Let’s just get the obvious out of the way: Dieting is the WORST. Food is one of my favorite things in the world. I like to look at it and smell it, I like to plan meals and be able to think about them in advance, I like the process of cooking food, and I really love eating it. Unfortunately, we all reach a point in our lives when we have to restrict what we eat. The combination of Robin’s job having weight restrictions and my wanting to lose some weight before our wedding spurred me to start cooking our family meals a little differently.
Robin first introduced the idea of following the Paleo diet a couple of years ago, and I was really resistant. Wasn’t that a lot like the Atkins diet that everyone tried and hated when we were in college? Cut out grains and dairy? No way I’d be able to survive that. Grains and dairy just taste awesome, and it would be madness to try to live without them.
In my world, a dinner wasn’t complete without a starch or some sort: potato, pasta, rice, whatever. It felt weird removing that element from our meals, but that’s essentially how I started down the path to working with a grain-fee lifestyle rather than resisting it with all my might.
Robin did more research than I did, because he’s more committed to the diet, and he gets less bored than I do reading that sort of thing. But I got the basic gist and moved on to the fun part: scouting out recipes. We’ve got a good cookbook, and I scout out Paleo-cooking websites for dishes that look good. And I’ve found some really good ones. I’ll share some here every once in a while. (Watch for one in the next day or so.)
So now I keep stashes of hard-boiled eggs and pre-cooked, lean bacon for a quick snack (shout out to mom for the bacon idea). I fill at least half our plates with vegetables and the rest with lean meat. I use egg-pancakes in place of tortillas and cut vegetables in place of noodles. I order almond flour in bulk (that Bobs Red Mill stuff is okay, but I prefer the more finely ground Honeyville. That’s right, I have opinions about almond flour now). I bread chicken with it in place of flour or bread crumbs, and I use it to bake muffins, cookies, and breads. I was wary of it at first because I don’t like almonds, and there’s no way those baked goods will be the same as ones baked with regular flour. But it doesn’t taste almond-y, and I’ve just learned not to expect it to produce the exact same results as regular flour.
We’re not perfect. I still sprinkle cheese here and there. I use a touch of milk or cream or wine in sauces. I use random condiments, often without considering whether they’re technically Paleo-approved. And I don’t use ghee butter often because that shit is expensive. I probably miss out on half the recipes available to me because I don’t eat seafood, and I think the flavors of coconut oil and flour are gross. It’s hard to be picky on this diet, but I manage it. We also splurge a bit when we’re out to eat or at a friend’s house, because it’s only the polite thing to do, right?
Since I’ve been pregnant, I haven’t really been following the diet. I get too hungry, the cravings are too strong, and most importantly, pregnancy feels like a really valid excuse. But I do still make dinners grain free whenever I cook. I just tend to follow a nice meat-and-vegetable dinner with something like this:
I also tend to need toast or cereal in the middle of the night. Poor Robin has had to watch me run off the rails without being able to do it himself. He’ll steal a French fry or a bite of ice cream here and there, but he’s been pretty good about not indulging in the terrible but delicious baked goods I feel compelled to make. I guess the key here is moderation and a valiant effort at self-control.