I'm just finishing Day 1 of my Whole30. I'm putting together a meal plan for the next week. This is very difficult. Mostly because I don't... like... vegetables. Seriously, I was only just barely getting used to eating broccoli with cheddar and steamed carrots. I can have spinach in a salad, but not by itself. That's about as far as I go. Has anyone else made the transition from being an extremely picky eater to Paleo? Any suggestions to help me feel less frustrated with my lack of creativity?
I'm currently on day 17 of the whole 30. Firstly, just remember no butter or cheese :) definitely do what you can to add flavour. Roasting is an excellent suggestion. Make tomato salsa from scratch, (easy and quick and replaces the need for sauces). Make curries using coconut milk (just check ingredients for any additives) and curry powder. Add broccoli to that - it masks the flavour a bit more. Good luck for your 30 days :)
Roasting pretty much any veggie makes it at least 20 times more delicious (scientifically speaking). Brings out the sweet flavours, makes them a little crispy, and it's super easy.
Cut veggies, throw on pan, drizzle with oil of your choice (coconut is good), salt and pepper, put in oven at medium hotness (anywhere between 300-400 degrees works for me) and ignore for 20-30 minutes. Check for crispiness, turn maybe once or twice, and enjoy! You can throw some balsamic vinegar on afterwards if you want to get fancy.
Cauliflower, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, fennel, brussel sprouts, beets, tomatoes...they're all tasty when roasted. I've not tried roasting celery but it could happen...
The secret ingredient. Bacon grease. Everything tastes better in bacon. Well, maybe not everything. :) But it's allowed me to eat Brocolli without drowning it in cheese sauce to kill the taste.
Add some mild cooked chopped veggies - like the frozen "california" or "stir-fry" blends to an omelette or scrambled eggs. try raw carrots, they are really sweet and crunchy. eat whatever salad greens you prefer. I shamelessly make only iceberg/romaine salads because I can't stand bitter lettuce. Chop up a super ripe avocado and sprinkle it with salt and pepper and toss it on your salad or add guacamole. Make a Joe's Special. That's a San Francisco ground beef hash with eggs and spinach. Make some meatballs with finely grated vegetables mixed in. Try a little salt and pepper on your broccoli or eat cauliflower instead of broccoli. Fry some chopped bacon and then cook the veggies in the grease and stir it all together. And above all, keep eating them. You will develop a taste for them, believe me.
So keep using cheese for now, if it helps.
I like almost all veggies raw/plain, but sauteeing almost any veggie in butter makes it delicious. Add garlic if you like.
There's also the PaleoNu approach, which is more of a "use veggies if you like them, don't feel bad about it if you don't" thing.
I also recommend Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint Cookbook". There are some great recipes in there that use veggies.
I'd say, just force yourself to eat them, it gets easier. Kinda how beer or coffee tasted terrible to me when I was young, you develop a taste for it. Easiest ones I'd go for are carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery, and other stuff with a nice crunch.
Alternatively, you can mix in veggies with meat in sautees, cook them down plenty, and you will hardly be able to recognize they're vegetables, they'll soak up all the flavor of the sautee.
I just took a quick look at the Whole 30 Program. It doesn't actually require vegetables. Vegetables are allowed, but you could also do as I do and just eat meat. In my opinion, the main benefits of Paleo come from the combination of including animal proteins and fats and excluding grains, legumes, and of course refined junk. The role of vegetables is secondary at best.
My advice: sauces and salsas. Mixing in roasted veggies with some chimichurri is awesome. Or saute up in some avocado oil or coconut oil and loads of garlic. Oven roasting has enabled many people to make more veggies more palatable. Curry is a great way to get in veggies...or if you haven't tried mashed cauliflower, do it. One of the girls at our gym said this converted her to liking cauliflower (I strongly suggest steaming it in chicken stock with rosemary and garlic - awesome). Also, cauliflower fried rice. "Rice" your cauliflower with a food processor or cheese grater, then saute' it with garlic, green onions, tomatoes and/or tomato paste, cumin, etc. SUPER tasty. Good luck with the 30!
I found that over time my taste for vegetables has gotten a lot better. Stuff I never thought I would enjoy tastes amazing. I barely eat fruit anymore with the exception of berries. Your tastes will change as you cut sugar from your diet.
My advice would be to start with the sweetest vegetables you can find to start with and move down to more bitter vegetables that are roasted (Nothing beats roasted brussel sprouts for me right now!) Try red peppers, carrots, tomatoes... I bet you could find the sugar content of vegetables on a list somewhere. Then as you get used to those sweeter veggies add in less sweet ones.
The other option is what you're already doing: add spice or flavor to the veggies that is not sugar-laden. I like to put cheese on broccoli or hot sauce on... everything!
I've been making a dish that is not perfect in Paleo terms, but 90% compliant is still pretty good. You'll need to get some Alessi Eggplant Appetizer ( http://www.alescifoods.com/products/156 ), some hamburger meat, some fresh garlic, and some pepper sauce (I like this one for this dish - http://www.mustaphas.com/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=2) (Both are available at Fresh Market stores.) Brown 1 to 1 1/2 lbs hamburger and drain off excess fat. Roughly chop 6 cloves of garlic and brown for a minute or two in the same pan with the cooked meat. Add 1 jar of Eggplant Appetizer and about a teaspoon of Harissa (or other pepper sauce. Or omit) Heat until hot and serve.
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