2

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Making non-paleo concessions in difficult social situations?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 01, 2011 at 11:00 AM

So I'm currently on a graduate school research trip for six weeks in Stockholm, Sweden (wonderful city, but I miss my husband so much!). For lunch today, I had to go to this cafeteria-style lunch with two of my colleagues (couldn't get out of it) and the food choices were poor. Pork tenderloin (yum, but not enough for me!), a bearnaise sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes (uh-oh), and a small salad. Since it was cafeteria style where they serve you, and I don't speak the language, I didn't get as much meat as I wanted (I could have easily eaten twice as much as they gave me), and I got a whole heap of potatoes. So I ate the meat first, then the puny little salad, but I was still hungry so I had like two-and-a-half of the little potatoes.

The problem is I've recently rededicated myself to Paleo (and by recently, I mean I've been strict since Saturday) and I'm really trying to lose some of that post-wedding weight. I'm just afraid I've knocked myself so far back by being weak.

Has anyone ever tried to stick to Paleo in far away from home? I mean, it's not like France, where they're known for the food -- people do not come to Sweden for the stunning cuisine (but there are many other wonderful things about the country and it's beautiful, don't get me wrong). BUT -- everyone here eats low-fat and tons of whole grains (ugh) and little meat. And I'm with scientists who follow the latest nutritional advice out of Harvard and we all know what their misguided conclusions are.

Anyways, it makes every social engagement kind of difficult to navigate. I guess I'm looking for both advice and a little encouragement. At least I found a gym...

A846ed028a91515ea814dd0c713718f4

(363)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:25 PM

I know that a lot of the studies endorsing LCHF and paleo-like diets have been coming out of Lund, but here in Stockholm my impression has been that everyone's version of "healthy" is low-fat, plenty of whole grains, etc. It could just be the crowd I run with here, however. Also, good catch, when I was saying I wanted to lose weight I really meant fat, I just need to lean out. I equate them in my head and in my speech sometimes but, you're correct, they do not mean the same thing.

A846ed028a91515ea814dd0c713718f4

(363)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Ha, it's so funny that you mention avocados, because I think Swedes believe they're supposed to be mostly brown on the inside (sadly, I'm serious - ick). But there is other, more appetizing produce available, so packing snacks is a very good idea. Thank you!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on July 01, 2011
at 01:10 PM

perfect time to pull a mini IF.

8be7a492e2844e2ad5595a6c73974f99

(891)

on July 01, 2011
at 11:51 AM

Satapa, honestly, that sounds like a really great paleo meal. no grains or sugar..most likely some bad oil in there, but all in all still real food. Grains and sugar are what will really hold you back from leaning out. For me, heavy starch brings some water retention and bloating that can make me 'feel' fat, so perhaps that might be part of feeling like you have back peddled. Good luck!

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8 Answers

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2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 01, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Situations like this are the primary source of my "cheats". We recently stayed with family friends who evidently completely avoid fat of all kinds. The meals were things like turkey sandwiches (with about 10 slices of turkey for the table of 8 people) with fat-free mayo, skim milk, fat-free cheetos, etc. We were there for 2 days and, well, what are you going to do.

Also when I travel for business and am rushing around, it is hard to find food of the right type and proportions.

Figure you have about 20 meals in the typical week and 80 in the typical month, and if about 80-90% of those meet your goals, you are probably doing ok. Big cheats on one meal per day will probably interrupt your diet, but once or twice a week is fine.

Also in my opinion, potatoes are not anti-Paleo, unless you're also trying to go low carb. There was a recent thread about this here. I would be more worried about the only food choices being bread, pasta, or processed foods.

4
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on July 01, 2011
at 11:15 AM

Do the best you can with the food available and don't worry.

Everyone that travels should learn a few simple words in the local language. Since you're with locals, ask them how to say less, more, this one, that one, please, thank you.

Learning 5 - 10 phrases is not very difficult and everyone will appreciate your effort. If you won't learn a few phrases, if you point at something and hold up fingers to indicate quantity or point at something and make a sour face and push away with your hands, I'd bet they figure out that you want more or less of something. Either way, pointing or talking, will get you within 80% of being paleo.

3
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 01, 2011
at 01:11 PM

I find that indicating "How Much" with my hands like a three year old often gets me more of what I want even if I do speak the language. I make a gesture showing how much, point and hand over my plate. If I want more I make a "gimme" gesture with one hand instead of taking the plate back. I have not tested it in Europe, but it has worked well for me :)

2
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 01, 2011
at 01:07 PM

Well I'm the queen of not being understood, even if I DO speak the language! They tend to just look at me, the blue eyed gringa and not pay attention to what I'm saying. So, hand signals are very important, eye contact while doing so, over exaggerate yourself in the movements of 'i want MORE' pointing mouth to plate, etc. You might look like a monkey who wants another banana but you'll get their attention!!

Can you stash a few avocados in your desk drawer for later, with a bit of antique style dijon mustard to top it off? Some nuts?

I guess if you do what you did, which isnt too bad, but still are hungry, then hiding little snacks will be your best option.

Another ideas is use fitday.com and plug in what I've had for the day, then you can see where you end up short. I'm always eating avocados at night to get my fat up.

A846ed028a91515ea814dd0c713718f4

(363)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Ha, it's so funny that you mention avocados, because I think Swedes believe they're supposed to be mostly brown on the inside (sadly, I'm serious - ick). But there is other, more appetizing produce available, so packing snacks is a very good idea. Thank you!

1
145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

on July 01, 2011
at 06:48 PM

Huh? You are kidding, right? (No, I know you are not kidding, but you are in a great place for paleo - you just don't know it!)

Sweden is a stronghold of Low Carb High Fat eating. Roughly 1/4 the population eats that way. Now, I understand that LCHF isn't necessarily 100% paleo, but it's a good start, and if you look around, you can probably find what you need with only a little effort.

http://dietdoctor.com

You should be able to get a running start here. Don't be afraid to send a message to Andreas, asking for help. He is such a kind, helpful person, and (if he's in town - I think he's traveling right now) he would be thrilled to at least give you some suggestions. BTW, I know he eschews anything packaged, and is very close to paleo, if not 100% himself.

BTW his today's blog entry is a very interesting commentary (and photos, linking from Everyday Paleo) discussing losing weight vs losing fat.

A846ed028a91515ea814dd0c713718f4

(363)

on July 01, 2011
at 07:25 PM

I know that a lot of the studies endorsing LCHF and paleo-like diets have been coming out of Lund, but here in Stockholm my impression has been that everyone's version of "healthy" is low-fat, plenty of whole grains, etc. It could just be the crowd I run with here, however. Also, good catch, when I was saying I wanted to lose weight I really meant fat, I just need to lean out. I equate them in my head and in my speech sometimes but, you're correct, they do not mean the same thing.

1
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on July 01, 2011
at 04:44 PM

My feeling about these situations is that stressing over the food just makes for a miserable trip and I'd rather relax and enjoy the experience. Whenever I do a vacation I give myself permission ahead of time to not be perfect with my eating. I'll make good choices whenever I can, but if my travel companions are having apple strudel and I'm craving it I'm going to have it. I just don't think 100% perfection is necessary and that 5% when I'm less than perfect is necessary for my mental health. I certainly don't eat apple strudel on a regular basis and if I have it once or twice a year and enjoy the hell out of it then I don't t think that's a problem. Basically I'm just saying that I think all the stress that you are putting yourself through is probably more harmful than eating a few less than desirable foods on your trip.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 01, 2011
at 04:42 PM

Where has Uggla been? I bet she would have some good ideas about where to go eat. I had one of the best experiences in my life in Stockholm, so I envy you.

1
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on July 01, 2011
at 03:15 PM

Don't be afraid to just try English. Youre in Europe after all, almost everyone in Europe knows a little English. Things like ordering food is pretty basic and one of the first things people learn.

Of course, you should learn some of the language as it is respectful to the people and gives you a better insight to the culture, but it shouldnt stop you from eating the way you want.

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