I have been playing around with the paleo diet. For those not familiar with this, it is basically hunter-gatherer style eating. The paleo diet is heavily endorsed by crossfitters (for more information about crossfit, click here). The diet challenges a few major commonly held beliefs about nutrition. Grains were not a commonly found 10,000 years ago on the paleolithic dinner menu and therefore they are not a part of the diet. Dairy is also off the menu, and adequate calcium status is achieved instead from eating bone broths, bone marrow, nuts and dark green vegetables. Beans are also not paleo. Low fat is not an option, and anyway, many “low-fat” foods are high in refined sugars (definitely not paleo). Grass fed meats, wild caught fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, are scavenged from the modern food jungle and eaten at will. Bacon? Sure, I’ll have some. Fish for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do.
As an experiment I have been eating paleo for 4 days now, and I must admit, I am really enjoying it. It’s surprising because I don’t think of myself as a person who enjoys change, or maybe I just have an aversion to the unpredictable kind that walks in and out of your life like a steady job. I am finding that the novelty of dietary change is more the kind that says “pay attention”, like a new route home. I don’t imagine that I will stick to eating this way forever, but I probably will be posing paleo recipes from time to time for the next month or so.
Here is the first of many paleo recipes to come. Nothing is new about these ingredients for me, except for the decision to put them all together. I made this recipe after two days of paleo eating, when I really was starting to feel like I needed something sweet. The caramelized onions and parsnips in this dish are deliciously smothered in their own slightly sticky-sweet sauce. Smooth olive oil carries the flavor of crisp browned meat.
It’s chicken, parsnip, and zucchini thyme
1 yellow onion, diced
3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
1 medium and 1 small zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
fresh ground pepper (with dried lemon and orange if possible)
small pinch of salt
small bunch thyme
1-2 chicken breasts
In a frying pan, heat oil until hot. Add the onions and pinch of sea salt. Sautee the onions until they begin to caramelize. Add parsnips and cook, stirring, until they are slightly soft. Add zucchini and cook stirring until parsnips have cooked through and zucchini are slightly soft. Make a hole in the center of the vegetables and add the chicken breast. Add thyme. Let the chicken breast sear on both sides, then cover it with vegetables and allow it to cook through on medium heat until it is firm to the touch. Season with orange/lemon pepper.