The Gosses go Paleo…week 2

If you caught my last blog post, then you know that Grant and I are doing the Paleo diet (lifestyle?) for four weeks due to some health issues I’ve had over the last year.

I’d really like to share our journey with you, mostly because I love sharing helpful recipes with people, but also because I just like talking about food.

Following the same theme from last week….

Stuff You Could Eat Even if You’re Not Doing Paleo

  • The “cornbread” muffins from last week’s blog.  These were so awesome that I made them twice.
  • Paleo smoothies – this is basically just frozen fruit, nut butter (not peanut, of course), greens (or not), and coconut milk and/or coconut cream.  Definitely delicious enough to make again, especially if we’re out of yogurt and have some canned coconut milk in the pantry.
  • Fiesta chicken salad – I’m not a huge fan of chicken salad, but this one was pretty good, and you could add/remove quite a few ingredients.  (I also made chicken salad with leftover pesto from the week before…that was less delicious, but still good.)
  • General Tso’s meatballs – this is a recipe I’ve made many times, way before we ever considered doing Paleo.  If you don’t want to make it Paleo, just use corn starch in place of the arrowroot powder and bread crumbs in place of the almond flour.  Make sure you follow her suggestion for using corn starch, though (in the comments).  Also…I made the sauce with coconut sugar instead of honey, since we’re still not feeding honey to Finn.  Bad idea.  Use honey.
  • Southwest avocado ranch dressing/dip – yes, a thousand times yes…I will make this again after we’re done with this stupid diet.  I won’t have Grant make homemade mayo for it, because…too much work.  This dip was great with veggies, crackers (yes, I found a Paleo cracker recipe – see below), and sandwich meat rollups (see below again).
  • Blueberry muffins – ah, my lesson in the dangers of ingredient substitution when cooking Paleo.  Jamie: “Coconut flour smells good, I’m going to use that instead of almond flour!”  Anybody who has done Paleo or Whole30 knows what happened next…I had to scramble and add a ton of eggs and coconut milk to salvage my muffins.  They’re edible…if you like all the moisture to be sucked out of your mouth when you eat something.  But, I will make them again, because I can tell they would have been delicious if I weren’t so stupid.
  • Savory garlic roasted almonds – the Paleo diet is really making me love roasted almonds.  These were heavenly.

Stuff You Probably Wouldn’t Eat Unless You’re Doing Paleo

  • Lemon Alfredo spaghetti squash – I feel kind of bad putting this in the “stuff you probably wouldn’t eat unless you’re doing Paleo” category, because it was truly delicious, and one of the few Paleo meals I’ve had that actually made me feel full.  But let’s be honest, Alfredo sauce needs cheese.  That being said, I still highly recommend this recipe.
  • Sandwich meat rollups – I would never do this off the Paleo diet, but I am seriously DYING for some easy meals.  Enter the sandwich rollup: slice of sandwich meat, condiment of choice (pesto, guac, dressing mentioned above, mustard, etc.), slice of bacon, and a slice of veggie (onion, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, etc.).  You can go wild and make a bunch of different ones.
  • Paleo crackers – just no.  Some things shouldn’t be modified to fit the Paleo diet.  (Although Grant and Finn both love these, so MAYBE I’ll make them again.  And they are dead easy.)
  • Coconut whipped cream – I don’t know if I used the wrong brand of coconut cream or what, but this just didn’t work for me.  It never became “whipped”, so I tried removing some of the coconut milk and leaving the cream…then it became hard coconut butter.
  • Mediterranean beef tips – of course I didn’t do the tzatziki, stop judging.  (Yeah, I know there is Paleo tzatziki…but again, some things shouldn’t be modified to fit the Paleo diet.)  This recipe wasn’t bad so much as it was boring.

Here are Grant’s observations this week:

  • I’m no longer as hungry throughout the day.
  • I’m getting tired of eating so much meat.
  • I’m ready for a beer.

He’s clearly less verbose this week.  Here are my observations:

  • Paleo people are not only obsessed with coconut, they also can’t survive without cauliflower and sweet potato.
  • I’m so tired of cooking.  If you’re a mom and you’re reading this blog thinking, “That is a crap ton of cooking,” please know that I’m hardly doing anything else.  It’s not easy.  If you’re a mom and you’re reading this blog thinking, “That’s not too much cooking,” go fold some laundry and polish your “perfect mom” crown.  My laundry has been sitting on the couch for days.
  • You cannot use coconut flour in place of almond flour.  I REPEAT: do not use coconut flour in place of almond flour.
  • I am tired, weak, and HANGRY pretty much all the time.

So, as you can tell, I don’t like this diet at all.

Also, I have some pretty major beef (har har) with the type of meat that Paleo enthusiasts eat.  They’re pretty big on NO GRAINS ABSOLUTELY EVER, and yet I have met countless Paleo enthusiasts that buy a ton of meat from the grocery store.  I wonder if they know that those animals ate ridiculous (and unnatural) amounts of grain.  You’re not going to get the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle if you’re eating factory raised animals.  All that preaching about “good fats” and “omega-3s” goes straight down the drain when you’re eating grain finished cows, factory chickens (nope, “free range” does not mean pastured), farm raised fish, and factory pigs.

So I wonder how “healthy” the Paleo diet is when you’re eating a bunch of store bought bacon (those pigs ain’t pastured), free range boneless and skinless chicken breasts (those chickens ain’t living outside eating bugs), “environmentally friendly” fish (those fish ain’t eating living green stuff, they’re eating corn), cheap beef (FYI: cows don’t even have the digestive system to live on grain alone), and “organic eggs” (again, those chickens ain’t hanging around in a beautiful green pasture).

Paleo enthusiasts do so much to avoid gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar because they’re so unhealthy.  But then a ton of them don’t follow the Paleo decree of “pastured meat!” and end up eating a bunch of crap anyway.

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The Gosses go Paleo…week 1

We’re not actually going Paleo permanently.  I would never permanently give up cheese.

As many of you know, I got wicked sick after Finn was born.  (I’ll be writing a blog post on it since it won the last blog post poll…I just need to find the courage first.)  I was mostly healed in late November, but have been dealing with residual health issues since then.  My GI specialist recommended that I give up dairy and gluten for a month, but I’m a Goss, so I said…let’s take it even further!  And my husband is a Goss, so he said…I’ll do it, too!

So without further ado, here’s what we ate during week one.  I’ve separated these recipes into “stuff you could eat even if you’re not doing Paleo” and “stuff you probably wouldn’t eat unless you’re doing Paleo”.  Why?  Because I’d like this blog to be helpful.

Stuff You Could Eat Even if You’re Not Doing Paleo

  • Clean eating spicy roasted almonds – yeah, I’ll be making these a lot in the future.
  • Teriyaki sauce – I’d make this again, but not with coconut aminos…just use the real deal, soy sauce.
  • Sweet potato chili – I made this several times before we went Paleo, so of course I’d make it again.  Also, moms: this is an easy and delicious meal.
  • Coconut chocolate chip cookie dough bites – I mean, re-read that title.  Of course I’d make these again.  This was Grant’s favorite snack all week.  Also, to my peanut allergy homies: this is an awesome nut free version of the very popular peanut butter balls.
  • Honey chipotle meatballs – I did make these with maple syrup instead of honey so Finn could have some, but they were still delicious.
  • Chile verde – I didn’t have any pork, so I made this with round steak.  Best green chile I have made so far…and I’ve tested out several recipes.  It was interesting to have green chile without a roux, but it worked, man.  It worked.  This was Grant’s favorite meal all week.
  • Jalapeno cornbread muffins – it’s true, I would rather make my regular jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  But I’m including these as a good non-Paleo recipe because I was so impressed by how they tricked my brain into thinking I was eating gluten.  (FYI: this recipe is technically not Paleo because of the butter and baking powder, but that depends on who you ask.)
  • Vegetables in a creamy pesto sauce – I don’t always love veggies, but I do always love anything in pesto sauce.
  • Spiced honey roasted almonds – not as good as the spicy roasted almonds, but perfect for those of you who crave salty and sweet together.

Stuff You Probably Wouldn’t Eat Unless You’re Doing Paleo

  • Zucchini tots – now, I wouldn’t make these again for myself…but I would make them for Finn.  He actually ate veggies!  I might like them more if they had cheese in them.
  • Pesto – yeah, no.  I want parmesan in my pesto.  But this was good enough for now.
  • Cilantro lime cauliflower rice – cauliflower does not taste like rice.  End of story.
  • Roasted garlic cauliflower hummus – this was good if you like cauliflower, which Grant does, and I don’t.  But at least it made celery edible.

So there it is.  I guess we came out on top this week – I liked most of these recipes.

And for those of you who are interested in trying out the Paleo diet, here are Grant’s observations:

  • Not enough fat.  Which sounds weird, because we’re eating a lot of meat, avocado, and coconut.  But we’re not eating any butter or full fat yogurt, which are great (according to me) sources of fat.  I have to agree with him on this one – I think we’re not getting as much “good” fat as we normally do.
  • Too easy to not eat enough fruits and veggies.  A lot of people doing Atkins or Whole30 or Paleo just shove their mouths full of meat.  But you have to make sure you’re getting enough fruits and veggies (or just veggies on Atkins, I guess) to assimilate all that protein you’re inhaling.

And here are my observations, which are much less serious:

  • Cauliflower is the most obnoxious vegetable to cut up.
  • There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many coconut products in the Paleo diet.
  • No matter what the internet tells you, you cannot use arrowroot powder in place of tapioca powder.
  • Going to a birthday party BBQ while on the Paleo diet SUCKS.
  • Watching your 11 month old eat a PB&J sandwich or grilled cheese or bean & cheese quesadilla while you’re doing the Paleo diet makes you feel very shameful jealousy towards your own tiny progeny.

Grant and I both figured we’d feel like crap during the first week.  Grant did not.  I did.  Lots of shakes, inside out stomach feelings, and physical weakness.  The workouts I’ve been doing for six weeks were way harder.  I also had probably 1-2 bouts of HANGRY every day.

Stay tuned for week #2, and please feel free to ask me any questions you have about the Paleo diet, why we’re doing it, why we like it, why we don’t like it, why Finn is not doing it, or where babies come from.