what to eat...
when confronted with the overwhelming and conflicting food information out there it can be disheartening and maddening to try to figure out where to begin if you want to make substantive change to the way you eat. should i take a cooking class? should i read a book? should i get a master's degree in nutrition? it's hard to believe that our hunter gatherer forebears were able to make it without an app or a four year degree. in future blog posts i hope to share the wonderful variety of lifestyles that hunter gathers had, how their culture can be used as a guiding star to refashion yourself into the healthiest you, but for now, let's just get to the bare bones of the whats...
what do i have in my pantry? my fridge? my freezer? my garden?what do i process in my food to get the best out of it and what i refuse to have in my house? how do i afford a lifestyle that prioritizes health and wellness on a budget?( i realize the last one was a "how")
perhaps its best to start with what i refuse to have in my kitchen. industrial seed oils, sugars in all of its myriad incarnations (except maple syrup, I'm not perfect), and anything that advertises its healthy benefits or can sit on a shelf for an indefinite time. so, whats left? tons of fresh fruit, and vegetables and ethically raised animal products. for example, my cooking fats are lard(pig fat), tallow(beef fat), goose and duck fat, butter, ghee(butter with the milk solids separated), and coconut oil. i use avocado oils, and a few nut oils like pistachio and walnut and olive oil for dressings, but rarely use them for cooking. i'll also use rendered bacon fat and drippings. my transition to using these fats for cooking was probably the most transformative addition to my diet and to the flavor profiles of the foods i serve.
although dairy isn't normally a staple of paleo cooking, I've incorporated it back after a long absence, and haven't seen a negative reaction. i only use full fat dairy though, because the taste is amazing and its much more filling. theres a saying that i love" eat half for yourself and half for you gut", meaning creating a beneficial environment for your gut bacteria to thrive is an important element to a healthy lifestyle. yogurts, kefir, cheeses and pickled and fermented foods are a staple part of my diet, and when used in conjunction with fermentable foods that can create the "soil" for those microbe to flourish in your gut. to that end i have sauerkraut, kimchee, and pickled vegetables like beets and okra in my fridge.
a note on ethically raised animals, i pay a premium for the meat that i feed my family. i want to know that the animal had a life it was adapted for and eating foods it was adapted to eat. i try to respect the life of the animal by minimizing waste and keeping with the traditions of having a relationship with the butcher and fishmonger and asking hard questions and advocating for a better food system for the eater and the eaten. i also eat the cheaper cuts of meat whenever possible, this can save on cost and its tastier anyway.
fruits and vegetables! eat a wide variety and don't be afraid. the supermarket is filled with such a cornucopia of variety and there is so much waste in the way we prepare these foods. in future blog posts, ill delve deep into vegetables, but keep thinking variety. a typical gatherer had around 800 edible species of plants around them, and remember that bitter is incredible good for you. you can retrain the palate to prefer these superfoods and if all else fails just melt some butter over it!