Holistic Family Healthcare
with Dr. Sara Hart, ND, MSOM, LAc
It’s the time of year to spend more time each day outdoors than in. Eating meals outdoors on the patio or at the park is a great way to soak up the sun or relax in the shade and enjoy the season!
Reflexively, we may reach for the sandwiches, chips, pasta salad, juice boxes, and beer. But taking a moment to consider what our bodies might really want, and we just might find our perfect picnic looks completely different.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic, is a dietary trend that is changing people’s energy, sense of vitality, digestive
embarrassment, waistlines, and much more. The gist of the story is, skip the grains, and the dairy, processed oils, and junk food.
Long before farming our distant ancestors are believed to have lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Leaves, berries, tubers, insects, and meats were the most abundant food. As anyone who has grown a garden may know, grains are not the most easily accessible food source. Our spinach, kale, celery, cucumbers, carrots and more are ready to be eaten as soon as they’ve plumped right up in the ground. From field to fork, grains take considerably more processing in order to be edible.
One of our great challenges as human beings is that our biology does not keep up with our creativity and innovation. Today, grains may be the most readily available food source. Crackers, cookies, pastas, breads, and chips store well and are easily packed with preservatives to last even longer. Modified from their original form with science, grains become puffs, tings, flakes, charms and other curiosity provoking yummy crunchy things.
Interesting as they seem, grains tend to pack less nutritional punch than vegetables, fruits and meats. The purpose of the grain of a plant, like all seeds, is to preserve itself through the alimentary canal of a larger creature who happens to chomp it down. Then it will plant into the dirt with some voluptuous compost and start life anew. Grains come well equipped with a protective force field known as phytic acid. This compound limits the grains digestibility by tightly binding minerals creating a strong internal layer.
For someone with a powerful digestive system (pH drops below 3 in the combustion chamber of the stomach’s hydrochloric acid bath) phytic acid may be no big deal. But to the lady eating while she’s driving her car, the guy who’s munching during a meeting, the kids eating mid-stride during backyard playtime, and Mom who hardly sits down anymore to eat, the hydrochloric acid may only be a trickle because the body’s attention is elsewhere.
We all need to take a break from life to do nothing but appreciate and ruminate our delicious meals. But to make things easier on ourselves, skipping grains may be the thing for you. Gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, irritable bowel, gas, bloating, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, fatigue, headaches, and more have all been successfully eliminated for some with the Paleo diet.
The Picnic Basket
Appetizer – Fruity Salad: finely chopped apple, celery, and raisins with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Get your palate ready with this nice mix to give your blood sugar a boost. Fruits tend to digest best on their own which can also elevate the blood sugar too quickly. Paired with a watery, fiber rich vegetable like celery, and a balance is struck in flavor and benefits.
Main Dish – Seaweed Wraps. Create a layer of prosciuto, lettuce leaves, sprouts, and sauerkraut in the center of a nori sheet. Moisten one edge and wrap tightly around the inner filling material. The moisture of the sauerkraut will help hold the nori together, but don’t wait too long to eat it or it may get soggy! Seaweeds are one of our under-appreciated foods in western culture as their mineral and specifically iodine content can hardly be beat! Be sure to source from clean(er) waters as they can bind to contaminants from the waters in which they grow.
Side – Salted cucumber slices dipped into tahini. Double yum! This quick and tasty snack is high protein with the sesame seed tahini and is a great source of calcium.
After-Snack – Coconut date rolls. Easy to travel, these treats can be easily made at home by tossing some dates into the food processor and them rolling them in shredded coconut. Add some cocoa powder for some extra enjoyment.
Dessert – Lemonade popsicles can be made to be electrolyte packed treats for kids wearing themselves out on hot days. Combine a squeeze of lemon, pureed berries, and some liquid stevia to suite your palate. Pour into ice cube trays with toothpicks to grab and eat quickly once frozen!
Drink – The herbal tea combination of hibiscus and peppermint is ideal for a hot summer day. Both herbs have a cooling nature and delicious flavor. Stillwater has a Summer Cooler blend with this combo available in the store!
Like all diets, no one way of eating will suit everyone. Vegetarian diets, vegan diets, anti-inflammatory, raw foods, the Mediterranean diet, and more all have their place and usefulness depending on where a person is in life’s phases. To learn more about discovering the right diet for you, consult with me at Stillwater Clinic any time of the year!