Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Primal Meals Made Easy

Is it just me, or are we getting busier every day?  As kids we think we are busy. The parents make us do chores and the teachers give us homework when we really want to be riding bikes, playing in the creek, or hitting up our new video game. Then you become a teenager and young adult; add more homework, a part-time job, and extracurricular activities. At this stage you can’t wait to just be an adult working full time, after all they don’t have homework so then you can do whatever you want. Except when you become an adult your homework turns into paying the bills, balancing the checkbook/credit card, housework, buying and preparing meals, and this is all before you add kiddos into the mix!  I’m happy to get a free hour in the evening and usually that free hour goes to playing with Gizmo (while indulging in my favorite TV shows).

Like many people with a busy schedule, I don’t have a lot of extra time to spend planning out a daily menu for the week, spending an hour or two at the grocery store, and even more hours preparing extravagant dinners every evening. In fact, a lot of people I talk to are turned off by the Paleo/Primal lifestyle when they realize they have to actually cook most of their meals. Yes, it’s true. But it doesn’t have to be a 3 course meal with all the fixin’s.  Hello leftovers. :)

Make Foraging and Pillaging Easy:
Nowadays we don’t have to hunt down the buffalo, wild boar, or fish to eat - though you certainly can if you like. Instead, hit up your local market, whether it be a grocery store, co-op, whole foods, or if you are lucky a farmers market. Don’t plan out 5 weekday meals, you will have leftovers. Pick one new recipe you would like to try and see what’s fresh at the market for the remaining couple meals.

Shop fresh:  Go to the store and shop in the fresh food sections (avoid the inner isles full of boxes processed “food”). You will make more seasonal purchases this way based on what’s available and save time from only shopping in a few areas. Plus the food is more delicious when in season!

Preparing your grub:
Main course: Fresh meat is simple to prepare. Grill, roast, broil, slow cook in a crock pot, smoke, etc. When the meat is of good quality and fresh, simple preparation is all you need: salt, pepper, your favorite seasoning or fresh herbs, and butter/coconut oil/water to keep moist.

Sides: There are only so many ways you can prepare Primal/Paleo side vegetables, which helps me eliminate options and speed up my prep time. Add salt, pepper, olive oil/coconut oil/butter and mix up the flavors from time to time (garlic, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese – taste buds, please meet deliciousness). Roast, bake, or eat them raw.

You don’t need to worry about peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes or making a rice/pasta side dish = saves time, money, and the headache of trying to come up with new ideas , finding recipes, buying extra ingredients, etc.

I actually find it easier to live this way. I save time by not searching for new recipes/planning daily meals, only shopping in a few isles at the store, and by preparing a meat and a vegetable (no starch) simply.