I was recently approached by a local cooking school to see if I was interested in teaching a hands on cooking class. It was an honor to be asked and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. However, after a few email exchanges with the owner of the school I wasn’t sure exactly what “technically” challenging dishes we could cover in a class. Sadly because of this, we have yet to develop a curriculum for the class or to get it on the school’s calendar. Maybe it is because I have eaten a Paleo diet for over 4 years, but I don’t find it that difficult or challenging to put Paleo food on the table.
I find that you can eat Paleo even if you don’t have a basic understanding of cooking. This relies mostly on slow cooker recipes, grocery store made roast chicken, and educated dining at restaurants. My typical plate consists of 75% colored throughout vegetables and 25% of some variation of grilled, roasted, or pan sautéed chicken, lamb, pork, beef, or any kind of seafood. None of which is technically that challenging. We usually jazz it up with a sauce or reduction and occasionally we experiment with an out of the box recipe like crab cakes or soft shell crabs.
To make my favorite dishes, I employ the following Paleo-friendly substitutions:
lettuce leaves for tacos or bread
mashed cauliflower for potatoes or rice
squash or zucchini for pasta
coconut aminos for soy sauce
Really, the challenging part of being Paleo is learning to cook with nut and coconut flour to experiment with baked goods different crust vehicles for something resembling a pizza. Some brands absorb liquid more than others, so adjustments need to made for a tasty end product. However, determining how to create Paleo cooking class made me wonder if the Paleo food bloggers are ruining the concept on some level because all of these baked goods are truly treats — to be enjoyed on an occasional basis.
For the record, my family does eat these types of treats and I have been known to post some of these recipes here. Even though they might not be strictly Paleo, they provide options for maintaining a grain-free lifestyle for the long-haul. We did in fact make Paleo french toast from a leftover birthday pound-cake — it was something fun to experiment making it in celebration of a birthday.
You might need some fresh ideas to get started on a Paleo plan, especially if you haven’t been cooking much of your food before the switch. However, it is perfectly doable to be Paleo without buying one of the myriad Paleo cookbooks on the market. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great recipes in these books that are inspirational and like any cookbook they provide a fresh perspective on what to make for dinner. Having recipes does not guarantee you’ll stay on a Paleo lifestyle unless you actually make them. Hopefully, I will be able to announce a hands on cooking class in the future.
Do you think the concept of eating Paleo is being ruined? What type of Paleo cooking class would you be interested in?
Have you read this post?
5 Misconceptions about the Paleo Diet