Real Food Rehab

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The paleolithic diet is a nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans. It is based on the premise that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, which marked the end of the Paleolithic era, around 15,000 years ago, and that modern humans are adapted to the Paleolithic diet.

The Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

Please add your favorite recipes, with photos - if possible, to the comments below.

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Thanks a lot for starting this thread, Penni!  In searching for a way to help my fibromyalgia, I started reading about removing grains, especially wheat, and most legumes from my diet.  I don't label myself "Paleo" per se, but I am currently eating along the lines of "Grain Brain" and this seems to fit the bill for me, especially with regard to reducing systemic inflammation, brain fog, and insulin resistance.

I keep my diet very plant-based, concentrating on lots of greens and fresh vegetables and "eating the rainbow" so that I maximize phytonutrient intake, but include small amounts of high-quality animal protein, such as backyard eggs, wild fish, and some grass-fed meats and poultry.

I love, love, love greens and could eat them with every meal... and I often do just that! 

One of my favorite recipes is a scramble of mixed greens, onion, mushrooms, and local backyard eggs.  I vary the greens, but it's usually kale, collard greens, and/or mustard greens.  This morning, it's fresh collard greens and red mustard from my garden.  It's so good!

Tags:  Paleo, vegetarian, plant-based, gluten-free/grain-free

Mary's Morning Veggie Scramble

3 eggs (especially local/backyard or organic/free-range), beaten

4 cups shredded mixed greens (I typically use a mix of kale, collards, and mustard)

1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

2-3 T. organic coconut oil

1 t. herbes de Provence

Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I use Frontier Organics rainbow peppercorns)

Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until softened.  Add the shredded greens and sauté until wilted.  Sprinkle on the herbes de Provence.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beaten eggs.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 generous serving (or can serve 2 as part of a larger breakfast).

Beautiful, Mary!  Do you think we need another category at this point or are you comfortable with what I've added so far? I want everyone who is working on upgrading their plate & health to have a space that feels like the right fit. Do I need to create a "Grain-Brain Recipe" section?

Thank you, Penni!  Maybe just call this section "Grain-Brain/Paleo?"  I have to confess that I don't know enough about what truly constitutes a Paleo/Primal diet, as I am still reading and learning, but I think the Grain Brain program is essentially a Paleo diet, if I understand it correctly. 

Every Paleo book I have reviewed seems to take a slightly different approach, but what they all seem to have in common is initially removing all grains and legumes and focusing on fresh vegetables and fruits (concentrating on the low-glycemic ones, like berries), nuts and healthy fats, and high-quality animal proteins. 

Some Paleo diets, including Grain Brain, recommend that you begin with a more restrictive plan to help reset your system, especially if you have obesity, auto-immune disorders, and insulin resistance, but with the freedom to add back in limited quantities of gluten-free grains like quinoa and some legumes if your system tolerates it well. 

Hope this helps... feeling so good being back home here in the RFR Mansion!  :)

~ Mary

That looks delicious, Mary!

I have been wondering if we need to start removing grains from our diet. I didn't realize that eating gluten/grains could affect fibromyalgia. Interesting. However, if I think about it, when I feel worse fibromyalgia - y (I know that's not a word, but couldn't think of any other way to say it ;) ) is when I've had a big meal of pasta or too many breads in a week.

I haven't heard of Grain Brain, I may have to spend time in research . . .

Thanks for the information and great pictures!

@Mara:

I'm about halfway through the Grain-Brain book.  Islegirl had mentioned it so I went through the free sample online at Amazon and ended up buying the e-book.  A lot of really interesting and well documented information.  There are a few recipes in the book and more on the author's website.  I started poking around on the net for Paleo/ Primal recipes and I found a blog called Nom Nom Paleo.  It's written by a woman who is a hospital pharmacist that has been working the graveyard shift for over 10 years while raising 2 young children with her husband.  Her writing style is hilarious and her recipes are delicious.  He has tons of vegetable recipes as well as the high quality animal protein recipes.  Most are her own, some are from others that she has posted the links back to.  Check out the Herb Gravy recipe.  It was amazing.  All of the recipes have photos of the step-by-step instructions. She's got a recipe for Paleo Pancakes on there made with eggs and coconut flour that look like the real thing with no carbs to speak of.   I made grass-fed, organic ghee for the first time last night and I couldn't believe how easy it was.  If I buy a 6 oz jar of organic grass-fed ghee at the health food store, it's about $8 - $9.  This cost me less than $2 to make it myself and took about 30 minutes.  I'm pretty sure paleo could even be done vegetarian (ova-lacto) from what I'm reading if one wanted to.  My symptoms are very similar to fibromyalgia.  I was exposed to mold and it causes really awful muscle pain, especially when I wake up in the morning.  The only way to get rid of a systemic mold infection without taking anti-fungal drugs that wipe out your liver is to starve it.  It lives on sugar.  That means no grains, no simple sugars and limited fruit.  I've been a vegetarian for most of my life and this has really been a challenge for me.  I'm still waking up with pain in the mornings, but it usually subsides now in less than an hour, so I think I may be on to something here.  If you happen on to any good sites or books, post them here.  Information is power.

(((Hugs)))

Lanie

Thanks, Lanie!  I eat some variation of this recipe every other day and it keeps me full and satisfied for hours.  I know that it's really helping regulate my blood sugar.

Lanie said:

That looks delicious, Mary!

Mara, I would really encourage you to read "Grain Brain" because it's really an eye opener with regard to the effects of gluten and sugar on our bodies.  Like Lanie, I have been primarily vegetarian for several years, and adding meat has felt a bit weird, but I cannot deny how much better I feel.  I do still have some pain, but it is much reduced from where it was.  In addition to fibromyalgia, I suspect that I also have adrenal fatigue issues, and those symptoms have improved eating Paleo/"Grain Brain" as well. 

You do not have to eat large quantities of meat to follow this style of eating.  One book that I am currently reading, "Primal Bodies, Primal Minds," talks about eating a max of 2-3 ounces of protein at each meal.  That could be a couple of eggs or a small amount of animal protein or fish.  When I make a meal, I have a small portion of meat/fish and the rest of my plate is piled with steamed vegetables topped with a little organic coconut oil or ghee. I have at least a couple of tablespoons of healthy fat at each meal - and I am losing weight!  I'm already down 15 pounds since I began eating this way in January!

I echo what Lanie said about making your own ghee.  It is incredibly easy and much cheaper than buying a jar at Whole Foods.  I use a crock pot method that insures that you don't burn the milk solids.  If you are interested, I will find the link for you.  I like to either use Kerrygold or Organic Valley pastured butter.

I now do not crave carbs or sugar at all.  Carbs are not eliminated on this program, because you get them from healthy starches (sweet potatoes, etc.), vegetables, and some low-glycemic fruits, but are reduced so that your body learns to use fat as it's primary fuel and to reverse the problem of insulin resistance by eating too many carbohydrates that adversely affect blood sugar.  Though this program is not extremely low-carb like a more restrictive ketogenic diet might be, like Lanie said, you get the benefits of starving out diseases that thrive on sugar.

I have been getting Paleo books from my local library, and then deciding which ones to buy.  My favorite right now is "Practical Paleo" by Diane Sanfilippo.  She actually has sections of her book with recommendations for different health issues, including fibromyalgia.  I love "Against All Grain" by Danielle Walker too, which I bought primarily so that I could make some grain-free breads for my autistic son.  "Nom Nom Paleo" is also great; she has a website with lots of free recipes.  There are a couple Paleo Vegetarian/Pescatarian websites as well.  I have done a lot of searching, especially for more vegetarian options, and will work on compiling a list of the sites I have found to be helpful.

I will probably have another recipe to share here tonight.  I was able to get some organic pork from Whole Paycheck Foods yesterday, and have slow-cooked it in my crock pot.  Tonight we will be having carnitas with lime/cilantro cauliflower "rice" with lots of avocado and chopped veggies.  The rest of the family will be having regular organic corn tortillas, but I'll be wrapping mine in collard leaves or just eating it as a big salad. 

Please feel free to ask questions... I am still learning too, but hope we can all support each other here!  :)

~ Mary


Mara Burke said:

I have been wondering if we need to start removing grains from our diet. I didn't realize that eating gluten/grains could affect fibromyalgia. Interesting. However, if I think about it, when I feel worse fibromyalgia - y (I know that's not a word, but couldn't think of any other way to say it ;) ) is when I've had a big meal of pasta or too many breads in a week.

I haven't heard of Grain Brain, I may have to spend time in research . . .

Thanks for the information and great pictures!

Thank you SO much Lanie and Mary. I will definitely be taking a look at the books you mentioned.

Here is what I made last night.  I apologize that the photos aren't very good, but I snapped a few before we sat down to dinner.  I was able to find some organic pork, which I had never seen available before.  Most of the time when you find pork, even at Whole Foods, it's "natural" pork, which means that they are likely fed a non-organic and possibly GMO diet.  If you cannot find pastured or organic pork, I think that you could easily substitute organic or grass-fed beef.  I found this recipe online, courtesy of Emily K.'s blog "Leaf Parade," and have slightly modified it.

It turned out really delicious and what especially surprised me was the cauliflower rice.  Though it didn't really taste like rice per se, it had almost a starchy, comforting feel to it, and was filling and satisfying... definitely a keeper! 

Pork Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

For the carnitas:

1 t. garlic powder (or you could substitute a 3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced)

1-1/2 t. chili powder

1-1/2 t. ground cumin

1 t. Himalayan or sea salt

4-5 lbs. organic pork shoulder or ribs (can probably substitute organic/pastured/grass-fed beef stew meat)

2 oranges, zested and juiced

1 lime, juiced

2 cups chicken stock

2 T. tomato paste

1 T. chipotle purée (or adobo sauce from can of chipotle chilis)

1 T. organic coconut oil

__________

Mix all of the dry spices together to make a rub.  Trim any excess fat and coat all of the pieces of meat with the spice rub; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Put the meat in the bottom of your crock pot (if using ribs, lay them flat).  Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl to blend and pour the sauce over the meat.  The meat should be nearly covered; if not, add a little more chicken stock.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the crock pot and allow it to cool.  Using two forks, shred the meat, discarding the bones and any excess fat.  Melt about 1 T. organic coconut in a skillet, heat to medium-high heat, and quickly sauté to crisp the edges of the meat. 

__________

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice:

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

1-1/2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 c. chopped red onion

sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

zest of 1 lime

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

__________

In two batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice grains.  Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil, red onion, and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion softens and begins to caramelize a little.  Add the cauliflower, coating it evenly with the oil.  Add the lime zest and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the cauliflower begins to soften, being careful not to overcook.  Add the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Serve with mixed greens, sliced avocado, and a little squeeze of lime juice.  Enjoy!  :)

Tags:  Paleo, Whole30, Grain Brain, gluten-free, grain-free

You're welcome, Mara... another book that I forgot to mention is "It Starts with Food," and is really excellent.  This is the book that details the "Whole 30" program of a 30-day reset of removing all grains, legumes and sugar from your diet.  I am basically following this plan right now.  Hope this helps!  :)  ~ Mary

Mara Burke said:

Thank you SO much Lanie and Mary. I will definitely be taking a look at the books you mentioned.

@Mary I bought Practical Paleo after I read your response yesterday.  That book is fantastic!  The e-book version has hyperlinks within the text to reference other info back and forth within the book and she's written it in a very accessible way. I would highly recommend that one too, Mara.  It was $9.99 on Amazon (Kindle version).  I made the cauliflower couscous from the Grain Brain book last night, Mary.  Very similar in appearance to the cauliflower rice in your photo, except it had pine nuts, garlic and parsley.  I used ghee instead of the olive oil the recipe called for.  It still tastes like cauliflower (not couscous), but it was tasty.  I roasted a bunch of root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts, onion).  I also made Organic, Grass-fed Raw milk yogurt in the dehydrator last night and it appears to have worked.  Raw dairy is kind of a gray area with the Paleo/ Primal diet.  In Practical Paleo, she says quite a bit about how the pasteurization and homogenization processes cause people to react dairy because it changes the chemical structure.  I've wanted to make my own cheeses for years.  If I don't have a reaction to the yogurt (it's cooling in the fridge now), I may give cheese making a try.

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