Attempting Paleo

Chris and I recently decided to try the Paleo diet. The choice wasn’t born from dietary restrictions, and the reasons aren’t interesting enough to write about, but we’re making an effort to eat roughly a Paleo diet.

As we try this, one great resource has been Russ Crandall’s The Domestic Man. We met Russ last month while at Press Publish in Phoenix, and I’ve been drooling over his recipes ever since.

(For those not familiar with the Paleo diet, Russ has a great explainer at, which also touches on the variations on a strict Paleo diet.)

Understandably, switching to a quasi-Paleo diet from no particular diet at all has been interesting, in no small part because of the snacks we kept around (goodbye granola bars and roasted peanuts). Meals themselves haven’t been too challenging, but most of the items disallowed under Paleo weren’t staples for us, so we’re fortunate; changing out a few specific ingredients has gotten us a long way. Undoubtedly we’re also benefitting from the abundance of resources available, like Russ’s site and books.

In fact, one of the meal highlights thus far has been his Samosa Mashed Potatoes, which we’ll definitely be making again. And again. And again. 🙂

Encouraged by our initial success, his Chicken PiccataHam and Kale Risotto, and Mole Verde Roasted Chicken are all dishes I’m eager to make, and I don’t generally cook at all–or enjoy it when I do. More on that in a future post, I suppose, but suffice it to say that risotto’s a daunting challenge I’d normally flee from.

While we’ve been lucky with meals, desserts have been a different situation entirely. Since dairy and refined sugars are disallowed, ice cream and most sweets are non-starters. Unlike cooking, however, I’ve enjoyed baking in the past, so we decided to experiment.

Last night’s exploration in unfamiliar territory led to a fruit cobbler. I’ve made my share of traditional desserts, and even traditional cobblers, but attempting something without dairy, grains, and traditional sugars seemed destined for failure, no matter how straightforward. Overbrimming with confidence as I’m known to be, I took the very 21st-Century approach of Tweeting my anticipation:

Despite my reservations (and lack of proper tools), things turned out well. The recipe I used is from Delicious Obsessions, and despite the overwhelming smell of coconut and my certainty in failure, it’s excellent. I’d reasonably say one would struggle to tell this cobbler from a traditional version. It’s possible the two of us ate half of it last night, before I could get a worthwhile photo of the end result. 😉

So far, our experiment with Paleo is off to a pretty good start. I accidentally had a flour tortilla a few days ago, but I’ll accept that because it was for a burrito. There’s also the pesky issue of cheese. I’m okay giving up most dairy products, but cheese is going to be a struggle. This should be interesting…

7 thoughts on “Attempting Paleo”

  1. I’ve been eyeing Russ’ blog for awhile, too, even before I met him in Phoenix but especially since! I’m still trying to figure out how I can work that into my diet because my digestive system doesn’t handle salads well at all (I get physically ill when I eat most raw veggies), so those are completely out. Plus, my husband is vegan, while I’m a die-hard steak eater, so we’re working through how we can both have what we want without having to resort to cooking two separate dishes. Still, Russ’ recipes look so yummy that I’ve been clipping and saving them for future reference.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your Paleo adventures!

    1. Wow, that’s quite a challenge! Chris and I are fortunate that we can make the switch together, and that we generally have no issues with the diet’s proscriptions (save beer and cheese), so I’m interested to learn how you and your husband cope.

      1. We’ve been coping for awhile, and he’s lucky that my ex-boyfriend, with whom I lived for many years, also was vegan, so this isn’t my first picnic. 🙂 Most of the time we eat vegan meals at home, and then when we’re eating out or when I’m traveling, I eat whatever I want. It’s a nice balance overall because I recognize that I can’t and shouldn’t eat steak and burgers all the time. I think. 🙂

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