Monday, 20 January 2014

It has been a few weeks since I posted for a few reasons. After 17 days off work (it was great), it has taken me awhile to get back into the routine and not a lot of new recipes have been tried, so not much to share there.  I am also really tired when I get home, make dinner and clean-up.  And, of course, I need to pay some attention to Paleo Grandad or else he gets cranky!

My plan to walk everyday is not going well.  It is a catch-22 - tired all the time so I don't feel like walking, but I would probably feel better if I walked more.  And then there is always the Vancouver weather excuse.

I have, however, spent quite a bit of time over the past few weeks going back to the science of the Paleo diet trying to figure out why I am tired and what effects certain foods are having on my body.  The number one potential problem no matter what website or article I look at is STRESS (it always needs to in all caps it is so big for most people, including me).  You have to decrease or eliminate STRESS (easier said than done).  The second factor is not getting enough sleep (which can be caused by STRESS), and the third factor is not eating enough fat.

Decreasing or eliminating stress is a tough one and no once has an easy answer on decreasing or eliminating stress, though there are many suggestions (which we have all heard before).  The same with getting better sleep - lots of suggestions but you just need to find what works best for you.  One thing I did discover a month or so ago is that I need more magnesium.  Magnesium helps with a number of problems, and one of those is insomnia.  I have been supplementing with magnesium and my sleep is much better and has virtually eliminated the need for night-time bathroom trips - always a benefit at our age.  Older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption. (Dr. Mercola).  There is not a lot of information on Paleo for older people but I keep looking and experimenting on what works for baby boomers to share with you.

Did you ever think you should be eating more fat?  We have been told for years that fat is not good for you but, new research shows that good fat is good for you and most of us don't eat enough of it.  It is the bad fat (highly processed fat in processed foods, soybean oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, etc.) that is causing the problem.  The good fats are (short list - click on the link for the full list):
  • Coconut oil (available for a good price at Costco or really expensive at your local grocer or health food store).
  • Olive oil
  • Good quality butter (pasture-fed is ideal but really, really hard to get in BC.  Most people I know who follow the Paleo diet go across the border to get Kerrygold butter from Trader Joe's).
  • Avocado oil
  • Walnut oil (and other pure nut oils - make sure they are not blended with soybean oil)
  • Ghee (my favourite - and I make my own)
The Paleo Mom's new book the The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Health Your Body is coming out on January 28th in the U.S. but not until March 4th in Canada (bummer).  I am going to order my copy from the U.S. so it will be here sooner and, based on the many things I have learnt from her website, I am hoping for some insights on where I need to focus more efforts (I know, more walking).

There is also a Paleo-Ketogenic diet which I have started reading up on and following on Twitter.  The Ketogenic diet is lower carb and higher fat and is thought to be more effective for weight loss, which is something else that hasn't worked for me on the Paleo diet.  More to come on the Paleo-Ketogenic diet as I research it more.

Ah, dinner tonight.  I cooked a 7-lb. chicken in my slow cooker on Sunday and the meat is juicy and fall off the bone.  I just seasoned it with salt and pepper and topped it with lemon slices and let it cook for eight hours.  It was delicious but lots of leftovers and excellent lemon-flavoured juices.  So tonight, I am going to make Paleo chicken pot pie.  The Paleo Mom came out with a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie in December that I thought sounded good, so I used her crust recipe and modified the filling for what I had on hand.  It looks like a long recipe, but it comes together really quickly.  The Paleo Mom made a cauliflower sauce instead of gravy but I just used my leftover lemon-flavoured broth from slow-cooking the chicken.

Chicken Pot Pie
 Serves 4 to 6

Make the crust first so that it can chill while you are making the filling.

Ingredients (crust):*
    • 4 cups blanched almond flour
    • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
    • 2 egg whites (keep the yolks to brush on pastry before baking)
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Combine all ingredients and work together to form a dough with your hands or place them in a food processor and pulse until combined well.
  2. Press into a large rectangle about 3/8″-1/2″ thick on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. This is a little easier if your dough is cold. You’re aiming for your rectangle to be the same size or slightly longer than the size of your casserole/lasagna dish.
    If you make the crust in advance, you can place the dough in the fridge and then press it out when you’re ready, or press it out in advance and then place your whole silicone mat in the fridge until you’re ready. *The crust was not as roll-able as the Paleo Mom's and I think it is because the type of almond flour we get here is coarser than she uses.  The U.S. Paleo bloggers all recommend Honeyville Almond, which you can get shipped to BC, but it is expensive. So I had to piece the crust together, but it still tasted great.
  • 4 cups chicken pieces, cooked
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced (you can add more but onions upset my stomach)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green beans (I just used frozen)
  • 1 large sweet potato cut into 1/2″ or slightly smaller cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (or other favourite good cooking fat)
  •  3 cups of leftover chicken juices or chicken broth
  •  2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  •  1/4 cup cool water
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat leftover juices from chicken, until just simmering.
  2. Mix arrowroot starch and water and whisk together.
  3. Add the mixture to the simmering chicken juices and stir.  Cook on medium heat until gravy has thickened.
  4. Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a very large frying pan.
  5. Add onion, celery, carrots, and sweet potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked al dente, about 20 minutes.
  6. Add chicken and cook until both are heated through, about 7-8 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in gravy.
  8. Taste and make sure it’s adequately seasoned. Stir in additional salt, if needed

To put the whole thing together:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Pour the filling into a large rectangular casserole dish.
  3. Carefully transfer the pie crust onto the top (see note above in red. Trim around the edges with a knife and use any leftover crust to form decorations if you want (leaves are classic, but you can be as creative as you want here). Put a few cuts into the crust for steam to escape.
  4. Brush with reserved egg yolks, whisked with a teaspoon of water.
  5. Place the casserole dish onto a baking sheet (in case it boils over while cooking).
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

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