I find it amusing that in December all the magazine and newspaper articles extol excess, in the form of food and gifts. As soon as January 1st rolls around all you see are magazine covers imploring you to diet and exercise. So, since it is still January, I'm going to review a book about a family who has taken their diet, really more a lifestyle, and exercise seriously. In doing so they have changed their lives.
I was very inspired by Eat Like a Dinosaur by the The Paleo Parents (Matt and Stacy), of the eponymous blog. The book is a cookbook with a children's story book at the beginning. It tells of a family riddled with health issues among adults and children, and ADHD like behavioral issues with the children (which, Stacy mentions runs in her family). After taking on the Paleo lifestyle, which is mainly animal protein, vegetables and fruits, no grains, dairy, legumes or refined sugars, their lives did a total 180. Stacy lost the most weight, with Matt following behind. The children went from having behavioral issues in school to being cited for good behavior by their teachers. The family went from being couch potatoes to living the active lifestyle they only dreamed of in the past.
My children enjoyed this book not only because of the illustrated story about eating like a dinosaur in the beginning, but also because it has a lot of pictures of the children, large photos of the recipes, as well as kid-friendly instructions. The easily readable recipes allowed my children to pick out the recipes they wished to prepare. There are charts at the end of the book indicating by icons whether recipes contain the common allergens of fish, shellfish, tree nuts or eggs . The recipes themselves are all fairly simple and easy for children to participate in the preparation of family meals, and do not contain laundry lists of ingredients.
I especially liked the section which gave ideas about lunches, as well as actual photos of the Matt and Stacy's children's lunch boxes. One can see that it is "doable" to make healthier lunches. The Paleo Parents do a lot of dehydrating both with meats, to make their own jerkies as well as fruits. Reading this book made me want to run out and buy a dehydrator. But, being an average American family trying to make ends meet, the Paleo parents do not require you buy any special equipment--this I especially liked. They give alternate instructions of how to make dehydrated food in a regular oven. As well, they give tips on how to approach a healthier lifestyle in an economical manner, i.e. shopping at farmer's markets for fruits and vegetables.
The downsides of the book for me were only two. one, The Paleo Parents use a lot of bacon in various recipes, even in mayonnaise, which I imagine imparts a nice flavor, but we don't use bacon at all in our home, so some recipes I had to skip over. Also, as far as adopting the Paleo lifestyle, I've decided it's not for us. I do feel from my research, that whole grains, gluten free included, are important in ones diet if they can be tolerated. However, I feel this family has proved the Paleo diet can be healthy for the entire family, and I respect that. As for me, I will take their yummy recipes and integrate them into my family's gluten-free, allergen-free diet.
Going along with the theme of health benefits of a gluten-free diet, I am doing a giveaway of The Gluten Free Edge (The Experiment Publishing), by Peter Bronski. It is a nutrition and training guide for peak athletic performance utilizing the gluten-free lifestyle. The book includes 50 gluten-free recipes to enhance your training program. Just leave a comment on this blog-post about a healthy step you have taken for you or your family by February 14th, and the winner will be picked by random.
3 chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
2 cups almond flour
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1. Cut chicken into 1-inch by 1-inch chunks.
2. Mix flour, arrowroot powder, and spices together in bowl with a fork or whisk.
3. Pour olive oil into a separate bowl.
4. Dip each chicken piece in the oil and then roll in the flour mixture.
5. Place nuggets on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping halfway through.
6. When done, the crust will be golden brown and juices will run clear.
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 cup almonds
1. Chop fruit and nuts in the food processor until finely ground
2. Form a dough by rolling it into a ball and then simply place the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap, and roll flat.
3. Cut it into bars and store in airtight containers. They last at room temperature for several days, and up to several months in the refrigerator. They are a great on the go snack!