Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Adventures in Eating

Learning how to eat without grains and corn and dairy and legumes and more has been a challenge.  Since I feel really gross when I eat those things, I don't have the urge to cheat and go back to my old way of eating.  I'm not going to lie - I miss lots of things, but the cravings seem to be disappearing and I'm finding joy in new things.  I have found help along the way, first online, and then from a few books.

The Well Fed books - both 1 and 2 - have been very helpful.  You can find out more about these books on the authors web site - Clothes Make the Girl.  You can buy the book there or on Amazon or at local book stores.  The books have lots of recipes and also, some great time saving tips.

I'm still reading It Starts with Food.  I have just finished the science-y sections and am about to start on the fun stuff.

By the way, the Toss and Chop in the photo with the books is a gadget my friend Shirley introduced me to.  It simplifies making chopped salads and I am using it often when cutting up greens for sauteing.

One other book I have, which is not in the photo, is Practical Paleo.

I chose these particular books because they focus more on real food than many paleo/clean eating books.  There are plenty of paleo books out there that teach you how to make substitutes for what you're used to.  I don't want to cook that way.  I just want to cook simply without a lot of pretend pizzas or pretend pies or pretend anything.

Well Fed got me back into stir frying and sauteing.  I have been doing lots of that lately.  I prefer not to include meat in the stir fry so I generally cook that on the side.  Whatever meat I cook generally lasts me several days.  Then for vegetables, I choose a combination from what's in the frig and I saute away.  It's been so good. I haven't even started experimenting with sauces.  Once I do that, it will be even more fun.

One interesting thing - I used to use olive oil in cooking pretty often.  Turns out that's a no-no.  Olive oil is great for salads, but it's not good to use for cooking.  What do I use?  Coconut oil!  And boy is it good.  Don't worry about a strong coconut flavor - the taste is quite subtle.

Another oil recommended for high heat cooking is ghee, which is clarified butter.  It's the one and only dairy exception in the Paleo eating plan.  Apparently the clarification removes all the something or other and is fine for even lactose intolerant folks.  I've used it twice so far and even though many rave about the wonderful flavor, I don't like it any better than the coconut oil.

Thanks to the books and online resources, I'm discovering new foods.   I have made myself branch out.  Some are things I thought I didn't care for - like radishes.  I avoided those.  But now, I've discovered I like them after all.  I love the crunch they add to salads.  And parsnips.  Oh my, I love those in stir fries!

There are some foods I've never tried that I'm finding I like.  The jicama is actually really good.  So far, I've just had that in a salad.  It's really unattractive on the outside.

But once you peel it, it looks like a potato.  In fact, some call it the Mexican Potato.

Each meal I cook tends to be colorful.  I love how pretty and colorful the vegetables look.  In the photo above are my new friends, baby bok choy and diced jicama.

It's still a bumpy ride.  I don't have all my issues figured out.  I recently had to drop nuts, which I thought I was OK with.  And I have eaten something that doesn't agree with me the last two days.  I have no idea what it could be.  Whatever it was kept me up last night and here I am again feeling a little icky.  Not bad, but annoying enough that sleep is eluding me.   That's frustrating because I've gone several weeks feeling really great.  Sigh.  I'm determined to figure it out.  This whole deal is quite an adventure - one that will surely have great benefits.

One more thing.  My friends all want to know if hubby is eating this way.  The answer is no.  I'm mostly cooking separate meals or separate sides for him right now.  He' not ready to give anything up and I'm still experimenting like crazy.  Hopefully, that will decrease as time goes on.  I hope so.  I can't keep up all this cooking for much longer.


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