I’m so excited to post about my recent experience Paleo Pen Pals! They match you up with another member of the Paleo community which provides such a fun interaction with someone you don’t know! Basically, all you have to mail each other a Paleo ingredient and make a recipe from it! I remember having pen pals in grade school and being so giddy when I would receive a letter from them. This giddiness was felt again when I received my Paleo ingredient from Tanya at Feed the Clan 🙂 Her recipe using the star anise that I sent her is here.
I was pretty nervous to do this because, while I love sharing recipes, I haven’t exactly really created many on my own. Sure, I’ve deviated from other recipes by adding or changing some ingredients, but I haven’t really come up with anything from scratch. After stressing out about this (#firstworldproblems), I realized that maybe I can still tweak something I know about. After all, isn’t that how people come up with some recipes in the first place?
So…here is what Tanya sent me:
Tanya told me the Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey was from a local source in her area, which I loved! I was so excited to see how I could use this in a recipe! When I tasted it, I was reminded of the red chili powder that my mom often used in her many delicious Gujarati (state in India) dishes. I’m not sure if it’s very different from what we get at the supermarket in the states, but that was my experience with it. So basically, this powder was infused into honey and was quite yummy 🙂
I had some home-grown cabbage at home, and my mom had brought some beautiful purple and white carrots from a farmer’s market. So I decided to make a Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots based off a Gujarati dish I ate growing up. Usually, my mom never added any type of sweetener or carrots, so I was curious about how this would taste. This recipe can also be made without the carrots.
Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup shredded carrots
3 cups shredded cabbage
2.5 tsp Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan until they pop – this increases the mustard flavor in the dish. (You can also add sesame seeds to this if you’d like). Heat oil in another pot or wok, and add mustard seeds and turmeric. Let it sizzle for a little bit so it’s mixed in well. Add cabbage and carrots. Mix this thoroughly so the turmeric covers the cabbage and carrots completely. Add the honey. Then cover until the cabbage is cooked but still a little crisp – about 10 min. Add salt.
And VOILA! You are done. At first, I didn’t feel like I tasted the chile flavor. And it still isn’t as strong as my mom’s, but the point is that it didn’t NEED to be spicy. What’s really cool is that the honey flavor really makes it yummy and the spicy kick comes at the end. This can be a great side dish with any meal. You can also add some chicken, pork, or beef to this dish as well. I’ve never done it, but I think it would be really great!
I hope you enjoyed my first real recipe 🙂 Paleo Pen Pals was such a fun experience that pushed me to be creative. I will definitely be doing it again!
No, I’m not re-launching my site or anything yet, but as my thoughts and experiences with my health journey evolve through the way I eat, move, and think, my vision for “Cutting the Cheese” has evolved as well.
Initially, my thought was to create a blog name that would be refer to Paleo and also be punny. I think I succeeded. I do have to give credit to a close friend that helped me out, so thank you Jasmy 🙂 Cheese is something I LOVE, so I thought it was a perfect fit! However, as I learned more about Paleo, I realized that, yes, in the strictest sense, dairy isn’t “allowed”. But, as time went on, I stopped thinking of Paleo as a diet of restriction, and I started to see it as using food for nourishment. So, given this change, I started introducing dairy in my meals. While I do feel some effects from dairy, I am unaffected in moderation. So, I haven’t always had to “cut the cheese” out of my diet…however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to do it figuratively 😉
As I have I started looking at Paleo from a different perspective, I decided to re-brand my blog through a different lens. I believe most of us know what “Cutting the Cheese” means as an idiom. If not, feel free to find out here. The the meaning is funny in the sophomoric sense that many hate to love. It provokes laughter with a bit of discomfort – literally and figuratively 🙂
Recently, I started a Facebook page to go along with my blog. I tend to post a few times a day to this page by sharing some personal experiences as well as sharing information that I find helpful from other blogs/pages. Sometimes I share recipes or just general information about the Paleo way of eating. However, as I have mentioned before, I do see Paleo as a lifestyle. At the same time, I see eating processed foods and treating certain physical ailments with drugs, and not nutrition, as a lifestyle too. Paleo aside, I feel there are obvious sociopolitical conflicts that serve to profit companies that the modern world just accepts. This makes me uncomfortable…very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t want to believe it. But I have to believe it. The Food Pyramid, FDA guidelines, GMO’s, yadda yadda are all politically and economically motivated and most of us either want to ignore it, minimize it, or simply believe that the government and big food companies have our best interests at heart. As an individual, I cannot solely change the current political, economic, or food systems. However, it would be silly for me to not recognize the motivation and manipulation of these systems. If everyone realized how they were being manipulated, they would probably be uncomfortable.
Another area I have felt passionate about is self-love when it comes to body image and what we think about ourselves. I have definitely struggled with body image in many ways that I hope to share in future posts. In the past couple months, I have been able to move past a lot of my insecurities and get to a point where not only do I love myself and my body more than before, but I have also realized that I was making excuses about why I didn’t think I was insecure in the first place. Again, this was uncomfortable. Loving who I am, as I am, is uncomfortable. Do I have a Victoria’s Secret model body? NO. Have I lost as much weight as I would have initially liked? NO. A year ago, these answers would have made me very uncomfortable. But, I’m happy to say, that I’m much more happy in my skin, as is, than before. Does that mean I don’t want to lose weight or that I don’t think I would be as attractive if I lost more weight? No, not at all. My priorities have just changed. My goal is health first, and, as Jason Seib says, to look “hot by accident”.
Lastly, I have started to make some changes in my daily routine to include meditation, prayer, and asking for help when I feel I need support in my life. Stress management is a huge part of lifestyle and if affects our bodies immensely. Here is a great summary about stress and adrenal fatigue: The Real Deal On Adrenal Fatigue by Robb Wolf. Making changes to daily habits is difficult. After all the Merriam-Webster definition of a habit is “a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”. So making changes in our busy, stress-filled lives, especially to slow down and let go of certain outcomes through mediation, prayer, or what have you, is hard and uncomfortable, but it is also very beneficial. I’m not talking about being a yogi and sitting on a mountain in lotus position. These are changes you can make throughout the day in the comfort of your home, but, to do so, priorities have to change.
I’m evolving/re-branding this blog by pushing through uncomfortable barriers and becoming more aware, accepting, and comfortable being uncomfortable! I still do plan to post recipes, etc to have some balance and fun 🙂
Enjoy and feel free to comment about this change!
My birthday is Friday (yay!), and I wanted to do a giveaway to celebrate 🙂 I was trying to think of the best thing to offer you all, and I realized I needed to go back to my roots…my Paleo roots that is 🙂 So…I’m going to give away a copy of It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, which outlines how to do a Whole30 which I did last year. This book literally changed my life, inspired me to start this blog, and has gone so far as to inspire me to learn more about biochemistry, permaculture, meditation, and farming practices! (WHOA!) And this all comes from a person that grew up in the suburbs of Chicago! Now, Dallas and Melissa clearly state that the basis for the book is health, not necessarily the ancestral/paleolithic way of thinking. So if you’re not interested in that angle, which is fine, this book is still a great way to think differently about your overall health.
Tonight I’m leaving for London and Paris for a couple weeks! I’m so blessed to go on this trip and see a dear friend (the one who wrote this awesome post) get married, meet family, and simply enjoy different parts of the world! I’m hoping to document some things and perhaps learn some food related ideas about each place while I’m there as well.
How will I stay Paleo on this trip? Well, it will probably be hard as vacations are usually opportunities where I have failed. However, I have equipped myself with some trail mix and grass-fed beef jerky from Gourmet Grassfed Meat! I’m bringing these with me on the plane to snack on as well. I’ll just do the best I can, and, most importantly, enjoy my time 🙂
I also wanted to talk about some changes about the content of this blog. Somewhat deeper thoughts have been entering my mind through various forms of social media, personal life experiences, and discussions with friends. This includes food policy, emotions and eating, the female body image, etc. I definitely have some ideas about these topics, some that have been expressed before, and, perhaps, some new ones. I will say this now and again when I write these posts: I am not an expert in..well…anything! This is purely a journey of learning that I thoroughly enjoy. Prove me wrong, challenge me, I welcome it 🙂 Getting my ideas out there helps me to grow and, hopefully, allows my readers (or maybe just 1 reader at least? hehe) to get a different perspective as well.
Aritey, that’s all folks…see you in a few weeks!
Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.
1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.
2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.
3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.
4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂
This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!
I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I have blogged! This past month has been pretty crazy with more going on at work and prepping for my trip to India! Yes…that’s right! In one week, I will be on a plane heading to India with my family. I’m VERY excited about this trip. I have been to India four times in the past, but I’m really excited about this trip because I will be meeting a lot of my husband’s family and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and three beautiful nephews are coming as well! I’ve never traveled to India with them before (I haven’t gone with my husband yet either), so it should be a lot of fun 🙂
How does this all play into my health plan? Well…the past month’s activities have, unfortunately, cut into my personal journey towards better health. I haven’t really lost any weight. I probably gained a little bit, but that’s not even what I care that much about. I kind of just lost sight of things because…well…life is hard to balance. The changes I’ve had at work were great for my work life. However, this came at a cost of not being able to go to The Dailey Method as much because I was now working during the classes I usually attended. Since I have focused so much on those classes, I didn’t put much of an effort towards doing anything at home. In terms of food, well…I have definitely tried to keep it up, but let’s just say that I had a lot of dessert at a wedding reception last night! My will and Paleo decision-making has someone gone down the drain. One reason I haven’t been beating myself up too much about it is because it will be impossible to live up to my Paleo lifestyle in India. None of my relatives eat meat, and eating it going to be very central to the trip. Let’s just say that family in India LOVE to feed you. I’m going to enjoy this, however, I’m also going to make sure I feel satisfied rather than full. I also didn’t want to do Paleo for the past few weeks and then totally shock my system when I’m in India when I will inevitably be eating a lot of grains and carbs.
Anywho…one thing this past month has taught me is that balance, while very important, is very hard! That doesn’t mean I’m giving up though! I have always said this is a journey. My weight loss is not going to be perfect, life isn’t perfect. The great thing about this is all the great lessons I learn about myself in the process. I am trying to keep a positive outlook, because a positive MIND is what is going to help me with my healthy lifestyle.
In the next week before I head to India, I’m going to eat a “regular” diet with grains, carbs, etc. I am still going to avoid processed food. One question I’m going to ask myself is “Am I really hungry?” I read a lot about this concept from the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. This is a great book about our hunger signals. I have noticed that my hunger signals can mean a few things: I’m thirsty; I’m bored; I’m stressed; or I really am hungry. I’m going to evaluate myself before making these decisions. I am usually pretty satisfied throughout the day when I start my day by drinking 10 to 20 oz of water and continuing to drink water all day. So, I think this will be the best way for me to eat this week and while I’m in India as well.
So, there ya have it! I plan to post that Pre-Made Paleo review I promised a few months ago before I leave! Sorry for slacking on that.