“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” except for grains, sugar, and diary.
Paleo: Above, is essentially the paleo diet. According to Wikipedia, the Paleolithic diet definition is “a diet based on the food humans’ ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as meat, nuts and berries, and excludes food to which they had not yet become familiar, like dairy.” I hesitate to even USE the term paleo because it ignites a fiery, passionate rage in certain individuals. My definition of “paleo” is eliminate inflammatory causing foods (grains, dairy, processed food) and see how you feel. If you do this for at least 30 days, then start to reintroduce foods back in, if they make you feel like you just went on a bender, don’t eat them. Simple right? With that being said, paleo is the closest “term” to which I can describe what I am eating. I could say “grain free, diary free,” I could say, “elimination diet,” Primal (primal is more supportive of eating full fat dairy, in my opinion), Caveman Diet, Ancestral eating, whatever you want to call, many of the same principles hold true, so I’m just going to roll with it.
So what do you eat?! I get asked this question a million times. I might start referring people to my Instagram feed. 😉 Primarily, I eat vegetables, lots of vegetables (Stacy from Paleo Parents created the #morevegetablesthanavegetarian). I eat meat, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Vegetables? But I HATE! vegetables! I really did too, but guess what? When you stop eating “fake food” and sugar your taste buds change. As a kid, I HATED onions, and the other day I found myself eating caramelized onions on top of a hamburger and it was so. freakin. good. and sweet. Start with what you do like and then eventually try new things! What does that actually look like on a day to day basis? I’ll give you a quick snapshot of one of my most common days.
Breakfast: 3 eggs fried in coconut oil, 1 sausage link, all on top of a bed of sauteed spinach.
Lunch: Leftover Buffalo Chicken Pasta. Always leftovers, in fact sometimes I make two-three extra meals on Sunday just to have for lunches, in case I get really hungry for dinner and eat the shit out of something one night. Buffalo Chicken Pasta, you say? I thought noodles were a no no? Simple, replace your noodles with spaghetti squash, or zoodles (zucchini noodles) or sweet potato noodles. There are oodles of sources for “noodles,” my friends! 🙂
Dinner: Meat and vegetables, like steak and asparagus and a sweet potato, or chicken and broccoli and salad. Millions of recipes here, we’ll get there, don’t you worry. Sometimes my delving into the culinary rabbit hole leaves the rest of my family looking at their plates, like “Ew, Mom, WTF?” Usually in those cases, I will switch out a portion for something I know they will eat. Occasionally, this results in me being a short order cook, but we are a work in progress over here.
Snacks: I should totally be snacking on vegetables and carrots, but I love ranch dressing as a dip, and I haven’t yet mastered the art of recreating ranch, Paleo style. I have tried numerous recipes, but none live up to the hype, so I am still searching. For snacks, I will usually grab a small piece of fruit, maybe coconut milk yogurt, some cashews or mixed nuts (no peanuts on paleo!). As a special treat, my local grocery store now carries potato chips that are fried in coconut oil. Potatoes aren’t recommended though if you have issues with insulin resistance/weight though. To tell you the truth, I don’t really snack all that much. If you are needing to snack, you most like are either not eating enough fat with your meals (fat is good, it fills you up!! as long as it’s the right kind) or you didn’t eat enough period at your last meal.
Issues: There are several issues that can be raised when embarking on a Paleo journey. The first of which is cost. Let’s face facts, in today’s society, processed food is cheap. I’ve never actually done the math, but if you factor in your cooking time, I think it is probably most likely cheaper to eat a McDonald’s breakfast than it is to make yourself my delicious and healthy breakfast above. My truth is, the Paleo diet does seem to be a little bit more expensive than a regular grain based diet. However, feeding yourself foods that are going to either make you sick or perpetuate your existing illness, isn’t really a savings in my mind. I believe that every penny spent on a vegetable or protein is far better than a penny spent paying a doctor or pharmacy. There are plenty of ways to structure your meal plan and grocery budget to make smarter choices. Google searching “paleo” will lead you to many of websites that will say you NEED to eat grass fed beef, and pasture raised pork and chickens. While this is obviously the smarter choice, at this point I certainly can’t afford to eat all grass fed. I try to buy leaner cuts of conventional meat. No, it’s not “perfect” but it is certainly better than the way I was eating previously.
The second main issue is time. If you aren’t eating a lot of processed foods (and NO fast food), that means you are cooking a lot of the meals yourself. This is pretty time consuming I’ll admit. The main way around this is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. I think Jillian Michaels used to have a sign up on The Biggest Loser that said “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and regardless of my dislike of that show, that is true in this case. I work full time, have a four year old and a two year old, a house, a husband, I’m a 3/4 time student, and I like a lot of TV shows. I’m not tooting my own horn here, just saying that if I have time, you can find some too.
Bottom line: The paleo diet is a term for a whole host of different topics that I plan to hopefully delve into on this blog. This is a basic overview, and if you have any questions or something doesn’t make sense, feel free to leave me a comment and I probably will send you more information and links than you would ever care to read in response. 😉 This type of diet is beneficial for a lot of people because it eliminates inflammation in your body, which is the root cause of most of our modern day illnesses (like many that I have/had).