I know dessert is not paleo. Sadly, we can’t all be Kurt Harris! (I mean that, I would love to be Kurt Harris.) This is for special occasions.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (13.5 oz)
- 1 can light coconut milk (13.5 oz) – I find that the inclusion of light coconut milk helps create a more scoopable texture if the ice cream is not all to be consumed at once. If you and yours will consume all the ice cream as soon as you are finished making it, or if you have the forethought to take the container out of the freezer a half hour before you plan to eat some, or if you don’t mind nuking the whole shebang in a microwave for 20 seconds, feel free to go with 2 cans of full fat coconut milk.
- 2-5 egg yolks (This is an arbitrary number of egg yolks. I’m sure the lecithin helps add richness and mouthfeel, but I just do it for the lovely golden color.)
- Sweetener to taste (I used 8 packets of Truvia, but no doubt a bit of honey or soaked, pulverized dates would work well and be more paleo)
- Pinch of salt
- 3-4 TBSP vanilla extract
- A cup of chopped strawberries, possibly sprinkled with a bit of wine vinegar or lime juice, if you’re feeling sassy
- Whisk the eggs for a minute or so
- Add the sweetener and salt and whisk until eggs and sweetener are combined
- Add the coconut milk to the egg-sweetener mixture, as you continue to whisk
- Add the vanilla while whisking away
- Adjust the amounts of sweetener and vanilla to suit your taste. When the mixture tastes good to you, pour it into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- When the ice cream maker signals that it is done, use a spatula to incorporate the strawberries into your ice cream
- Serve and enjoy!
After visiting some family friends a while ago, my father commented that they are all “porking up” and that their teenage girl looked “like a sausage.”
He must be so disappointed in me.
I know that nature doesn’t care if you’re ripped. I know that thin doesn’t necessarily equate being healthy. I know that my father doesn’t approve of me fasting, intermittently or otherwise, or of my occasional flirtations with self-induced vomiting. But having a low body fat percentage is the holy grail of the body project. It is the only, the all-encompassing project, and it shrinks the world to a pinpoint of obsession. If I really want to be honest here, on an emotional level, I would prefer to be thin than to be strong. This is problematic at best and wrong and damaging at worst. I would love to have some visible abs, but in a pinch I would take a few visible rib bones.
But diet (low carb paleo), exercise (strength, occasional sprinting), sleep (magnesium and l-tryptophan induced), and supplements (fish oil, borage oil, amino acids, vitamin D3, iodine, over-the-internet-counter desiccated porcine thyroid, maca powder) have not helped me reach a low body fat percentage. Apparently, my body would prefer to shut down its reproductive and metabolic functions before it releasing extraneous fat stores.
I have tried carb cycling with sweet potatoes and cycling hypo- with hyper- caloric days. I have tried all meat, all the time. I have tried meditation, but my thoughts always circle back to my failure to be a thin person. I have tried cognitive therapy, but I think you really have to believe the thoughts you are trying to think. If your actual inner self is convinced that the positive thoughts are absolute lies, cognitive therapy is a wash, and an exhausting one to boot.
Meanwhile, on an intellectual level, I know that thinness, as well as not equating health, does not equate happiness. Any time I ever lost any weight (those were the days!), I would immediately adjust my goal weight down a few pounds. And yet, the things that are positively correlated with (though not necessarily causal of) happiness: marriage, religion, a sense of community, a sense of meaning, gun ownership, etc. seem very hard to come by.
I rarely remember dreams, and I seem devoid of any deep feeling or empathy. I feel like the psychological version of Helen Keller. If I believed in reincarnation, I might think that in a previous life I had been hurt so grievously that I was reborn without the ability to love. How’s that for maudlin?
Now, what am I going to do about it?
After my previous post lamenting my lack of contact with the apparently thriving though hidden-in-plain-sight NYC Paleo community, a bunch of you posted contact information and the link to the meetup group. Many thanks!
Of course, then there was the fear that anyone featured in the fashion pages of the Times would have to be a “Crazy-Ass New York Hipster Douchebag,” but I was taught you should never judge a book by its appearance in a NY Times lifestyle article, so…
One-eyed as I am for the next few weeks, I decided to man up and do the proper research – all in the name of science, of course. I joined the meetup group, and as soon as I got the opportunity (this past Saturday), I signed up for a combination meatshare/farm tour. (Sadly, I had to miss the potluck they held later that night.)
The Paleo Peeps
Maybe it was destiny. Even though I boarded the Metro-North train at a completely different stop and stepped onto a random car from the platform, the first thing I saw was the leader of the hipster douchebags himself, John Durant, talking to a bunch of friendly looking WAPFers and an airedale about the high fructose composition of agave nectar. So I did what any natural-born introvert would do: I sat behind them and edged my way into the conversation with a mention of liver toxicity.
It turns out that they’re an eclectic bunch, a motley crew of meat-eating misfits, if you will. A few of them may be hipsters, but some of them are geeks. The rest form a ragtag assortment of brains, athletes, basket cases, princesses, and criminals. Phew! That’s a relief!
I had some great conversations with a bunch of my fellow day trippers, and they truly did come from all over the city (and New Jersey) and varying walks of life. Some are definitely a little more extreme than others, but all them are interesting. Unfortunately, I can only remember one or two of their names, though I did take down some exciting Ethiopian recipes from a husband and wife who offered me jerky on the train. (I actually brought my own jerky. Somehow, I feel like we all brought our own jerky. Except for the raw paleo guys, who I will assume were either fasting or carrying raw, blood steak strips somewhere on their person. But I digress.)
The Farm Tour
The farm tour was AWESOME. We visited Glynwood Farm in Cold Spring, and it was beautiful. The barn was red. The fields were blanketed in snow. An unseen rooster crowed every so often, but the air held a wide-open stillness that you never experience in the city.
I’ve never seen a barn up close. Here it was, tall, red, open to the air, with cows on one side and goats and sheep on the other. They were all obviously content and healthy. The barn smelled good – sweet like hay. So I guess that Joel Salatin quote is true, farming should be “aromatic and aesthetic.”
One of the farmers, Ken Kleinpeter, gave a talk and question and answer session about the farm, pasture-based farming, sustainability, and the business and politics involved in farming. I cannot emphasize enough how highly intelligent and experienced this man is. Also motivated. He told us about how small business farmers are not just standing idly by while factory farming destroys the local economy along with our health and the last remaining topsoil. They are studying the laws, innovating around them, and getting meetings with politicians to change (or restore) the food system. This is heartening. The co-organizer of the NYC Paleo meetup group, Melissa McEwen (also not a hipster douchebag), wrote more about the experience on her blog, Hunt Gather Love.
We also watched him feed a pair of shaky 2-day old lambs from a bottle. They were the most adorable things ever, and I’m sure they’ll be delicious when they grow up.
Bonus! When the time came to pick up the lamb from the meatshare, Ken GAVE US SLABS OF FATBACK FOR FREE. It’s such an unpopular piece of pig that he has tons of it languishing away in his freezers. We jumped on it like hungry wolves on bacon. The next day, I rendered a jar of healthful, amazing lard.
All in all, an excellent and productive meetup. I plan to meet more of these people at the next available opportunity, and maybe by that time I’ll remember to write down all their names.
The Food Network is back, and my father is happy once more. Phew!
Yesterday, my ex-roommate threw a lovely joint birthday party for Li and me. There was much merriment and many board games to play. (As an unsocialized, only-child type person, I never learned the art of playing games, so I just ate cheese and heckled the actual players.)
Last week’s NY Times posted this article about the Paleo community. The piece, titled “The New Age Cavemen and the City,” immediately rippled its way through the entire online Paleo community, prompting comments such as “mainstream media acknowledges Paleo,” “Paleo gaining popularity,” and “finally on the map!”
The article explains a little bit about the Paleo principles and goes on to state that Paleo is gaining popularity in New York (and other places that New Yorkers just don’t care about). This is all well and good.
My one question: Where the heck ARE these NYC cavemen? I live in the Bronx and work in Manhattan, and I have yet to see a single, lonely, hirsute, Vibram-wearing, bone-gnawing specimen. Are the cavemen in New York all hipster cavemen who hunt and gather exclusively in Brooklyn? Or do they all just hang out at the tribal cave that is Crossfit NYC?
Send me some smoke signals, primal peeps. It gets lonesome out here in the hinterlands.
On Tuesday, Richard of Free the Animal posted about Paleo Diet Problems – BIG Problems, which is more than relevant to me, so I posted a comment relating my story. Richard’s post generated a HUGE response, so we silent evidence are making ourselves heard.
Lamb Sausage Patties
- Roughly 1 lb. of ground lamb
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1.5 tbsp fennel seeds
- A few shakes of hot red pepper flakes or cayenne, if that floats your boat
- Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands until the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
- Form into patties. If you are a bitter, single person like me, you can wrap some of them in wax paper and place them, in a freezer bag, in the freezer.
- Heat some butter in a frying pan on medium heat until the butter foams up and then subsides.
- Fry the patties until done on one side (a couple of minutes, depending on the size of the patties).
- Flip the patties, and fry them until the other side is nice and cooked.
- Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is more of a blueprint. Try it once, and adjust the seasonings to your particular taste. Feel free to post any suggestions!
While I spice some organic lamb patties, I’ll just post the following link:
And then there’s me.
In August of 2008, I had been on a low carb diet about a year and a half and on a Paleo-type diet for a little over 6 months. I was recovering from a year of Weight Watchers and chronic cardio which left my body an inflamed mess with high blood pressure and elevated triglycerides.
On Paleo, everything was going swimmingly: I was losing weight, improving my blood pressure and lipid profiles, and had bloodwork results that a lab tech called “textbook.”
Then I discovered intermittent fasting. I started with alternate day fasting, cut down to one or two 24-hour fasts a week, and leveled out at a daily eating window of 8-10 hours. That’s when I really started to lose body fat. But the vanished weight was quickly followed by my ability to menstruate, regulate my body temperature, and generally deal with life.
I tried to fix myself by interpreting the tea leaves of the internet. This led me to stop the intermittent fasting and increase my caloric intake. The result: I gained fat weight but failed to lose my symptoms. I began to think things like “If I have to spend the rest of my life feeling like this, then it isn’t worth it.” I started looking forward to the death of my parents, because then I would be free to end it all for myself without ruining anyone else’s life.
I ate handfuls of supplements. I read all the books you’re supposed to. I stopped exercising altogether. I ate grass fed meat, coconut oil, butter from grassfed cows, salads, berries, and free range eggs. I obsessed. Finally, I paid an out of state naturopath to advise me. He advised iodine supplementation (50 mg daily) and vitamin D (5000 IU daily) for three months. So far, I have completed one month.
Paleo is still on the fringe, though it’s getting more and more mainstream media play.
Still, by now Paleo has its own canon, its own version of conventional wisdom. I was thinking about this the other day, when Dr. Eades tweeted a link to this Wired article by Jonah Lehrer. Lehrer points out that experiments often result in unexpected data that scientists can’t explain and subsequently don’t report, because
“Modern science is populated by expert insiders, schooled in narrow disciplines. Researchers have all studied the same thick textbooks, which make the world of fact seem settled. This led Kuhn, the philosopher of science, to argue that the only scientists capable of acknowledging the anomalies — and thus shifting paradigms and starting revolutions — are ‘either very young or very new to the field.’ In other words, they are classic outsiders, naive and untenured. They aren’t inhibited from noticing the failures that point toward new possibilities.”
Dr. Eades’ point was that the phenomenon illustrated in the article is probably behind low-carb’s lack of acceptance in academia. No doubt this is the case. By the same token, we Paleo practitioners also need to remain skeptical and keep our minds open to new or contradictory evidence. Says Richard Nikoley of Free the Animal,
“Here’s the thing, folks: falsification. For any hypothesis, you need but one observation that contradicts it, and you’re done. For hypotheses like ‘saturated fat causes heart disease,’ every single hunter-gatherer and other non-industrial population that has been studied directly contradicts it. Game over.”
I’m not saying there’s been any evidence that refutes the Paleo principles (quite the opposite), but we should be vigilant and keep considering evidence even when it seems contradictory.
For instance, what can we make of this? (Thanks @madMUHHH for the link!) I’m not saying Matt Stone is right or wrong, but if you read through his site, you’ll find a trove of anecdotal evidence from people who claim to have ruined their metabolisms by following low carb, Paleo diets.
These are the people who have for the most part dropped off the Paleo forums, because their experiments of n=1 have “failed.” Yes, I realize that the evidence is all anecdotal, and from unverified sources living lives fraught with uncontrolled variables. But perhaps this is enough to at least suggest further investigation, perhaps a study or experiment to see just what is up with that, as the kids these days say.