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Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

    As a food lover who writes about her passion for a living, I often get asked how I manage to stay slim, given the nature of my work. Usually I just smile and shrug and tell them that I’m into running. And that seems to keep them happy. But the thing is I used to struggle with my weight, just like everybody else.

    Then late last year, I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and decided to try eating ancestrally. Even after a few weeks I felt I was heading in the right direction. While I didn’t actually lose weight, my body shape started to change. My waistline became more slender – exactly what I was hoping for.

    Paleo, primal, slow carb or ancestral eating, whatever you call it, there are many benefits of eating grain-free. From improving your blood chemistry, to losing weight, to increasing your energy levels, to improving your sleep and more. It’s almost been 9 months since I started eating grain-free. I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with my weight and I’m really enjoying what I eat. I’m running about one third of the distance I was last year. No more pounding the pavement to make up for what I ate.

    But the best thing has been discovering that it’s much easier to ditch grains than you would think. In most cases there is a vegetable which fills the place of your bread or pasta or rice. And often they taste just as good, if not better than their grain equivalent.

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    So today I wanted to share a few tips for eating ancestrally. Enjoy!

    1. Have eggs for breakfast instead of cereal.

      Eggs are a brilliant source of protein that keeps you feeling full much longer than a bowl of cereal ever will. Still concerned about cholesterol? Have a look at 7 reasons you should eat eggs for breakfast.

    2. Grate raw cauliflower instead of steamed rice.

      A recent discovery, I’m just loving my new grain-free accompaniment to curries and stir fries. Just get raw cauliflower and grate it. Instant grain-free ‘rice’. And the brilliant thing it that it’s super quick if you get your food processor to do the hard yards. No more gluggy rice to worry about.

    3. Zucchini your noodles.

      For an alternative to spaghetti or other long pasta, roast some finely sliced zucchini (courgettes). And serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

    4. Carotti your spaghetti. Shave a carrot or two into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then simmer until tender. Presto! Orange ‘spaghetti‘.
    5. Make thin omelets instead of pizza bases.

      Pizza can be difficult to go without. Try making a thin egg omelet in your non-stick pan and topping with your favorite pizza topping and popping under an overhead grill.

    6. Or try a meatza

      Something I’m yet to make myself. Hard core paleo fans replace their pizza bases with a big flat disc of ground beef.

    7. Replace flour with almond meal (or other ground nuts).

      This only works for some situations, like using flour or breadcrumbs to coat meat. Or in baked goods.

    8. Use pureed cauliflower instead of polenta.

      Pureed cooked cauliflower is a great alternative to soft polenta or corn meal.

    9. Try lettuce wraps instead of bread.

      For those who love their sandwiches, try washed lettuce – iceberg works really well – to wrap your favorite fillings. Think sang choi bau with so many possibilities. Just remember that lettuce isn’t as satisfying as bread so you’ll need to make your fillings more substantial.

    10. Serve your burgers without the bun.

      Let’s face it. The best part of the burger is the meat and the sauce. Just increase your burger size and serve it without the bun.

    11. Or try a mushroom burger instead.

      Just roast or grill two large field or portabello mushrooms until tender. Then use these exactly like you’d use a hamburger bun.

    12. Salads or soups not sandwiches.

      If sandwiches are your default ‘healthy’ lunch, just switch to a salad or soup. If you’re used to making your own lunch, it doesn’t take any more time to make a salad. Just keep the dressing in a separate container to add just before you eat.

    13. Use chocolate for sweet treats.

      For those with a sweet tooth, I know a life without pastries and cakes can seem a little dull (see point 15). But then there’s chocolate. Start exploring the wonderful world of dark chocolates, preferably with a high (60-70%) cocoa solids content.

    14. Wine not beer.

      If you enjoy a drink or two, going grain free doesn’t mean you need to get on the wagon. Wine is not only grain free, it is lower in carbs than beer. It’s also a source of antioxidants. Cheers!

    15. 100% compliance isn’t required.

      While coeliacs are unable to tolerate even the tiniest amount of gluten, most people will still see the benefits of going grain-free even without 100% compliance. I tend to have one day a week where I’m indulging in sourdough bread and cookies which staves off any cravings the rest of the week. Later is much easier to live with than never.

      ‘Carotti’ Bolognese Recipe

      serves 2+

      This is my minimalist version of a beef ragu or bolognese sauce. The secret is in the butter. Feel free to substitute your own favorite pasta sauce.

      450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
      3 cloves garlic, chopped
      2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
      large knob butter
      2 medium carrots

      1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and cook beef and garlic, stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes or until well browned.
      2. Add tomato and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced and good saucy.
      3. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Shave the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
      4. Cook carrots for 3 – 5 minutes or until al dente like cooked pasta.Drain.
      5. Toss butter into the beef sauce and season.
      6. Return the carrot to the saucepan and stir in some beef sauce. Then divide between plates and top with more sauce

      More by this author

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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