You can be “kinda-paleo”!
The basic premise of the Paleo diet is to eat as our ancient ancestors did before farming took over. Before farming you would be hard-pressed to collect enough wild wheat to make a loaf of bread! A wild deer was maybe easier to come by.
This would mean eating lots of fats, like avocados & coconut, plenty of animal meat (preferable grass-fed), vegetables (ideally organic), very minimal amounts of nuts and fruit and…. not much else!
Forget dairy, grains, legumes, vegetable oils, anything processed and all that sugar!
Well, in a perfect world, maybe I would eat this way. But then, it wouldn’t be a perfect world for me without all my favorite things like Chocolate, Belgian waffles, wood-fired pizza, and pretty much all ethnic foods!
I’m really not an all-or-nothing kinda girl anyway. I’m also opposed to cutting out entire REAL food groups (processed foods are 98% out though). I can be good most of the time, but not 100% of the time. For ME, switching to Paleo can only be a 80% endeavor. The other 20% of the time I choose high-quality splurges.
The great things we can learn from Paleo eaters are these:
- Eat your grass-fed, organic protein. In my case, its very expensive and hard to get, which means I eat less of it. I’m ok with eating less meat and more veggies though.
- Eat your Organic Vegetables. Yes, I agree with this whole-heatedly. If money is an issue, you can look up the top-10 veggies you should be buying organic, then buy the rest conventional.
- Fat is not the enemy. Here I agree to as well as not including hydrogenated or processed fats in our diets. I love Pasture raised Eggs with yolks!
- Don’t eat sugar. Well, yes, although I do agree we should all be eating A LOT LESS SUGAR I’m not totally eliminating it. I love in-season fresh fruit. I love a bit of dessert now and then, so an 80/20% rule applies here.
- Eat Chemical & Processed-free. Yup, I agree here but leave about 5% wiggle room in there for the occasional handful of Doritos or a few M&M’s. Again, its not all or nothing for me.
And the other forbidden stuff? The dairy, grains, legumes & limited nuts? Sorry, those items are very much incorporated into my diet albeit in SMALL portions. PORTION SIZE & QUALITY my friends are the real culprits for most of those “forbidden” foods we read about and struggle with.
Portion Sizes & Quality
If you’ve ever wondered what my personal food pyramid looks like, I made one for you just special, because you’re awesome:
Pasta: You know those all you can eat pasta bowls & bread sticks you see on TV? Yeah, don’t eat those! Not only is it made of highly processed “foods” but the portion is about 10x what you should be eating of it. Want pasta? Don’t eat more than the size of a small fist (or about the size of a small orange). Don’t smother it in a heavy, fatty sauce. You can have pasta, but just not a gallon of it. Eat a salad and some spinach along with it, you can even add some lean protein to balance it out.
Pizza: Stay away from the frozen & chain delivery pizza. Splurge and find a place that makes a thin crust by hand with REAL toppings. Make sure it is the best pizza you can get. Now order a SMALL and split it with someone. Yeah I know its not the same as eating an entire pie in front of the TV all on your own. But we’re talking about controlling portion & quality of foods you would otherwise be told to never eat. So play along…
The tips I mentioned for Pasta & Pizza pretty much apply to everything “bad” for you. Eat whole grains & legumes in limited quantities. Eat 1 piece of organic fruit. Take just a few raw, unsalted nuts. I hope you get the idea?
You can learn some great behaviors from Paleo guidelines for sure. Just remember, its ok to not be perfect. If you are making good choices, watching your total calories and moving your body, you will very likely move towards your fitness goals vs away from them.
Need help? You know that’s why I’m here! Email me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org