“My goal was to bring simple, yet delicious recipes to folks that are quick and easy and only require minimal ingredients in order to whip them up.”
We recently caught up with Cindy Sexton to talk about her Paleo journey and new book Paleo Takes 5 – Or Fewer. Cindy Sexton is a small town gal at heart turned semi-city-slicker. She is currently a certified teacher in the Greater Toronto Area who adores all things fitness, food and nutrition related. She is passionate about teaching, as well as learning from others in this field, and is constantly striving toward being a little bit better every single day.
Her laidback approach to eating ‘really real’ (nutrient-dense) food is reasonable and realistic. With a multi-faceted approach that focuses on returning to the simpler days of living, she concentrates on making play, laughter, sleep and self-care a priority, which makes up her relaxed Paleo lifestyle.
If you are looking for her, you will often find her strolling a farmers market, chilling with friends and family, trying new restaurants with her husband, whipping up something in the kitchen or hanging out at the gym. She loves to read (mostly non-fiction), walks on the beach (no joke) and collecting socks (she has a top drawer to prove it). Future endeavors include trying to improve school snack programs and building stronger farm to school partnerships.
Cindy, thank you for joining us. Could you please tell us a little bit about the impetus and drive for starting your Paleo journey?
The short version of the story is that there were two major factors that got me rolling on my health journey. One of them was re-connecting with my old pal Tyler Touchette, owner of Caveman Strong. He introduced me to the whole notion of consuming foods that nourish your body. The other influence was the sudden death of my mother. This was the catalyst that made me realize that I needed to start taking better care of myself. This quickly taught me that life is oh so very precious. Read more about my journey here!
Let’s talk about your new book Paleo Takes 5 – Or Fewer and your relationship with food. When did your passion for cooking begin?
My true passion for cooking ‘really real’ food (as I like to call it) probably began back in 2008/2009, right around the time that I started my blog, PALEOdISH. Prior to that, I really enjoyed cooking, but it was more like throwing things together or heating up pre-packaged goods. Creating recipes and developing meals of my own really started about five/six years ago. In those years, I have done a lot of reading, learning and observing on my own. Mostly self-taught I would say. The other percentage – my mom was a fabulous cook, and homemade meals were the norm growing up. We also grew some of our own food in our garden during that time. I like to think some of my talent came from her ways in the kitchen. I have always been a creative individual, who is willing to experiment with food, so this openness goes a long way when coming up with different dishes.
What was the motivation for writing Paleo Takes 5 – Or Fewer?
I wanted to create a useful book for people, based on how we really cook around our home. I like to focus on the quality of ingredients in my recipes, over the quantity of ingredients. My recipes concentrate on just that, and don’t call for a million-and-one ingredients that you don’t have. With a less is more mentality, I like to allow the flavours of the foods to really shine through in my cooking. My goal was to bring simple, yet delicious recipes to folks that are quick and easy and only require minimal ingredients in order to whip them up.
What’s your best tip for saving money on a Paleo diet and similarly, what’s your best tip for saving time when cooking Paleo meals?
My best tip for saving money on a Paleo diet would be to actually source your meat, eggs, vegetables directly from a farmer if possible. Dig around and find a reputable farm close to you, where you can buy a whole animal or a share of one in order to save some money. Invest in a chest freezer, store the meat in there and pull it out when you are ready to use it. It is much more cost-effective to do it that way, as you aren’t paying grocery store prices. Check out Eat Wild when sourcing food.
When it comes to saving time in the kitchen, I like to pick one day (usually Sundays) and make up a few different recipes in bulk to get the week going. This requires a block of time on the one day, but then less time during the weeknights when we tend to be more on the go!
Tell us about some of the most unusual food pairings you’ve discovered that are delicious that you didn’t think would work well together.
Hmmmm… good question. One pairing that may sound ‘somewhat strange’ at first would be found in my Elvis Burger recipe. At first glance, people may turn up their nose at the combination of the beef burger, smothered in sunbutter (sunflower seed butter), topped with bacon and fried plantain, then garnished with a pickle. Having said that, it is honestly sooooo yummy! I am making my stomach growl thinking about it.
We always have a little ‘stash’ of food items in the car that we keep on hand. Nobody likes to get ‘hangry’ on a road trip or while stuck in traffic, so those type of staples include beef jerky sticks, homemade trail mix and dried seaweed. These are great and easy to keep in the glove compartment to pull out if/when you need.
As for kitchen tools, we keep a cooler bag in the trunk, a couple of portable cutlery sets, a sharp knife, a mini cutting board and napkins. You never know when you may need to pull over to have a mini picnic.
It’s always tough to highlight favourites but if you had to, which three recipes are you most proud of and why?
Truth be told, there are so many recipes that I love in this book for different reasons. If I had to choose my top three they would be (in no specific order): bacon-crusted chicken strips, beet and Brussels sprout salad and my creamy garlicky guacamole. I am so proud of these recipes because they have been shared and enjoyed so many times amongst family and friends at special gatherings and occasions. The connection between these foods and the love that has been present during these times, makes me grin from ear to ear.
The introduction to your book was penned by Robb Wolf, how did that come about?
Robb Wolf wrote the foreword to my book, and Mat Lalonde contributed the nutrient density part. I met both of them back in 2009 at a nutrition seminar that they held here at CrossFit Toronto. From there, we continued to stay in contact and have enjoyed several events and dinners together. Over the years, we have become good friends. During the early brainstorming days for the book, I knew that I wanted them to be a part of it, because they both have helped and assisted in my success. From there, I personally called them on the phone to have a conversation and asked if they would be willing to do so. They both agreed and the rest is history.
What future aspirations and ambitions do you have?
I would like to continue to spread the message that making good food doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. I am also interested in working on establishing farm to school partnerships, which focus on teaching children where their food comes from. Aside from this, my larger ambition is to show people that by consuming nutrient dense food and taking one day at a time, real and fascinating changes within your body are possible. When people experience this magic for themselves, there is no turning back in my opinion.
Who do you think are the most underrated professionals in the Paleo world and why should we seek them out?
I think that the most underrated people in the Paleo world are the individuals that grow and cultivate our food. Our farmers. So often, they are overlooked. The amount of day in, day out hard work that they put in is ridiculous. In my opinion, they need more recognition. Find one in your area and support local, sustainable farming in your town or city.
Where can readers find out more about your Paleo journey and connect with you?
Readers can find out more about ‘my story’ over on my blog PALEOdISH.
Where can our readers buy the book?
Depending on your preference and where you live, there are a variety of ways you can order/buy the book.
- Amazon (UK)
- Amazon (US)
- Amazon (CAN)
- Barnes & Noble
- Chapters-Indigo (Canada)
- Other independent bookstores
Thank you again for joining us today.
Paleo Takes 5 – Or Fewer was released on 21 October by 2014 by Page Street Publishing.
Find out more about Cindy Sexton on her website PALEOdISH.com
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