February 22, 2011

If you are orthodox paleo, don't read this...

Tonight I made pizza.  The kind with a crust.  Chewy inside, crunchy on the edges, hot melted raw milk mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, good salami, and crispy fresh basil leaves.  It was a rare treat and it was good. I eat totally gluten-free so the crust was gluten-free.  It was also grain-free and it came from a package (gasp!).  It was Chebe brand, made from tapioca.  I added romano cheese, 2 eggs, some olive oil, and some raw goat milk.  I hand-pressed it onto my pizza stone, and added the sauce, mozzarella, salami, fresh basil.  If you are counting, the Chebe mix is 17 g of carbs per serving (makes 10 slices of pizza).  I ate two slices so no doubt I went over the limit of what some people think is paleo, but I've never been orthodox about anything and I certainly don't live the life of a deprived paleo monk.  Paleo/primal is not a religion.  

I think the tapioca is a mostly glucose-based starch.  Did I die?  No.  Did I even feel bad?  No.  In fact, it was satisfying and delicious.  Living an otherwise paleo/primal life allows some leeway from time to time.  It's like finding a honeybee hive or a ripe mango tree if you were a paleolithic human hunting and gathering.  You know they wouldn't pass that up.  Would you pass this up?

February 17, 2011

Chicken Broth to Soup 1-2-3

Chicken soup is as easy as 1-2-3.  

1.  You simmer a chicken carcass (preferably pasture-raised from a reliable source).  You simmer that baby until the bones fall apart and get soft which may take several hours (don't forget to keep adding water).  You can add some herbs if you like and salt and pepper.

2.  Strain the broth.  Pick whatever meat might be left from the bones to add to your soup.  Look at that good layer of chicken fat on top.  You could sip this as is - perfect cure for the common cold.

3.  Add what you like.  Carrots, simmered onions, spinach, leftover meat, parsley, other herbs, turnips, even (gasp) some potatoes.  Salt to taste.  It's all good, so good.

February 10, 2011

Hungry Girl

I like to watch the Cooking Channel when Jamie Oliver's show is on.  I love to watch Jamie cook in his rustic studio kitchen or outdoors in his gardens, concentrating on one ingredient at a time.  He loves his pastas to be sure with his Italian cooking training, but he is a master at using fresh, local ingredients.  I love Jamie's infatuation with real food and I've eaten in his restaurant named 15 in London.  His influence on his apprentice chefs is obvious.  The meal my daughter and I had there was amazing from start to finish.  We had called ahead and told them we were gluten-free and the waitress already knew exactly which dishes were GF and could answer every question we had about the food.  It was outstanding!   

I watch David Rocco's show for a different reason.  His show is set in Italy.  He often ventures into the dreamworld of the Italian countryside with its Agfachrome lighting - amber sunlight flickering over hazy orchards and green expanses.  I watch this show for the mood - fresh, local food once again cooked in a rustic style, often al fresco.  Both of these shows are soothing to watch and they often give me ideas to use the fresh produce I get from Everyday Local in Lancaster, PA each week.  This week, my "bundle" contained Boston lettuce (from a local hydroponic organic grower), cremini mushrooms, three organic potatoes, three amazingly huge bunches of mint, cilantro, and parsley, local organic apples, and something new:  celeriac, aka celery root, looking much like a pineapple cut in half lengthwise. I have never cooked celeriac and I love the challenge of a new vegetable (or meat, or fruit, or whatever), but more on that later.  

I turned on the TV a bit early tonight and saw a show listed called Hungry Girl.  Jamie came on after, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Oh. My. God.  What a disaster of a show.  None of the soothing outdoor scenes of Jamie's gardens or David's Italian countryside.  Instead we are treated to a garish kitchen with an orange stove, the word YUMMY spelled out on the wall above in 12 inch letters, and an array of brightly colored appliances spread haphazardly on the countertops.  A bit like Rachel Ray gone mad.  Then, the food (I use that word very loosely), oh dear.  Tonight's theme was chocolate.  OK, I thought, you can't go wrong with chocolate.  Wrong. You can go so very wrong.  Hungry Girl made several recipes and, I kid you not, each one started with a packet of diet cocoa, followed up with some combination of the following ingredients:  nonstick cooking spray, marshmallow fluff in a plastic jar, cake mix from a box, non-dairy non-fat whipped cream, icing from a can mixed with vanilla soy milk to make a pourable icing, no-calorie sweetener, and non-fat "eggs" from a carton.  She exclaimed over and over again the virtues of these lower calorie, non-fat easy recipes.  "Look!  It's only 220 calories instead of 600 and no fat!" she cried with glee.  Oh. My. God. Again.  I told my daughter that this woman couldn't eat more differently from us if she tried.  I don't think she ever steps into the outer reaches of a grocery store.  She shops the middle aisles exclusively.  No wonder she is a hungry girl.  I fear for her health - she is young now, but soon the ravages of a diet built on fake foods are bound to set in, poor thing.

Back to soothing.  Here is what we had for dinner:
Grass-fed T-bones, so darn tender that they almost melted in your mouth. Just a sprinkle with salt and pepper, a quick broil, and done.  We couldn't finish both, so I have one to enjoy for lunch tomorrow.   Then, a little celeriac apple soup:
So easy.  Chop up half an onion, fry in butter until soft, add peeled, chopped celeriac, add one chopped apple, and gently simmer until soft.  Add 2 cups of water and cook until very soft.  Blend all until smooth. Add a little salt or even cinnamon if you like.  This makes three small servings or two larger ones.  So, so good.  And I didn't have to open one box or package.  In fact, none of these ingredients saw the inside of a store (unless you count the salt).

February 03, 2011

If wishes were nickels...

...I'd be rich.  Who doesn't spend some time wishing?  On one hand, they can be the impetus to pursue bigger and better things.  On the other, they can allow you to wallow in regret.  I prefer to work on the the former.  There isn't much point in wasting time wondering what you could have done.  We can't go back, so just move forward and try to do better.   That said, here is a list of wishes:

  1. I wish I knew at age 20 what I now know at age 52 about food.  Years of migraines, aches and pains, weight gain, and who knows what else because I believed what medical professionals and a government influenced by Big Ag, Big Pharm, and Big Oil told me.
  2. I wish I had known at age 29 what I know now about food, so I could have fed my daughter better.  I didn't do too badly - she ate better than most and has a much more adventurous taste than most of her friends when it comes to food.
  3. I wish I could easily transfer my knowledge of what is healthy to others instantly ( kind of like a Vulcan mind meld) because trying to explain why paleo/primal is better over and over again is a lesson in frustration.  It took me three years to figure this out after reading, studying, researching.  I can't explain what I do and how it has made me healthier in ten minutes to someone else.
  4. I wish I would follow paleo/primal eating better than I do.  I NEVER eat gluten, rarely eat legumes, and hardly ever eat processed food and that is half the battle, but there are a lot of things I could do better.
  5. I wish I wasn't so damned addicted to sugar.
  6. I wish I was better at motivating myself to exercise.
So, no sense in wallowing.  Which wishes can I make come true?  

  • #1- I can't go back to age 20, but thankfully I do know now what I can and should eat.  Migraines have diminished to the point of just minor annoyances once every few months, I hardly ever get colds, my joints are pain-free, and I have lost some weight.  So I look forward to even better health in my future and hope that the damage I did for so long can be mostly undone.
  • #2 - My daughter is healthy and has a great palate.  She doesn't eat gluten at all.  She loves vegetables and good meats.  So, I think I did pretty well.  The upshot is that she, at age 22, already knows what is good to eat, so she will be way ahead of me for the rest of her life.
  • #3 - This blog is my attempt at spreading the news and good recipes about paleo/primal eating.  It's a small thing, but just maybe it helps a bit.  I will keep explaining, answering questions, lending books in the hopes that it helps someone else, like it helped me.
  • #4 - Just do it and stop whining about it.  If I slip and eat a gluten-free piece of apple pie, so what?  Life goes on and I still eat far better now than I did before.
  • #5 - Actually, I have cut back on sugar a lot.  I now drink black coffee and sometimes tea.  Most of my sweet intake is in the form of dark chocolate.  Do I want total deprivation? Or is that just an excuse to keep eating sugar?  Got to think on that a bit.
  • #6 - I hope to start strength training at a gym that just opened in a home garage literally less than 2 miles from my house.  I have 15 acres of land to prowl around on.  I have no excuses, except my total hate of cold weather.  I have ponies and a horse and a dog that need to move too.  Time to stop wishing and get moving.
So, no more wishing.  Time to put words into action.  I'm going to work on the wishes that I can make into reality.  How about you?

Here's a picture of what my daughter made for dinner for us one night this week.  I think I did a good job with her after all.  Salmon with a thai chili sauce, carrot fries, and yogurt and green pepper sauce.  Wishes do come true. ;)