Saturday, February 25, 2012

getting ready for the whole30, part five

Looking at my series of posts, you'd think this is a daunting process, requiring all sorts of advance work. It is not. I just prefer shorter posts. The Whole30 is about as uncomplicated as you can get. Seriously.

And while we're talking complicated, what about living in a house with others---spouse, children, partner, parents, roommates---who are not up for a Whole30 right now? That's a bit of a complication, especially if you're the one cooking for everyone. It's a complication, but it's certainly not an insurmountable one. I live this way, and I think we're doing pretty well. When asked how to handle  people with special requests on one of his cooking shows, Bobby Flay used to say, "You're cooking it; they're eating it." I have always loved that line. Let me be perfectly clear here; this is not in reference to foods that could cause illness or discomfort. It is not in reference to allergies, other medical issues, or moral conviction. I would no more serve GK a pork chop than a fried clothes line.

No, we're talking here about the little stuff, the stuff we can manipulate in ways that do no harm and make everyone happy much of the time. In our house, I eat what most would consider a Paleo diet virtually 100% of the time. My diet is not Whole30 compliant all of the time, though it would probably register about a 95% without trying. I've mentioned we have an I cook, he cleans arrangement. The "he" in this case, GK, does not profess to follow Paleo guidelines and would eat a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, if he were choosing every dish. His foods of choice, if I were to ask, are likely to be beans, potatoes, more beans, cheese, more beans, and oatmeal. My diet is decidedly not vegetarian. And though meat does not comprise a huge percentage of the foods I eat, sometimes it seems like it does just because it's there. Like so many things in living with others, finding the overlap, the middle circles of the Venn diagram, the place where what I like and what he likes come together, has made all of this so very simple.

When I'm cooking, I don't ask if he'd like beans or pasta or bread or cheese sauce---ever. The only dairy products we keep in the house are heavy cream for his coffee and frozen, pastured butter that neither of us eats. No cheese, no sour cream, no ice cream. What I do when I'm cooking, usually, is make dishes that are just as good with a little meat as they are with a lot. I'm cooking; he's eating. I do cook foods he enjoys. I cook foods I enjoy. Most of the time those foods are the same. Not always. We stock up on the foods, vegetables, fruits, and meats that we both like.

There's some room, too, for different meals. I might serve him a larger quantity of vegetables without meat as a main course while I have them as a side dish. Occasionally, I'll buy humanely raised, uncured bacon. I would never serve that to him. And occasionally, he'll drop a loaf of Ezekiel bread in our shopping cart. He keeps this in the freezer and eats some, though not very often given how long it stays in the freezer, when I'm at work. I like to cook eggs in bacon fat, sometimes, and I do that for myself. I never, ever cook his in it. I don't even use the same pan. It's a courtesy and it's easy.

With children, it's just a little different. Still, you're cooking it; they're eating it. Most of the foods we'd be asking them to forgo by following a Paleo program are not really foods at all. One decided advantage of leaving boxed cereals, crackers, bread, lunch meats, peanut butter, and canned foods on the store shelves is their relative high cost when compared to unprocessed, whole foods. Still, start with the familiar foods that will either fit with the Whole30 or be easy to serve with just a slight variation. Though you may not prefer to steam a few cups of rice while the rest of dinner is cooking, it does not take a lot of energy or warrant a lot of expense. I'm sure Paleo Parents would have many more ideas than I in this regard. Check here and consider getting Eat Like a Dinosaur when it comes out later in March.

One rather interesting development in our household is a shift I've noticed taking place. GK has stopped eating bread when he goes to lunch with his friends. He says no to potatoes---even French fries. And he's complaining less about meat and fat. I still don't think he's ready for a Whole30, but that's his choice.

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