Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Balancing Paleo

How long have you been eating a Paleo or Primal Diet?  How strict do you adhere to it?  Lately many people around me - friends, colleagues, and family - are experimenting with "going Paleo." I think its awesome that they are trying to Paleo and are changing to eating more whole foods, vegetables, high quality meats, seafood, nuts, and seeds.   

One thing that people need to be careful of when they change their diet and "go Paleo" is eating too much fruit and Paleo-friendly treats.  Paleo treats are a crutch that help you to get you through your Paleo experiment.  Things like larabars are good when you have no other options or for an occasional snack, but they shouldn't be added to your diet as a new food group.  Enjoy Paleo friendly treats occasionally too, but realize that most of them are still high in natural sugar (dried fruits) or contain a large amount of nuts (which are Paleo but again, shouldn't make up a large part of your food every day).  The key here is to find balance with your Paleo foods, your chosen "cheats", and Paleo treats.  It's ok to eat Paleo treats, but be careful NOT to overdo it - like Cookie Monster says, Paleo treats are a sometimes food.
 A strict Paleo lifestyle is not for everyone long term.  After you do a Paleo challenge, and see how good you feel eating that way, you'll integrate Paleo food choices into your normal routine.  When you experiment with adding things back into your diet, you'll start to decide what is sustainable for you, what foods you will continue to exclude and what foods you will allow once in awhile. One thing that I need to work on is balancing and not being so strict all the time.  I like being strict because I feel better when I eat that way.  Large amounts of sugar give me a headache, and not for a few hours but for days!  As referenced in my last post, after going Paleo I've confirmed that I am senstive to gluten.  When I eat things that contain gluten, I can feel it, and it doesn't make me feel good.  Every once in awhile it is a good idea to kick up your heels and have a treat, espeically if it was made specifically for you, and even if you lead a Paleo life.  This is something I'm working on incorporating into my food choices and need to experiment with having a bite of something - remembering that a small amount won't impact me too much and it could go a long way with others.

Those of you that are doing a Paleo or Primal diet, how are you doing, what are your challenges, where do you need help or need to learn how to flex?


  1. I find that 80/20 works for me. It took me a while to find the right balance, but I'm glad that I did. I was either all in or all out, and that's not sustainable.

    I love beer, pasta, and ice cream, but I love looking, feeling, and performing better even more. I try to stay 99% clean in the times where I have control over it. The most neolithic food I might have at home is popcorn, or some occasional dairy as a condiment. When I'm out, I try to just make better choices and avoid gluten as much as possible. Burger and fries but no bun, for example. Corn Chips at lunch on Fridays is another. When I'm at my parents' house or a friend's house, I eat what they have. Sometimes it's way too much of a hassle to explain your diet choices to people, especially my parents, and especially when your diet is foreign to EVERYTHING that people are told is healthy.

    When I'm out, every once in a while, I'll have a beer or two, but I try to stick to red wine or jack and diet as staples. You can go on a bender with those and just feel a little bad the next day, instead of having what I call gluten's revenge, which SUCKS.

    It's your life. LIVE IT! For me, occasional "cheats" works with my lifestyle. I just ask people to make better choices. I hope that more people will come around and not believe this calories in calories out, fat is bad, grains are essential bullshit. Every time I here that I want to cringe.

  2. What's been good for me is recognizing the treats/cheats that are worth it to me and the one's that are not.

    I LOVE pizza, to me, every once in awhile it's worth it. Pasta is not - I dont miss it actually. I wont refuse a bit of birthday cake if one of my nieces or nephews offer it and celebrating with them is worth it.

  3. I'd say I'm probably about 80/20 myself, I do eat high-fat dairy and the occasional organic yogurt. I also eat some fruit, some potatoes and sometimes I have a bit of muesli before Crossfit workouts.

    Then I often have pizza on the weekends. But besides that my diet is pretty much all paleo.