Monday, July 23, 2012

Why not Paleo?

Several people have asked me  At least one person has asked me  The voices in my head have asked me if I eat Paleo.

The answer is a definitive no.

The Paleo diet is referred to as the caveman diet. 

When I picture myself "eating Paleo", I picture myself eating a turkey leg in a Wilma Flinstone dress . 

The basic philosophy is that you make food choices based on whether your ancestors ate it.  And, by ancestors, I mean those people that lived long before you and I.  I'm not talking about our grandparents, here.  I'm talking, a long, long, loooooooooooooooong time ago.

The Great and Powerful Oz and I have some friends that own a bad ass Cross Fit gym in Pittsburgh.  Their bad ass-ness was confirmed last week when they took fifth at the Crossfit Games in California.  Anyway, a while back, the gym posted this satirical guide to eating Paleo on its FB page:

This chart certainly isn't the Paleo gospel, but I like the general rule that you can eat it if it had a face, if it grew in the dirt, or if it grew from something in the dirt.

There are many interpretations on the rules for eating Paleo.  However, according to my sources, the foods that are generally encouraged include:  lean meats, lean poultry, game meats, fish, shellfish, fruits, and vegetables.  One example list here.

Sounds good, right?  I eat lots of those things.  In fact, I bet that I eat Paleo-ish 80% of the time.

But, people who follow the Paleo diet don't commit 80% of the time.  They are much, much more dedicated than that.   But some healthy is better than no healthy, right?

So, I've considered trying it . . . maybe just a 30 day challenge or something.  But, while I'm game for almost anything . . . even a gamey diet . . .  it's hard for me to wrap my brain around giving up all the things I would have to give up to eat the Paleo way. 

For example . . .

Allowed Only in Moderation:

1.  Coffee:  I loooooooove coffee. And, I'm guessing that my three cups per day is not "in moderation."  Can't do it.

2.   Tea:  I started drinking more iced tea when I gave up soda.  And, if I was to give up coffee, what would I want to drink?  Tea, of course.  Can't do it if I'm also giving up coffee.


3.  Alcohol.  Uh oh.  The Paleo way onlys allows 2-four oz glasses of wine, one 12 oz beer, or 4 oz spirits. 

I mean, I am cutting back.  Just last week, I made my new "no alcohol on weekdays" rule and my "to be determined weekend" rule.  But, I am an exceptional girl with a tenacity for rule-breaking, which leads to lots of exceptions.  

4.  Eggs.  According to old school Paleo, you should limit your diet to six eggs per week.  Yikes.  Oz and I eat 3 dozen eggs per week between the two of us.  But, we only eat the whites.  We toss the yolks. Even the funny ones. 


1. Soda.  I gave up regular coke years ago because of the empty calories.  But, of course, I replaced it with diet coke.

Eventually, I wisened up because no one . . . Paleo or not . . .  should drink something that melts pennies.  Thus, soda is not a deal breaker.

2.  Dairy:  I don't drink milk (but my kids do in case you are worried about their development).  I have completely switched to almond and coconut milk for smoothies, overnight oats, coffee, etc. 

But, I still have a healthy love of cows. 

Especially happy cows like the cows that produce the happiest cheese "product" on earth:

I really do not think that I can live without my Laughing Cow.  I have a spreadable cheese addiction.

And, what about Greek yogurt?  Dannon . . . Fage . . . Chobani . . .

If I take Greek yogurt out of my reportoire, then I'm giving up overnight oats and  Greek Chia Parfaits

And, then there is ice cream and froyo.   I partake on occasion.  You know that I do. 

And, when I do . . . I really, really enjoy it.  I can't give up all dairy.  Just can't.

3.  Grains.   Wheat, flour, rice (brown and white), corn,  . . . I could give it all up . . . but for two things:



Of course, if I wasn't hunting for Lavash, my stress levels while shopping at our hellified Walmart would be lower and I could cut 8 minutes off my shopping time.

4.  Legumes:  Paleo says that you shouldn't eat any beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and . . .  gasp!!!! . . . peanut butter. 

Oh hells no.  But, wait!   My Paleo source says that you can have almonds and cashews.  So, I'm assuming that natural almond butter and cashew butter must be okay, too. 

I've convinced myself that cashew butter is just as good as peanut butter.  Which is great because . . . seriously . . .  life wouldn't be worth living without some sort of nut butter. 

5.  Starchy vegetables:  This includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and tubers.   I'm not really sure what a tuber is, but I love sweet potatoes like a fat kid loves cake. 

yes, I really do own this book
Baked sweet potato fries would be a hard one for me to give up.

6.  Sweets:   Well, duh.  No "diet" or "healthy lifestyle" promotes eating dessert.  And, remember that I went cold turkey on the refined sugar once.  For 40 days. 

And, even after my bender, I thought I was better off without it. 

But every couple of days, I get a hankering for something sweet.  Just a little something.  Nothing too bad.   Since Paleo doesn't allow any artificial sweeteners, I don't know how you bend the rules here without breaking them.

So, there you have it.  The many reasons that I'm not committed to healthy living enough to go Paleo:  coffee, Laughing Cow cheese, alchohol, oats, lavash, sweet potatoes, and the occasional dessert.

And, since I'm not Paleo, here's what I ate for dinner last night.  Let's see how many Paleo rules I broke.

Portobello Mushroom with Hummus (BOOM), Spinach, and Mozzarella (BOOM)
Baked sweet potato fries (BOOM)
"Mashed" Cauliflower with spray butter
Almond milk ice cream made with stevia  
PB2 Frosting (from
That's a lot of "BOOMs".

Happy eating on this Monday,


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jenni,

    Bit late to this article but better late than never! :)

    I think your approach is completely right; so many people fail at diets because the rules are way too rigid, so why not be a bit lenient? I've managed to almost completely cut out sugar and cut down a lot on grains. I am a runner, so it's important to me to load up on brown rice from time to time, but I'm completely fine with that.

    By the way, the example food list you linked to above is now a dead link. I wrote an article on the diet that might help cover some of the same points as the broken link. Take a look:

    It might make a nice addition to this post :)

    Keep up the great work!