3

votes

Cheat meals...yay or nay?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 30, 2011 at 7:36 PM

What are your thoughts on occasional cheat meals? I love doing Paleo. I feel much better when I do it strictly versus eating the standard American "healthy" way, which we all know is not healthy at all.

Case in point: I had some sugar (normally zero sugar for me) on Thanksgiving. I went the rest of the weekend as usual; meat, veggies, nuts and oils. Yesterday I started to feel awful. My energy plummeted, I felt dehydrated despite it being a rest day and drinking lots of water. I just felt like I needed something with some carbs..which I normally do not crave. So my husband and I ordered a thin crust pizza. I ate a small amount and instantly felt better. No bloating, no remorse, and today I feel great back on my normal Paleo method. I know of course that pizza is not optimal, but every now and then can it help propel you when your energy lags and your body is craving it?

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on December 02, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Also agree with Michael here, go for "safe" sources of starch if they make you feel better. I know they do for me = less anxiety and better sleep.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on December 02, 2011
at 11:23 PM

@Jared, no, this is his commentary on what happens in Primary care. He mentioned this to me when I told him about a friend who had done this, demanded antibiotics for their cold. But whether we like it or not, medicine in this country has become a consumer-driven system. Thank you, please drive through.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:12 PM

My understanding is that your body deals with small quantities of fructose no problem. So if it works for you to have a piece of fruit a day, go for it guilt free. You can look in the mirror and see if that's an issue. And if yams take care of your carb cravings, probably most people can have a good portion of those every day and do fine. In short, paleo is a good idea, but low carb is only necessary for some people. So do what feels good! I wish I liked veggies.

C00e493393828df34be65ddc25456c7c

(610)

on December 01, 2011
at 10:49 AM

Even an apple a day won't kill you.

C00e493393828df34be65ddc25456c7c

(610)

on December 01, 2011
at 10:48 AM

Don't consider rice as cheating. Perhaps when cheating gluten free would be preferable.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on December 01, 2011
at 01:13 AM

Great answer!! I keep going back to Yoni Freedhoff's point that you need to live the live you'll enjoy, not the one you'll tolerate. For some of us, that life occasionally involves non-paleo food.

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on December 01, 2011
at 12:05 AM

Michael, I do occasionally make sweet potato (Viking Hash) using yams, bacon, and chopped onions. I will eat about 1/2 cup of this per week. Some weeks I don't have any at all. What about apples? I avoid fruit because of the fructose content, but I am wondering if one apple every three days or so in the morning might satisfy that carb craving. I eat a wide array of veggies, mostly some with carbs in them such as broccoli, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peppers and onions, tomatoes, etc. I love vegetables!!!

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 30, 2011
at 09:26 PM

That's a great way of looking at things Kewpie. For me, if I go a bit overboard on a "cheat meal", 90% of the time it leads to binging on crap (all or nothing mentality). I think it's best to do away with the notion of cheating and just take each day one step at a time; if I have a slice or two of apple pie, I'll just move on!

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 08:30 PM

You guys are all very encouraging. I can beat myself up a lot when i make poor dietary choices. I can most certainly see the value of not forbidding things and calling them "cheats." Thanks again for responding!

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Karen, I agree with you 100%. Whatever it was, I feel better today and will not worry too much about the pizza.

828429fe885f42968c0519d5b84cec40

(608)

on November 30, 2011
at 08:25 PM

I agree! Great advice. For me, the emotional distress of saying no to all treats or being too militant when eating out or on the holidays is a lot more stressful than a slice of pizza or cake could be. It all depends on how neolithic foods affect you as well.

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e

(3614)

on November 30, 2011
at 08:03 PM

So if someone demands an antibiotic for something that isn't bacterial, your hubby knowingly prescribes it anyway?

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 30, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Very nice answer. I agree 100%, especially the part about considering eating non-Paleo foods on occasion as "a normal part of living in the real world."

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 07:53 PM

Excellent advice!

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4 Answers

best answer

17
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 30, 2011
at 07:51 PM

For me, the framing is the important part because paleo isn't a temporary solution, it's a whole new way of living my life. I do occasionally eat non-paleo food, but I don't consider it cheating. I consider it a normal part of living in the real world.

My goal is not to avoid every shred of non-paleo food for the rest of my life, instead my goal is to make paleo foods the primary focus of my diet and make sure that on the rare occasions wwhen I make other choices I am making a conscious decision to do so, not a spur of the moment decision based on momentary weakness. For example, if I decide to go out for sushi I am making a conscious decision to have some rice. I don't think of that as cheating.

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 07:53 PM

Excellent advice!

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 30, 2011
at 09:26 PM

That's a great way of looking at things Kewpie. For me, if I go a bit overboard on a "cheat meal", 90% of the time it leads to binging on crap (all or nothing mentality). I think it's best to do away with the notion of cheating and just take each day one step at a time; if I have a slice or two of apple pie, I'll just move on!

828429fe885f42968c0519d5b84cec40

(608)

on November 30, 2011
at 08:25 PM

I agree! Great advice. For me, the emotional distress of saying no to all treats or being too militant when eating out or on the holidays is a lot more stressful than a slice of pizza or cake could be. It all depends on how neolithic foods affect you as well.

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 08:30 PM

You guys are all very encouraging. I can beat myself up a lot when i make poor dietary choices. I can most certainly see the value of not forbidding things and calling them "cheats." Thanks again for responding!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on December 01, 2011
at 01:13 AM

Great answer!! I keep going back to Yoni Freedhoff's point that you need to live the live you'll enjoy, not the one you'll tolerate. For some of us, that life occasionally involves non-paleo food.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 30, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Very nice answer. I agree 100%, especially the part about considering eating non-Paleo foods on occasion as "a normal part of living in the real world."

C00e493393828df34be65ddc25456c7c

(610)

on December 01, 2011
at 10:48 AM

Don't consider rice as cheating. Perhaps when cheating gluten free would be preferable.

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on December 01, 2011
at 01:46 AM

I think Kewpie gave a great answer with regard to treat meals and such for psychological benefit. I am a BIG believer! I tried for years to be 100% and I would always end up face first in the bag of Doritos somehow. I was all or nothing and it was a completely disaster. Planned breaks are a very good thing and learning how to do this was the key to my weight loss and my ability to manage my weight now.

I think though that what the OP is speaking of two very different things here. Cheat or treat meals are one thing. Allowing yourself to let loose and enjoy the joy of food, any food, can be a wonderful thing and effective strategy to staying on plan. Choosing to cheat for physical reasons though is something else. There should really be no physical feeling that cannot be managed with paleo foods IMO. If you feel the need to eat carbs then by all means do so and see what happens but eat a potato or a piece of fruit not a pizza for heavens sake. Don't get me wrong I think it's fine to eat a pizza every now and again because a good pizza is one of the great joys of life. It shouldn't be the answer, however, to "I feel like I need more carbs in my diet". That is a very slippery slope it seems to me. There's a whole lot of head-game involved with sticking to a particular way of eating and it's SO easy to fool yourself into thinking or convincing yourself in a moment of want that cheating to feel better physically is the right way to go.

3
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on November 30, 2011
at 07:56 PM

You're lucky. Anything with gluten is always regretted for several days after. It's just not worth it anymore.

As far as "cheats" in general, I prefer to call them "off-plan" choices. I agree with Kewpie that we can't frame it as an either/or. But I do think it helps to completely stop considering that stuff food at all. But I'm also all for going with the social flow as far as you're comfortable and able.

I would caution against thinking the pizza did anything to help you. My husband sees this all the time with folks who demand antibiotics for colds and magically get better. Of course they do, but what they don't realize is that they would have gotten better without them too, they just didn't wait long enough to find out.

Which is to say that even on the best of diets, we're going to have days we feel tired or dehydrated or whatever. It's called being a human on earth. :)

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on November 30, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Karen, I agree with you 100%. Whatever it was, I feel better today and will not worry too much about the pizza.

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e

(3614)

on November 30, 2011
at 08:03 PM

So if someone demands an antibiotic for something that isn't bacterial, your hubby knowingly prescribes it anyway?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on December 02, 2011
at 11:23 PM

@Jared, no, this is his commentary on what happens in Primary care. He mentioned this to me when I told him about a friend who had done this, demanded antibiotics for their cold. But whether we like it or not, medicine in this country has become a consumer-driven system. Thank you, please drive through.

1
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on November 30, 2011
at 09:34 PM

Every time you eat suboptimalll, it's suboptimal. You might choose to be 100% paleo, or 90%, or 80%, or you might plan to eat that pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, or whatever. Cheating isn't a good thing. But if you do so rarely enough, it's no big deal. I'm speaking physiologically here.

Psychologically, depending on who you are, you might only be able to be strict if you get all obsessive, which is bad. Or you might be like an alcoholic, where a cheat leads to a binge, so you'd better not cheat at all.

So don't get all obsessive, but don't think that a cheat is psysiologically healthful either.

One last point. If you are low-carb paleo and you cheat with pizza and feel better, maybe you you would feel even better if you ate sweet potatoes or white rice instead.

C59f469d51da372100083ff164e8f943

on December 01, 2011
at 12:05 AM

Michael, I do occasionally make sweet potato (Viking Hash) using yams, bacon, and chopped onions. I will eat about 1/2 cup of this per week. Some weeks I don't have any at all. What about apples? I avoid fruit because of the fructose content, but I am wondering if one apple every three days or so in the morning might satisfy that carb craving. I eat a wide array of veggies, mostly some with carbs in them such as broccoli, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peppers and onions, tomatoes, etc. I love vegetables!!!

C00e493393828df34be65ddc25456c7c

(610)

on December 01, 2011
at 10:49 AM

Even an apple a day won't kill you.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on December 02, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Also agree with Michael here, go for "safe" sources of starch if they make you feel better. I know they do for me = less anxiety and better sleep.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on December 02, 2011
at 03:12 PM

My understanding is that your body deals with small quantities of fructose no problem. So if it works for you to have a piece of fruit a day, go for it guilt free. You can look in the mirror and see if that's an issue. And if yams take care of your carb cravings, probably most people can have a good portion of those every day and do fine. In short, paleo is a good idea, but low carb is only necessary for some people. So do what feels good! I wish I liked veggies.

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