Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Guest Post - Real Food Diets: Raising a Paleo Child, by Mamapoekie

This last year I have been trying different ways of eating to try and regain some of my balance, energy and overall health since bearing and rearing our 2 tinies. Over the next few months I'm bringing you a whole host of wonderful guest posts on a variety of Real Food Diets, from Raw to Paleo. Join me in this series and find the best real food for your mind, body and soul.

This week's post comes from Mamapoekie. Miss last week's? We heard from sexy raw chef Russell James on eating raw. Go check it out!

Real Food: The Paleo Diet
My family has been on the paleo diet for almost two years now. The paleo diet (also primal or caveman diet) is not so much a diet as a way of life. It is basically a modernized version of the hunter-gatherer diet, renouncing grains, legumes and all processed foods. Some versions of the diet exclude dairy, but as my family has no digestive issues with dairy, we do eat a small amounts of cheese, butter and the occasional yoghurt.

The main goal is to eat food as close to nature as possible in order to retain nutrients and maintain a healthy body, though, unlike the raw foods movement, cooking is involved. It also involves a healthy amount of the right kind of activity, like our caveman ancestors would have had. 

The diet is based on the idea that our bodies have not adapted to our fairly recent sedentary eating style, that of agriculture, with grains and legumes as staple foods, which only exists for about 10 000 years (depending on where you live) - which is, given man’s long evolution, a fairly short amount of time. 

Proof of our failure to adapt to this regime is the high amount of gluten intolerance found today (30% of all people in the Western World are said to be gluten intolerant), lactose intolerance and the many many ‘prosperity ilnesses’.

As we’re also unschoolers, enforcing a diet upon all the people in our household is not an option. Neither do we see the paleo diet as a religion, we get to wander out of it a little if it so pleases us, and when we’re invited to people’s houses, we won’t frown upon a piece of cake. Whenever we’re on holiday, we indulge ourselves with the occasional pastry, or chocolate (we are Belgians after all), but by now, we have learned that swarming outside of the paleo diet does us more wrong than the short pleasure of munching down on non-paleo foods.

Before we lived in Congo, the rule was: no non-paleo foods at home and outside, everyone could get what they desire, we did get the odd cookie or candy for our daughter when she asked for it.

Right now, all meals are paleo, except the occasional pizza or pasta dish (about once a month) and we still have some cookies and candies available for our daughter when she wants them. Wherever possible though, I try to bake paleo cookies.

We feel it’s important for her to make her own choices concerning food, and have the occasional talk about which foods do what to our bodies. Even though cookies, some chocolate and candies are available, she rarely eats them anymore, and is happy to watch a movie while munching down on a stick of cauliflower.

As we’ve always been very relaxed about who eats what, we’ve never had any issues regarding food. My daughter is a healthy eater and in great shape. As she grows older, she might want to eat paleo only, or she might not... That will be up to her.

Paleo Recipe: Exotic Coconut-Cabbage Mince
1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage), in thin slices
1/4 white cabbage, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 leek, chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup coconut milk
1 TBS tumeric powder
1 TBS curry powder
1,5 pounds mince meat

Fry the mince in a pan with oil until it's nicely brown. Get it out of the pan and put aside. Fry the onion, add the garlic when the onion becomes translucent. Add green pepper and leek, stir and cover. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add Bok Choy and white cabbage. Add the spices, stir and cover for about 10 minutes (or until the peppers have softened) then add the tomatoes and put the meat back in. Pour the coconut milk over the dish and stir. When the tomatoes have thoroughly warmed, you're ready to serve. Enjoy!

Laura Schuerwegen a.k.a. Mamapoekie is a Belgian expat mother and wife, currently living at the banks of the Kasai river in DR Congo. She has an unschooled three year old and a little one due December. She writes about Life, the Universe and Everything at Authentic Parenting.

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