Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Line-up

Last night I had dinner with a friend (hello friend, if you're reading ;) ) and she mentioned that she wouldn't be able to find the time to make all this food if she were to go paleo.  She doesn't necessarily want to go paleo, but she was just sayin'.

I get that.  It is a lot of work.  But I don't think it's a paleo thing, I think any time you are trying to feed your family the freshest, least-processed food possible, it simply takes more time and effort.  Even if you're not paleo, making snacks and meals from scratch means more time in the kitchen.  Believe me, most mornings would be easier if I just poured a bowl of cereal for my kiddos or made some instant oatmeal in the microwave (ew.  We don't even have a microwave anymore ) But I suck it up and make some eggs, some humanely, properly raised chicken sausage, and maybe throw in a grain-free, sugar-free muffin I made on Sunday :)

And sorry to those arguing that you can maintain optimal health while avoiding food preparation altogether with fruits, veggies and some nuts - I respectfully disagree.  Although there are some raw meat paleo peeps who have it pretty good when it comes to avoiding prep time in the kitchen!  Not my thing, but a completely raw paleo diet actually makes the most sense to me.

There are, of course, many pre-made food options that cater to all dietary lifestyles.  As far as the paleo lifestyle goes, sometimes (gasp!) I do go the easier route and buy some packaged food.  However, this often means skimping on quality and savings.  For example,  I could buy organic vegetable soup in a can or box.  But I choose to buy all the veggies local and fresh and to sometimes use my own homemade chicken broth.  This also means less packaging waste and avoiding cans (not so good for ya).  I could also spend more money and buy Lara bars (often I do) instead of making them myself.  I could also spend more money and buy beef jerky instead of making it myself.  I could also buy pre-made kale chips (outrageously expensive!) instead of making them myself.  I could go on and on.  Some things I can't just buy pre-made (hard-boiled eggs and certain specialty baked items, just to use some examples).

A few no-brainers that do still fit into this lifestyle as complementary foods are fruits, veggies, and nuts:  no preparation necessary (unless you choose to soak and dehydrate your nuts, which I do, but that's a whole other post :)  A lot of times I simply choose to make some things from scratch because my kids really want a certain "snacky" item that isn't very healthy and I am trying to replicate it with paleo ingredients.  I don't want the poor kids to feel left out and go off the deep end one day.  Actually, come to think of it, if I were just feeding myself, I would spend very little time in the kitchen.  I'm pretty easy to please and I like to keep things simple :)

In some ways, the paleo lifestyle has made my life easier, and in some ways harder.  I feel like it's pretty easy to remember what I can eat:  *real* food.  It's fairly simple to meal plan:  each meal usually contains a protein (animal sourced), a healthy fat, and a veggie or two (not too complicated, right?)  The tricky part comes when I need to get something on the go.  There are limited options.  It is actually frightening how few convenience stores and restaurants cater to a real foods lifestyle.  Even if they have fresh fruits and veggies, restaurants are sorely lacking when it comes to the oils they prepare their food in.  Most restaurants add nasty unhealthy oils to their food (also, try going into a 7-11 and finding a bag of nuts that isn't chock full of omega-6 oils and table salt, not to mention the whole organic factor) and the meat they use is enough to make one turn vegetarian (It did for me at one point, until I learned how healthy properly raised and treated animals products are).

I decided to add all this information because like my friend, others reading about my Sunday kitchen happenings might also be overwhelmed thinking about all that cooking.  You will have to do some cooking if you choose to eat this way (unless you go the raw route, yes many paleo peeps eat raw meat), but you could easily try to find most of the items in the grocery store, whichever dietary lifestyle you follow. 

All that said, I choose to do most of my cooking in one time block to save time and hassle throughout the week.  My reasons for cooking all this healthy scrumptious food myself are:

-I know what is going into our food
-I save some money making things myself
-I use fresher ingredients than the store-bought stuff
-Some specialty items specific to this lifestyle can't be found in any store - like the dip I made today - I wanted to use my own healthy mayonnaise, although I probably could have found a similar version at the store. 
-I actually enjoy it :)

Soooo, today I made this:

-Hard-boiled eggs
-Coconut flour waffles (minus the raisins)
-Chicken drumsticks