The [final?] “Weekly” Update

I’ve been pretty slack of late but you’ll have to forgive me – I had a wedding to attend, in Lombok, at a resort… it was sublime. If you ever need a break to just relax, may I respectfully suggest you check out Qunci Villas, Lombok.  Amazeballs. The wedding was OK too…. Kidding! Of course the wedding was the highlight, the ceremony was stunning and the reception was in the most beautiful villa I have ever seen, bar none.  AND, to my immense satisfaction, the food was superb. Not strictly Paleo, but fantastic nonetheless.  As we know, sometimes it’s OK to fall off the wagon, right?  If you don’t know what I’m on about, see here [insert link to previous post].

Anyway. This is supposed to be about Paleo – my Paleo journey.  Not Shane and Erika’s wedding.  I thought it was time I did a weekly update – which should be renamed because I haven’t exactly been doing them weekly eh?  And then I realised, with amazement, that without realising, my husband and I have completed our 3 month trial. Shock! Horror! I can unpack all those pantry goods… I can eat normally again… I can have a less than astronomical food bill…

Or…

I can continue to enjoy the light and clean feeling I have.  I can continue to eat as much as I want and still remain lean and healthy.  I can continue to feel great about the quality of nutrition I am putting into my body.  I can continue to discover tasty, satisfying recipes that I never, ever have to feel the slightest twinge of guilt about eating.

Hmmm. Tough choice.

I think that my husband I wordlessly decided, quite a few weeks ago, that we would never go back.  “Going Paleo” was probably the healthiest thing we have ever done and neither of us wants to undo the good we believe we’ve done ourselves.   Yes, we now include some dairy in our diet, and we occasionally have non-paleo meals when out and about, but on the whole we are very, very happy with how we choose to live.

So many people ask me, ‘so are you still doing that diet?’, and seem shocked when I say yes – and then confused when I follow up with, ‘Well, it’s not a diet; it’s more a way of living.’  It seems inconceivable to so many that I could cheerfully say goodbye to grains and legumes, forever.  Especially when they realise how much of the modern diet contains grains or legumes such as soy.

But, I say, why wouldn’t I continue with this way of eating when it works so well for me? When I’ve slimmed down, feel 100% better, no longer suffer from any digestive issues, have clearer skin and best of all, feel so emotionally / mentally good about how I’m treating my body?

I know loads of people who have ‘tried’ Paleo and been unable to stick it; that’s fine. At least they tried it.  And loads of people who say ‘Oh I could never do that, I love [insert variable item here] too much.’ Again, that’s fine. I have very little desire to ‘convert’ people to Paleo.  It’s not a religion and I don’t think anyone who isn’t Paleo is any less responsible, any more likely to die than me, etc.  Sure I’d love for everyone to feel as good as I do and I sincerely believe that everyone would be better off if they ate this way, but it’s not up to me. These are my beliefs…I won’t preach.

But for those who try to ridicule my husband or myself, or judge us for our choices – well, I’ve no time for them.  I have plenty of information to support my beliefs and am happy to discuss the ideas behind Paleo with them. They aren’t really the listening type though.

So – how are we going, overall? What foods are we eating?

Well, typically for me breakfast is eggs and bacon – fried, or in scrambled eggs; or breakfast muffins, or a recent favourite is fried eggs on sweet potato ‘toast’ [soooo yum].  An alternative to this is what’s known as ‘intermittent fasting.’ Not for everyone – my husband doesn’t do it – it basically means cutting out one of the “standard” three meals per day, or, in more Paleo friendly terms, increasing the non-eating period in a day from the typical 8 hours [sleep time] to 12 – 16 hours.  I literally do it only because, some days, I am simply not hungry when I wake up and so I don’t force myself to eat. As a bonus, it gives my digestive system a longer period to clear itself out once in a while.

Lunch can be anything – I have things like left overs, salmon or chicken and salad, or jumbled veggies.

Dinner – seriously the sky is the limit.  We’ve had every meal you can think of from chicken schnitzel to roast beef to Thai green curry with [cauliflower] rice. Or my personal favourite so far: Bangers n Mash …grass-fed beef sausages with cauliflower mash n onions….oh my lord it was good!!

Snacks: Kale chips, sweet potato or beetroot chips from Coles/Woolworths; homemade granola bars, banana or pumpkin bread, nuts or fruit; maybe date & cocoa balls if we want to be naughty [too much sweet is still not ideal, even when the “sweet” is not sugar!].

What we drink: water and sparkling mineral water [sometimes with a slice of lime for something different] with <10% sodium/100ml; my husband also loves coconut water but me, not so much; coffee [white, but no sugar, and max 2 cups per day] and black or green tea. That’s truly it.

What we sometimes eat: dairy [cheese, milk, ghee], potato and for me, pasta. Not often though. It’s a special treat and I cannot wait to try to make sweet potato gnocchi.  I was wondering if it was possible and then had it at that resort I just stayed in – see the start of this post! – and it was absolutely scrumptious. So that’s on my soon-to-do list!

What we sometimes drink: wine [white and red, organic preferred], vodka [with mineral water & fresh lime] or very, very occasionally my husband will have a couple of beers.

Reading back over that, I almost feel like it sounds quite staid and boring but I can assure you it isn’t, the possibilities are endless and you are limited only by your imagination or your internet connection.

So that’s it. 3 mths of Paleo, done. Would be awesome if I could put up before and after photos but I didn’t take any before shots. Really wish I had now! And got the ‘before bloods’… apparently it is a startling result for most.

My only question at this point, is whether or not to continue this blog… I mean it was supposed to be about my journey from Pleb to Paleon, which is kind of complete… but on the other hand I am really enjoying sharing my thoughts. Hmmm. I guess I’ll have a think and see if I think there’s more I have to offer… let me know YOUR thoughts, if you want – do YOU want to see more from me? Either way, I’ll be sure to be back at least once, if only to say a final adieu.

As always – thanks for reading… have a fabulous day be good to yourselves….See you next time

x S

Oh, PS – I just found another great site for us Paleons: paleononpaleo.com – check it out!

x S

Debunking debunkers

So, since I’ve started living Paleo, I’ve done a LOT of internet research about it.  Learned a lot about certain foods that I never suspected (e.g., who knew peanuts were legumes?!?) and come across many, many positive sites and stories.

However, I’ve also come across some really aggressive, angry anti-Paleo sites and I have to say, the claims made on some pages and in some articles beggar belief.

The most common theme I see in these ‘Paleo is bad’ arguments is the totally incorrect assertion that Paleo is a low carb diet.  It simply is not. So that invalidates their entire stance in my opinion.  It tells me that these people are failing to investigate correctly because if they did, they would see that the biggest part of the Paleo pyramid is vegetables, which contain carbohydrates. Some vegetables are absolutely FULL of them.  Squash, pumpkin, yams, sweet potato and parsnips are very rich in carbs… and funnily enough they are totally Paleo! Well, what do you know!

What Paleo isn’t, though, is a diet overloaded with carbohydrates.

I guess, compared to what most people see as ‘normal’ levels of carb consumption, Paleo is low – but I believe that’s because most people’s perception of ‘normal’ is skewed. Why, you ask?  Did you know that cows are fed loads of grain during the last 6 weeks of their lives purely to increase their weight [fat] because it a] makes the cow worth more to sell and b) increases the fat in the meat, making the meat more ‘tender’ – think marbled.  So………….. Animals who eat high carb [grain based] diets get fat, which is unhealthy, but humans should eat high carb diets, full of grains, because it’s….. healthy??

Another common theme of these rants is that the diet is high in fats. Ding dong! Incorrect again.  The Paleo diet says you should consume healthy fats, including animal fat, in moderation. You don’t have to cut the fat off your pork chop but neither should you throw out the roast pork and just eat the crackle! [Although that would be AWESOME].  In fact, orthodox Paleo, such as Loren Cordain’s diet, actually specify that you should only consume lean cuts of meat.

Paleo promotes healthy fats like olive, avocado and macadamia oils – all very good for your body; and it cuts out the supposedly healthy ‘vegetable’ oils.  Which, if you take the time to investigate, is incredibly deceptive and frighteningly unhealthy!  Firstly, this oil is not made from vegetables at all. It’s generally made from seeds – rapeseed [canola], soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. so it really should be known as ‘Seed Oil’. Secondly, it can’t be cold-pressed like olive or coconut oil, but is produced using a toxic petroleum solvent called ‘hexane’.  I will never, never use vegetable oil again and I think it, like cage eggs, should be totally banned.   As an addendum, Canola Oil has to be the worst of a very bad bunch… not only is it a seed oil, but the seed it is made from [rapeseed] contains a substance called Euric Acid which toxic to humans. But it’s easy to grow and cheap and makes oil that can be used for anything, right?  So some clever scientists got together and genetically modified rapeseed to lower the Euric Acid content and this seed, known as LEAR [Low Euric Acid Rapeseed] is what is used to produce the Canola oil millions of people are consuming every day.  Wow.  Ugh. Hand me the olive oil, please!

So they are the two biggest bits of codswallop that I’ve been seeing around the web, but I thought I’d share with you some other golden nuggets of web-warrior-wisdom:

From www.slate.com, ‘debunking’ the Paleo assertion that grains are a no-no because they’ve only featured in our diets prominently in the last 10,000 years and it takes longer than that for evolution to adapt our bodies:

There are plenty of examples of this [adapting faster than 10,000 years] in humans and other species.  In one astonishing case, a type of cricket Zuk studied, when transplanted from its original habitat to Hawaii, became almost entirely silent in the course of a mere five years.

Err… 1. That’s a behavioural change, not a physiological change. Almost silent means they still retain the ability to make sound but choose not to. 2. That’s a cricket…an insect – kind of like comparing a fish to a tree. 3. That’s a cricket.

From www.fitonraw.com debunking the theory that we should consume meat:

#3 – A Meat-Heavy diet causes cancer.

The research is clear.  If you want to avoid common cancers (e.g. colon cancer, rectum cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer) and other diseases of affluence (e.g. heart disease and diabetes), you have to limit your consumption of animal products.  Don’t believe me? Check out The China Study by Colin T. Campbell.

Hmmm. This one really bothers me because I’m pretty sure no-one definitively knows what causes cancer.  I think to make a statement like this is pretty much scare-mongering and sounds suspiciously like a vegan/vegetarian trying to push their cause.  A suspicion which was backed up when I read “Your flat teeth, flat nails, long digestive tract and inability to produce vitamin C practically scream that the foods which support you best are plant-based.”  Don’t know about you, fit on raw, but along with those flat teeth I have [molars] I also have some pretty sharp/not flat ones… must be just me though.

Oh and that study she quoted – “The China Study” – well, turns out it’s been studied itself and found to be severely flawed…. Just sayin’.

From www.drmcdougall.com, writing that the Paleo diet is “Uncivilised (and Unhealthy and Untrue):

The Hunter-Gather diet is repulsive… for most of us the thought of eating bone marrow and brains is repulsive. But it gets worse.  No mention is made by Paleo experts about the frequent and habitual practices of nutritional cannibalism by hunter-gatherer societies.  Archeologists have found bones of our ancestors with de-fleshing marks and evidence of bone smashing to get at the marrow inside…And we are supposed to eat the favourite meats of our uncivilized, pre-Agriculture Revolution, hunter-gather, ancestors?

and;

Widespread adoption of the Paleo Diet would soon become an ecological disaster…[the 2006 UN report Livestock’s Long Shadow] concludes animal agriculture produces 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents)…Every person that Paleo gurus convince to follow an animal food-based diet brings us one more step closer to the end of the world, as we know it.

Wow. We need to embrace cannibalism to be Paleo and the world is going to end because of Paleo!  I didn’t see that coming!

Firstly – the idea behind the Paleo diet is to “emulate, as closely and as practically possible, the diet our ancestors would have eaten”. Not mimic it exactly because that is literally impossible and would be unrealistic. This is just an absolutely ludicrous point made by a person desperate to present a more wordy argument.

Secondly – one of the main reasons that I can see that ‘animal agriculture’ impacts so unfavourably upon the environment is due to the unnatural way animals are commonly farmed, such as feed lots, sow stalls, barn/shed hens.  Paleo does not support these methods but rather natural, sustainable animal rearing [read: grass fed beef].  Obviously, our ancestors didn’t farm, they hunted, but I’ll say again ‘as closely and as practically possible’.  I think that the more people who turn to Paleo, the less these environmentally damaging farming practices will thrive.  Maybe, we’ll see a shift in the way we think – and eat.  Plus, it will never be reality that the entire planet is Paleo so I think we’re in no danger of Paleo ending the world.

I hope that anyone who embraces Paleo keeps in touch with their own health, tests theories, pushes boundaries and finally does what it is that works best for them, whatever that is. And I definitely agree with healthy debate.

But there is a difference between discussing a subject objectively and just running something down because you don’t agree with it.

To all the haters – I say do your research before you post or blog because you just come across as bitter and ill-informed.   If you want to be a vegan: do it. If you want to consume foods loaded with chemicals, sugars and grains: go for your life. The answer to your aversion to Paleo is simple: don’t go Paleo. I sincerely doubt any Paleo people out there care whether you are or not!

Despite what all the people out there may say, for me, eating vegetables, meats, healthy oils and fats, fruit and nuts makes sense.  I feel better for doing it and judging by the comments I’ve received in the last couple of months, I look better for doing it.  So I’ma keep on doin’ it!

One site I absolutely have to mention in closing is peaktestosterone.com and their page “Paleo Diet – Just Bad” [peaktestosterone.com/Paleo_Diet_Bad.aspx].  Their top point for why this diet is ‘bad’ for you begins with: 1. Blood flow. What’s the one thing you need for good erections? Blood flow.

Oh. My. God.

I rest my case.

As always, take care out there, and thanks for reading x

Falling Off the Wagon: How I did and why you SHOULD

I’ve recently been on a short holiday to the ‘big smoke’ with a side deviation to a beautiful piece of Australia known as the Margaret River Wine Region.  I was understandably excited to be heading off, but I have to say, thanks to Paleo, I was also a little daunted.  How was I going to manage to eat right whilst away?  I had family do’s, social gatherings and road travels to contend with but its not like I could expect the rest of the world to plan meals around my choices!

In the end, we made the decision that we’d take the ‘do the best you can’ approach for the 10 days [including travelling] that we were going to be away from home.   It turned out to be an interesting, gastronomically challenging and very insightful holiday; one which led me to realise why it is probably a good idea for everyone to fall off the wagon once in a while because it sure helps to remind you why you are on it in the first place.

I have to say, driving 13.5 hours with stops at roadhouses makes eating Paleo nigh on impossible – unless you pack your own lunch, which we did, sort of.  We also bought some chicken on the road figuring that was ok (it wasn’t ideal, but better than a burger?), but mostly we ate nuts, fruit, sweet potato and beetroot chips and drank loads of water.  Oh and I had my first coffee in nearly 6 weeks at 11:30pm … it was actually a pretty terrible coffee but it did the trick: I yabbered like a crazy person for the next few hours – it was actually quite amusing – the effects of the coffee and the sugar on my mind and body was unbelievably intense!  I was still wide eyed four hours later.  Meanwhile I’m pretty sure I would have looked like one of those pictures where the subject’s eyes are made huge and squarish – I was buzzing!
As luck would have it – our first family meal was seafood pasta – it was absolutely delicious and the lenient attitude we’d taken meant we felt we could enjoy it and not feel guilty.  I will say though that I ate way too much and I noticed that the “you’re full” voice I’ve gotten used to hearing [and listening to] was suspiciously silent.

Another day, we had a huge family lunch – and it proved simple enough to eat well: roast, with roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, garden salad… but I did veer a little: I ate half of one small white potato, which I found a little tasteless, there was fetta on the vegies which I quite enjoyed, and I ate some garlic bread which was AMAZING.   But, despite the hallpass we’d given ourselves, I had no hesitation in saying ‘no’ to the trifle and pavlova on offer for dessert.  And considering Pavlova was one of my top 3 desserts pre-Paleo, that’s saying something.  But it honestly held no appeal to me [Note: I watched my husband eat his pav and subsequently feel absolutely horrible within 10 minutes – have to say I felt pretty glad that I had said no].

We managed to keep our breakfast very paleo throughout the trip – eggs, bacon, sausages, fruit, etc.  Eating lunches was a little more tricky but I found a hamburger is still an amazing lunch when you just get it sans cheese and then remove the bun to the side.  The chips that inevitably came with it I ate but, like the white potato I had at the family lunch, found surprisingly tasteless and unappealing.   Any burger / sandwich lunch can be made Paleo fairly easily, if there’s nothing available on the menu to suit.

Our sojourn into wine country I thought would be hugely challenging: I used to LOVE cheese [despite being lactose intolerant – there’s tablets for that, you know], and pâté, and crackers and chocolate.  But – once again I surprised myself. Sure, I did have a couple of crackers with pâté but the cheese held no appeal for me.  I really felt no compulsion to eat it and certainly didn’t feel I was missing out on anything while those around me enjoyed it.  I bought chocolate deliberately [I’m off the wagon, may as well enjoy it!] for us all to share, a packet of my favourite red Lindt balls… and then ate one, which was divine, and put them away. I simply had no desire to have more than one.  The next day, I ate another one – and that was it.  I was shocking myself!  Unlike the hot chips, which I can say were mostly tasteless, the chocolate DID taste as amazing as I’d expected but that pre-Paleo compulsion to continue eating it was just … gone!  One ball was absolutely enough. What the?!

The two meals that I really have to mention though: fish and chips [the restaurant type, not from the local shop] and my favourite fast food meal, a ‘Rippa Sub’ combo from Red Rooster, both ordered for lunch. On different days, of course.
I scraped off most of the batter from the fish before I ate it and I did sort of enjoy the chips – more than previously, anyways. But again that ‘You’re full” notification somehow missed my inbox and within 10 minutes of finishing I sincerely had the urge to try ease the nauseous sensation I was feeling by making myself throw up. It was that bad.  The meal would have been probably a 5/10 and that is certainly not worth the way I felt afterwards.

As for the RR, well I just love the whole deal: the chicken strips, the herb mayo, the chips…yum!   I got water, not coke, for my drink [as I had always done] and then set about eating my meal with gusto – this was one of those moments when I was going to eat non Paleo and enjoy it, no guilt.  And I’ll admit, the sub was yummy.  Just as good as I remembered!  The chips were underseasoned but to be honest by this stage I’d kind of realised that hot chips will never really appeal to me again so I wasn’t too disappointed.  So I’d say that this meal I would have rated about 8/10 – really enjoyed it.  For ten minutes.  Then I was right back in the “Oh my god, I feel so sick, get me to a bathroom” zone once again and really consciously annoyed at myself for putting such trash into my body.

[To clarify: at no time did I actually go to the bathroom and make myself sick, it was just a very appealing thought.]

By the time it was hometime, I could not wait to be back to clean, Paleo eating.  Nothing processed, no grains, no dairy.   I didn’t eat a lot of those things but it was enough to make me realise I don’t want to eat them, any more.  To realise that what I’ve changed to – this new way of eating – is making me feel so much better, healthier, lighter.  It’s reset my internal workings so that my little “you’re full” voice is able to be heard; its flushed accumulated waste out of my body so I don’t feel heavy by 2pm; it’s given me back my taste buds so I can appreciate the taste of real food as opposed to only being able to taste overly strong, fake flavours; its corrected my appreciation of ‘sweet’ so I can enjoy a little and it’s enough; and most importantly I think it’s putting me more and more in touch with my own body every day, giving me such a strong sense of how much control I have over how I feel, dependant on what I fuel my body with – and I just don’t want to do it to myself anymore.

I also put weight on amazingly quickly; not a substantial amount, but my ‘fluffiness’ – that band of wibbly, wobbly, sponginess around my middle – reappeared within about 4 days, as did my feeling of heaviness.  I figure that the heaviness is the inefficient processing of crap food that I was forcing my body to digest; the ‘fluffiness’ I think may just be retained water, or waste, that my body would normally a] only deal with in minimal amounts and b] be able to dispose of quick smart.  By subjecting my system to such a huge load of rubbish to deal with – backlog got created. Boo.

I really am glad that I fell off the wagon.  I know going forward that I will be even more sure that what I’m doing is the right thing for me.  I will crave those banned foods a lot less because now I know how they’ll make me feel if I do eat them.  I will definitely still occasionally indulge in certain naughty foods [read: garlic bread & pasta] but I will probably do it a lot less often than I thought prior to this trip because, again, I’m aware of just how quickly I will feel it within myself.  Its given me a blunt snapshot of my body on a good diet and my body on a modern diet: they’re as different as night and day and I sure as eggs know which body I prefer.

So go on – fall off the wagon if you need a reminder why you’re there.  Don’t fall too hard or too long, your body doesn’t deserve that – but a little reminder now and then can go a long way towards keeping up your motivation to live, eat, exist the Paleo way.

Take care out there, and thanks for reading 🙂

S.

An experience shared is an experience doubled..

So here are some learnings after completing four [or is it five?] weeks on Paleo.  I decided to cap it at five because otherwise you’ll still be reading this tomorrow:

1. Its costs more to eat well.

My grocery bill is almost double – fresh produce and lots of meat, particularly where I live, is expensive.  Two adults are eating their way through around $300 food a week.  But, like I said, this is due in part to the fact that prices up here in Northern WA are super high because we’re a remote community. Lucky me.

2. Grocery shopping takes about 1/10th the time it used to and is super easy.  

It really is true, you just go straight to the fresh produce end, grab fruits & veg, skim along the back grabbing your meat and then pop into the freezer section at the other end to grab any frozens [eg fish, snap frozen veg, shellfish, etc.]  Then, unless you need to duck briefly into the darkside (read: the aisles) to visit the health food section [almond meal, organic raw honey, Linseed meal, etc] or the asian section [coconut cream, coconut milk, tapioca flour], you are DONE. Bang! Snap! Straight to the pool room! [For those outside Australia, this is a quote from a very Australian 1997 movie called “The Castle”. Its hilarious but please don’t think all Aussies are like the Kerrigan’s… except for the giant hearts part].  So – it really does take 10-20mins max to get everything you need because you only need to run the perimeter of your local supermarket. Score!

3. Organisation is paramount.

If you’re a meal planner – fantastic! You’re one step ahead of the rest of us.  If you’re not a meal planner [read: me] then …. now is a GREAT time to try something [else] new!  Failing to plan your meals and do the prep one day a week will not make it impossible to follow the Paleo way – I know this because it describes my journey thus far.  It just means that you will spend several periods a week staring into your fridge/pantry/freezer blankly for +/- five minutes, wondering what to eat or cook for dinner. You’ll google several paleo recipes at 1/2hr before dinner time, discarding each as you realise that you don’t have this or that crucial ingredient. You will visit your local grocery store several times a week [albeit briefly, refer point: 2] because you simply don’t have what you need to make an edible menu for the next few days.  The lesson here?  Sit down on a Saturday or Sunday, grab Robb Wolf’s food matrix [find this amazing tool here: http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/thePaleoSolution_FoodMatrix.pdf] and plan out your week’s meals, as best you can.  I am TOTALLY going to recommend that you start leaning towards the whole cook a bunch and eat for lunch method, whereby at least 3-4 times a week your lunch is made up of last nights dinner left overs. It just saves time and energy.  And – spend some time ‘prepping’.  Not for doomsday, for the following week. Eg: grate carrot/chop onion/slice mushrooms for salads, hardboil several eggs, make mayonnaise, make marinades/dressings, do any baking [muffins, frittata’s, crackers, biscuits]. Yes, it may take an hour or two on a weekend, but I guarantee it will save you hourS during the week. Trust me on this! Plus, you can involve the family and make it an activity, make it fun and encourage and develop their healthy eating/cooking habits. Note to readers: No, I am not currently following my own advice, but its a case of do as I say, not as I do.. 🙂

4. You will consume an enormous amount of eggs.

If you can – buy chickens!  I wish I could but our living arrangements [and our Siberian Husky, to be honest] kind of puts a kabosh on that. So if you’re in my boat, at least study up on what eggs are available to you, go for something reasonably priced if you can but do NOT ever, EVER purchase cage eggs – its abhorrent and I think it should be totally banned; strive to purchase free range, naturally fed hen eggs [eg grass fed, not grain fed] and always look for Omega3 enriched eggs.  If you can’t tick all the boxes – try finding Omega3 enriched eggs in my town 😦 – tick as many as you can, and at minimum, buy free range.  Or go without. Seriously.

 5. Snacking is hard if you a) don’t like nuts or b) don’t like fruit and/or are trying to lose weight.

For those of you who do like nuts and or fruit and or are not trying to lose weight – you can skip straight to the end.  Do not pass GO, do not expect $100 or a make up learning. You only get four.  For the rest, read on.

Sometimes, you just want to nibble on something.  Just a little bit of food. Maybe something sweet, maybe savoury.  Not a meal. So you go to the fridge and here are some typical choices:

  • Left over roast chicken from last night.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fruit
  • Eggs

Sigh. You close the fridge and open the pantry.  Its even more *gulp* bleak:

  • Herbs & spices
  • Coconut milk
  • Various types of flours
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts
  • Oils

Well.  That’s some seriously limited choices. The ‘easy’ snacks are nuts and fruit. What if you don’t like either??  I am not a nut fan and don’t really like fruit overly much. Plus, for those who are trying to slim down, consumption of fruit should be limited until you reach your goal leanness. So what do you do?  I think this is where your dedication [or lack thereof] to Paleo will really show and imagination is super useful.  Prep time on the weekend can also help here – bake some Paleo muffins, or egg/bacon frittata’s and keep them for snack attacks. Find one fruit or nut that you like.  Try celery with a nut butter on it.  Google ‘Paleo Snacks’ and then don’t be shocked when they are all healthy. First step though: Have a glass of water.  Years of comfortable existence have meant that what humans often translate as ‘feeling hungry’ is actually thirst. So if you feel a little pang of hunger, snack size, there’s a good chance that you’re actually just thirsty.  So try a glass of water or cup of tea. Wait ten minutes. If you still feel it, search for a snack.

So there you have it. Five of many things I’ve learned since 1AP [After Paleo].   Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go away and think of a title for this post, as the original title I had ‘How do you do what you do?’ no longer applies… as so often happens, once I clicked in the ‘body’ box and started typing, this post became something completely different to my original vision. Oops!

Eck so, eck so,

Paleo Girl.

Converting my favourite meal to Paleo

So – I have ALWAYS been a huge eater of pasta, potatoes and rice.  They are my favourite three foods, I kid you not. Ask my husband. I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if I could, if he would [hub is NOT so partial to these three items].

Give me gnocchi – combining two of my favourite things – ahhhh I’m in LOVE.  Carbonara – lasagne – spaghetti bolognese; yum!  Potato – baked, scalloped, chipped, boiled, roasted or mashed… YUM.  And rice – well, I love risotto and then after that rice just is a great accompaniment to so many meals… chilli con carne, lima bean soup, curry, steak and eggs, tuna…. yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.

Now, of course in my new Paleo world, guess which of the three I’m still allowed to have?? NONE. Yes, that’s right, NOT ONE OF THEM.  This would honestly have to be the single reason I may not continue with the Paleo lifestyle after our three month trial 😦

And my favourite meal of all time just happens to be chicken schnitzel with salad and mashed potato.  Which I cannot have anymore – not the schnitzel, not the mashed potato.  And I mean, come on!! I want to be healthy but I still want to LIVE!!

*sigh*

So I thought to myself, “Take up the challenge, Paleo-ise this meal”.  And this is what I came up with:

My replacement for chicken schnitzel with mash potato

My replacement for chicken schnitzel with mashed potato

This would be:

Chicken breast – sliced in half to create a thinner ‘steak’, but you could just bash it a la schnitzel – spray with olive oil, coat with dukkah of your choice [avail in Coles or at gourment stores for those of you lucky enough to live near anything!], bake in the oven at 180 deg for 20-25 mins til cooked through.

Cauliflower mash – steam 1 whole head of cauliflower [break it up into florets, first]. Then in a food processor or with a stick blender, blend the cauliflower with 1 clove crushed garlic [or to taste].  Do it too long and you end up with puree – so keep an eye on it.  You can also add spices of your choice to it if you wish 🙂

Roasted Sweet Potato – roughly chop rosemary, peel and chop sweet potato. Toss in olive oil & rosemary, put in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 180 deg for approx 40 mins. [I do these first, then prep the chicken and chuck it in the oven for the last 20-25 mins of the potatoes].

Voila! 

Ok, so its not exactly my dream meal, but it IS pretty close, and you can always fry the chicken rather than bake, just maybe use almond meal & egg to bind the dukkah more firmly to the chicken if you do that.   Dukkah is a GREAT alternative to breadcrumbs if you can get a good one.

So – challenge raised? You bet.

Met? I tried!

Bested? Hmmm maybe 90% – but I’ll take that!

Ek so, ek so,

Paleo Girl.

Lunch: graze in the fridge for left overs

Really?

We got a sample meal plan during our first week of Paleo, and I kid you not, it actually said “Graze in the fridge for left overs” in several of the ‘Lunch’ boxes.  I was disgusted! How is that good for you, and what if you don’t HAVE any left overs in the fridge??? Then what do you eat for lunch?  PS – I’m not a horse.  I don’t graze.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to follow this, Chris,” was my reaction to that meal plan.

So………….right now I’m kinda eating my words, as I eat my lunch which is – you guessed it – left overs. Last night’s dinner to be exact, BBQ Chicken with salad.  And the truth is, its happened a couple of times already – we make way too much food at night (I have NO sense of portion sizes) and since starting this Paleo thing, not finding myself too hungry (today was an exception) – so what do you get? Left overs.  Better to eat than throw out, right?

I mean, pretty sure I still disagree with the direction in the meal plan – they should have at least provided an alternative for those not portionally challenged like me.  But I’ll admit that eating leftovers isn’t to shabby and nor is it unheard of in our household – just not really ever been the ‘plan’, if you know what I mean.

As the days have passed, we’ve gotten more adapted to this Paleo thing and more often than not lunch (on weekends, in particular) is made up of left overs.  That said, we’re finding we always have so much fresh produce in our fridge (and we have nearly totally eliminated throwing out things that have ‘gone bad’ because we eat them first!) that if we don’t have any left overs, there is always something there we can make.

And I guess that this style of eating is very true to the Paleo theory – I suppose our ancestors more often than not picked at what was left of yesterday’s ‘main’ meal for the day until it was time for today’s ‘main’ meal.

My advice? If you want to follow that meal plan – ensure you cook extra so you do have left overs, and if that sounds too boring, remember you can always jazz up a bunch of left overs with a new ingredient. IE BBQ chicken – shred it then mix with egg and chopped cherry tomatoes for a yummy omelette.  The possibilities are endless – I guess 🙂

Ek so, ek so – Paleo Girl.

I would LOVE to eat some bad food right now!

So, its about day 10 and right now I’m in struggle town a little.

I just cooked a lovely paleo dinner, well, my husband liked it. I thought the broccoli didn’t go so well with the dill, and the stuffed squash was nice but a little sweet for me (I blame the lemon thyme). That said, the chicken, pan-fried, sliced and topped with avocado sauce (avo, basil and lemon juice) was pretty nice.  But anyways.

Today I had eggs and ham for breakfast/lunch (I wasn’t hungry until lunch time > bit of a bonus of this way of eating) and then made some pumpkin bread … worked out ok.  

So then put together this dinner and though Chris enjoyed it – I’m not feeling satisfied and I am DEFINITELY craving something naughty. Like chocolate. Or chips. Or cheese.

So instead I have a handful of grapes. Hmmmmmm. I guess this is why newbies are often told to go 80/20 – you’re allowed to have a little naughty stuff so you don’t fall off the wagon all together. We’re not doing that though, we’re trying to be strong.

God help me if anyone wanders by with yummy smelling food right now!

Week One Done

So – we’ve completed the first week of our Paleo Attempt.

We managed to empty our pantry of ‘non-paleo’ foods (read: all my favourites) and purchase MOST of what we need for a Paleo diet, the “staples”, although being in the Pilbara means there is a few items we’ll need to order online or just go without. Like kelp pasta. It sounds terrible but if its the only pasta I can have…
So far – its been OK. Turns out the dinners and lunches are pretty easy to think of – meat and vegetables, or meat and salad.  Its when you want something different that you need to branch out, oh and when you want breakfast. What breakfast can you have without grains (bye-bye bread, bye-bye cereal!) or carbs? Not that I usually have rice for breakfast but still.  A lot of eggs have been consumed this week by my husband, lucky for me I don’t eat breakfast so its not been a challenge – until the weekend, when I usually will eat brekky.

Solved the problem with scrambled eggs w/chorizo yesterday and today, tapioca crepes with bacon.  The eggs were yummy and something I would have eaten pre-paleo; the tapioca crepes were… different. Pretty nice, and surprisingly filling but definitely different.

We realised while making breakfast that we’ll need to completely re-learn how to cook things because the ingredients we are now using behave differently (like tapioca).

So – weight wise I’ve gone from 61.1kg > 59.5kg; I’ve found myself consuming more fruit / vegetables this week than I have in the past month (which can only be a good thing) and feeling better throughout the day, as in I’m not coming home from working feeling so bloated any more.  Maybe its a co-incidence, but we’ll see I guess!

Week 2 my challenge is to cut sugar out of my coffee (its the only time I add sugar to anything) and see what Paleo options McDonalds offers. Truly! I really don’t want to say goodbye to Macca’s!

Nicest v-day meal ever! Roast pork with chilli broccoli & mushrooms. Yummo!

Nicest v-day meal ever! Roast pork with chilli broccoli & mushrooms. Yummo!

Lunch made of dinner left overs - simple: BBQ Roast Chicken and a salad. Miss the cheese but we're finding ways to make up for it :)

Lunch made of dinner left overs – simple: BBQ Roast Chicken and a salad. Miss the cheese but we’re finding ways to make up for it 🙂

Some of the non-paleo items we've removed from our pantry... we probably took out 75% of our food! No exaggeration!

Some of the non-paleo items we’ve removed from our pantry… we probably took out 75% of our food! No exaggeration!

I’ll also try to put up some before and after pics of our pantry 🙂