Chef Judi Tries the Paleo Diet: Week One

After a fried-clam-and-lobster bender in New England, Chef Judi decides to get healthy and try the popular paleo diet.

By Judi Gallagher August 12, 2013

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Our recent pilgrimage to Cape Cod had us filled with homemade ice cream from shops on every corner, platters of those good ol' fried whole belly clams and onion rings, lobsters and a little blueberry pie. We were also spoiled by the innkeepers at Lamb and Lion Inn (who are also foodies and food writers themselves)--think freshly made beignets and warm syrup delivered to our room--and appreciated their great dining recommendations. So with that in mind, we knew we would be in for a superior meal at FIN, a fairly new restaurant that served some of the freshest dishes we've ever had, thanks to the local produce, as well as impeccably prepared seafood and a lemon curd tart with local blueberries that just screamed for a dessert award of excellence.

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Our amazing meal at FIN.[/caption]

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Breakfast in bed at The Lamb and Lion Inn.[/caption]

And might I add that before the Cape were three glorious days at The Intercontinental in Boston, with a lot of whole belly fried clams at Kelly’s Roast, and pastry oozing with Bavarian cream from Mike’s Pastry. After the Cape was the Cooper family reunion and three days of Cousin Gary’s perfectly grilled steak tips, Cousin Jill’s noodle kugel, grilled sausages and peppers, burgers and strawberry shortcakes with bowls of homemade whipped cream.

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So, you ask, how does she do it? Apparently not well anymore, because since I've been tipping the scales far too much these days, I have decided to try the paleo diet for at least a month. (So has my dear spouse, albeit begrudgingly.) While the paleo diet book is anything other than comforting as a summer read, my support system comes from an unlikely source: a hair salon. Korey, who styles my hair on Fridays, has lost 40 pounds, has an overflow of energy and has created amazing paleo recipes. And remember that paleo means no grains of any kind, no dairy, only lean proteins, no salt, no soy and no sugar--but as many fruits and veggies as you want, so long as they aren't corn or potatoes.

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Week One was a success, but difficult for the first four days. Kale, banana, apple, spinach smoothies may look like the green hulk went through the blender, but are actually quite filling, and I have become best friends with organic hard boiled eggs, nitrate- and hormone-free organic turkey bacon and a lot of lettuce. So far I've lost three pounds of fried clams, onion rings, cheesecake and the like.

So in the coming weeks I will continue to eat out and also let you know about my favorite healthy dishes. I have stocked my pantry with avocado oil, unsalted sunflower seeds and almonds, and I'm ready to go. I'm also allowing myself to have cheat meals twice a week, or as a friend calls them,

"reward meals." This week's was from Yummy House, and oh, what a grand dinner that was.

And today I'm back to the kale and grapefruit salad and the hope that by tomorrow another pound will drop.

If you have great food suggestions or restaurant dishes that are acceptable for the paleo diet, please let me know in a comment!

Click here for more Sarasota food news and recipes from Chef Judi.

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