Paleo Week Test Day 1

Ah, the first day of Paleo!  The beginning of my one week Paleo expedition began somewhat auspiciously after an afternoon and night of feasting.  The trials of breaking my daily routines, attempting to avoid Coke Zero, and to eat a pure Paleo way on a day when I woke up especially irritable to begin with, certainly posed some challenges.  However by the end of the day the challenge of the diet wasn’t about what I wasn’t eating but what I still had left to eat.

The day started off easy enough, I suppose.  My usual caffeine infusion of a can or two of Coke Zero was out the window so I opted for a couple of cups of green tea.  I hate to say I “need” my morning caffeine, but that has been my habit for some time now.  Having gone through the trial of caffeine withdraw before, I don’t intend to try that now.  Besides, green tea is supposedly good for you, so I’ll chalk that up to health benefits.  The rest of breakfast was some sauteed kale with eggs and some bacon.  The kale was from my aborted container gardening attempt.  There are a few sad leaves left on it, but if I’m going to have a comparable breakfast like that regularly I’m either going to have to get a greener thumb or start buying spinach or something at the store.  Eggs were organic (which means little) but not free range, cage free or anything else.  The bacon was standard factory bacon.  I’d love to say I’ll be using all sustainable, grass fed, free range, et cetera et cetera products, but I’m not.  I’ll try to get better at that as time goes on, but complicating that now just sounds like a recipe for disaster.  Unfortunately I didn’t find that breakfast especially filling at all.  I was ready to eat as soon as I was finished, even though it clocked in at more calories than I typically eat for breakfast.  I snacked on some carrots before lunch, which was going to be in a few hours after I got back from grocery shopping for the week.

By mid-afternoon I was in a thoroughly pissed off mood.  No one had done anything to me.  There was nothing on the news or some event that got me going.  I was just in a bad mood.  I’m guessing that a lot of it was the shake up of my routine.  I was missing my typical breakfast and mid-morning snack.  I was missing my soda products.  By the time I got to the grocery store I had been wrestling to put together the shopping list with some of these new ingredients, and the store itself was packed full of people seeming to move randomly and in slow motion.  I was ready to spit nails on the way home, so I just took a deep breath and tried not to pass the incredibly slow driver in front of me.  I figured it would make a good meditative lesson.

As soon as I got home I was working on lunch, which would be organic grass fed beef hamburgers for both me and my partner.  While his was a cheeseburger on a traditional bun, mine was going to be a regular burger with half an avocado on it between two portobello mushrooms:

I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but while the whole “portobello bun” concept looks great in pictures, you really don’t want to try to use it as a bun.  When you cook mushrooms they start “expressing” their liquids.  That’s fancy talk for saying they get juicy and start leaking everywhere.  Just the burger and “buns” alone would have been a mess.  This tower of avocado too made it impossible to eat without a fork and knife, which was fine since it was so tasty.  I did add some dry rub seasoning to the burger since I was going to have to skip out on my favorite A-1 Steak Sauce due to its inclusion of non-Paleo ingredients like corn syrup.  Unlike my post-breakfast hunger pangs, I was more than full from this almost all the way until dinner six hours later.  I did snack on some watermelon that I was cutting up, but I wasn’t dying to eat by the time dinner came around.

Dinner tonight was going to be a repeat of the Spaghetti Squash Bolognese from the Practical Paleo book.  I didn’t make it exactly the same.  Rather than veal and bison, I did bison and the rest of the grass fed ground beef from the burgers. I forgot the bacon, had the celery this time, and made it in my cast iron dutch oven which was originally bought for making nice crispy sourdough boules of bread.  A half hour into the cooking and it looked delicious, especially in the rustic cast iron cookware:

My partner ate his over traditional spaghetti.  Doing the whole Paleo thing I had to opt for something else.  The original recipe calls for spaghetti squash.   The problem is that cooking and preparing a spaghetti squash would make enough of that “spaghetti” for 3-4 people, and I’d be the only one eating it.  Rather than do that I decided to make a variation on zucchini fettuccine.  This is another squash-based pasta replacement. Using a microplane (also called a mandolin), use set it to the thinnest possible setting available. This is basically the same thing you would do to make thin potato chips on it. Then you just slide it along the length to make nice long, thin strips of “pasta” which you can quickly throw into boiling water for 30 seconds to soften up.

My neighbors have been kind enough to share some of their bounty of squash that randomly started growing by their house.  It looks like some cross between a zucchini, a yellow squash or perhaps even a baby trombocino squash.  Either way, the skin is thin enough to eat (but thicker than zucchini) but it still has the same light taste as a traditional yellow squash or zucchini:

These aren’t the best squash to do this concept with since they are more bulbous, but it certainly did work.  I can only speak for the non-Paleo version from the first time I tried this, which tasted delicious.  This squash fettuccine way however turned out great as well.  Just a little of my cousin’s home grown dried hot pepper on top and it was both delicious and filling.

I will say that not having bread to help sop up the left over sauce did suck though.  I guess there are still some small sacrifices to make.

At this point I was stuffed but I still had more to eat!  I purchased beets with their greens on them intending to start eating more varied greens.  This was all due to me reading about the Ikarians and how much they ate a wide variety of greens.  I love greens, I just needed an excuse to indulge my tastes for more exotic ones, and this was it!  Unfortunately they wouldn’t last until tomorrow, so a salad was in order.  I also needed to get some additional micronutrients in.  I therefore made a relatively hefty salad with that huge bunch of greens, some olive oil, vinegar, carrots and celery.  Lastly I finished the evening of with a handful of almonds to get my Vitamin E levels up.

Overall the day was quite successful.  I was able to adhere to Paleo despite me having a hungry post-breakfast start.  I was able to go the entire day without having a single artificially sweetened beverage.  I pulled off some tasty dishes. The nutrient content of the day was above 100% of RDA values for everything except Calcium and the total number of calories was less than what I burned.  I’m not even finishing the day as irritable as when I woke up.