Friday, May 17, 2013

Could you eat Paleo ?

You must have heard the buzz about Paleo eating, it is very popular right now. It is basically eating like a caveman did 10,000 years ago. The diet is comprised of meats, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. Anything that could have been hunted or gathered. No grains, no dairy, no legumes, no potatoes and no processed sugar or oils, because  these foods were all a result of the agricultural revolution.  You may use limited quantities of raw honey or coconut palm sugar.

The rationale behind this diet is that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat like our hunter-gatherer Paleolithic ancestors. Supporters of this lifestyle argue that eliminating dairy, grains and legumes and processed oils can reduce the occurrence of chronic modern day diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and reduce inflammation, acne and even lower blood pressure.

Sounds good, but too limiting for  me.

I think you would be missing out in several nutrient rich foods by going 100% Paleo, but I do think it wouldn’t hurt to have Paleo days. Challenge yourself to come up with menus that center around lean protein and vegetables, fruit for dessert.

I recently tried a Paleo day, and the hardest part for me was having my coffee black, I love my morning cup of Joe with skim milk, so I might go with 90% Paleo days and allow myself a little milk in my coffee.  It does have Vitamin D, and we are all low in that.

What I like about Paleo eating  is that it really is challenging me to eat less processed carbs, I would normally turn to an English muffin for breakfast with my eggs or for my lunch to make a sandwich.  It is forcing me to think outside the bread. I know I could not eat like this for more than a few days, I am going to stick with one day a week for now, but  after one day it is clear that there are some positive health benefits. Mainly, it forces you to eat more fruit and vegetables. Otherwise you will starve. So I guess a cause of death for cavemen children who didn’t like their vegetables was starvation.

Here are the Paleo meals I survived on:

For breakfast I made scrambled eggs(one whole egg and 2 egg whites) with sautéed vegetable hash that included scallions, mushrooms , zucchini and tomatoes. Very filling, off to a good start, I could do Paleo. Remember, no butter, I just used a tiny bit of olive oil to sauté the veggies.
(Sorry, forgot to take photo)
I messed up on my post run smoothie/morning snack.  I thought I was being good by eliminating the yogurt and milk, I used coconut water instead, but I used one scoop of protein powder and one tablespoon of dehydrated peanut butter, neither of which are Paleo. I did add fresh picked garden baby spinach and half a banana, so it was healthy nonetheless. I will have to work on a Paleo smoothie for my Paleo day next week. A friend suggested coconut milk or almond milk. Maybe almond butter instead of the dehydrated peanut butter.

Back on Paleo track, was  an arugula salad (also fresh picked from my garden) with orange segments, red onion, grilled cod and slivered almonds (cod was precooked frozen, just had to microwave for 3 minutes, salmon or tilapia would be good also) I made a simple dressing with a splash of olive oil and really good balsamic vinegar that I purchased at the Warwick, New York  Farmer’s Market on Mother’s Day.( wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning or afternoon) Did the cavemen have balsamic? I doubt it, so another Paleo violation (this is hard!)

6oz grilled fish
Arugula (as much as you want)
Sliced red onion
1 orange segmented
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Afternoon snack:
I was pretty hungry so I had a boiled egg and a cup of black tea. I could just see those cavemen sitting around the campfire drinking tea. I am not arguing, tea is considered Paleo, I don’t make the rules, just following them.

I almost ditched the Paleo plan, I was hungry and only had ground beef in the fridge for dinner, and not a lot of time to prepare it. I decided to make burgers, quesadilla burgers, my kids love those. Similar to the one served at Applebees. I could make mine without  the cheese and no tortilla.  I made mango salsa, regular salsa, guacamole ( all Paleo friendly). It was a Paleo Party, well it felt like a party, with the 3 toppings to choose from, this was a fun meal to eat. It was so satisfying, I never missed the cheese or the tortilla. Also, I usually need a little something sweet after dinner, I did not that night, my Paleo burger  and toppings kept the sweet tooth at bay.

So, overall, I think it was a success, definitely challenging. I would do it again, might even convince my family to try. After all it’s only one day.

I will post the actual recipes for these dishes soon, sorry but it is gardening season, not too much time to post recipes, so many garden chores. The arugula and spinach photos are from my garden. I just love the spring garden! Let me know if you give Paleo a try and how you made out.

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