"I'm on a diet," I said in an uncertain voice to a family member as she handed me the comically large serving spoon. The smell of the fresh homemade potato salad danced gracefully upon my olfactory receptors. I took my daughter's plate of leftover dried out hamburger meat, cut into toddler portions, and began to eat them. Eye on the prize, Rebecca, I told myself, eye on the prize. It's just potato salad. I mean, that was probably the first time I had ever turned down fresh potato salad, but I had to keep things in perspective. It was just one party, one day, one encounter. Was it really that hard? No. It was hard for about the four or five seconds I considered just having a little. But I did it.
Okay, so right off the bat you might be thinking this couldn't possibly turn into the "best diet ever" post I shouted from the rooftops last night. Yeah, that was me. No, I wasn't drunk. Don't let my prosaic intro set a dismal mood, however. Because we gotta be honest, any type of diet or lifestyle change, as this diet is often seen, always comes with some sort of change. I had to start somewhere, and that was my first public demonstration of my commitment to better health.
So what is this diet? It goes by a few names such as the Paleo diet, Paleolithic diet, Caveman diet, Primal diet, and a few others I'm sure. I refer to it as Paleo for both descriptive and comedic purposes. We crack a lot of jokes about it around here, that seems to be the way we deal with everything these days.
So, what are the basics? I will make this as simple as possible, because that is what attracted me to it. It is called the Paleo diet because it is supposed to closely mimic our hunter-gatherer ancestors. There is a whole slew of science related research to backup this premise, which I won't get into, but I will provide links to at the end of the post in case you are interested. I just don't have time to get into it myself. I am still reading a little every day though, and have been tweaking the diet to fit my needs, which I will also explain. Anyway, so the basic idea is to eat little to NO Processed Foods. That is what reeled me in. I am a big whole foods advocate by nature, but I found myself in the same place many people do, feeding my family more and more out of convenience. That will be another post in itself. In addition to the cutting of processed foods, we are cutting out Grains in every way shape or form. If you are cutting out processed foods, you end up cutting out a huge portion of grains you were consuming, almost without knowing it. Okay, so the basic foods are Meat and Fish, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, eggs, and a few additions and exceptions. Some people include dairy, which I will in very small occasional amounts. Some also include legumes, but most agree that if you do, the cooking process needs special attention such as soaking and sprouting your beans. None of the canned, sodium filled, BPA exposed stuff you find in the store.
So, that's basically it. It is all about clean eating, really. I plan on writing about this new lifestyle change for my family. So far, I feel great, I have only had one slip up- but I am not taking on any negative thoughts when it comes to food. It is about providing myself and my loved ones with the BEST food I can. What can be negative about that? It is not as though I will never eat a bowl of pasta again, or that we will never have another pizza night movie party. We just will not make those things anything even close to a regular part of our diet.
Like I said, this is the best diet I have ever been on. Okay, it is the first, but it makes sense to me. I have been making great food, and so far, so good. Here are some examples of meals I've made, followed by pictures. There are dinners and snacks. The tiny portions are the kids plates. I eat a lot more than that. I will keep track of the recipes I make, too. Most of these are just off the top of my head or a slightly altered recipe I've made before to fit our needs.
*Wild Cod, steamed broccoli, and salad w/avocado and tomato
*Rolled fresh deli turkey with organic carrot stick
*All Natural italian sausage and peppers, and a spinach salad w/avocado, tomato and garlic olive oil dressing
*Six Vegetable chicken soup - with Green beans, red bell pepper, butternut squash, carrot, zucchini, and onion. I added some fresh cilantro and avocado on top. Free-Range chicken.
*Romaine salad w/ avocado, strawberry, cilantro, garlic olive oil dressing, and fresh turkey.
*Turkey roll up with fresh raspberries and strawberries
*All Natural Andouille sausage, tomato slices and brussel sprout chips
*Bacon, avocado, chicken wraps
*Chicken Pan roasted in white wine, garlic, and seasoning with zucchini, and prosciutto wrapped asparagus
*Breakfast berries - Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries
-Not pictured- We've had lots of omelets and scrambles with a variety of veggies. Yesterday I made grilled steak with cauliflower mash, salad, roasted green beans, and a fried egg.
Here are some links to more information about this diet. I don't necessarily agree with every single thing these people talk about or do, but it is a good source of information on the basics and they give a lot links for further reading:
Why I Eat Paleo
The Beginner's Guide to the Paleo Diet
What Is the Paleo Diet?
Let me know what you think! I am still excited, and I am enjoying the food I'm making more than ever, because I know EXACTLY what I am eating and what I am feeding these precious loves of mine.