecture of the building. The husband ordered buttermilk pancakes with blackberry compote and Meyer lemon marmalade, and a side of shaved tails and trotters ham. I had the most delicious Oregon Beef Tenderloin Hash with fingerling potato hash, poached egg, chunky tomato jam, and the best gravy like sauce ever to grace my brunch plate. That amazing gravy was even better when I dipped the side of applewood smoked bacon in it. The poached egg was done perfectly and the whole dish was filling but not heavy.

Brave Horse Tavern, Seattle WA, Spicy Chicken WingsNot to leave Seattle out of the culinary adventure, we stopped at Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union on the way home. Nothing better to end a long day of shopping, eating, and driving than with a cider and spicy hot wings. If you do the whole gluten thing, or if you want to or can make an exception to gluten free, Brave Horse Tavern has the most amazing house made brick oven pretzels. It’s worth it if you can indulge and make an exception.

Before leaving Portland, I visited Salt and Straw as well for cinnamon snickerdoodle ice cream. Photos didn’t happen there because I was so excited to have ice cream. The gas, bloating, and stomach ache from the dairy wasn’t pleasant but the ice cream tasted great. I swung by New Seasons Market on the way out of Portland to grab some of my favorite kraut from Farmhouse Culture, I discovered Farmhouse Culture in San Diego but cannot buy it locally in Seattle, and Cappellos gluten free pasta and cookies for treats later. Cappellos is another brand I can only get by mail order in the Seattle area.

All said it was a great trip, but nothing beats being at home with my family.