Monday, August 12, 2013

Cooking up a Paleo Storm

In between work and class projects I've some how found the time to read a few paleo books.  While I don't follow the paleo diet 100%, and Ryan certainly doesn't; most of our meals are fairly compliant.  As an NWW dietitian the diet we recommend is relatively close to paleo, but for many clients we still allow them to eat some bread or crackers, whole grains, beans, and dairy  if we feel their body/metabolism can handle it.  This is in contrast to people following a strict paleo diet who forgo all grains (except the occasional rice), beans and lentils, and dairy (except butter and cream).  One thing NWW and paleo have in common 100% is NO SUGAR!  Or at least keeping it very minimal.

Back to what I've read.  First up was It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  This was a great book.  They did a fantastic job describing insulin resistance and leaky gut in terms anyone can understand.  Their Whole30 diet challenge is a great way to get people to make changes and feel the difference.  Plus you can log onto their whole9life web page for more support and reading.  The writing style is inspiring, and keeps the reader engaged. But my favorite part are the meal planners.  Instead of several recipes, they provide a basic skill such as browning ground meat, and then give different veggie and spice options to add variety.  I've actually made copies of these for a couple of clients who were overwhelmed with cooking and getting bored with the few things they know how to cook.  While I have not made any of their one skillet meals yet, I was inspired to make picadillo for the first time in a long time.

Next up was Practical Paleo by   This is a big book.  Similar to ISWF, Practical Paleo starts out with an explanation of gut health, and hormone balance, and a few other topics.  What I like about PP over ISWF are the pictures, especially the one about Poop.  Yes, she covers why poop looks the way it does, what is normal and why abnormal poop happens.  Speaking of poop... lets talk about fermentation and how I love to make kraut.  Maybe the connection isn't obvious to you yet, but fermented food introduce good bacteria into our digestive system.  We've been joking at work about setting up a sauerkraut station in the back room, maybe not the best idea.  But one of the opening recipes in the book is for homemade sauerkraut, I couldn't pass it up.  In another week or two, we will have spicy purple kraut!

After flipping through the recipes Ryan really wanted to make the jalapeno burgers with sweet potato buns.  But before that I made a couple of the seasoning blends and ferment some purple cabbage.  I used the cooling blend on chicken legs and threw a little of the chorizo blend in our morning eggs.  The burgers were tasty, a neat combination between the savory meat and the sweet "buns"; which are really just potato pancakes.  I ate mine open face, while Ryan went burger style.  He pulled stumps in the backyard for 3 hours, so he could use the extra carbs.  Next up from this book, Apple Egg Muffins!

Roasted zucchini to go with our burgers topped with avocado and a little cheddar.

That's a tasty burger.

For the novice home cook the recipe section of this book starts out with a how-to guide on cutting and chopping.  This is a very smart move on her part since many people do not even know basic cooking skills such as chopping an onion.

On the side I've also been reading the Civilized Caveman blog.  From his recipes I made the Sweet Potato Ginger brownies, and a couple days later used the leftovers to make french toast for sunday breakfast.  Mmm Mmm Mmm.  However, I'm coming to the realization that I don't really like the texture of bake goods that only use coconut flour.  His banana bread is supposed to be amazing, so when I get a chance (and some ripe bananas) that will definitely be in my oven.

Last but not least, cucumbers.  We picked up a giant bag of pickling cucumbers from the farmers market yesterday, they are super tasty.  I knew I would make a cucumber-dill-tomato salad for the Night to Unite block party, but what else?  Then I thought...duh...make pickles.  I've never made pickles before but I know how it's done.  Of course knowing me I didn't want to make them the quick refrigerator way, nope, I want to ferment mine!  So thanks to Mark Sisson, it was easy to pull p a recipe on making fermented pickles.  I got to try these just this morning.  They are delicious and crunchy, and super salty.

Ok everybody, get out there read, cook, and ferment!


  1. Thanks for turning me on to George, the Civilized Caveman. I hadn't run across him yet. He has an interesting background.


  2. I like to make pickles and conservation, especially tomatoes and peppers. Always do experiments with new recipes.