Paleo Mardi Gras; Can It Be Done?


I am going to start this post with a caveat: I’m not going to pretend it’s easy to find a raw kale salad and a plain grass-fed steak offered on the typical menu if you’re actually in New Orleans this coming Tuesday, but I will tell you that a colleague of mine who is completely Paleo made it work there. 

Alternatively, you can host your own Mardi Gras or Carnival fete, Paleo style, without even being in Louisiana!

Many people think straight away of a drinks, and a lot of them, and again, I’d be a bit naive if I thought everyone were about to nix the Mardi Gras Mojitos and Hurricanes for sparkling water with lime.  However, do yourself a favor and if you are going to be imbibing, at least stick to clear spirits or wine.  No need adding hundreds (or thousands) of extra calories of nothingness from syrupy mixers and artificial juices.

Appetizers can be based on those that would be traditionally served, such as those made with seafood or mushrooms, just without the deep frying or breading.  How about poached wild shrimp with lemon, dill and tomato instead of a gelatinous shrimp mold, and a sauteed wild mushroom and truffle medley rather than the cheese-stuffed variety?

For soups, a Paleo friendly Bouillabaisse is a great option over cream-based lobster bisque; Paleo-ized gumbo is a great choice and you needn’t deviate from using okra as a natural ‘thickener’ in this dish.

The sky is the limit for your main entree; a salt-free Cajun seasoning blend will work wonders on your protein whether you opt for more shrimp or want to stay really authentic and go for craw-fish.  A Paleo Jambalaya could work, too, if you have the time to make your own sausage and skip the rice, serving with copious amounts of greens instead.  As long as you’re not following the Paleo Auto Immune plan, you can add plenty of heat via your choice of peppers, too.

If you’re offering dessert, nix the New Orleans’ traditional King Cake, a yeasty, milky concoction and serve whatever fresh fruit is locally available to you.  Add a hint of New Orleans by toasting pecans to replace the praline version.

If you are actually in town for the festival, as always, plan ahead, scout out what the local options are and do your best to make it work.  It can be done and simply going out of town is not a good reason to ingest things that you well know will leave you feeling sick to your stomach, or cause a breakout or leave you feeling bloated and gassy. 

Not a nice picture, but that is precisely my point!  You must remember the consequences and then consider whether it’s really worth it!