As much as I love food, I am very much a health nut and I follow the Paleo lifestyle in between my foodie adventures. For those of you not familiar with the Paleo “caveman” lifestyle, it is a diet that follows the eating habits of our Paleolithic ancestors. Paleolithic is the era that existed before organized farming and the domestication of animals for food. The people that lived during this time were hunters and gathers, thriving solely on the wilderness for survival. In order to adopt such living to the today’s modernized world, Paleos only consume meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts. Conversely, we avoid all types of grains, processed foods, dairy, sugar and white potatoes. Granted, fruits and sweet potatoes do have some amount of carbohydrates in their genetic makeup, so it is ideal to consume no more than 100-150 grams of carbohydrates a day.
I know what you are thinking… this diet probably sucks to follow and impossible to maintain for life. I am here to assure you that as much as I love cheesy, doughy, greasy pizza and double chocolate layer cake, I can live without them. (of course I’m guilty of a cheat day once in a stone age, haha…no? ok.) Initially, it is difficult to stray away from all these uber-delicious-and-extremely-unhealthy foods, but after a week, your body feels so much lighter, more energized, and less bloated that you will not want to turn back to that high-carb way of life! And for me, I do not crave the sweets and carbohydrates that I used to because I am so satisfied by the savory and rich meat (including freaking bacon!) and egg dishes that I get to eat everyday! Paired with fruit (in the morning) and veggies, these meals are fulfilling and really delicious.
Rather than using carbohydrates as the primary source of energy, your body uses fat instead, to suppliment. Fat is not as efficient as carbohydrates are as an energy source, but rather than the quick burn of carbs, they burn low and long, allowing your metabolism to burn longer; up to several hours after exercise. Your body will continue to burn both the fat that you consumed as well as the extra fat in your body. If you are interested in learning more about the Paleo diet, I definitely recommend checking out this website:
NERD FITNESS http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/
This is why Cross Fit pairs very well with the Paleo lifestyle. Cross Fit requires its participants to lift heavy amounts of weight in combination with short agility exercises to quickly gain strength and endurance. As you can see, there are no long periods of cardio implanted in these workouts; those would need lots of carbs to fuel; which is a no-no. It’s a great workout, but it does require dedication in order to maximize the results. I personally do not do nor care for Cross Fit for a number of reasons. This page gives you a few. http://gawker.com/5928989/ I enjoy lifting, jumping, sprinting, and swimming, but not at the regime-like pace that Cross Fit tends to command. And If I didn’t enjoy exercising, I simply wouldn’t do it. So yeah. Working out should be fun.
Enough of my foodie philosophy, I thought it would be interesting to share the Paleo recipes that I make each week. Not only do I feel better, but I cook so much more, a new hobby that I thoroughly enjoy. This week I took a leap and made CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP and ZESTY MEATLOAF.
The CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP
To start, chop a variety of mushrooms (2 c, I used button and shiitake), dice the onions (2 onions) and mince some garlic
(4 cloves). Add coconut oil to the pan and saute the onions and garlic first.
Continuing to saute, add the mushroom to the mix, allowing the mushrooms to sweat completely. (When cooked, mushrooms tend to release moisture. Let this evaporate completely).
Then, I added a blend of (1/2 c) red wine (any kind that you would like to drink yourself),(1-1/2 can) full-fat coconut milk,
(2 c) beef broth, and (3 Tbls) potato starch. (Potato starch is a gluten-free starch located in the baking aisle of any specialty grocery store).
Initially, the soup’s color was of an eggplant-purple, but adding the broth corrected the color to a nice …mushroom brown? You get it. Allow the soup to simmer to thicken. I added grilled chicken in the mix to pump up the protein. After letting the soup set in the fridge, it turned out to have a great consistency; not crazy thick, but like silk. As suggested by my friend, Robyn, this could be used as a creamy gravy/sauce to make with or top any hearty chicken or beef dish. Just cut down a cup on the beef broth and garnish with thyme. Enjoy!
The ZESTY MEATLOAF
First, make sure that oven is pre-heated to a toasty 375 degrees. Then…Start by frying up some bacon! You’ll need four slices and when cooled, chop and set aside. Then, by using the residual grease from the bacon!, saute diced onion (1 onion), minced garlic (4 cloves), and diced red pepper (1 pepper).
While that is on the stove top, hand mix one pound of beef (or any type of ground meat…try bison or lamb!) with one egg, 2 Tbsp of potato starch, chopped bacon, and 1-2 dashes salt and pepper to season. Add red pepper flakes or any hot sauce here if you want to turn up the heat.
Add the sauteed red pepper, onion, and garlic to the meatloaf and fold together. In a greased baking pan (I used coconut oil), form the meatloaf to the pan making sure to maintain an even thickness.
Before placing the meatloaf in a preheated 375 degree oven, evenly spread on top of the meatloaf a sauce consisting of natural low-sugar, organic ketchup (1/2 c)(I used Anne’s) and organic Grade B maple syrup (1 Tbls). Bake for 40 minutes and dig in!
This is how I celebrated my first piece of this meatloaf! One small avocado and a fried egg. Make sure that egg is runny. Seriously, f-ing amazing.