For us, cauliflower rice changed the game of eating. “I can substitute a grain for a vegetable that I never really liked or ever ate?!” Why not? Ben made it for us when he was still living in Dublin with his parents (Not Ireland. I wish). He paired it with a Portobello capp’d/ lettuce bun burger. With avocado. The avocado is crucial. It was delicious and got me siked for all of its “rice” potential, and I now liked cauliflower. Who knew?!
I too was still living at home and pretty much only shopped when I wanted to cook. I had a nice Mexican mami who handled the kitchen duties. When it came time, I bought cauliflower, bacon, carrots, chives, soy sauce, and maybe eggs, if we didn’t already have them. I took my mom’s cheese grater and I shredded that monster of a cauliflower till it was reduced to a rice-like consistency. Not the most efficient. I made a huge mess, florets were lost, and it took waaay too long. I pretty much decided I’d never do that again-- until I did. Same mess, different day. Grate your cauliflower head to smitherings, make a mess and hope your mom doesn’t notice the bits in the corner, heat a pan, add olive oil, then onions/ garlic/ or however you begin, and sauté that veggie goodness till soft.
So, there’s a few ways I can go with the "Paleo Essentials," but first, get yourself a food processor, blender, or bladed contraption because they serve a damn good purpose! In fact--
Paleo Essential #1: The blender. It just pulverizes things! Want creamy vegetable soup? Roast veggies and throw ‘em in with stock (preferably bone broth) and seasonings! Hate the flavor of bitter greens? Throw ‘em in with a shit ton of fruit, non-dairy milk (not soy), chia seeds, and call it a morning! Unsure about all that corn syrup in your salad dressing? Olive oil, balsamic, lemon zest, raw honey, and your blender will quell those concerns! Catching on? Having a blender has made quick food prep possible, snuck in unappealing veggies, and made sauce/soup/dressing magic. These days I eat all things edible, (except eggplant, raw onion, soy, and too much cilantro) so there's really no need to mask flavors (unless it is the aforementioned atrocities). Despite this, our blender boo stays in a constant rotation.
Fats: “Those poor unfortunate souls! So sad, so true.” (Hey, it applies) Mislabeled, misunderstood, and misguided people dodging good fat because they think it’ll make them fat. Recall how I said I cooked my cauliflower with olive oil? We've since learned it’s unstable under high temperatures and an easily damaged cooking fat. It’s susceptible to oxidation (the thing that happens when food spoils and makes us old and die) and it's often stored incorrectly. We solely use olive and avocado oil at room temperature.
In actuality, olive oil is the least of my concerns if you cook with canola, corn, cotton, safflower, soybean, sunflower, or any other industrial seed/ vegetable oil. They're distorted (their molecular structure), unstable, inflammatory killas!
According to some leaders on the subject of fats,     (you must gander at least one, pretty please), a diet balanced in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is crucial. The standard American diet defies what the body actually needs in omega-6, and many consume a ratio so out of wack it's truly amazing they can still put on socks (socks actually have nothing to do with anything).
Paleo Essential #2: Stop consuming unhealthy, damaged fats! Please.
This isn't groundbreaking information, but to many people this is new. We grow up cooking with canola and other "vegetable" oils, yet have no idea what these actually are and the process they go through to become that liquidly scum. We think, "They’re cheap and have a mild taste." Or something of the cheap sort.
For cooking we use:
- Unrefined coconut oil
- Ghee (we've been making our own as of late)
- Grass-fed butter (Kerrygold)
- Bacon fat
We use unrefined/ virgin/ pure/ organic coconut oil because unlike its refined counterpart, it goes through less processing and isn't exposed to high heat temperatures and/or bleaching. Yes, it has a coconut flavor - it's made from coconuts after all! No, all our food doesn't taste like coconut, or maybe we're just used to it. I accidentally bought refined oil before and noticed that it didn't have that coconut smell or taste. This may be a more appealing start for those who shun all that is coco-nutty (and delicious).
Ghee! Butter with the dairy solids removed for the dairy sensitive or lactose intolerant. Never fear, just Google or YouTube “ghee recipe” and you’ll be on your way to making it in no time. Ghee provides a fantastically nutty flavor without the bubble guts and a punch of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 when made with grass-fed butter. Ben just made some and it is truly difficult not to stick my tongue in it since it smells like buttery wheat toast. Buuut then I open and my eyes and see that it’s a jar of golden fat. Hey, I can pretend it’s a croissant if I want to!
Bacon fat – yeah, we eat it sometimes. Ideally, your bacon should be pasture-raised and nitrate-free, but this is oddly not so easy to find (the pasture-raised part). That sounds like a better reason for not eating it, rather than the truth. We may have bacon'd ourselves out.
Paleo Essential #3: Consume healthful, stable fats. Even if they are saturated.
Oh shit, I just dropped the "s" word.
So, I’m kind of apprehensive to go here so soon (only because of cost), buuuut I’m going to because, Paleo Essential #4: You are what your animals eat! Like humans, when animals are fed the wrong kind of food they develop digestive issues. Cows do not have the digestion to eat corn, soy, and other GM grains, therefore they are given antibiotics to fight infections that may arise from digestive ailments and issues of sanitation at the good ole CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). The same applies to other conventionally raised animals and farm raised fish. I know that price is everything, especially when raising a family, but we do less in other areas of our lives so we can eat organic produce and animals that have been humanely raised. Knowing what your animals eat and the diet that is natural to their being will assist in keeping your omegas in balance, as well as the amount of toxins you're consuming from their diet. Here’s the quick n dirty run down:
- Cattle eat grasses
- Lamb/ sheep eat grasses & leaves
- Chickens eat bugs, grub, and some grains (organic)
- Turkeys eat acorns, nuts, berries, seeds, and leaves 
- Pigs eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and table scraps 
- Fish: Well, it truly depends on the size and position within the food chain, but it’s likely algae, smaller fish, insects, and other sea vegetables.
Now, soy. Soy soy soy soy soy. Twas was once a time when I loved me some Starbucks’ soy lattes (I blame Ben's introduction of them). And then I learned how soy is the #2 GM (genetically modified) crop in the U.S. of A. According to the USDA, a whopping 94% of soybeans are genetically modified . So, we were like, no thanks. Besides its milk, I can't say I've ever been a fan of soy products. Tofu has just confused me with its weird gel-like/ sometimes crunchy/ sometimes firm or soft texture!? I mean, what are you, tofu?!
As you may have already guessed or known, soybeans are one of the top subsidized crops within the U.S. Right behind cotton, wheat, and corn, which takes the numero uno position . In a 2013 report conducted by U.S. PIRG, it was found that taxpayers have paid $27.8 BILLION in soybean subsidies. Still less than the $84.4 billion used to subsidize corn .
So why am I picking on soy over corn you may ponder? Because it's gross. Kidding! Mainly because I'd like to believe that in 2015 people are somewhat aware that corn sizzrup or any other non organic corn product is GM ridden and 9.6% of it has been reduced into shitty snack foods and drinks. Don't feel bad. I didn't know the 9.6% thing until I wrote this. Anyhow, I also poke at soy because it is commonly viewed as a "health" food. I didn't drink soy lattes because I loved the taste over dairy-- I truly thought it was the healthier, lower in fat thing to do. I'm not even sure anyone told me that-- I just thought it. Now, it just seems weird when people snobbily tout, "Ohh I only drink soy milk." Yes, snobbily is a word in this post. But fault you I don't! It's misinformation and you are not at fault good m'am! Or sire.
Well, that rant was fun! Oh yeah-- Paleo Essential #5: Eat Organic. The Environmental Working Group does awesome work and has even developed the oh so handy shopping lists, "Clean Fifteen" and "Dirty Dozen" for purchasing produce.  Pretty saucy, right?