8

votes

How do we winter-proof paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 04, 2011 at 10:05 PM

I've eaten 90%+ paleo January-October twice with few problems even though I live with non-paleo eaters, but every Fall I've done this something deep down kicks in and I lose all resolve if I'm around other people eating foods I normally don't eat.

I know Autumn is historically a feasting season, which would make sense for the upcoming "starving times" of late winter of yore. However, we live in a modern world with produce delivery, restaurants, etc., etc., so there's really no need for "extra padding". I'm still at 70-80% paleo, but bread and cheese have been creeping back into the menu. I do plan on just going back to 90%+ this week, and precooking a ton of stuff so that I can't use convenience as an excuse for grilled cheese, but I am feeling a little shaken in my confidence, I thought I had it dialed in this time.

I've noticed some other people have fallen off the wagon the last few weeks too here, and I'm wondering if it is losing the light exposure of summer that sets this off, or the colder temperatures? Do the little critters in our guts know the season is changing and freak out? Something is up, and I'm not sure how to combat it.

Maybe I just need a kick in the pants or to take up hibernation for real.

Has anyone else gotten over this hurdle?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I like it, evasive action via steak. I've mostly been using ground beef and pork lately to save a little mula, but I think you're right, time to steak it up.

220994a1bcff1923ef0388192bdba8d4

on November 05, 2011
at 07:37 PM

As much as we'd like to think there's a scientific reason behind everything, I think this one is cultural. For a long time, there has been a widespread cultural expectation to indulge and "fall off the wagon" during the holidays. It's hard to "go against the grain" (see what I did there??? haha) but I think it's worth it in the end.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:39 AM

My breakdown coincided with Zoe's meats running out of bacon for my grocery delivery, so maybe it is that classic need for more fat to kill sugar cravings. BAB hasn't been the same without bacon every few days. Now that I think about it, it would make sense that life without bacon would send me straight into the arms of cheddar cheese.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:20 AM

Haha, I'm amazed then :) I'm N=1, so I shouldn't be so harsh. I'm also 23 and never even liked cake or other things as a kid. Congrats on your journey - I wish you the best of luck! Keep at it.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:11 AM

"... If you eat a highly ketogenic diet fora few weeks I'd be amazed if you still had cravings." Eric, go ahead and be amazed because, as someone with a solid half-century with my hands in candy dishes I truly wish it were that simple. For me it's been a 6-month life-and-death struggle that included over 3 months of ketogenic menus. I THINK I finally made the crest of the hill, and I did so by increasing to moderate carbs, but even now I can't be sure.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:05 AM

Eric, warriors can become obsessed with weapons, sports, etc., and some people are really addicted to sugar and grains. I have a solid half century invested in the candy dish, so I can testify it's not a lack of desire to be paleo. It's an overwhelming physical dependency. Over a 6 month period I have tried zero, VL and moderate carb levels and one constant remained--I craved carbs every day. No amount of fat or protein stopped the cravings. We hear it's too hard to use only willpower but for some of us it's frequently the only way for a much longer time than you can imagine.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:56 AM

@grenadine, hang on. I understand what you're feeling and this isn't the easiest time to rein in our appetites. From one time to another, different things have worked/not worked for me, but right now it seems best to relax and wait a short time for the moment to come when you're mentally and physically ready to climb on the wagon again.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:51 AM

For readers: ^^ that^^ is a reference to this other cool post by HappyNow: http://paleohacks.com/questions/69062/are-cravings-just-gut-flora-putting-in-their-dinner-order#axzz1cfiRcN1k

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Lawd, I'm hearin' this. I started slipping in September. October became a full-on dairy-bender that's devolved.. now I'm back on sugar, and i *can't stop*. I'm near despair. Btw, earlier today as I contemplated my roommate's *halloween candy* (!) I thought "Oh, this is my gut-flora putting in their dinner order, again." Ha.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Lawd, I'm hearin' this. I started slipping in September. October became a full-on dairy-bender that's devolved.. now I'm back on sugar, and i *can't stop*. I'm near despair. Btw, earlier today as I contemplated my roommates *halloween candy* (!) I thought "Oh, this is my gut-flora putting in their dinner order, again." ;P

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:43 AM

I do feel like I sort check-out from Nov-March, I still go about my day, but I could just as easily nap for most of it. I remember during winter breaks from school I'd sleep upwards of 18 hours sometimes. I've used l-glutamine before with good results, it is probably time to get another bottle and try to head off some of these cravings. I've also been thinking about getting some fake sun to try and stay out of hibernation mode.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:35 AM

Fabulous ideas one and all! I had forgotten about the parmesan crackers. I had a hefty serving of oven roasted carrots and cauliflower as my side dish tonight, and that seems to have helped immensely, the big block of cheddar has stopped "talking" to me for the moment.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 05, 2011
at 01:21 AM

+1 for seasonality.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:34 PM

Sounds like a good plan. I had been doing fine with the occasional pizza night, and all of the sudden pizza one night led to grilled cheese the next, and a quesadilla the next. I've been hitting the squash and sweet potatoes pretty hard trying to get back into the saddle.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:28 PM

Can I borrow some of your resolve ;) I am in the process of making a big batch of jerky, keeping a bag of it in my pocket has helped in the past. I suspect that if you can convince yourself to ride your bike in 23 degree weather in the dark, the holidays don't stand a chance at derailing you.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I'm also interested in this. I had some problems in September but I'm happy to report that I effortlessly ignored Halloween and my planning for Thanksgiving is squarely in the primal zone. :-))

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9 Answers

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5
A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 04, 2011
at 11:25 PM

depending on your personal chemistry it is possible that the reduced serotonin production from waning sunlight is prompting your body to crave carbohydrates, in which case supplementing l-glutamine should effectively compensate.

my personal system calls this the time to start pushing towards a winter ketosis. humans don't technically hibernate (though I know of at least one primate that does) but we get close, especially those of us adapted to regions farther from the equator. during the winter our bodies would much rather sleep all the time and chew on fat stores. my freezer is packed with meat and organs and I'll only be purchasing starchy tubers and roots for the next few months. the cravings can and will go away once keto-adapted, so you're dealing with the exact same challenge so many others do when they go very-low carb. I suggest consulting the relevant posts on the aforementioned for detailed pointers and support.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:43 AM

I do feel like I sort check-out from Nov-March, I still go about my day, but I could just as easily nap for most of it. I remember during winter breaks from school I'd sleep upwards of 18 hours sometimes. I've used l-glutamine before with good results, it is probably time to get another bottle and try to head off some of these cravings. I've also been thinking about getting some fake sun to try and stay out of hibernation mode.

8
9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

on November 04, 2011
at 10:27 PM

I've been struggling lately too. I think you're onto something with the seasonal change you mentioned. My garden is over and done, my chickens have all but stopped laying for the year, and I can't bring myself to purchase end of season produce in all its wilty glory. It's a transitional time and I haven't adapted yet, so there are weak spots in my regimen. That combined with a sudden influx of tempting nostalgic holiday foods is just a recipe for failure (for me.)

I'm not sure, yet, how to overcome this slump. I've started IFing again to help curb my evening cravings, and I'm trying to embrace the seasonal foods that are healthier... crockpot stews, roasted squash, pumpkin soups.

I wish you the best of luck as you navigate your way back too. I'd love to hear what works for you.

6
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 05, 2011
at 12:02 AM

Except for huge bowls of tomato soup with sliced cheese, mm.. raw goat cheddar, apples and pears on the side I've been ok with the cooler weather coming on except for being a bit hungrier as the heat isn't here to stifle my appetite.

I eat tubers and such and kept that regimen in place over summer as I lift heavy things and CrossFit an average of 4-days a week and need to keep to a certain eating path. I wonder if having that consistent carb, in addition to all the fresh berries and veggies that I grommed on, that are keeping cold weather food cravings at bay. I definitely roasted pork loin, chicken breast, seared steaks over summer but ate in cold preparations such as in salads. Now it's the same thing just eaten warm/hot. So basically my base has stayed the same but the "accessories" have seasonally shifted. Apples/pears instead of berries, etc.

If you want cheese but crave bread or cracker too, you can do what Meredith does and put small scoops of parm on a cookie sheet and bake until they are melted, let cool and you have crispy cheese "crackers." Definitely roast a bunch of carrots, squash and other root vegetables as they're good for you and will give that warm belly feeling. Shepherd's Pie is Paleo/Primal and you can do the top using smashed carrots, parsnips and potatoes. If you find a recipe you like and it calls for dairy, and you don't want to use dairy, just sub stock and a different fat. Your friends eating pie? Bake apples or pears with a little coconut sugar and spices. Drizzle with some coconut milk and eat with a spoon. Twee tricks to keep you going strong.

All in all I think it's the colder weather and shorter days that are making you feel a bit squidgy, body and mind wanting to curl up all cozy-like.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 04:35 AM

Fabulous ideas one and all! I had forgotten about the parmesan crackers. I had a hefty serving of oven roasted carrots and cauliflower as my side dish tonight, and that seems to have helped immensely, the big block of cheddar has stopped "talking" to me for the moment.

4
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:26 PM

My first year paleo so I cant really say from experience, but I would guess that going with the season would make it better. Soooo, cut the things you couldn't store/eat during winter. Root vegetables store well so keep em in, but ditch the fruits and eat a ton of meat. That is what I'm gonna try anyhow. But, I have always been about 80/20 and my twenty isn't any sissy stuff....I'm talking pizza or pasta like once a week. I kinda stick to a 6 days on one day off schedule. So for my six days i'll be trying to be more carnivorous I suppose.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 05, 2011
at 01:21 AM

+1 for seasonality.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:34 PM

Sounds like a good plan. I had been doing fine with the occasional pizza night, and all of the sudden pizza one night led to grilled cheese the next, and a quesadilla the next. I've been hitting the squash and sweet potatoes pretty hard trying to get back into the saddle.

4
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Too early to say I've gotten over it - winter doesn't start till Dec. 21, plenty more time to fall off the wagon - but it was 23 degrees this morning when I went for a bike ride, before sunrise, and I'm not tempted to 'bulk up' at all. Just wanna eat good food, no carbs, wanna make a meat drier for pemmican one of these days, gonna stuff my pockets with paleo goodies to survive the upcoming holiday temptations. I don't anticipate too much trouble.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:28 PM

Can I borrow some of your resolve ;) I am in the process of making a big batch of jerky, keeping a bag of it in my pocket has helped in the past. I suspect that if you can convince yourself to ride your bike in 23 degree weather in the dark, the holidays don't stand a chance at derailing you.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 05, 2011
at 05:32 AM

I find the opposite. My carb cravings in the autumn are significantly reduced. You'd have to pay me to eat a potato lately. I've been mainly eating fatty meat. I suggest eating that for breakfast so you can start out with a good level of satiation and later crap won't seem so tempting. I have to force myself to do this because I think the light/time changes mess up my rhythms, but it's always worth it when I can power through the stupid meeting where my co-workers brought lame Halloween candy. I also let myself have free rein over dairy if I'm suffering from cravings. If a Greek yogurt from the convenience store makes me full, it's going to prevent me from eating badly later.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:39 AM

My breakdown coincided with Zoe's meats running out of bacon for my grocery delivery, so maybe it is that classic need for more fat to kill sugar cravings. BAB hasn't been the same without bacon every few days. Now that I think about it, it would make sense that life without bacon would send me straight into the arms of cheddar cheese.

1
Medium avatar

on November 05, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Being a northern Californian where "cold" means occasionally waking up to 36 with the mercury eventually hitting 45-50 (and more often, long stretchers of mid-60s temps in December), I cannot claim a lot of experience with the dietary challenges of Serious Winter. I do know that when I head to ski country each winter, I don't experience greater cravings for "junk." What I need to remember to do in cold, cold weather is: consume more calories, and stay hydrated. Cold weather makes me hungrier for fat and protein. And warm drinks. I am not drawn to consume carbs that I wouldn't consume in summer. I've been away from wheat for over a year and cannot remember the last time I specifically wanted grains. Instead I think: "Wonder if that can of salmon is still in the cupboard..."

1
Medium avatar

on November 05, 2011
at 07:16 AM

Just give substantial cuts of meat the primacy of every meal and the rest isn't as big of a deal. It's when you eat whole meals that are garbage that you get into trouble. You can only do so much damage with a pound of steak in your stomach.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on November 05, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I like it, evasive action via steak. I've mostly been using ground beef and pork lately to save a little mula, but I think you're right, time to steak it up.

1
3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

on November 05, 2011
at 04:49 AM

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about seasonal rhythms unless there's some scientific evidence to support that. Humans don't hibernate.

What are the underlying reasons you're not following the diet you think you should?

  • Do you actually crave the non-paleo foods you're eating or are you just eating them as part of a social activity?
  • Are you no longer strongly convinced that following the paleo diet is valuable?
  • Is it simply just a convenience thing, like you said?

I follow a warrior diet-esque approach to the paleo diet, so I generally just eat at night. When first starting it helped me discover how frequently I would head to the fridge out of habit, not because I was hungry/wanted to eat. If you eat a highly ketogenic diet for a few weeks I'd be amazed if you still had cravings for carbohydrates.

Anyway, cooking food in large batches will definitely help, otherwise you're bound to get tired of cooking and then have to make the choice between going hungry or cheating. If that's the issue, you can search around for a bunch of easy, quick snacks. Some of my personal favorites:

  • Sardines
  • Guacamole and celery
  • Coconut milk & berry & kale shake
  • Almonds/Almond butter
  • Cheese from raw milk

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:05 AM

Eric, warriors can become obsessed with weapons, sports, etc., and some people are really addicted to sugar and grains. I have a solid half century invested in the candy dish, so I can testify it's not a lack of desire to be paleo. It's an overwhelming physical dependency. Over a 6 month period I have tried zero, VL and moderate carb levels and one constant remained--I craved carbs every day. No amount of fat or protein stopped the cravings. We hear it's too hard to use only willpower but for some of us it's frequently the only way for a much longer time than you can imagine.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:11 AM

"... If you eat a highly ketogenic diet fora few weeks I'd be amazed if you still had cravings." Eric, go ahead and be amazed because, as someone with a solid half-century with my hands in candy dishes I truly wish it were that simple. For me it's been a 6-month life-and-death struggle that included over 3 months of ketogenic menus. I THINK I finally made the crest of the hill, and I did so by increasing to moderate carbs, but even now I can't be sure.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:20 AM

Haha, I'm amazed then :) I'm N=1, so I shouldn't be so harsh. I'm also 23 and never even liked cake or other things as a kid. Congrats on your journey - I wish you the best of luck! Keep at it.

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