Friday, June 7, 2013

Paleo trial and error report

I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but I am still adhering to a (mostly) Paleo way of eating. You can read more about the whys of that in this post. I did quit for a few weeks, but started feeling cruddy and went back to it. Also, our 8-year-old daughter Natalie was complaining frequently of stomach-aches and since she's no stranger to food sensitivities, I cut dairy and gluten from her diet also. The stomach-aches disappeared. Then we went out of town for a few days for an Army "Family Wellness Retreat", where the food was contracted by the hotel. All the kids' meals were things like Mac & Cheese, chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers. By the second day, her stomach was hurting and she couldn't even eat her dinner. So, now I know! My stomach wasn't thrilled after that trip either, even though the grown-up meals weren't quite as gluten-filled. I'm sure they were cooked in butters and oils and things I no longer eat, though. We were so happy to come home (the full-size bed in that hotel had a lot to do with that too, haha!)

Aaaaanyway, now that I've been doing this for awhile and have collected some great books and resources, I thought I'd share the ones I like best and a few I don't like much at all ;)
I only keep cookbooks I use and I do prefer using books to online recipes, although I do that also. Cookbooks are just so pretty, though, ya know?? Such is the case with Gather: the art of Paleo entertaining. I just got this one recently and it's the most beautiful cookbook I have ever laid eyes on! The recipes are great too, I can't wait to try out some more. These cute little flapjacks were really tasty:
The kids called them mini pancakes and dipped them in pure maple syrup.

At the same time I ordered that book, I also bought Eat Like a Dinosaur. This one is invaluable if you have a family and are trying (like me) to take the kids off of the normal kid fare and closer to a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free way of eating. I am there with Natalie, but am still working on it with the others. We will get there! Slowly, but surely. We made the graham crackers from this book last week and they made a ton and were really yummy. I even made P.B.&J.'s with them.
Hands down, my most favorite and most-used Paleo cookbook so far, though, is The Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook. It was the first one I bought and I have used the heck out of it! It has tons of kid-friendly ideas and recipes and everything I've made has been excellent and well-received. My favorite is her curry chicken salad, which I eat on cucumber slices and the kids eat between green apple slices, sandwich style.  I make this amazing mango salsa from her book too and we eat in on fish or chicken or chips (told ya we are *mostly* Paleo ;) or just by itself. The whole book is just awesome; if you're considering starting to clean up your diet, this is the book you should start with!
Next up, the New York Times best seller, Practical Paleo . This is more than a cookbook, it has a TON of info for people who are getting started and/or dealing with health issues that can be solved through diet. I haven't bought my own copy yet because it's pricey, although it seems to be coming down on Amazon, so I'm going to order it. It's funny, because when I first started eating this way, I flipped through this book at the store and thought most of it looked complicated or not-tasty. Then months later I got it from the library and everything in it looks tasty and easy. Ha! This just goes to show that life change is a process. Don't overwhelm yourself and try to turn your diet upside down overnight!! That's a recipe for failure and frustration, in my opinion. 
Just the other day, I made the lemon blueberry muffins from this book and they were excellent, my family thought they were dessert, haha! That could be because I whipped up some homemade lemon curd (which, yes, has sugar in it--there's that *mostly* caveat again). 
These sweet potatoes are also from this book... I ate the leftovers on eggs the next day. Yummy. 
Sweet potatoes are a definitely a family favorite. I think these chips are from my favorite book, Everyday Paleo, but almost all Paleo cookbooks contain Sweet Potato chip recipes. We fry them in coconut oil and then lightly salt them. Soooooo good, they disappear like crazy whenever I make them. 

Now for the few cookbooks I have not had good luck with. Paleo Slow Cooking looked so promising, but I've made about five things from it and only one was good (the chicken curry). I feel bad saying that. To be fair, I haven't tried any of the soups, which the slow cooker is best at. Soup and chicken. Other meats just aren't as good cooked this way, I guess. I even tried the berry crisp, but it was super bland. And our palettes aren't sugar-loaded either, so that's saying something. 

I also picked up The Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook . I cannot even comment on the recipes in this book--they all look delicious and probably are--but I haven't tried them. In the front of the book, she says that only certain brands of almond flour and coconut flour work for her recipes and incidentally, the ones I have access to do not work. I could order them online, but I don't feel like I should have to work that hard or plan ahead that much. That may seem dumb. But, we only use cash for our weekly needs, so I really do have to plan to order things online. Eventually, I probably will, especially for birthday parties and entertaining purposes. But, for now, the other books have enough "treats" in them that I don't think ordering food online is really necessary. 

And one more, Well Fed hasn't been very helpful. It's very clear that this couple has no kids. The meal recipes are not very kid-friendly at all and most recipes require a make-ahead of several other of the recipes. Ideal for people who work, I think, and can spend the weekend on the "weekly cook-up", but too much prep and complication for me. 

Whew! This is a long post! If you've stuck with me thus far, I'd like to share that most of what we eat every day is a non-recipe. You should have seen the bunless burger I ate last night--topped with BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, a boiled egg and sliced avocado. Mmmmm, am I making you hungry? I also keep frozen salmon patties on hand for similar lunches:
That's lemon garlic aioli on top. 

And egg toppings?? Don't even get me started. Casey and I are really diggin' Pepperocinis lately. SO yummy on eggs, along with halved grape tomatoes and sliced up salami. 

Okay... time to go make some lunch :-D 


  1. Thanks for all of the tips from the paleo diet. We started trying to eat more healthily after having health issues -- I'm wondering if cutting dairy again and maybe wheat might be good for us. We've lowered sugar, but John still loves his desserts. Marnie

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.