Sunday cook-up time! In case you missed it, last week’s cooking was inspired by a new (to us) blog: Paleo Leap. This week, we’re again seeking online inspiration…but going with a long-time favorite: Nom Nom Paleo.
Nom Nom Paleo is the creation of Michelle Tam, paleo bloggess and cookbook author extraordinaire. A ways back, Michelle majored in Nutrition & Food Science, thinking she’d “become a flavour scientist and create Frankenfoods for a living.” She went on to earn a doctorate in clinical pharmacy, thereafter working all-night shifts as a hospital pharmacist (meanwhile, she also got married and had two adorable kids).
Eventually, Michelle’s efforts to feel and look better (and her frustration with unhelpful, conventional approaches to diet and exercise) led her to take the paleo plunge—particularly after seeing how well it worked for her husband. In Michelle’s words:
“In the summer of 2010, I made the decision to go Paleo—and when I decide to do something, I commit all the way. I immediately cut out all grains, legumes, sugar, and processed food from my diet, and read everything I could about the science behind the Paleo diet. I quit doing all the crazy cardio and starting CrossFitting. I was all-in.
And whaddaya know? I feel great! After working graveyard shifts for more than a decade, I’d been mentally and physically lagging—but once I changed my diet, I found that my energy levels improved significantly, and my moods were sunnier, too. I was a nicer mommy.
Paleo’s the only approach that’s managed to improve my body composition and fuel me with enough energy to wrangle two small boys,
hold down a full-time night shift job (I recently quit after 12 years of working graveyard shifts at the hospital!), cook for a houseful of hungry cavepeople, lift heavy(ish) stuff in the gym, and maintain a food blog.”
As devoted followers of Michelle’s blog, we sure are happy she chose the paleo path!
Her site features an extensive recipe index that will leave you drooling.
And definitely check out the “Packed Lunches” tab for paleo lunchbox ideas. (You’re never too old for lunch boxes—Randy got a batman one for his last birthday.)
The site also has a stellar “Whole30” section with two 30-day round-ups, including tips and tricks for sticking to the stricter “Whole30” version of paleo.
Those round-ups are perfect for folks in our paleo bootcamp program (hint, hint). For everyone else out there, this is the 30-day “test-elimination diet” phase, when we go a little hardcore.
In truth, Whole30 and Phase 2 are pretty much in line with our everyday “primal parameters” (eat lots of real food; avoid processed food, grains, legumes, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and inflammatory or chemically processed oils).
Big differences with the stricter version include: NO added sugars (as in, not even a small amount of honey or dark chocolate), no dairy (not even organic, full-fat), no alcohol, and no paleo-fied baked goods or paleo-fied other Standard American Diet (SAD) foods.
The idea behind that last rule is to change eating patterns and habits, rather than simply “hold out” for a month while chowing down on subs for the same old stuff. More generally, an elimination diet is the gold-standard test for determining how different foods affect each individual and for truly learning how “clean eating” feels.
If you’ve never completed a strict, no-cheat 30-day “elimination diet,” we highly recommend it (and can serve as guides along the way). It’s not easy. But it’s also not forever. And truly committing to the full 30-day experiment can completely shift one’s body and mind—and one’s self-awareness and relationship with food.
One key for success (and for enjoying the process) is focusing on abundance rather than deprivation.
Another is focusing on the freedom this sort of eating offers.
We’re talking freedom from sugar and carb cravings, eating addictions, digestive complaints, water retention and bloating, weight gain and excess body fat, acne and other skin disorders, lagging or uneven energy levels, chronic fatigue, chronic nasal congestion, recurrent cold and flu, achy joints, etc., etc., etc.
And, again, the hardcore Phase 2 isn’t forever. The next phases are all about transitioning into a realistic, long-term lifestyle that works for you—helping you live a life of abundance while maintaining all your progress.
So, in that vein—and in solidarity with our Phase 2 folks—we choose “elimination-diet compliant” recipes from Nom Nom’s site for this week’s cook-up. (Don’t worry, it’ll still be totally yummy.)
This week, we’ve also included when we’ll be cooking what. Basically, all shopping and lots of prepping gets done on the weekend, along with as much do-ahead cooking as we can manage. The other stuff is in place (along with an organized list of recipe links and ingredients) for flash cooking throughout the week. Click the links for photos and recipes!
Carrot cardamom soup (to be cooked Sunday)
Easy paleo frittata (to be cooked the day of eating, but with all shopping accounted for)
(Easy paleo frittata, Nom Nom Paleo)
Slow cooker beef bone broth (to be cooked Sunday…and eaten Monday, Tuesday, maybe Wednesday)
Tasty—and pretty—collards (to be cooked the day of eating, but with all shopping accounted for)
(Tasty & pretty collards, Nom Nom Paleo)
Marinated roasted beets (to be cooked Sunday)
Roasted portobello mushrooms (to be cooked Sunday)
Emergency protein—aka, Garbage Stir-fry (to be cooked the day of, but with all shopping accounted for)
Poached pears (from Paleo Comfort Foods) (to be cooked mid-week, when we’re wanting a special treat)
(Poached pears by Paleo Comfort Foods, Nom Nom Paleo)
And, though we won’t get to it this week, we’re also eager to try Nom Nom Paleo’s Hardcore Albacore—for the name if nothing else!
See? This Phase 2 elimination diet thing isn’t so scary after all. And, even if you don’t make poached pears, you can still have berries with coconut milk for dessert (just save the dark chocolate for Day 31).
Oh, and if you’ve already completed your 30-day self-experiment with no cheats, still good to do another once a year or so. We’re about due ourselves…
Got your own line-up of inspiring paleo-primal dishes? Please share them in the comments!
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