Paleo diet, Weston Price and the state of my kitchen.

Figs

Figs at Burrough Market, UK.

I haven’t added a blog post in about a year as I’ve been too busy eating loads of junk food and swilling coffee.  Though lately, I have to admit, I don’t feel great.  So…. I’ve been researching the Paleo diet, and have decided to give it a shot, starting today!   So, as of this morning, gone from my life is coffee, dairy, grains, processed foods, and refined sugars.  Gulp.  It’s 2pm right now, and so far, I feel ok, though I have already eaten more dark chocolate than is allowed (more than one square is not recommended, I’ve eaten 8) but but baby steps, right?  I mean, hey, day 1 with no coffee is almost enough in itself to make a gal go nutty.

This weekend was busy preparing my head and my kitchen for living Paleo.  First stop: clean out the refrigerator.  Gone is the ketchup, relish, cheese, yoghurt, half and half, diet pop, tortillas and hummous.  Next stop:  pantry.  Bye bye pasta, chips, beans, flour, sugar, Splenda, agave, quinoa and all canned soups or processed foods, and saddest of all, bon voyage dear coffee beans.

Good thing my dear mom is coming next weekend, she’s gonna get a weeks worth of groceries to take home.  I really do hate to waste food, but it seems that starting the Paleo diet means that most of the food in here’s gotta go. (I heard you gotta purge the “junk” food from the house, lest you be tempted).

Chocolate-Coconut Cake (flourless) with Marscapone Whip.

Bye-Bye dairy-tastic desserts.

I did have a few foodstuffs on hand that made the Paleo cut….  coconut oil and coconut products like shredded coconut and coconut flour, coconut milk and almond milk, almond meal, frozen veggies, fruits and meats, olive and grape seed oil, vinegars and spices, and nuts and dried fruit.   They all get to stay and be Paleo with me.

Though I was excited that I actually had some things in the kitchen that I could keep, the scraps that were left were not enough to keep me and my husband full and satisfied for any length of time, so off to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods I went.  Great Paleo finds at Trader Joes:  100% grass-fed organic ground beef.  That’s huge for the Paleans, who value pastured meat above all others (so sayeth the interweb).  Another great boon – organic frozen spinach. I sense many an organic egg +  organic spinach scramble, in my future.

meat market

Meat Market in Europe. That’s me in the front!

The deal with Paleo seems to be this: Paleo-lithic man would not have sprayed pesticides on his food, nor would he have eaten animals that had spent the entirety of their lives in a dark cage.  And apparently, he was healthier and happier for it.  I can get behind this mythical man’s mythical ethics, they seem cool to me.

Whole foods, as one would guess, had a huge variety of Paleo friendly items, from wild and line caught fish (frozen wild sockeye salmon was a pretty decent deal at $9.99 per pound), to a great selection of organic produce (though they mostly feature what’s in season, which is super Paleo of them, but I still wanted a spaghetti squash and was denied due to seasonality, my bad….).  That said, they do not feature any pastured pork products, nor bacon without the unfortunate addition of sugar.  Bonus star to them for having a great selection of unpasteurized pickled veggies, sauerkraut, kim chee, etc.

Burrough Market Fish Stall, UK

Burrough Market Fish Stall, UK

Home again, I unpacked all the groceries and am now daunted by the amount of cooking that is to come.  No pre-made salads or anything here, every meal has to be prepared.  To do Paleo correctly it seems that a lot more time will be spent in the kitchen.  Which is ok by me, but I can see it would get old and a person might want to take short cuts that would result in the addition of processed foods into the diet.  For instance, every condiment needs to be handmade, basically, since most pre-made salad dressing and condiments have sugar in them, and most pre-cooked meat has sugar and nitrates added.  So, a lot of hands on time in the kitchen is in my future and hence my renewed vigor for blogging about food.

My earlier blog posts we all about cooking low-carb.  But they weren’t so much concerned with high-health.  I basically was one of those people who wanted to get thinner by eating nothing but Splenda sweetened desserts made with almond flour crust, almond flour being so much better for me than wheat flour and Splenda being soo much healthier than sugar (this dubious assumption based on my own lack of research has been eradicated…neither sweetener is good for the body).  This “diet” did not work, I lost no weight at all, though it was fun trying.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie with Almond Crust

We’ll be together again. Just not now.

The Paleo lifestyle makes a lot of sense to me, as I was a follower of Dr. Weston Price for many years (before I fell from grace and became a junk food/coffeeaholic) and believe in the science in his findings.  It seems completely sensible to emulate what our ancient ancestors ate, as Dr. Price’s studies of early humans showed people of much greater health than what we, as a culture, seem to be.  I know sugar and grains are bad for me, and I know it not just from reading it on the interweb.  I know it because I feel like crap when I eat them.  Coffee too.  So see ya, loser food.

Paleo in a Nutshell:

You eat organic, pasture fed meats and pastured eggs.  Organic veggies and fruits.  Olive oil, Ghee (clarified butter), grape seed oil for fats.  Nuts and seeds in moderation (specifically good is the macadamia nut).  Avocados and Olives are encouraged.  Coconut products are encouraged.  85% or higher dark chocolate is apparently ok.  Minimally, you can use raw local honey or 100% maple syrup to sweeten things.  What you supposedly get when you follow this way of eating is:  renewed and lasting energy, better sleep, better skin, and if you don’t go hog-wild with the nuts and fruits, you will apparently lose some weight.  I like the sound of all of the above.   I will blog about my own findings as I follow this new lifestyle with vigor and attention.

Mom's farm: Paleo tastic.

Mom’s farm: Paleo-tastic.

What you don’t consume on Paleo: Grains of any kind, dairy of any kind (exception is Ghee), alcohol or coffee, processed foods with any crazy additives in them.  No refined sugars either.  Basically, my recycling bin is going to fill up a lot slower, as already I notice, without consuming all the stuff on the “no-no” list, my consumption of plastics is going way down, and fast.  Paleo is good for the planet, apparently.

I’d add a recipe or two to this post, but I think it is getting too long.  But I’m glad to be back and will be posting again with some real, usable recipes soon.

-SE

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