Paleo/Primitive Recipe Help
So I need some help and this was the best place I could think of. If anyone can be creative with food it is the people on Chowhound. :) The boyfriend and I are about 4 weeks in on a several month experiment where we are eating a modified paleo/primitive diet and I am running out of ideas. The basic idea of the diet is to eat what Paleolithic hunter-gathers would have eaten. For a girl who will eat most anything, I'm getting board with the food and with the cooking.
We can eat:
animal proteins (beef, poultry, seafood, whatever)
nuts and seeds
a little dairy (This is why I say modified. The strict Paleo diets have cut this out, but a world with out cheese isn't worth living in.)
most oils (Olive oil and nut oils are ok, but no vegetable, peanut, or canola oil.)
We can't eat:
beans or legumes (Yup, that includes peanuts.)
most processed foods (I realize that processed is a relative term, but you get the idea)
I’m posting this on the home cooking board because I need help with recipe ideas. This is the first time I have ever done a diet like this. I do not want to turn this post into a this is a good way to eat/bad way to eat argument. Why we made the choice and the benefits and risks are a conversation for another time. Thanks!!!
If anyone wants more info, here are some of the sites that I like:
http://purelyprimal.com/ (This is the best website I have found for recipes so far.)
I have been eating Paleo for about a month now, even giving up the cheese. It can sometimes be challenging, but my health was worth it! :-) Happy eating!
What's confusing me is that "seeds" are good but "grains" are bad. Grains are seeds. What we use as grain descended from seeds that our paleolithic ancestors ate. My best guess is no "modern" grains, or processed grains. How about wild rice? Still the same seeds that were gathered and eaten by paleo-Indians 12,000 years ago. The more primitive varieties of wheat? I'm not a grain person, so I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that spelt is pretty representative of the ancestral wheats.
On low carb diet boards, stuff is being done with flaxseed and almond meals used in baked goods. Since you can't have baking powder, I don't think, you might be able to make a cracker using the meal and a liquid. The proportion would be 1/2 liquid and 1/2 meal. I've done this with golden flaxseed meal, and the cracker is OK, though not fabulous. You can flavor it how you wish. Microbake it on parchment or on a greased plate. Add extra seeds or chopped nuts to it before you bake it, but after you pour out the batter onto the baking surface. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then bake for about 2 minutes.
i have been eating low-carb for about 18 months. essentially the same plan. as you move along, it gets easier to imagine your plate without a starch component. and i was a HUGE pasta/bread/beans girl before.
without the starchy carbs, you can be a bit more liberal with fats, so don't be afraid of them.
deep winter here now, so i do lots of long slow braises, with meats like pork butt and shoulder, lamb shoulder and shanks, beef ribs, etc. just had a big duck confit dinner the other night. the left-over duck was shredded and served with poached eggs on top for next day lunch. summertime, we do lots of seafood and shellfish. lobster has been dirt cheap in these parts, so we have it at least once per week.
when i have a hankering for potatoes, i steam cauliflower, zap it in the food pro with olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of grated cheese. man, i can eat a whole head at a sitting this way, lol.
i heart mark's daily apple, btw.
You might also look at the Passover sections (Pesach) of Jewish cookbooks and websites. Jews (Ashkenazi Jews) eliminate all beans and grain from their diet for the biggest Jewish holiday of the year, and it lasts 8.5 days. Since it's a holiday, eathing well is important goal. We do eat matzo, and grind it up into meal - just skip those recipes. You will be left with lots of fabulous ideas for using tubers, desserts without flour , interesting preparations for meat and fish dishes.
I guess its been a lot of meat with a vegetable for dinner and then a salad for lunch the next day with the leftover dinner meat. Breakfast tends to be a hard boiled egg and some berries. We did make a dinner last week with a sort of season beef and vegetables in lettuce wraps. I think part of my problem is that we have been such heavy carb eaters for a long time I am having trouble filling the void. Meals just don’t seem complete without them.
Reading my post through a second time, it does sound like a lot of options. Sorry, it's the first time I have ever started a new thread and I guess I haven't gotten the hang of how to best express myself yet. I think I might have given all the wrong details. The diet really is just meat, vegetables, and fruit. I said a little dairy, and it really is very little dairy. No more milk in the coffee or yogurt for breakfast, but once or twice we had cheese with fruit as a desert.
Does that explain it better?
i totally get you, and i understand missing your starches.
one of my favorite cookbook writers is paula wolfert. she does "mediterranean rim" style stuff, often from village home cooks and/or famous french chefs and the veg dishes are amazing. deborah madison is good for this too.
i always plan 2 or 3 sides when making a bigger dinner, so it's not just a hunk of protein and a steamed veggie. i'd die of boredom if that were the case. my protein portions are also more like 4-6 ounces, so not a big slab of anything.
omelets and fritattas can pack in tons of veggies for breakfast. often i will saute a batch of peppers/mushrooms/scallions so they just need re-heating with scrambled eggs.
Yes, your responses shed much more light on it! Since you enjoy breads and lots of carbs I can see where this diet is hard!
I think the suggestion up-thread about the Passover recipes is quite good. There are also some interesting things with seeds done by the raw foods people which might help satisfy the bread cravings.
Root vegetables, tapioca, plantains and yucca can be prepared in ways that can help satisfy the chew/texture/satisfaction of grain based carbs.
a secondary point here is that eventually those cravings disappear. my meals no longer seem incomplete without a potato and bites of pasta leave me uninspired.
it's how i eat -- not a diet in the conventional "lose weight and go back to old eating patterns. repeat.." kind of thing.
I don't see what's the problem here - the list you provided sounds like the general grocery list for "meat and three veg", meaning there's plenty of options.You're not limited like raw veganism is, since you're allowed animal products (including honey) and you can use any cooking technique you want so hot food is always available.
In terms of cuisine, you have the basis for a lot of Chinese and Japanese dishes (actually a lot of Asian), you can look into African cuisines, and you can look to Mexico and Peru (just skip the corn and potato parts).
Specific recipes? For starters: boeuf bourgouignon and coq au vin unless you have to cut out alcohol, lettuce cups, steamed/stewed dishes (e.g. chawan mushi fits the bill), hot pot, mechoui, roast pig, Charcuterie. For something really fancy, Ideas in Food had a blogpost on sunflower risotto.
By the way, what`s with the peanuts?
What’s with the peanuts? As in why did I specify them under legumes? I guess because I'm a huge peanut lover and as I have discussed the topic with friends and family I keep having to remind them that they fall under the bean category.
It is a lot of food choices. Maybe the problem is I used to spend a lot of time making and eating bread, pasta, etc. and need something to fill the void. :) The sunflower risotto sounds like exactly like what I am looking for.
A few years ago, someone gave me a book called "The Maker's Diet." I believe it is intended to help with weight loss, but I was jjust put on a completely old-school no-processed-foods-or-grains diet by my doctor on temporary terms to see if it helped with some things. I too was at a loss for recipes. The Maker's Diet is a Christian thing, but all I was looking for was inspiration and it definitely gave me ideas about how to cook recognizable foods with old ingredients. Very helpful with substitutes in baking.
Anyway, the Maker's Diet is full of hoopla and they try to sell you all sorts of crap, but their cookbook is FULL of recipes that sound about right with what you're describing. It might be worth checking out. Used copies on Amazon are cheap. If I could find mine, I'd offer it to you but I have no idea where it is.
Here's the website. Ignore all the propaganda and scroll down this page for a few sample recipes: http://www.makers-diet.net/aboutbook.htm
Hope that helps some... Good luck.