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Daily Nutrition

A Recipe for Success—The Paleo Guide to Entertaining (And Racing)

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I do this thing where I impulsively sign up for races. A certain mania takes hold when a good work out day rolls around—the one out of 20 when everything goes well and I think that I am, in fact, a naturally gifted athlete. The kind of person that could (no, should!) sign up for a competitive event.

Fortunately, this erratic registration behavior has been isolated to the occasional 10K or half-marathon. The subsequent race-related suffering and injury has been minimal or short-lived. Post-race, my ego safely back in check, life goes on.

But recently, I’ve been running with a different crowd. People who have normalized their extreme habits and fringy behaviors. I’ve gotten in with ultrarunners.

Slowly, I was lulled into the belief that running far isn’t a big deal—ordinary, really.  Everyone was doing it, they insisted.

So, I did it again—rashly signed up for a race, but this time, it was a 100K relay. A trail race encouragingly titled Dig Your Grave. “Stunning views and discomfort for those unlucky souls who choose to take part” is the race tagline. It runs 62 miles through the Kaniksu National Forest in the Idaho panhandle. The course gains 15,000 feet of elevation on the overgrown trails of the Cabinet Mountains.

Convincing three others to drink the 100K Kool-Aid didn’t take much cajoling. They agreed easily. Apparently, everyone was doing it.

Our team:

Ammi Midstokke—Competitive XC Biker, Ultrarunner, Author, TedX Presenter, Nutritionist
Kelly Greenway—Trail Runner, Spartan Trifecta-er, Nutritionist
Kelly Emerson—Personal Trainer, Spartan Trifecta-er, Massage Therapist
Katie Bradish (me)—Grilling Plank (you know, for salmon) Sales Professional, BBQ Judge, Enthusiastic Person…?

Relays, by nature, are complicated and require coordination. Race legs needed to be assigned, transfers discussed, snacks pre-planned. So, I invited my team over for a little pre-planning dinner party.

But did you see that two are nutritionists and one a personal trainer? Dinner had to be not just good, but healthy. This was my inaugural paleo hosting endeavor.

The ingredients list was simply wood, smoke, fire, meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits. This smoked paleo meal was surprisingly simple to prepare and was designed to make ahead and serve cold.


Menu

  • Paleo Cedar Planked Salmon Dip in Endive Cups
  • Cold Smoked Banderillas
  • Paelo Pintxos, 3 ways.
  • Pickled Grapes + Brisket
  • Planked Garlic / Grilled Peppers with White Anchovies Skewers
  • Planked Mushrooms / Garlic / Dates
Paleo diet
Photo by Katie Bradish

Different run-fueling approaches were traded, kombucha-based drinks were slurped and race plans were made.

When race day came, we felt ready. But relays are complicated and Mercury was in retrograde.

The race began at dawn. The first runner ticked off the mileage, while the rest of the team shuttled from the start line to the first transfer. The baton, or in this case, the snap bracelet, was passed to the next runner. The second leg was underway.

Collectively, the team would run 86 miles, rather than the planned 62.

And then the winds of anxiety began to stir and fears began to surface: Fear of being alone in the wilderness and fear of the dark. One of our runners had trained for distance, but not for solo mileage. Another had trained for distance, but not for nighttime running.

We had discussed elevation gain and transfer navigation in detail. Gear, food and water were on lock. Camp chairs and coolers for the after-party were packed, but a key question was neglected:

“Do you feel confident in the specific circumstances that your assigned section of trail will entail?” It seems pretty obvious now.

Now, mid-way through our race, we had a decision to make. Do we send two runners—half of our team—out into the mountains feeling uncertain or do we make eleventh-hour changes to our leg assignments?

We changed the plan.

We decided to finish the race, running two by two. To assuage those common fears, we would simply run more.

Two runners would take the third leg up to summit of Pend Oreille Peak together in the light of day. As the shadows grew longer, the other two runners would run the final leg in the dark.

Collectively, the team would run 86 miles, rather than the planned 62.

As we neared the end of our long mileage, the finer details of the training schedule, fueling methodology and all the planning it took to get us there didn’t seem to matter much. It either worked or it didn’t. And what we did— moving together as a team—worked.

Each team member ran stronger, paced faster and went longer than anticipated. Each of us showed vulnerability, grit and grace under pressure.

And you know what?  We won.


PALEO ENTERTAINING RECIPES

Paleo diet
Photo by Katie Bradish
Paleo diet
Photo by Katie Bradish

PALEO CEDAR-PLANKED-SALMON DIP IN ENDIVE CUPS

SERVES – 4

TOTAL TIME – 2 HOURS

INGREDIENTS

1 5X11” WILDWOOD GRILLING CEDAR GRILLING PLANK

½ LB FRESH WILD SALMON

2 TBSP PALEO MAYONNAISE

2 TBSP COCONUTCREAM

2 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED DILL

1 TBSP CAPERS, MINCED

1 GREEN ONION, MINCED

½ TSP GARLIC POWDER

½ TSP FRESH LEMON JUICE

½ TSP SEA SALT

2 ENDIVE

METHOD

SOAK PLANK IN WARM WATER FOR 15 MINUTES. PREHEAT THE GRILL OR OVEN TO 450 DEGREES. REMOVE ANY REMAINING PINBONES FROM FISH AND SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. PLACE SALMON ON SOAKED PLANK.  SET PLANK IN GRILL OR OVEN. COOK FOR 15 MINUTES.

COOL FISH ON COUNTER TOP. THEN CHILL IN FRIDGE FOR 20+ MINUTES.

IN MEDIUM-SIZED BOWL, MIX TOGETHER COCONUT CREAM AND MAYO. ADD IN ALL HERBS, LEMON JUICE AND SA SALT. MIX WELL.

ADD IN CHILLED PLANK-SMOKED SALMON IN CHUNKS. MIX TOGETHER UNTIL DESIRED DIP CONSISTENCY.

SPOON INTO ENDIVE CUPS, GARNISH WITH GREEN ONION.

SERVE AND ENJOY! 

3 KINDS OF PALEO PINTXOS

SERVES – 4

TOTAL TIME – 2 HOURS

PINTXOS ARE BASQUE ONE-BITE SNACKS, USUALLY SERVED ON TOOTHPICKS OR SKEWERS.  THE WORD PINTXOS IS DERIVED FROM THE SPANISH VERB “PINCHAR,” WHICH MEANS “TO PIERCE.”

paleo diet
Photo by Katie Bradish

PICKLED GRAPES + LEFTOVER SMOKED BRISKET

INGREDIENTS

PICKLED GRAPES

HICKORY-SMOKED BRISKET (Left over, because brisket takes 8+ hours to smoke)

BAMBOO RING SKEWERS

METHOD

DRAIN PICKLED GRAPES.

CHOP SMOKED BRISKET INTO BITE-SIZED CUBES.

ALTERNATELY THREAD GRAPES AND BRISKET PIECES ONTO SKEWERS.

SERVE CHILLED AND GARNISH WITH HERBS.

PLANK-SMOKED GARLIC + PEPPERS  W/ WHITE ANCHOVIE SKEWERS

INGREDIENTS

1 5X11” WILDWOOD GRILLING CEDAR PLANK

BAMBOO RING SKEWERS

2 TBS OLIVE OIL

3 BULBS OF GARLIC, CLOVED WHOLE AND PEELED

SMALL PEPPERS

WHITE ANCHOVIES

HERBS FOR GARNISH

METHOD

SOAK PLANK IN WARM WATER FOR 15 MINUTES. PREHEAT THE GRILL OR OVEN TO 450 DEGREES.

TOSS GARLIC AND PEPPERS IN OLIVE OIL. PLACE ON SOAKED PLANK. SET PLANK ON GRILL OR IN OVEN.

SMOKE FOR 15-20 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM GRILL OR OVEN. COOL ON COUNTER TOP.

ONCE COOL, ALTERNATELY THREAD GARLIC, PEPPERS AND ANCHOVIES ONTO SKEWERS.

SERVE CHILLED AND GARNISH WITH HERBS.

CEDAR-PLANKED MUSHROOMS, GARLIC, DATES

INGREDIENTS

1 5X11” WILDWOOD GRILLING CEDAR PLANK

BAMBOO RING SKEWERS

2 TBS OLIVE OIL

2 BULBS OF GARLIC, CLOVED WHOLE AND PEELED

15 CRIMINI MUSHROOMS

15 MEDJOOL DATES, PITTED

HERBS FOR GARNISH

METHOD

SOAK PLANK IN WARM WATER FOR 15 MINUTES. PREHEAT THE GRILL OR OVEN TO 450 DEGREES.

TOSS GARLIC, MUSHROOMS AND DATES IN OLIVE OIL. PLACE ON SOAKED PLANK. SET PLANK ON GRILL OR IN OVEN.

SMOKE FOR 15-20 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM GRILL OR OVEN. COOL ON COUNTER TOP.

ONCE COOL, ALTERNATELY THREAD MUSHROOMS, DATES AND GARLIC ONTO SKEWERS.

SERVE CHILLED AND GARNISH WITH HERBS.

COLD-SMOKED BANDERILLAS

SERVES – 4

TOTAL TIME – 2 HOURS

INGREDIENTS

1 CUP MESQUITE SMOKING CHIPS

BAMBOO RING SKEWERS

1 LB SELECTION OF PICKLES, CORNICHONS, ASPARAGUS, PEPPADEWS, OLIVES, GARLIC

ICE

METHOD

IF AVAILABLE, SET UP A COLD SMOKER. WE USED A SMOKING TUBE (A SMOKING BOX WOULD ALSO WORK) AND A GAS GRILL TO TRAP THE SMOKE.

IF USING A COLD SMOKER, SET THE PICKLES ON A PERFORATED PAN AND PLACE IN THE SMOKER FOR 2 HOURS AT THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE. IF USING THE GRILL, ADD THE CHIPS TO THE TUBE (OR BOX), PLACE ON THE GRILL. TURN UP THE HEAT UNTIL THE CHIPS BEGIN TO SMOKE, THEN TURN OFF THE HEAT. FILL A TRAY WITH ICE AND PLACE A PERFORATED PAN OVER THE TOP, SET THE PICKLES ON THE TOP TRAY AND ADD TO THE GRILL. CLOSE THE LID. SMOKE FOR 2 HOURS. ADD MORE CHIPS AND DRAIN THE ICE AS NECESSARY.

SERVE THE SMOKED PICKLES CHILLED ON SKEWERS.

Katie Bradish is an Idaho native who does all sorts of Idaho-y things, like mountain biking, nordic skiing, snowboarding and working at Wildwood Grilling, a forest products company that specialized in smoking woods.