Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!
Paleo and Anti-Candida Diets
It's been a while since I've written a Weekend Cooking post because food and cooking have been in a great state of flux at our house lately. First, my oldest son and I went on a sugar-free diet to try to address some of our health problems. I improved, but he was still in bad shape (and spring semester of college was starting), so we consulted with a biochemist/registered dietician who had helped him previously. She put him on a super-strict diet - no grains, no dairy, no sugar... Well, it is easier to tell you what he can eat - mainly just meat, about 10 different veggies, 1 pear a day but no other fruit, and seeds. That's about it! He's been on that very restrictive diet for about two weeks now (plus we made other drastic changes to his medications and supplements) and is doing better.
Although he 's eating at school, except on Sundays when he comes home, my husband decided to start the Paleo Diet, in part for moral support to our son and in part for weight loss. In case you haven't heard of it, the Paleo Diet is all about eating as our caveman ancestors did - no processed foods, a very natural diet - so in many ways, it is similar to my son's current diet restrictions (no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no starchy veggies).
Soooo....what all this means is that I have had to drastically change the way I cook and get very creative! I normally cook with fresh, whole foods and little processed or prefab stuff, so that's no different (and I've been dairy-free for a decade), but leaving out grains and potatoes is a bit of a challenge. I have been relying heavily on homemade soups with meat and veggies in them and on meals with some sort of meat or fish plus 2 veggie sides. Here is some of what I made this week (I really need to try to remember to take pictures!):
One night, I pan-seared salmon filets (and finished it with a simple sauce of lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar), and we had roasted asparagus spears and Kickin' Collard Greens for sides. Those are two of our all-time favorite veggie sides, and the salmon was great, so that meal was a hit. The greens cooked this way are absolutely delicious (we cook them a bit longer than the recipe calls for) - my 16-year old son says he is the only kid in his entire school cafeteria who eats greens when they are on the lunch menu!
Another hit was Beef and Cabbage Soup, a reader recipe from an ancient Cooking Light issue (early 90's I think). It was very simple: saute ground beef, onion, and celery; add chopped carrots and cabbage, plus chicken broth, chopped tomatoes, and some seasonings (salt, pepper, basil, oregano), and simmer. I especially enjoyed this soup because its flavors reminded me of a favorite Ukrainian dish my family eats on holidays, holubtsi (aka cabbage rolls). Plus the soup provided two meals (and lunch, too!).
I was able to use a Cooking Light recipe as is, though it was a tiny bit of a cheat for the Paleo Diet: Kung Pao Chicken Tacos. These were SO good! It's basically a fusion recipe - taking Chinese-style Kung Pao chicken and putting it into corn tortillas - and the flavors were outstanding. The corn tortillas aren't technically allowed on the Paleo Diet, but it was a small sacrifice (my husband left the peanuts out of his serving). Great flavors in this dish!
We had another fish plus 2 veggies meal late in the week. And today, we are having the exact same meal that we had last Sunday, for my son who is visiting from college - grilled steaks, green beans, and pureed cauliflower. This strict diet has been very difficult for him, but steak helps, as it is his favorite, and green beans are his favorite vegetable. I've also been creating all sorts of goodies for him, using coconut flour, coconut oil, unsweeetened chocolate (with a touch of coconut sugar and stevia)...but that is a topic for another day.
So, those are our current cooking challenges...and successes! I hope you have been enjoying some good food this week, too.