I promised a post about all this paleo talk but first I must confess to you that I am not entirely sure what it’s all about, myself. I’ve read a book, spoken to people who follow the paleo/primal path and done some internet research but I’m still trying to figure it all out, to be honest. So this post isn’t necessarily about THE paleo diet, but rather MY paleo diet! Here’s what I know:
- Paleo is named for the belief that we should return to a more primitive, natural way of eating. The idea is to pick foods that were available during the point on our evolutionary path where we became homosapiens (modern humans). This means foods that we ate PRE-agriculture and animal domestication.
- The paleo diet is successful because we choose foods that we know our digestive systems are adapted to and we limit foods that we haven’t quite evolved to eat yet. Personally, I think the key here is YET… eventually, over several generations, I’m sure our digestive systems will adapt to modern food, including the chemicals and preservatives we add to our food, but food has changed much faster than we have and our bodies haven’t had a chance to catch up. I think this is why we are experiencing such a high influx of allergies, food sensitivities and Celiac disease.
- Paleo eaters use the 80-20 philosophy to help balance healthy eating with real life. I’ve talked about the 80-20 lifestyle before, and it really works for me. It’s hard to beat yourself up over indulging here and there when you know you can! I also find that people who live this way tend not to “cheat” (for lack of a better word) very often because they don’t feel the pressure of never being allowed to eat certain foods. Temptation is significantly reduced when nothing is forbidden.
- There are different interpretations of this diet, depending on who you speak with or what book you read. Some people are extremely strict with their choices, some primal (another post will touch on this!) eaters even choose to eat only raw food (meat included, because our paleolithic ancestors would not have cooked their meat) in it’s natural form. Others take a much looser approach, continuing to drink (raw) milk, and using ancient foods in modern ways (nuts in flour and butter form for example) and incorporating modern fruits and vegitables (that’s a topic for another post!). Despite the differences that I’ve found, the main idea of eating simple, organic, ancient foods prevails throughout the interpretations.
- This whole thing is WAY WAY more simple than it sounds!!! Buy lots of vegitables, fruit and meat/fish. Organic, grass-fed, free range, local is best, but just do your best. Stick to olive, coconut, flax and walnut oils for cooking and dressings. Munch on nuts and seeds. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea (and not much else). No more wheat, rice, potatoes or dairy. To quote The Hubby “Just eat real food”!
To sum it all up, like the Hubby says, it’s about real food. No more boxes, no more cans, just fresh food. We aren’t as strict as some, but after a month of working out how to make paleo work for us, we are on the smooth track. We create our meal plans by first choosing our meats for each day, then we decide what we can do with that meat. We have been looking through old cookbooks for ideas, and refer back to The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain for guidance on what to use to make those recipes more paleo-friendly. The only reason we refer to that particular book is because it’s the only one we have right now. It’s full of the basics like salad dressings, sauces and smoothie ideas. We’ve had alot of success with Jamie Oliver recipes because he rarely calls for processed or prepackaged foods. We just stay away from any of his recipes that ask for bread because that is one thing we have completely eliminated from our diet in all forms. The Hubby has also been fairly strict about not eating rice, corn or potatoes which are considered more modern crops. You will notice that our cheat nights sometimes include rice or potatoes though, and thats precisely what makes them “cheat” nights. Every week we play with our food choices and learn as we go. It’s the best that we can do, and so far it’s working well for us. Both the Hubby and I are down a pant size and KB has admitted to us that she likes feeling healthy 🙂 My parents are also following this diet with us and my Dad is pleasantly surprised with how good he feels. He attributes this, mainly, to getting rid of the wheat from his diet, but also to the piece of mind he has given himself about accepting an 80-20 lifestyle.
Again, this is just MY take on the diet, and while it might not be entirely what those writing books meant for it to be, it is working for us and we’re very happy with it. It’s a work in progress, which is partly what we like. It’s exciting every week to create new meal plans and see what we can come up with. Some things really work, like the paleo-chocolate pie, and others haven’t (like the Hubby’s paleo tartar sauce which needs a little tinkering). This is what life is about, being excited to eat and enjoy food, to create meals that nourish both body and soul. If you have started a new lifestyle diet, or are following the paleo/primal diet let me know how it’s going!
Enjoy the Moments, ttfn, xo
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m Fertile and We’re Adopting 🙂