Congratulations Grace and Sherrie!
(I've got your email Sherrie, but not yours Grace. Will you email me? mollydunham at sbcglobal dot net)
No baby news from Annie yet, but she's got a fat stack of cloth diapers ready and waiting.
I discovered two truths yesterday while dining (at separate tables) with one tween and one teen:
1. Being embarrassed by one's parents is inevitable.
2. We all turn into our mothers eventually.
Sad but true.
Did you know that kids (and moms who eat kid's meals) eat free at Ikea on Tuesdays? Not that I recommend eating at Ikea. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't Paleo friendly.
Some of you asked what we eat on our Paleo diet, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to respond to a few comments from previous posts.
What's on our daily menu?
Meat, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, eggs, nuts, fruit (more for the kids, less for me and George). Did I mention vegetables?
For breakfast, I make sausage and vegetable frittatas, almond meal pancakes, ham and egg cups, sausage and cabbage, and sometimes we eat leftovers. Soup for breakfast is a great way to warm up on a cold morning. If we're in a rush, I eat a bowl of plain yogurt topped with grainless granola, or if we're out of granola, I'll top it with sliced banana, coconut flakes, and slivered almonds. One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast (or any meal!) is a baked sweet potato slathered with butter and a little cinnamon.
For lunch, I make George a large salad to take to work, topped with roasted vegetables, sliced meat, salsa, and guacamole. The kids and I often eat leftovers, and at least once a week I make a pot of soup which lasts for several days. When Aidan isn't interested in what I'm serving, I make him a plate of sliced meat, avocado, carrot sticks, some nuts and cheese, and a piece of fruit.
For dinner, I found a formula in a comment on Mark's Daily Apple which has proved invaluable: one meat plus three veggies. I plan and shop for a week's worth of dinners at a time following this formula. Here's a sample of some recent dinners:
Braciole, spaghetti squash, sauteed carrots and broccoli, arugula salad
Pork chops, braised cabbage, garlicky carrots, green salad with lemon dill dressing
Chicken Cordon Bleu (modified for Paleo), roasted butternut squash, arugula and pear salad
Shredded pork tacos served in lettuce wraps, grilled veggies, guacamole, salsa, roasted broccoli
Italian sausage meatballs in marinara sauce, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and onions, spinach salad
Yes, it's a lot of food and a lot of cooking every night, but it's such good eating! My husband no longer wants to go out for dinner, and I'm just as happy staying home and cooking. And I always look forward to leftovers for lunch. (I'll be posting recipes in the coming days for many of these dishes.)
Do we eat any dairy products?
Some, but not much, and less every day. Aidan likes to drink milk. Sometimes he adds a little vanilla and stevia to it for a sweet treat. We all enjoy yogurt on occasion. We use cheese sparingly in certain dishes, but I find myself omitting it quite often. I no longer put parmesan cheese in my lemon dill dressing and no one has noticed the difference (Avery just read this over my shoulder and said, "WHAT??? You didn't put parmesan in the salad dressing?").
I switched to coconut milk in my coffee (yum!), and I've started making almond and hazelnut milk again using my Soyabella. We occasionally indulge with whipped cream and sliced fruit for dessert. Avery loves to make whipped cream using our hand held blender with the whisk attachment. She flavors it with vanilla and sweetens it with either maple syrup or stevia powder, though I prefer it unsweetened. Sometimes we really indulge and buy ice cream, but only once or twice a month.
Are we depriving ourselves?
I've asked myself this question many times. Initially, the Paleo diet did seem like a deprivation diet. The list of things not to eat was so much longer on the list of things to eat. Yet I love the simplicity of the short list of "yes" foods, and I soon realized that all of the "no" foods were depriving me of the body, health, and energy I wanted. Eating "yes" foods (meat, veggies, nuts, eggs, healthy fats, fruit) gave me the power to say no to the "no" foods (grain, sugar, and unhealthy fats and oils).
Was it hard for the kids to transition to Paleo?
Hell yes. They were resistant. They whined and cried and begged for pasta and bread and cereal and tortillas. So we took it slow, gradually weaning them off of their former staples. Just as "yes" foods give me the power to say no to myself, they also give me the power to say no to the kids.
"Can I get a cookie at the store?"
"No, but we can find a recipe for a Paleo treat when we get home."
I include them in my meal planning, I give them options at breakfast and lunch, and I figure they're not really hungry if they don't eat what I serve for dinner. Having three vegetables on the table means they'll eat at least one of them. Surprisingly, they've discovered they actually don't hate a lot of foods they thought they hated. If anything, the Paleo diet has broadened their food horizons.
Another word which came up in several comments was Intuition. Intuition is exactly what brought me to the Paleo diet. I believe my body knew I needed more meat and veggies before my brain knew it. Getting rid of grain and sugar has allowed all of us to listen more closely to what our bodies are telling us to eat. I can't think of a better way to describe it than biofeedback. If we don't feel good after we eat a certain food, we eliminate that food from our diet. If we're craving a particular "yes" food, we eat more of it.
A few weeks ago I was craving full fat coconut milk, so for several days in a row, I mixed it with some frozen mango and shredded coconut and thoroughly enjoyed a creamy dose of healthy fat. My husband was experiencing a late afternoon crash most weekdays so I started packing him extra food to snack on. He eventually realized that the crash wasn't related to needing more food but was a response to the daily sugary treat he'd eat on the job. He stopped eating candy or cookies when they were offered and he started feeling better immediately.
For me, intuition is bound to my faith that my body knows what it needs, and I just need to listen closely. The positive changes I've seen in myself and my family strengthens my faith to continue on this path and reaffirms that it's the right way for us right now.
Whether you're interested in Paleo or not, I think you'll enjoy the recipes I'll be posting over the next few days. They're simple, nutritious and whole. Real food. Clean food. Good food. I need a place to keep them so I can find them when I need them, and this is a safe, convenient place. Much better than the scraps of paper with scribbled recipes cluttering my kitchen counter.
Finally, a shout out to a very talented friend who sent me a little something I love to wear:
I love my new ring from AG Ambroult. Thank you Amy!
Amy has some wonderfully elemental, hand crafted pieces in her Etsy shop. Avery has her eye on a leather and sterling wrap bracelet, just in case you're wondering what eleven year old girls who are embarrassed by their mothers are interested in these days.
Stay tuned for ham and egg cups.