i want to do paleo to be healthier and gain weight in better places (I hear a lot of women say their body composition changed). Obviously, no chips or processed carbs, but since I'm not trying to lose weight I don't think all the "rules" apply to me.
1.) Can I eat red meat? I rarely eat it but I like it sometimes. 2.) Can I use sugar (rarely) when I cook dessert? I don't eat wheat but I sometimes make fruit with brown sugar and cinnamon. 3.) What do I do when I eat at restaurants? I only order meat and vegetables, never any grains or simple carbs, but I don't always know what ingredients are being used. Is salty food okay?
Once again this is just to be healthy, not to lose weight!
I really think you should check out some resources other than PaleoHacks for a Paleo101 course. There are so many to check out - Whole9
The Clothes Make The Girl
These are very good, I think. There are many print resources as well that are very good.
Mexican and Thai food places are generally gluten-free friendly. Also try and stick to steak and a baked potato or something of that nature at restaurants.
Grass-fed Red meat is good, and honey is better than sugar.
Maybe check out a paleo diet book. I liked Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution" to get started on my paleo journey.
Paleo isn't about losing weight anyway.
Paleo is about eating healthier. (I didn't intend to lose weight, but I dropped 35 pounds. I put back 15 pounds with a 2x/week lifting regimen.)
Unless you have now food allergies, start with a diet of grass-fed meat (any meat will do in a penny pinch), pasture raised chicken and eggs, seafood, veggies, root/tubers, some fruits and nuts. Avoid grains, legumes, dairy, vegetable oils. Eat until you are full, don't count calories.
That a broad brush to start.
Everyone is going to give you different opinions per their own version of Paleo. But, I've maintained my weight on Paleo for several months, so I will offer my thoughts.
Yes, red meat is awesome. I, personally, would not use refined sugar. I do, however, add a bit of honey or maple syrup to a recipe on occasion. In restaurants I order a meat and a veg. As for unknown ingredients... it depends on how "hardcore" you want to be about it. I don't order salad dressings or gravy or anything that I don't know for sure is in the ingredients. However, I am aware that the zucchini and salmon I order are cooked with soybean oil, and I just accept that. And for the salt, I think you should salt to taste.
The difference between weight loss and maintenance Paleo, for me, is the inclusion of more nuts, fruits and sweet potatoes in the latter.