I love the Paleo diet (I hate the word “diet”) because it takes out the top allergen/inflammatory foods and it also promotes foods that are low glycemic (so you don’t raise insulin levels which in turn keeps inflammation at bay), allows your body to burn fat, and it also gives you a more steady stream of energy. I also think it is a great starting “diet” template for those wanting to reduce inflammation and improve their health. When people ask me about legumes, gluten free grains, corn and some other things that aren’t “Paleo”, I will always say it depends on you and your body. No one can say that one diet, food, or supplement is great for them so therefore it is great for everyone. Our bodies are all so unique, each responding differently (at different times in our lives) to what we put in them. So it’s up to us as individuals, if we want to feel our best, to figure out what makes our bodies happiest by REALLY listening and paying attention to symptoms (and not just gastrointestinal symptoms) that certain foods may cause. Those symptoms are the ways our bodies tell us what it likes and doesn’t like.
So while the paleo diet is a great, after eating this way for some time our bodies have time to heal and inflammation subsides, it can be good to retest (by eating certain foods, one at a time, and looking for symptoms head-to-toe) to see how you react. But because I’m a rule follower, I sometimes forget to test and try new things by going outside of the “Paleo realm”. So after 8 years of eating very little dairy (which has some great health benefits only when there is not any kind of intolerance) and healing my gut, I felt it was time to test it out and see. And I just so happened to be craving lasagna so all the more reason to test it out now.
I wanted a traditional lasagna recipe but also wanted it to still be grain-free, but more importantly, for me, I wanted it lower glycemic (to still keep inflammation down), Anyway, after some playing around I came up with this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna recipe and it was AMAZING. I thought maybe it was just me since I hadn’t had dairy in so long but honestly, everyone in my family loved it! I was so excited I made it twice in two weeks…you know because I REALLY had to test this dairy!! It was just so good!!!
So what were my results of my dairy challenge? It wasn’t the typical stomach symptoms that most of us think about when we think about food intolerances. For me, my nose became stuffy and I also had some post nasal drip or something like that where I couldn’t clear my throat. The good news is my symptoms weren’t huge but the bad news is I don’t want to go back to taking allergy/sinus medicine like I did from college until about 8 year ago before I changed my diet. Also, even though they are minor symptoms, I still have to remember there is a reason my body is creating this response so rather than ignore it (which will create inflammation over time), I choose to still limit my dairy, but I just won’t be quite as stingent as I was in the past which I feel like is a nice compromise so I can enjoy this delicous meal once in awhile.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 jar (25 oz) spaghetti sauce (preferably a low sugar one like Muir Glen)
- 1 pound Italian sausage (or 3-4 good sized links taken out of casing)
- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried parsley
- 16 oz. organic ricotta cheese
- 1 organic egg
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional...I did skip this part)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it.
- In a large pot, cook sausage, ground beef, over medium heat until well browned.
- Stir in spaghetti sauce to pot with sauage and beef and the grease, too.
- Simmer, covered, for about an hour, only if time permits.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Scrap the spaghetti squash and place in big pot of meat sauce. Still until combined throughly.
- In your 9x13 baking dish, spread half of the meat sauce/spaghetti squash combo on the bottom.
- Then spread all of the ricotta mixture on top of that.
- Next,add a layer of mozzerala chese.
- Add the meat sauce back for the final layer and top with parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes (until the cheese starts to brown).