Thursday, February 21, 2013

Innocent as a Caveman

So easy a caveman can do it.

We are trying to go Paleo in our house. The reason why I am sharing this on this blog is because this month’s focus is on childlike innocence. So purity is top of mind right now. Pure thoughts. Pure intentions. Pure food. Chef Emily Golden, the founder of Mindful Meals. is a personal chef who is teaching me how to eat like a caveman, which means anything that can be hunted, gathered, picked or dug up. Nothing processed. Meat must be grass fed. 

In addition to owning restaurants that catered to various food sensitivities, Chef Emily had to become an expert on pure foods when her daughter developed allergies to wheat and dairy. She converted her family to a Paleo diet more than a year ago. The switch cleared up nagging health issues, boosted energy and slimmed everyone down in her family. Now, she is teaching me to plan meals in advance, add more fruits and veggies to the mix and cut back on the grains and sugar in our house.

I am battling excess weight, fatigue, brain fog and frequent headaches. So if this lifestyle change helps, it will save me from being a pharmaceutical experiment and save my kids from inheriting some of my bad habits.

Here is a Q & A with Chef Emily Golden who better explains Paleo.

How is Paleo different from Atkins or other no carb diets?
Chef Golden: It is not just meat. That is ultra low card. Atkins was designed specifically for weight loss. Paleo is more about lifestyle. Living a really pure lifestyle. At it root, its about getting the cleanest sources of fruits, vegetables and meats that we can. At its root, it promotes sustainable farming, If cows and pigs forage for grass and weeds, that is reflected in the meat that we get from these animals. They are not intended to eat grain any more than we are. Once they are sent to a feedlot, they are stuffed with grains, antibiotics and hormones.  All of that depletes their natural nutrient content. Atkins focuses on all meat. Paleo focuses on natural foods.

What are you giving up?
Chef Golden: Anything processed including: sugar, bread, cereal, flour and anything that contains grain.

What was the hardest part to give up and what did you use to substitute?
Chef Golden:
I started January of last year. Initially, the hardest thing to give up was sugar. We found sugar alternatives like organic honey and maple syrup. If you are going to bake, I suggest avoiding anything fake. They have the same reaction in your body. They still stimulate hunger. I substitute coconut and almond flour for flour and almond or coconut milk for dairy. I also use mashed bananas and applesauce for baking. It is very positive for diabetics, because it is anti-inflammatory.

 We didn’t completely give up everything, but we reduced it greatly. We didn’t give up alcohol entirely. We did not give up dairy. But I use whole unpasteurized milk sparingly. We did not give up corn tortillas because we are huge Mexican food fans.

Is Paleo effective for weight loss?
Chef Golden: I wasn’t overweight or had health conditions. I just wanted to be better and feel better. I had a lot of stress and anxiety. Just not feeling 100%, really tired, normal work a day stuff that a lot of people suffer from. I thought If I could feel better, look better, perform better, than it was worth a try. I only lost a few pounds but I lost two dress sizes. My husband lost a lot of weight. I also did not feel so stressed. I felt an immediate improvement in my ability to focus. I thought I had ADD and I really struggled with that in my business and personal life.

Are there misconceptions about Paleo?
Chef Golden: Everyone assumes it is too expensive to eat like this. But I make the case that it is more nutrient rich food. So its not a fair comparison. I found because you are eating higher quality food, you become satisfied with less, so it doesn’t require as much. Plus there are ways to save like buying organic from your local farmers market, supporting a local farm or joining a co-op.

Is Paleo for everyone?
Chef Golden:  It is going to be a challenge if you eat out a lot. But it can be. It is really a one size fits all template than figuring out what works best for your lifestyle.

More about Chef Emily
Chef Emily has been cooking since 1994 and has a history of restaurant experience and customer service. She has long been a health enthusiast and has developed special skills in creating whole foods menus with a particular focus on gluten free and Paleo style cooking although, her skills encompass all types of cuisine. She started her Mindful Meals Delivery Service over 4 years ago in Saint Petersburg, serving the Tampa Bay area, realizing a need for consistently healthy meals available in a climate of over scheduling and fast food diets. In addition, she has worked with groups doing healthy cooking demonstrations and speaking events, has done private cooking instruction and classes, joined in cross promotion and charitable fundraisers with other local business and organizations and, has cooked for hundreds of happy households in the Bay area.

If you have specific health issues or are challenged by weight loss, Emily has a reputation for creating satisfying healthy menus that don't leave you feeling deprived. She will work closely with your doctor or dietician or you can follow her special, proven, Paleo protocol. For more information about Chef Emily Golden, visit her website at 

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