I know, I know. It’s been a looong minute since I’ve posted and I apologize profusely. You may understand slightly after I clue you in on what’s been going on in my life for the past few months. First, SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! We are expecting our first baby!!!!! Squeee. As of today I’m about 15 ½ weeks along. In addition to that wonderful and emotional news, my fiancé has suffered a very bad back injury so between he and I, we’ve been quite to interesting pair. See...I’ve had a lot going on.
Good grief! This year has started out quite hectic. It’s been pretty crazy at the day job after the holidays and the winter storm that hit Atlanta in late January (2014). It threw practically the entire state and I in a bit of a tail spin. I’m working on a post about my experience and learnings on that one. It was a doozy!
Well after the crazy week I’ve had, it’s time to celebrate its end with some Mexican Paleo recipes. Add to that the fact that I’m on the 21 Day Sugar Detox and we’ve got a real party going. Mexican has got to be my favorite kind of cuisine. The man and I tend to have it often since I can get the most variety of Paleo-friendly foods and he can have whatever he wants. The local spot has killer margaritas too. Sadly, none of this is to be had right now since I’m participating in the detox so we will just have to make it at home. This is what we normally do anyway.
I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now and I figured there was no better time than the New Year. You may be reading this because you’re new to Paleo or you may be a veteran. Either way, I hope you come away with some things to think about. Let me know in the comments if you agree, disagree, or want to expand on the thoughts here.
First things first…what is the Paleo diet?
The Paleo Diet is an idea based on how humans would have eaten pre-processed foods and before many of the nutritional changes that took place after the Agricultural Revolution. By the way, the Paleo Diet is partly named such to draw attention to it. It does not have to center absolutely on what cavemen ate. Let’s just break away from that for a bit. It gets people all spun up! We are eating foods, even real foods, that were not even around in the Paleolithic era. We don’t even know 100% what cavemen even ate. It’s just a basis to start from.
The Paleo Diet Basics
- Meat-preferably Grass-fed, pastured, uncured, nitrate-free, and/or wild caught. This includes beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork, and many others. It does not include processed meat such as most examples of “lunch meat.” Most of these have more ingredients than just the meat including many most of us can’t even pronounce. I bolded preferably because it’s better for you to try this way of eating even with conventional (the cheaper meat that you see in most grocery stores) meats if you can’t afford grass-fed than to continue relying on crap processed food. We’ll discuss the cost of eating this way later. Since, these are all protein sources, let’s not forget eggs! These are a great food source on Paleo.
- Vegetables-any fresh or frozen veggie you like. I’d encourage you to concentrate on local, seasonal vegetables whenever possible.
- Fruits in moderation-again, try for local and seasonal whenever possible. I say to eat this in moderation because if you’re overweight or less active, the additional sugar may not help you reach your goals. You’re an individual so try different fruits and see how you feel.
- Fat-yes, fat. No we are NOT talking about Canola oil, vegetable oil, or margarine. If these things are in your fridge or cupboards toss them NOW!!! I’ll provide links in the end that will open your eyes to the extreme dangers of these pseudo-fats. We ARE talking about high omega-3 fats including but not limited to animal fats (like lard, duck fat), coconut oil, avocado, palm oil, and high quality olive oil. Fat does not make you fat folks. This is one of the hardest details for newbies to learn. Thank you US Food Pyramid! (sarcasm)
- Nuts and seeds in moderation-these are an easy way to supplement this diet if you need a snack or addition to a recipe. Just be careful! Nuts and seeds are tiny, calorie packed munchies which means they’re easy to overeat. They also contain smaller amounts of phytates that can become detrimental if eaten in excess. Start small and think about your goals if you’re not seeing or feeling the results you’re looking for.
- Grains- any gluten containing grain including but not limited to wheat of any kind, rice of any kind, barley, spelt, amaranth, oats, corn, millet, and quinoa (technically a seed but many people’s systems still react to it as if it were a grain). Oats are on here because many people react to them like any other grain AND most are processed in factories that also process wheat so it is not gluten free.
- Dairy-we’ll talk more about this in a bit, but essentially we say this because the dairy that you see in most grocery stores is a shameful representation of what actually came out of the cow. It’s highly allergenic, stripped of its nutrients, adulterated with sugar and artificial vitamins, and growth promoting. When it comes to the standard versions of milk (fat-free, 1%, etc.) and dairy products you see today, run away from it!!
- Legumes-this includes all beans and legumes. Did you know peanuts aren’t nuts at all? Yep, they’re legumes. Peanut butter is out. Legumes have similar properties to grains and affect our bodies in similar ways. The phytates are what cause this…more details to come.
- Sugar-this goes for any diet frankly but added sugar isn’t the best idea. If you’re trying to lose weight, dealing with neurological issues, and trying to reset cravings, using sugar is the worst idea. Processed white sugar, agave, or any other high-glycemic sugar product should be out. Other sources in small amounts that may be considered include raw honey, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, and molasses. Again, think about your goals here.
Ok so these are the rules right? Um, well no. That’s the thing. This outline that I just gave of the Paleo Diet is simply a starting framework. If you’ve been running around eating the Standard American Diet (aka SAD diet) then I would try beginning with these parameters. What I’m here to tell you today though is that there are no hard and fast rules. You get to form your diet way of eating around what you want to do because…guess what? You’re an adult! You can learn and form opinions and then change them! Lucky you.
Start with the above outline and see how you feel. Try it for at least 3 weeks. If you try it for a smaller amount of time, you’re not really giving your body a chance to change. It’s up to you, but this is what I did. Then, if you want to add in a “non-Paleo” food to see how you feel, go for it! Just make sure you’re trying to stick to non-processed, real foods whenever possible.
“But I thought the no foods were never allowed?”
Like I said, you’re an adult. You allow what you want. Your results (how you feel, the way you look, your digestions) will tell you if what you’re eating was the right choice for YOU. THERE ARE NO RULES IN PALEO! There are only guidelines…what you do from there is your choice.
- Some types of DAIRY are good for you. GASP! WHAT?!? That’s Paleo blasphemy!
Raw dairy from grassfed cows is actually a very healthy, healing, and vitamin –rich food. It’s full of healthy fats and is a great source of extra calories if needed. Some people still negatively react to it as they would any other dairy but many find that their dairy allergies don’t flair up with raw dairy. One easy way to try this is to go to your local grocery store that has a health food section. For me in Atlanta, that would be Kroger or Whole Foods primarily. Both of these carry raw dairy cheese. Raw Milk, because it’s sadly illegal in many states, is much harder to get ahold of.
- There is a way to prepare beans and nuts so that they may not affect you in such a negative way. Yes, I said it! Again, these foods have phytates which can hamper digestion, aggravate conditions such as acid reflux, and cause other issues. However, soaking them for 24 hours and discarding the liquid before cooking them can lower the phytate load greatly. This will enable some folks to tolerate them better.
- Everyone assumes that the Paleo diet is a low-carb diet. That’s not actually true. It can be but that was never the idea at the start. There are plenty of carbohydrate sources out there without ingesting bread. Roots and tubers fit this category nicely. We’re talking about potatoes, yams, parsnips, carrots, celery root, sunchoke, taro, and beets. Potatoes you ask? Yes even white potatoes. Again, it’s all about how you feel and what results you’re looking for.
Phew! After all that, know that everyone has different opinions and ideas. I can’t recommend enough that you research and decide things for yourself. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for me. I went on the Paleo diet initially to lose weight. I didn’t. I’ve never felt better eating any other way but I didn’t really lose more than a pound or two. That’s ok. Some people lose a lot. It’s all about the individual.
Liz Wolfe on What is Primal? http://cavegirleats.com/what-is-primal/
Liz Wolfe on Raw Dairy http://cavegirleats.com/2010/11/17/doing-dairy-right/
Chris Kresser on Macronutrients http://chriskresser.com/beyond-paleo-3
Chris Kresser on Raw Dairy http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-buying-raw-milk-safely
Chris Kresser on Nuts and phytates http://chriskresser.com/another-reason-you-shouldnt-go-nuts-on-nuts
Diane Sanfilippo on Canola Oil (watch the video!) http://balancedbites.com/2010/06/canola-oil-may-be-paleo-diet-approved-but-i-wont-eat-it.html
Diane Sanfilippo on What is Paleo? http://balancedbites.com/2013/03/faqs-what-is-paleo.html
Robb Wolf What is Paleo? http://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/
Mark Sisson on Beans and Legumes http://www.marksdailyapple.com/beans-legumes-carbs/#axzz2pB9EVIEN
Mark Sisson on Why Grains are Unhealthy http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/#axzz2pB9EVIEN
There are too many resources for me to mention, but I’ll periodically update and add to this list as I come across more essential reading. Don’t forget to check out the books I have in my Amazon store. They should be required :) Get them here.
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Hello again friends. Welcome to another recipe round-up featuring some of my newly bookmarked must-try recipes from the interwebs. Please let me know in the comments if you try any of these and what you thought. Don’t forget…if you like this and my other posts, make sure you subscribe at the top of the page so you know when new posts are published first. I’ve been fighting a major cold this week. Add that to the ton of hours I’ve been putting in at my “real job,” and you get a very tired and snotty girl. Boo!! Yes I’m trying to take care of myself as much as possible. I heard the Balanced Bites podcast recently and Diane was also sick. I took notes on what she’s been doing. Bone broth and cod liver oil here I come!! Anyway…on to the foodiness.