Where a husband and wife blog to: continue the story told in a book called Dancing in Cornmeal: Life with Autism; enhance the conversation about autism; relieve a writer's need to write; inspire (when the stuff here is really good); network; and share - especially recipes that follow the SCD and Paleo diets. See "Welcome" under TOPICS for a better description, then just keep reading along...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

So . . . What Do We Eat?

My last post told what the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and Paleolithic Diet (Paleo) each entail.  It also clarified that we have been cooking (and Lauren has been eating 100%) according to the SCD since 2005; but we have all been following Paleo for quite a few months, with some very nice results.  The natural next question is:  “But what do y’all really eat?!” 
I love most of the Paleo Pros out there who are happy to share info. It Starts with Food authors and founders of The Whole9, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, have a 60 second explanation to “What do you eat?!” which they are happy to share with other bloggers.  Here is that quickie explanation:
I eat real food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat, seafood and eggs come from, and buy organic local produce as often as possible.
This is not a “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight.  I aim for well-balanced nutrition, so I eat both animals and a significant amount of plants.  I’m not lacking carbohydrates – I just get them from vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal or pasta.  And my meals are probably higher in fat than you’d imagine, but fat is a healthy source of energy when it comes from high-quality foods like avocado, coconut and grass-fed beef.
Eating like this is ideal for maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s good for body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life.  It helps eliminate sugar cravings and reestablishes a healthy relationship with food.  It also works to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune.

For the rest of the post from which I borrowed this quickie explanation, check out: Nutrition in 60 Seconds
But what does our little family eat?  How do we mix it up and not get bored?
Well, I’ve been taking photos of our plates on occasion over the past few months with anticipation of answering this question.  I am by no means qualified to call myself a food blogger yet, as I have a cheap camera and have taken no tutorial on how to take lovely photos of plated food.  But I took a bunch of photos at many angles and picked the ones most yummy looking to me, so hopefully you’ll get a sense of “Yeah, that looks pretty yummy!” from my amateur photos.  
Okay, so typical breakfast is an omelet with lots of veggies, and occasionally a side of healthy meat, or a hash made with butternut squash or sweet potato:
Avocado, broccoli scallion  & mushroom omelet, grass fed beef bacon and strawberries

This is an avocado, broccoli, scallion & mushroom omelet with grass-fed beef bacon and a few strawberries.

Omelet stuffed with asparagus & turnip root 12-12-2011

Here’s another omelet stuffed with asparagus and turnip root.  I probably put garlic in this one.

When we’re in no mood to cook for ourselves, my typical breakfast is a bowl of chopped(sprouted) nuts with berries, maybe a little banana or raisins, and coconut milk.  Craig puts nut butter . . . somewhere . . . in his coffee?  On a spoon?  Not the best start to a morning, but weekday early mornings are endured around here, not embraced.  (We’re working on that.  A little bit by trying to go to bed earlier, but mostly by cooking fancy omelets.)  Lauren wakes up later than us and virtually always gets a plain or fancy (veggie-filled) omelet for breakfast.  If I’m inspired the night before, we may have SCD muffins or quick bread with our coffee for breakfast—all made with nut flour.  But we’re trying not to go that route too often, as those baked goods each have sugar in them in the form of SCD-legal (and Paleo-tolerated) honey.  Plus, unsprouted nut flour has proven time and again to disagree with our tummies, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  We have plans to try making our own sprouted nut flours, and I’ll blog about that here when we do, success or failure.          
Here are some typical lunches:
Leftover roasted chicken, pecans, strawberries and grapes Wild Field Greens with homemade vinaigrette                                                    
Leftover roasted chicken, pecans, strawberries and grapes on wild field greens with homemade vinaigrette

  Wild Caught Salmon, avocado, sunflower seeds, starawberries, kiwi & grapes on spinach and spring mix greens with a little apple cider vinegar

Here’s another salad: Wild caught salmon, avocado, sunflower seeds, strawberries, kiwi & grapes on spinach and spring mix greens with a little apple cider vinegar

Though Lauren loves salads as much as her mom and dad, her typical lunch is leftovers from the night before.  For example, a typical lunch:
Leftover chicken, mushroom gravy, mashed cauliflower & green beans

Leftover chicken, mushroom gravy, mashed cauliflower & green beans

Thankfully, since beginning the SCD, Lauren’s not a fussy eater.  In fact, when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s only one thing she hates . . .  to wait!
The photo above is of Lauren eating Bacon Wrapped Chicken, mushroom gravy, mashed cauliflower and asparagus.  Hers was cut before being plated by the chef, but for Craig and me, the knife-wielders, it looked more like this:
Bacon Wrapped Chicken, mushroom grave, Mashed Cauliflower, asparagus 
This recipe was found online and we slightly converted it to meet our needs.  It is now a treasured favorite.  (Based on Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts on Food & Wine website.)
More dinners:
Grass-Fed filet mignon, portabella mushrooms, braised wild field greens and au jus

Grass-fed filet mignon au jus, portabella mushrooms and braised wild field greens

Pot Roast with Grass Fed Beef April 2012 2

Grass-fed pot roast with carrots and onions, mashed cauliflower, gravy and green beans

SCD Meatloaf, Savoy cabbage, personalized salads

SCD Meatloaf, Melted Savoy Cabbage with Herbs (from Good Housekeeping April 2012), personalized salads

Salmon with Spinach and Strawberry Salsa July 2011 Craig

Baked Salmon with Spinach and Strawberry Salsa (found on Whole Foods Market)

Last, a favorite of mine.  Craig is primary and most accomplished chef around here, but this was something I tried without a recipe, guided only by a memory of what was on my taste buds when I enjoyed Stuffed Acorn Squash at a favorite vegetarian restaurant:
Stuffed Acorn Squash 2011-12-10 Nannette
I added sausage, and it turned out pretty well, if with a touch too much sage.
Okay, so breakfast, lunch and dinner are pretty obvious—eggs, meat, seafood, poultry and veggies, perhaps a wee bit of fruit, nuts or seeds, thrown together in as simple or creative a fashion as the day allows.  What about treats?!  Since reading the book It Starts with Food (and practicing what it recommends), my sweet tooth has waned.  Craig and I both are reducing the amount of carb-dense fruits and veggies on our plates, and are successfully fighting any urges to order anything in or run to the grocery for a treat.  (I’ve avoided keeping store-bought treats in the house for years.)  But every now and then, it’s gonna happen, I’m sure of it.  I’m going to suddenly pull out a recipe, see if we have all the ingredients, and start baking—probably starting at 11:00 PM and perhaps improvising with frozen raspberries in place of cranberries (speaking from experience).    Or we’ll simply need some special dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Ooh, that reminds me!  Here’s our SCD Thanksgiving meal of 2 years ago:
Thanksgiving  11-25-2010 002
Turkey, mashed cauliflower (potatoes for those who can tolerate), turkey gravy, butternut squash casserole, cranberry bread, green beans and MMM-delicious super-special dressing
Squash & dressing recipes from No More Crohns

I don’t know what we had for dessert that day, but probably this (picture of which was taken on our anniversary last year):
Craig's SCD pecan pie 2011-12-11

Craig's SCD pecan pie

Or maybe this (picture of which was taken on Lauren’s last birthday):
Apple Galette

SCD Apple Galette
(recipe from Grain-Free Gourmet by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass)

Which looks like this when there’s one slice left:Apple Galette2 1-27-12
Next is a photo from my last big baking day.  It was inspired by wanting to bring Lauren-friendly treats to a gathering at a friend’s house.  But we have a rule around here:  Always cook enough for leftovers the next day, and always bake enough for treats to last till the next millennium.  It never works out that way—the millennium-worthy stash is kept in the freezer, but it still usually lasts less than 2 weeks.  Anyway, that’s why all the filled “serving-size” snack baggies on the perimeter of the cooling rack:
Paleo choc chip cookies & SCD monster cookies 4-2012 4
Bottom: Monster Cookies with a variation (from Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall)
Top: Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with a variation, probably from Elana’s Pantry Elana's Pantry
So, you see, we eat with intention for best health and thorough healing, but we also know how to add in treats without completely sabotaging Craig’s and my efforts, or hurting our sweet Lauren who can’t yet tell us clearly when her belly hurts. 
And there you have it!  That’s what we all eat!  Actually, I didn’t include any photos of our  Craig Originals: Paleo Pad Thai, Sesame Chicken, Honey Lime White Fish, SCD Mango-Glazed Pork Chops, Craig’s Spaghetti Sauce on Broccoli Noodles  . . . there will be more food photos, with recipes, in the future.

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