New to Paleo - about 2 months. Switched because it was pretty close to how I already ate and exercised, I just cut out dairy and the few whole grains I ate before. I have a monster sweet tooth. As promised, eating Paleo for a while has drastically cut down on the cravings. My question is regarding "cheating" on the Paleo diet. I found a few Paleo treats, but I'm wondering if their frequent consumption (3 x week) is sabotaging any advantages I'm getting. These are the two (delicious!) recipes I'm concerned about.
Almond Joy Fudge: (via greensmoothiegirl.com) Coconut Oil, Almonds, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Coconut Flakes, Coconut Nectar (amounting to about half a teaspoon per serving)
Chocolate Pudding: (via everydaypaleo.com) Coconut Milk, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Coconut Nectar - same amount as above, just enough to bring out the sweetness of the coconut milk and chocolate
YUM. But I know sugar is sugar. The only other carbs I get are from veggies and a maximum of two servings of fruit per day. I even switched to black coffee (which has always been my dietary hold-out) Is 90%+ Paleo enough to see results? Or am I doing myself a disservice? I'm satisfied with my muscle mass, but I'd like to lose some weight.
I'm 5'3", 130, very active. A typical day of food (sans treats) looks like this:
Meal #1 11AM: 2 eggs with veggies and a green smoothie (sh*t ton of raw greens, 2 servings of fruit, some fat)
Meal #2 (post-workout 6PM): Usually some grilled meat and a heap of whatever veggies are on sale. Usually accompanied by fat in the form of sauce or dressing.
I really appreciate any comments/advice you might have!
Coconut nectar is 80% soluble fiber, not much sugar to it. Inulin is good fiber/food for the bacteria in your gut so I don't really think that the coconut nectar is a bad thing. 13gs of carb per tbs, that is 80% fiber, is not a bad thing. Flaxseed oil is only bad if not stored properly, ie. in the fridge in a dark container so it doesn't go rancid. Loren Cordain suggests it in his book. I went to a lecture with a speaker that got her degree studying under Dr Cordain and she recommended 15cal/per pound so you should be eating about 1950 calories. If you don't eat enough your body goes into starvation mode and stores everything as fat and you sabotage yourself, especially if your doing something like crossfit or are a generally active person. I would keep the smoothie in the pre workout time so you will have plenty of glucose available for your workout later in the day. The conventional wisdom nutritionist in me says you should eat within 2 hours of getting up to start you metabolism and stay away from starvation mode. I studied at Bastyr University and my fellow students would probably flip if they knew I was doing the Paleo thing, but it works for me. Oh ya and 23% body fat is great for a female.
So, if that is your typical day, when are you eating the treats?
Your typical meals do not sound like enough food to me.
Meal #1: The 2 eggs are 140 calories, 1 cup of veggies is usually 30/50. It's hard to say what the smoothie is but raw greens are no many calories and 2 servings of fruit would be around 200 calories, what fat do you put in a smoothie? Still probalby only around 100 calories. Maxiumum 500 calories
Meal #2: 6 oz of grilled meat would typically be 250/400 calories and again, veggies aren't much. Add maybe 1 tablespoon or two of butter at 70/100 calories each just to give this a quantity. Maxiumum 600 calories
Now, if you are eating your treats every day, that probably puts you in the 1200/1300 calorie range, which is LOW.
If I were you, I would add 200/400 more calories per day in meat and/or fat. Try to keep the treats to workout days or 2/3 times a week. Do this for at least a month and see what happens.
I think you are doing great! I don't believe in this idea that we have to be 100% or it's all just a big pile of crap and why bother. Good is pretty darn good especially being only a few months in. If you're in this for the long haul then I think you should be very happy with the progress you have made so far.
The recipes you are using don't need the coconut sugar in them. You can use Stevia. it works. I know it's somewhat controversial but Using in instead of sugar might be what you need to do to help with the cravings. Using sugar is just feeding the monster. Something to consider anyway.
I agree with Melissa that you need to examine your cravings to see if they are just in your head or if you are maybe just not eating enough and getting hungry. I would take a look at that.
You know you have an issue with sweets and you are making progress. You're down to 3x week and that's great. Maybe your next hurdle is to try for 2x a week? Maybe see if adding some extra fat into the diet might quite the cravings a little? Look at losing the fruit and see if that affects the cravings at all?
I think you're doing great and I'd put you at a solid 95%. What I know for sure is that total deprivation is the kiss of death. Take yourself where you find yourself and you seem to know your issues and are working to do better. I can't imagine doing any better than that.
I personally think you need to eat some more (protein) for as active as you claim to be and the menu you have posted.
Regarding "cheats," I think the word is a little cliche and if not that, then certainly overused. I'm probably an 80/20 guy who will have a beer when he wants one. I like ketchup on stuff (gasp, but at least the non HFCS kind). I don't drive myself crazy if I have a scoop of ice cream here and there. "Cheats" are what a person makes them out to be and seem to bring with them some level of guilt. You need to find what works for you physically as well as mentally. You could use some extra calories (IMHO), so the recipes you've cited seem to be reasonable options on occasion. Even if your "cheat" is a non-Paleo option, if it keeps you sane and locked in 80 or 90 percent of the time, then avoid the "cheat" label and the requisite guilt that goes with it.
Try this out for a treat. I made it last night for the first time and it was/is great!
I think this is highly individual. Some people are going to tolerate more frequent and higher quantities of sugar than others. I think the best way to find out your tolerance is to go completely clean for, say, 3 weeks, and then introduce your treats.
If you are having trouble leaning out, then yes, cutting down on fruit/sugar can help. At a minimum I would move them to post-workout meals.
But the real question is, have you hit a wall? If you are making progress, keep doing what you're doing. Your meal plan looks pretty good to this guy.
The most important thing not to cheat on (IMHO) is food containing gut-irritants: gluten, lectin, proline, protease inhibitors, etc.
Cheating hurts me, with the exception of small quantities of alcohol and occasionally eating paleo fare prepared at restaurants (in an un-paleo way with un-paleo oils).
If I have 3 tequilas with a full glass of water between each one, I'm fine the next day. If I sneak a fry or two off someone's plate, and it's made from just potatoes, I'm probably gonna be fine the next day.
If I have ANY bread, beans, or milk, I'm gonna feel like crap the next day.
You sound really healthy to me, so in that regard I wouldn't worry about much.
As a counterpoint, though, I would paraphrase Taubes: would a doctor say to a smoker, "we are going to put you on a low-nicotine diet?" In other words, if it's bad for you - it's bad for you.