Now, don’t get me wrong—there are a million benefits of adopting a paleo/primal diet and lifestyle. The health benefits are awesome, indescribable at times. The food is fantastic and the recipes are brave and creative and full-flavoured, but sometimes... I miss the foods I used to eat pre-paleo—not all the foods, heck no; I am eating WAY better foods now than I used to. (Goodbye “foods from a box”).... But you know—certain foods, special foods... There are foods that just cannot be converted into a paleo-acceptable alternative.
Macaroni and cheese
Ironically, this is as much as Steve and I can think up. 3 things. Because for everything else, where there is a will, there is a way. We’ve been eating this way for so long now; we can’t recall what we’re missing. Our taste buds have changed and we’ve become accustomed to how we eat.
Of course, we’ve learned so much now that eating out has become harder instead of becoming easier. Our stomachs have adjusted and – healed? - it is no longer as easy as ordering a side caesar with a steak and maybe some sweet potato fries. We go home thinking we ate pretty good, and two to four hours later, stomach issues begin. Nothing hideous, just discomfort, and we realize that there was hidden crap in the food. Maybe sour cream in the caesar dressing. Maybe those fries were lightly floured when I thought they looked dipped in egg white. And then 3 days of bloating begins.
We used to be so laid-back. I called us primal, not paleo, because while at home we did everything we could to eat clean and appropriately, we would still have soya sauce and full-fat dairy and our butter and meat was not grass-fed. And while I still want to be laid-back and not go to any extremes (isn’t never eating a grain or boxed/processed foods, sugars and starches extreme enough??) it would appear that my stomach has other ideas.
The bloating and discomfort have been returning lately. The “food baby” look is back. Slow weight gain, nothing major, but annoying. First, I blamed it on my cheats—the weekly hakka meal that was full of wheat flour. I had to say goodbye to that cheat meal. It is no more. I can no longer have wheat even as a small cheat. My guts have only begun to heal a week after hakka, and I then I go and bombard them again. I was still meeting the 80/20 rule, but I wasn’t doing my stomach any favours.
And when that wasn’t enough?? I blamed my dairy. I know I’m lactose intolerant, but I have always been able to handle yogurt because of the live bacteria, and my home made yogurt was DELICIOUS and FULL of active bacteria. Seriously. The recipe doesn’t work if there are not enough bacteria. But I had to say goodbye to dairy, too. Damned stomach. It’s fussy.
So I go through spells of experimentation. I love to collect recipes, I hoard them. I get all these recipes emailed to me, all the time, from Chatelaine Magazine, from Canadian Living, from Kraft Kitchens. And 99% of them are completely inappropriate, but that 1% are almost there, or have the potential to get there, so I try.
Sometimes it works out, but some recipes, while tasty and grain-free and sugar-free, just don’t work so well. Maybe they don’t have enough protein. Maybe they’re too high in carbs. Maybe they just aren’t filling which would trick the body into eating more than it should. For example, I converted a recipe this week that was a cold overnight oatmeal. Delicious? Yes. Grain-free and sugar-free? Yes. It contained nuts, chia, banana, almond milk and vanilla. It was light and fluffy. But who wants to eat light and fluffy? I had to gobble down a hard-boiled egg just to feel fed. The naturally sweet taste made me want more—and a whole banana is way too much carb for MY level of activity.
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped
- Green onions, chopped
- Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Pull out your handy mandolin. Slice your zucchini into thin spaghetti-like strips. Place all the zucchini into a large strainer, layering with salt, and allow to drain over your sink or over a plate. The salt will draw some of the excess moisture out. Set aside.