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Monday, June 25

Paleo Lifestyle: Know your Pantry

By far the biggest challenge to paleolithic eating is figuring out the 'what the heck am I going to eat' dilemma. It isn't an easy transition from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to one that is full of whole foods, devoid of grains and dairy, and still satisfying and delicious. I've decided to start a series of posts that I hope will help those of you looking to create a more paleo-centric lifestyle*. Happy paleo-ing!


The first step in transitioning to a grain-free, whole food lifestyle is stocking your pantry and fridge with the appropriate foods. Obviously fresh vegetables and fruits are the simplest starting point. There are a few versatile vegetables that I always keep on hand, regardless of whether or not they are in that week's menu:
Sweet potatoes
Zucchini (in the summer)
Spaghetti squash (in the winter)

Sweet potatoes: use these for everything from a side dish {OR roasted with bell peppers and onions} to smoothies, with eggs {minus the cream cheese} at breakfast or as a main course.
Cauliflower: an old trick, but cauliflower is a great rice substitute to add to stir fry, paleo pad thai or a chicken pot pie. Just throw it in a food processor until it's your desired consistency. I like mine finely chopped, almost like a couscous texture.
Zucchini: easy to throw on the grill, it's also a great substitute for pasta... asian or italian
Spaghetti squash: another noodle substitute, spaghetti squash also make a great 'boat' for a variety of savory winter bakes.

Moving onto the pantry, there are a few key ingredients that your should familiarize yourself with:
Almond flour and Coconut flour
Arrowroot powder
Raw honey and Coconut palm sugar
Coconut oil and Grapeseed oil

Almond and Coconut flours: to be used in moderation, since they are obviously made from almonds and coconuts {both are good things, but you don't want too much of either.} These are good for Saturday morning biscuits or pancakes, a savory pie crust for quiche or a chicken pot pie, and the occasional paleo cookie.
Arrowroot powder: think of it as the paleo equivalent to corn starch. It's a thickening agent that I use in my pot pie recipe, to thicken blueberries for pancakes, etc.
Raw honey and coconut palm sugar: my preferred sweeteners, to be used only in moderation. Read more about natural sweeteners here.
Coconut and Grapeseed oils: in addition to olive oil, the only oils that I cook with. Grapeseed oil is a good butter/vegetable oil substitute as is coconut oil.

I truly believe that stocking your kitchen with whole, healthy foods is the first step in transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. It's so cliche, but true - if it's there, you'll eat it. So get rid of the breads, the cookie mix, anything with high-fructose corn syrup or modified food starch, the cereal, etc. and stock your pantry and fridge with vegetables, grass-fed beef and free range chicken, a few pieces of fruit, and better options for when you're craving SAD cuisine. 

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

 *I hate the word 'diet.' It has such a negative connotation, implying short-term deprivation and rules. I prefer to think of our dietary choices as a lifestyle, something we are committed to not just for a couple months as a weight-loss effort, but as a means of improving our health and promoting wellness in our lives.

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