Let me preface this post by saying that I am not embracing the paleo diet, but I did consider it for about 24 hours. My friend Jer is doing an 83-day paleo challenge through his Crossfit gym and was looking for moral support via strength in numbers. I’ve always turned down invitations to try Crossfit and self-torture diets, just because I’m a slave to my sweet tooth. However, earlier last week, Jer brought up a good point after I feebly tried to rebuttal that I couldn’t give up al dente pasta in exchange for a washboard stomach.
Jeremy: al dente is nice
but this is amazing
Ok, Jer. You won that argument. I read the paleo how-to packet, said I would consider the 30-day “lifestyle change”, and did a serious assessment of my eating habits and how vastly this would change my day-to-day. For those that aren’t familiar with paleo, the basic principle is that you give up alcohol, legumes, dairy, sugar (real and artificial), and starchy carbs (i.e., corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, etc.) – altogether purging most processed foods from one’s diet. This would mean giving up the smidge of cream and sugar in my morning coffee, morning bowl of milk and Kashi, afternoon Fage yogurt, and worst of all – desserts. I shared the idea with my boss (also a dessert savant), and her response literally was, “AT! WHAT NO! YOU CAN’T DO THIS!! Well, I’ll have to buy you a cake to send you off from [our favorite bakery]!” She was serious.
I ended up not going through with it mostly because I’d have to give up baking as well. I also don’t eat a lot of meat and have thus turned to legumes and dairy over the last few years as an additional source of protein to balance my workouts. Going paleo for 3o days would mean a big Meatfest Month (#TWSS), and I just wasn’t that interested.
My cube neighbor at work also brought up a good point when he said, “Instead of doing paleo, maybe you should quit vaccuming up 4,000 calories worth of food in a single sitting like Kirby.” Sorry for partying, Dan. My boss ended up getting the cake after all, and we even won a dozen free cookies for guessing the baker’s favorite cookie when she made the call. It was a very happy day. I felt like a 12-year old girl who just saw Justin Bieber for the first time. Office productivity pretty much stopped when the baked goods arrived.
Anyway, I swear this is all relevant. So my near-conversion to paleo got me to reevaluate what I’m doing wrong with my diet (e.g., binge-eating, too many sweets, etc). Feeling inspired (as well as disgusted with myself from the three slices of the aforementioned cake), I looked up healthy recipes on WholeLiving.com (one of Martha Stewart’s sites) – most of which happened to be paleo-friendly – and found one for Almond Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato, Collards, and Ginger.
Instead of collards, I used kale… because I didn’t read the recipe closely enough. Whatever, kale is healthier anyway. I also added some fresh corn and red and yellow bell peppers for some extra texture and vitamin A.
The sweet potatoes were nicely soft and the almond butter mixed in added an almost coconut milk flavor to the soup. The soup itself had a not-too-thick creamy texture. I would absolutely make this again! Yum!