Paleo, the way it was explained to me.
Basically, Paleo (Paleolithic) eating is like caveman eating. Eating the way our ancestors did. Hunting, gathering, eating. No Kraft singles, no McDonald’s, no Mt. Dew. Purely clean food.
The nitty gritty of Paleo: meats, vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, NO sugar.
First of all, I encourage anyone who is interested in paleo to eat strict paleo for 30 days. There are a ton of helpful websites for people wishing to start eating paleo. Robb Wolf and Whole 9 Life are two of the many resources available if you’re interested in learning more about the Paleo way of eating.
Strict Paleo. What’s not allowed? Gluten and grain (this includes corn). Legumes (soy, peanuts, beans, etc). Dairy (butter and heavy whipping cream are ok because they’re the fats). Since dairy is not allowed, you can have coconut milk or almond milk. No soymilk! Check your labels, watch for that sneaky sugar. No caffeine or alcohol with strict paleo. However, if you so drink alcohol, wine is preferred and as far as beer goes, If you have to have it, find some gluten free beer. No sugar. Really look at your labels. Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Sugar, sucralose, fructose, corn syrup…sugar. Strict Paleo says no white potatoes.
What’s allowed? You eat the crap out of meat…good protein. Just watch for nitrates in the meat. They’re a big no no. Also, grass-fed is preferred. Veggies, eat them (organic is preferred). Fruits are ok, sparingly. Sweet potatoes are ok sparingly. Eggs. Eggs are your friend. Natural fats are strongly encouraged (olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc). Nuts (not peanuts) and seeds are also a go. As far as sweeteners, you can use agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup very sparingly.
The theories behind Paleo… With Paleo you get away from the processed foods and go back to eating the real, clean stuff. The dairy, grain, and legumes always confused me. I will get more into the science behind Paleo in later posts. Until then, check out Whole 9 Life for more info.
My understanding of it, those food groups are full of carbs. Also, with dairy and grain/gluten, many people have allergies and intolerances. Why put your body through that business when you don’t have to. The legumes also confused me a bit, but the way I understand it, they can be tough to digest for some people as well as a big source of carbohydrates. Again, why put your body through that when you can just avoid it all. To me, in a sense, Paleo is somewhat cleansing. Is you avoid the things that people have allergies to, intolerances to, and have trouble digesting….in addition to processed foods and sugars….you are really only consuming the good stuff.
Last, but not least, with Paleo, you eat when you’re hungry and eat until you’re full. You don’t count calories, no point system…you’re eating the clean stuff, so just go to town. You know the feeling that you get after you eat a big plate of pasta, that “Oh, I am stuffed, can’t eat any more, let the belt out a notch”? You don’t feel that way with Paleo. You feel satisfied, but not stuffed. It’s nice.
Makes sense, right?
For me, I ended up modifying my Paleo after doing the 30 day challenge. The second time around, I made a point to think of Paleo as my way of eating rather than a 30 day thing I was doing. That has helped immensely. As mentioned in my previous post, I try really hard to eat well and make fun meals. When eating is boring and you eat the same thing every day, it won’t work.
As far as my modified Paleo, I follow the diet fairly strictly, but allow myself a few things occasionally. I think a bit of dairy is ok. I will have a little bit of cheese on my eggs or on a burger. Grain, I think, is ok sometimes too. With grain, I prefer rice, whole grains. I try to limit myself to 1-3 servings a week, but rarely even have 1 serving. Also, as mentioned earlier, I have coffee and a bit of alcohol.
That’s Paleo, the way I understand it. Really, there are a plethora of different views. This is mine.
HERE is a good overview on the Paleo way of eating.