Ham and Avocado Clafoutis {Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Paleo}

by Jen on January 22, 2013

I am doing it. I’ve made the conscious decision to go Paleo. For at least 30 days, before I reassess the situation and adjust accordingly. I’m going to miss all the things I’ve grown to love: pasta, rice, bread, sweet treatsBut this is just until I reach my goals of losing weight and gaining some lean muscle. Then afterwards, who  knows? I may do an 80/20 Paleo or Primal Paleo (explained further when you read below).

Please note: I’ve been receiving emails asking if I am going Paleo for life. I just wanted to clarify that I am doing this for 30 days, or until I lose my target amount of weight (which is 10 to 15 pounds). After I eat clean Paleo for 30 days, I will review and adjust the plan accordingly (very normal for Paleo), and most likely switch to 80/20 Paleo, which is 80% of the week eating clean Paleo, and 20% of the week eating “regular” food.

For now, stay with me for some history bits. Yes, I am a bit of a geek that way. But if you don’t care much for this stuff, skip this and go straight away to the recipe.

If you haven’t heard of the Paleo “diet” (I use the word “diet” cautiously), Wiki can answer your queries here and so can Dr. Mercola here, and author Robb Wolf here. In a nutshell, Paleo is a nutritional regime that mimics (“mimic” being the operative word) the eating habits of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. If you remember some of your History stuff, you will know that we, Homo Sapiens, started as a nomadic bunch who hunted and foraged for food. This is known as the Paleolithic Age. What did they eat? They ate lean meat (game), vegetables, roots, fruits, and nuts.

Then, in a turn of events, we Home Sapiens, discovered that we can plant stuff and domesticate some beasts. This was when our ancestors abandoned the nomadic ways and settled on lands (usually near a body of water), so they can farm their food - we became agriculturists. This is known as the Neolithic Age. And what did we eat? We also ate lean meat, veggies, roots, fruits, and nuts, but then we also ate the large amount of grains that we planted. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with eating grains, but the “grains” we know nowadays (these modern times) are so genetically-modified that they are a far cry from the ancient grains that we used to grow.

In the book “The World: A History,” author Felipe Fernandez-Armesto talked lengthily about this critical period in our history when Home Sapiens switched from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.  This defined us as a civilization.

Medical anthropologists noted that with this switch came also a remarkable change in the health and mortality of Home Sapiens. Strikingly, we started becoming afflicted with what’s been called “diseases of affluence” or “diseases of civilization” – osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma, allergies, hypertension, obesity, depression, cancer, to name a few. None of our Paleolithic ancestors had any of these afflictions! It’s been argued also that our agrarian revolution has paved the way for GMO‘s and highly-processed Frankenstein-type foods today, i.e. from grains to hotdogs to fake cheeses.

As a result of decades of research in evolutionary biology, some scientists believe that if we mimic our ancestral dietary habits, which are actually built-in to our evolutionary blueprint (otherwise known as DNA), we can be leaner, stronger, and live longer lives. In other words, we can have the body we were designed to have!

Known also as the “caveman’s diet” or “original human diet,” Paleo stipulates an eating regimen high on lean protein (both pasture meat and wild fish/seafood), heavy on plants (veggies), moderate fruits and nuts, low or no dairy (depends on which type of Paleo you are), definitely no grains, no refined sugar, no artificial preservatives.

Although Paleo is based on an ancient regime, it does not, however, mean that it is a ‘rudimentary’ (read: boring) diet, nor does it reflect the exact quality of cavemen food. We all know it would be next to impossible to perfectly replicate a Paleolithic diet , given our current situation (industrialization and all…). However, it attempts to remodel a food paradigm based on the hunter-gatherer’s diet, which is quite different from what is recommended by our government (a.k.a. political interests / corporations) today (see food pyramid - usually heavy on grains).

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with the mechanics of Paleo. If you are interested in the science behind it, get Robb Wolf’s book, “The Paleo Solution” from the health section of your bookstore.

Do I buy in to Paleo? I think I lean towards “YES,” but results speak louder to me, so we’ll see! What I hope is to lose a few pounds from this, maybe eliminate my vertigo, clear up acne on my forehead, have more energy, and live a more active, injury-free life – all the usual issues brought by the stress of having 3 kids, a full-time job, and a part-time blog.

I’ve started my Paleo journey already, so you’re going to see a whole slew of no-grain, no-refined-sugar posts in the next few weeks / months, but don’t fret! I am the only dieter at home, so my family will still be eating “regular” food, although with Paleo leanings. I’m sure you will see a smattering of non-Paleo foods here and there in the time to come. Plus, I have many other recipes to post that were created before this switch.

I am sure that this will not be a goodbye to carbs forever. I will be back to indulge in them a little. Just on occasion. As what many Paleo tribers do in time (called 80/20 Paleo), they will eat Paleo-approved foods on weekdays but conscientiously engage in treats and cheats on the weekends. Like I said, this will come after a solid Paleo foundation has been established.

That said, please be nice to me. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all regime, and even for Paleo, there are many classifications: there’s the Autoimmune Paleo, Low-Carb Paleo, Lacto Paleo (or Primal), 80/20 Paleo, Vegetarian Paleo. It’s easy to criticize people (“you’re not Paleo enough!” or “that’s not real Paleo!”), so as a reference, can I interest you in reading this “Seven Shades of Paleo” article?

To me, Paleo seems to be a lifestyle regime that makes sense TO ME; it feels instinctive and organic. I don’t feel deprived; I don’t feel restricted, in a sense; I don’t feel hungry. And whether I become an 80/20 Paleo or a Lacto Paleo, it feels like I still have control over my life! Let’s see where this takes me…

To start, I have a Paleo-friendly, savoury clafoutis dish. It is grain-free and dairy-free. I also used organic, free-run eggs, as well as preservative-free bone-in ham.

I’m not going to kid you, going Paleo is not cheap! Grass-fed beef, antibiotic-free poultry, nitrate-free cured meats, wild-caught fish, free-run eggs, organic-everything-possible…it all adds up! Carbs are waaaaay cheaper! 99 cents for a 2-pound bag of pasta compared to $20 for a tiny piece of steak! Obviously, those who are in a tighter budget will find it hard to stick to strict Paleo because of the price of protein alone is through-the-roof. Why is it so hard to be healthy? Oh, don’t even get me started on the conspiracy theories and the Monsanto stuff…!

But please, don’t let that ruin your mood. Let’s have some savoury Paleo clafoutis…

Ham and Avocado Clafoutis {Paleo}
5.0 from 3 reviews
Print
Recipe Type: Paleo
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 as appetizer; 2 as main
I classify this recipe as Paleo because it satisfies these criteria: grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and preservative-free.
Ingredients
  • extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil or olive oil
  • 5 eggs, free-run
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) almond meal
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) coconut flour
  • 100 ml (7 tbsp / 3.5 fl oz) organic coconut milk
  • 100 ml (7 tbsp / 3.5 fl oz) homemade or organic almond milk
  • a handful of finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, savory, thyme, chervil, oregano
  • 1 medium red onion, finely minced
  • 225 grams (1/2 lb / 8 oz) bone-in ham, antibiotic-/hormone-/nitrate-free, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and brush with olive oil or coconut oil a 7 x 4 pan or individual ramekins.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sea salt until pale yellow and frothy.
  3. Sift and fold in the almond meal and coconut flour, and give it a few stirs.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and almond milk.
  5. Add your chopped herbs and mix until combined. Set aside the mixture.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, add some olive oil or coconut oil. Sweat the red onions until soft, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the egg mixture.
  7. Pour the batter in the pan or ramekins.
  8. Scatter evenly the diced avocado and ham over the egg mixture.
  9. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden and set.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 22, 2013 at 1:10 am

Very interesting post, Jen! I haven’t read too much about Paleo, but I’m definitely intrigued and looking forward to hearing about your experience. Your clafoutis looks delicious!

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Nami | Just One Cookbook January 22, 2013 at 1:30 am

I heard about the Paleo diet and I told myself I’d probably end up becoming a super cranky wife/mom. :D That’s my excuse not to try… but please keep inspiring me! I’ll try to reduce carbs which will definitely help me reduce my weight! Your ham and avocado clafoutis looks delicious and pretty!

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The Café Sucré Farine January 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

With food like this, who needs refined carbs and grains? This looks wonderful!

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amy @ fearless homemaker January 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet, so it’s so interesting to read about it. I will say this – if it includes dishes that look just as wonderful as this clafoutis, I know I’d love it! =)

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Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) January 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Don’t laugh but the first time I saw the term Paleo attached to a muffin I wanted to buy at a coffee shop I thought it was the brand name (the muffin tasted good!). I’ve learned more about it since but your post was quite an education for me still–thanks! I admire your commitment to this–not sure I’d be able to do it but I’m looking forward to the creative spin you put on your dishes. I’m sure I’ll be drooling over each one, as usual. :)

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Phenomenal Mama January 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Good luck on your way to going back to your pre-baby body. I am sure you will get there in no time! As for me, I enjoy food, and carbs, too much!:)

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Jen January 23, 2013 at 1:15 am

Tins, I’m eating “clean” or strict Paleo for the first 30 days (usual protocol), then will reassess my situation whether I do lose some weight, whether I want to continue, etc. Most likely after the 30 days are up, I will switch to something more reasonable for me, which is 80% of the week eat clean Paleo and 20% of the week be allowed to indulge in some pasta, rice, bread, or gluten-free treats at least :)

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Patty January 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Looks good Jen! I’ll be curious to follow your progress with the Paleo diet which I knew zero about before I read your post so thank you very much for the info! Everything you make looks delicious so I have a feeling you will be soon mastering this new cooking method and whipping up killer dishes!!!

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Suzanne Perazzini January 22, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Congratulations, Jen. I am very proud of your clear statement of intent. I never did that, I just slid into it on my blog and I don’t think I have even put the name paleo to my diet yet but that’s what it is, of course. You have obviously done your homework well. I hope others listen. Good luck.

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Eha January 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm

To each their own, as you say. I first came up against the ‘paleo’ diet some three decades ago in my still ongoing nutritional studies. Personally I abhor the word ‘diet’ in the first place. I believe in a planned balance in everyday life! I have almost eliminated refined sugars from my diet, but would be utterly lost without lovely grainy breads, brown rice or wholemeal pastas. These give me [and notice I do make this personal] longterm energy and definitely a wonderful balance in my mental life: in spite of quite a difficult stage in life, I do not feel the stresses to any degree or get depressed: I am certain the good carbs help me in that! As I said: to each their own :D !

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CCU January 23, 2013 at 4:48 am

I am sure you will do very well my friend, this diet sounds pretty hard but with your skills, it will be a snap :D
I love this dish!

Cheers
CCU

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Sandra's Easy Cooking January 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

In many ways eating healthy way is not cheap at all…when I was juicing for 7 days I must say it was pretty expensive ’cause all I was taking in was organic fruits and veggies in a juice and then add some salads and nuts to fill me up a bit.
I am proud of you and keep going until you achieve your goal…Paleo sounds like you said like not really a diet but a lifestyle change.
Your clafoutis looks wonderful and very delicious! Good luck!xo

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts January 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Good for you. Looking forward to seeing how it goes! This clafoutis looks delicious, you would never miss anything while eating it!

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Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} January 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I am proud of you! A co-worker is also now doing this and I learned of it from you. THank you for sharing the details. Your clafoutis looks delicious and nothing like “diet food”. Good luck and I know that you will accomplish your goal!!!

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The Kitchen Boudoir January 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm

What a great idea to make a savoury clafoutis! I wish you well on your Paleo journey. I’ve been cutting out gluten for the past month and feel so good I might just keep going. I’m looking forward to being inspired by your Paleo recipes. Also, re: vertigo – have you heard of/tried this method of head movements – the Epley Maneuver? I suffered from vertigo a few years ago and it went away when my chiropractor did it for me. If you’re interested, there are tutorials on YouTube.

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Jen January 25, 2013 at 12:21 am

I’ve heard of the Epley Maneuver! I don’t get vertigo often, maybe once a year (is that too much already?). In 2010, I got my worst one! Sometimes, it feels just like I’m on the “verge” of having vertigo, but I sleep it off and it’s gone the next day. But I don’t like that feeling though – it can be quite debilitating :(

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Tessa January 24, 2013 at 12:25 am

Lovely recipe and great photos!

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Amy Jo | Pure and Simple January 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

Whatever you are going…looks like you are heading in the right direction! This egg dish is perfect.

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Suzanne January 24, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Looks like a good recipe, and I have so many of those ingredients on hand and haven’t used coconut flour much since I don’t really know how to use it. Good luck on your diet, hope it’s successful for you.

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Raymund January 25, 2013 at 12:22 am

I am trying to go paleo as well its quite tough due to ingredient replacements, though I cant do it 100% were doing as much as we can. Lovely recipe

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Amy (Savory Moments) January 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

Good for you! I’ve been reading a lot about traditional diets from Nourishing Traditions to Paleo. The more I investigate, the more I am thinking these are the way to go. I just made my first ferment the other day! I’m looking forward to reading more of your Paleo recipes along the way.

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