A Day in the Life: What a Paleo Recipe Developer Eats
Here at Eat This, Not That!, we get exclusive access to tons of celeb-level nutritionists, wellness experts, doctors, and healthy eating influencers. (We know, we're very lucky.) We've learned from them dozens of ways to make overnight oats, what healthy snacks they can't live without, and what foods you should eat every day. But that left us wondering: what do these top-of-the-line experts do on a daily basis to stay healthy and happy? Well, we asked them!
As a recipe developer and food/wellness writer, I'm either working with food, thinking about food, talking to people about food, or writing about it nearly all day every day. Believe me, I'm not complaining—it's amazing to have found a way to turn my love affair with food into a job.
Though I develop all kinds of recipes for an array of different magazines, when left to my own devices, I mostly eat on the paleo end of the spectrum. For me, that means tons of vegetables, lots of healthy fats, and a moderate portion of protein at most meals. If I'm in the kitchen working, I'll sample what I'm cooking (and if it's paleo, I'm likely to eat it for lunch and/or dinner)—but this is a typical day when what I eat isn't determined by a deadline.
For the last few months, I've been playing around with intermittent fasting, which essentially means shortening the hours of the day in which you eat, so these days I rarely eat breakfast. I have a cup of Bulletproof coffee and lots of water until about 11 a.m. or so. For the coffee, I use Trader Joe's organic, fair-trade Sumatran coffee (I grind the beans fresh every day with a hand-crank burr grinder, #brooklyn). I make a pour-over cup that's about 10 to 12 oz. strong coffee, then pour it into my Vitamix and blend it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold grass-fed unsalted butter and 1 to 2 tablespoons of Bulletproof Brain Octane oil. You have to blend it in a blender—if you try to stir in the butter and oil, it doesn't emulsify, and you end up with a greasy mess. However, blended up it is the richest, most delicious thing in the world. I seriously look forward to having it every morning.
Plus, the grass-fed butter has nutrients like vitamin A, butyric acid—which is anti-inflammatory, and not found in very many foods—and conjugated linoleic acid, which boosts immunity and digestion, and helps with bone and muscle building. Brain Octane is Bulletproof's MCT oil, which boosts metabolism and mood, and helps me to be super-sharp and focused in the morning.
Some people say that what I do isn't a true fast because of the fats in the coffee, but the theory is that just having fats and no carbs or protein doesn't cause an insulin response, so you get the benefits of fasting without feeling hungry and causing any hormonal issues. For me, the important thing is that I feel fantastic. I don't get a spike/crash from the caffeine, I'm alert and happy in the morning (annoying, I know), and, notably, on the days that I fast, I feel less hungry all day.
One thing I do all day long is drink lots and lots of water. I have a SodaStream at home and make sparkling water, which I add lemon to. I kind of alternate that with plain still water all day.
Though I don't eat breakfast most days, I love breakfast foods, so I often have them for lunch. A typical lunch is a couple of slices of pastured bacon and two pastured eggs with a salad or some cut-up sliced vegetables. The quality of the animal products I eat is of paramount importance to me. Eggs and pork are always pastured, meat is 100 percent grass-fed, and fish is wild-caught. These products are better for us, better for the planet, and kinder to the animals.
Salads are my jam at lunch because they're quick, and they're a perfect way to use up the odds and ends that my recipe development work often leaves me with. If I don't have any leftover cooked protein from the night before and I don't feel like eggs, sometimes I'll mix canned wild salmon with lots of minced vegetables like carrots, celery, and fennel, some mashed avocado or avocado-oil mayo, lemon juice, salt, and a little hot sauce. I'll usually have that on top of some salad greens.
Or I'll cut the bottom off a head of endive, separate the leaves, and use them to scoop up some guacamole, or I'll spread Kite Hill non-dairy cream cheese in the leaves, add some smoked salmon, and sprinkle on some Trader Joe's Everything Bagel spice mix.
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I'm not a big snacker anymore. Before I went paleo and became fat adapted, I used to have to eat every few hours. But now I don't get hungry between meals as much. If I do feel noshy around 4, I'll grab a handful of nuts and maybe a piece of fruit, an apple, a clementine or some berries, depending on what's in season. I love Pili Hunters sprouted pili nuts—they're ridiculously delicious, like salty, crunchy butter. They're one of the highest-fat, lowest-carb nuts, they're sustainably harvested, and they're so satisfying. The coconut oil and sea salt are my go-to, but I also love the raw cacao ones and the spicy chili flavor. Or I'll have a small handful of Dang unsweetened lightly salted coconut chips—they're made with just coconut and sea salt, so good.
We like to keep dinners simple because my husband or I usually cook and hang with our daughter at the same time. If we don't have any leftovers from my work, we generally put together lots of vegetables and some kind of protein. This "spaghetti and meatballs" is often in the rotation. I make the meatballs grain free, with Otto's Cassava as the binder and a few herbs and spices. We usually have them with zoodles or spaghetti squash. Or I'll make some lamb chops, a steak, or some salmon with roasted vegetables. Sometimes over the weekend I'll make some cashew cream sauce and we'll divide it up during the week and season small portions with hot sauce, or curry powder, or lemon juice and paprika, then drizzle it over whatever we're having, just to mix things up.
Yes, it gets its own heading. I have a piece of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) every single night. Like coffee in the morning, it's non-negotiable. I love Hu Kitchen's chocolate in any flavor. I think the Hazelnut Butter is my favorite, though really, I love them all. I also love Eating Evolved's chocolate bars and their coconut-butter cups, Theo's chocolate (especially the almond butter cups), Taza's stone ground bars (especially the coconut almond and salted almond, both 80 percent cacao), and Alter Eco's bars and outrageously delicious coconut clusters are all favorites, too.
Want to learn more about the paleo diet? Listen below to the Eat This, Not That! podcast to get more paleo information from Beth herself!