Monday, 31 December 2012

This is NOT a New Year's Resolution

What will the new year be like for you?

This is not going to be a post about losing weight, about eating less cheats or getting in more exercise.  Nope.  This post is NOT about New Year's Resolutions.

I'm not big on New Years Resolutions.  If you really want to change something, change it as soon as the idea is fully formed in your head.  Changes happen gradually, with much effort, not overnight.

I'd like to say that this whole switch to paleo happened over night, and maybe I did make the decision to change my diet overnight, and  commit to it after a couple more days of reading (I read for more than a couple of days, in fact, I've been reading all about it for the past year and a half, incessantly and obsessively.)  I may have committed to it in a single day, but lets' be honest, this whole paleo thing is HUGE, we all make mistakes along the way, we try things that work and try things that don't work.  We eat things we think are paleo-appropriate, then change our minds.  We eat things that are definitely paleo-appropriate, then find we just can't digest them and have to give them up.

This paleo thing is ever-evolving.

It is not the same diet, or lifestyle, now, that it was a year and a half ago.

Right out of the gate, I was hard-core.  For the first month or two, there were no sweets, no cheats.  Then I decided to allow dairy back in my life.  Then I nixed it.  then I let it back in.  Then I discovered bacon wasn't so bad, even the conventional kind, and the floodgates of bacon-enabling opened.  Then I discovered fatty cuts of meats.  Then I took the fatty cuts out because I wasn't able to afford pastured meat and all that is evil is concentrated in the fat.  Then I ate them anyways, devil-may-care.  I overdid it on paleo "treats".  Many times over.  I overdid it trying to prepare neolithic foods with paleo-appropriate ingredients and made preparing dinner every night into a marathon of cooking.


We forced this diet on our teens, then allowed them to do what they wanted, then forced them some more.  Our 3 big 'allowances' to the teens to this day are hot dogs, peanut butter, and occasionally, a loaf of bread. We feed our teens a paleo-appropriate diet, and those treat foods keep them from slitting our throats as we sleep.

Somewhere along the journey, I joined the local Paleo Meetup Group.  The group just exploded after that, and it's really opened my world up.  And my eyes.  When I asked Glen about what kinds of foods he likes to eat at home (I was still in my converting-neolithic-foods-to-paleo-foods phase , he oh-so-simply said "meat with salad."  Almost always, without err.  Meat and vegetables.  That's it.  No almond-flour-crusted pan-seared-on-cauli-pilaf creations.  Just cook some meat, and throw it on a salad with kefir as salad dressing or with some sweet potato instead.  Repeat.  Keep repeating.  At first, I thought that this was the most colossally boring way to go about eating ever.  I thought he was un-inventive and I, on the other hand, was a food-lover, a real foodie and THAT way of eating would never, ever do.  I questioned him on it.  But he defended his choices, and he pointed out that the way I was eating vs. the way he was eating, it was an evolution.  Many of us start out trying to grasp something that is familiar and over-do it, over-complicate it.  But over time, and experience, things settle down, meals simplify and life just gets easier.  We start to do all these things out of habit instead of with forced effort.  We get used to this.  And we find ways to simplify things, we accept the things that matter the most to us and forgive ourselves the choices we make--like whether or not to buy organic, or from farmers markets, or pastured meat and eggs, or allow dairy into our lives.

Thanks to Glen, my meals have simplified a lot.  Gather up some meat, some veggies, and throw them together.

I have learned to cook the meat bone-in and skin-on, to roast slowly whenever possible.  I have learned to love fat, to use all the drippings to make gravies and sauces with those fats, and I am learning still how to use every scrap of meat and waste nothing.  I have learned how to bake without grain flours and with minimal sweeteners, but I think I need to scale back on that a bit.  What the paleo world really needs is more ways to make use of fats, to cook more traditional foods and get comfortable with the odd bits.  To learn how to get thrifty like our grandparents were.  But maybe that's just me.

It took me a year to find a grassfed source of beef that I was proud to have--and at $4/pound, it was economical, too.  Wouldn't have been able to buy it any other way.  It came roasts, and ground meat, and steaks, and also with organs and bones and hard white chunks of waxy fat.  I paid for it.  I will learn how to use it.  Planning my meals is no harder than wandering downstairs to my freezer and pulling out a hunk of meat and deciding what veggies would go best with it that day.  It really has been that simple.

And now I want more of that simple.
This image actually came from Zephyr Organics....

I'm hooked.

Wouldn't it be a perfect world if all of your food came right to your door?  To never have to set foot in a grocery store again?  I know that will never happen, not really.  But this year, I want to focus on finding ways to simplify some of those basic food needs.  Fill my freezer with meats.  Join a CSA.  Let what I already own be the deciding factor in what I eat--enough driving around looking for weird food ingredients.  Waste less.  Ferment more.  Spend less time with food and more time doing the other things I love.

My beef came right to my door, thank you very much John Snowdon.  And  I found a vegetable CSA in Zephyr that will deliver, too.  I need to find a good, affordable source for pork and stock my freezer, or even buy a second freezer.  Then, I think I will be set.

You know you want it.
This coming year on the blog, you will see more real food fermentation recipes, more traditional foods, cooking with offal, more ways to work with fat, and less sweet treats.  Oh, and make no mistake, there will still be snacks and treats--but they will be deceptively high-fat and low-sweetener and still delicious, and very pared-down and plain old 'why didn't I think of that' simple.

THAT is what I want to do in 2013.  No resolutions.  But I have some goals.  Some things  I want to focus on.  And some things I want to focus less on.  Simplicity is my plan.

What are you going to change this year?

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