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Being Primal in France and the UK

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  • Being Primal in France and the UK


    I am leaving for a 4 months trip to France and the UK and who knows where else in Europe in a week. Any tips for being primal while I am there? That said I know I wont be a 100% primal as I will be working at a cooking school in the Loire Valley and stuff like pastry and bread making, cooking with veggie oils etc will be involved but if I can make as many primal choices as I can that would be nice. Being just turned 21 and with no major health issues I think the stress of trying to be 100% or even 90% primal is not worth it. I know I will have kitchen access for cooking though I don't know how many of my meals I will be creating. I assume every other week when I have off I will be mostly on my own as far as meals go. So if anyone have some tips or things to definitely try let me know. Also can someone tell me what exactly is in a French traditional breakfast? (bread and croissants? )


  • #2
    One of the great things you will find in the UK, and probably France too, is that 'most' of the meat you will eat will be pasture fed if it is from the UK. Feedlots with animals fed on grain and pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive is far less common in the UK. A lot of the local butchers source all their meat from really close by, it might not be organic, but it will have lived a life worth living for a while. Not true in every case, and I advise asking, but all the butcher's I have spoken to here in West Dorset were almost puzzled when I asked about grain fed animals :-)


    • #3
      Hi, I have to agree with PFF , i think it may be easier to source good food in the UK. I dont see France as being any different. Both still have a culture of family farms and beef and lamb particularly will almost certainly be grass fed, with conserved grass in the winter.Butter purchased in the summer is more likely to be from grass fed cows. Winter butter will be different. Pork and chicken , even free range may well be fed a certain amount of grain feed.
      I'm told there are great markets in France where local produce can be sourced and there is a growing movement in Farmer's markets in the UK. You can find them online.


      • #4
        I live in Belgium and travel frequently to the UK and ocassionally to France. I think you will have no problem staying primal over here, if you will have enough willpower to avoid all the nice non-primal delicacies and a little bit more money to source the right stuff. In the UK the beef and lamb is great (I love Irish Angus beef and lamb but it doesn't have to be Irish to be good). French have a lot of local "heritage" type of meats - like traditionally raised chicken, you would just need to ask the butcher about them. If you are going now, in autumn winter there will be plenty of game meats in the supermarkets. So I would say it's not a problem to find really good food if you invest some time into finding out where to get it. Good luck!


        • #5
          I reckon if you get a chance you should go and see the Prince of Wales' garden at Highgrove. He's one of the leading voices in the country for ecology & organic farming & gardening.

          If you have a scientific bent pop over to Down House for a day.

          No real tips on food to offer, but I'll mull that one over.


          • #6
            Good luck with the cooking.....You'll have a blast in France as they have a huge selection of truely Primal foodstuffs, especialy the vast range of mushrooms and animal offal dishes....calves kidneys in butter and garlic...YUMMY!!!!
            “But a smell shivered him awake.It was a scent as old as the world. It was a hundred aromas of a thousand places. It was the tang of pine needles. It was the musk of sex. It was the muscular rot of mushrooms. It was the spice of oak. Meaty and redolent of soil and bark and herb. It was bats and husks and burrows and moss. It was solid and alive - so alive! And it was close"


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lewis View Post
              No real tips on food to offer, but I'll mull that one over.

              If you've access to the equipment you could maybe make jerky/biltong. Just slice the meat really thin and then dry it for a long time in a very low oven. You've then got a transportable food.

              I think maybe you'd be out and about in places like London and have to eat, so your questions might be things like:

              * if there's no small business around, what's the "cleanest" (in the paleo sense) food-chain?

              * where can I get stuff like wild red salmon in rip-top containers and who does serve-yourself salads that probably haven't sat around too long and aren't pre-dressed with some horror compounded of canola and HFCS?

              My answers to those, as regards Britain rather than France, would be ... I think we mostly have the same chains. You can probably get something that isn't horrible in Pret a Manger. (I think that's owned by some multinational horror, but it's their upmarket fast-food outlet.) In London you could probably get some reasonable sushi at a not too terrible price, but not out in the provinces.

              Most supermarkets do tinned fish. Sainsburys certainly has rip-top salmon. The highest quality supermarket is Waitrose -- they're renowned both for the quality of what they offer and for treating their employees pretty well. Maybe there's some connection there, huh? But not the cheapest. The clothes store Marks & Spencer would have reasonable food to go in its food section. Again, not the cheapest, but you could find vegetable crudités, packets of cooked meat, decent cheese -- stuff you could eat on the go.

              I'd get hold of one of these:

              Endicotts Army Surplus

              Most camping shops would have something like it. You could probably get one in the U.S. before you go, but maybe don't have it in your carry-on luggage or you'll be mistaken for a terrorist.

              I think for more on what you might eat on the move it would be worth looking at Diane Sanfillipo's new book. I think she has suggestions in there:

              Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle: Diane Sanfilippo,Bill Staley,Robb Wolf: 9781936608751: Books

              Then maybe ask more in this thread based on her suggestions as regards how you meet them in the UK or France.

              In France don't miss trying snails and frogs' legs. How could you not?

              In the UK you probably can't pass up on trying a glass of the traditionally brewed handpumped beer at least once even if it does contain gluten.

              You might be told that fish and chips (fried fish in batter with French fries) are a British delicacy. In fact, that dish owes more to the genius of Eastern European Jews, some of whom moved to Britain in the 19th century. But the current version of it is a travesty anyway, so you're not missing much if you pass on it. Traditionally it was fried in beef fat. They still do that in the North Country, but most places in England use industrial seed oils for frying. I suppose if you pass on the "chips" and pull the batter off the fish, it's primal enough. :-)

              OTOH, a traditional steak and kidney pudding might be worth trying. OT, someone should do a really good recipe for that with a gluten-free suet-crust pastry and a few oysters in the pie, as they did in Dicken's time, as well as the steak and kidney: that would be amazing.

              I've rambled long enough. If you know which parts of the UK you're visiting that might help to narrow down people's recommendations.


              • #8
                Hi Everyone! Thanks for all of the suggestions! They are all appreciated and would probably come in handy.
                I am really looking forward to trying the much wider variety of offal meats and such that are unavailable in here the US.

                Wow thanks for all of the suggestions! I appreciate the detailed rambling xD
                There is a very good chance that I will be only visiting England. The places that I know for sure I will be going to includes southern/southeastern England, London, Northumberland and Cumbria.


                • #9
                  You're welcome.

                  Highgrove wasn't a good suggestion, BTW. On account of the security considerations there are only guided tours, so you need to book in advance and it costs £19:50.

                  I think it would be really interesting to paleo/primal people though. I bet the AHS people haven't thought of asking the Prince of Wales to speak on organic farming at their conference. I should think they'd be lucky to get him, but can you imagine the publicity coup inherent in getting a future head of state to speak? He'd be worth hearing, too.

                  Nothing particularly primal about it, but from the point of view of the historical interest if you will be in Northumberland get to see Hadrian's Wall and "Holy Island" (Lindisfarne) if possible.

                  For an imaginative sense of what Northumbria might have been like in Anglo-Saxon times see this book of Bernard Cornwell's:

                  The Lords of the North | Bernard Cornwell


                  • #10
                    If you have to eat out in the UK I reckon Nando's is the best of a bad lot when it comes to chains. You can get mashed sweet potatoe as a side dish, and eat a boat load of peri-peri spiced chicken (which is free-range I seem to recall).
                    Supermarked - Morrisons seems to have the best range of offal, Aldi = cheap but pretty good quality (the veg needs eating quicker than other supermakets though) limited range but we can get most things there, nuts, chirzo, tinned fish, smoked salmon, smaoked makeral - al good for eating on the go cheap mince beef, rib-eyes, whole free-range chickens and free-range eggs.
                    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................