Paleo huh?!?

I had a rather unexpected conversation last night.  By all rights it should not have been unexpected and I should have been prepared with a response, but I was not.  The conversation was the first (of many, no doubt) where someone asked what I thought of the Paleo Diet.  I was caught off-guard and so concerned with not offending or insulting her, that I did not give a very clear or concise answer.  I did a disservice to both of us, and I plan to correct this today.

In order to clearly explain my nutrition coaching philosophy, I will breakdown each of the three elements: variation and moderation, mindful eating, and “seed to table”.

The first, most important aspect of my nutrition coaching philosophy is that I do not support ANY fad diet.  The American Dietetics Association defines “food fads” as:

“unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss.” Press Release 1/17/2007

What I do support is a varied and moderate diet.  There is significant scientific research to back up the claim that a varied and moderate diet is the key to good health.  I cannot, in good conscience, support an individual in following a diet plan that I know is unhealthy and not possible to be sustained over a lifetime.  I also have a personal bias against fad diets because I have witnessed, firsthand, the unhealthy nutritional habits that become ingrained

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in adherents.

Secondly, I support mindful eating.  Through the process of mindful eating, the individual learns to listen to and interpret the ques of their body.  By being present in the process of eating, individuals are able to consume what their body needs and no more.  This technique allows individuals to determine for themselves what makes their body feel and function the best, as well as curb over and under-eating.

And lastly, I support connecting as fully as possible to the source of whole, healthy foods.  My approach is one of “from seed to table.”  I work to inspire people, even those with

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incredibly limited space, to grow their own food.  I also support people in learning how to preserve their own food and to prepare meals from scratch.  In this vein, it is my mission to help individuals understand that it is much more cost-effective to buy and grow individual ingredients to prepare food, rather than to buy processed and packaged foods.

My response to the question, “Do you do the Paleo Diet?” should have been:

No.  I work with individuals who are working toward a nutritional lifestyle that consists of a varied and moderate diet.  My clients strive to be more mindful in their eating habits and are learning to connect more fully to a wide spectrum of nutritious foods.

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Two Months Down and 400 Pounds of Tuna To Go!

Canning.  A topic that is near and dear to my heart.  I am so very close to being done with this season’s round of canning: just 400 pounds of tuna and a few more pints of tomatoes to go.  I have been working on this for nearly two months now.  I love canning, but I am so looking forward to sitting back and enjoying my home-canned bounty.  Mmm. Mmm.

I believe home canning to be an essential part of my nutritional lifestyle.  It keeps me connected to my homesteading background and connected to where my food comes from.  I can food I grow, food my family grows, and food from local farmers and fisherman.  There really is nothing more satisfying for me than to see my food go from the land to my table (especially when the whole process is by my own hand).  My child is too young now (although he does point to the stove and say “cook”), but this is a skill that I fully intend to pass on to all my children because I believe that this is an essential skill and brings a smile to so many faces; particularly when sharing.

I get very excited when people ask me questions about canning.  I think everyone should know how to do this.  It is truly not all that complicated, and once you do it, is no longer intimidating.  I know some people have a tremendous fear of pressure canning because of possible explosion (which is highly unlikely), but you can start off doing foods that require only boiling-water bath to cut back on the fear.  I tend to do very large batches of whatever I am canning to get me through to the next season, but a person can do small batches just to have a little fun.  Think pickled mixed veggies, mango salsa, and jams.  You can really do small batches of anything, but those would be the most fun.

Home canning can also be fairly inexpensive.  You can find supplies at the local Bi-Mart, on Craig’s List, and even re-sale shops.  There is really no need to buy brand new jars because they last FOREVER.  Just make sure you have no chips or cracks and you are good to go.

Right now is a pretty good time to try your hand at some home canning as the growing season is ending and you may find produce at lower prices.  I recommend getting your hands on Putting Food By.  This is my canning Bible.  I learned to can from my grandmother and mother, but I’m on my own now so I need a reference once in a while!  This book is chock full of information and great recipes.

By trying out new recipes, you are opening yourself up to a wider range of nutritious foods that you might not otherwise eat.  Having canned goods in the pantry inspires us to try new meals rather than stick with our regular weekly menu.  Canning is a great activity for kids, too and you can very easily turn it into a lesson in nutrition without them even knowing 🙂

Share your questions.  I have many lessons that I have learned the hard way and would be happy to share.  I love canning many different things, but have a very severe hatred of applesauce…8 hours of work for 7 pints of applesauce.  I may or may not have flung applesauce across the room that day.  Also, share your experiences.  I still have a lot of learning to do as well.

I hope this post has inspired someone to venture out into the wide world of home canning!  Here’s to summer’s goodness all winter long!

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