Paleo Resources

Paleo Cookbooks:

Well Fed and Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan

The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall

The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook by Joshua Weissman

The Paleo Chef by Pete Evans

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans by Michelle Tam, and a link to her bookshelf full of awesome cookbooks and other paleo/primal resources.

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and by Elana Amsterdam

Eat Raw Not Cooked by Stacy Stowers (this is a raw food cook-book, and while I don’t think that a raw diet is healthy for everyone, she’s got a lot of great whole-food, grain-free and dairy-free recipes in here.  And beautiful photos :-)

ZenBelly Cookbook by Simone Miller – She is my new cooking hero.  I love her story, her recipes, and what she is up to now.

Other Cookbooks I love:

Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton (I’m not a huge fan of all the oils she chooses but this is a great place to learn a bunch of different delicious vegetable cooking methods)

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Paleo Resource books:

The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne

The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser

The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolff

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfillipo

Online Recipe Resources:

Chris Kresser’s Paleo Recipe Generator – I haven’t tried this out yet, but if you want access to a whole lot of paleo recipes, and you’d like to let someone else do your meal planning and make your shopping this, this seems like a reasonable deal for a great service — just $9.95 a month (and no, I don’t get a percentage :-)

Online Healthy Eating Resources:

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Fae’s Fabulously Festive Kale Salad

Sweet fall carrots

a tub of freshly harvested carrots, gleaned in the fall from Morning Glory Farm

My dear friend, mentor and acupuncturist, Fae Kontje-Gibbs, co-hosts Thanksgiving dinner with an old friend and when she made this salad last year it was a huge hit. So, on the menu it went again this year.  I helped her to prepare the salad this past November, shredding mountains of carrots and juicing many limes, and since then I have been hooked.  The colors, textures and flavors are all fabulous, not to mention its nutrient-dense ingredients.

Fae and I have a similar way in the kitchen–we often don’t measure with cups and spoons; instead we measure with our eyes, our hands, our tongues and our good old sixth sense.  Quantities are approximate.  Work with what you have and don’t be afraid to experiment.  The key to the dressing is balancing sour and salt with the sweet of the currants (or raisins, or whatever dried fruit you have on hand), and using enough good extra virgin olive oil to make the dish satisfying and also to help your body absorb the good stuff in the veggies.  Use organic produce if you can, especially the kale and carrots.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (or more if you’d like) dried currants

a few tablespoons of fresh citrus juice lemon, lime, grapefruit or tangerine, or a combination of all three, with at least one lemon or lime.  You can substitute champagne- or rice wine- or apple cider vinegar for the sour citrus if necessary.

A bunch of carrots, shredded…about 2-3 cups.  It’s fun to use multi-colored carrots if available.

a bunch of kale, washed, pulled from stems and torn into bite size pieces.

1-2 grapefruits, peeled and “supremed” (the fleshy sections are cut away from the membranes )– my addition to the salad.

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Soak currants in citrus juice.  Toss shredded carrots with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and then massage in the kale–think carrot salad with a generous portion of kale for color and texture, as opposed to kale salad with some shredded carrots.  Add the currants and juice and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and more lemon or lime juice.  Gently mix in grapefruit sections.  Serve immediately, or let rest as long as overnight–chilled and covered.  Test seasoning again before serving; if needed, spruce up with a bit more lemon or lime juice and a touch of salt.

Enjoy!

Medjool Date Muffins filled with Maple Chevre

Medjool Date Muffin with Maple Chevre

 

It is New Year’s eve,  and I am flipping through my binder of recipes and when I come across a recipe for date pastries that I had copied from a beautiful library book with recipes for baked goods from around the world.  I consider attempting a gluten-free version of the pastry dough, and then I remember a muffin recipe I’d gotten years ago from a friend in Portland, ME.  A chevre-filled muffin studded with dried fruit that we’d made during one of my visits to that dear city.

For the last few days of the year 2014, I had a craving for dates.  Not the kind of date where you meet a stranger for dinner, nor the kind of date you choose for a flight to warmer climes… Nope, I had been yearning for the rich, buttery, deep sweetness of a medjool date.  And I wanted it warm, and a little gooey, with moist, buttery crumb surrounding it.

I pull out the falling-apart old recipe book I’d started at age 13; a notebook that used to have a blue, card-stock cover on which I had written this quote: “Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends” (conveniently that page fell off around the same time I started eating animal flesh).  The first entry in the book is for carob chip cookies because it was around that time when my mom and I started investigating the blood type diet, and being type Os, carob was supposedly a better option than chocolate.  Although I loved carob, and that particular switch was easy for me, at the time I apparently wasn’t quite ready to adopt the rest of the recommendations for the Type-O diet, which included eating lots of animal (protein).  It wasn’t until at least ten years later that I finally released myself from the vegetarian diet I had been raised on, and fed myself more of what my body really wanted to eat.  Today, though, what it really wants is not meat, but DATES!

Food writer Susan Russo describes them perfectly, “Medjool dates are deep amber-brown and have a slightly crinkly skin that shimmers from natural sugar crystals. Bite into one, and your teeth sink into satisfyingly sticky flesh that tastes of rich caramel, hints of wild honey and a touch of cinnamon. Melt-in-your-mouth Medjools are so luscious they taste as if they have been warmed in an oven.” from NPR’s “Kitchen Window” series.

Flipping through faded pages, I find the muffin recipe and it actually calls for dried figs. I figure it will work just as well with dates, and I set the book out on the kitchen table ready for brunch on New Year’s Day.  The first day of January 2015 arrives clear and bright, and making my way to the kitchen, I tie on my favorite green apron.  I pull out the magical medjool dates, homemade chèvre and goat milk kefir, Pamela’s gluten-free baking mix, Massachusetts maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, Green Island Farm eggs, a meyer lemon–fresh from a friend in Florida, un-bleached parchment jumbo muffin papers…and I get baking!

Recipe: Medjool Date Muffins filled with Maple Chèvre

Mix together and set aside:

1/2 C. plain chèvre (homemade if you have it)

1 t. meyer (or regular) lemon zest

1 T. real maple syrup

1/2 t. vanilla

Sift together:

2 C. plus 1 T. Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix

1/4 t. fine sea salt

1 t. coconut flour (or an extra Tablespoon baking mix)

Beat together:

2 jumbo eggs, or 2 large eggs plus one extra white

1/2 C. coconut palm sugar

1/3 C. olive oil (or melted coconut oil)

1 C. goat milk kefir (or buttermilk)

1 C. pitted and chopped medjool dates (or dried figs)

Preheat oven to 425°.  Line nine jumbo or twelve regular sized muffin tins with unbleached papers, or oil thoroughly.  Make chèvre mixture.  Pit and chop dates.  Sift dry ingredients in to mixing bowl. Beat wet ingredients together with sugar and then mix wet into dry. Fold dates into batter, making sure to separate clumps as you add them.  Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Top each one with a teaspoon of chèvre mixture (which should sink into center of muffin as it bakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5-10 minutes in tins before moving to a wire rack.  Serve to people you love.

Sharing muffins with friends at Slip Away Farm!

Sharing muffins with friends at Slip Away Farm!

 

When carrots become candy on day #8

One of the coolest things I have found about not eating refined foods, and minimal carbohydrates, is that my taste buds come back alive.  I will bite into a carrot, or sweet pepper and have the experience of it being SWEET.  Like the kind of sweet that I sometimes desire after a meal, or when I’m feeling low energy.  I also begin to find food in general, even when prepared very simply, seriously delicious again;  I find myself eating the most basic meals with “enjoyment, gusto and pleasure”, as Geneen Roth recommends we do in her eating guidelines for healing from compulsive and emotional eating issues.  And of course you don’t have to be healing from eating issues to enjoy eating that way!

I said that I would talk a bit about the other things I’m eating/taking to support my health.  On a daily basis I currently take Vit C (1000mg), Vit D (2-4,000 iu), Vit B6 (200mg), zinc (50mg), magnesium (2oomg, and more when I’m in the last week of my moon cycle), a concentrated fish oil called “OmegaBrite” (for mood), and lavender oil capsules called “Lavela WS 1265″ (for anxiety). [These are the supplements and amounts I have found to be supportive for me right now.  Please don’t assume they will also be the right ones or amounts for you.  You can work with your health practitioner to determine that.  Also,  just to be clear, I don’t live my life and make my choices based only on scientific evidence.  I appreciate the information science as to offer, but for me it is not the bottom line.  My intuition is what I trust above all else.  Though I am a certified health coach, I am not medically trained, and I don’t have “solid evidence” to support everything I share on this blog, but I have been experimenting with food and health for the last 20 years, and I’m happy to share what I have found.]

For anti-inflammatory support, I recently began consuming 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric, with a bit of black pepper and some fat to help with absorption–I’ll often put them all in a mug of warm chicken or beef broth with a bit of sea salt–I eat at least 1 teaspoon of un-refined sea salt per day for essential minerals.  Fresh ginger is also good for reducing inflammation, and I’ll grate it into my broth, or sauté it with veggies.    I include lots of healthy fats, and for me, those are primarily coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, some nuts and seeds (soaked and dried), eggs, fish, and pastured meat and poultry.  I’m still determining whether raw, organic grass-fed cow or goat dairy has a happy place in my diet.

I usually eat at least a couple of tablespoons daily of a lacto-fermented food, such as sauerkraut or kimchi (though I’ve been off the kimchi for the moment because I made my current batch with pepper which is a nightshade).  And I start the day with a coconut oil swish for about 20 minutes, called “oil pulling”.  I just swish about 1 teaspoon of coconut, sesame or olive oil in my mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, and then spit in trash or outside–not down the sink, and then rinse with warm water.  It has many benefits including gum/teeth health, pleasant breath, digestive support, and may also help to remove toxins from the body that have landed in the mouth.  I do it because it feels good, my dentist recommended it, and it makes my breath feel fresh.  I often follow it with a glass of warm water with lemon juice and a touch of sea salt.  And lots of warm water through out the day.

Other things in my morning routine, though not edible, are meditation, yoga, writing, walking, reading, swimming in the ocean (my last swim was 10/30/14…brr!) and dry-skin brushing–this is good for helping move lymph (part of the body’s detoxification system) through the body.  I use a long-handled bath brush with natural bristles, and I always work towards my heart with each stroke because the main lymph ducts are located in the upper chest.  Although I usually don’t get to include all of these every day, along with real food, they are some of the tools that truly make my life work.

 

Experiments don’t always go as planned…day #7

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Or, not chew as the case may be. Last week I got excited to clean up my diet with an eye on reducing inflammation. My heel pain had come back, I was feeling sluggish and having all sorts of cravings. And then, while I was at it, I figured I might as well do an elimination diet at the same time to determine whether there are any other foods besides grains, sugar and nightshades that give me trouble. I figured I would check some of the usual suspects such as eggs, dairy, and nuts. I also eat a lot of coconut oil, and while I’m pretty sure it agrees with me, I thought it would be a good time to take a little break from it as well.

My understanding of an elimination diet is to eat a very clean diet for a few days to a few weeks–as long as it takes for symptoms to clear up. Once you are not experiencing symptoms then you can try adding foods back in, one at a time, and see if you get a reaction. There’s a specific way to do this that is most effective and it includes eating a certain amount of only that one food and waiting a certain period of time.  At this moment, I don’t remember the details, so I’m going to have to look them up.

What I am remembering about myself as I take on this experiment is that I don’t particularly like to follow directions when I am experimenting. I like to try things out, but I don’t generally have the patience or attention span to record my results for more than a few days and I get bored with procedures. This is why I have never had much success with elimination diets in the past.

Luckily for me, there are other ways to find out if a certain food is causing issues for me…like allergy testing, muscle testing (applied kinesiology), and medical intuitives! I have used the latter two resources in the past, and I think, for me, they are the way to go.  I am interested in the possibility of getting some lab food-sensitivity testing done as well, because they now have some very detailed tests, specifically for wheat/gluten and dairy.  I think it might be interesting to know exactly what I am reacting to in those foods.

So far, I’ve been feeling lighter, and slightly less inflamed, but have really struggled to get enough fat in order to feel satiated, and like my brain has the food it needs.  I haven’t been eating late at night, and have been waking feeling alert and ready to go.  My heel pain is still hanging on.

 

…an “Eating clean” experiment – Day #4.

I’m doing an experiment.  It’s called an anti-inflammatory-elimination-diet.  I’ve done similar ones before, and I have found that when I eat only some foods and not other foods, my body and mind feel better.  Sometimes I forget and I slip back into eating more of the foods that seem to lead to my body and mind not feeling good.  But then my body gives me little nudges and hints, and I am reminded of what is possible…

Today is day #4 of eating clean, and the biggest thing I have noticed so far is that my nose is less stuffed up–my sinuses are clearer.  I think it’s also possible that the heel pain in my right foot is a little bit less.  I have recently been listening to an on-line summit about the paleo diet, specifically geared towards women, and although I don’t call the way I eat “paleo”, it is very similar and listening to other folks speak about their success in healing with this diet and way of life has been supportive and inspiring.  You can check out the summit here.

I was moved, in part, to re-“clean” my diet after the heel pain that I’ve had for the last couple of years, on and off, was getting worse again, even after the pain had almost gone away with lots of physical therapy and bodywork.  I didn’t feel like I had re-injured it, per se, so I looked at what else could be affecting it.  I had been pretty stressed out for the last few weeks, which increases inflammation in the body, and I had also been getting less sleep, another cause of inflammation.  I reflected on my diet, and I realized that I had been eating large amounts of veggies from the nightshade family, lots of nuts and corn and some other grains and beans.  Tons of peanut butter.  Lots of cheese. And some sugar and chocolate.  And basically too much food in general.  I had fallen back into my habit of eating lots of comfort food, and late into the night.  All these could be triggering an inflammatory response.

In the past, my instinct used to be to think that I should go on a fast when I found myself in this situation.  What I have realized, though, is that for me it actually works better to just switch tracks to eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet first so I can curb the cravings a little less abruptly. This way, I am also less likely to end up binging after the cleanse the way that I have in the past when I have done a cleanse where I consume very few calories.

So, here I go!  I am eating lots of veggies, some fruit, lots of seafood, poultry and meat, and fat anywhere I can find it.  I am playing around with dairy–so far I have cut out everything except butter and I’m thinking I might want to go off butter for awhile too.  I may try ghee (clarified butter) and see how that feels, but my sense is that I could use a break from dairy all together.  They other place I’m playing around a little bit is with nuts.  I find that I get much of my fat from butter and nuts, so I’m wondering how I’ll be able to get enough fat if I’m not eating either one.  I’ve decided to do only macadamias for now, and see how that feels.  In the past I’ve gotten much of my fat from coconut oil, but I’m noticing that I feel a little sensitive to that too so I’m considering taking a break from coconut as well.  And EGGS! same thing.

WHAT ON EARTH WILL I EAT?? I’m sort of wondering this myself.  I’ve done a similarly strict diet in the past, severely limiting my carbohydrate intake so as to encourage my body to burn fat, heal from candida, and also to get the beneficial affects of ketosis.  Ketosis is something I am still learning about so I won’t try to explain it now.  I ate a LOT of eggs and coconut oil during that time, and since I’m playing around with the idea of taking a break from both of those, part of me is definitely wondering what I am going to end up eating. And whether it’s even possible to limit all of those things at once.  It’s basically an elimination diet, and the cool thing about them is that generally you don’t need to follow them for too long before you start adding foods back in to see how you react.

So, for the rest of this week, I’m planning to eat vegetables, focusing on green and leafy veggies with a few starchy ones for treats and variety, and olives and avocados for fat.  I’ll skip nightshades which include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok).  I’ll eat lots of fish, especially salmon and sardines, and some chicken, beef, lamb and a bit of pork.  I’m going to see if I can make it through the week without eggs, coconut oil, butter and nuts.  I’ll use extra virgin olive oil, fatty meat, avocado and olives for fat.  And maybe I’ll lay my hands on some lard and organ meats.  I’ll use warm bone broth to provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. And lacto-fermented veggies for fun and a healthy gut!  And next time I’ll write a bit more about what herbs and spices, vitamins, minerals and other supplements I’m taking to support the anti-inflammatory diet, and my system and mood in general.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you’re interested in the possibility of trying out a diet like this and would like some support.  I’m hoping to post some simple recipes and other tips and tricks that I have discovered while eating this way. Thanks for reading!  Here’s to our health!

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“It’s a sunny Saturday”…perfect morning for muffins!

Blueberry-Corn Muffins 

…or pancakes or flapjacks!

(gluten-free)

RECIPE

Dry ingredients:

1/4 C. Oat flour

1/4 C. Coconut flour

1/4 C. Almond flour

1/4 C. Tapioca flour

1/4 C. Corn flour

1/4 t. Sea salt

1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

Wet ingredients:

1/2 C. Goat yogurt

2 fresh farm eggs

1 T. Maple Syrup

1 t. Vanilla

1 T. Coconut oil, butter or ghee, melted

1/2 C. (or more) frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter muffin tins.  Stir together dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.  Mix wet ingredients into dry until just combined.  For flapjacks, mix in an extra 1/2 C. of milk.  Fold in blueberries.  

For muffins, spoon into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes (for smallish muffins, or longer for larger ones), until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes, and then loosen from pan with a knife.  Serve warm with butter. Yum!

For pancakes or flapjacks, spoon batter onto a well-greased skillet over medium heat.  I like to do three, 3″ pancakes at a time.  Cook until tops have bubbles, and are set enough to flip.  Cook on other side for a couple of minutes.  If batter is thick, try using a lid for a little while on the first side to help cakes cook through.  Re-grease the pan between batches, adjusting heat as needed.  Keep cakes warm in the oven, or better yet, serve and eat immediately with more butter and real maple syrup.  Also yummy topped with yogurt and sliced bananas or strawberries.  

These muffins (and probably pancakes too) freeze quite well.  Enjoy!

“It’s a sunny Saturday” from Ramblin’ Red’s EP

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