Category Archives: organ meats
My little sister follows the paleo lifestyle the way I do, maybe not quite as strictly because she is pretty healthy and feels great. She loves traditional foods so I wanted to incorporate that into her bridal shower that I threw for her on Dec 27, 2012 in our hometown of Nashville, TN. She is getting married June , 2013 in the mountains of NC to her Paleo groom you can read more about them here.
My sister requested a French theme becasue she loves France and speaks as well as teaches French. My mind went immediately to Pate and Macaroons! I knew this was a theme I could build a fun (and nutritious) party around. I enlisted my childhood friend Megan to help with the decorations and games because that is her strong suit. My little sister was thrilled with how it all turned out and some of the guests told me it was the best shower that they had ever attended!
Megan made these party favors that had a dual purpose. People got to have a french style napkin at the party and a souvenir to take home. What brilliant idea! Megan made trays with chalkboard paint so she could label the food in French.
We had a grilled veggie platter, an exotic cheese (including raw Gruyère and a Spanish goat milk) cheese tray with honey, gluten free Mary’s Gone Crackers, crudites, organic meatballs and pastured chicken liver pate.We also had a pumpkin Thyme soup, nuts and olives. I don’t eat the crackers but it was nice to have something for the non-paleo (most of the guests were not) people to eat that wouldn’t gluten contaminate everything. Notice my new pate terrine from Le Creuset that I got for Christmas!
We had spiced apple cider and San Pellegrino to drink.
Here is a shot of my plate with lots of veggies, grilled and raw with pate, meatballs and fruit salad. My chef husband helped me with the food which took a lot of the pressure off. He is a lifesaver!
This is my sister and me enjoying the party. Megan made this great sign of the names of the Subway stops in Paris. It was a great touch that added to the ambiance.
This is a shot of my creamy pumpkin thyme soup that we also served at the shower. It is made with coconut milk so it is dairy free! It was a big hit with the ladies and my stepmom was so surprised that she could not taste the coconut flavor at all. It was low carb and very warming on this chilly December night.
I made this winter fruit salad with pomegranates, coconut flakes, persimmons and mandarin oranges. It is important to eat with the seasons for more nutrient density and a lower carbon footprint. This salad reminded me of the ambrosia salad my grandma used to make without the marshmallows and sweet dairy dressing of course.
The grain free macaroons that my husband (and chef) made were the pièce de résistance! Everyone went crazy over them. The guests were fighting over the last ones.
Here is one more pic of my adorable little sister opening her gifts which she requested to all be non-plastic and no toxic Teflon! Go little sis! Congratulations! I gave her my favorite set of CorningWare FrenchBake and Serve Set so she can bake lots of Paleo treats! We thought it would be fun if she wore a beret if you are wondering why she is wearing that cute hat.
It was a lot of work and I could feel my adrenals kicking into overdrive but it was nice to have a party with healthy nourishing food that I could feel good about serving and eating. No one asked “where is the bread” or “can I have cake”? Even the pickiest of eaters found something they enjoyed. I made sure I slept in the next day to recover from all the cooking and standing. We had lots of yummy leftovers so we didn’t have to cook the next day, yeah!
I hope you stick to your healthy grain free real food diet next time you plan a party. Your guest will not even notice what is “missing” they will only be full from the traditional foods the way they are meant to be eaten.
I had a pound of chicken livers that I got from my Backyard CSA Delivery (only for locals!) and I was excited to use them. I didn’t really grow up eating liver, (mostly white chicken breast) but since going Paleo in 2010, I have grown fond of them. I usually just make pate or saute them with onions but I was in the mood for something new. I went on the interwebs to find a recipe. I found one from Ina Garten on the Food Network but I wanted to add a little more depth to it. It turned out great so I hope you will incorporate more of this real super food into your diet. Liver has great nutrients needed to support conception/pregnancy, healthy thyroid and adrenal function and youthful skin.
1 pound of pastured chicken livers
1/4 cup of Organic Grass Fed Butter
1 cup medium-diced red onion, sliced
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Organic Soy-free eggs hard-cooked, peeled, and chunked
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoons Sea Salt
2 teaspoons gluten free Stone Ground Dijon Organic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
Drain the livers and saute them in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat, turning once, for about 5 minutes, or until just barely pink inside. Don’t overcook the livers or they will be dry. Transfer them to a large bowl. In the same pan, saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add the apple cider vinegar and deglaze the pan, scraping the sides, for about 15 seconds. Pour the vinegar and cooked onions into the bowl with the livers.
Add the eggs, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, and mustard to the bowl. Toss quickly to combine. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 6 to 8 times, until coarsely chopped. Season, to taste, and chill or eat it warm. Serves 2-3
I have to admit lately I have been obsessed with Downton Abbey on PBS but I have always been a sucker for period drama’s. This mini-series is set in England in the early 1900′s before and during WWI. The show is about an aristocratic family who is dealing with the end of an era of class division and privilege. There is also the back story of their fiercely loyal servants who wait on them hand and foot. Needless to say there is plenty of drama all the way around but when I thought about it a little more I noticed that there are nutrition and lifestyle lessons that we can take away from the show. Observing their eating, sleeping, and exercise habits on the show keeps me from feeling guilty for not studying or doing something more productive. I think there is a lot we can learn about our own health from observing people from 100 years ago. I actually spent a semester in Wales when I was in college but I did not have an appreciation for traditional British foods at that time in my life.
They make a big deal about meals
Digestion only happens in a relaxed state, so if we are stressed about a million things, standing up or in a hurry the body will think survival is more important that digestion. The body will shunt it’s resources away from digestion and focus mainly on dealing with the stressor. On Downton Abbey they get dressed up, sit around for a few hours and chit-chat during dinner. They don’t wolf down their food in front of the TV or in the drive thru line. I am not saying we all need servants and have a 5 course dinner, but I am saying that meals should be a sacred time where we take our time to chew the food and sit still. If you have a family enjoy their company and catch up. If you live alone put on some nice music and savor your food.
English Breakfast: Better than a bowl of cereal!
They eat 3 meals a day
As you see on the show they didn’t eat wheat thins/kashi bars all day or 6 small meals. They didn’t have trainers telling them to eat protein bars or shakes every two hours because their blood sugar was crashing. They probably ate real food such as eggs and bacon for breakfast so they were not hungry between breakfast and lunch. Maybe they had some soaked grains such as oats or bread made from local wheat not the frankenwheat of today. Learn more about how the wheat has changed in the last 50 years in the video below from Cardiologist Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.
They eat what is in season
Do you think Mrs. Patmore (the family cook) buys grapes from Chile in the middle of winter, I doubt it. No, she goes to town and gets what is being grown nearby. In that area of England in the middle of the winter there may not have been much. They probably ate a lot of potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets and winter squash in the colder months. I urge you to visit your local farm or join a CSA so you can get in touch with what is in season. Another thing about Downton Abbey is that they probably ate organic vegetables because there were no chemical pesticides like Roundup used in those days. For millions of years we have eaten foods based on the time of year not from a truck, train or airplane. Your genes know what is in season and your body will thank you when you choose to nourish yourself with whole foods.
They are not fat phobic
In 1920′s England they ate real butter and skin on their chicken. I know it is a Hollywood set but the real people from that time were not 300 and 400 lbs. like there are now. I have seen my grandmother’s old photos from that period and all the people looked trim and fit. They ate from the earth and there was no canola oil or hydrogenated soybean oil available then. Crisco made from hydrogenated vegetable oil was not invented until 1911 by Proctor and Gamble and it took time and huge marketing campaign to become popular. They probably did not even have olive oil because it would have been imported and very expensive. They probably used “gasp”, lard and beef tallow for cooking. Also popular was suet, the fat found around the kidney and other organs which was used in many traditional recipes. According to Weston A Price Foundation and the CDC heart disease caused only 9% of the deaths in 1900, a time when they there was no corn, canola or soybean oil.
They used all parts of the animal
Historically English people ate fine foods like organ pate and roast beef, which is the national dish of England. On the show there are many soups and stews being made, no doubt made with bones and marrow from local livestock. The English are known for using blood from pigs to make traditional dishes like black pudding. One cheap and nutritious meal that has fallen out of fashion was called Faggots, which are made from offal, usually pork, and from the parts of the animal that are generally discarded like the heart and the liver. According to Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan, people ate meats off the bone so they could get more glycosaminoglycans which helps keep collagen in your joints healthy. One more healthy habit on this island nation where seafood is plentiful is that people ate foods such as pickled herring, cod and oysters giving vital anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and immune boosting zinc. On the show they always eat grass fed animals like cow, sheep, or lamb for dinner, a far cry from the factory farmed hormone injected meat most people eat today. Read more about the benefits of grass fed beef here.
On Downton Abbey they do not watch TV or stay up all night staring at their Ipad. In the beginning of the series they did not even have electricity so they are all afraid of it when it is installed. We should all be scared of artificial light even today because it lowers the sleep hormone melatonin and screws up our circadian rhythms. If you want to be slim and trim like the folks of Downton Abbey turn out the lights and go to sleep. Want to read more about this check out this great book: Lights Out!
They didn’t do cardio
If you notice on the show they take lots of long walks on their land or long walks into town. Sometimes they ride horses. The servants do tons of stair climbing, cleaning, and washing but none of them go jogging on their breaks. They are very active but they are not going out of their way to do extra exercise, which makes no sense and is a waste of energy unless you sit all day at a desk. It seems that in that time people were more accepting of their bodies and did not go crazy trying to change themselves to be thin or ripped. People in the early 1900′s had a more positive self image without going on starvation diets or opting for plastic surgery (if it was available back then). They seem to be more accepting of their genetic shape or size that we are today. I am sure it helps that they did not have a million re-touched magazines telling them they were fat.
They drink a lot of tea
In England they drink a lot of black, white and green tea which are all rich in mineral and vitamins. Green tea contains polyphenols that have antioxidants properties and can help prevent many cancers. Peppermint tea helps with IBS and seasonal allergies. Black tea has one quarter the amount of caffeine in black coffee. Green and white tea have also been shown in studies to help preserve bone density. An anti-inflammatory tea made with Chamomile is helpful for anxiety, migraines, and sound sleep. One of my favorite teas is Guayakí Yerba Mate Chocolatte.
Sugar was not so abundant
Yes, they had sweets for desert but sugar was expensive and also rationed during the WW1 so consumption was lower. They didn’t have HFCS (invented in 1967) so white donuts and ho-ho’s were not available 24/7 at a Seven Eleven. Read more about dangers of sugar here.