In the pursuit of “paleo” you sure can happen upon the truly delicious :)

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! 20 minutes after dinner and I still have a glorious taste of that delicious meal in my mouth! Mmmmmmm, pan-fried Orange Roughy (sea perch) fish fillets with zucchini in a lemon caper sauce with gloriously naughty potato bake from Aldi, of all places, on the side.

Yesterday, hubby and I drove out to Comslie to an awesome fish shop. It was a two-pronged approach, to pick up some delicious produce and to get the kids asleep, sadly the kids fell asleep only to wake up just as we pulled in to the place and the lure of seeing live mud crabs was just too exciting not to go back to slumber land 😦

1/2 kg of prawns and two fish fillets later we were down $32! Gosh dang it costs a lot to eat well in this insane Land of Oz. The prawns were gonna be our entree but we just couldn’t justify the price tag so last night was prawns and salad and tonight the fish filets.

We quickly pan fried the fish in olive oil, salt and pepper and served with a gorgeous combo of zucchini, capers and lemon:

INGREDIENTS – Tangy Zucchini Side

. 2 zucchini sliced thickly
. 1 1/2 tbspn olive oil
. 1 tbspn lemon juice
. 1 tbspn capers, chopped
. Few sprigs parsley, finely chopped
. Pinch Sea salt
. Generous grind of black pepper

METHOD

. Boil or steam zucchini until just tender, approx 4 min
. Mix remaining ingredients in screw topped jar and coat cooked zucchini

This made a gorgeous sauce for the cooked fish.

If I’m totally honest the potato bake didn’t quite go with the fish, however absolutely no regrets! This Aldi potato gratin is made from just potato, cream, cheese, milk, garlic and pepper. The only bad thing is stabilizer 461.

So what is this additive, 461?

According to the trustworthy Wikipedia (ahem), 461 is a thickener or emulsifier. Digging deeper, it’s not a natural substance :(.

Methyl cellulose does not occur naturally and is synthetically produced by heating cellulose with caustic solution (e.g. a solution of sodium hydroxide) and treating it with methyl chloride. In the substitution reaction that follows, the hydroxyl residues (-OH functional groups) are replaced by methoxide (-OCH3 groups).

And

The slimy, gooey appearance of an appropriate preparation of methyl cellulose with water, in addition to its nontoxic, nonallergenic, and edible properties, makes it popular for use in special effects for motion pictures and television wherever vile slimes must be simulated. In the film Ghostbusters, for example, the gooey substance the supernatural entities used to “slime” the Ghostbusters was mostly a thick water solution of methyl cellulose. The Aliens ooze and drip a great deal of methyl cellulose—especially the queen./em>

Greche…. I was really kidding myself that I could indulge in this yummy potato gratin following the Primal 80/20 rule. Whynis processed food so good? It must be that winning combo of carbs and salt. It just goes to show that home cooked is best.

After all, I really don’t want to end up like Sigourney Weaver’s character “Zuul” in Ghostbusters!

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Mid-week in review – Some good news!

What a crazy week it has been so far! Monday night we had our son’s Parent Kindy Experience Night. It was heaps of fun as we got to play just like the kids. The night was designed to show the extreme importance of play in a child’s overall development. I even got to make my boy a ‘toy alien’ – which he delightfully told me was his favourite toy EVER!

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Tuesday night was the gym then Japanese study and last night I caught up with some girlfriends! Aargh, I’m too old to be going out on a weeknight:)

So, I’ve not really had a chance to record my meals but here are a few highlights:

A quick, tasty and unusual brekkie – liverwurst on cucumber rounds and green tea:

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This is sooooo quick and easy and oddly satisfying.

A great dinner one day this week was my ‘spaghetti’ bolognaise made on zucchini noodles. I veggied up my meat sauce with grated carrot and mushrooms. It makes for a quick and easy lunch too.

To make your zucchini noodles all you need is a julienne vegetable peeler and nuke them in the microwave for a minute or so – depending on how ‘al dente” you like your noodles!

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Another simple, tasty meal I enjoyed this weak was grilled lamb rump steak marinatated in olive oil and dusted with sumac – a tangy middle-eastern spice. Enjoy with roast veg and a dollop of natural yogurt.

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Keeping on track with my diet with all of these healthy meals is starting to pay off! I have lost one whole kilo since starting this blog! Woo hoo. Now only 5 kilos to go. I’m starting to believe it might be possible 🙂

My Paleo / Primal Journey – Trying to holistically heal Hashimotos

So, at the end of last year I was suffering endlessly from tonsillitis, sore throats and other unknown viruses. I would recover from one bout of sickness only to be ill again 3 days later. I felt like I was about to become best friends with my doctor I was in there so much. Thankfully, my doctor is not a big one on prescribing antibiotics so time again I was just told, “you are a mother of small children, you are run down, you’ve had an incredibly hard, emotional year with major bereavement”. In the end though, you really do know intuitively when something is not quite right, and you’ve moved beyond just being ‘run down’. With the last virus giving me the world’s worst sore throat, so sore I actually thought I must have throat cancer (and pretty much convinced myself I had it – I am a little overdramatic at times :P) the doctor decided some blood tests were needed. Thankfully, I did not have throat cancer…. but Hashimoto’s was the cause. Well, at least I’m not crazy I thought to myself.

My beautiful mother bought be a book “Your Thyroid Problems Solved” as a Christmas present. With Hashimoto’s, the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid cells, leaving the thyroid unable to manufacture sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. Oh what a joy to read at Christmas that Hashimoto’s among other things, can lead to:

. weight gain (yup)
. lethargy and fatigue (double yup, but hey I am a SAHM – toughest job in the world!)
. poor concentration and memory (yup, yup)
. aches and pains
. depression
. dry skin and hair (yup)
. hair loss
. deep, hoarse voice
. premature ageing – great, just what I need!

Bloody depressing Christmas reading, that’s for sure!

However, the book is good at identifying positive steps an individual can take to treat Hashimoto’s. It takes pains to explain that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease and the common medication given to sufferers, thyroxine, only replaces the hormone the thyroid can no longer make, it does not halt the production of thyroid antibodies. Thankfully, my blood results were not high enough to warrant placing me on medication – thanks doc – however I am being monitored on a six monthly basis to see how the disease progresses.

The authors of the book, Dr Cabot and Dr Jaskinska, whilst do not directly mention following a paleo/primal approach make some interesting observations that closely align with this lifestyle. Their first assertion is that to treat an auto-immune disease you must first heal your ‘leaky gut’ as the ‘leaky gut syndrome’ is thought to be a major contributing factor in the development of autoimmune disease. The basic premise of a leaky gut is that overtime the mucous lining of the gut becomes more porous than it should allowing undigested food molecules, bacteria, fungi and other toxic substances to enter the bloodstream and irritate the immune system causing the production of antibodies which then attack the own body (crikey, complicated business, these bodies of ours).

The cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Well, there are many, including our cruddy Western diet high in carbs, sugars and processed foods, too much alcohol, too many anti-biotics and pain killers, too much stress, too much gluten! Apparently those who have been identified as having an auto-immune condition are very likely to also have coeliac disease. Of course, I have no way of finding this out as I am currently not eating gluten in my diet and therefore cannot have the blood test done. I can have a DNA test to determine predisposition to the disease but I am pretty sure that costs $500 so I think I’ll just pretend I’m gluten intolerant for now and forgo the test. I would actually like to get it done however to find out I’m NOT coeliac – after all, we all like to have a treat sometime, treats that aren’t deadly!

How to cure Leaky Gut?

Well, the authors describe in detail a bowel and liver detox. Unfortunately for me, this includes not only giving up gluten but also dairy – and I just haven’t been able to do this so far. I love my cheese and it really adds that ‘comfort factor’ to a dish when you’ve left out all the good gluteny bits! I am going to wait until my next blood test in June and if I haven’t seen any improvement then it will be time to get serious and go ‘strict paleo’.

I must say that I was quite pleased to read that there are some steps you can take to holistically and nutritionally improve your health. After my initial diagnosis of Hashimotos I was referred to an endocrinologist who confirmed the diagnosis but did not, whatsoever, offer any other treatments or methods of healing the body apart from the rather depressing observation that eventually my thyroid would get so bad that i will need to be medicated and monitored for the rest of my life.

I will be really interested to see if my blood tests improve having followed a stricter gluten-free diet. In the meantime, I am going to continue to follow a Primal Gluten-free lifestyle as closely as I can. You know, they say all things happen for a reason. And whilst I was definitely not happy to be diagnosed with an auto-immune condition, perhaps it was what I needed to keep myself on track with healthy, whole eating for life. Let’s face it, in this modern, convenient world it is all too easy to get lazy and eat the prepared crap that is sold in our supermarkets and not take care of oneself. Now I truly have a real reason to “stay the course”!

Meatza, yeah baby!

Well, what a week. Just been to the doc as kids still sick and my little guy has his first ever ear infection. Oh the joys of kindy! As a result I haven’t been up to date recording my menu planning. But I can say with some excitement that last night we had meatza for dinner!

You know, the grain-free, meat based pizza. Oh my goodness, it was so yummy. If you ever embark on a Primal-esq diet and find yourself craving some old standbys then Meatza is the answer!

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My hubby absolutely loves Meatza, this one tasted just like the real deal only more filling. And you aren’t left with that awful, bloated, dissatisfied feeling. It really is a guilt free indulgence!

Here is the recipe I devised based loosely on a recipe I found from Marks Daily Apple which you can find here

Meatza Recipe

Ingredients

BASE
. 500 g grass-fed mince
. 1 egg
. 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
. 1 tsp dried oregano
. 1 tsp sea salt
. 1 garlic clove, crushed

TOPPINGS

Any of your favourite toppings could be used. This time I used:

. Thinly sliced tomato
. Tomato paste to cover base
. Shredded salami
. Shredded ham
. Sliced capsicum
. Sliced black olives
. Thinly sliced white onion
. Sundried tomatoes
. Mixture of grated cheddar and Parmesan cheese to top
METHOD

Mix base ingredients well. I find by hand the best way.

Spread onto a 20 x 30 cm metal slice / lamington tray that has been lined with grease proof paper. Wet your hands to help spread to the corners.

Bake in a very hot oven (220 DC , 450 DF) for 12 minutes or until cooked through. By this stage it will have shrivelled away at the sides and be quite ‘juicy’. Drain off the juice and put down a fresh piece of baking paper. Transfer base back onto tray and load up your toppings except cheese.

Put pizza back in oven for 5 min to cook ingredients.

After 5 min top with cheese and bake another 7 – 10 min, or until done.

Bon appetite!

N.B. the only change I would make next time would be to choose a fattier grade of mince as the mince I did have was a little too lean. Hope you enjoy 🙂

New Blog Title

As this blog is a recent invention I’ve been tweaking the settings, thinking of themes and posts and just enjoying have a creative outlet of sorts… I’ve also been reflecting on the name of the blog and it really has occurred to me that as I follow a more Mark Sisson’s “primal” approach perhaps the original name – Ms Paleo – is perhaps a tad misleading.

Scanning my meal plans over the last two weeks I’m really pleased that I have maintained a consistent low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, processed food-free approach to my diet. However, I am unable (unwilling?) to give up dairy – milk in my coffee and delicious cheese. I seem to tolerate it fine and whilst I’ve tried subbing with almond milk or coconut cream in my coffee, it was a truly unpleasant experience. Another problem I have with Almond Milk is that I have not managed to find a product that does not contain sugar and I just don’t have the time (or inclination) to make my own.

And of course I do occasionally eat rice and very seldom have white potatoes, a big no, no according to strict paleo guidelines. I don’t really have a problem with whole, unprocessed foods like these eaten occasionally. I’ve given up bread and pasta for goodness sakes, there is only so much a person can give up before they crack 🙂 and, I don’t really want to do that. I wanna try stay healthy for life so not going too hard on myself should help I think xx

Monday-itis

Yet another crook (that’s aussie for sick) day. O.V.E.R it. Really and truly. I’m trying to cast a positive spin on things. My little guy may have missed yet more kindy but its another day I get to spend with him before he is shipped off to primary school. Boo hoo. I can’t bear to think of him growing up so fast, and prep was meant to be a fun, play-based approach to learning and of course that is all changing and they are pushing far too much work onto them. Aaaah. Rant over 🙂

So, this blog is really working to keep me on track with my diet. A few more days before I’ve been blogging for two weeks and I’m really hoping that I will have lost a kilo. It’s so bloody hard to lose that last little bit isn’t it? 6 kgs doesn’t seem like that much!

So, today I ate left over roast veg and Halloumi for breakfast. Lunch was beef and veg soup. Had a handful of nuts before tea.

Dinner is thanks to my beloved crock pot. We bought a gorgeous, organic, grass-fed corned beef at the butchers and cooked it in the slow cooker. Served with steamed veg and a lush horseradish cream sauce. I got the original recipe from the chef Ben O’donohue but I don’t remember which magazine. So easy, I thoroughly recommend it:

Ingredients

. 1/2 cup sour cream
. 1 tbspn prepared horseradish
. 1 tsp Hot English Mustard

Mix together really well to ensure their are no “hot pockets”. Otherwise you will pay 🙂

Enjoy, so easy and ‘gourmet’.

God bless

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Roasted veggies with grilled Haloumi

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Ingredients

Any mixture of veggies should work well. Today I used

. 1 large onion, sliced into wedges
. 1 zucchini, cut into large chunks,
. Large wedge of pumpkin, diced
. 1 medium sweet potato, diced
. Small red capsicum, diced
. 2 large carrots, sliced
. 2 tbsp coconut oil (or enough to coat veggies)
. 1 tbsp Greek seasoning or to taste (any seasoning mix would be fine)
. 1 tbspn apple cider vinegar
. 1 packet Halloumi
. Olive oil to coat Halloumi

Method

Roast the veggies that have been tossed in oil and seasoning in a hot oven at 220 degrees Celsius for approximately 45 minutes or until done.

When cooked, drizzle over the cider vinegar and served with sliced Haloumi that has been coated in olive oil and grilled for a few minutes each side.

This is an extremely simple and nutritious dinner!