Today's Conversation: Paleo vs real food, what do we think?
So here's my take.
Paleo didn't "invent" or even "discover" a new way of healthy eating. Instead, those who cook "paleo" extend the definition of whole food – real food – to a new extreme.
So those of us who have been cooking with and eating whole food / real food for years, even our whole lives, some times feel puzzled about all the attention paleo gets. Honestly? It sounds like a lot of hype. One example. When I call for "beef" in a recipe, I assume that cooks will make their own choices about its source: that is, that we all will choose organic, local, grass-fed, pasture-raised – or not – according to our own food sensibilities. Paleo advocates will be dogmatic about organic, grass-fed beef and is especially keen on the organ meats.
Still, I'm definitely one who loves to challenge conventional thinking. So I find myself listening to/learning from paleo, especially my friend and local St. Louis food blogger Laci, author of the family-friendly Picket Fence Paleo, who has experienced life-changing health benefits since changing her diet and is more coach than dogmatic. She writes, "Truly, my dietary plan could be described as Paleo/Primal/Gluten Free/Grain Free/Whole Foods, but that is a mouthful."
More thinking, this time from the always-thoughtful Winnie Abramson from Healthy Green Kitchen. She writes, "Improving health via consumption of real food is not a concept that is owned by Paleo." This quote is taken from the excellent comments on MichaelRuhlman.com, worth a read. This post, eating for health and happiness, also resonates. The zealotry in the article that prompted it, Why Paleo Didn't Work for Me is almost frightening.
Three weeks ago, I started Whole 30, what I'm characterizing as a "dietary cleanse" to re-energize my cooking ambitions. And I l-o-v-e it. Lots of veggies and healthy protein is easy. A little fruit is super easy. No sugar is surprisingly easy. No grains is totally easy although I do miss my morning oatmeal. No dairy is slightly harder but for a month? a year? when something is necessary? You can do anything.
What I've noticed so far with Whole30: weight loss, energy increase and most of all, really tasting what I eat. It's like my taste buds are on steroids! Is it paleo? Maybe. But for me, it's just refining my personal definition of whole food. When the 30 days are over, I suspect my diet will include far less (but some) refined sugar and refined flour but will again include (in balance) milk and yogurt and ricotta.
And Paleo Carrot Soup. Because it's that good, quiet-inducing, spoon-clinking good. And that, food people – plus kindness and generosity – is life-giving, no matter how we define (or don't define) our food choices.
PS Comments are much welcome. Please be polite and respectful of views different than our own. Impolite comments will be
RECIPE for PALEO CARROT SOUP
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 9 cups
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or your oil of choice)
2 leeks, white parts & tender light-green center parts, see how to clean leeks
2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled & cut into chunks
1/2 an apple, skin on, diced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cups stock / broth of choice (I used No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock)
1/2 cup coconut milk
Carrot ribbons, for garnish
START THE SOUP In a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, measure out the coconut oil but don't start the stove. (Usually, I'd suggest starting the stove while prepping the aromatics. But since leeks take awhile to prep, I'd suggest waiting a bit to turn on the stove.) When the leeks are almost fully prepped, turn the stove onto MEDIUM LOW, add the leeks as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat, seasoning with a light shower of salt. Let softly cook until soft. While the leeks cook, prep the carrots and apple. Once the leeks are soft, increase the heat to MEDIUM HIGH, add the carrots, apple, fresh ginger, cardamom and stir to coat with fat. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, just until the outer edges of the carrots begin to soften, just a bit, without turning color. (You don't want the carrots to color, that would ruin the gorgeous orange color of the soup.)
SIMMER THE SOUP Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover and let simmer until carrots are soft, 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
PURÉ:E IN A BLENDER If you have time, let the soup cool to room temperature. IMPORTANT If not, blend the soup in batches, filling the blender no more than half full, until smooth. (If you haven't blended hot liquids in a blender before, please-please read the tips included here, in the left column.)
REWARM Transfer the soup back to the pot, gently stir in the coconut milk. If you're making the soup ahead of time, you can leave it on the stovetop for up to a couple of hours, otherwise, refrigerate. Bring the soup back to temperature.
SERVE Serve hot, each bowl garnished with a carrot ribbon (just a thin slice of carrot peeled with a vegetable peeler).
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
The soup tastes quite rich, way richer than it is, it would make a great "starter" soup in a small serving, 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup, even a warm "shooter".
APPLE The apple adds just a touch of sweetness and the pectin helps thicken the soup. I'd recommend using a cooking apple such as Macintosh, Braeburn or Empire, the red skins will keep the soup's color vibrant.
SKIP THE GINGER? THE COCONUT MILK? This soup is quite gorgeous without the coconut milk, you can really taste the ginger, lovely-lovely. But the coconut milk does smooth out the texture so something quite silky and also lovely, it just makes the ginger optional versus intoxicating.
Once you do, new recipes will be automatically delivered straight to your e-mail In Box.
MORE FAVORITE CARROT RECIPES
~ Bourbon-Glazed Carrots ~
~ Creamy Carrot Puree ~
~ "Wonderful" Glazed Turnips & Carrots ~
~ more carrot recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup ~
~ Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Baked Cabbage Wedges ~
~ more carrot recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2014