In 2010, Corey and I took part in a Paleo Challenge at our gym, committed to a seemingly impossible endeavor. For 30 days, we’d eat nothing but real food: seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, meat, and nothing else. No dairy, no wine, and no processed anything. It seemed super extreme, but irresistible: I could do anything for 30 days, couldn’t I?
The first days licked giant, wire-hairy donkey balls. I had headaches, I thought about sugar with a lust and vigor I hadn’t felt since I was seventeen. I had dreams about brie and Ritz crackers, and I picked fights about laundry and the colour of the paint on the bedroom walls. I would have traded my favourite skinny jeans for a latte with real milk.
But a few days in, I started to feel an odd energy, like I was buzzing at a greater frequency than normal. By day 8, I sprang out of bed in the mornings, wondering why I’d ever felt the need to hit the snooze button 6 times before crawling, bloated for the coffee maker. By day 30, I could see my ab muscles, and my I felt like She-Ra in my workouts. At that point I realized: there’s something to this fad. Maybe, actually, it’s not a fad.
That 30 day challenge was a pivotal event in the shaping of my thirties. Corey and I are now pretty dedicated Paleo eaters. My downfall is dairy, and I consume yogurt with some regularity, but wheat is still almost totally off limits in our house. When we get strict, I can feel it: my skin is good, my midsection is taut, and my muscles are limber and ready to go. With the summer fading and the fall approaching, we’re committing again to totally cutting out the dairy and getting back 100% on the Paleo bandwagon.
This time, though, I’m going to do a semi-vegetarian Paleo diet. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but I have been increasingly cognizant of the impact of the consumption of animals (free range or not) and so I want to make all of our Paleo meals meat-optional going forward. I want to remain true to the premise of eating only whole, natural foods…just with less actual animal (I’m still not ready to again totally give up animal products like eggs)
So here’s a Paleo favourite of mine that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But there’s something about breakfast at dinner that is super appealing to me.
Egg Quesadilla with Guacamole and Fresh Salsa
Ingredients (for a meal for two)
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill is great)
- pepper to taste
- 4 medium sized chopped organic tomatoes
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 finely chopped red onion
- 1 hot chili pepper, diced finely
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 garlic cloved, minced
- 1 ripe avocado
- juice of half a lemon
You can’t have tortilla wraps on a paleo diet, which saddened and devastated me for that first 30 days. But I discovered later that if you add some almond flour to eggs, it provides a stiffer consistency and allows you to add toppings and wrap up the egg, tortilla like, around them. Deliciously!
For this concoction, I filled the egg with homemade salsa and guacamole. (Salsa is chopped tomatoes, onions, hot pepper, 1 clove garlic, lime juice and cilantro — while guac is simply mashed avocado, garlic, and lemon juice) You can add turkey if you want to go the meat route, and roasted peppers would also be delicious inside this. I also made a tapendade with roasted peppers, basil, and sundried tomatoes which is awesome as a filling in these, and which I’ll post next week.
I’m on day 1 of strict Paleo tomorrow. I am super stoked to watch my muscles and energy perk up once again.