Yummy Brussels Sprouts Chips. Photo credit nomnompaleo.com
"Mommy can I have more Brussels sprouts, please?" is something I never thought I'd hear in a million years from my picky eater and 4 year old son, Nevan. Especially not followed by "mommy, more Brussels sprouts, mommy, please mommy" from my 2 year old daughter, Milla. But this has been happening for a few months now. So here we are and Brussels sprouts have become a staple food in our home. How did this happen? To tell you the story I have to go back a few years. I had my daughter 2 years ago this January and I still haven't lost the baby weight. Let's be honest, it wasn't the baby weight anymore. It came off pretty nicely after my first child, but this extra 20 (some days more) pounds has been sitting with me for far too long. I've tried different things. I went on a low fat diet a year ago and I lost some weight, but I felt miserable and hungry all the time. I was also constantly eating; 3 meals and 3 snacks a day was too much. I had to lug food around with me everywhere I went. I felt hungry all the time and the diet didn't last very long. I gained even more weight back and have been telling myself that I just need to get back to it. A year later I still hadn't and was stricken with guilt about not trying something else to lose the weight. I also tried to count calories using an app on my phone, but again found myself restricted, hungry and losing less weight than I had hoped.
About 3 months ago I decided to try out the Paleo diet. I had a few friends who went on it not as a diet, but adopted it as a lifestyle for health related reasons. They lost some weight and I thought that I had nothing to lose (except the weight!). I committed to 30 days to try it out. The diet consists of eating animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts and eggs. At first this seemed incredibly restrictive to me. Especially since most days I started off with cereal, had bread, rice or pasta for lunch and dinner and inevitably at one point during my day I snacked on crackers or whole wheat nacho chips. I haven't touched any of these things for over 3 months and I feel amazing. I'm actually lying to you. About 3 weeks into being paleo I ordered some sweet potato fries (these are allowed every once in a while) and they were battered in something. Some sort of flour mixture, I assume. After eating just a few I felt like I could lay down in the middle of the floor for a big nap. I was exhausted and had a really heavy, gross feeling in my stomach, which I hadn't felt in weeks. I never wanted to feel like that again.
The challenge with Paleo to me was that I didn't know how to cook without pasta, rice, flour, dairy and all the different sauces and packaged foods I've grown to depend on. In addition, my daughter is allergic to eggs and nuts, so these have also been eliminated from family meals. Don't think that all we eat is massive hunks of meat with bland vegetables.
On the contrary. For the first time in my life I am making the most amazing meals and am loving cooking. Things like Vietnamese pork wraps, baked salmon with Metropolitan chef spice, curry burgers with sweet potato chips, and caraway chicken drumsticks have become family favourites. What's even better, is that my kids are loving the new foods. They are no longer filling up on rice or pasta, but eating their veggies, fish and meats. I've even looked for ways to incorporate new things that my kids would have never tried before into meals and I found huge success. My 2 year old's favourite veggies now include roasted cauliflower with leeks as well as Brussels sprouts chips. My now-less-picky 4 year old LOVES Brussels sprouts chips. He may actually be addicted to them. When he comes home from daycare his first words are "Mommy, what are we having for dinner?" If part of the answer is Brussels sprouts chips he will throw his hands up in the air and shout out a "YAY" in excitement. Sometimes he does a dance. I am not exaggerating even a little.
I am also feeling better these days. My skin has cleared up, my lower back pain is gone, I sleep way better at night and my mood just feels more balanced. I eat three good sized meals a day and I don't feel like snacking most of the time because I feel full. When I feel like snacking, I do it, and I don't feel guilty about it. I eat food that is nourishing, super tasty and good for me. After I eat I feel full, but not the way I felt after eating those battered fries. I don't think about food all the time because I am not hungry all the time. I am also feeling more happy every day. I love how much my kids are enjoying meal times. My weight loss journey continues. I have lost some weight, but am still working toward losing some more. At least now I feel like I am on the right path and it is not a temporary one. And my kids LOVE BRUSSELS SPROUTS!
Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon (I love bacon!)
Photo credit nomnompaleo.com
I'd love to hear from you! Let me know if you tried out these Brussels sprouts recipes and how you and your family liked them.