Going Paleo: Part Deux (The Food)

Welcome back and sorry for the delay!  Here is part deux of the ‘Going Paleo’ saga.

The biggest part about eating paleo is the FOOD.  I’m no stranger to the rain eating my fair share of it since I feel like food is all I think about, especially being gluten-free.  ‘What are we having for lunch, what will I snack on until then, what in the world is for dinner (and didn’t I just finish making lunch and now I gotta cook again)?’  Seriously, it seems like I’m fixated.  Even when Emma and I go run errands I always make sure to pack snacks because A) it’s cheaper B) I always take longer than expected and C) I know exactly what’s in my food.

I think the biggest part of going paleo that most people don’t realize, is that it’s not just about cutting out the crap carbs.  You really have to re-think the way you go about getting food and checking their sources.  Besides eating NO sugar, carbs/grains, legumes, alcohol (gasp!), dairy (wtf?), and processed foods (see ya later!), the point is to eat better quality foods.  For example: beef & butter need to be grass-fed, fish needs to be wild-caught, eggs need to be cage free, and a few fruits and veggies need to be organic.  Don’t worry-not everything needs to be organic like my bro-in-law thinks.  I don’t believe organic is a scam especially once you figure out what they are spraying on our crops to make them disease resistant and the size of small mammals.  Just say no to Monsanto and Roundup™!

A great resource for fruits and veggies is this list from the Whole9 in regards to eating seasonally and organically. Not everything needs to be organic like I said and the items in BOLD are very beneficial for you.

We used to be part of a Food Co-op, where you pick up a big container full of fresh and local fruits and veggies every other week.  It was $50 every two weeks and we stopped it after several months because we couldn’t use all that food fast enough (or I wasn’t very creative in the kitchen) and I hated to throw it in the trash…enter the composter.  But I would like to consider joining a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture).  ‘A CSA refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.’  I think it would be wonderful to not only support local farmers but be able to partake in their crops throughout the year.  Check out Local Harvest to find one that’s close to you.  I found one that is only 15 miles away and the cost is $100 per month for a full share.  I know a lot of places offer a half share if you’re not sure if you can eat it all or just want to try it out.  You can’t beat knowing where your food comes from and what exactly they put on it.  The co-op was fun though, because it opened my eyes to new veggies like golden beets and parsnips.  Who knew Emma would gobble up mashed parsnips when made like mashed potatoes at the ripe age of 8 months.  I’m thinking I may have to try those on my next round of Farmer’s Pie.

Farmer’s Pie

From Paleo Comfort Foods

  • 1 TBSP coconut or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped garlic
  • 2 pounds ground lamb (beef, deer, bison, or turkey)
  • 2 cups onions chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 cups canned tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  •  6 cups Mashed Cauliflower (about 3 head’s worth)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add the oil and once hot, stir in the garlic, being careful not to burn.

3. Add in the lamb and stir, combining with the garlic. Cook until the meat is browned.

4. Remove the lamb/garlic mixture from the pan, then add in the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and thyme.

5. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots and celery softened.

6. Add the meat mixture back into the pan, and stir in the tomatoes, and Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.

7. Pour meat/vegetable mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan, and with a rubber spatula spread a layer of the mashed cauliflower over the top, forming a solid layer of the mash.

8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the mashed cauliflower is slightly browned on top.

9. Enjoy!

What I did notice early on, was how hungry I was all.the.time!  I think my body was going through carb withdrawals since I didn’t have those to carry me during the day.  Once you get over that hump and you start feeling better-it’s totally worth it.  I just received an email today from Underground Wellness about a man who reversed his diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by following the paleo diet. Woah!  Who knew a diet could change your life…I guess food really is medicine (and poison at the same time).

Check out books and resources if you have an issue that a doc just can’t cure; and I don’t mean with a Rx.  I often will hear people complain about ailments and think to myself, you (and everyone else) could probably benefit from a paleo diet.  Just sayin’.

If you’re wondering where I get my cooking inspiration, I have three cookbooks that I refer to.  Everyday Paleo seems to be my go-to book because I usually have all the ingredients and they are pretty simple if you’re not into to cooking, yet.  There are a few more books I’d like to add to my répetoire but I will just have to wait til the big 3-2 in a few months.  You can also check out my Recipes tab for more inspiration!

The other books are Paleo Comfort Foods and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.  This last one was my first introduction to Primal eating (a friend got a signed copy for me when he saw gluten-free on it).  If you’re confused on the difference between paleo & primal, like I was, primal follows the 90/10 rule.  Ninety percent needs to be from the list below, while ten percent can ‘cheat,’ meaning some dairy and alcohol in moderation.

The point of this diet is to eat like our ancestors did, before the dawn of grains and mass-produced agriculture, in order to give our body what it really needs.  If you noticed there have been a lot of  kids coming up with food allergies and ADD/ADHD which can be attributed to the SAD (Standard American Diet).  I’m also hearing about young girls getting their period between the ages of 7 and 9!  What!?  Come on, they’re still babies and if you ask me I intend for Emma to hold out as long as possible.  That’s why I will spend the extra money on buying grass-fed and organic foods, knowing they haven’t been pumped full of hormones that then gets ingested by baby girl.  Sorry Aunt Flow-you’re not welcome for at least another decade in this house.

My latest obsession is to buy our own half a cow.  Don’t wory, not a live one.  I have friends that buy a whole or half a cow from a local farmer that raises and finishes them on grass.  I figure that’s a great option to stock up our outdoor freezer since the purpose of it was for my extra breastmilk (that has since thawed and been thrown in the trash).  Now it sits half empty just waiting for a truckload of meat-so I don’t have to run to the grocery store every other day.  Check out U.S. Wellness Meats for delivery straight to your door!

Sometimes I do get a late-night craving and even though sugar is a big no-no, I will occasionally indulge in some sweet goodness but only in moderation.  I’ve made quite a few recipes using sugar substitutes, like raw honey or maple syrup, and some aren’t half bad.  There are a couple where a touch of sugar would really help finish it off but I know I need to work harder on weaning myself off of the addictive stuff.

Grok Rocks

From The Primal Blueprint

  • 500 grams high quality dark chocolate, at least 60-70+% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
  • 1 pound soft pitted prunes (sometimes called dried plums)

1. Heat 1-2″ water to a gentle simmer in the bottom of double boiler or in a 2 quart saucepan. Place the top section of the double boiler over the bottom section, or fit a stainless steel or glass bowl (larger than the pan diameter) over the saucepan. Place the chocolate pieces into the top double boiler pan or the bowl. Stir every few minutes with a nonstick silicon spatula until completely melted. Or you can melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring until completely melted.

2. While chocolate is melting, prepare rack and sheet pan. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (or use a silicone baking liner in the pan). Place flat cooling rack into pan.

3. Remove pan/bowl of melted chocolate from heat and let sit a few minutes to cool and thicken slightly. Stir in pitted prunes until they are entirely coated with chocolate.

4. Using a dinner fork, scoop out prunes one at a time, letting excess chocolate drip back into the pan of melted chocolate, then place chocolate covered prunes on the cooling rack. Continue until all prunes are on the cooling rack and not touching each other.

5. Place rack in a cool location (or refrigerator) until chocolate is solid again. Remove “rocks’ from rack with the tip of a blunt butter knife to avoid creating fingerprints in the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

6. Enjoy!

The crazy thing is there are so many substitutes for the carbs you are replacing, and they sometimes taste a ton better!

Food::Substitute

Margarine::Grass-fed butter or Ghee

Mashed Potatoes::Mashed Cauliflower

Milk::Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Homemade Almond Milk (NO SOY)

Pasta::Spaghetti Squash, Sliced Eggplant, or Sliced/Julienned Zucchini

Salted Nuts::Raw Nuts & Seeds

Vegetable Oils::Coconut, Extra-Virgin Olive, or Avocado Oil

Like I’ve said before, I’m not a doctor, I just read a lot.  If you have any doubts or questions on the topic of paleo/primal eating, check out the resources I listed on Part 1.  Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple writes wonderful posts on debunking a lot of questions/myths people have about the way we eat; like why a high-fat diet is healthy and is going grain-free healthy?

Hopefully you won’t think I’m too nuts for changing my family’s diet for the better.  I know this road may not be for everyone but it has been pretty awesome for us.  I definitely have a new-found appreciation and respect for food that I never had while being gluten-free.

Are you on board or even curious about this latest eating ‘craze’?  Or did you stop reading at no alcohol?  Let’s discuss where you are at in your ‘diet’ travels and if it’s working for you or are you looking for a change?

Note: photos from here and here.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to promote these items; nor am I a doctor or pretend to play one.

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