Sunday, September 9, 2012

Are you still doing paleo?

In short - sort of. It has been a really hard few months, for reasons I won't go into, though with a newborn in June, some will be obvious. We are still conscious that the standard American diet sucks and have a fair number if good meals, but with the uncertainty of working around kids and other problems, it has been so difficult to plan. It may be possible to do paleo with spontaneity and creativity on the fly, but not for us, not working on so little sleep. And frankly, take-out is easy, and paleo ingredients mostly don't keep very well. So, we stray a little. Some days a lot. But I hope once things settle down a bit, we can get back to looking after or long-term health, and what we eat is a lot of that.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Not feeling so great... and I'm frustrated.

I'm really starting to think that my less-than-paleo eating is starting to make me feel sick. I had rice, cream cheese, ice cream, and a significant amount of processed sugar last night, and this morning I feel wretched. Nauseated, headache, aching all over, stuffiness, that kind of thing.

I'm pretty sure that milk and I do NOT work very well together. Almost every time I consume regular ice cream I end up being stuffy. However, it takes several hours for these symptoms to crop up, generally overnight. I guess it hits my digestive system and that's where things go wonky.

I also believe that sugar is likely a bad idea for me. When I say sugar, I am referring to granulated white or brown sugar or HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). It seems that when I do consume any significant amount, I end up being super-lethargic. But as with milk, it seems to take a while for the effects to hit my system.

As to rice, I simply don't know. Rice is generally considered "non-paleo" in most common paleo circles, but as it is a grass and not an actual grain, I wonder if it can actually be acceptable.

Alas, I could likely nit-pick such things till the end of time, but after a time there seems a point of diminishing usefulness in this particular line of thinking. The Paleo way of eating has no real lines of delineation aside from the basics, being the following:

1. Eat veggies, meat, nuts, and fruits
2. Don't eat tubers, legumes, dairy, sugar, grains, or processed foods.

And even these basic things are debated regularly on forums, blogs, and in books. It's starting to seem a very contentious type of diet, as there are a mass of contradictions in recipes and philosophies. There seems a general " eat what is right for you" type of mindset, once you get past the foaming-at-the-mouth paleo zealots who say there is only one way or the half-hearted paleo dabblers who eat in this fashion only when it suits them.

Eat what is right for you. Doesn't give me a whole lot to go on. At least everyone seems to agree that grains, beans, lots of cane sugar, and processed foods are out. That's about it, though.

I do hope to find my balance in truly healthy eating soon, as this kind of debate wears thin and annoys quickly.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Respect the mandoline

Everyone warned me, but did I listen? Yeah, I did. I just figured I would be careful and I'd be OK. Wrong.

So anyway, I sliced off the end of my finger with the mandoline. Here's how it happened, and the lessons to be learned. Don't worry, there won't be any pictures, except this one:
It's the *ring* finger - I'm not flipping the bird. Yes, my awesome wife decorated it as a Jayne hat.

I had a big cut of beef, partially thawed, which I intended to cut thin and make jerky. Problem is, I hadn't cut off all the gristle on the edges, and it was a little too solid still, so it wouldn't go through the mandoline easily like it's supposed to.

I thought if I just sliced off that gristle, it would go better, and so I was pressing a little too hard, and... I don't remember if my hand slipped, or the meat, but it doesn't matter. I slipped, and I was looking at a little piece of skin lying on the cutting board and a chunk missing out of my ring finger.

Could have been a lot worse, really. It was a clean cut, small, didn't hit any bone or finger nail. I applied pressure, elevated, wrapped it, and sought medical attention. (In case you're ever in this situation, that's what to do. BTW, no, they can't reattach your missing bits.) I could have cut a lot more, or a lot more deeply. It's going to be fine.

Lessons learned:

1. Everything going through the mandoline should fly through it with ease. If it doesn't, just don't use it! Simple as that. If you're having to apply any real pressure, you have a chance of slipping like I did. It's not worth the risk.
2. Do all your modifications before you put something through the mandoline (before freezing if it's meat). It's just there to make little slices. It's not for detail work.

I think this can still be used safely, just with great caution. One of my friends recommended these cut-resistant gloves. I think I'll get some - could be useful for all kinds of cutting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ice Cream, Adjusted

My guilt became more than I could consciously take upon my second day of consuming Ben & Jerry's.

Why? Two things- corn syrup and bean gums.

The bean gums I have less of a problem with, as they seem to be relatively far down the ingredient list. But corn syrup? BAD. VERY BAD.

It's the main culprit for my guilt, especially because I'm feeding someone else inside me. Because of this, I felt the need to obtain some ice cream with a smaller and less processed ingredient list.

Off to Whole Paycheck we went in search of a slightly more wholesome heartburn killer. Yes, loaded with cane sugar still, so "wholesome" is a pretty loose term. It would be fabulous to find full-fat milk ice cream with some kind of natural sweetener... oh wait... that's what making yer own ice cream is for. Which I will do. Eventually.

But until then, I suppose I'll have to content myself with Talenti Coconut Gelato and Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream. And Ciao Bella Peach Ginger Sorbet.

I just hope the cane sugar, bean gums, and dairy don't mess me up too much. It'll certainly add to the baby weight I've already gained. :P

Fun with the dehydrator

I tried dehydrating a bunch of things over the weekend: sweet potatoes, apples, and beef. Results were mixed.

First of all, I take back what I said about the mandoline not being good at slicing sweet potatoes. That was because those ones had been sitting in our kitchen for months getting dried out and tough. When I sliced up fresh sweet potatoes, it was no problem.

I seasoned some only with salt, some with salt and cinnamon, and some with salt+cinnamon+cayenne (I like it hot). All got a little olive oil sprayed lightly on top of the spices. They dried up nicely. If I left the skin on, the edges were curled up in a pretty way. But I overdid the salt on all of them, and I didn't really care for the texture on any of them - I guess I'm expecting sweet potato chips like the ones that get fried in oil. Doesn't seem to be a way to make that with a dehydrator. Also, when I left them out for a few hours after drying them, they sucked up some moisture and were basically limp leather. Not too tasty.
They looked pretty good and were crispy... at first.
So, I moved on to apples. I think it's pretty hard to go wrong with apples. I had four different kinds of apples; I think the Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala came out well, with Braeburn a little lackluster. For these, I threw together a little seasoning including lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The sliced apples were in this for a few hours while I did other things.
On top I left one row of plain apples for comparison. Two trays below were flavored. Didn't feel a need to peel any of them - good nutrients in those peels!
I also blended up some apples (peeled this time) and some pears with a teaspoon of cinnamon in the food processor so I could dry them into "fruit leather" (somewhat like Fruit Roll-ups, except without adding weird stuff to the fruit).
Pear-apple-cinnamon blend on the mat

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ice Cream

So, I am having massive heartburn. I have tried basically everything paleo under the sun. I have even scoured the interwebs to see what people have suggested. Guess what? To paraphrase the words of one chick, "basically, NOTHING helps heartburn in the paleo diet".
How bloody encouraging. So, I am going back to my old standby from when I was preggers with Aria- ice cream.

No, it's not "Whole30 paleo", but I'm preggers and I can't really do hardcore paleo. Not while acid is burning my esophagus. I need to sleep, and I need to feel decent, and Luke (ever the realist) said, "look, if it keeps you from feeling like crap, do it. There is no guilt in eating something that actually helps make you feel better." And you know, he's right. I have to do what works for me.

Don't get me wrong- I'll still be eating paleo. Just with the addition of ice cream. So, there you have it. And I can't say I won't relish it, because I LOVE me some ice cream. Especially with chocolate and nuts. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breakfast: I used to hate Brussels Sprouts

For breakfast this morning I figured we needed some more veggies. I cooked up a recent favorite: Brussels Sprouts and Soppressata.
It's even colorful!

And, since we had it, I cut up a luscious mango too.

This took me about 45 minutes without the little one bothering me (she woke up at the end!). Read further for details: