By Jane Barthelemy.
Writing Good Morning Paleo was a huge job. It took me a year to invent 165 original breakfasts free of gluten, grains, dairy, and sugar. I had to test each recipe, in some cases up to twenty times to find the perfect flavor and texture. I made it my goal to finish 3 recipes a day. Some days they worked, some days they had to be done over. Well, now that the book is finished, I have a secret to tell you. I didn’t do it alone. Nope – I’m not that smart. I had help.
Master Zhenzan Dao, founder and director of MogaDao.com and MogaDaoInstitute.com in Santa Fe, was my secret taste-tester and advisor at every step. For 6 months he set aside valuable time each day to taste and comment on every single recipe. A highly skilled master and teacher of Yoga, Qigong, Meditation, Internal Alchemy, Gong Fu, and the Daoist Sexual Arts, Zhenzan also happens to have an epicurian palate with a degree of sensitivity and refinement I have never known, as well as intimate knowledge of the healthiest Paleo concepts.
Without Zhenzan Dao’s constant collaboration, encouragement, and support, I would never have been able to to complete the book in it’s current high level of quality. Every day I brought him various versions of recipes, each one carefully labeled, and he offered his comments. Zhenzan helped make the Pumpernickel Bread recipe moist and flavorful. He improved the Coconut Feta Cheese to be creamy, sharp, and rich. He added onions to the Garlic Naan. He enthusiastically endorsed the Kidney Casserole on the first trial. He swooned at the Lemon Bread, and insisted that I soak the nuts for the Old World Sweet Potato Bread. He marveled at the Cinnamon Swirl Bread, and rolled his eyes in delight at the chia seed Breakfast Tacos with Chorizo. He shared the Open-Faced Sausage Focaccia with students, and called the Liver Pate “stellar”. However he panned the the soggy Egg-free Quiche and the mushy Almond Meal Baguettes – two recipes that never made it into the book.
There’s more. Master Zhenzan, as the single person who knew most about the recipes, generously wrote a preface to my book, which I sent in to the publisher with the manuscript. Zhenzan Dao is also a writer and a poet of great skill, wisdom, and depth. His words carry power. What happened was quite surprising. To put it mildly, his words became a topic of intense discussion and dispute with the publisher. Emails went back and forth for several months. It turned into a deadlock, with me on one side pressing to include his words, and the publisher insisting on cutting them, fearing his preface did not match their vision of the book or it could limit its success. I did not agree. Finally when it became clear that my insisting would mean the end of the book altogether and the end of my relationship with the publisher, I backed down and agreed to remove it from the manuscript. Both Zhenzan and I were very disappointed.
On September 1, 2014 Zhenzan Dao took a vow of silence. He carefully certified many of his students to teach curriculum classes at the MogaDaoInstitute. He designed a beautiful new studio in the Santa Fe Railyard area and named it affectionately “The Guan”, which means “practice temple”. I teach Cosmological Qigong there. For more information and a complete class schedule, see MogaDaoInstitute.com. Zhenzan will be in silent meditation, writing, and communion with Nature until he returns in late 2015.
It is my wish and delight to make public the preface of Zhenzan Dao that was cut from my book. With great respect and gratitude, although he is in silence, I am allowing his words to be released here, to give credit where it is due and to recognize his immense generosity. We ALL owe him a debt of gratitude for the flavors, textures, and for the sheer volume of healthy, grain-free recipes never seen before. As you enjoy your breakfast, thank Zhenzan Dao, not me. With pleasure and a deep bow, I share his words with you here:
Zhenzan Dao’s Preface to Good Morning Paleo
“For six months—for that is about the time that the recipes in this book have undergone their most astonishing refinement and alchemy—Jane Barthelemy has discretely placed by my belongings on the side of the practice space at the MogaDao Institute (a school of yoga, qigong, and meditation in Santa Fe, New Mexico) all manner of samples from Good Morning Paleo. Old World Sweet Potato Bread, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, Black Russian Superfood Chocolate Manna Bread, Wild Salmon Cauliflower Hash, Chinese Fried Rice—to name just a few of the delectables that I have found waiting for me after class or between classes. I want you to imagine Jane studying my face for signs of approval—often ecstasy—as I have tasted almost every item in this oeuvre. Oeuvre is the right word, for her compilation of recipes shares much with art. Art is so often born out of the necessities of limitation. (I think how Matisse, going blind, began to make large paper cut-outs, some of his most celebrated work, when he could no longer paint). And it was limitation, my own, that played a small but significant part in Jane Barthelemy’s rise toward the passionate culinary innovator that she is today.
When I was a very young man I was struck with a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a major component of which was Candidiasis, the massive over-growth of the malicious form of yeast called Candida. The Candida flourished in my body because of a hyper-consumption of complex carbohydrates. I had been a vegetarian. I thought I was eating well. (Yes, once upon a time we all thought that soy-derived casein ridden fake cheeses and loads of complex “fat-free” carbs—pasta, pasta, pasta—and bean and rice (so-called “complete”) proteins were actually good for us.) But my body was becoming saturated with yeast, and the worst kind of yeast, until I developed what in Traditional Chinese Medicine is called a severe case of Excess Dampness. Sugars, in other words, were making a bacterial orgy in my system, in every part of my body, from my kidneys to my very brain.
Fast forward some decades. I had eliminated from my diet all sugars, all caffeine, all alcohol, all glutinous grains, and all dairy. This regiment, along with an exceeding devotion to the sacred physical practices which would become MogaDao, had made me healthy. So that in 2006, when my students, Jane Barthelemy among them, wanted to bake something in celebration of my sabbatical and the consequent closing of one of my schools (in Portland, Oregon), I said, “That would be lovely, but I am afraid it won’t be possible. I eat no sugar, no caffeine, no dairy, no glutinous grain, and only the fruits lowest on the glycemic index (select berries). How, from such limitations, can you make something edible that could actually be called a dessert?” Jane heard me—Jane, who loves a challenge—and set to work with another student, and came up with a great wedding cake-looking miracle, pronouncing that I could eat it. I did not believe it. I took a bite. It was even more unbelievable. It was the first time in some ten years I had had what I would call a “sweet,” and a “decadent” one at that. In truth, that evening I ate too many of those wonderful little squares of frosted cake, so amazed was I that I could eat them with impunity: with no sore throat, no fatigue, no brain fog, no immune response rashes, etc.
Now, fine as that first “Paleo” dessert was, it was nothing compared to what Jane has compiled—I should say invented—here. The textures of the breads, the gooeyness of the brownies and cobblers, they defy the idea of “limitation.” One lacks nothing here. Every taste that has ever delighted one, every texture, every combination of sauces, icings, fillings, dippings, in short, whatever in the realm of taste or treat or comfort food one has ever relished in one’s life, is here—only it is all comprised of nutrient dense food. These recipes are not just neutral facsimiles of their over-refined, empty, immune-debilitating forebears. They are all super-foods in their own right, foods, that is, that are nutrient dense and give to the body and the qi, the vital energy, more than they require in the form of digestion. Most conventional diets slowly rob one of life force over time. Digesting empty “quickie carb” foods effectively steals more energy than the foods themselves yield. Essentially one is in a kind of never-ending digestion debt all life long. Contrarily, the foods in Good Morning Paleo, decadent as some of them may seem, are made from the highest order of health foods known to modern food science and cutting edge physiology.
So you have in your hands, reader, a guide to a certain kind of revolution in your life. I say “in your life” and not “in your dietary life” because our relationship to food is very close to our relationship to life itself. With the recipes in this book you will begin to wean yourself of the false alarms of cravings—the disastrous spikes in the insulin chain that make us basically constantly hungry and are a monstrous depletion of qi—because, eating like this, you will be deeply satisfied on a physical and emotional level. For eating, we all know, is as emotional as it is physical.
Jane Barthelemy has put into this book her heart and soul, and it is a heart and soul familiar with the challenges of debilitating illness. The same constancy and devotion that she brings to the practices I teach she brings to this revolution in food characterized in a word as “Paleo.” Like all true inventors she has a genius for transforming the mundane into the miraculous—for I do not exaggerate when I say that you will find small miracles on every page. To eat like this again, you will say to yourself, over and over again. And yet you will not be eating like this “again.” You will be eating originally, healthier than ever before. Your body will reflect this in the way you feel, in your energy levels, in the steady liberation from your food addictions, in the relative ease with which you shed unwanted pounds, and in the calm that one experiences when one finally steps off the addiction treadmill which characterizes almost all contemporary dietary life. For modern people, paraphrasing Descartes, might in a collective voice pronounce something like this: “I eat therefore I crave.” We would do better—and Jane’s book is the guide—to say: “I eat therefore I am satisfied, filled with focused potential, and free of enslaving cravings so that I might love the world in the ten-thousand ways.”