Cooking, Baking, & Eating Paleo (well, kind of)
I realized that I haven't discussed much about how our family eats, or why we eat the way we do. It was a year ago where Ben & I took on a challenge for 30 days, where we eliminated all dairy, grains, legumes (yes peanuts too), & sugars (both refined & natural sources like honey & maple syrup).
How We Began Eating This Way
We workout at Jogo Crossfit, which I have talked about before. Many Crossfitters eat Paleo, which is essentially eating optimum meat products, veggies, limited fruit & nuts, and good fat sources. A year later I have found muscles I didn't know existed, inches diminished, & stomach problems ceasing, which were normally blamed on anxiety. I have found that what I have chosen to put into my body is critical to my output. Not only my body, but our daughters as well, specifically our nearing five year old.
Why Eliminating Foods Should Be the First to Evaluate
One of the best questions we as parents can ask, when our children have learning delays or emotional/behavioral problems is, "What am I feeding them?" Our oldest daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder. With children and/or adults with immune disorders, SPD, ADD/ADHD, we can see how gluten & casein can be enemies to their system. For us, eating this way is more about optimum health & continuing development. Too often, one might disregard grains, dairy, legumes or sugar as culprits, because their symptoms are not "typical" (i.e. diarrhea, weight gain/loss, hives, headaches); rather, it might be in anxiety, depression, dull aches, etc. I would encourage eliminating foods like grains & dairy.
What I Found Out About My Body
I found myself suffering from constant anxiety & fear, due to consistent stomach knots in the evening. Once eliminating these inflammatory foods, my stomach knots & anxiety ceased. Sugar is huge for me. It's about finding out what affects our body & what does not. Corn can tear my system up, while rice instantly causes bloating. Gluten affects my reproductive system (the feeling of needing to nurse with the last nursing over a year & half ago). I was only able to find this out after eliminating grains/legumes/dairy/sugars. I also have found that I can tolerate soaked legumes, mild doses of refined sugars, heavy whipping cream or whole milk (in smaller doses).
What CAN I Eat?
Well, I can eat anything I want. The real question is what I choose to eat. Do I follow a strict Paleo diet? No I don't. Our journey began by following Whole30 of the Whole9blog, but I'm not willing or wanting to follow the guidelines they have set out (more on that later). And although I've been eating this way for over a year, I still have to explain that our eating isn't as constrictive as one might think. This is in part, due to my love of cooking & baking. Eating this way does require one to prepare & cook many foods from scratch, which puts more work on me & there are nights where we are eating eggs again. However, I do enjoy a cooking/baking challenge & creating recipes. We eat:
- pastured eggs from our friends & a local farmer, with beautiful orange yolks. Pastured eggs are from chickens who eat off the open pasture. Eating the buggies allows for eggs rich in Omega-3. Don't believe the lies of eggs being bad for your cholesteral. Pastured eggs are excellent for increasing your good cholesteral.
- grass-fed beef & pastured pork. Our meat coming from grass-fed and/or pastured farms, ensures that the animal is getting what nature intended. Cattle was never meant to eat anything other than grass. By eating grass, they are providing their bodies with Omega-3 rich meat, which in return is providing us with the same.
- vegetables & in season & local is first priority, winter months we get a veggie delivery
- fruits are ones in season & local as well, but I make some exceptions. We try to stick to buying & eating berries in the summer, apples & pears in fall & early winter, & utilize frozen fruit as well.
- limited nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, & cashews (which are technically a legume), the best is to soak all nuts to break down the phytates, which are enzyme inhibitors.
- Fats: Extra virgin coconut oil is our fat of choice. Although it has a low smoking point, due to coconut's origins in the tropics, it can withstand extremely high heat. It is a monosaturated fat, which means it is a one bond fat chain & your has the ability to break it down. We also use full fat coconut milk. Avocados & nut butters.
- Extra virgin olive oil sold in metal cans. We don't cook with olive oil over high heats, because it has a low smoke point & leaches off free radicals/toxins into the air you inhale & your body through ingestion. Once the smoke point reaches 200-225 degrees, the toxins begin releasing. Olive oil in anything other than metal tins deteriorates, due to light exposure. Buying it in metal tins protects it from turning rancid.
- Dairy: Grass-fed unsalted butter, pastured heavy whipping cream
- Sugars: honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, some dried fruit (particularly dates)
- Bake: using blanched almond flour, almond meal, coconut flour,
- Additionals: I use baking soda, arrowroot flour in place of cornstarch
***My Disclaimer: Our family doesn't always eat strict Paleo in the Whole30 sense, or even the Paleo sense. I can have cheeses that don't upset my system & dairy. I make my own cultured yogurt, buttermilk, and have begun in other cultured dairy arenas. I have the occasional ice cream as well. When not pregnant, I drink wine. We find what works for us and then pull in the reigns when what we think was working...doesn't.
This is what we've found what works for our family. In the last year I went from weighing 194 to 164. I have decreased my Body Fat% & increased my lean body mass. With Crossfit & the heavy emphasis on weighlifting, one's protein intake is needed to rebuild their body, specifically through animal protein. I have never felt better than in my 30s, and I know it's due to exercise & eating real foods.
Please feel free to ask any questions, or share your own story of success!