Zoodles with Avocado Pesto (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free)

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In CrossFit, there’s a term known as “AMRAP,” which stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible.” The idea is that you repeat a circuit as many times as possible within a given time frame — for example, five deadlifts, 20 squats, 10 pushups and maybe some mountain climbers, as many times as you can for 15 minutes.

When I can’t stomach the meat in Paleo and feel like I need to eat a little lighter, I like to say I’m doing “AMVAP,” which stands for “As Many Vegetables As Possible.”

The reason most diets work is because they increase the amount of fruits and vegetables the person is eating and cut down on processed foods. Continue reading

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A Conversation with Mark Bittman

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The following is a Q&A with Mark Bittman, food personality, The New York Times columnist and author of How to Cook Everything and VB6. It was originally published in Edible Idaho South, a local food magazine. I had an amazing time speaking with this man, and I thought all of you might enjoy reading our talk on veganism, ethical and mindful eating, and the importance of cooking at home. Enjoy!

The Minimalist himself, Mark Bittman — food writer, author, recipe developer and passionate advocate for real food — made his first visit to Sun Valley in March as part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts 2013-2014 lecture series.

Bittman became a household name in 1997, with the start of “The Minimalist” column for The New York Times. The goal of the column was to make home cooking more accessible, with recipes that called for minimal technique, minimal time, minimal ingredients, or any combination thereof. Bittman also authored the seminal work, How to Cook Everything, a cookbook dedicated to showing home cooks that yes, they could make that dish, and here’s how. The Minimalist ended its reign in 2011, but Bittman continued to write op-ed pieces on food and food policy for The New York Times, as well as hosting a PBS Show, pioneering the Vegan Before Six (VB6) movement and arguing that Americans need to begin focusing on eating fresh, unprocessed, plant-based foods.

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Lamb Persillade (paleo, gluten-free)

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So apparently there are people out there in the world who don’t eat lamb. I don’t know how this is possible, frankly, though I will admit I’d never tasted lamb before I came to Idaho. Here, nearly everyone eats lamb — it’s sheep country, and the entire state’s history is based on sheep, Basque culture, and mining (but the mining only happened after the sheep).

Every spring and every fall, hundreds if not thousands of sheep herd past my house, heading to and from the national forest up north, where they are allowed to graze on federal land for a fee. Stella and I will just sit at the front door, watching herd after herd pass by, accompanied by Border Collies, Akbash and horse-riding shepherds.

How can you not feel good about eating an animal raised on green grass and sunshine, that was allowed to graze free for almost its entire life?

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Sweet Potato Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

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I interviewed Mark Bittman last week for a publication called Edible Idaho South. He happened to be in my town giving a lecture, and I was lucky enough to nab an interview.

Thanks to my contract, after publication, I can throw that interview up here for your enjoyment! But until then, you’re just going to have to reap the benefits of my pre-interview research.

For those of you who don’t know, Mark Bittman is formerly The Minimalist over at The New York Times. He’s still a food writer there, and has also recently launched the VB6 (Vegan Before 6) movement, in which he encourages people to avoid meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, and other animal products before 6 p.m., after which they can eat anything  in moderation. Mostly, he’s an advocate for easy, fresh, produce-based food — just my kind of guy.  Continue reading

Stuck-pot rice (gluten-free, meatless)

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You guys know it’s best not to cook in anger, right? Or when you’re in a rush?

Suddenly, utensils go missing, the stove doesn’t work properly, your ingredients end up on the floor, and suddenly the dog has eaten half a bag of peanuts and that’s really bad.* Nothing is easy, nothing goes your way, and everything you do takes twice as long and is twice as frustrating.

My point? Don’t even try to cook this dish in anger or quickly. Continue reading