Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 Favorite Paleo Recipes So far, Part One: Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Disclaimer: This is a Paleo for the Rest of Us Recipe. Which means it's not for the hard-core. Which means, it's fine for me. Sometimes my desire for something sweet (besides fruit) gets the best of me. This version of pumpkin pie fits under the category of Not For Everyday, but is still a whole heck of lot better than a package of cookies split between me and the fam for dinner.

Vita-Mix Paleo Pumpkin Pie

1 pie pumpkin, cooked
1 cup organic whipping cream
1/2 cup raw milk
3 cage- free chicken eggs
1 - 2 t ginger
1 - 2 t nutmeg
1 - 2 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup sugar and/or your choice equivalent sweetener (maple syrup is great, but takes longer to bake and half Stevia in the Raw/half sugar is good too).

I just scooped out the pumpkin after cooking it, and threw it straight into the Vita-Mix. (Food processor owners could just process the pumpkin separately.) The first time I made it, I blended it first, and then added the other ingredients. I noticed no difference the second time when I just threw it all in and blended it with the stick. If you use less sugar/sweetener, I'd suggest using the upper range of spices. I poured this in a rather large buttered glass casserole and baked on 375 for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness. Alternately, if you want a traditionally shaped pie, this mixture will fill two pie plates. The pie should be soft, but not wet in the center when done, and should not brown. Another good hint for doneness is when it pulls away from the sides of the baking dish.

I've never been a fan of soggy pie crust anyway, so I probably prefer this version to the original. We eat it with homemade whipped cream, since we do dairy on special occasions and, after all, pumpkin pie is a special occasion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Converting the Family to Paleo (Without Convincing Them)

As the Primary Preparer of Meals around here, I've been making changes in what I cook for everyone. As planned, I did not convert the family to Paleo cold-turkey (though I did myself). Even so, I'm thrilled with the changes I've made so far. For example....
• Everyone is eating A LOT less sugar. Dessert is generally of a healthy variety (ie. pumpkin custard or a piece of dark chocolate) and at most once a day. In the past, my love language was baking decadently, so this is significant change.

• Everyone is eating A LOT less grain. With the exception of a couple requests for oatmeal, I've prepared no grain-centered meals. This is HUGE progress for me, the former bakery owner, lover of bread, maker of homemade tortillas with nearly every meal!

• Everyone is eating A LOT more protein from meat and fish and eggs. And, of course, they're thrilled about this.

So, we still have a ways to go, and I'm not even sure what my end-goal is for the family regarding paleo, but I know the changes I've made with/for them are several steps in the right direction. The best part? Not a single protest. Kind of like a great hair-cut. The best kind is the one no one notices.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weight Loss and Paleo

Yes, I'm only two weeks in. But whatever "water weight" I was going to lose is lost by now and I'm still going down.


Is it that my body is healing itself without the presence of grain and sugars in the diet?


Is it because I plain and simple find it nearly impossible to overeat meat, fruit, and veggies?

Maybe both. But either way (or both) I'm very happy with Paleo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

2 Paleo Surprises

So, I've been logging my food in on Daily Burn. I switched to that site so I could input on-the-go with my iPhone, only to find that the app is for iPhone 4. Bummer. I've used FitDay off and on for years and certainly would have gone that route had I known the app would be useless to me. That said, the user shared database of Daily Burn is incredible and it really is much, much faster to use, though less detailed than Fit Day unless you upgrade. I don't really want to log every day; I tend to be a little to anal and I worry too much about the numbers. Not really the Paleo mindset. However, I did find a few surprises.

First of all, it's been really tough for me to get in enough protein.
I'm aiming for 91-130 grams based on Robb Wolf's recommendation and my ideal (not current) weight. I am eating MUCH more meat than I used to, but I still have to really try hard to make that range on a daily basis. Though it seems "unnatural" I've started adding egg whites to my omelets to help. I think my frugal grocery ways have probably sabotaged my health (and worse, probably that of my darling, auto-immunilogically challenged daughter). I cooked 2 1/2 pound of chicken breasts last night. We had left overs, but in the past I would have stretched that bag of chicken over several meals for a family of five with beans, rice and tortillas. I'm not quite sure how I'll balance the numbers, but I am sure that what I always considered "healthy and frugal" in the past was really unintentional carbohydrate loading in the name of saving money.

Secondly, I've been shocked at how easy it is to stay within the an ideal calorie range when grains, sugars and legumes are out of the picture. That may seem obvious to some. I was surprised. Being as full as I am after meals (though, lately quite hungry between them), I was shocked to see my calorie numbers hover under 1200. Without limiting my food intake at all. 3 squares and snacks when hungry. This is nice.

I'm going to back off of weighing everyday and food journaling for a while and enjoy the ride. Wild Salmon, cole slaw and green salad for dinner. Still loving Paleo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Paleo Side effects

  1. Diarrhea like crazy the first two days.
  2. Not irritable (unlike my former 25 mile a week, 1,000 calorie days).
  3. Have eaten some of my favorite things I haven't had in a long time (like spaghetti squash and mushrooms!).
  4. Haven't really enjoyed my coffee. Hmmmmm.
  5. Been in the bathroom peeing constantly. All day. All night.
  6. Feel energetic.
  7. A little bit of difficulty staying asleep (probably related to #6).
  8. Really enjoyed my food.
  9. Lost 4 pounds in under a week.
  10. Thankfulness!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Starting Paleo: What it Will Look Like for Me and my Family

My biggest reason for wanting to go paleo is to see if we can deal with some stubborn chronic health conditions. I have many symptoms of Celiac Disease. My daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was three and has had several other immune system disorders. My spouse deals with digestion problems regularly. My daughter with JRA and I also both have weight issues. I don't know what mine are related to (and it's not overeating, btw, but that's another post); my daughter's stem from over-exposure to steroids to manage the arthritis.

That's the big picture, but I'm still wondering how the family will react. Will we really never eat tortillas? (Somos mexicanos.) Not bake anymore? (I used to run a small bakery.) Leave Nutella sandwiches on wholewheat behind? (It's my go-to substitute for dessert.)

So, while I think paleo is probably the easiest "handle" to put on this lifestyle choice, like many who practice it, I think we'll see it as something of a continuum. Personally, I plan on limiting dairy a lot. Live-culture yogurt, a little cream with coffee once in a while, and maybe cheese on a special occasion? The kids already drink as much almond milk as cow's milk, and I'll probably keep them headed in that general direction. Sugar? We fairly regularly fast from sugar anyway, but it's definitely feast or famine. I'll be happy to leave it behind for good. Vegetables: check. Tubers: they're not good for RA anyway, so we'll stay away. Legumes? Still researching. Grain? I plan on avoiding it nearly entirely myself and weaning the family off as far as I can get away with it. Meat/Poultry/Fish? Yes, as high a quality as I can afford, as a bare minimum, avoiding growth hormone and nitrites, and grass-fed/free-range as often as possible.

As far as a timeline is concerned, I plan on making a clean break from my current diet and starting fresh. I had bread for breakfast, rice noodles with lunch and pasta salad for dinner. I'm done and ready to turn the page and see how this will work for me. As far as the fam is concerned, I think it will be prudent to be sneaky. I'll ease them into it while I learn more about shopping and cooking paleo. I'd like to get them used to it in practice before I let them in on it. Since I do all the food prep and they're used to eating what's put before them (for the most part), I think I can pull it off.

I'm Not a Caveman (And Neither are You)

I want to "go" paleo. But I don't believe in cavemen. Or in millions of years of evolution. Nor do I believe the Bible-thumpers who say milk and honey were negatives or that Adam and Eve weren't vegetarians. I also think it's safe to assume that it's stretching exegesis to the breaking point to say that the reason God wasn't happy with Cain's offering was because it was grain.

However, from the little research I've done so far on the subject, it is very believable to me that bread was a very different animal than it is now. (Food Inc. anyone?) And our lives are certainly very different. So, I'm past the point where I feel I can't be anti-bread in practice and still pro Jesus the Bread of Life. Maybe He's the only Bread we need! ;)

So what else could I call it? "Meat and Veggies and Fruit and Eggs with a Smidgen of Dairy" isn't very catchy. Besides, my blog title's already too long. Maybe an acronym is in order? Umm....better not.

Maybe the catchphrase "Paleo" isn't so bad after all. Minus the stuff about the evolving cave dwellers.