My Paleo Diet – 1 Year Later

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free on All Day I Dream About Food

I began my Paleo diet a little over one year ago today after my trainer suggested it as a way to help me lose weight. Turns out, Paleo for weight loss was an epic fail for me. Though I’ve lost about 4 pounds through the year (and I suppose that’s 4 pounds better off than I was last year), it’s no where near the results others have reported with the switch. Rather than be deterred, I kept with it, still hoping I’d eventually lose the weight, but mainly because I felt better eating this way.

Before the switch to Paleo, my stomach was…let’s just say, unsettled. That’s disappeared. So has the gas, water bloat, brain fog and headaches. Most of my sweet and salty cravings are gone. So is my joint pain. A surprising side effect was that my hot flashes have disappeared, those horrible hormonal waves that made me strip off my jacket and sweater and t-shirt in a mall only to leave me drenched in my own sweat and shivering—are gone! Eating Paleo’s worth it’s weight in gold for that discovery alone.

On the down side (besides no weight loss), food preparation is timely and costly. I can’t come home after a stressful day at work and pop something into the microwave for dinner. I must shop for fresh veggies and meat, prepare them, cook them, and clean up after ward. And while the fact that my kids enjoy my Paleo food is a bonus for them, it’s a negative for me as, no matter how much I think I’ve made, there are never enough leftovers and the whole process must begin anew the next day.

I’ve learned that…

  • I don’t miss processed foods (except where convenience is concerned). In fact, when I eat processed foods, the brain fog and bloat and stomach upset returns the next day as does my hip joint pain, in both hips, including the one that was replaced three years ago.
  • Spiralized zucchini has a consistency similar to Udon noodles when sauced.
  • Stevia leaves an aftertaste and agave’s not as healthy as you think. The best sugar substitutes are coconut sugar and xylitol. Both are plant-based sweetners that are less sweet than refined sugar.
  • I enjoy milk and milk products. My grandfather owned a dairy when I was a child. When he passed, my mom and her siblings took over. I was raised on yogurt, cottage cheese and cream cheese. I never much liked milk because I couldn’t get it cold enough. I learned I had a lactose intolerance with my first pregnancy when I decided to drink more of it. Thank heaven they have lactose free milk for my morning lattes. And though I don’t eat much yogurt or cheese, I do feel for it every once in a while.
  • I can’t cut grains out entirely. When I crave a salty snack, I pop some popcorn. When I eat too much fibre, I need to eat a small serving of rice daily until my body corrects itself. I eat wild rice, because I reason the cavemen I’m emulating might have come across a patch of wild rice at some point and harvested it (Hey! It could happen!).

Lastly, Pinterest is amazing for finding recipes and new weight training moves. Without variety I’d be bored. Pinterest has yielded a number of amazing ideas for recipes. Here are some I’ve tested that I really like:

Microwave Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin on The Big Man’s World

I make a savoury version of this muffin. Take the basic recipe, omit the cinnamon and raisins. Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and a half teaspoon of your favourite spice. I like onion soup mix and/or garlic powder. After microwaving, cut in half like a real English muffin and toast until brown. I use this as sandwich bread, to substitute for a bagel (topped with butter or jam or cream cheese) and as the base for pizza muffins.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free on All Day I Dream About Food

When you make this, add in the optional molasses. It gives it a rich feeling and adds little sweetness. The result, when served slightly warm, is reminiscent of pecan pie. I recently served these at work and my colleagues couldn’t believe there wasn’t any flour in it! I take two of these for breakfast once or twice a week.

Chocolate Muffin in a Minute on DJ Foodie

The basic recipe for this muffin is great. Throwing in a teaspoon of chocolate chips makes it better. Ditto chocolate mint chips. This muffin works as a sweet treat to satisfy a craving or as a gooey weekend breakfast.

The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie on The Paleo Mom

My son absolutely loves this recipe, and I like pumpkin (who knew?). The crust is simply nuts and egg whites and the inside is pumpkin (a vegetable) and eggs. Rather than walnuts, I use pecans for the crust. I’ll sometimes have this for breakfast or lunch or for a guilt-free evening snack. I add a drizzle of pure maple syrup on my piece before eating.

I’m Leaning Paleo

When there’s nothing on television I have three go to vices: The Big Bang Theory repeats, The History Channel, and The Food Network. The problem with watching the Food channel is that I want to make so many of the delectable treats I see there. And for a while I did. And I blogged about it. And I let the creators know about it. Some of them even took time from their busy schedules to respond.

Times have changed. I have a brand new hip. I’m getting old and pounds are getting hard to drop. I’ve returned to the gym, became gluten free, and now, at the suggestion of my trainer, I’m experimenting with paleo.

The paleo diet in a nutshell is about eating only the foods our prehistoric ancient ancestors ate, which means no milk products, no grains, and no processed foods. I can handle the processed food bit, and even the grains–I’ve cut all but oatmeal and quinoa out of my diet already and technically, quinoa is a seed and not a grain. But the milk? To go totally paleo means no morning latte, no greek yogurt snack (including as a substitute for bananas in my Yonanas machine), and no cheese protein boosts.

I really need to think about this decision.

In the mean time, let’s just say I’m leaning.

As is the case with any diet, there is tons of preparation involved. I arrived home from work at 4:15 last night and spent more than two hours cooking. I made chicken breast with duck sauce (processed sauce, so not truly paleo chicken), and tried a few new recipes.

Roll up for last night’s magical mystery tour of the paleo diet in the test kitchen!

Paleo Hummus

Cauliflower hummus? Sounds weird, but it’s actually quite flavourful. Not quite as smooth as the original recipe (I had to add extra oil, lemon and tahini but couldn’t get it to quite the right consistency), and still reminiscent of baked cauliflower, this was really good with the microwave sweet potato chips recipe below. The recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic which seems like a lot, but it’s really not. I made the mistake of substituting hot chili pepper for paprika–not something I would recommend–but the extra wet ingredients balanced out the taste a bit. No need for sriracha in my version, that’s for sure. The recipe is time consuming (30 minutes to bake) but well worth the wait.

Sweet Potato Chips

Crisp potato chips in the microwave? There’s a trick to it, but if you can master it, they’re really good. The problem is that they’re cooked on parchment paper on the spinning tray inside the machine. This means the chips on the outside perimeter would eventually get crisp if only the ones in the middle didn’t start to burn. When you try this, line them up around the outside of the tray, leaving the middle empty and watch them closely. Take them out just before they begin to brown. Use them as scoops when eating the paleo hummus recipe above.

Paleo Granola Bars

Technically this really isn’t granola as there are no oats in the recipe. Instead, these bars contain lots of healthy nuts and seeds and coconut and hold together nicely when frozen. When making these, I misread the recipe and measured a half cup of coconut oil instead of a quarter cup. I caught it before it melted, but the oil is a solid coming out of the jar and I’m not sure I wound up with exactly a quarter cup. I boiled the mixture per instruction, but then realized it was burning–maybe if I melt the oil with the honey first, bring it to a boil and then add the almond butter it will be more candy-like and harden better next time? Regardless of the “glue” holding this bar together, the end result is delicious, and I’m not a coconut fan.

Enjoy!

If you come across any interesting, easy and delicious paleo recipes, please post the links in the comments or tweet them to me. If I test them out, I’ll give you credit for the find in my blog.