Four Munros and a Marathon: week 3

This September and October, I’ll be running two tough races, three weeks apart: the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Every week, I’ll be reflecting on my training – what worked, what didn’t, changes made, fueling, diet, sleep, etc.

What I learned this week:

  • One of the reasons the Ring of Steall has a huge elevation gain (8200 feet or 2500 m) in so little distance (16 miles or 25km) is that it starts, and finishes, at sea level. There is a sea loch at Kinlochleven, the site of the race start/finish. This means, that rather than the usual inland ascent of say 2000 feet (which is still a lot but doable), we’re climbing from the very bottom to the very top of a munro, immediately. That’s over 3000 feet. Good thing I’m still in the early phases of training.
  • Take more clothes on long trail runs because you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!
  • My fitness is much better than it was a few months ago. This training is paying off big time.
  • Never drink alcohol, even a small amount, the day of a long trail run. You’ll find out why!

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Bone Broth 101 + recipe round

Warning: this post contains images of raw animal bones that might offend some. The purpose of this post is to inform people about all aspects of bone broth; it isn’t intended to offend people.

The highly revered, much spoken about liquid gold that is so celebrated in the paleo and primal world. Sooner or later on your paleo journey, you’ll find yourself comfortable and secure with the lifestyle and dietary changes you’ve made, and ready for the next step. You’ll find yourself ready (and willing) to take on the task of making your own bone broth. This was how I felt.

I knew that bone broth was good for you and could be incredibly useful in both one’s cooking arsenal and gut health, and so I took the leap and started making my own bone broth about nine months into paleo. Only, it wasn’t such a big and complicated step as I had expected and had built up in my head: it was actually incredibly simple. All I needed was the right equipment (which I had), and the right ingredients (which were easily bought, even in my neck of rural Scotland). Something that seemed so intricate and complicated, like something out of the kitchen of a Parisian, 5-star restaurant, was actually very easy and practical to make. So easy, it can literally be thrown together in 10 minutes.

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{Treat} Paleo Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Fun fact: I love cake. Another fun fact: I also love rhubarb. In fact, rhubarb desserts are my absolute favourite. So imagine my surprise last spring when we discovered a rhubarb plant growing in our garden. I was very excited!

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My love for all baked things with rhubarb was cultivated at an early age. I remember my mom making rhubarb jam, rhubarb platz, and rhubarb crisp, and my Grandma Dumaine’s rhubarb pie with tapioca is to die for! Though my own plant is small, and already almost decimated from making this cake once and batches of Cookie and Kate’s Rhubarb and Chia Jam, I’ve been able to source rhubarb elsewhere: colleagues at school, a client of Pat’s. His client has so much rhubarb, I’ve been told I can get a few pounds each week! Watch this space for possible further rhubarb recipes this summer.

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Me + Eczema: a brief history

* disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The advice I write below is based on my experience of someone that lives with eczema, and what remedies work for me.

Throughout my life, on and off, I’ve dealt with eczema. It is a skin condition that consists of patches anywhere on the body, where any of the following can occur: swelling, redness, small bumps, itchiness, cracking, seeping, peeling, dryness and flakiness. For anyone that has dealt with it, this is basically the course in which a flare up ensues. And, like me, you might’ve woken up in the middle of the night, scratching the affected area.

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{EAT} Paleo Chocolate Ganache Cake

A paleo sweet for your sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Why not make the one(s) you love (or yourself) a sinfully rich, paleo chocolate cake?

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Of course, it doesn’t have to be just for Valentine’s Day – it can be easily made as a celebration cake. I’ve shared this recipe with family and friends, who’ve primarily made it as a birthday cake. I first experimented with it this past Christmas, changing and tweaking it from an existing recipe I found. It was a hit with my family, children included; so much so that Pat requested it for his 36th birthday last week. Where it was a hit again.

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{FUEL} Rumbledethumps

25 January in Scotland is Burns Night: a day to celebrate the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. People don tartan, recite Burns poetry (in Scots no less), and dine on a traditional meal of haggis, neeps (mashed turnips), and tatties (mashed potato). Across the country, local Burns Suppers are held, all culminating in a ceilidh.

While we didn’t have haggis for our actual Burns Supper this past Monday, we did have Rumbledethumps, a traditional Scottish dish originating from the Scottish Borders, close to England. Aside from being delicious, Rumbledethumps is a marriage of root and cruciferous vegetables, as well as tubers, all grown in Scotland. Typically, it contains potatoes and boiled cabbage, but this is a recipe of variables: you could also add sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, turnip, or even parsnip to the mash. My recipe adds carrots. You can add your preferred cheese too.

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Have Yourself a Completely Paleo Christmas

Christmas + Paleo can seem like an impossible task when dinners of Christmas’ past were laden with sugar, bread and other wheat flour foods. Furthermore, scouring the internet to find good paleo recipes for you conventional Christmas favourites can seem like a tiresome and time-consuming task. That’s why, one week from Christmas, I’ve compiled one mother of a round-up of paleo recipes for all aspects of this year’s Christmas feast. Peruse the links below, and decide if you want a traditional turkey dinner with all the gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free trimmings; or, try an unconventional Christmas dinner of roast beef or lamb, and a chocolate dessert. Good luck and enjoy!

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Last year’s completely Paleo Christmas dinner

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{EAT} Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding is my favourite British dessert. Although it’s quite commonly served up and down the country, one taste of it’s soft, subtly sweet sponge, paired with a warm toffee sauce and some kind of dairy-based sweet accompaniment explains its popularity. When I went paleo, I initially thought my days of eating this dessert were numbered, but rather than say goodbye to a new favourite, I just paleofied it instead, making it gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, but not free from taste.

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How to Stay Paleo this Holiday Season

Christmas 2015 is heavily upon us! You’re probably already in the thick of work Christmas parties, one last meal with friends before the big day, and starting to plan your Christmas dinner. You may have read this post and thought “I actually could’ve done with this post two weeks ago;” but don’t worry. While I acknowledge that this post could’ve been published two weeks ago, let it be a used as a guide on how to possibly continue your festive celebrations, and also reassure you that the extra alcohol and non-paleo foods you may have had these past few weeks are actually okay; being Paleo Perfect shouldn’t be a huge priority right now, (or ever really because that’s too much unnecessary pressure and standards by which to live). This is when, of all times, you should truly exercise the 80-20 rule Mark Sisson advises. Below, I’ve highlighted what I think are the five main concerns us paleo peeps might have around this time of year, as per the series I posted this past week on my Instagram account (follow me?).

 1. Alcohol: 

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{EAT} Slow-Cooker Beef Brisket Bourgignon

Believe it or not, I first heard of Beef Boeuf Bourgignon from one of my favourite films, Julie and Julia. And, despite being a devout lover of stewed beef, my first encounter with this delicious French stew was when I moved to Scotland. Needless to say, I missed out big time.

I learned to make this well-known French paleo dish from The Domestic Man’s recipe. It was absolutely incredible, to the point that Pat, a former beef hater, requested it often. The only problem was that if you cook the dish traditionally, it takes about three hours, making it a weekend-only meal.

When my mom came for a visit in October, I wanted to make Boeuf Bourgignon for her, but, with so much sight-seeing and visiting, I didn’t have time to spend three concentrated hours cooking. So I improvised. I attempted a slow cooked version with my favourite slow-cooking beef cut: brisket. And wow, did it work! The meat was pull-apart tender, the flavour was outstanding, I felt satisfied and thoroughly warmed, and best of all, Mom loved it. Pat too.

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