1

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I Need help w understanding the 80/20 Paleo lifestyle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 20, 2011 at 3:59 AM

What constitutes 20% for "cheats" in a Paleo lifestyle?

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on September 21, 2011
at 07:27 PM

My kids are about 60/40. The six year old is addicted to "peanut butter and jelly" which is actually almond butter with fruit spread on Ezekiel (sprouted) bread. She seems to be OK on it. Dairy seems to actually be more of a problem for her than the bread. The little one, on the other hand, loves the raw cheddar... One of the biggest problems I have with the older one is her pickiness, which she definitely didn't have 2 years ago. I swear if I told her that she could only eat almond butter sandwiches, strawberries, and bacon from now on, she'd probably be cool with that.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on September 21, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Some states have stricter laws than others regarding breaks, overtime pay, etc, so it's just easier for employers to kick you out of the office for an hour than worry about whether they might be accused of breaking any laws. Moving to a different state is something I should add to my list.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on September 21, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Why are you required to do that? Sounds strange to me.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 20, 2011
at 07:27 PM

A grilled brownie sounds delicious! I think cooking it over open flame definitely makes it more paleo ;)

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 20, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Agreed. Not all of us have the conviction of a Kurt Harris' (re his candy cigarettes). I don't need my cheat to be crappy birthday cake from the grocery store, but I like living with an option for flexibility.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I would't keep pirate booty in the house, either. I don't think pirates bathed very often... On a serious note, do your kids eat paleo most of the time?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:20 PM

You forgot ham, bacon, or ground beef. Or better yet, all three!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Why would I want to grill a brownie Dave? Does that make it more paleo? And I'm pretty sure our paleo ancestors would have loved a Coke flavored Slurpee on occasion. Just don't drink them every day. ;)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 20, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Are you answering the question or putting in a lunch order?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 20, 2011
at 02:51 PM

The point is that obsessing with being perfect will (for most people) lead to uber-fails. Sure, we all all want to be 100% paleo compliant AND we all live in the real world of Safeway's and 7-11's. 20% is to allow yourself some slack and not get all up in your own grill when you slip up. It's not an excuse to eat 20% of calories as wheat/soy/fructose/canola oil laden processed crap. It's like when you are good all week and somebody sticks a brownie in your face and you eat it without thinking. Okay, try not to do that next time, but don't stay up all night regretting it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 20, 2011
at 01:19 PM

Nicely put !

E3127c595ddd7b5badf7ea8e42f058d6

(205)

on September 20, 2011
at 07:40 AM

am not looking forward to a cheat meal with regards to craving sugar or any carbs...to be honest i rarely have these cravings but i actually think this is partly due to *allowing* myself a cheat once a week. i think if i didnt do this and tried to be good 100% of the time i would crash and burn because of the whole *forbidden fruit* mantality....ie wanting what you cant have. i eat paleo as a lifestyle choice and hope to do so for the rest of my life so i really feel the cheat day aids me in being able to look at it from this perspective. thats just me though!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 20, 2011
at 06:01 AM

A 'planned cheat' could increase metabolism if, for example, you were LCing and then intermittently 'cheated' by having a high carb meal, but there'd be no need to cheat in the sense of going off-paleo, you could just have some sweet potato or other paleo carb.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:48 AM

I feel like if you're looking forward to a cheat meal all week then you're doing something wrong. And yeah Ryan, I rationalize any unplanned splurging with the metabolism spike theory even though I realize it's sorta baseless.

E3127c595ddd7b5badf7ea8e42f058d6

(205)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:31 AM

thanks for your feedback Ryan...i am actually really interested to know this so welcome any comments!!! i have heard it affects your leptin levels..

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:27 AM

Eating a cheat meal doesn't really do much to reset your metabalism unless you are eating a very calorie restrict diet and that "cheat" meal is a calorie excess. Just eating crappy food doesn't make magic happen within your body, someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

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11 Answers

21
De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on September 20, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Shoot for 100%, hit 80%.. if you shoot for 80%, you'll hit 60%.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 20, 2011
at 01:19 PM

Nicely put !

11
Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 20, 2011
at 04:05 AM

I think that the goal should be striving for 100%. The 20% is the inevitable "cheat" that occurs when you go out to eat, are invited to a party, etc.

In other words, it's not so much about intentionally eating 20% of your calories in the form of "non-paleo" foods such as bread, beer, sugar, etc.

It's to account for the fact that life will throw you curveballs and cookies and chocolate cake.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 20, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Agreed. Not all of us have the conviction of a Kurt Harris' (re his candy cigarettes). I don't need my cheat to be crappy birthday cake from the grocery store, but I like living with an option for flexibility.

1
5b4fd1d0dcb02b1cc3c666ece9e5983d

(1169)

on September 20, 2011
at 07:55 AM

Sourdough bread in the form of a patty melt, with cheese, mayonnaise, nightshade and pickle.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:20 PM

You forgot ham, bacon, or ground beef. Or better yet, all three!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 20, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Are you answering the question or putting in a lunch order?

1
E3127c595ddd7b5badf7ea8e42f058d6

on September 20, 2011
at 05:23 AM

i eat only meat/chick/seafood, green veg, nuts + eggs for every meal 7 days a week except for one meal - my "cheat meal" which i usually have on a saturday or sunday night and i can eat whatever i want. i try to stay away from gluten and dairy though as being so strict during the week really means i bloat up like nothing else and it actually gives me bad tummy pains!

last weekend for example my cheat meal was pancakes made with 1 cup buckwheat flour, maple syrup, saltanas, icecream, thickened cream + some dark chocolate. it was DELISH.

apparently my cheat meal also helps to reset my metabolism and keep burning fat efficently (fat loss is my ultimate goal)

this really works for me. if during the week i see something i really fancy i just put it on "lay by " until my cheat day!

find what works for you!!!

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:48 AM

I feel like if you're looking forward to a cheat meal all week then you're doing something wrong. And yeah Ryan, I rationalize any unplanned splurging with the metabolism spike theory even though I realize it's sorta baseless.

E3127c595ddd7b5badf7ea8e42f058d6

(205)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:31 AM

thanks for your feedback Ryan...i am actually really interested to know this so welcome any comments!!! i have heard it affects your leptin levels..

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 20, 2011
at 06:01 AM

A 'planned cheat' could increase metabolism if, for example, you were LCing and then intermittently 'cheated' by having a high carb meal, but there'd be no need to cheat in the sense of going off-paleo, you could just have some sweet potato or other paleo carb.

E3127c595ddd7b5badf7ea8e42f058d6

(205)

on September 20, 2011
at 07:40 AM

am not looking forward to a cheat meal with regards to craving sugar or any carbs...to be honest i rarely have these cravings but i actually think this is partly due to *allowing* myself a cheat once a week. i think if i didnt do this and tried to be good 100% of the time i would crash and burn because of the whole *forbidden fruit* mantality....ie wanting what you cant have. i eat paleo as a lifestyle choice and hope to do so for the rest of my life so i really feel the cheat day aids me in being able to look at it from this perspective. thats just me though!

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:27 AM

Eating a cheat meal doesn't really do much to reset your metabalism unless you are eating a very calorie restrict diet and that "cheat" meal is a calorie excess. Just eating crappy food doesn't make magic happen within your body, someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

0
Medium avatar

on June 05, 2013
at 08:48 PM

My 20% is almost always 1. added sugar, 2. dairy. Otherwise known as my sometimes daily, sometimes 3x a week latte. Shoot me. Everything else, however, is really 100%. Unless we're not counting 85%, soy-free dark chocolate? I think it's paleo enough for me.

0
5ba32257f1239c90c6421cf91d2d41e8

on June 05, 2013
at 07:23 PM

I guess I can say I am 80/20 I stick with no rice, carbs or dairy. Lots of veggies, kababs...The only dairy I may have is Feta, I have a weakness for it, but just a little in my salad. Occasional dark chocolate covered Goji raspberries, just to erase any sweet tooth. I have had scoops of spinach dip with carrots and veggies.

My cheat meals are usually Korean BBQ or Sushi/Maki (Yes with rice). I have also eaten a scoop of brown rice and I felt so guilty.

As for alcohol, my drink is Patron or a 100% agave tequila, sparking water and lots of lime.

0
324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on September 20, 2011
at 10:42 PM

Personally, I don't really have any temptation at all to "cheat". I have been eating nothing but steak and potatoes for months, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The only problem is that I occasionally "cheat" because my employer requires I take an hour lunch outside the office, and I end up buying some fast food out of boredom once or twice a month while I listen to the radio. Next job I take is going to be one that does not require me to take lunches, since it's pretty much a complete waste of my time and screws up my diet.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on September 21, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Some states have stricter laws than others regarding breaks, overtime pay, etc, so it's just easier for employers to kick you out of the office for an hour than worry about whether they might be accused of breaking any laws. Moving to a different state is something I should add to my list.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on September 21, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Why are you required to do that? Sounds strange to me.

0
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on September 20, 2011
at 08:01 PM

The easiest way to deal with this is to do the best you can to be 100% and when you can't you can fall into that 20% without guilt.

If you use the 20% every day or each week, you'll likely find yourself non paleo or cheating more than not and that wont be good.

I believe this rule is there so you remove the guilt and rigidness of traditional "diets" that so many of us have fallen victims to. This gives freedoms to accept and just enjoy good foods without aCll the guilt.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on September 20, 2011
at 04:20 PM

For me, it's about not stressing about what's 'paleo' and just trying to eat a nutrient-rich, mostly whole foods diet that makes me feel and look my absolute best. It approximates the diet that my ancestors probably ate before agriculture, which makes intuitive sense to me, but I'm not at all hesitant to eat non-paleo foods in moderation as long as I continue to feel healthy and not see any reoccurance of my many pre-diet-change health issues.

I honestly don't give a shit about being 'compliant' to arbitrary rules about my diet, and I don't feel a second of guilt for eating things that aren't paleo. To me, that's unhealthy thinking - although I suppose it's very different for people who are doing this for weight loss and need to be strict to get results.

I've never had a problem with binging on junk foods, and while I definitely had strong cravings for wheat when first giving it up, I am now not at all tempted to eat foods that make me feel poorly. If I didn't clearly have gluten intolerance I would DEFINITELY make bread part of my '20%'- but as it is, not worth it at all.

I eat starchy tubers which many people don't consider 'paleo' - but I do. I also eat lots of dairy (well, mostly dairy fat, and some cheese) and white rice. With more moderation and more rarely, I drink beer and liquor, and eat corn tortillas, sugar in ice cream and chocolate, hummus, and other beans.

0
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on September 20, 2011
at 01:22 PM

Like Bex, I don't keep any non-paleo food that I'm interested in around, My kids aren't 100% primal/paleo, so there are things that they'd be interested in... though less and less so. If there's no Pirate Booty in the house, they can't eat it, right? I agree with FED that the 20% is to capture things like eating out.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 20, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I would't keep pirate booty in the house, either. I don't think pirates bathed very often... On a serious note, do your kids eat paleo most of the time?

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on September 21, 2011
at 07:27 PM

My kids are about 60/40. The six year old is addicted to "peanut butter and jelly" which is actually almond butter with fruit spread on Ezekiel (sprouted) bread. She seems to be OK on it. Dairy seems to actually be more of a problem for her than the bread. The little one, on the other hand, loves the raw cheddar... One of the biggest problems I have with the older one is her pickiness, which she definitely didn't have 2 years ago. I swear if I told her that she could only eat almond butter sandwiches, strawberries, and bacon from now on, she'd probably be cool with that.

0
386dde6de2e7f33429e9a0ac1ba8ce42

(263)

on September 20, 2011
at 01:15 PM

My general rule is no non-primal food in the house. Of course, I make exceptions here as well - I will keep beer, wine, mead and spirits around, but I don't drink every day; I keep rapadura (raw cane) sugar around and a couple times a week might put a teaspoon in my coffee or tea; I fairly regularly use raw (unpasteurized, straight from the farm - even thought it's illegal in Canada!) and/or fermented dairy products. If I get invited over to a friend's house or plan to go out for a meal then I might indulge in something off the primal menu if it looks really delicious, like sushi or dim sum or a piece of naan with my curry. I really can't afford the time or money to eat out more than one or two meals a week, so it regulates itself pretty well.

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