For the first time in my life I’ve challenged myself to a real diet change. As of Monday this week, I began a Paleo 30-day challenge. You’re probably wondering, “What the hell is that?” Well, Paleo is essentially like eating like a caveman (or cavegirl in this case), because it is based on consuming only wild plants and meats – what we presume was consumed during the Paleolithic era, just a few 10,000 years ago.
Lately I’ve been feeling tired and under the weather all the time. It’s also been harder to see results at the gym. My lifestyle consists of long work hours and a lot of events, I also love to cook, have a good time and drink wine, which is all fine and dandy until I look in the mirror. I decided take on the challenge to see how it would change my mood, energy and body.
Thankfully the adjustment hasn’t been too severe because when I’m not out indulging in delicious (but naughty) foods and drink, I am a very healthy eater. My sweet tooth is practically non existent, and ever since I pretended to have Celiac that one summer when I met my BFF Steph (who really has Celiac and I wanted to be just like her) I have greatly limited the amount of carbs I consume.
Still this first week has taken a lot of effort and discipline. No more grabbing something in a rush; everything has to be thought out, planned and prepared. Although I presently feel like I might hurt someone for a piece of pizza, I know it’s not the right thing for my body and I’ve got to stay strong!
Here are some of the foods and recipes I have enjoyed so far in my first week as a Paleo.
This is a recipe I found here on Paleo Plan. I made my own applesauce (to avoid any added sugar) by cutting up 3 apples and boiling them with skins on. Once soft, I pureed the apples in a food processor, let cool and stored in a container. In the morning, I heated 3 large tablespoons of applesauce in a pan and added raw coconut milk. Once heated, I stirred in whole almonds, a spoonful of almond butter, chopped dried apricots and seasoned with Cinnamon. I’ve never been a fan of apples sauce because the texture bothers me, but it was a good hearty alternative that I enjoyed in a slightly smaller portion.
After a half a bowl of apple sauce you can bet I was hungry shortly after I got to work. Mid morning I two hard boiled eggs with a tiny dash of hot sauce (I don’t think hot sauce is Paleo but shhh don’t tell). Throughout the day I drank warm water with lemon and lime , little to no caffeine is allowed so this is my alternative to drinking tea all day.
This is a great alternative to real pasta that I have never tried before. It is literally just shredded raw zucchini. To go with it, I made a lean pork bolognese sauce (they were out of turkey which would have been preferred). Recipes I have read recommended cooking the zucchini lightly in a pan but I was afraid this would overcook them and turn them into mush. Instead, I heated my sauce in a small pot and when it was ready I dumped in my raw zucchini and stirred it around until heated through. This kept their shape and crunch, not to mention the benefits of a nearly raw vegetable.
The Bolognese was made with all Paleo ingredients which means it’s similar to a regular recipe but no wine was added in this case (sad face).
“Pepper Squash and Coconut Soup”
This is a recipe I made up myself that is sooooo good and extremely easy to make. Cut 2 pepper squash in half and bake at 400 for one hour. Once you can poke through with a fork, remove from the oven and scoop the insides into a food processor or blender. Add 2 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade and/or organic) and blend, add in approximately 1.4 cup of raw coconut milk (think of it has your alternative to cream) and blend. You can add more or less coconut milk depending on taste, add fresh cracked pepper.
The most perfect snack might just be a cup of pepper squash and coconut soup accompanied by pan fried plantains. These are great to nibble on during the day, and make a fantastic alternative to chips if you’re missing them! To make, heat some coconut oil in a pan, slice plantain and place in heated oil, fry on both sides until golden brown.
“Jerk Salmon and Cauliflower/Leek Mash”
Here is an example of one of my Paleo dinners. I made a Paleo-approved Jamaican jerk sauce from scratch using a recipe I found here with a side of cauliflower mash (recipe found here) with the addition of leeks. For some extra oomph I added some fried plantains and kale salad to the mix of side dishes on my plate.
Muffins are an ideal breakfast for people on the go. The only problem is, they’re often super fattening and not very healthy. I have found these Paleo Egg Muffins to be awesome because they are like mini quiches (minus the cheese and crust) that work perfectly for the grab-and-go lifestyle. I used the recipe found here with the addition of extra spices and shredded zucchini.
The egg muffin made a delicious mid-morning snack paired with half and avocado and small chunk of goat cheese (Paleo approved!) – YUM!
“Beef Stew, Mash and Rapini”
This is a Paleo lunch completely made up of leftovers. I’ve found that when you are cooking Paleo, it is a good idea to make enough for leftovers to work them into different meals, alleviating a lot of time when you’re busy and don’t have all day to farm vegetables in your back yard. In this case, I topped some leftover cauliflower and leek mash with a Caribbean-style beef stew I had made on the weekend and some lightly steamed rapini. Delicious.
If you’ve got any Paleo recipes, tips or thoughts to share, please leave a comment!
You can also follow/join a group of us on the challenge on Facebook at Paleo Babes.