Our Paleo Family

January 29, 2016 Weekly Update: 21DSD Progress, Quick and Easy Meals

The theme of my week has been hurry up and “make do.” We had a little winter storm here in North Carolina last week. For those of you in parts of the world that are used to lots and lots of snow, this was definitely a little storm. But it doesn’t take much to cripple us down South. In our defense, we usually get more ice than snow and ice is a more dangerous beast than snow, in most cases.

We received about an inch of sleet and freezing rain and then snow on top of that. I did get to the grocery before the bad weather struck, but I didn’t make it to my desired store so my list was only partially checked off. I always have some meat and broth in the freezer, canned fish in the pantry and generally a decent stash of fruits and vegetables lying around. The veggies are pretty slim pickens by the end of the week though. Interestingly, the produce section was pretty wiped clean when I made my last ditch shopping trip. Having some food in the freezer and pantry enables me to make something, just not necessarily what I would prefer to cook up.

Meal 1: What I had planned was tuna “noodle” casserole with spaghetti squash. Couldn’t find a spaghetti squash during my pre-storm shopping trip, but I do have tons of sweet potatoes from my garden. I used white Hannah sweet potatoes* for the starch as these are less sweet than traditional sweet potatoes. I had canned tuna in the pantry, onions and lots of broth in the freezer. This is not a very colorful dish, meaning I needed to add some veggie nutrition on the side. I had a bag of green beans in the freezer, so after a quick sauté, dinner was done. This recipe didn’t turn out perfectly, so I’m not going to post it yet. I’m working on it though and it will be here soon.

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*21 Day Sugar Detox note: the sweet potatoes made this dish very decidedly not acceptable for the detox, but again, I was working with what was available. And sweet potatoes are a real, whole food, so in the grand scheme of things, this was not a bad substitution.

Meal 2: Scrambled eggs (with added greens for me), bacon, oranges and grapefruit and gluten free toast (no fruit or toast for me). My daughter was in a play this week and my husband was the videographer for all the performances, which meant quick and easy dinners were necessary.

Meal 3: Ground beef stroganoff. Traditional stroganoff uses sour cream, which adds a rich, tanginess, but most of us following a Paleo-type diet cannot or should not eat dairy. I skimmed the thick cream from the top of a can of coconut milk, mixed in the juice of half a lemon and that made my sour cream substitute. This whole meal came together in 35 minutes and my meat was frozen to start. Best of all – it was delicious! I served this over mashed cauliflower with a salad on the side. None of us particularly like mashed cauliflower, but cauliflower is what I had and it’s good for us. I only put this on the menu once a month or so and we all just live with it. 🙂

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We are making a real concerted effort around here to cook more affordably. Now that I can eat eggs, my world has opened up. I know that those of you very strictly following the autoimmune protocol cannot eat eggs and I’m sorry. My goal here is to share my real journey and this is my reality right now. I will still be making lots of AIP-friendly meals, but not all will fit that bill. I hope each and every one of you can also add more foods to your diet in the future.

Meal 4: pumpkin pancakes, sausage, sautéed greens and fruit salad. The 21DSD pancakes use butternut squash, which I did not have. I did have lots of canned pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving pumpkin pie plans that were not fulfilled. Fortunately, for my sugar detox plans, pumpkin contains half as many carbs as butternut squash (8 grams per cup vs. 16). When we first started eating paleo, we had pancakes and bacon for dinner at least once a week. It was my way of making this big change palatable for the entire family. As I moved into AIP cooking, we got away from this, but now that eggs are back, pancakes are as well. Hallelujah! Everyone was so happy last night at dinner. My son, who is an e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y slow eater, finished his dinner before any of the rest of us. That is a humongous testimonial to the yumminess of these pancakes.

And a treat this week: cinnamon rolls! Well, sort of cinnamon rolls. My intention was rolls, but the dough had other plans. See my post with all the details.

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Now for the part I’ve been dreading the most: my 21 DSD update. I had the best of intentions….the best laid plans….and all that jazz. BUT…I most certainly have “failed” at following the detox to the letter. However, the whole exercise has not been for naught.

  • I did succeed in eating fewer sweets this week than I had been eating.
  • I realized how many paleo treats and gluten free products I had started consuming – Canyon Bakehouse Bread, anyone? This is my newest indulgence. Finally, there is a gluten free bread that tastes good and does not contain canola oil or any of the other industrial seed oils. This does not mean it should be eaten every day.
  • Doing any sort of detox is so much more mental than physical for me. Telling myself that I CANNOT have chocolate, stevia, fruit, sweet potatoes, paleo cookies, etc. etc. is mentally and emotionally hard to accept.
  • I’ve been reading about the Whole30 program, where basically you only eat real, whole foods for 30 days. The two programs are extremely similar. BUT, in my head, Whole30 tells me TO eat certain things. There are less DON’TS and more DOS. This is absolutely splitting hairs, but I’m figuring out what works for me and that is the whole point after all.
  • 3 weeks or 4 weeks is really not long enough to effect a lasting change anyway and lasting change is what we’re after. I’m not going to lose 15 pounds in 3 or 4 weeks, but in that amount of time, I could start the process of getting some good habits in place and getting some bad ones out of here.
  • When I eat more vegetables and healthy meats, I crave more of those same foods. When I eat more sweets and junk, even if it’s paleo junk, I crave more junk. Why this works, I don’t know, but it does. I love all of Diane Sanfilippo’s books and love her podcast, Balanced Bites. If you don’t listen already, tune in on iTunes. Her most recent podcast was all about gut health and touched on this topic of needing more than a handful of weeks to make a lasting change. Please check it out.

So there’s my week. Some successes (quick, easy and delicious meals), some failures (21 DSD), but I’m going to keep chugging along. I’m not beating myself up over this. Nor am I telling myself I’m the best cook and blogger ever because I got a good meal on the table in under an hour. Case in point, today has been a perfect diet day, no sugar, no junk, good balance of protein, fat and carbs. I got a good workout in and I cleaned my bathroom. But I’ll be traveling soon, which will mean restaurant food and that will not be ideal. I’m going to do the best I can and be ok with that.

I hope you don’t take all this to mean that I am settling and going back to sweets everyday, because I’m not. I am most certainly dedicated to doing some sort of detox, be it 21 DSD, Whole30 or something else entirely. It will be good for me and for the rest of us. I’m going to do my darnedest to get my husband on board. Heaven help us, he loves his sweets.

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“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God is with you every step you take.” Joshua 1:9 (MSG)