Thank you for all of the love on my first installment of the What I [Would Eat If..] Wednesday that I posted 2 weeks ago. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I love all the comments and suggestions that you guys gave in the comments section. I have read them all I promise that I am slowly getting back to responding to all of them. I really had fun doing that post because it helps me to share information about a dietary lifestyle you may not be familiar with or perhaps one that you are thinking about trying out in some form or shape PLUS I get to look up creative new recipes for both myself and you guys to test out.
All hail the #FoodPorn!
So for this week, as a complete 180…kinda.. from the Vegan diet, lets take a look at the lifestyle that is often perceived as the….
Before I begin, don’t forget to check in With Miss Jen over at Peas and Crayons for her everyday eats and all the other bloggers nommy foods.
Okay so in a quick lil summary…
What is Paleo?
Referring to Cordain, in a nutshell, the Paleo diet is based off eating how our ancestors, more specifically the per-agricultural hunter gathers, ate.
Okay what does that mean?
In general, here are some of the pillars that set the foundation of the Paleo diet:
- Higher protein.
- Lower carbohydrate and low glycemic foods (for little to no blood sugar spiking).
- High fiber.
- Moderate to high fat intake that focuses on proper Omega 3/6 balance for decreasing the risk of inflammation and cutting the risk of heart disease by removing excess Omega 6’s and trans fats from the diet.
- Lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Low sodium (ie. processed foods) to protect against heart disease.
- Proper acid/base balance. Many of the foods that are avoided in this diet are those that are very acidic. Cordain stresses that high acidity in the body leads to bone deminerailzation, various forms of asthma, muscle wasting, kidney stones (from excess calcium), etc
So basically you want to be eating as unprocessed as possible while also moderating the types of carbohydrate (high glycemic sources, like potatoes and many fruits, should be avoided and grains are an absolute no) and meat sources (avoid higher fat meats and cuts) you are getting. The major premise is that you are reducing your risk of heart disease and inflammatory diseases through living this lifestyle. Both of these issues are on the rise and often times the blame is being directed at the current American dietary lifestyle. With that in mind, perhaps if we go back to the way we used to eat (..if it grows in nature it’s probably consumable..) than we may be able to reduce these health related problems.
So what do I eat then?
- Grains and legumes are avoided for a number of reasons other than the fact that they weren’t really available to our earlier ancestors. They are also excluded from the diet because they are highly acidic, carry a high glycemic load, lack many micronutrients, promote inflammation AAANND they contain substances under the umbrella term ‘antinutrients‘ including tannins, phytic acids, etc. These have been shown to interfere with the absorption of nutrients in foods.
- They preach grassfed as much as possible. Does this get expensive? YES. Those meats ain’t cheap these days. The reasoning behind that is that non-grassfed animals are then GRAINFED animals which sport a higher Omega 6 content leading to inflammation.
- Also, PS, no alcohol.
Last point is that because this diet does place meat and fish high on the priority list, Cordain believes that it is impossible to following the Paleolithic lifestyle if you are vegetarian or vegan as the major sources of protein in those lifestyles are not allowed.
So there is the gist of it all and before I move on into the Day In the Life portion with all the #FoodPorn goodness, there are a few things to clear up as there are few misconceptions about this lifestyle.
1. Paleo and Primal are not the exact same thing.
Source [ http://huntgatherlove.com/content/paleo-vs-primal-vs-atkins%5D
This is a very common misconception. The two terms are often used interchangeably but they are not the same. Yes, they are similar in their many of their ideas surrounding what to eat (lots of veggies, proteins, and unprocessed foods) and what you shouldn’t eat (grains, alcohol, heavily processed foods, sugars, etc), but they do have their differences.NOTE: Mark is associate with the Primal Blueprint, while Cordain and Wolf are leaders in the Paleo Community
- Primal does allow for some dairy in the form of full fat cheese, yogurt, kefir and stuff like that. Paleo doesn’t.
- Some artificial sweeteners are generally accepted with Paleo, just not sugar. For Primal on the other hand, artificial sweeteners should only be used if they provide some benefit to the body. Otherwise, change the food so that it doesn’t contain it.
- Fats. They differ in their opinions about fats in a few places. There was a much bigger difference when Cordain first began his movement as he was anti-saturated fat due to the supposed research supporting its role in cardiovascular disease. It appears as though his opinion has changed in recent years and he has now accepted that some saturated fats are an exception (Read here). It appears that Wolf still promotes LEAN MEATS, which is not always the case made by Mark, who supports the consumption about the used of the whole animal and those fattier cuts and organ meats provide crucial nutrients and cholesterol that the body needs. The use of ghee is grassfed butter are also allowed in the Primal community, while they are not in Paleo due to them both being a dairy product.
- There is a huge push for supplementation in the Primal Blueprint as Mark states that our food just isn’t what it used to be. Yes Grok didn’t have supplements BUT Grok also didn’t obsessively wash his food (he ate dirt giving him healthy bacteria, probiotics, for his gut health), didn’t have to eat farmed fish (so he got the Omega fatty acids that were meant to be in the fish), etc. There is not really much said about supplements in the Paleo community.
- Mark gives an actual bracket of carbohydrates per day that he deems to be healthy and acceptable. Essentially, he preaches no more than 100-150g, which is just enough to keep you out of ketosis. He states that this is totally doable as you would be hard pressed to get any higher than that if you are eating mostly vegetables with the occasional fruit or starchier tuber. There doesn’t appear to be a ‘carb cap’ mentioned by either Wolf or Cordain but they do say to limit your fruits and starchier carbs, especially if you are insulin sensitive or overweight.
2. Meat and bacon do not make up the centre of this lifestyle.
It’s such a stereotype that Paleo is associated with meat. It probably stems from the fact that it’s seen as the caveman diet. Although high quality meat and other protein sources are considered staples in this lifestyle, the Paleo community is really based on…
- Eating whole, real foods.
- Eating quality foods.
- No alcohol.
- Limiting sugars as they are associated with health problems.
- Eating foods that promote health and gaining the most nutrients out of your diet while decreasing risks of inflammation, high insulin levels, disease and chronic illness.
Alrighty so I tried to condense that as much as possible while also being as informative as possible…
Did I kinda succeed?
Anyways, now onto the feast for your eyes. Dat food! Big ol’ thanks to all of the bloggers I seek out for their fab recipes! Remember to click on the pictures for the recipe.
Alas, my favourite staple breakfast of my loaded up proats is a big no-no in this diet on so many levels..
- No whey (dairy)
- No oats (grains)
- No Questbars (in a package, whey)…AGAIN HOW CAN YOU LIVE!
So what would Lil Miss Fitness Freak eat? Well, because it would still be my pre workout, I still need me some good carbs, protein and also a good dose of fats to get me through my training. Something like this might appear on my plate..
I’m sorry nut butter has to be in my breaky no matter what or I’m just sad. Although almond butter is shown here, mine would probably be cashew butter (because peanut buttah is also not allowed :’-() Crying a wee bit more here…) because almond buttah just ain’t my fav.
Anyone else not a huge fan of almond butter?
The sweet potato would give me some good carbs and sugars, the omelet (which I would stuff with more veggies like mushrooms and such) would give me my protein, the nut butter would be my fats, and the green veggies would just balance it all out. I can’t do broccoli though…perhaps zucchini or asparagus would be subbed there for me.
Now, one other common complaint about Paleo and breakfast is that it often centers around eggs of some kind because 1. Most people don’t cook themselves up a slab of meat first thing in the morning and 2. because eggs often looked at as the only breakfast like protein.
So for all of you that would get sick of having eggs every morning, here’s a recipe for you.
Personally I would nix the sugar a wee bit, but that is my own preference. You can easily make these a banana or ‘apple pie‘ version by simply switching up your spices and fruit puree. Thanks to Dianne for the recipe!
For me, my lunch is often my post workout meal (after my lil post workout muffin devoured right after my lifting sesh) eaten about 2-2.5 hours after the gym. Once again, I’m looking for a heavy dose of carbs and good protein but lower fat this time. The lower fat here is more my preference for comfort as I take in a ton of carbs at this point so I stick to loading one major energy macro so that I don’t feel like I can’t move afterwards.
So what would I enjoy eating at this point?
Bam! A burger and fries! A turkey burger with a mushroom bun and baked sweet tater fries to be exact. I would also sneak in a salad or some greens somewhere on that plate because I’m a greens-a-holic. Burger toppings of choice would be my favourites as usual…
- Unsalted, organic sundried tomatoes
- Sauteed onion
- Tons of mustard
Thank you to The Little Green Spoon for the recipe but unfortunately this one is not strictly Paleo (it was more the idea I wanted as the bun is genius!) as it contains quinoa. You could make some adjustments and swap out the quinoa for a given amount of flax meal (perhaps a few tbsp would do the trick for the quantities shown) OR you can refer to this recipe from for an 100% Paleo turkey burger Mexican style OR a more basic or neutral one here.
Side Note. Check out this recipe by Rebecca for an cool cauliflower bun recipe that seems to hold up very well!
Dinnah dinnah, I got a great one for dinnah and it’s all mine :-D
This was soo simple and yet sooo good and I’m pretty sure that amazingness comes down to that beautiful elk steak.
I can never stress enough how good exotic meats are and elk is no exception. Sobey’s near my parents place (the only place I have ever found elk) FINALLY brought them back in after months of me waiting and waiting so obviously when I saw them on the shelf I snatched that baby up like a kid in a candy store.
I mmmed and awww’ed all the way through this meal and smiled at how easy it was to put together. So what’s on the plate?
- The Steak. I marinaded the steak in 1/2 a tsp of olive oil, a few shakes of liquid smoke, about a tsp of apple cider vinegar (helps for tenderizing), chili flakes, cracked black pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. When I cooked it up, I seared it in a pan (about 1-2 minutes per side on high heat) then finished up the steak at 350 degrees in my toaster oven.
- Steak Topping. My usual favourites, mushrooms, onions, and sundried tomatoes (my unsalted, nitrate free and organic ones from my store) sauteed in the rest of the marinade. Trust me, there was more of those than pictured. ;-)
- The Butternut Squash Mash. I simply took cubed butternut squash and steamed in my microwavable steamer pot until it was tender (keep that skin on! Fiber and nutrients peeps). I then put in my lil Oskar (food processor) with raw garlic, cracked black pepper, 1/2 tsp olive oil, chili flakes and dried rosemary and blended it up with enough water to make a nice puree.
- The ‘Keg-ified’ Veggies. I really enjoyed the Keg seasoned veggies I had the last time I went to the steakhouse so I have been doing that more often at home too just with Mrs. Dash’s Steak Blend. So I sauteed button mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini cubes and some bell pepper chunks in that seasoning, chili flakes, garlic powder and a lil bit of coconut oil unilt they were softened but still had a bit of a crunch. TIP: Add a touch of vinegar or lemon juice into the pan at the end of the saute to get a nice browning on them veggies.
Fancy shmancy dinner in my face in 30 minutes or less.
Okay so I didn’t really mention snacks in between meals because most of the Paleo community stresses eating substantial enough meals so that you don’t need to snack in between. Personally, I take issue with this because my lil tummy can’t eat really rich and heavy meals all in one sitting and so I tend to get a wee bit hungry between my meals. So, here are some Paleo approved recipes for snacks even if shnacking is not really promoted here.
Besides some of the more obvious snacks…
- Hardboiled eggs
- Veggies with lean meats. You can wrap up veggies in slices of prepped meat Or vice versa. Try these lil zucchini roll ups out.
- Nut butter and celery like ants on a log.
There are some more exciting and creative ones too. Here’s a few (click on the pictures for the link):
For something more savory..
Paleo Chicken Wraps by Paleoaholic
Perhaps some pre-workout energy or just a lil zip to get you out of that afternoon slump…
Fig and Pistachio Powerballs from Eye Candy Popper.
So there you have it friends, zee Paleo diet. If there are any readers from the Paleo community please feel free to jump into the comments section and give your two cents and opinions as I’m wanting to learn more as well.
I would say that my current diet is about 85-90% Paleo. I’m grain free with the exception of my brown rice and oats and I’m dairy free (due to lactose intolerance). I do keep whey and casein in my diet as I believe I can digest those fine and therefore don’t feel the need to remove them. The big thing that I totally agree with in this lifestyle is the main idea of whole and real foods. Less processed, less sugar and sodium and less crap overall is where we should all be striving for as that is the food that our body recognizes and works optimally on.
What do you think friends?
Did I miss anything important about this lifestyle? Talk at me! I wanna hear more please! :-D
Don’t forget to pop on over to Peas and Crayons and say hi to our lovely hostess to the mostess, Jen.