The joys and sorrows of a stay-at-home mom, wife, home economist and woman.

What the Paleo World Eats: Leppard Family Style

On March 10, 2010 we welcomed our firstborn into the world. We were delighted with our precious son, Jonathan, but that delightful little bundle of joy arrived with a whole passel of food allergies. The poor child even had hives while we were still in the hospital!

Because breastfeeding was such a priority for my family, I went on a very crazy Allergy Elimination Diet when Jonathan was 3 1/2 months old. (See Hurting Hearts, Two Steps Forward…, Allergist Update, and so many more!) As a result, we were able to determine that Jonathan had allergies/intolerances to all grains, legumes, seeds, dairy, eggs, soy, berries, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple and citrus. Obviously, this changed our lifestyle tremendously!

We had been eating to avoid Jonathan’s allergens for 3 or 4 months before we stumbled across the Paleo Diet in this blog post by Tim Ferris. It was great to find a community of people who were eating like we were, and it helped to know there was some science to support our diet, since I think most people thought we were insane!

For our family, eating Paleo means:

no grains at all (Benjamin occasionally has rice, corn or oats- but he has discovered a gluten sensitivity)
no pseudo-grains (i.e. quinoa, millet, etc.)
no seeds or seed oils
no legumes
no dairy, eggs or soy.

And Jonathan doesn’t get berries, tomatoes, mushrooms, and pineapple. He does seem to tolerate a little citrus now, and we are doing trials for tomatoes, eggs, and berries to see how he does.

I don’t know how many times people have asked me “What do you eat?”

Essentially, we eat a whole foods diet, with good protein sources like grass-fed beef (we’ve started our own co-op) and wild-caught salmon; healthy fats (like coconut, lard), some tree nuts, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

And we are doing great! I lost 50 pounds in that first year, and have seen an improvement in my sleep, mental health, hypothryroidism, and energy levels. Even after gaining almost 40 pounds with this pregnancy, I still weighed less than I did before Jonathan was conceived. And it was such an amazing change for Jonathan, to go from a baby who was hurting all the time and not sleeping, to the happy, healthy toddler we have now. (He has an unhealthy obsession with the words “No!” and “mine” this week, an unfortunate side effect of being two!)

Aurora seems to have her own set of food allergies that we are trying to figure out, so I am once again on an Allergy Elimination Diet. She’s proving to be a bit trickier to figure out, but I started when she was only 6 weeks old, so we are hoping and praying for quick healing and wisdom.

I love that Jonathan (and the rest of the family) has such a healthy, whole foods based diet. We have actually asked our pediatrician if it’s possible for a kid to eat too many veggies! (No, but if any kid could, it would be Jonathan!) He loves to munch on veggies like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, peppers, and even okra. For him, a treat is the dehydrated banana and zucchini chips his Nana and I make just for him. He also loves the Pumpkin Spice Pancake recipe I made up (a blog post coming on that soon!), and the occasional paleo-ish cookie.

I read a number of Paleo blogs (see below for my favorites) that help us to continue to make great food choices as a family, including lots of yummy recipes! In April, I read a post on Robb Wolf‘s blog called “What the Paleo World Eats.” It was asking for people to contribute pictures of all the food they eat in a week, along the lines of What the World Eats. I was intrigued by this concept (I even wrote a blog post about it in July 2010- one of my first posts!), so I set out to do the same for our family.

I had to photograph the produce and meats separately, because I couldn’t fit it all on my table!

The produce pictured includes: kale, spinach, green leaf lettuce, zucchini, green beans, sugar snap peas, white and green asparagus, broccoli, basil, winter squashes, bananas, grapes, apples, pears, watermelon, pineapple, avocados, mangos, plums, and peaches. (The carrots were out in the fridge- I buy a 25 lb bag every few weeks.) And I think I forgot the sweet potatoes and white potatoes, too. (I’ve figured out that I can’t eat white potatoes anymore!)

Jonathan helped, of course!

On the meat side, we have beef bone broth (that I make myself), a couple roasts, t-bones, ground beefs, taco meat (I use the Chile Rellenos recipe from Everyday Paleo), stew meat, a whole chicken, bacon, turkey bacon, and Italian sausage.

I figured out we spend between $100-150 a week on fresh produce (which I purchase from our Organic Co-op and Clemons, and occasionally Publix, BJ’s or Costco), and another $75-100 on proteins. (The meats are a bit harder to figure out, since we buy a quarter of a grass-fed cow every 3-4 months.) Certainly it is much more expensive than the Stand American Diet (SAD!) full of healthy whole grains and processed foods, but for us it is worth it! We are leaner, healthier, and happier than ever before.

Here are some of my favorite paleo blogs:
Robb Wolf This is probably the best place to start, if you want to know more about the Paleo Diet.
Everyday Paleo A family-friendly blog.
Mark’s Daily Apple Lots of science, here!
Easy Paleo
The Food Lovers Primal Palate
The Nap Clan

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