So we’re going on vacation in a month. To a beach. Without kids. We may or may not be counting down the hours at this point. We also would like to eat and drink whatever we want on vacation and not worry about it too much. So we decided to “do a Whole30,” which is basically a more stringent version of the paleo diet, for 30 days: no dairy, sugar, alcohol, grains or legumes. I also read Good Calories, Bad Calories in the midst of all of this, which has really just made my head spin. I’m still reading and thinking and learning lots, so I won’t make any conclusions yet, but even just three weeks of this Whole30 thing has taught us a few things:
- We really eat pretty “paleo” already. We only eat real, whole food. We only eat sustainably-raised meat from local sources. We eat mostly vegetables and a lot of them.
- We eat a lot of beans. Beans are forbidden on the Whole30 (read here for why), and I really think that has been the hardest thing to get used to. I’m already planning on adding legumes back into the diet, but my research has reminded me of the benefits of properly preparing them.
- We use carbs (even whole grain ones) as fillers when we could easily use a more nutrient-dense substitute. For example, we have these free concerts at a park close to our house on Thursday evenings in the summer. I usually make a few appetizers and head over there to as many as possible. For the past several, I’ve made dips, but served them with carrots or broccoli or cauliflower instead of chips. Or we grill out a ton when it’s warmer, and we’ve been having (local, happily-raised) brats or burgers on greens instead of buns. I don’t want to cut out carbs altogether, but I think we’ll certainly be using them much more sparingly in the future, even though I don’t think we ate it quite as much as we thought we did.
- I stay fuller longer without carbs, especially sweets.
I’m not a dietitian or anything obviously, so do what is right for you, but I do think this little experiment has been helpful for our family. It is a little bit more difficult to do paleo as a vegetarian, even though I think when you think “paleo,” you think a big plate of meat, which I don’t think is really accurate. I made this for Meatless Monday one week, and I think it will become a staple around our house. The sweet potato and turmeric give the frittata a totally different taste than what we’re usually used to, so it was an easy way to spice things up.
Frittata with sweet potato crust
Adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet
1 large sweet potato, shredded
1 onion, diced
2 cups (about 6 large leaves) kale, chopped finely
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (almond or coconut milk on the Whole30)
3 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup cheddar or Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. A food processor with the shredding attachment makes this whole thing about a fifteen-minute meal. If you have a food processor, shred the sweet potato, then dump the sweet potato, oil, turmeric and onion into your pan (I like to use a cast iron pan for frittatas so that it’s a one-dish meal). While that is sauteing, mix your eggs, milk, and thyme in a bowl. De-stem your kale, and put the leaves in the food processor with the regular attachment. Pulse the kale until it is in small pieces. (If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll just have to shred the sweet potato and chop up your kale – it’s still a quick meal). Once the sweet potato mixture has softened up a bit, push it down into the pan to form a crust. Add the kale over the sweet potato crust, and let it cook at medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. The heat will harden the sweet potatoes a bit into a crust, while also letting off a little steam, which will cook the kale. If you’re using cheese, spread some over the kale, and then pour the egg mixture over the kale, making sure the eggs seep into all of the nooks and crannies. Remove from the heat and top with some salt and freshly ground pepper. Put in the oven for about twelve minutes or until the eggs have browned a bit in some spots.