After this week’s introductory post on what brought me to Paleo, I wanted to illustrate what Paleo means to me specifically. This lifestyle has detractors like any other, but it has even more diversity about what it actually means.
Paleo Has a Big Tent
The more I’ve researched and learned about this lifestyle (and I would argue, movement) the more varying opinions I’ve found. What’s great is for every different idea that is presented or set as “truth” there seems to be a lot of openness to let you interpret for yourself. Sure, not everyone will agree with me on that, but that’s ok.
Here’s My Paleo
1. No grains: I’m obviously GF (and you can read about that here) but there are grains that don’t always cause me problems. Rice and Rolled Oats are consumed occasionally. So this falls into the 80/20.
2. No Dairy: I’m pretty sure that dairy from cows triggers extra mucous for me (yes, yuck). But CHEESE! This is the hardest for me. I’ve swapped to whole milk if I need something for my coffee and I’m not home (use almond milk home/work) and limit my cheese to 1-2x/week. I also regularly consume Greek yogurt, which doesn’t bug me like milk/cheese due to the fermentation. Although this recipe may change that. This technically makes me “Primal” instead of Paleo. I would like to move into consuming only Raw dairy, but that is not going to be easy.
3. No Legumes: I’m never been big on beans, but I love making chili. Thankfully, my hubs HATES beans with some serious passion so I learned to make chili without it. Then BOOM. Found out I LOVE chili without the beans! Totally out of my diet.
4. No Peanuts: These delicious, nutty pieces of yum are actually legumes. Bummer. Still will consume very rarely, but have mostly swapped to almond and coconut butters.
5. No corn: It seems like everything processed and in a package these days has some corn by product. No processed foods? No corn. Although corn on the cob at a BBQ may happen occasionally.
6. No soy: Like corn, this is in EVERYTHING. It’s also super bad for you for a lot of reasons you can read here. Easy to drop. Exception is fermented soy products (tempeh) which I make 2x/year max.
7. No sugar or fake sweeteners: Sugar is really bad for you for all the reasons we all already know. Fake sweeteners are just as bad since they tend to bloat you and stoke the sugar fire. Your body realizes you’ve given it something that tastes like sugar, but isn’t actually sugar and that makes it crave sugar. Sound like a vicious cycle to me!
Wow, what a downer that was. Let’s talk about what I do eat!
1. Veggies: All day, every day. I focus on how I can get MORE veggies in my diet. Here’s where I get all those nutrients that processed foods are fortified with. Yes, processed foods are fortified with nutrients (iron, folic acid, calcium, I can go on) that exist NATURALLY in vegetables. As for your early question I know you had about where I get my calcium since I don’t consume dairy regularly? Dark. Leafy. Greens. How easy was that? You don’t like green stuff? Do some research on ways to prepare ’em and I promise you will find something you like. Organic vs. non-organic? I try and follow the dirty dozen and don’t beat myself up about it.
2. Fruit: Nature’s sugar! I don’t consume this in the same frequency as veggies since I do keep and eye on my carb levels. Typically I get in an apple or some berries a day and will add a banana in if I’ve got a hard workout or am teaching.
3. Protein: All the protein I consume that doesn’t come from the veggies, comes from animals. You may be thing “Well, duh!” The reason I make this distinction is because I believe it’s super important to eat real food (JERF) and protein bars (candy bars, really) and protein shakes aren’t really food. And they are loaded with sugar or fake sugar. No thanks. I do my very best to purchase only organic, free raise chicken that have never been fed soy (and aren’t labeled vegetarian!), grass fed (not grain finished!) beef and wild caught fish when it’s available. Yes that makes it more expensive, but I think it’s worth it to avoid the hormones that are traditionally given to animals raised for human consumption. And it also financially promotes the farms that raise those animals humanely and sustainably. Bonus is my money doesn’t go towards Big Agra and the system I believe is doing a great job of wasting money and making us all very sick.
4. Starchy veggies: Yes this is separate and I watch how much I consume daily. Mostly this will include types of squash and root vegetables. I aim for 1/2 to 1C depending on activity. This is still something I’m tinkering with and probably will for the foreseeable future. It’s more of an art than a science.
5. Nuts: It’s a good thing I’m not allergic! I love nuts, but do limit how much I have since you really can overdo it. No more than 1/4C per day, and this includes nut butters.
6. Healthy fats: I learned early on that if you back off on the amount of carbs you are consuming, you have to up your healthy fats. These will help you feel satiated and consuming healthy fats helps you lose fat! This includes avocados, ghee, butter from grass fed cows and coconut butter.
Example of a Day Eating Paleo
Breakfast: Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins (I do add a little goat Brie to these)
Mid morning snack: 1/3C full fat Greek yogurt with cinnamon and sprinkle of nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)
Lunch: Herbed Pork Roast with a lot of asparagus
Afternoon snack: green apple with nut butter
Dinner: Spicy Pineapple Paleo Chili with a little Greek yogurt or guacamole on top and a glass (or two!) of wine
Dessert: half cup of coconut ice cream (chocolate or strawberry from Trader Joes is soooo good) or a little dark chocolate
Never feeling deprived? Priceless.