The Breaking of the Gluten Fast

beignet

Let me start by saying I saved myself for New Orleans beignets. For two years my fear of migraines, heartburn and bloating have made it easy to not eat anything with gluten. I’ve been “gluten free” with cause since 2008, but would periodically (several times a year) ignore the need and indulge in real pizza crust or a doughnut or California Rolls. When my migraines began creeping back to a regular frequency (monthly) I decided it was time to get serious and cut out gluten permanently. I have a whole dairy story too, but let’s just say I can’t cheat with that either. For the most part I honestly never feel like I’m missing out when it comes to food, because I eat so well and I don’t have cravings. Okay, sometimes for wine and dark chocolate, but in reasonable amounts. Long story short, I’ve been planning a beignet binge for the better part of six months and thought I would share my results with you.

We were in NOLA for a wedding last weekend and I can report it ranks in at a solid second place after my son’s wedding as far as fun goes. It was on Saturday night, so I waited until Sunday for my Café du Monde excursion afraid I might end up with a migraine, gluten baby or horrible congestion. I indulged in three gloriously fresh fried, powder sugar encrusted dough bits and enjoyed them tremendously. Every greasy, sweet, chewy bite. And while I felt full, I was fine. I also had nachos and enchiladas that day. Quite frankly I was shocked that I felt normal. So now I can go out and binge all the time!!! Just kidding, I know better.

The moral of this binge on gluten from my perspective is this; if you want real healing to occur in your gut, you have to eat real food, have good sleep and stress relief hygiene, and move. Walk outdoors and lift heavy things and surround yourself with good people. You have to do this for a long time before you “cheat.” Maybe a year, maybe two, maybe three. I was forty when I found out I was gluten and dairy intolerant and had what I now know was the beginnings of autoimmune issues. Real food, real activity, real sleep is a lifestyle, not a diet. You are kidding yourself if you think one Whole 30 is going to fix you forever. It is a stepping stone to get you on track for having a better quality of life. You have damaged your gut over a lot of years and you need to honor yourself enough to give it time to heal. Use the wealth of free information on sites like www.Robbwolf.com , www.thepaleomom.com, www.marksdailyapple.com, www.everydaypaleo.com, and www.radicatamedicine.com to get started. Check out the books links in my resource section for help too. You don’t have to pay for meal plans or shopping lists, because people who live this way (like me) want to help you. Recruit family and friends to do it with you and have planning dates and batch cooking parties. It is work, but it is beyond worth it. If you put in the work, down the road you can have some of the celebratory treats on special occasions. If you still want them 😉

Inspiration from popular_paleo on Instagram

broccoli

My daughter-in-law recently turned me on to popular_paleo on Instagram and today she posted about her leftover rotisserie chicken that she mixed in with her Brussel sprouts. I thought, “Hey! I have some broccoli salad and leftover chicken breast!” So I made a delicious, quick meal out of both after mixing them together with a half of diced avocado. It took me about dos minutos to mix together and was yummy.  What is my point? Find people on social media to get inspiration when you need it and share what you make as well. This real food journey we are on is revolutionary! People are out there that don’t know how to survive without processed food and have no clue that whole wheat sandwiches with low-fat, vegetable oil mayo is not good for them.  Be a real food messenger and promoter.

Leftover Scramble

What are you doing for your health today? I’m going to sit less, walk more, make some real food and start a health challenge at my gym. Being mindful of having healthy habits can be difficult and I have fallen into a pattern of only getting my three weekly dance fitness classes in. Three hours a week of aerobic activity is better than doing nothing, but still inadequate for real health. Eight hours or more of inactivity cannot be undone by an hour at the gym. Build more movement into your day. Get a standing desk if you have an office job. Get on the floor during TV time and stretch, roll out with mobility tools or just practice good posture. Take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk during breaks even if it is only ten minutes. Make a list of the places you can build in movement throughout your day and check them off as you do them. Katy Bowman, a bio mechanist of the website http://www.katysays.com/ has some great ideas and resources if you truly want to add movement to your life and learn why it matters.

Here is a recipe for that “Ack! I have no bacon” moment that can happen in the morning. Here is an easy leftover scramble that you can make with whatever you have in your fridge.

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Leftover Scramble

  • Meat (I had ham)
  • Eggs
  • Veggies (I had cooked sweet potato, kale, broccoli & green onions)
  • 2 tbls fat for cooking (I used ghee)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin if you want some additional flavor
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic

Dice meat and sauté in fat until nearly cooked. Add chopped vegetables and cook. Scramble the eggs with the spices and add to the cooked meat and veggies. Cook until eggs are blended with the meat and vegetables and firm.

Use what you have in your fridge! Most of what I cook has no recipe. You learn through practice what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment in your kitchen.

Paleo Shepard’s Pie

As usual I modified what I’m sure was a delicious recipe in order to suit my particular tastes, available resources and food intolerances. The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Haley Mason & Bill Staley of http://www.primalpalate.com has a ton of great information, meal plans and shopping lists. If you are a person who likes to have plans, lists and tasty recipes, buy their cookbook.

I have three, 6’2″, 210+ lb males that frequently require feeding in my life. All eat paleo and in addition to that I am gluten, casein and nightshade intolerant. Why is this important? Because it means I have to find satiating, delicious, high volume meals that occasionally allow me to leave the kitchen. This Shepard’s Pie fits the bill. Although, next time I will be doubling the quantities to have leftovers.

As always, read all the directions before you start. This is a skill I’ve only gained in my 40’s. Whether it is recipes, knitting or sewing instructions. READ ALL THE DIRECTIONS BEFORE YOU START ANYTHING. Trust me, life will be easier.

Shepard’s Pie– Ingredients: ground beef, zucchini, yellow squash, onion carrots, cauliflower, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, ghee (or other cooking fat)

2 lbs. grass fed ground beef (lamb or buffalo would work too)

2 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. thyme

1 Tbls granulated garlic

1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce

Mix above ingredients into meat (if this grosses you out wear clean, rubber kitchen gloves while mixing), pat into  9 x 13 pan, bake for 35-40 min at 350 degrees

SP Saute

1 ½ cups each coarsely chopped zucchini, yellow squash & carrots

1 cup chopped yellow onion (Medium sized onion?)

-Saute the veggies in 2 Tbls ghee or grass fed butter

-Put sautéed veggies on top of cooked meat

1 Large (or 2 small) heads of cauliflower

Boil a large head (or two small heads) of cauliflower in water (or bone broth if you have it) until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, cool a bit and place cauliflower into a food processor. You need a food processor. It will change your life. Puree until creamy and season to taste. Meaning, put ghee, salt & pepper as needed. Spread this fake mashed potato creation on top of your meat & veggies and proceed to browning your cauliflower topping. About 15 minutes on a high broil setting. Watch it so it doesn’t fry to a crisp. Slightly brown is perfect.

This is an ugly picture, but it is a realistic expectation. It may not look fantastic, but it tastes great!

Shepards Pie Finished

Enjoy!

No-Tato Potato Salad

Potato salad is a favorite of mine. Especially my potato salad. However through my real food discovery process, which involved a six month Nightshade elimination protocol, I no longer eat white potatoes on a regular basis. Yesterday I had a breakthrough in the kitchen with an acceptable substitute for my old favorite potato salad. Using turnips. Yes, turnips. And the good news is they will impact your blood sugar way less than potatoes as they are much lower in carbohydrates. I pay close attention to the amount of carbs I eat as I’ve discovered I feel and function best when I keep my daily carbohydrate in take between 50-75 grams a day. Here is a link to read up on Nightshades: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/08/what-are-nightshades.html

Feel free to add and modify the recipe to your own taste preferences. For example use celery for more crunch or Dijon mustard in the dressing.

Turnip Salad

2 cups cubed (1/2” cubes) turnips, sautéed and browned until they start to get soft, but not mushy

2 TBLS coconut oil

½ cup chopped carrots

¾ cup chopped dill pickles

1 cup chopped white onions

4 extra-large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dressing

½ cup mayo (see previous post for homemade mayo instructions)

2 tsp garlic juice (I buy the jar of minced organic garlic and drain the juice from that)

2 tsp minced garlic

1 TBLS lemon juice

1 TBLS apple cider vinegar

2 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1 tsp salt

  • Chop the turnips and cook in a pan over medium heat with the coconut oil. Boil the eggs.
  • While the turnips and eggs are cooking, chop the other salad ingredients and place in a bowl.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate container and set aside.
  • After the eggs have cooled peel & chop them and put in the bowl with carrots, pickles & onions. Cool the turnips a bit and add them in with the other veggies.
  • Mix the dressing in with the salad ingredients and chill at least an hour before serving.

Paleo Crab Cakes With Garlic Aioli

Seafood is something that I’ve been trying to incorporate into our diet on a more regular basis. It’s a great source of protein, omega 3’s and a variety of minerals. However my disgust of shrimp, prawns and most fish make it a bit of a challenge. Two of my favorites are crab and salmon and I always try to eat wild caught. Fortunately the price of crab has been almost affordable and is my go to lazy meal choice. I had a package in the freezer and decided to try my hand at crab cakes. I looked through a few recipes, made adjustments and cooked up the following. It was very tasty.

Crab Cakes with Garlic Aioli

Crab Cakes

1 lb crab meat

3 green onions chopped

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 tsp prepared mustard

2 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup almond meal

1 large egg

1/3 cup homemade mayo (see previous post on my blog)

  1. Whisk the egg in a bowl and add all the ingredients except crab and almond meal. Mix until blended and then blend in crab and almond meal. You can add more or less almond meal so you have crab patties that will hold their shape when you fry them up.
  2. Form 6-8 patties and fry them in bacon, ghee or your fat of choice for 5 minutes on each side.

Garlic Aioli

½ cup homemade mayo (see previous post on my blog)

1 tsp garlic granules

1-2 tsp minced garlic

1-2 tsp garlic juice

2 TBLS lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

I like to buy the organic, chopped garlic in a jar and drain the juice out of that.

Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to your own preference. I like garlic.

  1. Mix the above ingredients until well mixed.

After frying the crab cakes and plating them, put 1 to 2 TBLS of the garlic aioli on top. Enjoy! 🙂

Paleo Is Not A Diet

What I like most about eating real food is that it has impacted other aspects of my life. Leading me to the decision to write about the fact that paleo is not just about the food. It has made me a more mindful person when it comes to the lifestyle choices I make, the importance of my food sources and the people I listen to.

Lifestyle adjustments are important. You must make a conscious effort to lead a life with as little stress as possible. This means learning to say no. I am a giver, fixer and problem solver. In years past I would over extend myself (constantly being busy) thinking it was a good thing. It’s not. I thought volunteering for booster clubs, helping friends in crisis on top of going to college and raising my family was just the way it had to be. I’ve learned in middle age that other people (including employers) not planning well in their own lives is not my problem. I’ve learned that taking care of myself first helps me be better for the people I love the most. For me what is important is my family and friends and being able to spend quality time with them. Material things are not what nutures our spirit. What matters are the relationships we build. This “paleo” lifestyle has taught me to expend energy in a way that fosters relationships. Group dinners and gym potlucks, coffee or workout dates with friends are examples. Reach out to those around you and plan events that improve your health and help you connect with your community.

Where your food comes from matters. I do my best to buy local organic vegetables, pastured eggs and grass-fed meat. I grow what I can during the summer in my own garden which provides me with healthy doses of Vitamin D and joy from digging in the dirt. If you don’t have your own room to garden check out community gardens in your town. Some schools or local farms have gardens that will exchange produce for weeding time. It is a way to connect to the land and teach yourself and your children about where food comes from. It also offers the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables in the real food recipes you are making. If gardening is out of the question, find your local farmers market and make it a weekly excursion.

What inputs you allow into your head are important. We are saturated in media these days and it is vital to find sources rooted in solid science when it comes to our health. I have read voraciously over the past six years trying to expand my knowledge of nutrition and have listened to many health lectures that were way over my head. To be honest I rely on people with a background in science to decipher it for me. Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, Aglaée Jacob and Robb Wolf are people I trust to give me honest information, because they have scientific backgrounds and understand how to look at the efficacy of a scientific study. They also will adjust their nutritional and lifestyle advice based on current research. Be a skeptic when it comes to nutritional advice. Educate yourself and never assume what you are hearing or reading is fact, because every study can be funded by someone with their own agenda or a desire to protect their money. Ideal health comes from doing your own research and determining what your optimal diet is through elimination and reintroduction of foods.

Be selfish when it comes to your wellbeing, because in the end it makes you healthier and happier for the people that matter the most.

Paleo Crockpot Pot Roast

It is an exciting time in the paleosphere! Recent research reports in the media are reaffirming the importance of healthy fats in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, improving autoimmune conditions and diabetes through eating real food, as well as the important message that activity and movement throughout the day is imperative for longevity and health. If a person desires reclaiming or maintaining their health, the information is out there and it is free. Eating the right food is but one piece in having health. You must also get exposure to daylight, sleep, exercise and movement throughout the day to be the specimen of vigor we seek. All the best to everyone in their pursuit! If you don’t know where to start and want a mentor and guidance, reach out to someone in your life that has started down the path already. It can be scary to start what might be a drastic change in your life, but people (like me) want to help. Just ask!

Paleo Crockpot Pot Roast

(Please note that my method is not a traditional one and chefs everywhere would disapprove, but it works.)

I took a frozen 7-bone pot roast out of the freezer, put it in my cast iron skillet and threw some salt, pepper and garlic granules on top. I heated the oven to 375 degrees and put the frozen roast in for 30 minutes and then flipped it for 10 more minutes.

APotRoast

From there I placed the roast in my crockpot on low and covered it with a couple cups of bone broth, yams/sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, kale & onions. I cooked it on low for 6 hours before serving. As I had already seasoned the roast and bone broth with salt, pepper and garlic I didn’t add any additional seasonings. However, I sometimes throw in a tablespoon of Italian seasoning or rosemary if I need to.

Here is a before & after:

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Plantain Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Happy New Year to you all! I’ve been in the kitchen quite a bit lately and have come up with a couple of new, easy snack type foods that meet my gluten, dairy and legume free requirements. One is a lettuce wrap that I fill with ham, turkey, salami, cucumber, onion and carrots mixed with homemade mayo & homemade Italian dressing. Yum! Quick, veggie rich and reminiscent of a drippy sub sandwich. The other a muffin recipe which I posted below.

I really want to go on a rant about eating real food and how overweight, unhealthy people could immensely improve their lives by making changes to the food they put in their pie-hole. However, I’ve decided to make my New Year’s resolution that I won’t talk about food. Hence the recipe and not the rant.

My blossoming interest for the year is learning more about how we can repair the land and environment through restoring grazing animals to the grasslands. I read a great article in Harper’s magazine a couple years ago that piqued my interest and after listening to a great podcast on Robbwolf.com I realized I need to know more. Alan Savory’s TED Talk on the subject is on my to-do list for the week. http://robbwolf.com/2014/12/06/episode-248-soil-carbon-cowboys-russ-conser-peter-byck/

I came across a gf banana bread recipe, made several modifications and it has become a great treat food at our house. They actually cook up like muffins! (If you are a seasoned paleo baker, you know how miraculous this is.) I’ve made them with and without the nuts and chocolate chips and they are tasty either way.

Plantain Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

2 medium sized yellowish plantains cut into chunks

3 eggs

1/2 cup sunbutter

3 TBLS melted coconut oil

3 tsp lemon juice

1/3 cup tapioca flour (or gf flour substitute)

¼ maple syrup

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Put all but the walnuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and process well (1-2 minutes, scraping sides as needed). Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Scoop by the ¼ cup into a greased 12 muffin baking pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes a dozen muffins.

Crazy Cooking Frenzy

I cooked for 6 hours today. I’ve been slacking the past few weeks, cooking the old standbys (meatloaf, stew, hamburgers, salmon on the Traeger) and decided to pull out a few of my cookbooks and try some new recipes. Man, I love Sarah Fragoso. I have three of her Everyday Paleo cookbooks. I flipped through one of them and settled on meatballs with spaghetti squash, sloppy Joes, BBQ sauce and stuffing, compiled my shopping list and hit the store. In addition to those I made some BBQ chicken thighs and beer can chicken. Yes, I know beer is not paleo, but I had a can left over someone left at our house and decided to use it. (I don’t eat chicken so I don’t have to worry about the gluten exposure.) Long story short I cooked a lot of food. I’d post pictures, but I’m exhausted. However my fridge and freezer are stocked for at least the next week and I only have four things to cook tomorrow. The hubby has eaten 6 huge meatballs and 1/3 of the chicken and now he’s asking for cookies. Too bad.

This was a long day, but I actually prefer batch cooking when I have the time. There is something very satisfying about knowing I can pull food out for the next week that is healthy, tasty and satisfying.  If you are trying to decide which cookbook to buy, the one pictured below is a good one. 🙂

everyday