Joyous Little Steps on One of Many Paths Up the Mountain

There is no doubt that our over-reliance on chemicals, sugar, and plastics (among others) is individually and collectively leading to many bad outcomes. Through our daily eating patterns, we are torturing and killing ourselves, our family members, peoples around the globe, as well as countless species and the eco-systems and eco-processes that maintain life on this planet. Socio-cultural and bio-ecological destruction are a definite reality at this time.

I know. There’s so many contradictory approaches out there, that it’s hard to know who and what to believe: vegetarian, vegan, raw, Paleo, gluten-free, 100 mile diet, GFCF, SCD, Feingold, organic, sugar-free, etc. etc. (no, it’s not my intention to marginalize your special approach by having left it off of this list)? And really, it’s so confusing, why do anything different? Amirite?

In addressing this complex of destructive processes, I’m following the approach that there are many paths up the mountain, and therefore it’s folly to spit on somebody’s path forward, just because it’s not the path you’re on, and it’s even more folly if you’re standing on the sidelines. And I don’t take the view that significant changes necessarily result in feelings of deprivation or suffering. This is not the path of suffering in order to reach the promised land. To the contrary, this path IS the good life.

This post describes some of the steps we’re taking on our path for myself and my family. At this time, four of five family members now eat a Paleo (aka paleolithic, primal) diet: no grains, no dairy, and no legumes. By definition, this means our diet is also gluten-free, lactose-free, and casein-free (GFCF). We buy our meat and eggs locally, grass-fed, no antibiotics. We buy our nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in bulk online from a distributor who buys directly from the producers. We cook virtually all our meals from scratch, with few chemicals, little sugar, and with little packaging.

We’re not perfect at this, and it’s clear that there are other paths to take, for us, and for others. Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you some of our recent ventures we’ve embarked on.

MAJOR CAVEAT EMPTOR: I rarely measure for recipes. I know some of you are compulsive measurers out there, and *yes*, trust me, I am aware of the benefits of measurement. My response to the compulsive measurers: Get to know your ingredients and your processes. Let your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and hands lead you to decide how much and how long. And if that’s causing you too much personal distress, then go seek out the other compulsive measurers out there.

Homemade Ketchup (vegan, potentially raw, GFCF, Paleo, sugar-free (omit molasses))
Blend: jar of sugar-free tomato sauce (preferably home-grown, homemade), dried tomatoes (preferably home-grown, home-dried) that have been softened in olive oil, the olive oil used to soften the dried tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, bit of molasses, ground cloves, ground dried ginger.

Homemade Egg White Mayonnaise (Paleo, raw, GFCF, sugar-free)
I can not eat egg yolks, but mayonnaise can still be made with the egg whites only. This mayonnaise recipe uses raw eggs. Before you jump on the ‘dreaded salmonella from raw eggs’ bandwagon, please be aware that the cases of salmonella with eggs have been primarily due to the unsanitary conditions in conventional chicken production. Stop blaming the eggs. If you want to address the ‘problem’ with salmonella and raw eggs, stop supporting the nasty production processes that lead to salmonella and many other problems. For this (and all recipes), I recommend using farm eggs (that you know have used good farming practices) or pasteurized egg whites from a carton.

You can use any recipe for homemade mayo you like. Any recipe will work similarly for egg whites, egg yolks, or whole eggs. I combine egg white, lemon, salt (and sometimes a bit of mustard) in a blender, then slowly and gradually add olive oil and grapeseed oil while the blender is running. I find that the olive oil alone is too strong a taste for my preference in mayo. A hand blender can also be used, but it’s just a bit trickier.

Oh, and while we’re dancing around the yolks question: We’re on the path that believes that eating fats and cholesterol are not leading causes of heart disease and obesity. So spread these on, they’re yummy!!

Variations on a Mayo
You can use homemade mayo as a base to a wide variety of sauces, including these, which are some of our favourites:
• spinach and nutmeg
• lots of fresh garlic and lemon
• fresh basil
• Green Goddess Sauce: blend: mayo, 5 avocadoes, cooked and drained spinach, nutmeg and salt
• Chocolate mayo icing: Make mayo leaving out the lemon juice, mustard and salt, and using grapeseed oil (not olive oil), and at the end add a bit of melted coconut oil, vanilla, stevia and good quality unsweetened cocoa or melted chocolate.

Homemade Toothpaste (Paleo, raw, GFCF, vegan, sugar-free)

With conventional toothpaste, there are problems with fluoride, glycerin, sugar, chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, and packaging. Natural alternatives are expensive and don’t address the packaging concerns. In finding an alternative toothpaste recipe, the taste and harshness of baking soda and salt were deal breakers for me.

Using what I already had on hand, this was the recipe I used for this round: Blend: melted coconut oil (natural antibiotic), coconut flour (fine powder as an abrasive), stevia, lemon oil and peppermint oil (for taste).

Delivery system: jar with a spoon was ok, but I’m using a syringe-type plunger that is used for giving liquid medicines to babies. Despite the total ineffectiveness of that product in actually delivering liquid medicines to babies, in my experience, this plastic thingy does a decent job of toothpaste delivery. Camping stores often have fillable and washable tubes that could be useful too.

Bacon-Weave Mole Tostadas (Paleo, GFCF, Sugar-Free)

Bacon Weave Mole Tostadas

  1. Make bacon-weave flat ‘tostada’ shells  Cut nitrate-free bacon strips in half and weave 3×3 flat shells, bake in oven on sheet, drain (this is a variation of the recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking (http://civilizedcavemancooking.com).
  2. Fry diced pork tenderloin with salt and pepper
  3. Make mole sauce: grind and blend garlic, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, raisins, chili powder, liquid smoke, unsweetened cocoa, and gradually add hot water until turns to a paste. Add to cooked pork.
  4. Make guacamole: blend avocado, lime, chilis, salt, cilantro, and chopped onion
  5. Spoon mole pork on bacon shells, then add guacamole, and top with fresh diced tomato

Super Sausages (Paleo, GFCF, Sugar-Free)

Super Sausage Dinner

  1. Fry nitrate-free Italian-style sausages
  2. Fry onions, garlic, and grated carrots and apples (pictured here including beautiful purple carrots) with a bit of salt
  3. Make Green Goddess Sauce: blend: homemade mayo, 5 avocadoes, cooked and drained spinach, nutmeg and salt
  4. Assemble the following onto Romaine lettuce leaves: Green Goddess sauce, sausage, and top with onion, carrot and apple mixture.

Joyous Little Steps on One of Many Paths Up the Mountain

These are each little steps, which did not result in a family mutiny, and did not require us to break the bank or give up our day jobs in order to implement. Of course, they required some time, resources and skills. But at least these are investments towards better health, family-life, and social and environmental sustainability. If you’re not investing in those, what are you investing in?
Cheers!

Caffeinated Camel

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