Beef Jerky Recipe

My personal approach to eating is based on the Paleo philosophy, mixed with 5:2 intermittent fasting. I enjoy the Paleo philosophy of eating as little processed food as possible – a program I finally got on board with after talking with Sempai Joe Berne in episode 15 of The Applied Karate Show.

Whilst I would not call myself pure Paleo, I follow the principle that one of the best things we can do for our body is to give it as much natural nutrition as we can. After doing the 30 day challenge that Joe sempai discussed, I experimented and found that small amounts of rice and yoghurt work for me, but generally avoid pasta, breads (except the occasional wrap), pastries and most dairy.

One of my favourite Paleo “snacks” is beef jerky. But you have to be careful to look at the ingredients (salt), so following the inspiration of Angelo Coppola from the Humans are Not Broken blog and the associated Latest in Paleo podcast, I started making my own jerky. I purchased a food dehydrator, and started out with Angelo’s beef jerky recipe. I modified this to suit locally available ingredients and my own taste (which may be spicier than most).

As a couple of people have asked, I thought I’d post my current beef jerky recipe. Enjoy, and I’d love feedback.


1 kg Grass Feed Beef
2/3 cup Tamari Sauce, Or coconut aminos
1/3 cup Hot water
24 drops Tabasco sauce
0.5 tablespoon Smokey paprika
2 cloves Garlic
Shichimi flakes


  1. Slice the meat to about 5mm thickness, or to medium thickness on a mandolin. Freezing for 1–1.5 hours beforehand makes slicing easier. Put meat aside in a glass container.

  2. Mix other ingredients (except shichimi) in a microwave safe container, and microwave for 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the meat, ensuring that you coat all the pieces of the meat. (Can shake it if in a glass snap ware type container).

  3. Refrigerate overnight. After removing, place meat in a colander, and rinse with warm water.

  4. Lay meat on dehydrator trays, ensuring that pieces don’t overlap. As you finish each tray, sprinkle some shichimi flakes over the pieces. Dehydrate on high for around 4 hours.

  5. Jerky is done when the outside cracks when you bend it. Let it cool to room temperature. Put in an airtight container on paper towel, and refrigerate.

Hydration for Karateka

Refreshing glass of water by Bergius. CC: BY-NC-SA

Photo by Bergius. CC: BY-NC-SA

Karateka and author Chris Denwood, Sensei has penned a nice article on The Importance of Water for people in training – a topic I’ve written about before. Although there isn’t a universal recognition of this issue, some scientists believe that chronic dehydration is linked to a range of diseases.

75% of people around the world are chronically dehydrated.

This is amazing on the surface, when you consider that people are drinking so much – coffee, softdrinks, alcohol, energy drinks, etc. But how much is enough? Well some experts state that you should drink a litre of water per day per 25kg of body weight. I don’t know many people that would actually do that!

alcohol and many soft drinks actually steal water from the body and other beverages such as coffee require water from the body to be digested.

It seems like good, old fashion, natural water is the best thing. The 25 litres/kilogram guideline applies to water only. Other drinks are at best neutral, but most require you to add more water in order to be correctly hydrated. One rule of thumb is that every cup of coffee, softdrink, alcohol means you should add the equivalent quantity of water back into your system.

Of course, this is a base level – when we train hard we need to replenish the water lost through perspiration.

A recent piece in The Conversation pointed out that softdrinks in particular are a growing problem in modern society, and that the levels at which they are being consumed present a growing public health issue.

I’ve come to the opinion that it’s not just the sugars in softdrinks (which are bad in and of themselves), but the chemicals in diet softdrinks are also a factor in the obesity epidemic, and serve to reduce people’s satiety levels.

This is a double-whammy. As Chris said in his post:

In over a third of all people, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

So people have reduced satiety levels from drinking too much diet softdrink, and they are also dehydrated, leading to more hunger! Not a healthy mix.

In the old days, karateka were often not allowed to drink water during class. We were told that sweating was good for us. In the Kengokan Dojo, I allow regular “water breaks”hydration pauses”, and insist people have some, especially during hard sessions or when the weather is particularly hot! I believe every instructor should take the same approach.

So for all reading this:

  1. Make sure your base level of water consumption is appropriate
  2. Eliminate, or at least drastically reduce, the amount of softdrink you’re consuming
  3. Take regular hydration pauses during your training

Oh, and one more thing – if you’ve not subsribed to Chris Denwood’s blog, do yourself a favour and do so now. Or follow @chrisdenwood on Twitter.

The Applied Karate Show Episode 15 – Joe Berne Sempai

Applied Karate #015 (mp3 – 40MB – 84 mins)



Well folks, my intentions about getting a monthly podcast out were pure. Following on from the September episode with Chris Denwood Sensei, I recorded the October episode in plenty of time, only to have a bunch of gremlins strike. They seem to be resolved now, so hopefully we’re back on track.

Our guest for Episode 15 of The Applied Karate Show is Joe Berne, Sempai, a Seido practioner and blogger behind the Karate Conditioning blog.

Joe began training in Seido Karate in 1988 at the Karate Club of his college, the State University of New York at Buffalo.  The class was taught by Shuseki Shihan Christopher Caile (who went on to create, a well known website with content about a variety of martial arts).  He trained there, and at the style’s New York City Honbu dojo, through 1994, at which time he earned his shodan in Seido Karate.  A variety of injuries and life issues kept him away from training, but he returned in 2006.  Then living in Maryland, he began training under Jun Shihan Kate Stewart, and has remained there since then.  He recently earned his sandan at the 2011 Gasshuku in upstate New York.

Joe began studying strength and conditioning informally in high school in a vain attempt to qualify for the (American) football team.   He resumed his studies with a vengeance after taking up karate again in 2006 as he tried to use science to make up for the damage done by over a decade of a sedentary and hypercaloric lifestyle.  He has made a part time job out of reading and viewing everything available in the field of strength and conditioning that can relate in any way to martial arts performance.

The wide ranging discussions with Joe covered such topics as

  • Joe’s introduction to, and background in, karate
  • Strength tools (including the wonderful kettlebell)
  • Training for martial arts skills
  • Stretching for karate
  • Training for injury avoidance
  • Nutrition tips and the Paleo diet

This was a fascinating interview with a karateka who has clearly invested a lot of time and thought into his training and the strength and conditioning program required to support it. I heartily recommend you visit and subscribe to Joe’s blog Karate Conditioning.

Applied Karate #015 (mp3 – 40MB – 84 mins)


8 So-Called Health Foods that Contain HFCS

Fresh from Mark’s Daily Apple comes this post highlughting 8 “health” foods that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

High fructose corn syrup is also terrible for you, and not even the most conservative of nutrition experts disagrees with that. While there are a few slightly more terrible liquids out there – liter fluid, for example – it’s really a shame that the “foods” available to us are so commonly laced with HFCS. And it’s even worse that they’re often promoted as being suitable for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss! They may look very cute, but beneath the fiber sprinkles and happy labeling lurks the heart of darkness. Really.

HFCS is a really bad additive to foods, and along with trans-fats is one of the two ingredients we should look for and absolutely avoid on food labels.  The stuff has a major correlation to obesity rates and those of metabolic syndrome.

The fact that HFCS is present in junk food is pretty much a given.  But its presence in so called healthier foods is a major cause for concern.

Read the article on Mark’s Daily Apple to find out 8 foods that should know better….

No calories, same taste (and heart risks)

Shihan Dan Hayes of the Island Budokan brought the following article to my attention.  Apparently diet soft-drinks are not the healthier alternative that they are made out to be.

They found adults who drink one or more sodas a day — diet or regular — had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

Reading into the article, it may be that diet soft drinks in themselves are not the problem.  Instead it may be that those who drink them are likelier than the average person to have a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats and a lifestyle lower in exercise. 

Another theory is that the colouring used to give softdrinks the caramel look may promote insulin resistance, thereby leading to metabolic syndrome.

So its not certain that soft drinks are a direct contributor, but there is certainly a statistical correlation.  Its important to note that the American Beverage Association, the lobby group for the soft drink industry, refutes the idea.

I am a big believer that we need to be drinking a lot of water, and that hydration is an important aspect of our health.  Green tea is the only real drink that is a good substitute for water, and with its antioxidants is something that should be factored into every diet.  For me, I have all but weaned myself off softdrinks over the past year, and allow myself a single diet soft drink per week, and make an exception if I need a caffeine hit.  But for each can of soft drink I consume, I add an additional 500ml of water or green tea.

No calories, same taste (and heart risks) – Health –

Men’sHealth on The Water Rules

I am a major believer in the importance of hydration in all that we do.  As a scuba diver, I have come to realise that dehydration is one of the biggest issues in decompression sickness, and over the past few years, the fact that dehydration is a factor in many other maladies (non-diving) has become clearer and clearer to me.

Over on the Men’s Health website there is a good short article on staying well hydrated, especially when exercising. 

In short, I aim to drink around 3–4 litres of water per day, upping that to 4–5 litres on days when I’m training.  I also work to the rule that any cup of coffee (or caffeinated soft drink) will “cost” me an additional 500ml of water.  Coffee now is a once a week thing for me in general, and I also limit soft drinks to a single can per week of a diet variery.  Apart from plain water, I drink mineral water (non–flavoured) and green tea, as well as protein shakes, and the odd fruit juice.

In the dojo, I allow, actually encourage, students to bring a bottle of water and keep it at the side of the room, and I give plenty of water breaks.  In hot weather, the number of short water breaks increases.

Consider good hydration to be an important part of your training and nutrition strategies.