• Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

The Joy of Paleo Cooking and Baking


Do you eat Paleo? Do you want to change your diet? Have you ever wondered what a Paleo diet is? Are you a skeptic? Have you been served a Paleo dish or dessert? My husband Jon and I have been cooking and eating Paleo four years this October. Since then we have been eating healthy and I have been capturing in my iPhone camera the tasty and delicious Paleo dishes and desserts we make, well mostly Jon, and that we devour.

We notice that people look at us like we have two heads when we tell them eat Paleo. But I think the pictures tell the story of the joy we find in cooking, baking, and eating Paleo. You won't know if you like if you don't try it!

Enjoy the following Paleo breakfast, lunch, and dinners dishes, desserts, breads, snacks, and running fuel foods.

PALEO BREAKFAST

Photo credit: Miriam

One egg, with a tad of almond milk, and left over sweet potatoes with spinach and mushrooms makes for a great egg roll. Coconut pancakes made with coconut flour, shredded coconut, and dark chocolate chip are a real treat. Deliciously fluffy and silky pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are made with almond flour and almond butter.

PALEO LUNCH

Photo credit: Miriam

Soup or salad or both! Left over soup from dinner the night before - beef meatball soup with cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and sweet potato, or leftover soup made with chicken, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and spaghetti squash is delicious all four seasons. During the summer, salads made with freshly picked romaine lettuce, red lettuce, and kale from our garden makes a healthy salad with eggs and sardines, or mushrooms and onions sautéed in olive oil with leftover steak make another healthy lunch.

PALEO DINNER

Photo credit: Miriam

Dinner is our favorite meal. These are two of our favorites. Pork loin stuffed with Granny Smith apples, mushrooms, celery, and onions served with asparagus and sweet potatoes. We love baked salmon on a bed of portobello mushrooms topped with asparagus wrapped in bacon.

Photo credit: Miriam

We also enjoy hearty dinner soups and casseroles including a shrimp, sausage, spinach, chicken, and spaghetti squash casserole, and a hearty sausage, chicken, cauliflower, mushroom, spinach, and kale soup.

SWEET PALEO DESSERTS

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I have a sweet tooth! I'm the baker in the family but Jon enjoys baking almond dark chocolate chip cookies made with almond flour, coconut flour, almond butter, shredded coconut, coconut palm sugar, flax seed, and lard. Sometimes he throws in walnuts. The apple pie crust is made with almond flour, chia flour, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. The filling is made with red delicious apples, coconut oil, raw honey, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. The brownies are made with almond flour, cocoa, coconut oil, coconut sugar, eggs, and honey. The donuts are made with the same ingredients and adorned with coconut icing. Most recently I tried a new recipe - coconut shortbread cookies made with coconut flour, eggs, butter, and baking powder, and drizzled with melted dark chocolate chips.

PALEO BREADS

Photo credit: Miriam

There are many Paleo sandwich bread recipes to choose from. Paleo bread might take a while to get used to but they are healthy. The bread top right is made with almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, golden milled flax meal, maple syrup, apple vinegar cider, and eggs. The bread top right is made wth the same ingredients, and coconut oil and coconut cream. The chocolate chip banana bread below was a creation I came up with. We had a very ripe plantain and a very ripe yellow banana in the fruit basket so Jon mashed the bananas and mixed in the almond flour, coconut palm sugar, coconut oil, and eggs, and adorned the batter with dark chocolate chips. This deliciously sweet, moist, and chocolaty banana bread is a new favorite.

PALEO SNACKS

Photo credit: Miriam

We first starting tinkering with Paleo snacks a few years ago as we were getting ready to watch the Super Bowl. We found a recipe for Paleo crackers. The crackers on the top are made with almond flour, our favorite herbs, egg whites, olive oil, and coconut oil, and served with Paleo guacamole made with avocados, garlic, tomatoes, onions, lime, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and cilantro. The guacamole makes for a tasty dip for the crackers and the baked chicken wings, pork ribs, and baked seasoned kale. We also made pumpkin bread with pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, almond meal, and coconut flour. The chocolate drizzle is made with dark chocolate chips and coconut cream. The chocolate coconut cookies are made with coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, eggs, dark chocolate chips, and cocoa. Below is another good snack any time - banana slices served with chocolate spread on Paleo crackers. The chocolate spread is made with roasted hazelnuts, cocoa, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and coconut palm sugar. The crackers are made with almond flour, flax seed, arrow root powder, baking soda, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and honey.

PALEO RUNNING FUEL

Photo credit: Miriam

My husband is the cook. I'm the runner. Paleo foods and drinks fuel my running. Before a training run I like to eat an egg and sardine salad made of greens from our garden during the summer. The rest the year we buy our greens. I love to drink my concoction of dark chocolate almond milk, coconut milk, and seltzer before and after training runs and during my ultras. We bring some of our Paleo foods such as avocados, Paleo chocolate chip cookies, crackers, and breads to my ultras. During our last racecation and ultra we lived in an RV and cooked Paleo. The above picture is one of our dinners: sautéed chicken in olive oil, malanga (similar to taro root), tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and onions.

EATING PALEO

As you read and looked at the pictures, you most likely noticed that none of our Paleo dishes, desserts, breads, and snacks are made with wheat flour, pasta, rice, beans, sugar, dairy, and other foods items that you may be accustomed to. You mostly likely noticed that we eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and almond and coconut foods. This is the world of Paleo cooking and baking.

We began eating Paleo four years ago after I came across an article that reported that foods such as wheat flour, corn flour, sugar, dairy, rice, beans, and other processed foods are known to cause inflammation and joint pain. I could not believe what I was reading. At the time I was on Methotrexate and Plaquenil, two medications for my rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I had been diagnosed four months earlier and the medications were not working. I was not getting better.

We threw out the open boxed foods in our cupboards. They all contained high fructose, so much sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, and names we cannot pronounce. Because we are not wasteful, we finished eating the open pasta and rice. We donated the unopened boxes, cans, and peanut butter jars to the food pantry. We stopped buying bread. We finished what was left of the skim milk and ice cream.

A month after I started the Paleo diet, I told my rheumatologist I was done with my meds. I told him I was now on a Paleo diet. He said, "What's that?" I explained. And I started to feel much better. My joint pain and inflammation were gone as indicated by my final blood test.

PALEO WEBSITES AND RECIPES

I found great Paleo recipes online. Here are a few Paleo websites with information about the diet , foods, ingredients, and great recipes.

PaleoHacks

Paleo Plan

The Coconut Mama

Transition Slowly

The Paleo diet may not be for all. Cooking Paleo requires patience and time to prepare healthy dishes. Cost might also be a factor. Some ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil are expensive. Transition slowly. And it's OK to cheat. There are times when we crave that hot fudge sundae or our favorite Entenmann's cake, especially me. And we'll have it.

And we have discovered that we have no desire for pasta, rice, beans, cheese, yogurt, pizza, cold cuts, and milk. At my last ultra, pizza was served around midnight and I had no desire for even a bite. I was happy with my avocado slices, my dark chocolate almond milk, and the bacon and eggs breakfast the wonderful race volunteers made for the runners at six in the morning.

So go ahead! Clean out your cupboards. Pick a Paleo recipe. Shop for the ingredients. And let the joy of Paleo cooking and baking begin!

Read my other post Easy to Make Paleo Running Food here.

Copyright 2017

#paleodiet #paleocooking #paleobaking #ultrarunning

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