Maker’s Diet Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

On the Maker’s Diet (or Primal), it can be tempting to slip into a habit of eating the same foods over and over. Now, obviously cupcakes shouldn’t be a part of your everyday meal plan, but these carrot cupcakes actually contain many really great ingredients that are beneficial every day!

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Cup Almond Butter
  • 1/2 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 3 Carrots, Shredded
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted, Chopped Pecans

For the Frosting

  • 1 lb. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 4 oz. Butter, Softened
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Honey Granules OR 1-2 tsp. powdered Stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine everything except for the frosting ingredients and whisk to combine. Scoop into a muffin tin and bake for 20-22 minutes.

In the meantime, make the frosting by combining all ingredients and using a mixer to make it nice and fluffy. This may take awhile with a hand mixer, so using a KitchenAid would be highly beneficial. Taste and make sure it is the sweetness you like and adjust accordingly.

Allow Cupcakes to cool completely before frosting, then put frosting into a ziplock bag (a spatula works well for this) and cut the corner. Squeeze frosting onto the cupcakes in a swirl. Top with Toasted Pecans.

Enjoy the Beta-Carotene!

Photo Courtesy of Health-Bent

The Maker’s Diet vs. Primal Blueprint vs. Paleo

There has been some confusion over the different types of ancestral, low carb food plans that have become popular lately, so I researched a few of them in order to get a better understanding of their principles.

Keep in mind that these “diets” are actually meant to be lifestyle eating plans, not something to try for 6 weeks on order to lose weight. I would never promote diets, because no one ever follows them and, generally speaking, more weight in gained in the long haul.

Until now I’ve mainly followed the Maker’s Diet, but Jordan Rubin’s recipes are so horribly bland – and sometimes downright odd – that I’ve expanded my search and come across a myriad of Paleo/Primal options. These have helped me to form my own eating plan. I also found that some of the foods that the Maker’s Diet allows in Phases two and three were not working for me. With this in mind, I wanted to provide the bare essentials of each.

The Maker’s Diet

There are three phases in the traditional Maker’s DIET, which I have posted previously (You can see Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 here). The diet is based off of the book The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin, and advocates that we get back to the food our biblical ancestors consumed. I generally follow Phase One/Two, because I eat some carbs such as sweet potatoes, corn, and nuts, but do not eat legumes or grains. This diet – unlike Paleo and some Primal followers – allows Cheese and Cow Milk products, although I tend to stick to Goat products where possible.

The Maker’s Diet advocates plenty of healthy fats like Coconut Oil, Avocado, Butter, and Red Meat. Pork products, such as bacon, aren’t looked highly upon, however. This is because of the Biblical, old testament notion of “unclean” animals.

  • Eat Liberally – All Meats including Organ Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fats and Oils
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Nuts, Cheese, Milk, Fruit
  • Carbs Allowed in Moderation – Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Various Beans and Peas, Sprouted Grains, Oats, Brown Rice
  • Avoid – Pork, Shellfish, Processed or “White” Grains, Sugar

Primal

Primal is very similar to the Maker’s Diet, in that it advocates a high protein and fat, limited carb attitude. The diet is based on the book The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson, and emerged from a growing trend to mimic the foods that our Paleolithic ancestors consumed. The shopping list is mainly comprised of meat, vegetables, eggs, healthy fats, nuts/seeds and fruit. Key differences in this and the Maker’s Diet are the use of pork in Primal, and more Dairy in the Maker’s Diet. For a full list, check out Mark’s Daily Apple.

  • Eat Liberally – All Meats and Organ Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fats and Oils
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Wild Rice, Fruit (Eat Mainly Berries), Cheese, Yogurt, Cream
  • Eat At Your Discretion – All Dairy Products (This Article is a Great Guide)
  • Avoid – Grains, Legumes, Sugar

Paleo

The Paleo diet is probably the least similar of the three, in that it advocates lean meats, and an avoidance of saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts. In fact, even eggs are to be restricted, and Dairy is pretty much off-limits. The diet is based off of The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain, and advocates that we get back to eating the foods that our Paleolithic ancestors ate (Although I would argue that our ancestors probably favored fatty foods. In fact, I would be willing to bet that they ate Mammoth – red meat – fat and all). Although there is a high-carb and low-carb version of the diet, all this allows for are small amounts of sweet potatoes, squash, and a few more nuts in the higher carb plan. Diet Sodas and other artificial sweeteners are allowed in moderation, which in my book is a HUGE difference. I’ve summed it up, but a full list is available here.

  • Eat Liberally – Lean Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fruit
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Nuts, Dried Fruit, Avocado, Oils such as Olive or Flaxseed
  • Avoid – Fatty Meats, Starchy or Higher-carb Vegetables, Cheese, Dairy, Legumes, Grains, Salty Foods, Butter, Sugar

 

To sum it up, I feel that every person is different, and each of these plans could fit certain people’s needs. To me however, Paleo is a bit too diet-like and restricting. If carbs are being avoided, then it seems that higher fat intake is necessary to maintain a healthy weight, not to mention stave off cravings and allow your mind to think about something other than food. Besides, who can live without butter or cheese?? Not this girl!

Paleo/Maker’s Diet Cookies that Can be Eaten for Breakfast – Guilt Free!

Yesterday I got the itch to bake. Perhaps it’s because I purchased some Almond flour, or perhaps it’s because I’ve been seeing all the delicious Valentine’s Day treats at Whole Foods. Either way, I set out on a search to find a delicious, HEALTHY snack that would fill me up. I made two versions, and am glad I did. My husband loved the Banana version, but said I could eat as many as I liked of the other. And I think I will!

Breakfast Cookies

  • 1 Cup Nut Butter (I combined two types)
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Fat of Choice (I used half butter and half coconut oil)
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Stevia
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon. Add wet ingredients, then drop by the spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Eat ’em up!

Banana Almond Butter Cookies

  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Meal
  • 2 Small, Soft Bananas
  • 1/4 Nut Butter (I used more Peanut Butter for this)
  • 1 tsp. Stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • Dash of Salt
  • Optional: Dark Chocolate Chips

Using a mixer, combine Banana, Nut Butter, Stevia, Vanilla, Salt, and Baking Soda until smooth. Add Almond Meal (and Chocolate Chips if you chose to), and spoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Simple as that. Although I didn’t use the Chocolate Chips, but I’m sure they are just as delicious!

Superbowl Food – Pigs in a Blanket!

I’m not sure what could be more festive for Superbowl season than these Paleo/Maker’s Diet style Pigs in a Blanket. Not only do they look absolutely adorable, but they are fantastic with some Dijon Mustard! Do you have a Superbowl food that’s a must every year?

Pigs in a Blanket

  • 3 Cups Almond Flour
  • 4 Tbsp. Cold, Diced Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Stevia
  • 2 Eggs
  • Around 14 Organic Beef or Turkey Hot Dogs

Preheat oven to 400. Add all ingredients (except hot dogs) into a food processor and pulse until it pulls away from edges and forms a ball. Separate the dough into two balls, cover and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

While waiting for the dough to cool, slice each hot dog into 4 pieces. Take out the dough and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper until it forms a flat, round circle about 1/8 of an inch thick.

Using a pizza cutter, slice into wedges that are about the width of each hot dog at it’s thickest point. Roll each hot dog in a dough wedge, starting at the widest point. It will look like a crescent roll.

Place all on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool slightly and serve!

Sweet Potato, Chicken and Swiss Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is another Maker’s Diet creation that I concocted with the vegetables we got this week from our CSA. This meal is a perfect way to end a workout, as it doesn’t take long to make and contains a bit of complex carbs and good protein.

I waited with baited breath as my husband took the first bite – and it turned out to be more than a success. He’s requesting that it get added to our cookbook!

Sweet Potato, Chicken and Swiss Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Small Sweet Potato (longer and skinnier works well here)
  • 4-5 Leaves of Fresh Swiss Chard
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup of Roasted, Shredded Chicken
  • Handful of Roasted and Salted Pumpkin Seeds (or similar nut/seed)
  • 1/2 Can Organic Tomato Sauce
  • Goat Cheese to Shred and Coat the Top
  • Oil for cooking (Olive, Coconut, Grapeseed)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut Acorn Squash down the middle, scoop out seeds, and place cut side down on a greased baking dish. Place in oven to bake for approx. 20-25 minutes.

While Squash is baking, chop the Sweet Potato into small squares. Rip up the leaves of the Swiss Chard into pieces, and place all in a pan to sauté with seasonings of your choice (I chose salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder). Cook 20 minutes, or until the Sweet Potatoes begin to become tender.

Take Squash out of the oven and turn the temperature down to 375. Flip the Squash over and season with salt and pepper. Turning your attention back to the Sweet Potato mixture, take off the heat and add Tomato Sauce, Chicken, and Pumpkin Seeds. Combine until well-blended and stuff into the Acorn Squash.

Place everything into the oven, cooking for 10-15 minutes more, or until everything begins to look golden and toasty. Take out to sprinkle goat cheese over the mixture, and bake again until cheese melts.

Serve immediately!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

The first week of any new eating plan can be hard; the Maker’s Diet might be even more so because of the loss of almost all carbs. Salads can become a bit tiring, especially when eating them for both lunch and dinner, so there are times I have to get creative!

The Maker’s Diet is pretty anti-pork, but I had the good fortune of discovering Beef Bacon at Trader Joe’s. It’s also Nitrate free, which works perfectly with a clean eating plan. Beef bacon has more of a “jerky” taste to it than other bacon alternatives (such as turkey), but it worked perfectly for this asparagus recipe, since Prosciutto was what was originally called for.

This was a very easy dish to make, and was surprisingly filling!

Bacon Wrapped Asaparagus

  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • 4 Slices of Beef Bacon, preferably thinly sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Course Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 425°F, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with nonstick spray. Trim the tough ends from the asparagus, wash and pat dry.

Slice the bacon lengthwise into thirds. Working at an angle, wrap each asparagus spear with a strip of bacon and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Moderately drizzle olive oil and balsamic over the entire sheet. Grind some pepper over the top, and sprinkle desired amount of salt. Roast for 5 minutes before checking. You might want to shake the pan a bit to distribute the oils at this point. Roast for another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked to your preference. I like my bacon fairly crispy on the ends, so I went a bit longer.

Transfer to a plate and serve!

The Maker’s Diet and a Healthy Dose of Moderation

While I’m certainly not “dieting” for the New Year, I have realized that I need to do something about the sugar binge I went on for the last month (or two). The Maker’s Diet is always my go-to when it comes to getting back to basics, but let’s face it – there is no way to do Phase 1 of the Maker’s Diet and go out with friends or have a nice date night, and not be stressed over what I’m going to put in my mouth.

For a week now, I’ve pretty much eaten only a handful of foods, but it’s amazing the effect that only a few days can have not only on my attitude and outlook towards my body, but physically, as well. Getting rid of the carbs has meant that the water retention vanished overnight, and I’ve had much more energy for yoga.

While I haven’t completely stuck to the Phase 1 rules, I feel that I’ve toed the line fairly well. The only real alteration I made was adding in Goat milk and cheese, because honestly, if Phase 1 allows for Goat yogurt and Kefir, there can’t be THAT much difference.

I’ve primarily eaten some combination of the following:

Breakfast

  • Nitrate Free Turkey Bacon
  • Goat Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Goat Yogurt
  • Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries

Lunch

  • TONS of Spring Greens
  • Goat Cheese
  • Nitrate Free Chicken Sausage or Turkey Breast
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil based Salad Dressing (I love the 365 brand Organic Herbs de Provence)

Snack

  • More Nuts
  • 1/2 Decaf Coffee with Goat Milk and a Small Amount of Powdered Stevia

Dinner

  • Steak, Fish, or Chicken
  • Spring Greens
  • Asparagus, Broccoli, or some other decently palatable Green Vegetable
  • More Goat Cheese

With all that said, I’ve also decided to give myself a bit of a break at times. Tonight – being date night – I’ll be going to any one of several Mexican restaurants. That means I’m going to have some tortilla chips…and a beverage of some sort. And you know what? That’s OK. If I don’t allow myself to at least have 1 meal a week that let’s me relax and enjoy myself (and rid myself of the monotony of meat and cheese), I’ll probably go crazy and eat an entire cake or some such nonsense.

Not relaxing will also mean obsessing over it to the point of idolatry. Which is why if I want popcorn at the movies tonight, I may get a small bag. In the morning, I’ll be back to a very healthy meal plan, and my body will thank me for not being religious to anything except the Word.

Struggling to Afford Organic?

Not only have I heard the arguments about the time and money it takes to purchase nutrient dense, organic products, I’ve experienced it myself when trying to buy all natural foods and feeling the sticker-shock when comparing with the traditional, chemically laden food.

Luckily, Jordan Rubin, of The Maker’s Diet and Garden of Life supplements and vitamins, has come up with the answer to this problematic issue! He’s starting a new company called Beyond Organics, and their goal is to create the world’s healthiest foods, holding themselves to standards that are unheard of on the market right now- even with the current USDA organic certification.

And what’s even better is that he’s giving everyone the chance to access these amazing foods- at a pretty incredible price. We will now be able to save money on the world’s highest quality beef, dairy products, chocolate, spring water, and even probiotic infused flax seed oil. And this is just the beginning- there will be many more foods to come as the company grows, and the seasons change.

If you want the chance to purchase the world’s healthiest foods for an incredibly low cost, you can actually sign up now free of charge as the company gets underway:

Beyond Organics Insider Signup

Become an “Insider” to reserve your spot, but make sure you get there before membership fills up. Jordan Rubin will be announcing this company on TBN tomorrow, and the floodgates will be opened! There will be thousands who choose to take part after viewing this program.

I am excited to be able to not only inform others of the value of healthy living and eating, but also show how it can actually be possible for every family to have access to the foods that will treat their bodies right.

Beyond Organics

“PattyCakes” Biscuits for the Holidays

This Holiday season is the first in which my family will be attempting to make everything from scratch, using whole ingredients. Thanksgiving was a trial of sorts, taking many recipes we had always used, and tweaking them to be more nourishing. That, and finding completely new alternatives for store-bought items of the past.

One of these beloved staples that would not be making an appearance on our table this year were Brown and Serve rolls. You know the kind…they come in a pack of twelve, and have two slats down the top, allowing you to pull them apart once they are baked. But news travels fast in a small family, and when the low murmur grew to a roar, I realized that the Holidays wouldn’t be complete without something to sop up the gravy with. Coming up with a bread that would be healthy for us, while also not tasting like a brick, was a challenge for me…I had never baked bread! Queue the PattyCakes. Read more

Milk That Will Keep You Healthy, and Your Wallet Fat

You know the argument. “I would eat healthier, but it’s just too expensive.” I’ve heard it countless times myself, usually when touting the benefits of a “Real Food” diet. Perhaps the person you’re speaking to doesn’t go to the extreme of defending the McDonald’s Value Menu, but they will most likely talk about the price of grass-fed meats and organic vegetables compared with mass-grocery items.

Here’s where I can win the debate, at least in one area. When shopping at my local Whole Foods Market, I reached the dairy aisle and sighed wistfully as I gazed at the rows upon rows of pasteurized/homogenized milk that lined the shelves – countless versions of skim, low fat, and diet products that claimed to be healthy. In the state of Tennessee, raw milk is illegal, meaning that unless I own a cow, I can’t obtain truly healthy milk products. That is, until I spotted a local dairy manufacturer that had made its way to the shelves amidst the large scale producers.

The iconic glass bottle only adds to the value of this delicious milk!

JD Country Milk is low-pasteurized and non-homogenized, making it the healthiest alternative to raw, grass-fed milk that I can get my hands on. JD only pasteurizes his milk at 145 degrees for 30 minutes, which kills the “bad” bacteria and makes it legal to distribute. It’s also not homogenized, allowing the milk to retain some of the beneficial enzymes that make it a naturally perfect food. Even though some of the beneficial bacteria is killed in the process, it retains many of the great vitamins and minerals that mass-market milk lacks.

In fact, most store-bought dairy products contain nothing of benefit at all. Because the cows were not pasture-raised on grass, the milk would HAVE to be sterilized in order to be consumed. But once they sterilize it, they kill everything good that was in it, meaning the producers then have to add everything back in.  This may sound like an ideal solution, but most of the minerals and vitamins that are added can’t be absorbed by the human body. Calcium for instance, is added in the form of deposits from rock, which is useless to the human body and not absorbed at all!

I’ve waxed poetic to all who will listen about JD’s Milk. It’s amazingly tasty and comes in nostalgic glass bottles. The budget-friendly aspect of this milk is that once you’ve finished your bottle, you can bring it back to the store for a $2 refund. Our half gallon of milk, which was $2.99 when purchased, ended up with an out of pocket cost of only $.99. I could be mistaken, but I believe that’s cheaper than even private-label, generic brands.

And so my love affair with JD continues. In my home we currently have Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk (my husband’s breakfast accompaniment), and Half and Half. The buttermilk was superb for Thanksgiving biscuits, as well!

This blog is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday 12/3/10. Check out the other Real Food blogs, as well!