Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tale a Two Cities

Due to family circumstances, I currently reside in two different cities in two different states. The cultural differences are as vast as the amount of land that separates central Louisiana from southwest Colorado.

My gastronomic upbringing included large amounts of non Paleo foods, such as rice, French bread, gumbo. All which have been replaced when I began my Paleo journey a few months ago. Do I miss them? Not really, not anymore.

I struggle stocking my pantry where I live in Louisiana. The merchants don't cater much to the small population of Paleo disciples at this time. While we can find dairy substitutes for milk, my love of yogurt has not be satisfied in some time. I could travel two or more hours away to either Lafayette, Baton Rouge, or New Orleans that have local health food stores that carry more Paleo friendly items, but that is not convenient with my work and grad school schedule.

So when I come home to Durango, Colorado, I straight for the airport to Nature's Oasis to stock up on the foods I crave and fill my Paleo pantry. Nature's Oasis caters to foodies regardless of dietary preferences. The quality of produce, meats, seafood, bulk and prepared foods brings in Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and everyone in between to prepare meals for the modern family dinner table.

 When I was a child, my Aunt Lela made Dateroll every Christmas. It was my favorite holiday treat. I found these almond date rolls at Nature's Oasis yesterday. The mini rolls are made from the two ingredients, almonds and dates. The first bite transported me back to Aunt Lela's holiday baking without the butter and sugar. Guilt free treats. Score!.
 Nature's Oasis carries So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. While I use steamed coconut milk in Louisiana, this gives my coffee and tea a more satisfying taste. Because the expiration date on coconut milk is significantly longer than cow's milk, I don't feel wasteful buying a product I can only use for one week.
Probably the best part of being in Durango, other than spending quality time with my beloved husband, is getting to eat yogurt again. Nature's Oasis carries more than one kind of coconut milk yogurt. This is my spurge for the week. Who knows when I will have this creamy treat again. So I indulge.

And this brings me to my ultimate question. How can those of us who follow the Paleo lifestyle, but live in remote parts of the country, gain access to more quality products? I know there are some pretty pricey products available, but not necessarily what consumers are wanting. Most dairy products require some sore of refrigeration, making mail ordering an impossibility or ridiculously expensive.

We talk about health disparities in our society, and this is another example. I see my choices as the following: continue to accept Louisiana limitations or take a large ice chest on my next trip to the Big Easy, load up on all my favorites on my quarterly visits to Colorado, or open my own health food store and pray I will have enough customers to keep me in business. Open for suggestions and advice from others in the same boat.

Here's to one's indulgences.


Monday, February 16, 2015

But the Very Best Part of Paleo is ...

Happy  Lundi Gras!

For everyone not from Louisiana, Happy Monday. While most people are well into eating better and exercising for the new year, that doesn't really start here until here until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. And if it's a late Easter, that can be a really long carnival season of King Cake. I am happy to report that this year having gone Paleo in the autumn, I have not indulged in the usual fare of the season. No excessive drinking or eating of the rich decadent foods. 

In fact I wasn't even tempted when coming in close contact of a giant chocolate ganache-filled pastry drizzled with purple, green, and gold icing. Not even a little bit. Score one for a true lifestyle change.

But that's not the best part of succeeding at Paleo living. Feeling better everyday with all kinds of energy is pretty darn close, but still not it. Okay maybe it should be.

No, today the best part is achieving my weight loss goal and staying there for over two weeks with absolutely no yo-yoing up and down. Not worrying whether every bite taken with tip the scales upward. Coming to a better understanding about nutritional balances and focusing on variety of foods taken center stage.  But that's still not the very best part.

The absolute, very best part is when you have to buy new scrubs because yours a falling off. Plus when you fit into a size 4 again. I get to bring out all my old clothes I had put away, sure I would never be able to wear them again.

Holiday season 2007.
Yep, this is absolutely the very best part of Paleo today. Tomorrow it will go back to being all about the health benefits. It's going to be very hard to find something to give up for Lent now. I think I make a commitment to the exercise component of Paleo for the next 40 days. Especially lifting heaving things so my arms will look like that again.

Here's to a making a promise to myself.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pork Jambalaya

One of the best parts of Paleo is taking out the taboo foods and replacing with Paleo-approved ones. I discovered early into the process that replacement foods are typically vegetables that add a punch of vitamins. Which is probably why I feel so much healthier. Add a small salad and some fruit for dessert and the recommended 5 a day is no issue.

It's Mardi Gras time here in Louisiana which means Creole comfort foods are in order. (There's a lot of partying that goes on between Jan. 6 and Fat Tuesday.) One of my favorites is Jambalaya. A mixture of meat, tomatoes, spices, and rice. All Paleo acceptable with the exception of the fluffy white rice, a staple in Louisiana. Most Paleo sites substitute cauliflower when rice is called for. The instructions recommend grating the raw cauliflower then either steaming or sauteing. I chose to use take the roasted cauliflower I prepped on Sunday night and pulsed in the food processor until it resembled cooked brown rice. Perfect if I do say so myself.

I cooked the pork in my crock pot sprinkled with Cajun seasoning and enough water to make an ample amount of au jus. After the meat cooked long enough to fall off the bone and separate into something resembling shreds, I added a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I sprinkle in dried parsley, basil, garlic powder,and red pepper flakes, then stirred in the "rice". Add required number of splashes of Tabasco sauce.

Since this is my own creation, I will give a proper recipe.

Pork Jambalaya

2 pork blade chops
Cajun seasoning
water to cover pork
1 can Hunt's Fire Roasted tomatoes
dried parley and basil
garlic powder
red pepper flakes
1 headed of cauliflower, cut into florets and roasted,

To make roasted cauliflower:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets, place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for30 minutes or until tender. Let cool, chop in food processor until resembles flakes of cooked rice. You can roast the cauliflower a couple of days in advance, but don't chop until ready to stir into pork/tomato mixture.

To make the pork, place pork blade chop into crock pot, sprinkle Cajun seasoning, and add enough water to cover chops. Heat on high for 6 hours. Once the meat is tender enough to break up with a spoon, remove blade bones. Add the can of tomatoes and the spices. Stir in the "rice". Dish into bowls. Add amount of Tobasco for the final touch.

Laissez les bons temps roulez!