Tuesday 16 January 2018

Eating in: Eat like a caveman

'The Paleo Diet' can make you leaner and less prone to illness, says Daniel Green

Pancakes with berries and maple syrup.
Pancakes with berries and maple syrup.
Walnut and banana bread
Tuna Tartare
Honey-glazed salmon with ginger.
Grilled artichokes with white truffle mayo.
The Paleo Diet by Daniel Green, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Clare Winfield
Broccoli and Parsnip soup.

Daniel Green

Paleo has without a doubt become a buzz word in leading health diets. Often referred to as the Caveman or Stone Age diet, 'Paleo' refers to the Palaeolithic Era, about 2.5 million years ago, when our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet based on meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Some experts believe the body has not evolved to deal with the modern way of eating, and that the natural diet of our Palaeolithic cousins could hold the key to reducing the risk of many diseases and chronic conditions.

Daniel Green, an author, healthy eating expert and in-house chef at the NBC network in the US, knows how hard it is both to lose weight and keep it off -- he managed to lose 29.5kg (65lb) and has kept it off for the last 20 years.

His diet is based on unprocessed whole foods, which contain fewer additives and nasty trans fats and have no hidden sugar or salt. It's also gluten-free, which helps banish those recurring problems with bloating and digestion.

  • 'The Paleo Diet' by Daniel Green, published on January 16 by Kyle Books. RRP €21.50
  • Photography by Claire Winfield

WALNUT AND BANANA BREAD

I first tried this banana bread when filming a show with the American cooking icon Paula Deen. I have tried many versions to reduce the fat, and think this one is the winner. Serves eight.

Contains 220 calories, 15.8g fat, 1.9g saturates, 11.3g sugar, 0.1g salt, 7.5g protein and 2.3g fibre.

YOU WILL NEED

  • Oil, for greasing
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g almond flour
  • 1½ tbsps raw honey
  • 70g walnuts, roughly chopped

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and lightly oil a 20 x 12.5cm non-stick loaf tin.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, then add the almond flour and honey. Now stir in the walnuts and your mashed banana.

Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

TIP

Walnuts are high in calories and fat but, much like the case with avocados, it is the healthy kind of fat that keeps you feeling full. Walnuts are also a great source of fibre and protein.

PANCAKES WITH BERRIES and MAPLE SYRUP

Pancakes always make a delicious brunch -- and who says that you can't have them on a Paleo diet? Simply replace regular flour with coconut and almond flour, and you can achieve light, fluffy, gluten-free results. Serves two.

Contains 532 calories, 37.6g fat, 5.7g saturates, 18.5g sugar, 0.4g salt, 24.5g protein and 12g fibre.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 100g almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 50ml water
  • 75ml prune juice
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Olive oil spray
  • 200g fresh berries
  • 1 tbsp grade B maple syrup or the same amount of melted, raw honey

METHOD

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, eggs and water together until you are left with a smooth batter -- any lumps should soon disappear with a little mixing -- then whisk in the prune juice and nutmeg and set aside for a minute or two.

Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and allow it to get hot -- about 2 or 3 minutes.

Spray the pan with a little oil and add in a spoonful of batter (it is best not to crowd the pan, so just make these pancakes one at a time).

Let the batter bubble a little and cook for a minute, then flip over and cook for 1-2 minutes on the reverse side.

Finally, turn onto a plate and serve with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

TIP

When you make these pancakes, try and cook them as soon as the batter is made as the coconut flour can swell and thicken over time. It doesn't keep overnight.

TIP

The Paleo plan cuts out all processed and refined sugars, but does allow a few natural sweeteners. The best types to use are grade B maple syrup, which is 100pc pure and distilled naturally, and raw honey, which is again unprocessed and contains all the nutrients the bees put into it.

ASIAN TUNA TARTARE

I love tuna tartare and have created and tasted many different versions over the years. However, this one, which represents the flavours of Asia, has to be my favourite. Add a little green chilli if you like things spicy. Serves four.

Contains 322 calories, 20.7g fat, 4.2g saturates, 1.8g sugar, 0.2g salt, 31.3g protein and 2.6g fibre.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 x 250g tuna steaks (fresh)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 avocado, finely cubed
  • Handful of fresh coriander, extra to garnish

METHOD

Finely chop the tuna steaks and then place them inside a large bowl with the sesame seeds, sesame oil, lemon juice, chopped red onion, chopped spring onion and cubed avocado. Mix everything well. Now add the coriander to the bowl and mix everything again.

Spoon the mixture onto a plate. Sometimes a loose presentation is nice but, if you want to serve it like a traditional tartare, use a chef's ring as a mould and press the tuna mixture down firmly so that it holds its shape.

To serve the tartare, remove the ring, if using, then scatter over a few sesame seeds and some extra coriander.

TIP

Sesame oil is wonderfully rich in flavour. However, a little goes a long way, so add just a bit at a time and taste as you go.

GRILLED ARTICHOKES WITH WHITE TRUFFLE MAYO

I love when I create a healthy dish that doesn't feel 'diet' at all, and this is pure decadence. I always remember being taken to an expensive restaurant in New York and inhaling the aroma when white truffles were being shaved over pasta. Serves four.

Contains 260 calories, 26.3g fat, 4.3g saturates, 1.1g sugar, 0g salt, 4.6g protein and 1g fibre.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 4 large globe artichoke hearts, trimmed and halved
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as rosemary and thyme
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • For the truffle mayo:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsps white truffle oil

METHOD

Place the trimmed and halved artichoke hearts in a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer this over a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Combine the olive oil, garlic and herbs in a small bowl and set aside to infuse. Meanwhile, make the truffle mayo dip. This is just like a mayonnaise, so place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk as you drizzle in the truffle oil. Very slowly, incorporate it all so that it thickens up.

Now drain the artichokes and place on paper towels to absorb any water. Next, heat a griddle pan (or the barbecue) and lightly brush the artichokes with the infused garlic and herb oil. Cook them for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Serve with the white truffle mayonnaise and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

TIP

Artichokes are packed with antioxidants, making them incredible defenders against cancer, heart disease and illness.

BROCCOLI AND PARSNIP SOUP

This is the perfect for a winter's day. If you like a thick bowl of soup, use a little less stock and roughly blend the vegetables so you don't smooth out all the texture. Serves four.

Contains 196 calories, 10.8g fat, 1.6g saturates, 9.1g sugar, 0.4g salt, 8.2g protein and 10.3g fibre. Serves four.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 parsnips, 3½ peeled and chopped, ½ thinly sliced or shaved and reserved
  • 400g broccoli florets
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and sweat the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsnips (except the half that you set aside), broccoli and garlic to the pot and stir. Cover with the stock and simmer for 25 minutes or until the parsnips are tender. Remove from the heat.

Using either a liquidiser or handheld blender, blend the vegetables until they have turned smooth.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the reserved parsnip shavings until they turn crisp and golden.

Now pour the soup into a saucepan, season with black pepper, then heat until barely simmering.

Remove from the heat, divide between your serving bowls and garnish with a few parsnip chips.

TIP

Broccoli is a true superfood and contains more nutrients than any other vegetable out there -- so eat it as often as you can.

 

HONEY-GLAZED SALMON WITH GINGER

Honey and ginger are two of my favourite ingredients as they create magic when cooked together. Both are excellent for the immune system, so this makes a lovely dinner all through winter. Serves four.

Contains 707 calories, 44.2g fat, 7.4g saturates, 13.8g sugar, 0.6g salt, 63.8g protein and 4.6g fibre.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 4 x 300g skinless salmon fillets

For the glaze:

  • 2 tbsps raw honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 x 2.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

For the cabbage:

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 small cabbage, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 spring onions, chopped

METHOD

Heat a large non-stick pan over a high heat and add the salmon. If you have a good-quality, non-stick pan, there should be enough oils in the fish to cook it without the need to add any extra oil. Cook it for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by placing the raw honey, mustard, lemon and ginger together in a bowl and stirring to combine. Once done, set the mixture aside.

When your salmon is just about cooked, spoon the glaze over the top, then take off the heat. The glaze will caramelise in the hot pan and turn the salmon sticky and brown.

To cook the cabbage, heat half of the olive oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, then add the remaining oil and cook for another 5 minutes, tossing all the time (if you need more moisture in the dish, add a drop or two of water). Now add the garlic and sesame seeds and cook for a further minute.

Finally, turn the cabbage out onto a plate, season with black pepper and top with the glazed salmon. Scatter the spring onion over the top and serve with a few extra sesame seeds.

Irish Independent

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