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Paleo Diet: What are we eating?

February 27, 2011

Just checking in to let you know we survived 4 days of the Paleo diet…and that we deserve a pat on the back for the sacrifices we’ve had to make.  

Need a refresher?  The Paleo diet is based on a few key principles:  only eat foods that can be picked or hunted in nature, avoid foods that cannot be eaten raw, and choose meat products from animals fed their natural food.  What does that mean?

  • Eat this: Meats, poultry, fish, eggs (local, organic, free-range, where possible), veggies, fruits (in moderation) and nuts/seeds.
  • Not that: Grains (rice, corn, wheat, etc), legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc) , dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk, etc), alcohol, sugar.

Turning down free pizza at the office, nachos and beer at the pub, and plain ol’ rice (a staple with Indian or Thai food) has been tough.   It’s our second kick at the can, so we can’t screw up AGAIN.

Truth is, we attempted the diet a week earlier and I thought Keith and I were managing well.  Until I found a little surprise in our car.  In the cup holder sat a plastic cup with caramel sauce residue.  Yes – Keith, my husband-to-be, cheated on me.  He had an ice cream sundae!   Not only did he neglect to tell me about it BUT when confronted, he claimed that someone else was in the car and must have left it there.  Keith finally owned up to it with a text message that read, “I’m sorry…I thought dairy was OK!”.  Nice try buddy.  

So that afternoon while out with the girls, I debated whether I should have a  little cheat myself.   My decision was made effortlessly when I caught a glimpse of the dessert bar at Pusateri’s.   I don’t know how any human being (with a sweet tooth) can walk out of there without one of their decadent desserts.  We shared their almond shortbread cookies (heavenly) and creme du leche cheesecake (heavenly x 2).  

Back to square one we went.  After a few days of cheating, we kicked off the Paleo diet for a second time.  Below is a sampling of our meals for this week.  As I mentioned in my previous post, meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner are used interchangeable in the Paleo world.  So be prepared to have eggs for dinner or chicken for breakfast. 

Breakfast

  • Burgies, which are homemade hamburgers without the bun (“burgies” just makes them sound more appropriate for breakfast).   Just combine a package of (ideally grass-fed, naturally raised) ground beef or chicken with onions and spices.  Shape them and place a few at a time in your frying pan.  Give it 5-10 minutes until they’re cooked thoroughly.  Then throw some avocado on top.
  • Eggs are a staple and we’ll have them whenever we run out of “burgies” or don’t feel like leftover salmon for breakfast.  I have 3 cartons in my fridge at all times.
  • Leftover lunch or dinner.  Case in point…here’s what I’m eating for breakfast (along with half a banana and almond butter) 

Breakfast: Steak, asparagus and avocado

Lunch:

  • Cabbage salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, avocado and chicken.
  • Salmon with steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts.
  • If we don’t have time to prepare anything at home, Keith will grab Greek (chicken and veggies only), Thai (green curry chicken, no rice) and I’ll have a medley of meat and vegetables at Mercato Giovanni’s Fresh Food (lunch buffet by weight, located in the TD Centre downtown Toronto).

Dinner:

  • Spaghetti squash with ground beef and tomato sauce.  Easy breezy and a worthy “pasta” substitute (even for an Italian).
  • Chicken stir fry with vegetables.  Cooked in coconut oil and spices.  We also use wheat-free tamari (soy sauce).
  • Pan-fried steak with salad and steamed broccoli.
  • Indian food at Babur Restaurant.  We had the only things on the menu that were “Paleo-friendly” (chicken and beef tikka masala, cauliflower and potatoes). Review to follow.
  • Dijon chicken with braised cabbage.  Made this for my cousins yesterday and they rated it an 8 out of 10.   They were probably just being polite, but either way you should grab yourself some green cabbage and get braising.

Braised cabbage

Braised Cabbage Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 or 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/4 chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil, high quality lard or bacon drippings
  • 1/8 crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste – they have some kick!)

I have NEVER made bacon or used bacon fat, but there’s a first time for everything.  I put good quality, preservative-free bacon in our Paleo broccoli salad.  I then used the drippings in the pan to drizzle over the cabbage – fantastic choice.

Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven to middle rack and pre-heat to 325 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease baking dish. Cut cabbage into 8 wedges and place on pan in a single layer.
  3. Scatter onions and carrots on top.
  4. Drizzle oil, stock or water over the vegetables and season lightly with sea salt, pepper and pepper flakes.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for one hour. 
  6. Turn the wedges over after one hour, then replace the foil and continue baking for another hour. 
  7. When the cabbage is tender, remove the foil and bake at 400 degrees for the last 15 minutes remove the foil and bake at 400 degrees.

Having spent the last 20 minutes talking about “Paleo food”, I should point out that Paleo (or primal) living isn’t just about the “diet”.  The 30-day challenge is more about “lifestyle”.   Instead of me spewing out what this entails, it’s probably best to go right to the source. Check out The Modern Primal Blueprint: The (10) Rules of Living Today and scroll down to the last section before the comments.

One of the rules is to “move around a lot”.  So I should probably get off this couch and do something active.  I have some bacon fat to burn off!


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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Tal Riff permalink
    February 27, 2011 11:55 am

    Hi Danielle,

    I’ve been inspired. Picked up the Paleo Solution book yesterday, and I’m half-done already. Noticed that Robb Wolf is giving a seminar in Toronto on March 26 – will you be attending? Would be cool to meet my fellow Leslieviller! 🙂

    Thanks for your awesome blog.
    Tal

    • February 27, 2011 2:42 pm

      Hi Tal –

      You beat me to it! I heard about Robb Wolf’s seminar last week and have been meaning to post the details. Thanks for the reminder!

      I will most definitely be there (with my dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free snacks). 🙂 Let’s connect closer to the date and figure out where to meet.

      • Tal Riff permalink
        February 27, 2011 3:12 pm

        Sounds great! Looking forward to it… 🙂

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