Recovery: What Can I Eat? 2

“Paleo Is logical framework applied to modern humans, not an historical reenactment.” — about 45:00 in episode 52

Obviously, the point is not to eat what the cavemen ate, for the sake of simplicity or “go back to a simpler time.” Nor is the diet only to aid in fat loss: Fat is one just symptom of some more serious problems. The point of the Paleo Diet, or at least why we at MDF think this diet works the best with our training, is that it helps you look, feel and perform better. Specifically, it addresses the Three Horsemen (possibly a reference to Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) that prevent you from looking, feeling and performing better.

  1. Gut damage: Caused by eating grains, legumes and other foods like quinoa.
  2. Hormonal imbalance: Caused mostly by eating too much carbohydrates, including fruit, drinking too much (alcohol metabolizes into glucose/sugar) or eating too much food in general.
  3. Omega 3:Omega 6 imbalance: Caused, in part, by eating too many grains and/or protein fed with grain.

I am going to leave it to Robb’s book to explain all the gory details. What I want to cover in this post is what I would say is the most common question regarding the Paleo Diet: “Can I eat ____ (fill in the blank with something that is not meat, veggies or some sort of good fat).”

Many times, people just don’t know their macro nutrients (i.e. protein, carbs and fats). However, many people still want to eat something close to the diet they have been eating, like “Paleo Pancakes.” I think we who have tried the diet, or really any diet, have a duty to answer these questions because, well, we have asked them too. However, the problem with these kinds of questions, is that it very subtly shifts the responsibility of the change to someone other than the person making the change. This is a slippery slope for both parties. So let’s make a couple of rules here (I know I am a little late since we only have 11 more days until the 24th but the REAL Paleo Challenge, with prize money, so we aren’t late, just getting a really early start for next year).

To the person asking questions: Read the following before you ask “what can I eat?:”

Robb’s Quick Start Guide and Shopping List.

Read (or re-read) Kurt Harris’ Smoking Candy Cigarettes blog post. I think this is one of the best pieces about changing the way you eat. Or read Cheryl’s story, posted on Robb’s website.

To the person answering the question: Be gentle but ask if the questioner has read either of these documents. I will do my best to have a few copies on hand and supply some highlighters.

To both people: Always remember, changing habits is hard. Much harder than it looks. True, not for everyone, but for some people it is really hard. I know what Melissa says (search for “it is not hard’), but I respectfully disagree.

Finally, remember, this will take time and you will not get it on the first time. Each time you try Paleo, have some issue that you are trying to resolve.

Stay tuned for a little on goal setting later…

2 thoughts on “Recovery: What Can I Eat?

  • Kris

    Regarding the paleo substitute meals:

    I really don’t like them as a concept, for two reasons:

    1. They reinforce the idea that you are “missing out” on something good when you change your diet to avoid wheat/sugar/processed food/etc.

    2. They’re just like any of the “diet” foods you’ve bought from the store when you were doing some CW diet – a poor substitute for the real thing. They don’t satisfy your “craving” for the original, they tend to be higher carb/lower nutritional profile than other paleo food, so they’re just a bad crutch.

    There probably are a couple things out there that are truly good on their own merit. (For example, frozen coconut milk “ice cream” is great). But by and large it’s a gray area that I say steer clear of.

  • joan

    As usual, this is AWESOME! I am so guilty of this but from a slightly different motivation … i keep hoping the answer will be ‘yes, you can eat that cupcake. it is totally paleo’ even though i know it is totally NOT paleo and i should be eating more good fats and less carbs to manage my MASSIVE sweet tooth. i will be more responsible for my nutrition!

    also to reiterate Saul’s point of keep trying til it becomes habit … i completely fell off the wagon this past weekend … felt physically awful for two days because of it. this happens to me when i am crunched for time and i have let my cupboards become bare. shopping this evening and back on board!

    last but not least, i have moved to talking about paleo as a nutrition plan, as opposed to a diet. unfortunately the word diet … even though its definitions as a noun on are actually relatively positive … is forever tainted by one of its definitions when used as a verb (i.e. to lose weightm, which often implies missing out on something as Kris mentions above). For me nutrition plan emphasizes two things: 1) nutrition — which is needed to do healthy things like workout and recover well from working out; put another way — you need to eat!; and 2) plan — feels way more proactive e.g. ‘i have a plan’. this past weekend i did NOT have a plan and my diet sucked … consisting primarily of carbs and sugar.

    i am back in tune with my nutrition plan this week!

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