Hi everyone! This is my first question, I'm new to paleohacks. I went back onto the paleo race, 3 months ago, agreeing that this was the best non-diet diet for my body and spirit, that I have ever done. That it is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Those were my thoughts in the past, and now, they are beginning to slip again. I started paleo three years ago, when I was 19, and found it unbelievable in curing my sugar addictions, but I slipped off when I wanted to start trying new foods from the market and from my family.
My question is this: is there a way to balance eating primally, and eating in a way that allows me to try new foods, and live life a little less harshly? A little less black and white; modern foods versus paleo foods?
I don't want to give up foods that nourish me in a different way: things that my mom and grandma have baked with love and tradition, like halushki and pine nut tart cookies. Picking up neat foods from my Trader Joe's Friday excursion, that I used to, like ham and grilled onion pizza, european yogurts, ancient grain soup, frozen noodle dishes, crunchy cereals. I couldn't live with going abroad for the first time, when that will be, and depriving myself of all of the goods I see on travel shows and magazines: like asian bone broth soups with noodles, italian flat breads with hard cheeses and oils, pastries and cream filled dishes from italy and spain, corn cakes from mexico... Then there are other goods that I have grown up with, and have never made me sick, like fresh corn from the farm down the street, my mother's ricotta-filled shells, my mother's homemade brownies, my dad's homemade cheeseburgers... And there's the sadness that fills me when I go to the asian and mexican markets downtown, and can only buy proteins, vegetables, broths and fruits that delight me, but have to avoid the weird finds because they contain soy, sugar, or wheat.
This is a lengthy question, but is there a way to balance Paleo eating with Modern and cultural traditions? Paleo has the benefit of being most optimal - it seems Not eating it after the fact is like injecting your body - knowingly - with toxic chemicals. However, I have found that the more I restrict myself from all foods I love, foods baked with love, weird secured tradition, or farmer's hands, regardless of ingredients, the more that I feel like I am putting myself in a separate club, and am living less free. Even though Paleo tends to be the least 'restrictive' in thought, as it is like a cure to addiction, and not a punishment,
I can't help but have need for non-paleo foods in my life. The foods that I Love eating, bound with memories, and not thoughts of sickness or fear: the time my brothers and I made my cousin eat a ketchup-waffle-salt-ice cream and french fry-soaked plate as a dare, or when my friends and I danced around during prom, eating candy necklaces and pop. Or during half time at football games, when my friends and I would scrounge everyone for 1.50 to buy some hot, melty pizza. We are given the decision now to experience hundred of food items, cultures, seasons, variations, mixtures, and the choice to have those in the first place is hard to vanquish. It's essentially going backwards, since starting the paleo way of life, and maybe months from now, or years, or days, I'll find no reason to want to balance paleo and modern food, but I am asking if anyone does it, or has considered it, or would never do so?
asked bylazydaisy (65)
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on October 14, 2012
at 02:30 AM
If you are talking about occasional treats, foods that are special or new, foods that are simply tasty and you want them from time to time, you should have no problem. If you're talking twice a day, not so good.
Have you read anything from Whole9? Their approach makes sense on a whole lot of levels.
Just remember real food is what nourishes your body. The other stuff nourishes another need, possibly, but it won't keep you whole and healthy. You just don't want the treats to take over.
on October 14, 2012
at 01:18 PM
Of course! If you are not limited by any severe intolerance to certain foods or healing or halting disease of some sort then absolutely. It is the people who refuse to do this that end up leaving because their rigid world view of food makes life too difficult to maneuver. It takes some practice to learn what is worth leaving the path for however. It can be a slippery slope for many. I like Mark's 80/20 guideline. For someone like me who is managing long term weight loss that's far too much off plan but for someone relatively healthy that kind of ratio could be just perfect. You have to find what works for you. Body, mind, life.
I would, however, say that buying anything exotic at Trader Joes is a joke. Ham and Grilled onion pizza from Trader Joes? Now you're kidding yourself. THAT kind of mindset will put you under. You can't compare your grandma's pine nut cookies that you'll eat twice a year to ANYTHING you can buy at Trader Joes. This is where you need to refine your thinking. I think the rule about packaging might be a good one for you to follow. If it comes in a wrapper it's still pretty much crap no matter what the marketing folks who designed the wrapper say. If you find yourself in Italy or heck even NYC then by all means eat the pizza but you're going to have to maintain some structure or you will not survive a true healthy eating plan.
Like you though I do like to treat myself to new and different foods. You mentioned cheese. By all means pick up a new cheese and enjoy that experience. Any whole food that you are not intolerant of is a great treat IMO. If I am traveling all bets are off. That doesn't mean I'm going to eat crap from a greasy spoon restaurant though. Again you have to learn to discern which foods are worthy of consumption. Different does not mean it's necessarily worthy. I think you should just keep working on refining your ideas and experimenting and you'll come to a place where you have a healthy diet that allows you to live your life to the fullest without feeling you are too restricted.
on October 14, 2012
at 12:47 PM
Paleo is not all or nothing. For example, the Whole 9 folks have Whole 30, which is super-strict, but only for 30 days while you learn what various foods do to you. By default, I don't eat non-paleo foods, but I'm healthy enough that when something comes up that I want to eat, I eat it! But even then, it will be a modest serving rather than a gorge, and it's only when it's really genuinely special. And I enjoy it. And the rest of the time, I enjoy paleo.