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Want to try Paleo. Need some guidance!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 22, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I have friends who have gone Paleo and over the past almost year I have "dabbled" in the diet. I tried to go full fledge a couple times but gave up. Currently, I attempt to just limit grains and sugar (failing miserably on occasion.). I use some paleo recipes here and there. I've been eating an 80/20 organic diet for a few years now so I'm looking for the next step up. My biggest issues that keep me from sticking with it are a number of things.

  1. I cannot understand some contradictions of the diet. No dairy but yet eggs and butter are major staples. Sometimes it makes me feel like someone just made up parts of the diet to suit them. ie, "I'm going to create this diet but I really love eggs, butter and bacon so I'm going to say those are ok."

  2. I have a TERRIBLY hard time believing all the fat is good for my heart. I've always been told red meat is bad and to limit it. And even uncured bacon and cold cut ham are still processed meats. Processed meats=bad. I cannot get over the massive amounts of saturated fat in coconut. (Oil, milk, butter) I feel that everyone says their good but how do I know it won't affect me 15 years from now?

  3. Our monthly budget and the paleo lifestyle are not friends. I stay at home with my 3 children so we tightly budget our 1 income. Besides the fact I find some things very hard to find (grass fed meat, butter, eggs. Ghee, arrowroot, etc) I also have trouble affording all the paleo staples for my family. How do you eat this way on a modest income and a large family?

  4. My husband REFUSES to go with this lifestyle. Meaning he has separate groceries (which brings grocery costs up more to buy things like bread, milk for him, paleo for everyone else) This also makes it hard to resist temptation. Attempting the Whole 30 challenge while there is still bread, milk, goodies in the house is hard.

  5. How do I transition my 3 children successfully? They are 3, 9 and 18 mos. My 3 year old refuses all veggies and is obsessed with PB &J. He's at the stage where he will only eat a list of about 5 things and nothing else. I've tried to take those things away and replace them with paleo friendly meals and he will have NOTHING to do with it. I dont want to starve my children by taking away the only thing they will eat and have eaten since birth. My 18 month old is now on whole milk. I am very afraid to take this away from her. What would I replace it with? I know Paleos do coconut/almond milk, but Whole 30 says no carrageenan. Which is always in those two milks. And can I safely replace her whole milk with either of those 2 things?

I'm sorry this question is so long and drawn out. I just really need some good advice and guidance and some clarity on things I find questionable so I can have success with this diet. Switching to organic was a breeze for me so I don't know why this is so hard! Thanks!

E689b5a04588f8050ef5fa6f8b820f32

(286)

on March 27, 2013
at 10:05 PM

I think that you will discover that there are many shades of Paleo and a lot of people say different things. I think it's important for people to not follow the rules blindly, but to understand the reasoning behind the rules and then make your own decision. I love PB too. I don't eat it as much as I used to but if I indulge every once in a while, I'm doing so as an educated person weighing the pros and cons and making my own decisions for my own health.

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:08 AM

How interesting! I thought everyone on this site was Paleo in some way or looking to be. I often go back and forth on the whole grains thing. I guess I'm just really interested in doing the challenge to see if I will feel healthier to prove this theory right or wrong. Thanks!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:04 AM

Thanks so much!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:03 AM

Haha! You have no idea! He can be good about it sometimes, he accepted it well when I changed the milk, bread, pasta to whole wheat and organic. He just gets cranky when I try to take away his Nutty Bars or hound him about trying some broccoli. Food is a sure hot button issue in my house! Thanks for the link!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on March 25, 2013
at 06:52 PM

Check out www.eatwild.com. It's a great source for finding grassfed meats/dairy/eggs. You can also google farms in your area or check out your farmer's market website and they can hook you up with farms that do CSAs. Also, it sounds like your husband needs to be more supportive! Geez! You're taking an interest in your family's health, the least he can do is give up his mac and cheese. Seriously. (sorry, but that makes me cranky)

61bca02c70a1e1b1626ef76967ec8c19

(10)

on March 23, 2013
at 06:17 AM

I am not paleo--let me be upfront. But I am interested in good health via wholesome unadulterated food. I often see (especially here in crunchy Seattle) people going no gluten because it seems to be healthier, but there is no proof that it truly has an adverse effect on them. I don't buy that we're all gluten intolerant. I do think our population is marketed to relentlessly by food companies willing to sell us garbage junk food from day one. What really gets to me is seeing so much SUGAR consumption on the rise. Kudos to you for raising your children healthy! Good luck with the hubby (-:

91597fb7f6bb422bff222c03f0885d5b

(166)

on March 23, 2013
at 01:10 AM

Toughening up is easier said than done! I wish you all the luck and willpower in the world!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:58 PM

Thanks for the response!! I made the move to get rid of processed/boxed foods awhile ago. I only buy organic snacks for the kids, like organic crackers. I buy my hubby what he will eat in organic, but he refuses to switch some of it, like Jif to organic PB and there is literally not a single vegetable he will touch! So he is tough. He insists on Mac and cheese as a side because he doesn't like rice (or basically anything) either. He is a meat, bread, pasta only guy. Thank you for the info on the CSA, I have never heard of this and don't know how it works but I will look into it!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:52 PM

I recently sent a sample of that book to my Kindle to check it out. Hopefully it will help. I guess this has been hard for me trying to understand how different people/sites say different things are okay. I never know which is which; what's truly bad (like peanut butter. I LOVE PB and I think almond butter is gross. Is it really that bad for me if I keep my PB?!)

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:47 PM

Thank you for your response! I know I just need to toughen up my self control. I just had the most trouble with that starting a whole 30 challenge, I know it'd be easier if I could get all my husbands junk out of the house, too.

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:43 PM

Ok thank you for the clarification. And the edit of my post too. Haha! Sorry for it being all jumbled and shoved together. This is my first attempt on this website.

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:41 PM

I want to move on to the next step of changing my lifestyle. I feel there's more beyond just going organic. I'm highly interested in the theory of gluten causing so many adverse health effects and I don't want my family to be unhealthy. That is why I want to try paleo. Are you suggesting against it?

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 22, 2013
at 05:05 PM

Just a quick note ... eggs are not dairy. They are lumped in with dairy in the classic US food pyramind, but are not. All dairy comes from milk; eggs are not from milk.

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4 Answers

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E689b5a04588f8050ef5fa6f8b820f32

(286)

on March 22, 2013
at 05:08 PM

I recommend you read It Starts with Food which is written by the Whole 30 couple. They do a very good job of explaining in layman's terms why foods are good for you and why foods are bad. For example, why no dairy but grass-fed butter is OK. (Eggs are not dairy, by the way.) The book will also discuss your concerns about fat and heart disease (there's a lot of nutritional unlearning that many people need to do).

They do a very good job of explaining how hormones work in the body that govern hunger, fat storing, etc. I think it's a great place to start for anyone thinking of starting Paleo.

The other thing that Whole 30 does well is explaining that everyone's Paleo template is different. You can be strict Paleo, but many many Paleo followers eventually devise their own rules. For myself I eat dairy occasionally (I love cheese!), I have not given up alcohol, I'll eat beans if I'm in a Mexican restaurant (but I never make them at home), and I do not make my own Paleo ketchup (that's just too much work). I never, ever eat any grains or processed seed oils. Once you understand why a certain food is or isn't Paleo, you can then make your own educated decision of whether you should incorporate it in your diet.

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:52 PM

I recently sent a sample of that book to my Kindle to check it out. Hopefully it will help. I guess this has been hard for me trying to understand how different people/sites say different things are okay. I never know which is which; what's truly bad (like peanut butter. I LOVE PB and I think almond butter is gross. Is it really that bad for me if I keep my PB?!)

E689b5a04588f8050ef5fa6f8b820f32

(286)

on March 27, 2013
at 10:05 PM

I think that you will discover that there are many shades of Paleo and a lot of people say different things. I think it's important for people to not follow the rules blindly, but to understand the reasoning behind the rules and then make your own decision. I love PB too. I don't eat it as much as I used to but if I indulge every once in a while, I'm doing so as an educated person weighing the pros and cons and making my own decisions for my own health.

best answer

1
Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

on March 22, 2013
at 06:42 PM

My advice would be to start small. Check out some whole foods blogs and get rid of all processed foods in your house. If your DH insists on bread, trade whatever he buys for something that has only a few ingredients (less than 5). If your kids really like crackers, be selective with what you'll buy (triscuts have only 3 ingredients, I think). These things aren't ideal, and certainly aren't Paleo, but it's a really good start into a journey of eating real, whole food. The blog another poster mentioned is good (if you can get past the self-righteous author).

If you thinking of getting serious about starting Paleo, set a small goal (30 days, and maybe you start by just eliminating gluten..without buying gluten free processed foods) and follow it on your own. See for yourself how you feel. As far as not buying into Paleo theories, I personally don't put a whole lot of thought into the science or evolutionary aspects behind Paleo, I just know that I feel my best when I eat this way. That's all that matters to me.

As far as cooking a meal for your family where your husband eats non-paleo, most people wouldn't notice if a meal is Paleo or not. My go-to is a roasted chicken with oven roasted veggies. It's easy, I can prep it in the morning when I have the most time, then pop it in the oven 1.5 hours prior to dinner time. Then I make some stock (super easy) and make a soup later that week. If your family insists on a starch, make a pot of rice and call it a day.

Also, don't worry about doing things perfectly Paleo. Try to get a handle on eating the right things before you worry about the specifics of grassfed, pasture-raised, etc. I think those things are really important, but not a deal breaker if you can't afford them. Another way to save money is by joining a CSA in the summer. I had more veggies than I could handle last summer, so I had to get really organized and find out how I could plan my meals around all that produce!

Sorry this is so long...geez. Good Luck!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:58 PM

Thanks for the response!! I made the move to get rid of processed/boxed foods awhile ago. I only buy organic snacks for the kids, like organic crackers. I buy my hubby what he will eat in organic, but he refuses to switch some of it, like Jif to organic PB and there is literally not a single vegetable he will touch! So he is tough. He insists on Mac and cheese as a side because he doesn't like rice (or basically anything) either. He is a meat, bread, pasta only guy. Thank you for the info on the CSA, I have never heard of this and don't know how it works but I will look into it!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:03 AM

Haha! You have no idea! He can be good about it sometimes, he accepted it well when I changed the milk, bread, pasta to whole wheat and organic. He just gets cranky when I try to take away his Nutty Bars or hound him about trying some broccoli. Food is a sure hot button issue in my house! Thanks for the link!

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on March 25, 2013
at 06:52 PM

Check out www.eatwild.com. It's a great source for finding grassfed meats/dairy/eggs. You can also google farms in your area or check out your farmer's market website and they can hook you up with farms that do CSAs. Also, it sounds like your husband needs to be more supportive! Geez! You're taking an interest in your family's health, the least he can do is give up his mac and cheese. Seriously. (sorry, but that makes me cranky)

1
61bca02c70a1e1b1626ef76967ec8c19

on March 22, 2013
at 05:01 PM

Why do you want you and your family to go on a paleo diet in the first place? It sounds like you're thoughtful about your diet choices and you're not going blindly along with what you've heard is ok to eat. The argument about which is worse, fats or sugar goes on and on. (Try reading up on Gary Taubes, the low carb/sugar guru.)

Perhaps you should revamp your plan to what your husband and children will eat, but focus on keeping those items as healthy as possible e.g. organic meats and dairy, grass fed when you can find it, whole grains, no processed foods, little sugar etc. Yes it's pricey, but it can be done. And an hour of outdoor walking is free. May I suggest Lisa Leake's blog 100 days of Real Food.

To your health.

61bca02c70a1e1b1626ef76967ec8c19

(10)

on March 23, 2013
at 06:17 AM

I am not paleo--let me be upfront. But I am interested in good health via wholesome unadulterated food. I often see (especially here in crunchy Seattle) people going no gluten because it seems to be healthier, but there is no proof that it truly has an adverse effect on them. I don't buy that we're all gluten intolerant. I do think our population is marketed to relentlessly by food companies willing to sell us garbage junk food from day one. What really gets to me is seeing so much SUGAR consumption on the rise. Kudos to you for raising your children healthy! Good luck with the hubby (-:

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:41 PM

I want to move on to the next step of changing my lifestyle. I feel there's more beyond just going organic. I'm highly interested in the theory of gluten causing so many adverse health effects and I don't want my family to be unhealthy. That is why I want to try paleo. Are you suggesting against it?

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:08 AM

How interesting! I thought everyone on this site was Paleo in some way or looking to be. I often go back and forth on the whole grains thing. I guess I'm just really interested in doing the challenge to see if I will feel healthier to prove this theory right or wrong. Thanks!

0
91597fb7f6bb422bff222c03f0885d5b

on March 22, 2013
at 04:51 PM

I've been Primal for 2 months, I'm single with no kids, so I can't address all your questions but when you mentioned feeling like some parts of the diet are made up it resonated with how I felt at first too. I can address that at least! What you'll find, especially here on Paleohacks, is that we all do the diet a little differently. It's not a set in stone or the Paleo gods will strike you down kind of diet. I tolerate dairy so I do use butter and heavy cream. Some people don't, so they don't. Some are more strict than others, some are way more relaxed. It's about finding what works best for you and your health! I do think being completely strict for the first 30 days makes it easier going forward.

My roommate is not Paleo/primal and keeps all the bad stuff around. I know how crappy I would feel if I were to eat it so I don't. My cravings have pretty much gone away anyway. I spend roughly $40-$60 a week for myself depending on what I'm buying and that feeds me REALLY well. I buy a lot of fresh produce though and that can add up. Paleo is only as expensive as you make it in my opinion.

There is tons of material free online explaining all the different Reasons why something in the diet is bad for you. Also, if you are interested, Primal Blueprint and Paleo Solution were both very helpful for me. This article on Mark's Daily Apple about fat might help: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/high-fat-diet-healthy-safe/

I hope something I said helps!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 22, 2013
at 07:47 PM

Thank you for your response! I know I just need to toughen up my self control. I just had the most trouble with that starting a whole 30 challenge, I know it'd be easier if I could get all my husbands junk out of the house, too.

91597fb7f6bb422bff222c03f0885d5b

(166)

on March 23, 2013
at 01:10 AM

Toughening up is easier said than done! I wish you all the luck and willpower in the world!

92165209d161dfba843b1248c85395b8

on March 26, 2013
at 01:04 AM

Thanks so much!

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