While gaining my freshman 15 my first year of college, Cheesecake Factory Avocado Egg Rolls and PF Changs’ Lettuce Wraps were the staples in my diet. That may not seem too bad, but I am obviously omitting the late-night breakfast burritos and In and Out. So, needless to say, after stumbling upon these copycat Paleo Lettuce Wraps, I immediately wanted to recreate them for some Instagram-worthy pics. But more importantly, to understand what the heck Paleo actually means.
I am constantly getting stuck in the black hole of too many diet fads, and 85% of the time I have no idea why I am eating what I am eating. For Paleo, all the feedback I’ve heard is about bad breath and the caveman lifestyle… I think it is time that I dig a bit deeper.
The Paleo diet centers on eating ‘whole food’ products, so it’s an immediate ix-nay on those processed foods. Basically, the premise is that our bodies deserve to be eating the way our Paleotlithic ancestors did, hence the whole caveman shtick. Therein lies my dilemma with the Paleo diet: our so-called ancestors were not eating grass-fed chickens or Kobe beef. Most of the animals of their time are no longer around, so are we really eating a Paleo diet?
By sticking to fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts, your diet is more in line with the evolutionary pressures of our current genetic status, thus not literally eating like a Stone age hunter-gatherer. Now that is something I can get with. So what’s the downside to this diet, besides the obvious lack of carbs? Ravenous dieters tend to eat way too much meat, when really you should try to consume the same amount of calories in your protein as in your fruits and vegetables. I may not be able to get accustomed to the Paleo lifestyle, but can I work with incorporating aspects into my daily menu (especially the part that allows for a glass of wine).
As of late, these Whole30 recipes seem to pop up on all my social media feeds. I have been MIA in the recipe world for a bit now, so for all of you just like lil’ old me: Whole30 is a 30-day (duh) clean eating plan. To be frank, I find it quite terrifying – it cuts out foods that are extremely difficult to give up: dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and (wait for it) alcohol. If you are aghast as I, nobody said it was a walk in the park! They are called ‘diets’ for a reason. The purpose of giving up all the fun stuff is that the consequences of the fun stuff may be a negative impact on your health (a.k.a. that sluggish feeling).
Very simply, Whole30 is a stricter form of the Paleo diet. While Paleo is more of lifestyle, this is more like a way to reboot your system because of its off-limits attitude. But I must say, if the rest of the recipes follow in the steps of these Lettuce Wraps I may just hop on the bandwagon. Dry January anyone?
Paleo Lettuce Wraps
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ yellow onion diced
1 cup of minced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1 pound of ground pork or ground chicken
½ cup of shredded carrots
Fresh ground pepper
¼ cup of coconut aminos
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of almond butter
2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
8-ounce can of diced water chestnuts
3 green onions
1 head of Bibb lettuce
¼ cup of cocounut aminos
1 ½ teaspoons of seasame oil
1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sriracha
1 tablespoon of green onions
In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic for about 30 seconds, while continuously stirring.
Add your meat of choice and cook until browned using a wooden spoon or spatula. Then add carrots until they soften, for about 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine, ¼ cup of coconut aminos, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, almond butter, ginger and hot sauce. Whisk until smooth and then pour into skillet over the meat. Then add the chestnuts and green onions. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes and remove from the heat.
Whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
When ready to serve, spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of a lettuce leave and serve with the sauce.