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Moving forwards by going backwards

October 1, 2010

“Biologically, man is still a wild animal.” David Marsh

I have started a new beginning by going backwards.

It all started when my son, age 25, decided that he had found the solution to both my weight and knee issues. “Mom, you have got to try the caveman diet! I think you’ll love it.” The caveman diet? Are you kidding me? Me? No way. I haven’t been born in this glorious age of food to go back in time to eat raw meat while getting eaten by mosquitoes or bigger things! Particularly when he informed me that there would be no eating of bread, grains, sugar or beans. No way, not this girl.

Fast forward 9 months to a rainy May day. My knees, which were damaged severely in a skiing accident 30 years ago, were having a hard day. More than that, they were having a hard month! I felt like I was dragging my legs around, weighted down by the pain from osteoarthritis. I made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon to start my supartz injections again, which are all I have left between me and a knee replacement.

My son, got me in a weak moment and once again gave me his paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet plug. “Mom, give it a try! You would be surprised at how much better you will feel.” Fine. Just to get him off my back, I’ll give it a try. (Huff)

The first day on this diet I was wild eyed and in a blind panic. What will I eat if I can’t stick something between two pieces of bread??? I stood in the kitchen, frozen. Fortunately my son was home and got industrious and made us a delicious tuna salad stuffed in green pepper halves served with apple slices. Ah, not so bad. I feel good and that wasn’t too difficult. I think I can do this.

After 2 weeks of eating mostly grain, legume, and sugar free, a funny thing happened. My knee pain just stopped. I mean, it was like a light switch was flicked. No more pain. I went ahead and went to my pre-scheduled orthopedic appointment, for good measure. My doctor just shook his head perplexed why I just simply stopped having pain. But I knew why. We are what we eat.

So, I am off on a new adventure by going backwards. I have been eating paleo/ primal for about 3 months and quite frankly loving it. I still have to take forays back into the grain and sugar world intermittently just to remember how unpleasant I feel from it. Then I gladly go back to the “Cavewoman Café.” (My latest name for my kitchen and a new blog I launched to share recipes.)

My articles will be reflecting this new/old pathway of eating and the science behind it. I promise to make it fun and painless! I understand that you, dear reader, may not want to eat like a caveperson so there will be recipes that are conventional but will have the paleo twin on my blog at

One of the foods that I have dearly missed has been Mexican. It is loaded with corn, rice and beans. Drool. I decided that I did not have to do without this fabulous food just modify it a bit. A Mexican strata would be just the ticket, layered with in season veggies, organic chorizo, and spices. The pilot version was soooo good that it was gone in a flash!

Mexican Vegetable Strata

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 -6 cloves of garlic minced

1 ½  pounds of bulk chicken chorizo sausage,

4 eggs

2 teaspoons of cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder

2 med zucchini, sliced thick

2 med potatoes, sliced thin

2 med sweet potatoes, sliced thin

A large bunch of kale or chard, roughly chopped

1 28 oz can of green chili enchilada sauce

1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese

Get out a glass baking dish, 9 x 11 and oil it lightly and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large frying pan, cook the chorizo over medium high heat till almost cooked through, breaking it into as small as pieces possible. (Smells so good!!) Then add the onion and garlic and cook till the sausage is completely done. Take off the cook fire and let cool.

Start this lovely dish, by layering the zucchini in the bottom of the dish. Whip the eggs, cumin and chili powder up into a froth and then pour the eggs over the zucchini. Layer the sweet potato slices in next. Sprinkle a fine layer of the chorizo over the sweet potatoes then a layer of the potato slices. At this point layer in the kale or chard. Then one more layer of either sweet potatoes or regular, whatever you have left. Finish the layers with the rest of the chorizo. Pour the can of enchilada sauce evenly over the whole delightful arrangement and top off with the cheese.

Bake in the over till bubbly and the cheese is a golden brown and a tiny bit crusty, about one hour. Let it cool, (even though the caveman in you wants to tear into it!) for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a salad and you have a meal worthy of our ancestors.

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