Ok so I'm fairly new to paleo and have a few questions.
I started about two weeks ago after reading Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution. I haven't noticed a huge difference, although daily headaches which I used to get are gone. I'm not 100% convinced that this isn't due to another change I made recently though.
Anyway like the title says I have a question about "cheating" on paleo. There seem to be two schools of thought here... 1) it's ok to cheat once in a while if it keeps you sane and you stay on track most of the time, and 2) cheat foods are horrible and don't ever eat them.
I'm leaning more towards 1). If you're on track 95% of the time I can't imagine cheating once in a while will throw your body totally out of whack.
Anyway my question is about coke (coca cola, not cocain :D). I LOVE coke. I've cut down from about 3 cans per weeks to zero and haven't really had an issue. I would like to be able to have it once in a while though. I don't know what I'm really asking here, lol... I guess what's an acceptable cheating schedule? One coke per week? One a month?
I know it may be hard to answer because nobody knows my personal physiology, but all I can say is that it doesn't seem to affect me at all. I don't get a sugar rush or a crash or anything. I think I have very good glucose tolerance.
I'm also curious about eating buckwheat for breakfast. Rob's diet plan is very low on carbs and very high on meat... which I really don't think I can handle. I love meat, but it's a chore to prepare meat for every meal. So I've been having buckwheat for breakfast basically. I know it's paleo, but it's basically all carbs, so is that sense is this a "naughty" breakfast? Am I just shooting sugar into my blood? Again I seem to feel fine from it (other than some minor gut irritation), and it hasn't affected the headaches.
Lastly, is whey protein ok? It's in Mark Sisson's primal formula stuff, so I assume it must be? I'm not huge on protein powders, but I'd like some possibly just for an easy breakfast. I'm not talking about bodybuilding crap, because who knows what's in there on top of aspartame/sucralose/etc... ideally it would be something natural like Mark's stuff, although that's a bit expensive.
Ok I know that's long, but any answers are appreciated :).
In terms of cheating....
There are cheats, and then there are CHEATS.
I would put things like Wine, Dark Chocolate, Whipped Cream with Berries, etc as cheats
I would put things like Smores, Coke, Cinnabuns, etc as CHEATS.
it's ok to have occasional cheats. You should really try to stay away from CHEATS.
In response to cheating - Try 30 days strict paleo and re-evaluate your cravings after that. You will find that the majority have disappeared and that your perception of some tastes have changed. Example: I was a HUGE diet soda drinker (multiple cans per day) and I worried how I would be able to cope. After "detoxing", I noticed my taste for it was gone, even trying it, it tasted like it wasn't real food/drink (which it's not). I liken sugar addiction to any form of psychoactive drug addiction. One wouldn't give a junkie some crack just because he/she is craving it. (Disclaimer: I am NOT a drug rehabiliation specialist). Once your body systems and hormones normalize, the cravings will subside.
In response to protein powders for breakfast and eating meat. Skip the powders and eat some real food. MAKE THE TIME TO PREPARE YOU FOOD! These are substances that you are putting inside your body. Taking extra care time here pays you back with EXPONENTIALLY more and higher quality time later. Also, food preparation if done correctly and for multiple meals is not time consuming.
I'm one of those that are more liberal with my ancestral-type diet. I fall into the 80/20 camp of things, with the caveat that you still avoid the things you are allergic/highly intolerant to (for me, that's gluten). Though I do believe that sometimes you need to completely avoid a lot of commonly scorned foods for a while, just to see if eliminating and reintroducing them reveals some underlying sensitivities. It's probably a good idea to determine your range of allowable dietary habits, beginning with the ideal situation (moderate carb, whole-food, primal, for me) to the least healthy you may allow in a situation (anything gluten free, for me). I aim for the ideal the majority of the time, but knowing that eating some gluten free bread or some M&Ms on occasion is probably not the worst thing I could do does keep me sane and motivated.
I will note, many people stay on track better when they don't allow cheats. Some stay on track better when they do. Finding out which you are will probably answer your question.
Here are my answers to this the last three times this came up:
As to cheating, your tolerance for it or ability to do it may differ from others'.
For me, one little non-paleo treat can (and usually does) lead to an avalanche of horrible gluten- and sugar-containing goodies, sometimes for days. If this is you, stay away!
If not, do what makes you feel good. We all know there's nothing good about Coke, but if it makes you happy to have one every now and then, I say go for it. I'll bet, though, that after eating solely whole, real foods, the soda will taste more like chemicals and just not so good anymore.
Regarding the headaches, try supplementing with magnesium. I recommend Mag-Tab SR. I hear others like SloMag.
Regarding the cheating, don't do it! If you have the strength to say no, then say NO!
My first few days on low-carb/paleo, I felt terrible and hungry and migrainey. But now, on day 53, I feel great.
Cut the buckwheat, cut the coke, eat your meats, veggies, and fat. If you want a coke, have a cup of coffee with coconut milk and oil and a banana/peach/apple/melon. You'll get your caffeine and decent dose of sugar, but in a much healthier way.
Tough love, dude. Just say no.
Also, just a note, I miss coke too. We keep it in the house for grandpa and I just have to say no, even though sometimes I crave it.
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