2

votes

Has anyone here ever taken a break from Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I've been Paleo since early February. Prior to February, I would say I was following a whole foods diet with very little processed foods.

I like how I feel on Paleo and I like how my body is changing (also working out harder than I ever have before though). I cheat almost once a week on the weekends.....I don't have a "cheat day," but I might have too much wine or some sort of snacky food.

My problem is, I am feeling a bit burned out on Paleo. I'm sick of the meals, I'm sick of meat (although I still don't eat red meat, only seafood, bacon, and poultry), I'm sick of eggs. I might also be sick of bacon and avocado and I really never thought that would happen.

I don't seem to have any food intolerances. So, my question....

Would you ever recommend taking a break from Paleo? Have you ever taken a premeditated break in order to not burn out, assuming you are tolerant of grains, dairy, etc?

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:32 PM

I kind of feel the opposite! When I started looking at this as a lifestyle, not a diet, it seemed like a cheat here and there wouldn't be such a big deal because I'm in it for the long haul. I used to feel guilt when I ate something non-paleo, but I've given up the guilt. I just can't live like that.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Yes, yes, yes! That's exactly how I feel! Thanks for the advice...your friend is lucky to have you!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:58 PM

April- Exactly. I'm not looking to go back to a standard diet completely, but it would be nice to have some convenience foods. I think I need to be less strict in general...even within paleo.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Gydle- I don't eat factory farmed meats at all. The bacon I get is from a farm near me that raises pastured pigs.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:55 PM

Anthony Pierre, I never said I wanted to go back to eating SAD. I'm also not making excuses. I've readily admitted that I'm feeling lazy and burned out.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 08:11 PM

It's Powerpoint :)

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on April 10, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Boy, do I ever love a block of cheese for lunch...or breakfast! Random, convenient, and delicious. Nom.

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on April 10, 2012
at 07:47 PM

which tool did you use to make that asom flowchart

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:43 PM

I never said "lack of convenience is an excuse to go back to eating SAD." I'm just saying we're much more limited in the foods we have compared to SAD, so I can understand how Mandy may be tempted in that sense.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Melissa, I echo Adam Crafter and say yes, you are a Wizard.

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on April 10, 2012
at 07:13 PM

what about pork rinds, or sweet potatoes made in the microwave. dood, if you want to eat SAD, go ahead, but don't make excuses.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:10 PM

+1 for Wizard!!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Actually of the factory farmed meats, beef is more ethical than poultry or pork (according to the "radical" Jonathan Safran Foer). Pastured beef is probably the best of them all, eithics-wise.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:59 PM

I like this! Thanks!

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:56 PM

Sardines get boring after a while if you compare it to all the different SAD snacks (Lay's, Pringles, Oreos, Goldfish, I could go on). There's only so many convenient snacks that someone on Paleo could have.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:53 PM

Great suggestion....chicken adobo is a favorite of mine and so easy!

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on April 10, 2012
at 06:51 PM

are sardines convenient enough

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:32 PM

You know what works for you! I think most people here would advise against incorporating wheat on a regular basis. For what it is worth, I feel slimmest and the least bloated when I regularly incorporate fruit and safe starches. But some other folks on the forum seem to have an extremely difficult time with it. Good luck! Also, would your kids like simple strips of meat? I like to cook up several pounds at a time and cut it into strips for quick meals.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 06:29 PM

You might want to look up the Perfect Health Diet

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:27 PM

Wow! Thanks! That all sounds really delicious! I have been pretty strict with myself (want to lose about 10lbs) and so I haven't really been eating fruit or sweet potatoes. I guess it would be better to eat them than to go off paleo altogether, huh? A banana fried in coconut oil sounds amazing...maybe with a bit of chocolate?!

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:27 PM

Well Fed is my favourite cookery book. Lots of easy meals to prep in advance too - so you can get an element of convenience in there too. I couldn't cope if I didn't do a big batch cook at the weekends.

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:26 PM

i'd second John - sometimes eating something reminds us why we don't eat it....it's a good learning tool

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:14 PM

I make a meal plan every week. I think if I went "off paleo" I would add a rice dish in or a whole wheat pasta dish (maybe?!) or a sandwich night. Pre-paleo I would make a swiss and turkey sandwich baked in the oven on an onion roll when I didn't feel like cooking. Comfort food, I guess. I need some convenience items I can make that my 2 and 3 year olds will eat too.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:10 PM

Thanks John! I had a bit of a jelly bean binge on sunday. I felt like crap Sunday night...not good.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:09 PM

Thanks for the response! I have subscribed to so many paleo recipe blogs. I've had some really good luck and some not so good luck. I have a couple of recipes that I loved and made a million times. I think it is laziness. I need to get back on those sites and find something new.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:07 PM

I like this, Raney. Thanks. I too have gone the paleo convenience food route at times (plantain chips come to mind). I think you're right that it is a worthwhile compromise and that grains and sugar is probably not the best route.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:05 PM

Thanks, Joshua! I've been seeing that book a lot online. I will check it out. I think I've just gotten a bit lazy. I agree that I need more variety. The red-meat thing is really a hang-up, but I don't see it changing in the near future.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Thanks, Karen! Good suggestions!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 05:59 PM

I actually think I'm dying for convenience. I'd love to have a bowl of cereal in the morning. I'd also like to be able to have a sandwich just for the convenience of it. I stopped eating red meat 6 years ago for ethical reasons prior to learning about factory farming vs. pastured meats. I have added bacon back in and might add other meat back in someday, but not right now.

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on April 10, 2012
at 04:53 PM

why dont you eat red meat? it may add some variety

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 10, 2012
at 04:44 PM

What does "not Paleo" look like? Are you just dying for beans, wheat and skim milk?

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 10, 2012
at 04:39 PM

I was hesitant to spend 30 bucks on a cookbook, but I absolutely LOVE Well Fed. Second that recommendation.

B7ccb7324c1e2119f23f0ca32f7d47e2

(196)

on April 10, 2012
at 03:36 PM

/Jaw dropping at someone suggesting Chicken Adobo/ THIS, You should go with this suggestion because oh my god, Adobo. <3 I really love this answer. xD

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11 Answers

best answer

12
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on April 10, 2012
at 02:42 PM

That's all going to depend on how you do off Paleo. It sounds like you think you'll be fine, but I've been pretty surprised by some of my reactions to minor cheats.

Personally, I wouldn't do it. What I would do is aim for something that makes Paleo more sustainable in the long term for you. For me, what that means is to occasionally allow myself something on the margins. For example, when eating out, I allow myself to get potatoes, rice, and dairy to keep things interesting, but I don't bring them home to cook with.

Scour new recipes. I shake things up by going global. Try chicken adobo or chicken tikka masala or steak tartare or sushi. Or expand your horizons with offal or a new fish.

If you've only been at this since Feb, hang in there! I had a few bumps early on when I couldn't stand another egg or any more avocado. It really does get better and easier.

B7ccb7324c1e2119f23f0ca32f7d47e2

(196)

on April 10, 2012
at 03:36 PM

/Jaw dropping at someone suggesting Chicken Adobo/ THIS, You should go with this suggestion because oh my god, Adobo. <3 I really love this answer. xD

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:53 PM

Great suggestion....chicken adobo is a favorite of mine and so easy!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Thanks, Karen! Good suggestions!

8
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 06:38 PM

My strategy: have a fallback diet that's easy/simple and if you do take a break, take it responsibly for good reasons

has-anyone-here-ever-taken-a-break-from-paleo?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on April 10, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Boy, do I ever love a block of cheese for lunch...or breakfast! Random, convenient, and delicious. Nom.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Melissa, I echo Adam Crafter and say yes, you are a Wizard.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 10, 2012
at 07:10 PM

+1 for Wizard!!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:59 PM

I like this! Thanks!

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on April 10, 2012
at 07:47 PM

which tool did you use to make that asom flowchart

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 08:11 PM

It's Powerpoint :)

5
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 10, 2012
at 04:35 PM

I definitely go through phases where I get lazy and a bit tired of cooking so much, and I'll develop a bit of a half assed version of paleo - things like grass fed hotdogs, guac from the deli (preserved, but so much quicker than making my own), the kinds of veges I can cook in a couple of minutes or eat raw, lots of cheese for easy calories, lunch meat from the deli, etc. I also tend to eat out a bit more - usually grilled meat, steamed veges, and white rice.

It does have a noticeable impact on my health and inflammation specifically, but it usually ends up being a worthwhile compromise in giving me a mental break for a week or two without really destroying my progress like going completely non-paleo would.

My passion for a really fresh, delicious, healing diet always returns fairly quick - which it does NOT do if I start eating cereal grains and sugar - those things tend to feed and perpetuate the laziness and depression.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:07 PM

I like this, Raney. Thanks. I too have gone the paleo convenience food route at times (plantain chips come to mind). I think you're right that it is a worthwhile compromise and that grains and sugar is probably not the best route.

4
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 08:45 PM

I remember after my friend had her second child, and was losing her mind trying to get all the food cooked, preserved, prepped, frozen, butchered, harvested etc on her farm as a former chef, she had a realization that she doesn't have to do it all. She was bouncing back and forth between all-organic, all-homemade, high-quality food, and then getting upset and going to the store hauling her two kids, practically in tears with her hair in pigtails, to get a frozen pizza. It was all or nothing for her, and she found it so exasperating to have to find these specific kinds of foods, at a specific quality, then prepare them in this particular way, that she would just eff it and buy something that she normally would never eat that was pre-prepared and cheap. She was venting to us, lip quivering (after a few glasses of gin), and I thought the solution seemed so obvious. I just said "why don't you cut yourself a little slack?". I mean, you don't HAVE to be doing 100% homemade, perfect foods. You can do 80%, or maybe on a really busy weak when the baby is teething and the toddler has a fever, you can do 20%, and then on really good days when there is lots of time to be had, you can do 100%. In the end, doing it "halfway" is better than doing it not at all.

Maybe that is relevant to you, if it's the time, money, and pressure to prepare all the food yourself. Sometimes, life gets in the way of the perfect, ideal food fantasy. You have to cut corners, but that doesn't mean that you should just give up entirely.

The alternative possibility would be that you are literally tired of the food. In which case, I say give yourself some culinary challenges! Commit to x number of dishes a week that you want to try, or just a few different ingredients. There's literally no end to the number of dishes that can be made in paleo, so it's not like there's a lack of recipes out there in the internets. Try a new cuisine, some new spices (cheap way of adding excitement) mix up your meals.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Yes, yes, yes! That's exactly how I feel! Thanks for the advice...your friend is lucky to have you!

3
E689b5a04588f8050ef5fa6f8b820f32

(286)

on April 10, 2012
at 04:47 PM

My answer to you would be - just do it.

Just like Robb Wolf encourages who have not tried Paleo to try it for 30 days and see how you feel, I think if you're tired of the Paleo diet as you say, just try it not doing it for 30 days and see how you feel. Frankly, the benefits you describe you've experienced sure seem worth it to me. I know for me it has!

Frankly, I don't think your problem is the Paleo diet but a lack of originality. There are SO MANY Paleo recipe blog sites, that I feel like I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I can prepare. The downside for me isn't the food, but the amount of cooking I have to do myself. It's hard to eat out and stay really Paleo.

But I think you should just try it and see how you feel. I don't think anything anyone tells you is going to be as powerful as your first hand experience and what you discover fits and doesn't fit into your lifestyle.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:09 PM

Thanks for the response! I have subscribed to so many paleo recipe blogs. I've had some really good luck and some not so good luck. I have a couple of recipes that I loved and made a million times. I think it is laziness. I need to get back on those sites and find something new.

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on April 10, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I've left Paleo a few times, basically as a compromise to make ends meet on a budget with a family (long before the concept of a higher-carb approach to paleo was popularized, making the diet quite hard to afford at times).

That being said, your reasons bring up a couple of red flags to me.
1. Not eating red meat (but allowing yourself bacon) means you are missing out on what seems to be some much-needed variety (not to mention nutrients).
2. Getting "burned out" on any specific foods would signal to me you are also not getting much variety.

My suggestion is, if you tolerate other foods well, sure - try leaving Paleo and measure how you feel. If I had the constitution to eat whatever I wanted without getting sick and obese I probably would.

However, I've been surprised at the sheer variety of foods and flavors I've been able to introduce to my kitchen while on this supposed "diet", and I'm eating better flavored, better sourced food than I ever have.

If you decide to stick with it, I suggest becoming a frequent visitor of NomNomPaleo.com as well as getting a copy of Melissa Joulwan's "Well Fed" cookbook. A whole new world of amazing Paleo-Foodie hybrid recipes exist out there that will make eating this way exciting. Moreso if you can stash away your reluctance to eat red meat and enjoy as much variety as possible (I understand this isn't always do-able, but frankly if you are eating bacon than it seems your reluctance is more a hang-up and not religious or ethically purposed).

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:27 PM

Well Fed is my favourite cookery book. Lots of easy meals to prep in advance too - so you can get an element of convenience in there too. I couldn't cope if I didn't do a big batch cook at the weekends.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on April 10, 2012
at 04:39 PM

I was hesitant to spend 30 bucks on a cookbook, but I absolutely LOVE Well Fed. Second that recommendation.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:05 PM

Thanks, Joshua! I've been seeing that book a lot online. I will check it out. I think I've just gotten a bit lazy. I agree that I need more variety. The red-meat thing is really a hang-up, but I don't see it changing in the near future.

3
889ce24900767ef752fd395e0f86fd7d

on April 10, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Hi Mandy....I try to look up recipes that introduce more varieties of foods and get as creative as I can so that I have as much variety as possible. I personally doubt that taking a week or two off of Paleo a couple of times a year is going to be an issue. I had a traditional Easter Sunday with mashed potatoes, some chocolate and even some key lime pie. It tasted good but I felt like crap at the end of the day and was glad to get back on Paleo Monday. Sometimes a break reminds us of how good we feel when eating clean (or how bad we feel when not!) and re-enthuses our commitment to healthy eating.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:10 PM

Thanks John! I had a bit of a jelly bean binge on sunday. I felt like crap Sunday night...not good.

99aca1e07394135ea1e040582ce54b4d

(334)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:26 PM

i'd second John - sometimes eating something reminds us why we don't eat it....it's a good learning tool

2
A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:05 PM

It definitely sounds like you just need some variety. Maybe you are yearning for carbs? Lately when I have been having this urge, I have been incorporating some more carb heavy meals in the rotation. Here are a few ideas:

For example, last night my boyfriend made spaghetti squash with a really rich buttery clam sauce. He used two anchovies to up the savory flavor, the juice from the clams, oregano, a splash of vinegar (but we would have used lemon if it had been around), lots of butter and, of course, the clams themselves. Then we baked the spaghetti squash and poured all that delicious goodness into each half. Grassfed steak is awesome and all, but this meal was just what I was craving. Also, how about a sweet potato hash? Or bacon wrapped scallops? Or a taco salad (seasoned ground beef over crunchy lettuce with primal toppings)? Or maybe a fruit fest? Slice open half a papaya and go crazy. Oh, and a banana fried in coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg?

Also, I am sure there is a much nicer and fancier way to do this, but I have been making half-assed sushi lately that is pretty good. I use one of those big sheets of toasted seaweed and roll up some smoked salmon, avocado, thinly sliced onion, and whatever else you want to throw in there and dip it in some wheat-free soy sauce (use that really sparingly) mixed with ginger and minced garlic. It is good.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:27 PM

Wow! Thanks! That all sounds really delicious! I have been pretty strict with myself (want to lose about 10lbs) and so I haven't really been eating fruit or sweet potatoes. I guess it would be better to eat them than to go off paleo altogether, huh? A banana fried in coconut oil sounds amazing...maybe with a bit of chocolate?!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:32 PM

You know what works for you! I think most people here would advise against incorporating wheat on a regular basis. For what it is worth, I feel slimmest and the least bloated when I regularly incorporate fruit and safe starches. But some other folks on the forum seem to have an extremely difficult time with it. Good luck! Also, would your kids like simple strips of meat? I like to cook up several pounds at a time and cut it into strips for quick meals.

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 10, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I guess my question is "What would you eat if you DID go "off paleo"?" I mean -- if there is a vegetable in the world, a fruit, a root, a meat, a nut -- as long as it is "real" food, there's a whole world of variety out there to choose from.

I have mentioned in a few other places that I've evolved from the rigid "only meat and leafy veggies" mentality, exploring unusual starches like taro, yuca root, plantain, etc., and even experimenting a bit with fermented pseudo-grains like millet, buckwheat, quinoa, etc., prepared traditionally. With that in mind, the scope of menu possibilities expands even further.

While there are many cultures that manage just fine on a strictly fish or fish-and-poultry with veggies diet, I think there is the expectation in the United States that there will be infinite variety in our menus. To be honest, this is a relatively NEW idea -- even when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, it was common for 5 or 6 meals to be rotated through the week every single week, with only the occasional "fancy" meal or "too broke to buy food" meal thrown in that truly deviated from the pattern. I wonder if this expectation of constant variety might, in its own way, be contributing to our difficulties, as a culture, in maintaining healthy eating patterns and a healthy relationship with food.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 10, 2012
at 06:14 PM

I make a meal plan every week. I think if I went "off paleo" I would add a rice dish in or a whole wheat pasta dish (maybe?!) or a sandwich night. Pre-paleo I would make a swiss and turkey sandwich baked in the oven on an onion roll when I didn't feel like cooking. Comfort food, I guess. I need some convenience items I can make that my 2 and 3 year olds will eat too.

1
36da6863775908404b9cd9bf5e2cebc3

on April 10, 2012
at 04:40 PM

Joshua, can you expand on the "higher-carb approach to paleo"? I don't think I've read anything on that and I'm intriged.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 06:29 PM

You might want to look up the Perfect Health Diet

0
87417376cbefa210125cb2f2ec6826f5

on April 11, 2012
at 12:36 AM

That's the thing about being Paleo . . . if you're doing it as a lifestyle, not as a diet, and understanding the science and reasoning behind it, I don't really think it would be possible to really "take a break" from it. Think about it, if you are Paleo and really understand it, you couldn't really sit down with a huge bowl of pasta or a nice big ol' sandwich without guilt overpowering you. Or maybe that's just me! :) I like to entertain the thought every once in a while and then snap back to reality thinking "what did I get myself into?!" I know I could never really turn back, as nice as fettuccine alfredo or pizza sounds . :/

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:32 PM

I kind of feel the opposite! When I started looking at this as a lifestyle, not a diet, it seemed like a cheat here and there wouldn't be such a big deal because I'm in it for the long haul. I used to feel guilt when I ate something non-paleo, but I've given up the guilt. I just can't live like that.

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