9

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Paleo: All or Nothing?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 02, 2012 at 7:45 PM

The problem I see with paleo is that once you do it, you can't really go back. Have you ever noticed that after going paleo, you try to eat foods that you used to be fine with, and now they tear you up? Whether it's an upset stomach or a sugar headache, it sucks.

Once you start down the path of high-fat, low-carb, is there a way to still incorporate carbs with no problem, or is it best to just stay HFLC all the time?

Or have you discovered a way to be somewhere in the middle and still occasionally enjoy standard American fare with no discomfort?

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on November 04, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Would have to agree with you there Melmac. If you have been eating healthfully 99% of the time for a prolonged period, you will have built your defences such that body will be better able to deal with toxins when you do go off-track. Look after your body and it will look after you :)

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on November 04, 2012
at 03:29 PM

Excellent to hear that about broth particularly. Just made first batch!

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Not sure how to answer that question, really. I eat meats, bones, marrow, offal, vegetables and tubers in season, butter, baking chocolate, tinned sardines, eggs. Simple stuff. Buying local when I can. I don't have a Whole Foods near me anymore, that helps. We're also a single-income couple right now, so there's motivation.

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:57 PM

@Canis Minor - How do you spend so little on food?

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:50 PM

About a quarter of that. 50-60 per week.

Medium avatar

(310)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:48 PM

I ate a couple slices of pizza last thursday since that was the only food available, and I felt fine. Didn't kill my waistline either. The human body can handle almost anything you put into it. As long as you're eating healthy most of the time, you're fine. I'm not saying to eat pizza every day though.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 03, 2012
at 06:26 PM

I spend $200 a week just feeding myself, how about you?

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 03, 2012
at 02:38 PM

How do I track my body fat %? I don't think my body weight changes much week to week. I just don't want to do my body harm by mixing a paleo diet with a moderate amount of carbs, and occasional cheats.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:23 PM

Really? I actually spend less on groceries now.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 03, 2012
at 12:30 AM

It's a good question and an important observation not only confined to paleo diets.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 03, 2012
at 12:01 AM

That depends. Are you tracking your body fat %? If so, what happens to it when you eat more carbs? Do you notice *any* other bodily effects when you eat a moderate amount of carbs?

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:21 PM

I just finished reading Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and he emphasizes a diet high in fat. I'm wondering if eating a lot of fat AND eating a moderate amount of carbs (I'm skinny anyway) is WORSE for me, rather than high-fat low-carb?

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I guess what I'm thinking is that eliminating certain foods completely will make you intolerant to them later. Dairy for instance. Maybe wheat too. Sometimes on a rare occasion I might want to indulge, but it's going to irritate my stomach way more now than before going paleo.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on November 02, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Same here. Corn/hemp chips don't bother me and neither does rice, although I don't have them very often. Just the residue of handling wheat crackers (couldn't help it...arranging a tray for a brunch) must have made it to my mouth and the next day I had a migraine. Now I make sure that if I touch wheat then I must wash my hands.

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14 Answers

3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 02, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I'm able to have corn chips or even popcorn as treats. It surprises me, but a bowl of buttered popcorn doesn't bother me at all.

I also can add some rice as cheap filler to my "kitchen sink" stews that combine leftovers, bones/marrow, veggies, etc. I've been alternating tubers with rice in my stew and the rice is actually less irritating to my gut than white or sweet potatoes although not as compatible as rutabagas.

Every time I have a bagel or bun, though, it gives me mild grief. I don't think I have a severe intolerance but I can feel the wheat all the way through as a minor irritant. If I eat wheat every day for several days my acid reflux comes back. And it could be my imagination but it seems to make my balance less secure.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on November 02, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Same here. Corn/hemp chips don't bother me and neither does rice, although I don't have them very often. Just the residue of handling wheat crackers (couldn't help it...arranging a tray for a brunch) must have made it to my mouth and the next day I had a migraine. Now I make sure that if I touch wheat then I must wash my hands.

3
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on November 02, 2012
at 08:06 PM

You're right and wrong here. It's not that you have to stay HFLC all the time, it that can't eat crap (grains) without problems.

Generally, when switching to paleo, the elimination of grains, legumes, and dairy allows your body to heal and then reintroduction starts a cascade of nastyness. It's not that paleo made you sensitive to this stuff, you always were, just just never noticed it because of all the inflammation that is now gone.

However, if you do want to go "high-carb", you should be able to still do it (within reason), as long as they're "paleo" carbs. If I look at my diet compared to where I was about a year ago, it's significantly higher in carbs. I started adding more back in because I workout pretty hard and I want to replenish my glycogen.

There's nothing special about paleo that forces it to be HFLC, it's just that it usually works out that way. And you should be able to play around with your carb load depending on your activity level and metabolic flexibility.

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I guess what I'm thinking is that eliminating certain foods completely will make you intolerant to them later. Dairy for instance. Maybe wheat too. Sometimes on a rare occasion I might want to indulge, but it's going to irritate my stomach way more now than before going paleo.

1
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on November 04, 2012
at 03:43 PM

I cheat once in a while. With the bad stuff, like wheat once in a great while, and beans a few times a month. Never really anything like fast food, but take me to a gastropub and I'm like "Pal-e-whaaaa?" I had a "wheat weekend" a while back and ate a Chicken n Waffles taco and a Reuben on rye pumpernickel swirl and it was deeee-vine. And then I paid my consequences and took my tummy's punishment and life went on.

You just have to decide if occasional cheats are worth it to you, and keep the severity of your cheats in line with what consequences you're willing to take. If I had eaten something like McDonald's with soybean oil and wheat and low-quality meat and a HFCS-laden soda, I'm sure I'd have felt a WHOLE LOT WORSE than eating my foodie treats. So I don't because I am not willing to deal with those consequences, and also because I think it is disgusting anyway.

And I absolutely agree with miked - Paleo didn't make you this way. Paleo helped heal you so that you don't have that baseline of unhealthiness that masks the acute symptoms of eating "edible food-like products" instead of food.

1
A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

on November 04, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I agree with the original question and worry that a fully executed Paleo life - even with the benefits of healed gut and nutrient absorption - "dooms" us to risks associated with any food we do not cook for ourselves. Going out, going to dinner parties, eating the office potluck - these are all socially desirable.

Now, some say that a fixed gut can in some cases be forgiving of transgressions more so than an irritated gut. Anyone been there and have experienced this effect, whether good or bad? The flan example was good, but I am thinking more of inadvertent gluten exposure, especially cross-contamination.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on November 04, 2012
at 12:54 PM

I have been Paleo about 18 months and it is true that a lot of non-Paleo foods that I used to eat on the regular (and that my friends and family eat) totally tear up my digestion now. A little bit of flour can actually be ok (like a couple of bites, no more, of high quality cake), but any kind of bread, pasta, etc. is a disaster. Also I have grown sensitive to "bad" oils (vegetable oils, etc), corn and corn products, peanuts, beans. Unfortunately it is to the point that it can be difficult to eat in restaurants unless it is a meat and steak oriented place (such as Outback), for example it is hard to find anything to eat at Italian or asian restaurants.

When I first went Paleo I was very low carb and the results were fantastic, but nowadays I can eat a lot more carbs than I ever did and I never seem to gain weight or fat. I think this is a product of fixing my metabolism to some degree plus frequent workouts (currently crossfit 3-4x per week).

The health benefits have been so good that in general the limited diet doesn't bother me, but it does bum me out every now and then, like when the family wants to do pizza night, and I am a little tired of eggs for breakfast.

1
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:07 PM

1
366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on November 02, 2012
at 08:48 PM

First of all, you don't have to eat low carb to eat paleo. I eat moderate carb. The few times I've eaten something closer to what I used to eat -- over 50% carb -- there were no ill effects at all.

Second, to the extent that your body (your gut flora, etc) readjusts to your new diet, there is no reason to think it can't adjust back.

And like many people here, I never gave up dairy or legumes to begin with, although I am much more careful about what kinds of dairy I eat -- I mostly eat aged raw milk cheeses & local organic grass-fed yogurt.

The occasional times when I've allowed myself very sweet treats -- ice cream, flan, etc -- I likewise had no ill effects whatsoever. Ditto for ancestral forms of wheat, properly prepared. And the one time in the last year when I accidentally ate regular old modern wheat, nothing happened -- I felt fine.

So I'm guessing that you might have some food sensitivities that you've uncovered by eating paleo, as MikeD suggests.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on November 02, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I started paleo with a tumultuous tummy. I was prone to feeling crappy when I ate a number of things like beans, nuts, seeds, milk, and fruits like apples and pears. It was pretty unfortunate.

I've now been eating this way more than a year. While none of those foods are a part of my daily cuisine, when I do eat them I suffer no ill effects, assuming I don't go overboard. This was especially true after I started making bone broth and taking gelatin.

So my experience has been that paleo improved my food intolerances. As they say, your milage may vary.

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on November 04, 2012
at 03:29 PM

Excellent to hear that about broth particularly. Just made first batch!

0
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on November 04, 2012
at 01:08 PM

When I started eating Paleo, I never thought of it as a "diet" but as "my new way of eating." Treating this way of eating like something you do temporarily towards immediate and specific goals seems counterintuitive, to me, and against the underlying fundamental principles of ancestral/evolutionary eating.

That said, I agree with the other posters that point out that you can have as many carbs as you're comfortable with and that meet your goals, whatever they may be. But really, that's not at all the same thing as going back to standard American fare.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 04, 2012
at 03:44 AM

Low-carb Vs. Paleo

I just wanted to toss in that physiological insulin resistance occurs in truly low-carb diets. You can reverse this easily since it isn't pathological, you just ramp up carb intake for a few days. I know a couple people who were in Ketosis for a few months straight and then binged on ice cream, lots of ice cream. Ended up horribly sick with hyperglycemia and blood sugar close to 300. It's a dumb move to say the least. Adding small amounts of carb, a little bit more each day say a few days before Christmas lets you get back to a place where you can pig out with no problems with blood sugar. Then you just taper off and you are good to go.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:39 PM

I started down a path of lower carbs (mainly by eating less of everything rather than shifting macros) and higher activity. I intentionally excluded as few foods as possible. I still feel ill effects (bloat, gas, etc.) when I overeat several meals in a row, but no averse reactions to any particular food.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 03, 2012
at 08:49 AM

The only thing making me want to switch back is the grocery bill.

Otherwise I'm happy healthy and loving it minus my incurable GERD @@@@@@!!!!!!!!!!

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:57 PM

@Canis Minor - How do you spend so little on food?

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:23 PM

Really? I actually spend less on groceries now.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Not sure how to answer that question, really. I eat meats, bones, marrow, offal, vegetables and tubers in season, butter, baking chocolate, tinned sardines, eggs. Simple stuff. Buying local when I can. I don't have a Whole Foods near me anymore, that helps. We're also a single-income couple right now, so there's motivation.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:50 PM

About a quarter of that. 50-60 per week.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 03, 2012
at 06:26 PM

I spend $200 a week just feeding myself, how about you?

0
235b077872243d4ee5796c6ace3c0970

on November 02, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Hm. You're asking a few questions here.

First: Yes, sometimes I'll eat something that tears me up, and yes, my body will totally make me pay for it. It could be a rare "cheat" (i.e. a few bites from the bread basket at a restaurant-- a huge no-no since I was gluten-sensitive before going paleo anyway) or something that's technically paleo (i.e. an ounce or two of dried apricots-- unusual for me when I generally don't eat many fruits at all). Your body's reaction to certain foods is going to be largely experimental when you incorporate things that aren't a part of your core regimen.

Second: The best way to incorporate carbs is, well, sticking to paleo carbs. I think a lot of folks on PH emphasize HFLC, but many also address the benefits of increasing carbs. Again, you kind of have to experiment with this; everyone's different.

Bottom line: I'd prefer to avoid eating standard American fare, especially knowing how much physical discomfort it causes for me. I generally feel better (physically and emotionally) when I stick to strict paleo, and I eat plenty with minimal cravings. What, exactly, do you find yourself hungry for? Maybe you can find paleo alternatives that won't disturb your body as much.

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:21 PM

I just finished reading Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and he emphasizes a diet high in fat. I'm wondering if eating a lot of fat AND eating a moderate amount of carbs (I'm skinny anyway) is WORSE for me, rather than high-fat low-carb?

Medium avatar

(379)

on November 03, 2012
at 02:38 PM

How do I track my body fat %? I don't think my body weight changes much week to week. I just don't want to do my body harm by mixing a paleo diet with a moderate amount of carbs, and occasional cheats.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 03, 2012
at 12:01 AM

That depends. Are you tracking your body fat %? If so, what happens to it when you eat more carbs? Do you notice *any* other bodily effects when you eat a moderate amount of carbs?

0
Bdc4873264ec9dbec27505e678dabce0

(432)

on November 02, 2012
at 07:53 PM

If I had my way I would eat garbage at least half the time. The only reason I am completely paleo and very rarely cheat is my deteriorating health.

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