Monday, February 18, 2013
Going Paleo and my Creamy Zucchini Soup
Lately I have been reading lots of books. The Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf, Minding Your Mitochondria by Dr. Terry Wahls.
What am I getting from these books, is that the Paleo Diet or Cave Man Diet might be worth trying.
I have sort of been following the Paleo diet in that I eat healthy organic meats, poultry, fish and many vegetables throughout the day. I do not eat sugar, legumes or many grains. Every now and then though, like last week I did have brown rice pasta with stir fried veggies and tomato sauce for dinner. I posted it on my facebook page and I got a comment from a Wheat Belly follower that it was not Wheat Belly approved.
It seems to be that there is this almost cult like following of the Wheat Belly which for me is a little over the top. I am the first to agree with Dr. Davis that our current day wheat has been changed to such a degree that our bodies can no longer digest it. I also agree that for many, probably most going gluten-free is a good thing. And by going gluten- free, I do not mean that you simply buy gluten free pre- packaged foods. Most of them are filled with loads of sugar and other ingredients that turn to sugar in the body like white rice flour, and starches. But what about foods like quinoa, teff, or amaranth?
Quinoa has the highest nutritional component of any grain, and in fact it is not a grain, but a seed. It contains all the amino acids that make up a protein. Unlike rice, barley, wheat and corn which are seeds of single- leaf grass families, quinoa is a seed of a double- leaf vegetable family ( dicotyledons). It is from the same food family as spinach and beets. According to Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming who wrote The Quinoa Revolution and Quinoa 365, cookbooks, “quinoa’s difference from cereal grains is significant when it comes to superior nutrition and hypoallergenic proteins.”
Amaranth which was once considered a simple weed, is also a seed and has twice the amount of protein than rice, and like quinoa, was a staple food for the Incas thousands of years ago. The high lysine content in amaranth sets it apart from other grains. The protein content of amaranth is similar in fact to the proteins found in milk. This means that amaranth contains an excellent combination of essential amino acids and is well absorbed in the intestinal tract.
Teff is tiny seeds (about 1 mm or about 1/32 of an inch) that are nothing like wheat, rye, or barley. With such tiny seeds, it is very difficult to separate the bran from the inner endosperm, so teff flour is generally made with the whole grain. Teff is high in calcium and it contains phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium and thiamine (vitamin B1). Teff is also high in protein and fibre.
So this is where I get confused about what Dr. Davis and the Paleo Diet has to say about grains. I can understand that legumes and some grains turn to sugar in the body once digested, but I am unsure about amaranth, teff and especially quinoa.
For many of us like me who have many food allergies, eating can be quite limiting. Since I cannot eat eggs or dairy, I sometimes want to eat brown rice, wild rice or quinoa. Dairy I believe is the root of all evil. It turns to acid in the body and creates inflammation, and I believe that milk is meant only for baby cows. It is meant to take them from a small calf to a large cow in a year.
What I have noticed while on the Paleo Diet is that my blood sugar surges and drops have disappeared. I no longer get the late day shakes, despite only eating a vegetable soup and salad for my lunch. If I have a mid afternoon snack, it might be a banana, almond flour muffin I have made, or a pumpkin seed cookie.
I truly believe that only you can be the judge as to what diet works for you in the long run. You need to listen to your body, as it always knows what is right for it. Perhaps keep a food diary and keep track of foods eaten and symptoms. This may help you to see which foods are playing a role in your health.
Today for my lunch I made a quick and easy creamy zucchini soup. Here is the recipe for you to try. Let me know how you liked it.
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5 medium sized zucchini, sliced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
handful of fresh cilantro or spinach
In large soup pot with a little olive oil, cook onions and leeks until soft. Add in zucchini, garlic and herbs and cook for a few minutes. Add enough water to cover the zucchini and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add in fresh cilantro or spinach - do not cook anymore, you want the cilantro to be raw. Puree with hand held blender. Enjoy