Most of my friends know that I eat paleo, but some have no idea what it is. So, before they get sick of hearing me talk about it (if they’re not already), I’m just going do a quick explanation, most of which I’m pulling from other websites! 🙂
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. (wikipedia)
We eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. This is not a “diet” – we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat animals and a significant amount of plants. Eating like this has helped us to look, feel, live and perform our best, and reduces our risk for a variety of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions. (whole30)
Meat, seafood and eggs; vegetables and fruit; and healthy fat sources like coconut, avocado and olive oil are all foods that make you healthier. Sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy are all food groups that have significant potential down sides, and may not contribute positively to your health. (whole30)
So in summary- no bread, rice, potatoes, cheese, anything with ingredients that you have to google is a big fat NO.
If you don’t eat by these guidelines now, you are probably feeling pretty sorry for me. A lot of people talk to me like I’m depriving myself of something or starving myself. I can assure you I 100% thoroughly enjoy my meals and probably eat double if not more than double the calories of a girl my age on a “diet”. When I first started Crossfit, the first thing everyone used to say to me is, “You’re not going to get sucked into that paleo diet are you?” I’d answer “hell no” before they were finished asking the question. Slowly but surely I did get sucked in.
The first time I tried paleo was a disaster. I came home from a weekend away to a house full of meats, veggies and oils and more paleo ingredients than I could imagine. My fiance printed out a paleo shopping list and bought EVERY item on it for me as a surprise. If I haven’t mentioned it yet- he is AMAZING. Now, all these foods do you no good if you don’t know what to do with them. Prior to this paleo attempt, our meals consisted of ground turkey or chicken paired with rice, quinoa, or salad and maybe some veggies on the side. So I thought, “well this is simple, I will just replace the rice with broccoli and boom paleo is done!” Yea…. it doesn’t work like that. After 4 days… 4 miserable, cranky and hungry days… I ate half of a bag of pita chips and half of a block of feta cheese after a bad day at work and I was done with paleo. After that I continued to make some paleo meals here and there, and I experimented more but I will be honest, I added cheese to almost every paleo meal and/or wrapped it in a tortilla.
Part of the reason that I was so against paleo in the beginning is because I love to cook and I was afraid I would lose that if I went over to the devil paleo side. Through my experimentation I realized that I can be even more creative when I have a more limited list of ingredients to choose from and I was learning more about cooking than ever. So in January I decided to commit. I never did the Whole30 challenge (although I urge everyone else to, haha), and I eat 100% paleo about 80% of the time. The weekends is when I indulge in my 20% and I am very strict throughout the week.
If you are reading this thinking, but I need carbs from bread or pasta or rice for energy… you’re wrong. If you are telling me there are nutrients in your whole wheat bread that I can’t get from fresh vegetables, you’re wrong again. Paleo is not easy, it’s a commitment and it really does take some time to figure out. But it’s worth it. It feels so good to know where all your food comes from, to actually know what’s in your food.
It’s not for everyone, but if you are interested you should definitely give it a try!