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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 December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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