whole food ~ well made

Trying Paleo on for Size

How do you feel about the paleo diet?

When my cookbook on grassfed beef came out, a lot of people told me to send it to the paleo folks. I honestly did not know a lot about paleo diets, other than the fact that they were very, very popular. Which, when you are launching a book is a big heads up.

The problem with my book for paleo devotees, I knew, was that it had way too much grain in it. I adore whole grains of all kinds–bulgur, wheat berries, rice, multigrain bread–and my recipes had these ingredients scattered all over the place.

When a friend loaned me The Paleo Diet, I opened it thinking that maybe I’d give the diet a try. After turning a few pages, I knew that I simply could not, would not (in a plane, in the rain…) prepare and consume that much meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All that bone broth and organ meats were a turn off.

[I will say that there are several paleo blogs where the food looks diverse and amazing, like nomnompaleo, and if Michelle ever wants to quit all her jobs and come be my personal chef, I will convert at once.]

I know. Weird coming from the author of a beef cookbook. But, if you know me by now, you understand that I like a little meat with a lot of salad or veggies. I’m the gal who orders the entree because and only because of the side dishes that come with it.

While in Portland last week, I had lunch at Dick’s Kitchen. I’ve known about Dick’s for a long time because all their meat comes from Carman Ranch located here in the Wallowas. At last, I would meet its founder and namesake Richard Satnick.

Having lunch with Richard was a bit like going to a museum with the curator. Instead of a narrow lens, I saw the whole menu through his concept, his principles and the health issues that motivated him to build a dining empire from dietary restrictions. There were vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options as well as complete menus within what Richard calls the “Paleolithic paradigm.” (Gawd, I just love that.)

I’ve often resisted diets that are about what you give up rather than what you get. However, I’m lucky that I do not have any food-related allergies or sensitivities and neither do my husband or kids. But I look at the school lunch menu each week and the restaurant offerings and our American diet in general and often think, “There are way too many breads and starches for anyone here.” (Then, when you find out about foaming agents used to give these 500+ bread products more loft, it’s like pure science fiction but not.)

At Dick’s, I ate the most juicy and full-flavored grassfed burger on kale salad I’ve ever had. There was no lack, especially with the homemade ketchup. I devoured the yam “not-fries” while sipping my raspberry kombucha.

I especially appreciated that, as a mom, I could bring my kids (who were home in Joseph being fed by Dad) to Dick’s Kitchen and feel good about what they were eating no matter what they ordered. (No more guilt over root beer and hot dogs.) I loved the fact that whole groups of people–families, friends, co-workers–can gather and eat together and everyone can have exactly what they need to feel good and live better.

Now, back at home, I’m going to try to master that perfect DK hamburger seared to a crisp in a cast-iron skillet. I just happen to have a little bit of grassfed ground beef on hand.


  1. Robin

    This restaurant is right around the corner from the home of my friend Liz. I ordered the same thing when I was there and, boy howdy, was it good.

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