Live in NOLA or planning a trip there? In my wrap up, you can see how I ate Paleo in NOLA restaurants.
When people think of New Orleans the first thing that comes to mind is usually the rich culture filled with unique traditions. One thing we do know around here is how to cook and how to eat. It’s not a gathering in NOLA without food, lots and lots of it. But what many people don’t realize is that many NOLA favorites are indeed Paleo or can be modified a bit to be Paleo. Although pralines and beignets may throw you into a major sugar coma, lets try to think of some of the foods we love to eat and are A-Okay!
When dining in the finest New Orleans restaurants, I can usually always find a fresh, local fish entree. The seafood here is possibly the best in the US, so lately I find myself passing up the Filet Mignon for a great redfish or black drum. When ordering a fish it usually comes with a sauce. I make sure to tell the waitress I cannot have wheat or dairy. (Those who still eat dairy must still ask about wheat. Many sauces include flour.) You may be hesitant about being that annoying picky customer, but I assure you wheat and dairy are very common intolerances and asked about quite frequently.
So… What about appetizers? There are usually shrimp appetizers of all sorts, numerous salads, and unique things like pork belly. I personally stay away from the soups because I don’t consume any wheat, but if you’ve ever made a gumbo or turtle soup it doesn’t have much flour and some people can tolerate if they decide to enjoy it.
And now dessert? One word, Coffee. A New Orleans meal is not complete until you finish it with a cup of French Market NOLA coffee. I personally like to ask for a fruit bowl if I want to enjoy a sweet ending to my meal. If you do insist on indulging at a dining experience, then that is your personal choice. If you have to choose between ice cream and a bread-based dessert, I’d say go with ice cream. They both of course are full of sugar but with the ice cream you at least are avoiding the grains, which I find are a bigger offender to blood sugar. Maybe go with a berries and crème option. If you insist on getting a bread-based dessert, think about sharing it or taking only a few bites. I promise if you are eating Paleo it will taste way, way too sweet and you may find you don’t enjoy the food hangover enough to indulge.
This past weekend I stayed in NOLA with my boyfriend and his family. We enjoyed lunch at Commander’s Palace on Saturday where I ordered Shrimp and Tasso, Redfish with a butter sauce, and a fruit bowl.
Note: As you know many Paleo people like to analyze and critique which foods we should and shouldn’t be eating. Most came to the consensus butter is acceptable (I get mine from grass-fed cows). There will be more on dairy later. If you are still using margarine, absolutely switch to ghee or butter.
When you eat Paleo, one of my favorite benefits is the stabilized energy throughout the day. While others were ready for naps after this meal, I felt rejuvenated almost like I could run a marathon. Eating like this makes you feel so good and energized, I find it not worth it to splurge anymore.
But we grew up eating like this… It’s hard to stop. I understand, it’s tradition and its habit. It IS all about habit, and you can make it habit to pass the bread and enjoy some crab claws instead. The health benefits outweigh a little deprivation, and personally I never feel deprived. My dad and I understand a good dining experience, and I guarantee we have a wonderful one eating a Paleo NOLA meal.