The Paleo Lifestyle: What does it mean?

If you’re like me, you get confused by all the new diet fads out there. Everyone has a different opinion about how to eat healthfully, and it’s overwhelming. Well lately, a lot of my friends are posting information about Paleo on Facebook and Pinterest. So, I decided to do some research to see what all the fuss was about.

Basically, Paleo is short for Paleolithic. This diet, I mean lifestyle, is all about eating the way the cavemen did back in the day. Since the cavemen were hunters and gatherers that comes down to a meat-centric diet with vegetables and fruits that they could find. They were not farmers, so they did not eat foods with gluten, such as wheat and other grains. The Paleo lifestyle is heavy on protein, regardless of it’s calorie or fat content – so bacon is ok! The only carbohydrates they eat are complex, coming from fruits and vegetables. They don’t eat simple, starchy carbs like refined sugars or gluten-rich foods, like pasta, rice, or bread.

As a result of this research, I have discovered some very interesting alternatives to gluten-rich foods. I’m not sensitive to gluten, nor do I want to eliminate it entirely from my diet. However, I’m always looking for ways to reduce my calorie intake without reducing the volume that I eat 😉

Below you’ll see links to recipe alternatives that I can’t wait to try:

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Remade: Coconut Shrimp

I don’t know about you, but I love coconut shrimp.  You usually see it in the appetizer section of steakhouse menus. It’s so decadent and delicious, and yes, you guessed it, fried! I’ve recreated the flavor and crunch of coconut shrimp, but reduced the calories and fat by baking it instead. They are yummy as is, or you can buy a dipping sauce or make your own.

Coconut Shrimp

Cooking spray
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6 oz beer, about 2/3 cup
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
24 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tails on)

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, 1/2 cup of flour, beer, baking powder and salt. Mix coconut and panko in a shallow bowl. Place remaining 1/4 cup of flour in a separate shallow bowl. Holding shrimp by their tails, dredge each shrimp in flour and shake off any excess. Dip flour-coated shrimp into egg batter and allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut/panko mixture and turn to coat both sides (press coconut/panko onto shrimp to make it stick). Transfer shrimp to prepared baking sheet and spray surface of shrimp with cooking spray. Bake until coconut/panko is golden brown and shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

nutrition_coconutshrimp

Remade: Oven Fried Chicken

When you get stressed out, do you crave comfort food?  Usually anything fried is a good place to start, but all the calories and fat will just stress you out even more.  This dish gives you the crunchy texture of fried chicken without any of the guilt.  Check out the recipe below and let me know if it satisfies your comfort food urges.

Cornflake Crusted Chicken

1 spray cooking spray
2/3 cup light salad dressing (I used Walden Farms calorie-free)
1/8 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dill, freshly chopped
1 medium scallion, finely sliced
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, four 4 oz pieces

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a shallow pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine honey mustard dressing, salt, pepper, dill and scallions; remove 1/3 cup and set aside. Place cornflake crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken into dressing mixture and then cornflake crumbs; place in prepared pan. Bake until chicken is golden and no longer pink in center, about 15 minutes. Drizzle remaining dressing mixture (the 1/3 cup that was set aside) over chicken breasts and serve. Yields 1 piece of chicken and about 1-1/3 tablespoons of dressing per serving.

Nutrition_CrunchyChicken