Typically, I buy fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, and only a minimal amount of packaged foods, like curry pastes or a certain peanut sauce I like in my stir-frys. I make my own vinaigrettes for salad, bake my own desserts and never tire of creating new appetizer recipes. Bob does superb casseroles (always on the rather large size), a mean mushroom sauce for steak, and a bearnaise sauce that pairs beautifully with grilled salmon.
We don’t eat out a lot, and one of the reasons for that (besides the expense) is that we are both good cooks, and, more importantly, we both enjoy cooking. At the risk of sounding too boastful, our home cooking is almost always better than the food we’d get in a restaurant.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that cooking from scratch is no big deal for us, and we do it willingly. In fact, we prefer it. So the switch to a Paleo back-to-basics diet should be a pretty smooth transition, shouldn’t it? Well yes. But after almost a full week in, I’m recognizing in myself a continual anxiety in the back of my mind about it, and that surprises me.
It’s not the cooking without packaged or processed foods, or cooking simple meals with real ingredients. We do that already. I think the anxiety stems from a couple sources: It’s the shift away from former staples in my diet — cheese, bread, pasta — the things I could always rely on to bring together a quick meal. Baked mac and cheese? Lasagna? Yes, please. It’s the increased label reading to figure out if a certain ingredient is okay or not. It’s scanning menus and realizing that the only ‘safe’ thing to order is the salad, again. (Sigh.) And it’s thinking about how to work protein into every single meal, especially breakfast.
It is definitely a shift, enough to vex me a little more now that I’ve got 3 solid weeks of the challenge ahead. Tonight I quelled my anxiety a little by making a meal that has already made it into our ‘normal’ repertoire before now: chunky tomato and beef sauce atop roasted spaghetti squash, with some parmesan cheese melted on top.