An Unconventional Recipe

hSometimes the sweetest meals are created at whim.

I had originally found it at a local farmer’s market.  A spaghetti squash almost rolled right off the rack at me, and I knew it was time to experiment.  I had never purchased, baked, or eaten a spaghetti squash before, but had recently seen it as the main ingredient in several recipes, so to the till we went.

Upon slicing it in half, I found it to be not a spaghetti squash.  There were large orange pumpkin seeds (or something that resembled them) inside.  I carved them out and decided this squash would have to make do.  Following directions in one of the recipes for spaghetti squash, I carved out the innards, placed each half of the squash face-down in a casserole dish with 1/4 inch water in the bottom, and baked the squash halves for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

They turned out perfect, mouth-watering in their simplistic perfection.  In the meantime, while they were a-bake, I cut a white onion in half and blinked away tears as I sliced and diced.  In a pot, I melted 1 teaspoon of organic butter and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil on medium and added the diced onion once the butter started to bubble.    Every now and then I tossed with a spoon, to which I then added 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, a teaspoon of ground thyme and a teaspoon of freshly chopped sage.

The mixture simmered on the burner, wafting aromas of garlic butter and herbs throughout my kitchen.  My stomach growled.

I next added a 700 ml bottle of organic portobello mushroom pasta sauce, and, after a few moments mixing and heating, a large container of organic, non-medicated ground beef.  I placed a lid on the pot after stirring all the ingredients together well.  Almost forgot!  On searching the fridge for leftover veggies that needed to be used up, I found a half green pepper and 1/3 of a dark green jalapeno.  I chopped and added both.

Within fifteen minutes the squash were finished and the ground beef was thoroughly cooked.  I then chopped a 1/2 bunch of cilantro and added it to the beef mixture, stirred and let it sit a moment, allowing all the flavors to fuse together.

To plate, I drizzled a teaspoon of olive oil on top of a quarter of the squash, then scooped the tomato-beef sauce on top.  I ended with freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

The squash almost melted in my mouth and was such a nice contrast with the hearty tomato and beef flavors.  I’ve started to embrace the Paleolithic Diet as a new way of eating, and all the ingredients in this delicious and easy-to-make dinner fit perfectly into the no-dairy and grain way of eating that was that of our ancient ancestors.  One thing was clear: I was feasting like a queen!

4 thoughts on “An Unconventional Recipe

  1. Pat Noonan

    Just out of curiosity, why the meat? Is it not possible to get all the nutrients that is in meats through a plant based diet? Minus all the fat and cholesterol.? Caveman or not….if plants have these nutrients, why the meat?

    1. Dr. Elliott Post author

      Hi Pat,

      I appreciate the question. On a vegetarian diet, many individuals CAN do without the meat and still get all the nutrients their body’s need to thrive. There is enough protein in vegetarian foods such as legumes that are adequate to meet the needs of some. Through my experience humans differ in their body constitutions – some thrive on a vegetarian diet, while others diminish in energy and vitality and require animal protein for their body’s to function optimally. My iron levels dropped frightening low after trying a vegetarian style of eating for 6 months. Once I became anemic, I switched back to meats and fared much better.

      That being said, the paleolithic diet is much different. I would not recommend the paleo diet for those who are vegetarian or vegan. I don’t believe they could get the required nutrients as they would be limited to vegetables, fruit/berries and nuts and seeds (a diet which lacks sufficient amounts of protein).

      Just to clarify for those who aren’t familiar with the paleo diet, it excludes grains, legumes and dairy, while including meat, fish/seafood, vegetables, fruit/berries, nuts and seeds – a diet that we developed on over thousands of years.

      I hope that answers your question! Thanks for posting.
      Dr. Elliott

  2. Pat Noonan

    Thank you for the reply, I am on a mission for the truth about health, and I have to admit, some of things I have found are the exact opposite to what most people believe is true!
    Below are just a few exapmles of explanations I found in regards to Iron and vegetarianism.

    Vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in iron, although numerous studies show that when this occurs, it is usually due to poor meal planning (Leitzmann, 2005). A well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet provides plenty of iron. In fact, in Western countries, vegetarian diets can contain as much or more iron than mixed diets containing meat (Harvey et al., 2005; Hunt, 2003). Vegetarians and vegans, even with a high dietary fibre (and hence phytate) intake, have been found to have a similar amount of iron in their diets compared to meat-eaters (Craig, 1994). A recent study compared iron intake among 33,000 meat-eaters, 10,000 fish-eaters, 18,000 vegetarians and 2,500 vegans and found that the vegans had the highest intake, followed by the fish-eaters and the vegetarians; the meat-eaters had the lowest intake (Davey, et al., 2003).
    Although vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects have not been demonstrated with varied vegetarian diets in developed countries. In fact, moderately lower iron stores reduce the risk of some chronic diseases (Hunt, 2003). It is well known that many meat eaters are oversupplied with iron, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain cancers (Leitzmann, 2005).

    1. Dr. Elliott Post author

      Hi Pat,

      I thought your reply was wonderful! I certainly can’t argue with all those citations, and perhaps, it wasn’t the lack of iron in my personal vegetarianism stint that caused my lethargy.

      Coincidentally, the day you posted this (and before I had read it), I was out eating lunch with a colleague – we had a very interesting conversation that paralleled what you’re saying. My friend lives in Toronto and has recently switched to a vegan version of the paleolithic diet (something I thought wouldn’t be possible!) and he was gently suggesting that what current-day science views as the “required” amount of protein may be incorrect. He had some thought-provoking points that I wasn’t able to argue against, such as how herbivores (think of a cow) can grow so large with the little amount of protein they get in grass, and how there are athletic fruitarians not only living, but thriving!

      He started me thinking…

      What I do know is that science has a far way to go before it can claim we “know it all” and that it’s always best to stay open to new information and developments in nutritional science. Also, as no two individuals are alike, different factors (genetics, ability to detoxify, physical activity, blood type, etc.) come into play in our ability to thrive on a diet, therefore, although a diet may work great for one individual, it may not for his neighbor.

      Dr. E


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