A bit of background
If you read my blog or follow my Facebook page you know I love to eat nourishing traditional foods that heal from the inside out. Being on the Paleo diet since summer 2010 has helped me a lot with my health. When I started back then I had adrenal fatigue so bad I could barely get out of bed. I had driven myself to exhaustion on a low fat diet full of tofu and fake foods. I ran two half marathons in 2010 which basically flat lined my cortisol. I had always pushed myself with exercise or extreme diets since I was 15 years old. I constantly thought I was lazy or unmotivated if I was not suffering on a treadmill or starving on low calorie meal plan.
Learning the hard way
I also found out in spring 2010 that I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and that really put a cramp in my style. I found a Weston A Price nutritionist who taught me that I could eat a wonderful diet full of fat and grass fed protein while healing myself. This discovery brought amazing, like-minded nutrition friends (such as Balanced Bites) into my life and I have been hooked on Paleo ever since.
Slow and steady wins the race
I have been on the mend for the past three years even though the process is slower than I had hoped. Stress management, proper nutrition, and sleep are always the on the front burner. I even got the news on a few days ago that my thyroid antibodies are 1/3 of what they were when I was first diagnosed. They went from 600 to 200, which means my immune system is healing and the attack on my thyroid is slowing down. I feel like I am on the right track!
My husband tries a Paleo challenge
I convinced my husband to try Paleo in October 2011 (over a year after I started) and he saw some great improvements in his body composition. He felt more energetic after his 30 day trial and he never turned back to his old bread gorging ways. The best part was that he convinced himself by trying it and experiencing the benefits firsthand.
He found that nagging aches and pains went away, not to mention 15 pounds of extra weight!! He even had found that he had more focus at his demanding day job where he works hard as chef at a busy hotel in downtown San Francisco, CA. See his before and after photos here.
Teaching A Cooking Class
In the fall of 2012 Juliette Starette co-owner of San Francisco Crossfit asked me to lead a cooking class to teach her students about how to cook some new and interesting Paleo dishes.
I had never really thought about doing a cooking class before before but since my husband is a professional chef I asked for his help. He came up with a wonderful, meaty menu that adapted many of the dishes he grew up with to Paleo parameters.
I especially enjoyed teaching with my husband and some people said we had a banter that reminded them of Ricky and Lucy of “I Love Lucy”. The class was a big hit and all the participants loved the Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Two schools of thought coming together
This experience of working so well together at the cooking class gave us the idea to write a cookbook melding our two styles. My cooking style focuses on the therapeutic angle emphasizing traditional grain free foods, full of nutrient dense staples like grass fed butter, liver and bone broth.
My husband draws his inspiration for his dishes from his home city of Algiers, which is on the Mediterranean Sea next to Morocco and Tunisia. He grew up eating lots of wholesome ancestral foods, including organic fruits and vegetables, wild sardines, pastured eggs/chicken, and traditional slow cooked Tagines with grass fed beef or lamb.
A variety of tasty influences:
We decided to include the healthy aspects of the Mediterranean diet in our e-book with lots of seasonal vegetables, olive oil, wild seafood, fresh fruits, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, omega 3’s from fish and grass fed animals with pastured eggs and poultry. Our book also has many anti-inflammatory herbs/spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro, ginger and saffron that will wow your palate.
The southern Mediterranean region is “melting pot” of flavors after many invasions and occupations from the north (European) and Middle East, making the food especially vibrant and exotic.
Many of the recipes my husband has learned are passed down from his hearty Berber ancestors. Many of these recipes are not written down and only known by family members. These traditional people have made their home in the mountains of Algeria and Morocco for thousands of years living off the land.
Algeria was French colony for 130 years, ending in 1962, which also influenced the food of the region. My husband also incorporates French flavors into many of our dishes including lots of rich buttery sauces, soufflés and custards.
Cooking Full Circle: our southern Mediterranean tour
Our culinary experience became full circle April 2013 when my husband took me to Algiers for two weeks. We also visited Paris for one week and I saw how popular the Magreb cuisine was there too. The food is straight form the ocean or fresh picked from the field the same day. The food was so simple yet the spice combinations took your taste buds to another world.
I was overwhelmed with amazing vegetable dishes, grilled meat skewers and slow cooked Tagines that melted in my mouth. Eating a Paleo diet in Algiers was a breeze because the people there still include traditional and ancestral foods in their diet.
I was thrilled to get authentic cooking lessons from my mother-in-law who has been preparing fresh dishes for her 9 children for over 50 years. My sisters-in-law even contributed a few recipes and showed me their personal culinary touches. I was overwhelmed with the warmth of the people there and was delighted to see how life revolves around home-cooked, nourishing family meals.
Bringing the flavors home to you:
We are putting all the fresh flavors of the Southern Mediterranean together in a wonderful new e-book!
It has all the flavors of the region without the hard to digest grains and legumes. Most recipes will work with healing lifestyles including: Paleo, Primal, Gaps, SCD and low carb diets.
If you eat grains feel free to add them to any dish for a comforting meal. These nourishing recipes will cover all the gastronomic bases with plenty of extras.