The first 30 days

Having read the literature that my husband collected with some tenacity I became convinced of the merits of a paleo diet and did a proper cleanout of the kitchen cupboards. The first to go was the sugar followed by the flour.  Then the breakfast cereals and most of the canned foods ended up in the donation box (I felt guilty about giving other people these foodstuffs, but then not everyone follows our diet). It was easy to throw out the canned and processed goods. Even the sugar went without a shrug, but oh boy it was hard to throw out the gluten-free cereals and flour! I definitely suffered from grain withdrawal symptoms.

And looking back over the past 6 months I realise that we needed paleo baked goods to help us with the transition. We had chocolate muffins (made with 70% chocolate), chocolate date balls, chocolate cinnamon sweet potato waffles and chocolate chip cookie dough brownies on a weekly basis. Do I spot a chocolate trend???

Teaching our four year old about healthy food choices is a continuous process. It was difficult for him to get used to not having his Weetbix for breakfast but otherwise he has adapted well. I tried to make it as easy for him as possible and to not make him feel like the odd-one-out at school. I bake a paleo friendly sandwich bread which he enjoys spread with almond butter and honey. We have banana pancakes (flapjacks) for breakfast every now and then and his favourite breakfast is scrambled egg with tomato sauce (I buy the one with the least number of ingredients and no MSG).  I’m not very strict with him and I allow him to have whatever the other kids at a birthday party or get-together is having. And I am proud to say that he is starting to make healthy choices and he limits himself to small portions of the unhealthy food.

As a family we include dairy in our diet but I’ve come to realise that I need to limit my intake. I used to consume blocks of cheese and my mouth still waters at the thought of a nice ripe soft oozing Brie or Camembert but those days are over. Dairy, especially cheese leaves me feeling bloated and very uncomfortable. (There’s no way I can re-apply for the position of Cheese Selector at Woolworths)

Changing one’s diet requires commitment and planning. And the best way to resist temptation is to avoid it. Plan your meals and shop only for the ingredients or products on your shopping list. Depending on the amount of time you can spend in the kitchen you might have to prepare some meals in advance.

A week’s menu for the adults.

 

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snack

Monday Scrambled egg with tomato smoor Chicken coleslaw with nut sprinkle Grilled cashew crusted salmon with green beans and salad Piece of cheese
Tuesday Left over salmon Lamb or beef burger without the bun Oven roasted chicken with green salad and broccoli Biltong, cranberries
Wednesday Bacon with apple sauce Chicken coleslaw with nut sprinkle Tomato, carrot and green bean lamb stew Boiled egg, cheese
Thursday Scrambled egg with smoked salmon and salad or left over vegetables Left over stew Stir fried beef and vegetables Almonds, salami sticks
Friday Sweet potato muffins with sliced ham Left over stir fry beef and vegetables Braai chops with stir fried zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower Greek yoghurt with a  drop of honey
Saturday Omelet filled with left over vegetables Boerewors and cauli-mash with salad Cauliflower crust pizza Slice of paleo bread, almond butter
Sunday Sweet potato chocolate muffins served with bacon Beetroot burgers with fennel salad and avocado and steamed vegetables Beef lasagne with green salad (make enough for left overs) Nuts, piece of cheese, fruit

 

In most cases I make the dishes, sauces, etc from scratch. Natural or unprocessed is the way to go! As I’ve not yet mastered the art of making bacon or ham (and won’t any time soon) I buy the best that’s available in the shop. And I choose the whole muscle ham or beef not cooked ham. And remember; the starch (rice, potato, pasta) you used to eat should be replaced by vegetables or salad NOT meat.

Our son’s menu looks a bit different. Being a four year old he prefers his salad in the deconstructed form and packing school lunches that require eating utensils is not a good idea.

Please note that the menu is a sample menu. It is not our typical week, especially not since we’ve moved back to Malmesbury. In Perth we lived close to a grocer that stocked grass fed beef and Tasmanian salmon at reasonable prices.  Now we tend to eat more Karoo lamb and chicken dishes. I have yet to find a fish monger that sells good quality fish at a reasonable price. Anyone with recommendations – please let me know!

Here’s the link to a very tasty chocolate cake recipe.CAM00566tr I’ve made one adjustment to the recipe. I use 1 cup coconut flour instead of 2/3 cup and I cover it with a ganache made with 70% dark chocolate and cream.

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Hello!

Our Paleo / Banting lifestyle started in August 2013. I do prefer the term Banting because we still consume dairy and “Paleo with dairy” can be such a long-winded description. The Paleo diet has many versions and levels of strictness and if you Google it you will be sure to find numerous sites with loads of information. In essence we follow a low carbohydrate, no grains, high fat, medium protein diet (Jeez, what a mouthful and I’m trying to keep it simple). But it is more than just a diet. It has become a lifestyle.

The triggers for our quite drastic and sudden change of diet were my mom having been recently diagnosed with colon cancer, myself struggling with gluten intolerance, bloating, lack of energy and bad skin (long after my teenage years) and my husband’s continuous struggle to lose weight. Our influencers and guides on this journey are Robb Wolf with his book “The Paleo Solution” and Prof Tim Noakes as co-author of the book “The Real Meal Revolution”.  To that we add common sense and as little as possible of the nutrition knowledge I gathered in my years studying for my ND Food and Nutrition at the Cape Technikon (now known as Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and as much as I can remember about the science and preparation of food.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bad-mouthing the institution or the lecturers but what I’ve been taught is wrong. The food pyramid laden with grains and carbohydrates, low fat dairy and lean meat in small portions is wrong. (As this is not a piece for a science magazine I’m not adhering to the rules – you can go read about it for yourself in the books mentioned above. Robb Wolf has done a stunning job of scientifically and anthropologically proving and explaining why this is so.)

So what do we eat? It might be easier to start with what we don’t eat. I’ve rid my kitchen of sugar, artificial sweeteners, any form of wheat, maize, soya, potato and rice (thus no bread, cereals or pasta), dried beans and pulses.  In its place we have loads of vegetables (more of those that grow above ground and less of the root vegetables that grow below grtrimound), grass-fed meat (as far as possible) with fat on, chicken and fish (wild caught is best but you eat what you can afford), eggs, nuts and a bit of fruit. We make our own mayonnaise with only 5 ingredients (have you looked at the ingredients list on a bottle of mayonnaise lately?). We use honey and dates as sweeteners and drink plenty of water as well as a glass of red or white wine, the occasional cider and even less frequently a beer (hey, a girl and a boy have to have some fun!) And oh, don’t forget the morning cup of Rooibos tea and coffee in the afternoon.

The purpose of this blog is not to convince you to change your ways. It is a means for me to track our progress along this journey and to hopefully help someone else along the way.  I know this big a change can be rather daunting. Believe me, I supported my husband when he suggested this lifestyle change but I wanted it to be easy. I did not want to think about what we would eat or how to prepare it or where to buy it. And there – once again, thanks goes to Robb Wolf for solving this problem with his 30 day meal plan, recipes included.

As mentioned earlier, Banting has become a lifestyle not just a diet. We prefer our food in as natural a state as possible. Having recently moved back into our house in Malmesbury (after a two year stint in Australia) we’re looking forward to growing our own vegetables. We like to mince the meat instead of buying it already minced and we’re keen to try our hand at making sausages. We buy raw almonds and prepare our own roasted almonds, almond meal and almond butter. Someday soon I’d like to make coconut oil and flour from fresh coconuts.

You’ll be sure to read about all these exploits right here!

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