While I actually prefer to describe what I eat or don’t eat, some people feel more comfortable with a name, a title, a moniker, if you will. Okay. It’s called Paleo – “Pay-leo.” Paleolithic eating. Caveman diet, perhaps. Well, not if that conjures up images of a big club, saber-toothed tigers, and eating raw meat! Please! I am sitting here wearing pearls and sporting sandals with heels!
No, Paleo is a descriptive of how mankind ate eons ago, before the advent of cultivated grains, and certainly before the advent of today’s “Frankenfoods” that are unidentifiable from their long lists of chemical ingredients. You could call it whole foods without the gluten and lectin from grains, and legumes to kick-start unhappy bellies, inflammation, or leaky gut. A time without added sugar.
Why would anyone like to eat like that? Well, judging from the robust health and physical structure of the Paleolithic peoples, we could learn a thing or two. Such as… the Paleolithic people were taller, stronger boned, had better teeth, lived longer, and had no precursors to modern day aliments or diseases compared with the Neolithic peoples who followed them to become the first farmers. The poor farmers who had all the cultivated grains and corn to add to their diets lived shorter lives, were shorter, had weaker bones, really needed to see a dentist for cavities, had higher child mortality, and showed many precursors to modern diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancers. (1)
Hmmmm. But those Paleo people didn’t live as long as we do! Right on! They also did not have the benefits of modern medicine, emergency departments, or hand hygiene. Taking a bad fall could spell the end of the Paleo man, woman, or child, without clean dressings, antibiotics, or an x-ray machine! Clearly there would have been little opportunity to be careless in everyday life, lest the family unit become jeopardized upon the death or injury of one member.
So- life without Pop Tarts, Hostess Twinkies, Frosted Flakes, Oreos, Coke, frozen pizza…”Egad!” What’s left, you may ask? Try (free range and pasture raised/never corn fed) meat, poultry, eggs; fresh fish and sea food; vegetables; roots; fruit in season; nuts; seeds. With our amazing cooking methods, equipment, spices, and flavorings, you are looking at totally wonderful food with endless variety!
More-over, such a diet plan will never leave you hungry or feeling deprived. Such a diet is high in protein, good fats, (as opposed to the “Frankenfats” of today which are highly processed), lots of fiber, and is not dependent on starchy carbohydrates which cause blood sugar, (read: insulin), problems.
It’s a process. Is all of my meat pasture raised? Not yet; some, not all. But I buy the best I can; a local market is carrying pasture raised ground beef. That’s a beginning, but I am not sure it is “pasture finished” meaning they did not add a bunch of corn to the animal’s diet before market. Remember, corn is used to fatten animals, not to make better protein. We have to look for animals raised outside of the feedlot conditions of massive production facilities so they are more humanly treated and not given hormones and unnecessary antibiotics. The day-to-day stress hormones of the feedlot life are transferred to the meat we eat along with the injected hormones and antibiotics. That is one link to some of the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria, and crazy hormone imbalances in people.
But, still; what do I eat? Okay, here is what my plate looked like a couple nights ago:
Lamb shoulder chop, bone-in
Avocado oil (used in the pan)
Salt and pepper
Curried coconut carrots
Coconut oil (used in the pan)
Sliced carrots (4 medium)- I used my food processor to make even, thin slices
Curry powder to taste
Unsweetened coconut flakes
1-2 Tbsp. water to help steam with lid on after stir-cooking on medium heat
Brussels sprouts with cranberries and prosciutto:
Prosciutto – 2 to 3 slices torn into small pieces
Sliced Brussels sprouts (1 bag)
Ghee (used in the pan)
¼ cup dried cranberries
1-2 Tbsp. water to help steam with lid on after stir-cooking on medium
What about special events? Parties happen, folks, and I’ll be there! Always gluten-free, though.
Let’s see; the party this past weekend featured some of North Carolina’s finest pork BBQ, (I passed on the hush puppies), and there were salads, veggies, deviled eggs (that’s what I brought), and fruit. It was great! But I really wanted to “par-tay” so I whipped up a gluten-free cake (thank you Betty Crocker), sliced some strawberries with a pinch of sugar, and whipped coconut cream to top it off! Yum! Was there sugar? Yes. But a minimal amount. Were there some chemicals in that cake mix? Yes. But it was gluten-free.
“Ya gotta’ live!” Life is about balance, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! I came with a happy belly and I left with one; gluten-free does not mean deprivation. Paleo is not limiting.
My dinner on the grounds of Tryon Palace last night while waiting for the NC Symphony to play for us consisted of left-over deviled eggs, some tuna salad, and- ta-da- some of my strawberry shortcake. Pretty good eats for me. I passed on the cookies that were offered; not a problem. I was full!