Four weeks in and I can say that I have finally gotten used to this diet—and my stomach is still feeling better. What’s that they say about habits taking about 30 days to establish?
However, there are things that I’ve been craving. Eggs are the biggest thing that I miss right now. As someone who has had a mostly vegetarian diet for years, not being able to have eggs as a protein source—especially for breakfast—is not easy. Although I know they’re a common allergen, I highly doubt that eggs are going to turn out to be a problem for me. Forcing myself to eat meat at breakfast time is still tough for me, so having eggs would make that part of the diet much easier on me. I frankly can’t wait to be able to add them back in.
The other thing that I’ve sort of been missing a bit is baked goods. I’m not a huge bread eater, and I like to think I don’t eat a lot of cookies or pastries, but I’d probably been eating more of them than I think I do—mostly on the weekends when I would go to the coffee shop, another habit I’m starting to shed.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had to attend a couple of lunch-time meetings at work where sandwiches were catered in. I very rarely eat sandwiches for lunch, but I would have loved a sandwich on both of those days—I’m sure just because I couldn’t have it and had to go to the cafeteria to get a salad instead. And of course the packed lunches included chips and cookies. I really wanted a cookie!
But more than cookies, for some reason I’m really craving something that’s more bready and cake-y—I’m craving muffins, which is sort of funny because 1) I don’t eat muffins that often since I find most of them either too large or too sweet; and 2) I sure as heck never make muffins. So next week I think I’m going to have to experiment with doing some autoimmune paleo baking to satisfy this yearning for the texture of something bready and somewhat sweet.
I’ve mostly been satisfying sweet cravings with raw coconut macaroons, but I’ve started to wonder if I’m going to end up hating coconut by the end of this diet, even though I actually usually love coconut. So yesterday, while out for a walk and tea with a friend, I broke down and got myself a vegan truffle-type thing that had nuts in it. I was doing OK by the fact that it was made with honey, but the balls had almond butter, sunflower and sesame seeds in it.
Today, I’m feeling the consequences of that minor cheat. I’m assuming some of those nuts and seeds didn’t agree with me because today I’ve got an acidic tummy again. L So no more cheating for me—however minor—with nuts on this elimination phase. I like having the normal feeling tummy so going back to the sick one is not fun. (And I’m wondering if the culprit is the sunflower seeds because I’ve sometimes had a similar sickly stomach after eating Somersaults, a sunflower seed based snack, that I like but I often feel gross after eating. We’ll see what happens when I start adding back nuts in a couple months…)
Otherwise this week, I decided to try making a paleo Shepherd’s Pie using lamb and cauliflower to substitute for the mashed potatoes. I’m not someone who eats lamb very often. Although it can be really good, I’ve always been a little skeeved by the thought of eating cute little sheep. And I’ve also had some gamey lamb a few times and there’s nothing worse than that—blecch…
Cauliflower is also a great substitute for lots of carbs, from rice to potatoes. Unless you roast it, it barely has any flavor so it’s easy to turn it into something else. With a bit of ghee and coconut milk, it actually makes a good replacement for mashed potatoes.
I also decided I wanted to try using celeriac, or celery root, as another root vegetable in my shepherd’s pie. It was a bit fibrous, so maybe celery root was not a great idea. Feel free to skip it or maybe blanch it before adding it to your sauté so tenderize it more. Some “real” shepherd’s pie recipes I saw online used tomato paste in the meat mixture, so a tablespoon or two of no-mato sauce might be a good addition to this, as well.
½ onion, diced
1 lb. ground lamb
2 carrots, diced
½ medium celeriac bulb, diced
4-6 cremini mushrooms, quartered
¾ c. green beans
¾ c. peas
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
1 c. beef bone broth
1 c. beef broth
2-3 tbsp. arrowroot starch to thicken
1 large head cauliflower, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. ghee
1 small can coconut milk (abt. 6 oz.)
3-4 tbsp. chicken bone broth
2 tbsp. chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Brown lamb. As the meat begins to generate some fat, add onion, carrot and celeriac until they all soften.
- Add spices, then mushrooms, green beans, peas and broth.
- Cook at a low boil over medium or medium low until peas and green beans are cooked through.
- Sprinkle arrowroot over entire mixture and stir to desire thickness. (Add more arrowroot for thicker meat mixture.)
- Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. (I recommend adding a pinch of salt during each step to make sure that the mixture is getting enough seasoning throughout).
- As meat mixture is cooking, add cauliflower to a saucepan and fill about half full with water and about 1 tsp. salt. Boil/steam until cauliflower is fairly soft.
- Drain cauliflower and add ghee, coconut milk, salt and pepper to pan. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Add bone broth as needed to loosen mixture and get it to the texture you desire.
- Place meat mixture into a baking pan, then add cauliflower mixture on top, spreading the cauliflower over the meat mixture to the edges of the pan.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
- If cauliflower hasn’t browned and you want to brown it, place under broiler until it browns.