I’m a simple minded kinda girl and when I started to read about Paleo some of the descriptions are really long and full of science. That’s great, I love knowing what the background and reason for anything I do, like I said I’m a planner and a researcher, but it doesn’t help so much in the day to day. What the detailed and scientific thing did is put meaning and understanding behind the actions. Kind of like first aid. It’s all well and good knowing what to do in an emergency but knowing WHY you have to do it really helps you remember why you are going through the motions. So I present “why I’m eating Paleo and what it is”. Just for clarity when I refer to “diet” in this blog it means “what we eat” rather than a weight loss term.
What is Paleo?
Paleo is a way of eating which is based largely on a back to basics approach. Eating as they would of when man began! When talking to my grandmother about my “new” approach to eating she laughed and said it was pretty much as they used to eat. She pointed out that there was no such thing as low fat in her day, sugar was very limited and dairy was in small portions. So Paleo takes the approach that your sources of protein should have once had a parent and it should be grass fed NOT grain fed. Meat is fairly central to this however if you were vegetarian you could certainly survive, it would be tricky though and there isn’t much information out there. Carbs are not the enemy although they should be limited to those carbs from fruit and veg. Healthy Fat is your friend. Most of my fats come from grass fed meats but you can get it from nuts too. I am having a new love affair with almond butter. Processed food, Grains, Legumes, Majority of Dairy and Sugar are OUT. Yep. None.
What? No Grains? But but but…
Yep. We’ve spent most of our modern lives understanding that grains are the biggest part of the pyramid. BELIEVE me I have scoffed at the thought of removing them from my diet. I’ve considered it unsustainable, but a lot of research has been done over the past 5 years that has indicated that the current obesity problems do have some link to the increase of grains and processed sugar in our diets as well as a more sedentary lifestyle with little weight bearing exercise. Believe me my scepticism has led me to read A LOT of studies. What I love about Paleo is that it’s not dependant on me being in Ketosis, it’s just a clean way of eating. I don’t knock it, Ketogenic diets help people lose weight all the time, it’s just not for me.
Both the bothersome males in my family have food tolerances (and my son used to have a very serious allergy to Egg which thankfully he grew out of just after his 4th birthday). Dairy seems to be the biggest culprit for IBS type symptoms. I too seem to react to wheat and gluten based foods, particularly bread, not only does it trigger binges for me it seems to make me bloat and suffer from some unpleasant and unladylike side effects! I love bread so it pains me to say it doesn’t love me back, so we’ve broken up.
There is considerable conspiracy theory around the grain industry and it’s links to the government recommended diet plate. Grains are cheap to manufacture and make a lot of money so I can see where they are coming from. I’m not a great conspiracy theorist so I stay away from that kind of thing until it’s proven to me really. I do feel grains are pushed on us as a saviour of the world but it can’t be a one size fits all approach. There is a fabulous article here about grains and the effect they have on the body here.
So you can’t eat so much stuff what do you actually eat!?
I eat loads I can tell you ! After years of low fat dieting the freedom to eat any kind of meat – with the fat on no less – has been quite the exciting revelation. There is TONNES you can eat within Paleo. Look at the pyramid up there ^ there is loads to choose from. It’s all quite functional food which is great but I’ve been enjoying the choices of veg, meat and nut based things including the current obsession with Almond butter.
Foods that make up my diet are:
Protein – comes from meat, steaks, pork, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, with the fat on if it’s grass fed, lean cuts if not grass fed (generally supermarkets are not, organic is more likely to be but you have to check). I’ll eat most kinds of meat if I’m honest! Eggs too.
Carbs – come from fruit and veg. I thought it would be hard keeping my carbs to 10-15% but it’s really not. Because I’m concentrating on my protein and fat intake I don’t even think about the carb side of things. I’m not tired so I’m getting enough. You can see from my diet diary where my carbs are coming from, this week mostly from strawberries!
Fats – Organic butter, Olive Oil, Nuts, Nut Butter (almond), grass fed meat fat, eggs,
For a really good list system of do’s and do nots I really recommend Everyday Paleo, particularly if you have a family as it gives a great way to approach Paleo with children. This family has been living Paleo for 4 years now and have a great pile of resources in their books and website.
Are you mad? Why would you restrict your diet when losing weight is just calories in calories out?
Well it’s not that simple is it. Most people are aware that 1 g of fat = 3500 calories. Create a deficit of that under your BMR and you’ll lose a lb. Only 100 calories of apple and 100 calories of doritos isn’t going to treat your body in the same way. Your body will react differently to the different kinds of sugars, chemicals and make up of the food which will mean while you may have the same intake the output will be so different. There are so many variables from insulin reactions to chemical make up to body type that I don’t understand fully which means that the more processed the food the more likely you are to end up fatter on doritos than the same calories of veg. And probably more bunged up too. Yuck.
So no processed food eh? Cooking from scratch? I can’t cook/I don’t have time for that/it’s too expensive…
You do have time. You just plan right and then you’ll be fine. I never cook for more than an hour. NEVER. I hate long drawn out cooking times so I keep it simple as possible and maybe go more out in the evenings, but I have time to blog, I have time to watch TV so I have time to make my body healthier and happier. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out – following instructions – how to chop and steam some veg, or cook some meat in a grill. There is tonnes of guidance on the web and practice makes perfect, the more you do something the more you learn. Man used to do all the cooking around here, then I had to learn and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a challenge for me, sometimes I epically fail and other times I make amazing stuff. I try and celebrate the win’s more. Priorities people.
On the expense side of things I can honestly say that we have CUT DOWN our shopping budget considerably, plus we get veg, fruit and meat delivered so no petrol costs either. I think people underestimate the financial cost of binging, as well as junk food not being filling and not lasting very long, as a whole chicken, organic at £5 can last this family of 3 five days worth of evening and lunch meals. We spend tonnes less on food now than we did because we don’t impulse buy in the supermarket anymore, no little extras just what we need. We get our meat, fruit and veg from Riverford for anyone who is interested. All organic. Again, as a family we decided if it did turn out more money every now and again then we would take the hit. Cut back elsewhere because it’s worth the money for our general health.
Well I think that’s an EPIC enough post about Paleo. If you made it this far I salute you! Say hello if you did lol.
Some great links if you want them are …