I am very curious as to how many of you feel about those of us who are transitioning or have made informed decisions to include non paleo (or borderline) items in our diet. I am also curious to know if I am alone in knowing that certain foods are poison and deciding that i am willing to take that risk, as long as it keeps me on the path to eliminating them eventually.
While I admire the purist Paleo lifestyle, I know that I could not possibly wean myself from my prior eating habits without a little wiggle room. For instance, I still use Helman's mayo made with olive oil. Occasionally, I add a drop of gasp kethcup to make a very sad version of the russian dressing I love so much. And cheese, well, now I've limited myself to a few crumbles of feta, parmesan, or a sprinkle of goat cheese - but only on Sundays. That's my personal reward day.
Also, grass fed 100% of the time? Going to 15 stores every week? Sorry, I have a toddler and a lunatic 4 year old. My husband works two jobs. I feel very lucky that i can afford groceries at all. Even luckier that the child care in my gym allows them to return each day after they spit on / bite / tackle each other.
Really, what I am wondering is:
Is it culturally acceptable in this (wonderful) community to transition in a way that you think will help you make this a permanent lifestyle change, or if those of us (or just me?) should wait to join in until all of our proverbial ducks are in a row?
This is my first question. I've never doubted that I was on the right path. I know that I am. But after the last two days, I am starting to wonder if I am in the right place to discuss it.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good and don't let the PaleoNazis get you down.
Eating "Paleo-ish" is much better than eating SAD, and probably just 2% worse than not eating 100% Paleo.
I asked this very same question a while back.
One favourite answer was from Melissa:
It depends on what is in that 20%. Back when I started my 20% was things like candy...and of course that made me feel crappy. Luckily, since I was eating mostly paleo, I was able to recognize that feeling crappy really was caused by junk.
These days my 20% is properly fermented non-gluten grains and legumes- dosas, traditional grits, miso, buckwheat pasta, etc. These are traditional foods of healthy agrarian societies. They aren't as good as grass fed beef or wild salmon, but I sincerely doubt that they cause real problems.
Another favourite answer was from Drew:
One thing you may need to watch out for in that 20% is that you really still need to avoid gluten and legumes as much as possible. These have long lasting negative effects (weeks) on gut permeability. Antibodies to gluten have been shown to persist for weeks after exposures, and some say it can affect you for up to a year. Dairy, white rice, and corn seem to be less detrimental cheats, so you are going to go for that cheat meal, those are better choices than bread and other grain products.
I think that making positive changes to your diet will result in positive results in your health, regardless of whether they are big or little changes - so take it as far as you feel comfortable. Many people feel that conventional beef is better than no beef. So don't not eat beef if you can't get grass-fed. Also, if you're gonna keep lots of omega 6 in your diet (dressings, etc), I'd suggest ensuring you get some fish oil; but make it easy on yourself - buy the value stuff from Costco. ;)
You're in the right place. Baby steps!
I struggle with many of the same issues. Ex. we still eat conventionally raised beef for the most part (and I buy it when on sale). Every month since going paleo I've hit our theoretical food budget about 2/3 the way through the month, leaving me to wonder if we'd ever afford it in earnest.
Also, I'm a mom of 2 young kids - a 1 yr. old and a 3 yr. old, so I totally get the not having the time (or wherewithal) to brave multiple trips to grocery stores with them in tow. I generally make a trip to our nearest grocery store - Giant - every 3-4 days, where I buy said conventionally raised beef and many conventionally raised fruits and vegetables. Eggs and dairy I try to buy organic (Target and Sam's are actually price-competitive for these). Amazon is a good, price-competitive source for more obscure stuff, that I try to buy on Subscribe and Save where possible, so that is one "grocery trip" I can manage in a few minutes from the comfort of my home after my kids are in bed.
Otherwise, my husband, my kids, and I hit up Sam's Club about once monthly. Trader Joe's, which is near my folks' house further away, about once quarterly (good thing the Kerrygold butter which is cheapest there has a long shelf life).
Another source of compromise is my daughter's preschool where she has snacks 3 times each week - almost invariably pretzels or animal crackers, etc. I had a long internal debate about this at the beginning of the year, but ultimately decided that for my 3-year-old daughter's first year in "school" it wasn't worth the social alienation of setting her apart from her peers every single day while she eats a gluten-free snack. (Any who are feeling the impulse to "excommunicate" me here on the basis of gluten's effects lingering for weeks should also consider that she gets exposed to wheat in Sunday School, at her grandparents' houses [despite my efforts to the contrary], with classmates' cupcakes when they have birthdays, etc. In other words, it is perpetually in some sort of circulation. I amazed at how parents of celiac kids manage to keep all sources of wheat away from their kids.) Because of these regular, incidental doses of gluten, I try to make excluding gluten from her diet at home my main focus. She stopped asking me for breakfast cereal a while ago, and now considers various fruits, bacon, cheese, eggs, etc. as potential breakfast foods. (I dearly hope that attitude will carry on to her adult years.)
ALL THIS TO SAY: Hang in there, girl. "Paleo Perfection" is not a necessary goal. You do not need to have only raw organic pastured artisanal cheese in your fridge, nor do you need to eat only organically-raised pastured animals, nor do you need to eschew deodorant and cosmetics (I don't), to refer to your way of eating as "paleo".
By avoiding grains and refined sugar you are already giving your kids a solid foundation of what real food looks and tastes like. You have plenty of time to tinker (as with your omega-3/omega-6 levels, with finding pastured foods, etc.), as your time and money budgets will eventually allow, so take it easy and pat yourself on the back for your current achievement of a paradigm shift. (And frankly, even if you don't decide to tinker, having gluten and sugar off the menu is HUGE in and of itself.) Whatever else you manage in the future is (gluten-free) gravy. :)
Never wait for all your ducks to be in a row. I have never seen that happen with anything. For me it's not about being "paleolier than thou." Just reading your post I'd have to say you're doing just fine. Keep at it and don't fret about "perfect." That said, don't be too surprised if a few months down the line you have lost your taste for your Russian dressing, or the mayo. Or that you are feeling adventurous and want to see what happens if you give up cheese for a month. Just enjoy the journey and know that you are doing great things for yourself. Have fun!
I treat Wheat like a Celiac. Vegetable Oil as 98/2, Fructose as 90/10
As in 1% of my previous oil intake and 10% of my previous fructose intake
For others, it's about progress, I only frown on backsliding
This isn't a religion, a cult or anything like this...it is about people who happen to be accountants, underwriters, auto mechanics, physicians, etc getting into contact with their inner caveman (i.e. we've come to the conclusion that beneath the apparent technological sophistication all around us, we remain who we were and have been for the last 200,000 years or more...We are Cro-Magnons with nuclear weaponry; cavemen in business suits).
I think you get 90% of the benefit by avoiding sugar, starch, grains and processed crap. I'm about 90/10 paleo (too much red wine intake, love that stuff).
Slowly move to the other positive stuff (grass fed v. grain fed, etc) and you'll get the other 10% (or 9% or 8%) etc...whatever additional benefit is to be reasonabaly had without driving yourself batty.
I don't even think that the paleo-crimes you cited are really vices, and I'm surely one of the people on here who most likes to micromanage and optimise details.
mayo made with olive oil... a drop of gasp kethcup... a few crumbles of feta, parmesan, or a sprinkle of goat cheese - but only on Sundays... grass fed 100% of the time?... Going to 15 stores every week?
Olive oil mayo sounds fine, if you were trying to get all your fat from olive oil it would be too much o-6, but otherwise olive oil is pretty innocuous (I can just never see the point to using it rather than butter). Ketchup (if it's at all like the British version) is just sugared up tomato and I never worry about sugar unless it's in significant quantities. I think cheese is perfectly paleo acceptable unless you're intolerant, I'd see no problem in eating it daily. I've never knowingly bought grassfed meat (although I do benefit from the UK's relatively high quality meat). And I get all my food (bar one item: seaweed) from one shop.
So for what it's worth you don't sound much of a paleo heretic, but I can't say I've ever seen any paleo nazi activities on here in any case. Of course, if some-one posts saying "Hack my [inflammatory condition]" people will say they should remove their pro-inflammatory foods, but otherwise I don't see any criticism of any-one's lifestyles on here. This is to be sharply distinguished from impassioned debates about whether it's relative ratio or absolute amount of omega-3 is significant, which I take to be intellectual disagreements between (somewhat geeky) individuals who are intrinsically interested in optimal nutrition, rather than wars between different paleo sects.
Did you clear your question with the Paleo Orthodoxy Committee?--just kidding
There are all kinds of people on this site, from 0 to 100% paleo. This is a great site for anyone interested in paleo. I would generalize to say that some of the "stricter" paleos tend to be more vocal, but don't let that intimidate you. If you check the archives, you'll see many questions from "newbies" that were met with friendly and helpful answers.
Welcome, and best of luck and health to you in your paleo journey!
Paleo is flexible and adaptable. personally, I'm a strict lacto-paleo, with raw dairy from a2 grassfed cows. All grassfed, pastured, whatever. When I become a poor college student, however, that's going to change drastically. I'll still be paleo, but no way will I be able to get grassfed and organic. Will that be ideal? no. But compared to most, it's pretty darn good. I say don't worry about it.
I understand you can have 60/70 percent of health benefits from paleo diet by avoiding gluten, trans fat, sugar and anything derived from soy and corn, plus having a sound choice of meat, fish and vegetables. Of course it is much better if you are able to get 100% organic food, grass fed meat, etc, but I would not spend too many hours a week shopping around to be "100 % paleo". I just could not do it myself!