Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Commitment Central :)

About five weeks ago, I actually committed to try out the Paleo diet...and then some! I signed up for Dr. Chris Kresser's Personal Paleo Code, which is a 3 Step program designed to guide you through finding your best diet.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to commit to what Step 1 demanded of me, as someone with an autoimmune condition: no eggs or nightshades (peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes, among others), in addition to none of the foods that the strictest version of the Paleo diet bans (no dairy, no concentrated sweeteners like honey or sugar or maple syrup, no juice, no seed oils like Canola or Soy, and of course no grains or legumes [except green beans, which Chris allows]).

The program doesn't set any calories or portion limits. Mercifully, I can eat 70% dark chocolate, unsweetened coconut products, avocados, veggies, fruit (though berries are preferred over tropical fruits), nuts, and meats. far, so good! I have lost weight, feel full longer, my mood has stabilized, my energy levels are much better, and, for the first time as far as I can remember, I rarely have food cravings. Cravings used to run my life and demolish my weight loss and healthy eating attempts. Well, no longer!

I wanted to share some pictures of some of my favorite dishes, my favorite recipe, and some shopping tips for those of us who live in or near Hilo.

 Bacon/chicken/avocado lettuce wraps!
 Coconut milk and dark chocolate with strawberries.
 Lettuce, nitrate-free turkey, bacon, and avocado salad.
 Nitrate-free turkey, bacon, papaya, banana. :)

 Dark chocolate covered blueberries and strawberries.
 Burgers and avocado in lettuce "buns."
 Coconut milk and blueberry pudding topped with mac nuts.
 Another bacon/avo/turkey salad.

 Taro fried in coconut oil.
 Nitrate-free pork sausage cooked in olive oil, with taro and greens.
Coconut milk and dark chocolate pudding with strawberries. 

 An avocado with a heart! I tend to use avocado to flavor my salads because I can't have traditional dressings, which are made from processed seed oils and sugars, and I don't care for olive oil and balsamic vinegar. With some bacon and avocado to flavor a salad, you won't miss dressing.
 Portuguese sausage. Chris wants us to limit processed meats such as nitrate-free bacon, nitrate-free deli meat, and sausages. I try to use them as flavoring with other meats such as free range chicken and Big Island free range grass-fed beef.
 Cinnamon coconut warm pudding with strawberries.
 Chris recommends fermented foods but I don't care for kimchi or sauerkraut. So, I occasionally have Kombucha tea, which is fermented. The bottles work great to carry coconut milk and fruit smoothies too!
 One of my few dining out experiences recently: kalua pork and cabbage with salad from Tex's Drive In.

Thai restaurants generally have dishes I can eat too, though curries generally have added sugar; I asked for no sugar and it tasted just as good!
 Nitrate-free turkey and avocado salad with raspberries.
 Nitrate-free turkey and bacon salad with avocado and sprouts. Side of berries again. :)
 Nitrate-free bacon and avocado with a big hunk of watermelon!
 Roasted garlic. Great seasoning!
 Steak, roasted chicken, and salad with avocado dressing. :)
 Pork stir fried in olive oil and garlic powder, with a side of sprouts of avocado. Yum!
 Grass-fed, free range beef and avocado salad.
 Another glorious salad! I tend to have them for lunch.
One breakfast: bacon, a banana, and a coconut milk/ice/banana/blueberry smoothie.

Surprisingly I don't have any pictures of my favorite new dish, cocoa balls! They are dates, mac nuts, shredded coconut, almond butter, and cocoa powder chopped and mushed together. Delicious! Little paleo cookies.

Shopping tips:
For any of you who are thinking of trying paleo, I suggest:

Cost-u-less: a big bag of frozen organic blueberries for $15
KTA Puainako: Grass-fed, free range Big Island beef in various cuts, organic free range chicken in the refrigerated section
Sack and Save: Nitrate free bacon
Island Naturals: Nitrate free turkey cut daily in the deli, in the refrigerated section by the cheese and fish
Abundant Life: Synergy kombucha in various flavors. The raspberry and mango are my favorites.
Kinoole farmer's market: Saturdays 6:30-11:30/noon Great for hydroponic lettuce and a variety of fruits and veggies. Unlike the downtown farmer's market, everything here was grown on island. Get there early before the selection is largely depleted!
Most anywhere: Crystal geyser flavored sparkling water. A great drink for those of us who get tired of just water. :)