A boiled chicken breast, some celery sticks and half an apple. Sound tasty? Not exactly, but chances are, it sounds very familiar to many. Over two-thirds of Americans are overweight and many have tried a broad range of diets, including some that would consist of foods that are indeed healthy, but not enough of them and certainly not prepared in a way that’s actually appealing to the smell, sight or taste buds!
But isn’t that exactly what the Paleo diet is? Isn’t it just loads of meat with no flair or pizazz? Not by a long shot!
Remember, while the Paleo diet is based on how our ancestors ate, it’s meant to be implemented in a modern day fashion using foods that we can easily ‘forage’ at our local farmer’s markets and grocery stores.
And while we’re not drenching our veggies in ranch dressing or serving up our chicken with cheese sauce, there are plenty of ways to keep meals interesting and flavorful.
- Fresh or dried herbs and spices. Anything you like is fair game; just be sure to check the label to make sure there is nothing in the product other than the herbs and spices themselves. Not only do herbs and spices offer unique taste contributions to any meal’s flavor profile, they also have natural health benefits.
- Homemade stocks and broth. It can’t get much easier than placing what’s leftover from the roast chicken you made for dinner into a stock pot, adding some veggies and simmering to create a lovely stock, which can be used to make a soup or frozen for later to use as a marinade or the base of a sauce.
- Pan jus. Don’t let the delicious jus from the grass-fed tenderloin roast you made go to waste! Blend it into the steamed greens you’ve prepared and watch as even the most avid veggie-hater gobbles up their kale like there’s no tomorrow. A fattier cut of meat from a grass-fed cow now and then can be a healthy part of the Paleo diet, as it’s higher in omega 3s and CLA in comparison to grain-fed beef.
- Oils. Extra virgin olive oils vary greatly from one to another. If you haven’t already, experiment with different flavors from producers all around the world and drizzle it on your veggies and salads to your heart’s content!
- Don’t forget to also simply focus on the flavor of the food itself. While it may take a little period of adjustment for your palate to adjust, especially if you used to eat a diet high in salt, you’ll eventually get to the point where adding flavors to food sometimes takes away from a dish.
Nell Stephenson, the original “Paleoista,” is the author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat (Touchstone, 2012) and co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD (Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition to her work as nutrition consultant and trained chef, Stephenson is a personal trainer and competitive endurance athlete who credits the Paleo diet for her transformed health and athletic success. Visit her blog at www.paleoista.com.