What Have I Been Up to This Week?

DSC_0020It’s been quite a topsy turvy sort of week as we had a hospital-based crisis in the family and so I have been staying away from home a lot. I put myself in charge of cooking to take the stress off everyone…and maybe also to subversively add a little paleo into everyone’s lives. We’ve had cauli rice with a creamy chicken curry, a courgetti non-pasta bake, breakfast hash. So far no complaints, and quite a bit of interest in the idea of swapping rice and pasta! It’s a bit late, but here’s what I’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks:

What Have I Been Reading?

As usual, articles on the gut always get me going. This time it was about the link between brain disease and poor gut health. I found this article particularly interesting as it discusses the fact that medical research often works on reducing each part of the body to its individual component rather than looking at the body as a whole, the interconnected being that it clearly is. In the DSC_0007holistic world of integrative medicine it’s paramount that the body is taken as a whole. Anyway, pioneering research on ALS and Parkinson’s is showing an interesting link between gut permeability and these diseases of the brain. The author of this article, David Perlmutter, is an interesting neurologist who takes a functional and holistic approach to treating neurological diseases. I haven’t read his book Grain Brain, but it’s been on my radar for some time, so maybe it’s time to dive in.

On a similar line, I’ve been researching whether paleo can help with hiradenitis suppurative, a painful skin disease. Unsurprisingly, like many diseases, it has been linked to a compromised gut lining caused by inflammation, and thus a diet that aims to heal the gut (i.e. by avoiding processed food and eating low-inflammatory food) should help. Unfortunately, it looks like the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is the best option, and I feel it’d be pretty difficult to keep that up for too long, although there are quite a few resources for AIP Paleo! Here are the fruits of my research on paleo and HS: from Mark’s Daily Apple, Robb Wolf, The Paleo Mom, Paleo Leap and a generic article about changing the diet to support putting HS into remission.

I absolutely LOVED this article from Chet Morjaria on Motivational Memes and what they should really say. CrossFitters are often fond of posting memes that are supposed to inspire, but really make me quite uncomfortable because they often feature women with pert bottoms and oiled torsos, which in my opinion are no worse that the Kate Mosses of the world for making you feel inadequate because you’re don’t quite look like them (and never will). Chet’s approach is way more sensible and realistic, not to mention SAFE! CrossFit is great, lifting heavy is great, but ultimately you have to take responsibility for yourself, and no matter what people are shouting at you, STOP, when it doesn’t feel good.

This article from the Daily Telegraph in Australia about giving up bread being unAustralian made me laugh, and a little bit angry. As usual, the media just refuses to see paleo for what it is: a lifestyle focused on eating high quality food, minimally processed with as much colour on your plate as you can, whilst avoiding inflammatory food, combined with natural, everyday DSC_0033movements alongside the odd high interval training (you know, to make sure you can still dodge that sabre-toothed tiger), plenty of sunshine and fresh air. Here’s a great infographic, and another here and here. But why the absolute assumption that life without bread is a misery? I do agree, though, that it’s nigh on impossible to eat a burger between two lettuce leaves elegantly. Unless your burger patties are freakishly small or the leaves are freakishly thick and large – just use a knife and fork! I was pleased to find this article, which absolutely hits the nail on the head for all the things that makes me cross whenever I read anything about paleo in the mainstream press. I’ll add that while paleo gets slammed everytime it appears in the media, it’s also interesting to add that apparently sales of courgettes have rocketed due to spiralisers, even BBC food have recipes for courgetti and Keris and Matt of Fitter Food have been featured in mainstream press!

What Have I Been Listening To?

Chris Kresser had a fantastic episode on the gut (there we go again!) and the heart; if you love the gut as much as me I implore you to listen to it. Apparently he has other podcasts on gut and skin, gut and brain and gut and immune system, so you can tell I’m going to have a field day on this! I like his podcasts because he has the whole transcript in the info section which is good to be able to go back and read up on things you might have missed. It does have an annoyingly long intro and advertising feature at the start but you can easily skip ahead!IMG_20141222_224952

I know I talked about the Nom Nom Paleo Podcast last week but I can’t help mention the second episode – it’s all about umami, a topic close to her heart, and one that has certainly helped in my development of on-the-fly recipes – when in doubt, chuck some umami in. In fact, I love her Magic Mushroom Powder so much I made up a big batch of it and gave it away in small jars for Christmas (with hand-carved spoons by Knives, Fox, and Spoons). My grandmother told me today that she uses it in quite a lot of things, including a chicken liver ragu.

What Has Got Me Excited?

The news that Russ Crandall (aka The Domestic Man) has a new cookbook coming out soon: Paleo Takeout. He had an interesting approach to developing this cookbook – he set up a Facebook page and released his recipes one at a time for them to test and give feedback. Such a great idea, because I find a lot of paleo cookbooks are very poorly edited or skip steps, especially in the early days when many of them were self-published! He also took feedback on the photography, the cover and the overall final list of recipes. I have his first cookbook, The Ancestral Table, and although I must admit I haven’t cooked much from it yet, I love his sensible approach (he allows rice sometimes) and the full international flavour of his recipes – he even has a few Malaysian and Filipino adaptations! – a relief from the overly American bias of most paleo cookbooks. I don’t crave takeaway very often (I don’t rate the quality of Chinese and Indian takeaway in this country!) but I do live someone who does, so this recipe book will hopefully keep him on the straight and narrow more often! If I do get hold of a copy I’ll do a full review.

Finally, seeing that Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference range has a decent array of gluten-free sausages, largely without fillers. I’m pretty excited by that as it’s hard to find gluten-free sausages that are not filled with soya flour or some other non-paleo friendly flour. They’re not perfect, they still have sulphites in, but they’ll do in a pinch, in my imperfect little paleo world.

That’s it folks! Another lengthy update, I’m sorry, but so much goes on in my mind I just have to share it with you!



  1. Just on the sausages, waitrose do some with rice filler. Again not ideal, but better than soy!

    1. Thanks for your comment, yes I think I’ve looked at the Waitrose ones before. It is getting easier to shop for basic things like sausages!

  2. jane · · Reply

    Great blog; I’ve read grain brain twice now and can thoroughly recommend it

    1. Great, I’ll definitely get a copy after that recommendation!

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