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A Quick Word About Nutrition, Dietary Restrictions, and Culinary Tenets

Hoca

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You’ve probably noticed by now that I place certain banners underneath each recipe – “gluten free, paleo-friendly, perfect health diet-friendly, contains dairy” – and I thought I should explain them a little better.

Nutrition and Dietary Restrictions

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Gluten free means just that – the dish contains no gluten. Gluten is a protein found in many grains like wheat, rye, and barley, and evidence is starting to mount that it is detrimental to our health, and even toxic.

Perfect Health Diet friendly is further restrictive in that it eliminates all grains (including corn) except for white rice, as well as added sugar, legumes (including peanuts) and seed oils. Proper cooking oils include coconut oil, beef tallow, ghee (clarified butter), butter and lard. I generally stay away from but will use honey, maple syrup, or fruit (grated apples and pears are my friends) to sweeten dishes if needed.

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Paleo friendly is most restrictive in that it also eliminates rice and most forms of dairy.

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Dairy is a gray area and dependent on individual tolerance. I cook with dairy but tend to limit it to full-fat products (cream, butter, ghee) and fermented dishes (aged cheese, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk).

All of my dishes since December 2010 are gluten free and Perfect Health Diet friendly. However, I tend to eat one starch a day (about 100-150g of carbs), which is limited to potatoes, yams and rice, in order to maintain my current weight.

I also use some fermented soy products like miso and tamari (wheat-free soy sauce). Fermented soy has some healthy qualities and many of its toxic elements (like phytates) are greatly reduced. However, tamari can be replaced with coconut aminos which is Paleo-friendly but can slightly compromise taste.

Lastly, I prefer grass-finished beef and dairy products, pastured pork, chicken and eggs, and wild-caught fish. Grass-fed animal products are more humane, environmentally responsible and provide a healthy Omega 3/6 fatty acid ratio (which is naturally anti-inflammatory). I also supplement with fish oil to further balance my Omega 3/6 fatty acid ratio. Eating this way is difficult to do affordably, but we’ve shopped around and found local farms that provide these products at costs nearly comparable to grain-fed supermarket prices.

So why all these restrictions and rules? I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2006 and have seen a dramatic improvement, if not near-complete remission of my symptoms by changing my diet. In addition, I have experienced an increase in energy and overall wellness.

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2008 vs 2011

My Culinary Tenets

My approach to cooking is fairly straightforward: I aim to create a rich repertoire of traditional dishes that are easily replicated at home. You’ll rarely find invented or fusion dishes on this site, because traditional tastes have been developed over many years by chefs with way more experience than me. That being said, I may feel inventive from time to time and come up with something of my own, although it will most likely be based on a traditional dish.

In summary, my eating and cooking habits are basically:
no grains (except rice)
no legumes
no corn
no seed derived oils
grass-fed animal products
traditional dishes

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Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about these diets (which are based on the ancestral human diet), here are some helpful websites run by people much smarter than me:

The Perfect Health Diet
Robb Wolf
The Primal Blueprint
Paleo Nutrition
 
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