So, this Paleo Diet is not as hard as you’d think. Sure, I miss my dairy – including my nightly glass of milk – but I just look at it this way: Water is the new milk. True, it would be nice if water were more like milk. It would also be nice if walnuts were more like cheese, lettuce more like peanut butter, and cucumbers more like pickles.
I’ve pretty much ditched the grain. I say “pretty much” because I had a little slip following a night out drinking last Saturday. You could call it a “Grain Mishap,” but it was more along the lines of a “Grain Meltdown.” It was late. I was slurring every other word. I suddenly owned four cats rather than two. Plus, I was hungry.
A handful of radishes aren’t a satisfying late-night, post-drinking treat. For that, you need Cincinnati Chili. But there wasn’t any in the apartment. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything, apart from lettuce and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup -- a combination that does not go well with lots of scotch. But there was this unopened box of Alpen sitting atop the fridge, looking lonely and forlorn, begging -- no screaming -- to be eaten. I had no milk, but I did have a half-gallon of Silk, which I had purchased because a TV commercial featuring an irascible animated soybean convinced me I should. I wasn’t sure if soymilk was Paleo, but I really didn’t care and bought it anyway. At any rate, I devoured the entire box of Alpen and drank all the faux milk. I don’t really want to discuss the shame that followed, but let’s just say it was the kind of shame that tasted really, really good.
Apart from that one “mishap,” I’ve been a pretty rock solid Paleo guy. During a recent dinner at Siam House, a great Cleveland Park Thai place, I ate the meat and steamed fresh vegetables but left the side clump of white rice untouched by chopstick, fork or finger. (Yes, I could have just eaten it doggie-bowl style, but where’s the class in that?) My dinner companion also left his rice untouched, either out of solidarity or because he doesn’t like rice.
I’ve not delved into the recipes in The Paleo Diet Cookbook just yet, largely because who the hell has time to futz with a recipe? But I'm pretty sure I’ve been eating as I’m supposed to. Lots of fruit. Lots of vegetables. Lots of lean meat. (Are Slim Jims lean?) For some odd reason, I appear to have developed a hankering for wings. One night, I baked turkey wings. The next night, I baked more turkey wings. The night after that, just to switch things up, I baked chicken wings dusted in garlic powder and spicy paprika and served them up with a side of fresh spinach, sauted in a bit of olive oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Clearly, when it comes to Paleo, I’m winging it. Ahem.
For breakfasts, I’ve edged toward omelettes prepared with organic eggs high in Omega 3, which apparently is better than Omega 6. Please don’t call me the Omega Man, though, as there are severely negative ramifications accompanying that moniker, Charlton Heston chief among them. I haven’t been putting anything in the omelettes because, gee willikers, Batman, I can NO LONGER EAT CHEESE AND BACON AND SOUR CREAM!!! Instead, the eggs are scrambled and cooked in a bit of olive oil. I call these Buck Naked Omelettes, and they are very eggy.
Paleo is also forcing me to become more creative in the kitchen. The other day, I took a pound of lean ground beef, mixed in chopped scallions and herbs, casually tossed it in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil, and rushed into the other room to watch Governor Chris Christie vie for an Oscar. I was so absorbed by the governor's act of befuddled contrition, I forgot the meat was cooking until I realized I could no longer see the TV screen through all the smoke. I was not deterred by the charred mass awaiting me in the frying pan, mainly because I’ll eat just about anything put before me other than jellied cranberries and sweet potatoes. To aid the burnt burgers, I glopped on Dijon mustard and dourly savored every tooth-chipping crunch. Which reminds me: Anyone know a good Paleo dentist? There’s always Dr. Dan Cave -- and with a last name like that, it’s close enough for me. I wonder if Danny boy will let me paint on his waiting room walls. I do great stick figures hunting stick antelope, y'know.
Buck Naked Omelette
3 Organic Omega 3 Enriched Eggs
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Break the eggs into any nearby, clean bowl. Using a fork or a whisk, beat as though you’re the one finally in control of the flogger for once. Pre-heat on medium high a large nonstick frying pan. Coat with olive oil. Quickly pour in egg mixture so it coats the entire pan. Let cook until set, about 90 seconds or so. Using a spatula, gently fold one side over the other, so you have a giant half moon. Let the giant half moon cook a minute until nice and browned, then flip over and cook a minute or so longer. Do not leave the room at any point otherwise disaster may occur. Put on plate. Pepper to taste. Serve with a side of fruit or microwave sausage.
Wings of Glory
8 Chicken Wings
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (not Paleo, but c’mon!)
Pre-heat oven to 450. Dump a copious amount of paprika into a large bowl. Dump a bit less garlic powder into bowl, and even less of the Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Mix with fork until well-blended. Rinse wings. Pat dry with paper towels. Put wings in bowl in batches of two and coat with mixture until you can’t see any semblance of chicken flesh. Arrange on baking pan greased with olive oil. Put in oven. Reduce heat to 375 immediately. (Do not wait, this is the most important step in the process as it scientifically does something interesting to the cooking process.) Bake for 30 minutes. If you’re eating alone, serve yourself four of the wings and reserve the other four for a nice Paleo-inspired lunch the next day. If you’re eating with a friend, order out for pizza.
Randy Shulman takes no responsibility regaring the edibility of his recipes. He likes them and that's all that really matters. Follow @randyshulman on Twitter to find out how many more meals a week he burns.
Photo credit: Randy Shulman.