One thing that I really encourage when striving for a healthy lifestyle is finding foods that you ACTUALLY like. Spinach salads and kale smoothies are delicious, but you can’t live on them forever. You really need to have a large repertoire of healthy recipes to sustain a lifestyle. A few years back, we really amped up our nutrition regimen because my husband was training for the Ironman. He was reading about the Paleo diet, and my sister-in-law had just received a new paleo cookbook for Christmas. This cookbook, Against All Grain soon became the first cookbook that made healthy eating a tangible reality.
Danielle Walker is a beautiful woman inside and out. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in her early 20’s, and was given a large variety of medications to deal with it. Her doctors were convinced that changing her diet wouldn’t help, but she believed otherwise. She began researching and learned that she needed to eliminate grains, lactose and refined sugars. “All-purpose flour and white sugar, which had been staples for me, were no longer options. Whatever I knew about cooking would no longer serve me. It was back to square one.” After trying a few inedible recipes, she set out on a mission to “never again miss the food (she) once loved.” Her recipes use wholesome and fresh ingredients, and leave you feeling satisfied rather than deprived!
Before we get into some of my favorite recipes of hers, allow me to introduce you to some frequently used ingredients that might be not already be in your pantry.
- Almond Flour & Almond Meal – You can buy this or make your own. I find the best price in bulk on amazon. I’ve heard Costco has a great option as well. These flours work a little differently than white flour, so you can’t just use it as a replacement. I’ve found that recipes that use these flours are generally very moist before baking, but they turn out great! These flours are also low-glycemic, so even if you don’t have a gluten allergy, they’re a healthy alternative
- Coconut Flour – Another low-glycemic flour. This flour soaks up a LOT of moisture, so there are usually only a few tablespoons in a recipe. It’s also a great thickener.
- Coconut Aminos – It’s basically a soy-sauce alternative. It’s really delicious!
- Coconut Crystals – This is a sugar alternative. It isn’t as sweet and it’s low-glycemic.
- Coconut Cream – You can buy coconut milk in a carton, but she usually recommends the kind that comes in a can because for some reason it’s just way better! You can make some pretty amazing desserts with this stuff – or use it in soups!
- Coconut Oil – If you haven’t jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon, you should =) You can literally use it for everything!!
- Ghee & Palm Shortening – These are fat and butter alternatives that she uses. I used them when I first started, but I’ve switched back to grass-fed unsalted butter since I do not have a dairy allergy.
As far as equipment, she loves the food processor and she has a few fun tools like a spiralizer and an ice cream maker that she uses from time to time. I didn’t have any of these for the first several months of making these recipes, but now I’m in love with my food processor 😉
Here are a few of my favorite recipes from this book. These recipes can give you a good idea of what a day in the life of the paleo diet would be using Danielle Walker’s, Against All Grain.
Breakfast – Maple Sage Sausage with Cinnamon Apples
Prep Time: 15min Cook Time: 15min Yield: 4-6 servings
This breakfast combination is absolutely delicious! Fry up a couple of eggs and you have definitely started your day off right!
1lb ground pork
2t chopped sage
2t maple syrup
3/4t course sea salt
1/4t cracked black pepper
1/8t crushed red pepper
2 apples, cored, peeled & sliced
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place the pork, sage, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, red pepper and marjoram in a bowl and combine well. Form the mixture into patties 2-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick.
- Fry the sausage patties in the skillet until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the patties and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Saute the apples and cinnamon in the same skillet for 8 minutes, or until tender. Return the sausage to the skillet and reheat for 2 minutes.
Lunch – Chicken Cobb Salad
Prep Time: 15min + 30min marinating time Cook Time: 14 minutes Yield: 4-6 servings
No one can resist this hearty salad. A traditional salad with an amazing dressing and artichoke hearts in place of blue cheese!
2T extra virgin olive oil
2T dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4t sea salt
pinch cracked black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2c shredded romaine hearts
1c chopped plain artichoke hearts
1c chopped baby tomatoes
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4c Basil-Thyme Vinaigrette
(Puree 1T honey, 2t Dijon mustard, 3 cloves garlic, 1/4c fresh basil leaves, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/2c balsamic vinegar in a food processor until smooth. With the blender running, slowly pour in 2/3c extra-virgin olive oil and continue blending until oil is fully incorporated).
- Place the oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the chicken in a shallow dish, pour the marinade over it and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat a grill to medium and grill the chicken until the thickest part reaches 170 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove the chicken from the heat, dice, and set aside to cool.
- Place all the lettuce in a bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss. Arrange the remaining ingredients with the chicken on top or toss everything together to serve.
Supper – Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Prep Time: 20min Cooking Time: 8-10 hours Yield: 6-8 servings
Mmmm….nothing beats a pot roast! This one always turns out just right. It pairs really well with her mashed cauliflower.
1 boneless beef chuck roast, 3-4lbs, tied with kitchen twine
2t sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2t black pepper, plus more to taste
2T coconut oil
1 yellow onion, halved
6 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
3 stalks celery, chopped
1c chopped leeks, green and white parts
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 26-oz jar chopped tomatoes
1c chicken broth
3/4c Burgundy wine
3 branches fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place the oil in a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the roast and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- Place the onion, carrots, celery, leeks and garlic in slow cooker. Place the roast on top of the vegetables, then add the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken broth and win. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen twin and add to the pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, basting th meat twice to keep it moist on top.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board and remove the twine. Slice the meat agains the grain or shred with two forks.
- Discard the thyme and rosemary and skim off the top layer of fat from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce, all the onion and half of the other vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Pour the gravy back into the pot and return the meat to the pot. Continue cooking on low for another 1-2 hours.
- Adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with extra gravy on the side.
If you try one of these recipes, I KNOW you’ll love it. Her cookbook is FULL of practical, healthy, delicious recipes!
She also has a few cookbooks that I haven’t had a chance to try yet, but I’ve looked through them at Barnes and Noble and they look absolutely fantastic!
Leave a comment and tell me which of these recipes you’re excited to try!