We’ve all heard the latest in diet crazes, and the Paleo diet is no exception. The difference here is, it does work, but for really simple reasons. It doesn’t take buying leagues of books or informative resources to figure out why this works so well either. If we look at it from a purely scientific perspective it just makes sense. The premise for the Paleo plan was based on the idea of trying to get back to our basics as the Paleolithic man lived, because they ate as healthy as humankind every could or would again. While that might be true, we can’t really know for certain. People in that age died of diseases and poor health at very young ages, but whether that was due to poor nutrition or the harshness of how they had to live is a question we are still debating.
The point of Paleo eating is to think like a hunter-gatherer, and pick things that are preferably organic, grass-fed, range-free, or wild game. Every kind of vegetable is great, some fruits, and daily nuts and seeds. Things that aren’t would be processed foods of any kind, or anything that requires cultivation like grains, dairy, beans, refined sugar, some kinds of oils, fried and junk foods, and soda. There are a lot of things that can be substituted for the “no” foods if you choose to follow a plan like this, but really if you just choose to do part of it and include an exercise plan that works for you, this can really shine. It has ties with a diet called the Alkaline Diet which asks you to eat the same kinds of things, but leaves out most meats excepting some fish.
The sheer amount of recipes available for people looking to eat healthy is astounding. Here are some paleo approved recipes and you’ll see some substitutes that taste every inch as good as the original, which makes the idea of switching to a healthier diet far more palatable. One of our favorite blogs to follow that features a ton of great recipes that kids will even eat (since they tend to be picky eaters sometimes) is Nom Nom Paleo.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 5 lbs)
1 green apple, sliced and cored
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp ghee
3 cups chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin. Mix together, coating the squash well. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Next, in the same bowl that the butternut squash was in, toss the apple slices, onion, and carrots to coat with the remnants. Place on a second rimmed baking sheet and add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast for 35-40 minutes until soft, stirring once.
- Heat up ghee over medium heat in a large pot on the stove. Add the roasted ingredients and then the chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, combine the ingredients until smooth, or transfer to a blender to puree. Serve warm.
Herbed Calamari Salad with Preserved Lemons
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2½ pounds cleaned and trimmed uncooked calamari rings and tentacles
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
juice of 1 large lemon
¼ cup finely chopped mint leaves
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
peel of 1 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
- Begin by defrosting the calamari (if purchased frozen). Place in a strainer and run under cold water for 15 to 20
minutes, tossing a couple of times, until soft and pliable. Drain water, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Use a paring knife to remove just the rind from the preserved lemon. Discard the inside and thinly slice the rind.
- Smash garlic and mince. Finely chop cleaned mint, cilantro and parsley.
- Heat a very large skillet or frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add 1½ Tablespoons of olive oil. Heat oil and add garlic.
- Saute, stirring constantly, for 20 to 30 seconds until fragrant and add in defrosted and well-drained calamari (If your pan isn’t large enough to accommodate all the calamari in one layer, divide the 1½ T olive oil and cook the calamari in batches. You do not want them to steam, you want them to sear and for that, they must cook in a single layer with some room around them). Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking for 2 to 4 minutes OR until opaque and just firm. You do not want to overcook the calamari or it be have a rubbery texture.
- Drain off any liquid that is released during cooking and remove cooked calamari to a mixing bowl.
- Add remaining 1½ Tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, preserved lemon rind and herbs to mixing bowl and toss well while calamari still warm.
- Adjust seasoning if necessary, cover and chill until ready to serve. This is nice served over some spring greens OR other delicate lettuce with some ripe cucumbers or grape tomatoes. Enjoy!
Bacon and Tomato Quiche
Zucchini Hash Crust:
2 small to medium size organic zucchini, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp flax meal *optional
1 tbsp butter or coconut oil melted
1/8 tsp sea salt
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup organic egg whites, (I used the ones in a carton, but make sure egg white is the only ingredient) or you could separate 3 eggs
3 Tbsp milk of choice: organic heavy cream, or unsweetened plain almond milk
5 slices nitrate free bacon, cooked and chopped (make sure bacon has no sugar in the ingredients)
2/3 cup cauliflower, ground into rice (you won’t taste it, and it adds nutrients and fiber)
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped * optional
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt (I use Real Salt or Himalayan sea salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 small to medium sized tomatoes, sliced (I used 6 slices).
1/2 cup grated cheese of choice * optional
- Preheat oven to 400 F, and grease or oil pie dish.
- Grate or use processor on zucchini.
- Wrap grated zucchini in layered paper towels or cheese cloth.
- Squeeze and drain liquid from zucchini over sink. Place drained zucchini in large bowl.
- Add all the remaining crust ingredients to the zucchini and mix together.
- Place zucchini mixture into pie dish. Use the back of a spoon to spread mixture around pie dish, until dish is covered in zucchini crust mixture.
- Bake zucchini crust in oven for 9 minutes.
- Remove crust from oven (leave oven on). Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl combine: eggs, egg whites, milk of choice, ground mustard, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Grate or use processor on the cauliflower until rice texture forms.
- Add cauliflower rice, chopped spinach, and chopped bacon to the egg mixture and combine.
- Pour egg mixture into zucchini crust.
- Place tomato slices on top of quiche.
- Bake for 28 minutes, but check at 20 minutes to see if crust edges are browning too much.
- Loosely cover the top of pie dish with a parchment paper sheet. Place back in oven for remaining 8 minutes, or until top is browned and center is firm and set.
- Add optional cheese and put back in oven for 2 minutes.
- Remove and let cool.
- Slice and serve.
Net Carb Count*: 8.15 g net carbs (per 1 slice makes 8 slices)
Total Carb Count: 11.79 g total carbs (per 1 slice makes 8 slices)
These are just a few of the tasty recipes that can be made that are healthy and inspiring too! Stay posted for more delicious healthy treats including desserts in another article!