In the past year, I have cut out a number of foods that I thought I couldn’t live without. I thought I’d crave grilled cheese sandwiches, diet coke, puff-pastry brie, tater tots, enchiladas, mashed potatoes, and caramel macchiatos so severely that the Paleo diet would crash and burn from my system faster than any other dietary regimen I’d ever followed. I didn’t believe that whole-grains were bad for you, or that there was the slightest possibility that I could be lactose intolerant. If you had asked me in June if gluten allergies are real, I would have likely told you that they were simply a figment of people’s imagination.
How times have changed. While I still (and probably always will) miss beer and am known to indulge in a gluten-free chocolate ganache cupcake from time-to-time, I have successfully replaced many of my former favorites with real food. I have learned to make delicious treats with almond meal and coconut flour; I’ve perfected the chicken roast; I know how to navigate restaurant menus like a champion; and I have found a way to put sandwiches out of my mind. The secret to my success? I have two: I spend too much time scouting new recipes and cooking techniques on Pinterest and I am constantly on the lookout for Paleo substitutes for the Standard American Diet (the S.A.D.). Substitutes, such as spaghetti squash in place of noodles or sweet potatoes mashed with coconut milk and ghee over S.A.D. garlic mashed potatoes, keep me away from meals that will leave me sicker than a sorority girl after a fraternity triad. This substitution is one of my favorites and keeps me going when I am sick and tired of drinking bottle after bottle after bottle of sparkling water. While not exactly the most seasonally appropriate drink out there, it is definitely a thirst quencher worthy of indulging in while you daydream your way out of winter storms and into tropical vacations that I hope are in your near future.
Paleo-ish Virgin Mojito
3 slices lime
Few sprigs fresh mint
Few drops of honey OR (warning – not Paleo) half packet of Stevia
12 ounces of sparkling water
1. Place lime, mint and honey (or sweetener) in the bottom of a pint glass. Cover with ice and muddle until ice is crushed and juices from lime, mint and honey are combined. Top with sparkling water and more ice (if needed). Enjoy!