I don't want to be constantly thinking about food all the time. Earlier when I was trying to put on muscle, I just used to eat all the time or think about what to eat, when to eat and stuff like that. At least now after starting Paleo, I don't freak out if I miss my lunch. But I still don't like to constantly plan about what to eat and cook it. I am a student and want to spend a good chunk of my time doing something I actually love doing (math!!). Sometimes it becomes very hectic and when I am in the middle of something, I don't really like to go home and cook dinner. IF would be great but I cannot stomach all the calorie requirements and I end up dangerously under-eating and losing weight. Ideally I would like to be able to eat outside and so I will have to include other food varieties. Unlike many of you, I don't live with my family and so most of my social life, which involves eating outside, is already cut off and I don't really feel happy about my status right now. Its a no-brainer that I should avoid gluten but what other ideas do you guys have?
Sometimes I still go out to eat. I'll order things like steak salad for lunch. Or for dinner, some kind of meat plus a baked potato with butter and a side salad. Or at family restaurants, you can get bacon, eggs, and cut up whole potatoes. I always ask in advance if the potatoes are real potatoes instead of out of a box. If not real, then I have never been denied a polite request to sub some cut fruit instead or unsweetened apple sauce. I can easily find something that is mostly paleo at most restaurants as long as it's not a noodle house. Even at a noodle house, you can often get by in a pinch by ordering rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. A few times I have ended up at a noodle house when the boss's wife asked me out to lunch and that is where she wanted to go. You might get a tad of grain oil on some of it, but I don't think it's enough to be a big deal as long as you don't have celiac issues and it's only once in a while. The thing with paleo is that you don't have to go all or nothing to be healthy.
Other things I will do if busy, is just make up a ton of stuff, like maybe I'll cook a tritip and eat some and cut the rest up into pieces so that later I can snack on it easily as a finger food. Or have some cheese on it. Or i will make a ton of bacon for snacking. In a pinch, I'll just cook up a bunch of eggs or just slam together a big fat salad. Above all, I try to have some cooked meat and/or fruit aroound for snacking. At first, all the cooking seemed overwhelming but over time I learned quick paleo recipes and coping techniques and now I don't spend nearly as much time on it.
Sometimes you just have to man up to the inconvenience and the sacrifices. If it was easy, then all the people your going out with would be doing it too. All the tips in the world won't make paleo any easier when your friends want to go get pizza and beer. You have to weigh your options and decide what your priorities are.
I pre-cook most of my food on sunday every week (and eat the same foods because it doesn't bother me). I eat to live for sure. I eat 90% of my pre-cooked meat cold because I don't want to spend the time to cook (or reheat it) every day. However, It takes me 20 minutes every week at the grocery store and about 4 hours of nonstop cooking every sunday. Overall it saves a lot of time throughout the week. Hope this helps.
Buy a crock pot. Best $20 you'll ever spend. My butcher had beef shanks on sale at $3/lb. Throw a pound in there with maybe a little extra stew meat and some chardonnay and some butter and salt. Some onion, perhaps, or garlic, or both. Turn it to low and go off to do your math. You can come back in six hours or ten. Doesn't matter. Dinner is done and it will be awesome. (Better to come back at about 8 hours but no worries if you overshoot or undershoot--hence the beauty of the crock pot.)
Salads plus protein are usually pretty okay choices.
Always order extra of the vegetable in place of the potato/grain choice if you can.
Eggs, omelets, fritattas and crustless quiche are possibilities.
If you are looking a booze options, hard liquor and wine are better choices than beer. You can sip a drink for a pretty long time if you work at it.
Most menus have paleo choices, sometimes you need to make special requests, but if you are polite about it, most of the time the waitstaff is pretty accommodating. Try not to feel embarrassed or singled out by making better choices. Most of the time other people are impressed that you can stick to your healthy eating. Sometimes, it even inspires them to try it.
I don't enjoy cooking and I'm not a foodie so I tend to do whatever takes the least amount of effort.
Unfortunately most paleo food has to be cooked and/or refrigerated so when you are away from home it's tough if you didn't plan ahead. IMHO, if you know in advance you are going to be out for a day or two the easiest way is to overeat prior to leaving home, then you'll be able to go for longer without a meal.
There are some things like pemmican that keep well without refrigeration but they take effort to produce and you can't just go into a store and buy them if you want quality. Hardboiled eggs keep for a while but they take effort too and are a pain in the butt to carry in any quantity. Nuts are easy but relatively expensive and probably not a great staple food. I guess you could haul coconut oil around with you but it's kind of gross to eat by itself.
If you have access to a fridge its hard to beat dairy since there's no prep required. As long as dairy fits in your definition of paleo. Cheese and cream are easy and cheap and full of good fats. Some people even eat their meat raw without cooking, but it seems risky to me unless you are really confident in your source.
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