Out of necessity, I follow a relatively strict Paleo diet. Much of the time I’m not all that creative with my meals, and I eat a lot of the same foods from day to day. Sometimes I get creative and make fun dishes, but most of the time I stick to a few basics.
Lunch and Dinner:
Ground Beef: I eat a lot of ground meat. It’s fast and easy to prepare, and is generally much less expensive than other cuts. I also prefer the taste and texture of ground beef to things like steak and stew meat. My favorite way to prepare ground beef is to cook it together with garlic and herbs. I usually eat it with sauerkraut and some veggies. Easily my favorite meal, and I always make enough for leftovers to bring with me for lunch the next day.
Sardines: I love sardines (I never thought I would say those words) because they are nutrient-rich, filling, and don’t require any cooking. They are also extremely easy to prepare. At the most basic level, ‘preparation’ involves simply opening a can. I take it one step further and dump them out of the can and mash them up with some cumin. I’ve been fortunate in that I have introduced seed-based spices with no obvious negative side effects. These are my favorite. They’re sustainably sourced and come in a BPA-free can.
Sauerkraut: I try to eat fermented foods at least a couple times every day. Sauerkraut is one of my favorites, and I really like to add it to ground beef dishes or add it to my sardine and guacamole meals. I have a batch brewing right now and can’t wait to try it!
Parsnips: Through a lot of experimentation I learned that I don’t do well on a low-carb diet. Because I can’t eat white potatoes or sweet potatoes, I have found it a bit challenging to find starches that I can eat. Parsnips, though not as dense in carbs as other starches, have become a staple carb source in my diet. I chop them up into thin rounds along with carrots and bake them to eat with my dinner most nights.
Roasted Plantains: I’ve found that another good starch source is green plantains that I chop into chunks, season, and roast in the oven.
Deli Meat: At Whole Foods, I found one brand of roast beef that is grass-fed, with beef, salt, and water as the only ingredients. It is a great addition to salads and really easy to grab when I’m in a hurry and don’t know what else to pack.
Beets: One of my favorite salad additions is shredded raw beets. I shred them up in batches so that I have to deal with the resultant mess less frequently. Then I can just grab a few forkfuls to toss into my salad when I’m making my lunch in the morning.
Avocados: Guacamole is my favorite addition to meals with sardines. Especially when I add a bunch of cilantro, the flavor combination is awesome.
Leftovers: It sounds a little boring, but more often than not I just warm up some leftovers. My favorite is to saute some kale and add some cooked ground beef from whatever meal I made the night before. Kale has become my breakfast vegetable of choice and helps make the meat a little different from whatever meal I made previously.
Bacon: Whenever I can get my hands on some quality pastured bacon, it’s one of my favorite breakfast foods.
Liver: I always keep some chunks of liver in the freezer. When I’m really in a hurry and I haven’t managed to get my organ meats in for the week I sometimes chop up a piece of liver into the tiniest pieces possible and swallow them with a small class of lemon water. I can usually get a pretty good amount in this way and then supplement my breakfast with coconut butter and veggies or some sauteed kale if I have a little more time. I know that this is not ideal, as it means I’m not chewing my food as much as I should and probably am drinking more liquid with my food than is ideal. But, it’s a good way to get my organ meat in and is better for me than eating no breakfast at all.
Coconut Butter: I often keep a jar of coconut butter or manna in the pantry or in my desk at work. When I’m really hungry or have a smaller lunch than I need, I just eat a spoonful raw. There are also some fun recipes out there for making coconut butter treats with flavors like lemon and vanilla. (Weird experimentation side note: I accidentally discovered that if I take a bite of coconut manna and a sip of green tea at the same time it tasks remarkably like the Danish butter cookies my grandma use to feed me). This is my favorite brand.
Plantain Chips: whenever I find green plantains at the store I dehydrate them and make them into chips. They’re good to snack on, especially dipped in guacamole or a little bit of coconut oil.
Seasnax: I hated seaweed growing up and was always revolted when my brother would eat an entire container of it in one sitting. But, I’m officially addicted to Seasnax. I limit myself because they’re a little pricey, but I could seriously eat them several times every day if I let myself.
Frozen Blueberries with Coconut Milk: This is a really common dessert for me. I get organic frozen blueberries from Costco. I sprinkle them with cinnamon and pour some homemade cocont milk or coconut milk kefir over the top. So good!
Kombucha: I’m not sure that it really counts as a snack, but I love to brew and drink kombucha. It’s like a mini kitchen science experiment and an awesome way to get some good bacteria into my diet.
Gummies: I make gummies once or twice a week, usually with blueberries and lemon juice. I always use this grass-fed gelatin. They’re an awesome snack and I like finding fun ways to eat gelatin.
Apples: One of my favorite snacks, I can down a lot of apples during the fall. They are the perfect portable snack, and are tasty and filling.
Depending on the time of year, I will add different fruits and veggies or fish like salmon when it’s in season. I also like to incorporate wild foods as much as possible, which obviously depends on location and season. In any case, these are my stables. They’re what I default to when I have a really busy week or can’t figure out what I want to make.