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

Some staple substitutions…

So, jumping on the Paleo wagon removed a whole lot of food from my fridge and pantry that I would consider staples.  Rice, being a huge one. Pasta – my all time favourite food. And things you don’t think of so often – like tomato sauce (not paste) or breadcrumbs or flour.

But there are things you can use as substitutes, some better than others, and I thought I’d just run through a couple of the ones I’ve latched onto. Basic, yes, and there are loads of alternate recipes if you Google it, but here are a couple that work for me and mine.  I’ll add more as I go along 🙂

[One basic direct substitution we love is dukkah for breadcrumbs. EG on Chicken Schnitzel.  Just brush oil on your fillet then sprinkle it with dukkah and fry. Yum!]

Substitute Cauliflower for …. Rice:

I used to eat rice a lot. I mean, we bought it in 5kg bags because we went through so much. One of our favourite meals: steak, egg and rice. Yummmm.  But, now not an option and I’m ok with that – its not like I can really miss the flavour, right?  But I do miss having that bland, liquid soaking texture in certain meals, like Thai Green Curry. So, our solution?

Cauliflower Rice.

I’ve read lots of variations of this, and loads of recipes call for it, but it actually took me a while to find a “How to make Cauliflower Rice” recipe. I tinkered because I wasn’t happy with some outcomes, and this is what I’ve come up with to create a reasonably fluffy rice that will actually soak up sauce:

[This makes enough for 2-3 people. Prep time is about 10 minutes and cook time about 10 minutes]

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into large florets
  • Oil [I prefer to use olive – but your choice]
  • Spices to suit – I just use garlic powder generally
  • Equipment: board & knife, food processor, bowl, large frypan.

Ensure the cauliflower is dry. Moisture is your enemy here! Buzz the florets in a food processor until grainy, removing the grounds regularly as you go to ensure you don’t get any that is over processed.  Place in a bowl and set aside until you 10 minutes from chow time…I imagine cold cauliflower rice would be fairly unappealing!

When its time – heat your oil in a large frypan.  Add your chosen spices to your rice and stir well; if you are using fresh garlic, I’d add it to your oil now so it heats with the oil.  Add the ‘rice’ in manageable amounts [I have a really big pan so it all goes in at once] and stir fry your ‘rice’ until it is heated through and a little soft. This should take no more than ten minutes – taste it to know.

Serve with your favourite meal J  You’ll find some recipes call for you to cook the cauliflower florets first, but I find the frying from raw is what allows this rice to soak up sauces like actual rice would. If its cooked first, its soaked in moisture already and can tend to be gluggy. Boo to that!

 

 

Substitute Zucchini for…Pasta:

Again, something I heard SO much about but it’s as if the recipe owners just assume you know how to produce this wondrous thing. So important fact #1 – this will NOT taste like pasta does. Sorry. Important fact #2 – if you over cook it you might as well toss it. It will NOT go well with the food you’d planned to put it with. Important fact #3 – when I say medium zucchini I am referring to one that is approx. 25cm long and has a girth of 4-5 cm.

 

Zucchini Pasta

[Prep time depends on how many people but should be no more than 10mins. Cook time is 30 seconds. For real.]

  • 1 medium zucchini per person [adult]
  • Equipment: Julienne [spaghetti] or flat vegetable peeler [fettucine] or a ‘spiralizer’ [loads of shapes], microwave safe dish large enough for your ‘pasta’ [or cook it in batches], microwave.

Peel the skin from your zucchini & discard. Using the peeler, peel the zucchini length ways to make your ‘pasta’. Try to rotate the zucchini per slice so you arrive at the seeds on all sides at once. It’s not imperative – it’s just easier. Once you get to the seeds, stop. Give the core to the worm farm.  Place your pasta into your microwave dish and add about 2cm of very hot or boiling water. Put in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Drain the water out immediately and cover to keep warm if not serving straight away.

Draining the water out immediately afterwards and only cooking for 30 seconds ensures your pasta will have an ‘al dente’ texture and not be mush. Which has happened to me before and it was terrible. Ugh.

 

Anyways so that’s it for now, just a couple of simple ones – let me know if you’ve got any simple substitution recipes to share – I’d love to read them 🙂

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

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.

Paleo…. or Primal??!

So, firstly, apologies for the absence of late, I’ve come off my 2 week swing at work and when you spend 14 days straight sitting at a PC for 12hrs a day, the LAST thing you want to do when you get some down time is… surprise… sit at a PC. But I’m sufficiently recovered now, so here I am.

[Note: I spent the first lot of downtime exploring cooking the Paleo way – came up with loads of yummy food – I WILL post recipes, or links to recipes, soon]

On my mind at the moment [today] though, is some interesting research outcomes that I experienced recently.  I was just doing my usual net surfing for Paleo stuff, and I kept coming across “Primal” as opposed to “Paleo”.  I had assumed they were the same thing, but apparently not.  So – I looked into “Primal”, mostly via an awesome blog called “Mark’s Daily Apple” [google it], and now I’m wondering… am I Paleo, or am I Primal??

The more I read, the more I got confused, concerned, etc., until my head was about to implode and I didn’t know WHAT I was.  So I shut the laptop down and walked away.  After a couple of days, I had the nerve to look again.

There are some key differences, and to get your head around them I suggest you head to a particular post on Mark’s blog = http://www.marksdailyapple.com/whats-the-difference-between-primal-and-paleo/#axzz2OMKOCyva

But there are also the key similarities, and I guess these are the most important: stop eating processed foods… they just are NOT good!  Don’t eat grains: we just are NOT supposed to. Cut out Dairy [or limit it, according to Primal]: our bodies are just NOT that able to deal with it. And don’t eat sugar: it was NEVER designed to be eaten by us, unless you mean grabbing a stalk from a sugar cane plant and munging on it.  And good luck with that – I have – ugh 😦

I guess the thing that motivated this post for me was that I did not appreciate, being already confused as the Paleo world seems vague enough to me now [some eat dairy, some don’t, some eat eggs, some don’t, etc.] by finding another diet that is strikingly similar but actually different, JUST to confuse me more.

But.  We are four weeks into our 3 mth trial.  My husband has lost 6kgs and now holding steady and I have lost 4.9kg [still going down, but more slowly now, and I’m sure will go up as I get toned….?].  We both feel better for eating this way.  We are both sticking to the ‘rules’ – neither of us have cheated yet, no 85/15 for us EXCEPTING when our remote location doesn’t allow for anything other than a slight cheat.  Actually that’s not totally true. We had ‘Paleo Pasta’ last night – you can buy it here: http://paleopasta.com/ – and it has both quinoa and xantham gum in it. But OH WELL. It was a tiny cheat and gave me a fix of pasta which is the one thing I am absolutely always going to miss.

I now cannot even fathom eating food that contain grains [esp corn – its EVERYWHERE] or any ingredient that has a number in brackets after it.

So. My conclusion in regards to Paleo / Primal is that I need to look into it more and I will most probably pick n choose what suits from both.  For example, I won’t be drinking soda with artificial sweetners, as allowed by the Paleo diet apparently; but I may start to include some dairy now that I’ve passed the initial 30 days, as allowed by the Primal diet.  My suggestion to any readers is to do the same.

I better go now… my husband has just informed me that I need to get dinner going because he’s hungry. On the menu tonight: lamb chops with a spice rub, broccolini with garlic and steamed squash.  Surprising how much I’m looking forward to such a ‘clean’ meal; I think my actual tastebuds have been revived!

Thanks for reading – follow me if you’ve not already – and feedback is ALWAYS welcome 🙂

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.

The Saving Grace of the Dinner Party: 85:15

** Warning: this is a LONG one J

 

So, once the perils of dining out at a restaurant had been conquered, it was time to take the next step. A leap into an area much more fraught with danger: dining out at a friends place.

 

You see – dining out at a restaurant, the only worry you really have is finding something you can eat. But, given that these places have menus, with a variety of dishes available and usually at least a vegetarian option you can turn to (with a ‘steak on the side, please’) you are generally going to be ok. The worst part will be fighting temptation!  

 

At a friend’s place, not only is there a restricted menu – ie restricted to whatever’s being served – there is also an extra set of complications.  The guests don’t want their hosts to feel they ‘have’ to cook paleo (thank goodness for the 85:15 rule), the hosts feel like they should cook paleo (don’t know about the 85:15 rule) and when it comes time to sit down there’s the thoughts – ‘If there’s something non-paleo, can I refrain from eating it without offending my hosts?’ or ‘Have I accidentally cooked something non-paleo?’.  And god forbid additional, non-paleo or paleo guests are dining too!  Extra NPs will add to the pressure the Paleo’s are feeling whereas additional Paleo’s might make the hosts feel they have no choice but to try to cook a suitable meal, adhering to guidelines they don’t know.

 

Phew. What a drama!  Why would any person willingly submit themselves to so much stress?!

Well – because despite our different choices of diet, we all love our friends and family and sharing a meal is an ancient and wonderful bonding experience.  I can’t think of times that are in my ‘golden memories’ bank that don’t involve a meal shared between family and/or friends. From our wedding with sixty of our nearest and dearest right down to a simple but amazing meal at a friend’s place where the four of us got to know each other a little better.

 

So then – how to combine the two for the recently Paleo? (Read:me)  Dinner with my friends and not compromising my new diet?

I do not want or expect or need my friends to cook Paleo when I visit them.  Their house, their rules, I totally respect that and if they want to cook a pasta or a chicken schnitzel or whatever, I will happily dig in and chalk it up as the 15 of my 85:15.  That said – the majority of dishes I can happily eat anyway with just a simple minus – eg a roast dinner, mostly paleo, may just mean I don’t eat the potato and just have extra pumpkin or carrot.  Or a BBQ – usually all paleo too, just omit anything like the cheese from a salad.  See what I mean?  And I hope that the host isn’t offended by omissions and just gets excited that they get to eat the extras.

 

This theory came into play recently when we were invited for dinner. The first ‘eeek’ moment came up with the question of dessert – another couple was coming along and providing dessert (we did the salad) – I got the question of “what can you guys eat? Do I need to google a Paleo friendly dessert?”  I admit, I felt guilty. I didn’t want my friends to stress about what they were putting on the plate.  So I told her not to worry about us and to make whatever suited her, and if it wasn’t Paleo, we’d just not eat it. (That last bit on the advice of my husband – I should have explained the 85:15 rule instead!)

 

The hosts had already said they would do the meat – so that was fine.  But I was stressed that our friends were feeling extra pressure, or would not make the food they really wanted to, because of my diet choice.  And I think my friend was stressed because she wanted to ensure everyone could happily eat her dessert. Plus she probably looked at the finished result and thought ‘Man I could have made non-Paleo desserts that would kick this sorbet’s ass!’

 

Stressed. Not how I want to go into a dinner with friends!

 

The dinner was an absolute success – there was meat which we all ate; roasted veggies, which we all ate mostly (Husband and I avoided the potatoes); and salad which was Paleo, which we all ate. Even the NP’s.

Dessert – paleo sorbet because of course my amazing friend did not want us to ‘just not eat it’.  Ironically I was too full to really eat dessert but that’s not the point.

 

The point is – if you aren’t Paleo but have friends who are – get them to explain the 85:15 rule to you so you can feel good about having them over and cooking whatever you want without worrying you’re putting them out or that they’ll just sit at the table and politely sip at their drinks while you eat the non-paleo meal.

 

If you are Paleo – explain to your friends the 85:15 rule and that you would much rather utilise it so you can still enjoy these wonderful nights without them having to stress about what should just be a fun experience.

 

And then – when it’s your turn to host – blow them away with an amazingly yummy, totally Paleo entrée, dinner and dessert 🙂

 

Ek so, ek so – Paleo Girl.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Dining Out

So – I’ve hit Day 12. Doing much better than I was the other day; no threats to passing snackers any more.

Today, I faced my biggest challenge yet. I mean, yesterday was tough – one of the guys bought in a tub (yes a TUB) of chocolates slices, caramel slices, mars bar slice….*insert drool here* ….But I resisted, clamped my hand over my mouth and nose, averted my eyes and took out my grapes.  Munched away at them imagining they MUST be JUST as tasty as those slices that everyone else was in chocolate ecstasy over… mustn’t they? MUSTN’T THEY!

Anyway.  Back to the point. Sorry.

Today – my work group WENT OUT FOR LUNCH.  To a little café with a limited menu. A limited menu that includes ‘gourmet cheeseburger’, ‘butter chicken’, baguettes with beautiful, lovely, gourmet ingredients…. Sigh.  Literally everything had rice, cream, cheese or bread in it. Didn’t help I’d eaten most of it before, and knew that a lot of it was really, really good. (Before you say it – yes, I know not good for my body, but man was it good for my soul – take that).  Spotted one possibility – tuna patties – til I saw they were tuna and potato patties………!!!

An emergency text to my husband –> omg out to lunch with office and nothing to eat 😦

Bless his cotton socks, his reply was “Do your best. 80/20 remember.”
But I was determined – so I searched through the menu – found an almost paleo meal and ordered:

Steak Sandwich w/ aioli, served with fries

And amended it to:

Steak Sandwich with Salad

And then when it arrived – removed the bread (gave it to my lunchmates – how’s that for recycling!) which also had the aioli on it and voila!  I suddenly had for lunch a steak with salad. Totally Paleo AND didn’t make me look like a weirdo!  BAM!!

Feeling amazing – then the waiter says – and what would you like to drink?

Scan the menu…. Fruit juice – no; smoothie – no; soft drink – no; tea/coffee – no; milkshake – no!  In desperation – I say to the waiter – do you have mineral water? Thankfully yes, so that’s what I ordered. Still Paleo. Happy Days!!

Just goes to show, even when you’re out for a meal you can still stick to this new lifestyle.  And to be honest, because I had a steak with my salad, I didn’t feel like that sad-sack miserably eating salad in the corner while everyone else tucks into a yummo meal.  Protein is good for that (except chicken, that screams I’M ON A DIET!!!).

So – moral of the story – Paleo fine dining is possible.  If I can do it in my little, isolated, very very limited town, it can be achieved anywhere. AND, its possible to do it without feeling like you’re missing anything. What you are doing is making a better choice for your body 🙂

PS. Turns out the waiter didn’t understand English so well and my ‘mineral water’ actually became ‘soda water’ which I am about 70% sure is NOT Paleo due to the added sodium…. Fail.  But at least I tried, right?  Right?

I’m cheering, anyways 🙂