Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spice Up Your Life

Learn to love your spices. Different spices are going to make a huge difference in your ability to stick with Paleo. The Paleo diet really limits salt, actually it recommends not using it all if possible. I'm lucky that I did not grow up in a family that salted everything. My mom always used pepper and other spices that come in the variety spice rack from Bed Bath and Beyond. I know you all have one of those darling spice racks, so get to know your spices and use them! Playing with different spices on your meat and veggies is going to help you out a lot.

Read Your Labels
A lot of spices will contain cornstarch, hydrolyzed wheat proteins or other grain and legume products. This will most likely happen when using spice mixes. Avoid these. Be careful. Read your labels.

But I Want to Salt My Veggies!
Sorry Kelsey, no salt allowed. We had a brief discussion about salt last night after our fabulous, butt kicking WOD at CFJ. I know a lot of people like to salt their veggies. Good news, sea salt is 100% natural. There are no added ingredients. Try a little sea salt to get your salt fix. Here are some spice combinations I found to replace salt during my Paleo blog stalking today:
  • Curry powder and minced garlic
  • Lemon juice, oregano and cumin
  • Lime juice, chili powder and cumin
  • Olive oil and chopped chives
Here is a cool site that has lots of information about spices and herbs. It tells you all about their taste, origin and how to use them in cooking. Ignore their advice to mix any of these spices with butter. Oh yeah, and don't forget about cinnamon. It is awesome. Try mixing some fresh berries with some coconut milk (unsweetened is completely Paleo friendly, don't worry it is not dairy) and cinnamon for a fun dessert.

What About Vinegar?
Now I may not be a table salt kind of gal, but I L.O.V.E my vinegar. At Italian restaurants I don't dip my bread in oil and vinegar (yes, I do love bread), I go straight vinegar. Nice. Try substituting lemon or lime juice. Dr. Cordain recommends lime juice when tomato containing recipes like salsa call for vinegar. Use lemon juice with fruit recipes.

Alright people, I never said going strict Paleo was going to be easy. Alcohol should not be consumed during your strict thirty day Paleo adventure. After your thirty days if you continue with this style of eating, alcohol can be reintroduced in moderation during your open meals. There are many Paleo recipes I have come across that call for wine. Do not use cooking wine. Use the real stuff. You should use the real stuff anyway. Cooking wine is basically salt and nasty. Salt is bad. The end.

What About My Diet Soda?
Oh caffeine, my dear dear friend. I will miss you. I am a self proclaimed diet soda junkie. It is bad. If you only knew how many 12 packs of Diet Dr. Pepper we go through in a week then you would buy stock in Pepsi. The worst part of diet soda isn't the caffeine, which still does a number on your body, but the artificial sweeteners. Diet sodas contain aspartame and saccharine which may be harmful. Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to increase cravings for sweet treats. They play with our senses. In light of this there will be no caffeine for me during August and none for you either if you are following in my footsteps. This will be hard. I imagine the first week will be rough. Drink lots and lots of water. Water should be the beverage of choice anyway. Try some mineral water if you are craving something bubbly and throw in some berries. It will give it a nice flavor. Also, herbal tea is A-OK on Paleo.


  1. I went over all the previous posts with Breck last night. He seemed to be on board. We will discuss today's post and I bet I may get a tear or two out of him. Being pregnant and all, this post is the least of my worries. : )

  2. I have stopped using salt as of last week, but my veggies SUCKED! So, now I will try all you new advise. Thanks for the spice help!