Welcome to my zesty paleo website!
You may wonder why zesty? Let’s take a moment and have look at the list of synonyms and related words for zesty: spicy, gingery, pungent, tasty, flavorful, delicious, palatable, savory, lively, exciting and so on. I’ve also realized that citrus flavor, which I love, is missing in so many dishes that would benefit greatly from it. I hope that this introduction gives you the idea what is behind the zesty paleo or I’d rather add “it almost does” as there is more to it…
Hi, I am Maria, recipe-developer, chef and photographer behind the zesty paleo recipes,
living in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada. I call “home” two beautiful countries: Canada and France and I follow the autoimmune protocol-specific paleo diet (the AIP) in order to calm down my overzealous immunity. I initially developed hashimoto disease in my late twenties, although for a number of years after being diagnosed I continued to live a “normal” life. My personal fight against hashimoto hypothyroidism began in 2003 and I brought it to the next level by embracing the paleo lifestyle at the beginning of 2014.
One of my backgrounds (medical nurse), coupled with a lifelong interest in the alternative medicine (including courses from Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and certification program from Faculté Libre de Médecines Naturelles), has steered me in the right direction and here I am. 😉 In my opinion any autoimmune disease is comparable to an onion with its multiple layers, each layer being identified with one of the numerous causes that build up and form an autoimmune disease, so I like to attack my own “onion” with a fork and a knife!
In the past I used to have that is called “fragile health”, suffering from a myriad of health problems, such as multiple colds throughout the year, various allergy symptoms and I even had a childhood asthma. My symptoms seemed to progress as years went by. In my early thirties I developed musculoskeletal aches and pains and by mid thirties I started to have occasional pins and needles throughout my body. I used to visit numerous specialists, who tried to convince me that it was “all in my head”, as they couldn’t find any physical damage done to my body as of yet. What helped me to survive was the so-called “candida diet”, which I started to follow in my early thirties. I used to have it for a couple of times a year and it kept me in a better health, because one of the main ingredients removed from the candida diet was gluten!
Since embarking on the candida diet, I started to notice that eating certain foods (notably sugars and dairy) would make me feel worse, though I was still far from suspecting gluten to be the main culprit. Later on, I noticed that eating sugars (without gluten) wouldn’t make me feel that bad and it provoked a suspicion that I might be gluten intolerant. So, I started to avoid gluten as much as I could, by choosing gluten-free alternatives. I’ve even passed the blood test (intended for celiac patients), which came out negative, so I continued to eat gluten occasionally. It went on like this for a couple of more years, up to the point when I started to have some dental issues, resulted in removal of the tooth. Therefore, I was forced to be on a liquid diet for a week or so. Gosh, how I craved baked goodies at that time! As soon as I could eat something solid I bought a gluten-based treat and felt horrible (a lot of inflammation and pains) right after. This is when I decided to remove gluten completely from my diet and became 100% gluten-free.
Consequently, I followed gluten-free diet for over a month and even though I saw improvements in symptoms, it became more obvious to me that eating certain foods tended to intensify some of the symptoms I had. This was a turning point for me as I started to question again what was going wrong with me and this time around internet was ready to give me the answer, which was to embark on the paleo diet.
I consider myself pretty lucky to have entered this new stage of life well prepared, with a solid cooking experience and a great number of culinary explorations. Extensive traveling and official residency in five countries (the URSS, Kazakhstan, the UAE, France and Canada) brought out of me an unflagging zeal to experiment in the kitchen. When first embarked on the paleo journey, I oftentimes found myself creating my own paleo dishes and that is why I thought that starting a blog dedicated to my own recipes could be a good idea. My medical background proofed to be pretty useful as it encourages me to create recipes by following the rules of healthy eating, notably I try to incorporate fruits more, thus reducing the use of sugars, I also opt for a reduced sodium intake by using herbs and spices and I try not to overheat fats whenever possible. As I love Indian food, spices constitute a big part of my cuisine; therefore, you might find some of my recipes too spicy or too zesty, but feel free to experiment and readjust spices to your taste.