I’ve always loved a food challenge that promotes healthy eating and creative cooking. Paleo is a frontier I had yet to venture. Last Monday my coworker told me she was attempting to go Paleo for the next month to get in shape for a wedding she’s in this December. Food challenges are always easier with a partner, so I told her I was in too. This won’t be forever, but it’s fun for now!
For some background, the Paleo or “caveman” diet is based on foods that humans were eating 10,000 years ago – food that can be found in nature and wasn’t a product of farming or processing – and can be eaten raw or (cooked over a fire?) This eliminates grains (wheat, barley, quinoa, ALL of them), dairy, sweets (real or fake sugar), beans or soy, potatoes…This leaves us with vegetables, fruits, nuts (but not peanuts), meat, fish and eggs. Now, in order to make this diet sustainable for myself, I had to do a little customization. In my version of this diet I am including corn, some beans, sweet potatoes, plain yogurt, and, on occasion, brown rice (mostly in the form of rice cakes) and I am excluding red meat. The good news: wine is allowed. I am already on day 7, and it has been surprisingly easy to follow “my rules.” My vegetable and fruit intake was already super high to start with, but the creative part comes in when you have to swap out tortillas, pasta, bread and other “vehicles” for food and sauces that I’m used to. However, most sandwiches can be made into salads, most pastas can be replaced with thinly sliced vegetables like zucchini or spaghetti squash, and what can’t be mixed into eggs?
Creating Paleo “sweets” was an interesting challenge. But I was determined. Sorry I’m not sorry I need a chocolate fix once in a while. The reinvented Reese’s cup:
The difference between mine and Reese’s: mine is packed with fiber, antioxidants, no sugar and low in calories, while the other will spike your blood sugar, tax your liver to process and provide no fiber with tons of calories. Okay, and they might taste a LITTLE different. One version was made with spiced pumpkin puree, the other with almond butter.
Makes 4 small cups
2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
1-2 stevia extract packets (for desired sweetness)
4 tablespoons almond butter
4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dashes of pumpkin pie spice
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, then stir in stevia packet. Prepare muffin tin with 4 paper muffin cups. Pour enough chocolate into muffin cups to cover the bottom, then spoon 1 tablespoon almond butter or pumpkin mixture into each cup. Cover mixture with remaining chocolate. Place muffin tin in the freezer to harden.