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How Paleo is Paleo consumption of Indian cuisine?

by (53)
Updated October 23, 2014 at 4:09 AM
Created May 30, 2013 at 11:22 PM

There was something I was thinking about.

If you make the right choices at an Indian restaurant, you can get buffet that includes vegetables (including, but rejecting, some "third world protein" curries and curried cheese), and a healthy serving of coconut sauce, and some meat.

All of this sounds very Paleo in the options it affords, except for a nagging doubt...

I've cooked Indian-like curries before, and basically the coconut milk, which is the liquid in most curries, starts white and turns a color, as the color of the spice. I doubt they are the only people to do this, but the often-dark color of Indian curries is AFAICT driven by the spices scooped in. We're talking orders of magnitude more than spicy Italian.

And I am not sure that all the spices are seeds, but this raises a big question about the paleo warnings about consuming seeds. Nuts are OK in small quantities, but the concern raised about wheat and barley is that, unlike a fruit, the plant has no evolutionary interest in its entire seed being eaten. So they defend themselves via chemical warfare, and we shouldn't eat them.

The concern this raises about Indian cuisine is that seeds that fight back via chemical warfare, including the signature plants that make the meal burn coming in and burn coming out, so that my much-loved Indian curry in fact opens doors to consuming grain derivatives, and in fact opens the door to a much stronger chemical warfare attack than I'd get from Twelve Seed bread at Whole Paycheck.

So, basically, how Paleo is possible with Indian food? Do the seed contents of the spices not really matter that much, or is it a matter of a door wide open to hot and spicy seeds' chemical warfare?

Indian is my favorite cuisine, and I hope I do not offend any Indians by my post. But I thought "Indian food is my favorite cuisine and with the options presented I can make a Paleo meal," but I've started to have a nagging doubt...

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1580 · June 03, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I mean newfangled vegetable oils - the nasty, processed kinds. Of course, it depends on the restaurant. But a lot use vegetable oil, not coconut oil or ghee, because its CHEAP. (Along with that, very dodgy meat, but that's not unique to Indian food) I used to live in Shoreditch, East London, just up the road from Brick Lane, where there are loads of cheap curry shops (mainly bangladeshi). You'd see huge (and I mean HUGE, 2 feet tall) cans in the trash, merely stating "vegetable oil".

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53 · June 02, 2013 at 6:53 PM

I have a question and slight puzzlement. You say that "most curries contain an absolutely insane amount of vegetable oil." What do you mean by vegetable oil? More specifically do you mean inborn coconut oil, or newfangled corn/sunflower/... oil? When I've cooked on my own I didn't interfere with the oil content--it had as much coconut oil as came in the cans, nothing else, unless the cans already dropped the coconut oil for something newfangled, in which case the newfangled oil was solid like room temperature coconut oil, which would be strange. The fat content seemed the same as restaurant.

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1580 · May 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM

The spices really aren't the issue with Indian food. I've cooked a fair amount of it myself and it's not like you put in an entire cup of spice. Plus, not all spices are seeds. Some are leaves (eg fenugreek), bark (cinnamon) or nightshades (chilies)

The issue with Indian foods is that most curries contain an absolutely insane amount of vegetable oil, which isn't paleo. Originally it would have been ghee, but veg oil is cheaper so most restaurants use that.

I love Indian food, but I make sure not to eat cheap or even medium-price Indian food because of it. I save it for very special occasions and go to a very good restaurant that does kebabs and and tandoori dishes as well as curries. Such restaurants are not an easy find, sadly

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573
1580 · June 03, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I mean newfangled vegetable oils - the nasty, processed kinds. Of course, it depends on the restaurant. But a lot use vegetable oil, not coconut oil or ghee, because its CHEAP. (Along with that, very dodgy meat, but that's not unique to Indian food) I used to live in Shoreditch, East London, just up the road from Brick Lane, where there are loads of cheap curry shops (mainly bangladeshi). You'd see huge (and I mean HUGE, 2 feet tall) cans in the trash, merely stating "vegetable oil".

7947663ae0b5333554fd462635418724
53 · June 02, 2013 at 6:53 PM

I have a question and slight puzzlement. You say that "most curries contain an absolutely insane amount of vegetable oil." What do you mean by vegetable oil? More specifically do you mean inborn coconut oil, or newfangled corn/sunflower/... oil? When I've cooked on my own I didn't interfere with the oil content--it had as much coconut oil as came in the cans, nothing else, unless the cans already dropped the coconut oil for something newfangled, in which case the newfangled oil was solid like room temperature coconut oil, which would be strange. The fat content seemed the same as restaurant.

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1197 · May 31, 2013 at 1:02 AM

I think you might be over-thinking this. Most spices are dried herbs and fruits (a chile being a fruit) and sometimes a root. Spicing food is one of the great pleasures of cooking and eating. I have a big problem with the idea that you can't eat a healthy diet based on these principles without submitting to a draconian, lackluster food palette.

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1122 · May 31, 2013 at 12:53 AM

You might try the organic packaged sauces - I know I know- available at health food stores and markets. You just have to scrutinize the labels for veg. oil and other offenders. Mix with some ghee baked chicken and serve over jasmine rice. Yummy.

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