Back to Nature: A look at the Paleo Diet & Agave Cookies

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Farm visit on Vashon Island, WA (March, 2013)

I’m not a big fan of diets, but I thought I would share this with you. Mom was encouraging me to take a look at this food documentary, especially with my newfound food sensitivity and long-time interest in healthy eating. Now, I’ve herd a lot of fuss about this Paleo (or Paleolithic) Diet, which supposedly is one of the healthiest diets around and mimics that of our caveman ancestors who led hunter-gather lifestyles. Ok I’m intrigued…but not sold.

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The documentary presents research that shows how a diet from the Stone Age that that primarily focused on meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit and nuts actually helped us humans reach our full potential and stay lean, strong, and smart. On the flip-side, it reiterates what we have heard for so long, that our modern-day diet of processed, refined and carb-heavy foods make us sick, fat, and lazy.

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My morning oatmeal

Now I don’t know about following this diet too strictly. It seems a little crazy to overlook all of the amazing, creative and delicious food options out there. Yes, being healthy is one thing, but aren’t we supposed to enjoy our food, get playful with it, and be a little bad sometimes? (That’s just my opinion- but strict diets can work for some people). Having said that,  I am a big fan of eating whole, nutritious foods and I do think there is something to say for trying a different approach to eating if it makes you healthier, stronger, and more active. Especially  since now there are so many people with food sensitivities (like me) that go undiagnosed, diets like this one can be useful for people trying to figure out what foods may be troubling them, and what they could do without.

Healthy lunches

Healthy lunches

Here’s what mom had to say about it:

I hope you have a chance to watch the Perfect Human Diet, which is not in reference literally to returning to the Neanderthal diet but that we can learn much from that time as to what kept humans from having the same prevalent diseases we are afflicted with today.  Their stressors were different, their access and life styles were different, exposure to things and people were different, etc.  But, their level of exercise and quality of diet (fresh, local, meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds) was admirable.  The lesson: we evolved and our brains became more sophisticated because of this.  It’s hard for us now to have all the choices and expense variables to consider, but we have one life and a good brain to figure out what limits we’re willing to live with to gain a longer quality of life.  Remember also, it takes one person to create a movement, or at least affect a few around her, and for the better if sound. -Mami

Horay for healthy snacks

Horay for healthy snacks

I TOTALLY agree with this by the way! about being healthy to get the most out of life and figuring out what limits we’re willing to live with. So I still think this documentary is worth watching because there’s always something to learn and if it helps get us a little closer to our quest of healthier and happier lives, then its done its job!

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Strawberry season. YUM!

Speaking of natural eating, I have a recipe to share! These oats & agave jam cookies are made with natural ingredients and whole grain flour that make them the perfect snack to boost your energy during the day, for tea time, or as dessert. I made them special for a friend who has diabetes, but I gobbled my half right up. So yummy. The recipe I got from My New Roots “Sugar-free Thumbprint Jam Cookies”.

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Oats & Agave Jam Cookies

2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup warm coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole grain flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. organic, all-natural cornstarch
Scant 1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Zest of one lemon
Your favorite jam or preserves (I want to make these with fig jam next!)

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Preheat the oven to 350F, rack in the top 1/3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl pour the warm, melted coconut oil over the honey and whisk in the vanilla extract. In a separate medium bowl combine the flour, oats, cornstarch/arrowroot, sea salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture to the honey and stir until just combined. Let the dough sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir once or twice again – the dough should be quite stiff.
Roll the dough into balls, one level tablespoon at a time, and place an inch or so apart on the prepared baking sheets. These will spread. Use your finger or the back of a very tiny spoon to make a well in the top of each ball of dough. Fill each to the top with 1/8 teaspoon of jam. I tried to make mine into heart-shapes for the fun of it.
Bake for 7 – 9 minutes or until the bottom and edges of the cookies are just golden. Don’t over-bake.

Serve with tea or pack in your lunch for a quick afternoon snack.

Happy and healthy eating!

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1 Comment

Filed under Blogs & Books, Desserts, On Food

One response to “Back to Nature: A look at the Paleo Diet & Agave Cookies

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