First, I would like to announce the winner of the Name That Recipe contest for last weeks Lamb and Pumpkin Recipe. I let my 15 year old, Coby, pick the winner and after much deliberation and deep, deep thought – he decided on: Halloween Hash by Stefanie. Thank you Stefanie and thank you Coby for picking a great entry – I loved all of them!!
Now, on to the good stuff.
Before you started eating paleo, did food rule your life? It ruled mine. I had such a sucky relationship with food. I loved, and still do love food but I was constantly trying to do things better, “eat right”, stay away from this, add that back in, eat more, eat less,so I zoned, Atkined, South Beached, and Suzanne Somered, and what I did was I ate my way straight to the looney bin along with adding on pounds, health issues, and total confusion about what was good for me! To make a long story short, I finally was introduced to eating paleo and EVERYTHING changed, but, it was not an overnight light bulb moment. I have been asked before how long it took me to, “get paleo eating down.” The truth is, eating paleo is about the freaking easiest thing on the planet, it was getting my head right that was the learning curve. Eating paleo is so easy in fact that I tried my darnedest to make it as hard as possible. I freaked out over EVERYTHING. I remember sobbing to Robb Wolf almost daily at the gym – Robb, is this paleo, is that paleo is THIS OR THAT OR THIS PALEO until he looked at me one day and said, “Well, how do you feel?” I thought for a minute and realized that I felt pretty amazing and before he even replied I knew the answer, all that I was eating was paleo and paleo for me, and today I darn well know it when I eat something that is not paleo for me – because my body let’s me know in often extremely vicious ways! This whole “paleo thing” is not a one size fits all program. In fact, it’s not a program. It’s life and a better life because eating paleo means eating food that makes you feel amazing instead of fat, lazy, unhealthy, and sick. If you felt ok before, eating paleo might mean maximizing your potential and realizing that just feeling ok is pretty lousy compared to feeling VITALITY!!
Furthermore, what eating paleo looks like for me will look a whole lot different to someone with autoimmunity issues, allergies, or type II diabetes (to name a few). I am relatively lean and healthy at this point in my life so therefore, my paleo eating includes a few more yams and apple slices then it used to. When I was sick and fat, eating paleo for me meant very little fruit, only after a work out would I partake in yams and no nacho nights ever until I reached my goal weight and no longer suffered from the little health afflictions that I used to suffer from. Eating paleo for someone with food allergies is very different then my eating paleo. I’m ok eating a handful of nuts but a good friend of mine turns into an itchy, hive ridden mess so nuts are NOT paleo for her. Am I making sense? Now let’s dig a little deeper, what about vinegar, what about sea salt, what about the occasional use of a bit of raw honey, or baking soda, bananas, carrots, and coconut milk or God forbid red wine in my spaghetti sauce or a shot of tequila on Friday night?? Did cave people have an abundance of this stuff? Most likely not but they also lacked cars, farmers markets, and Trader Joe’s, and the last time I checked, I do not carry a club, wear antelope hair tunics, or greet my children with an UGH in the morning (unless I haven’t yet had my coffee). We could argue and debate for hours about how yams are a good source of carbs for post workout recovery meals (and healthy kids should eat them whenever), how baking soda is found in nature by mineral springs and is helpful in regulating blood acidity for endurance athletes, how vinegar probably won’t kill you if you toss some on your salad now and then, or that bananas, although of no real nutritional value, are nice to have around in case you are hankering for something sweet and it’s a better option then – oh I don’t know a donut??
Some of the stuff on that thrown together list is not paleo for some people and for some folks, now and then it’s about as paleo as you can get. So, when you feel like you are suffocating or turning into a paleo junky – think about how you feel? Are you lean, healthy, and continue to perform well in the gym? Then you are probably eating paleo, and that’s what eating paleo means – to YOU. If you feel like crap, gaining weight or not losing weight, or not coming close to reaching any of your fitness goals, it’s time to reassess! Maybe you are letting grains or dairy sneak back in, maybe you’re living on nuts between meals, and “paleo treats” (like my awesome nutty cookies) are turning into mainstays rather then now and then’s.
I do not know a single person who can sit down and list everything that is or is not paleo for EVERYONE because the truth is we are all very different with very different health concerns. The BOTTOM LINE IS, stick to the basics for this lifestyle, ALWAYS AVOID GLUTEN, and DO eat meat, seafood, veggies, a little bit of fruit, and good fats, but do not make yourself nutty – just eat what makes you feel good, and if you do not feel well, there’s probably something you are eating that’s not paleo – for you! Continue to educate yourself – listen to Robb Wolf’s podcasts, read books, search the internet – we live in the age of information at our fingertips but the best “science” is how you feel, look and perform.
Here’s a fun recipe that I made for lunch today with what I had in my fridge.
Shrimp Loves Coconut
1 lb large shrimp, tail on peeled and deveined
1/3 cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 egg whites
2 cups coconut flakes
Pre heat oven to 400. In a mixing bowl, stir together the coconut flour, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. In another bowl, pour the coconut flakes. Taking one shrimp at a time, dry well with a paper towel and dredge each shrimp in the coconut flour mixture, dip into the egg whites and then roll into the coconut flakes. Bake on a lightly greased (with coconut oil) baking sheet for 12- 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the coconut flakes start to brown.