A tangerine and a bag of assorted nuts, part of the paleo diet, greeted guests at a recent food talk and culinary demonstration at Northside Library on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
“Our mission is to help people find healthy food around them,” says Kendra McPhee, community advisor for Tasteful. “At Tasteful, we try to guide people toward eating healthier food. Paleo cooking is centered around the concept of eating real food- fresh ingredients that haven’t been processed or packaged. The paleo diet includes foods that can be hunted and gathered, such as vegetables, nuts and seeds, meats, eggs and fruit. Only meats that have been responsibly raised without antibiotics or hormones are part of the diet.
Paleo leaves out food products that came into existence after the advent of agriculture, such as dairy, all grains, including bread and rice, beans and legumes and added sugar. Anything that has hormones or pesticides is not included.”
During the presentation, McPhee shared a paleo-friendly chocolate pudding recipe inspired by The Pretty Bee blog while using her own measurements: three avocadoes, a quarter cup of honey, a quarter cup of raw unsalted almond butter, one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, six tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, and one-and-a-half cups of unsweetened pure almond milk. The bright green flesh of the cut avocadoes went into the blender first. The other ingredients followed. The pudding, offered in spoon-sized samples to attendees, tasted creamy with a distinctive nutty aroma.
While preparing the pudding, McPhee responded to audience questions. When asked about the connection between CrossFit and paleo, McPhee shares that a founder of the CrossFit exercise regimen believes in a diet that follows a paleo framework.
“CrossFit exercising is a series of functional movements that our ancestors experienced when they were in survival mode, unlike today when we’re sitting at a desk most of the time, which is not a comprehensive natural body movement,” McPhee says. “The paleo diet does the same thing to your body by removing industrialized processed food and emphasizing foods that were naturally eaten over the history of humankind.”
When asked to recommend a paleo-friendly restaurant, McPhee introduced a Tasteful-designed app, Paleo Digest, for restaurant goers who need recommendations for local venues that cater to this diet.
“The most paleo restaurant in the Bay Area is called Mission Heirloom in Berkeley,” McPhee says.
McPhee assured another audience member that alcohol is not forbidden in paleo dieting.
“The paleo framework accepts wine and tequila,” McPhee says. “The reason being is that wine comes from grapes and tequila is a natural sugar. It’s from agave. So the way that those two forms of alcohol are made generally is fairly safe for your body and is more easily digested. There are some paleo people who are more strict with it because alcohol is also sugar… so you can have it in moderation.”