What is the ideal meat-to-non-meat ratio?
Or, what is the ideal meat-to-vegetable ratio?
In other words: It's unclear to me if, according to our paleo worldview, I should eat 90% meat (including offal, bone, etc) and then 5% vegetables, 3% nuts and 2% berries? Or 30% meat, 55% vegetables, 5% nuts and 10% fruit? Etc etc (I just made up these numbers now as examples.)
This suggests a related question: for me, at least, meat and (non-starchy) vegetables are the vast bulk of what I eat. Not only am I unclear of how much of each to eat - but I'm unclear on how much of what else (nuts and berries for example) to eat, too!
Of course, some paleo genius is going to ask: what do these % mean? by weight? by size? by psychological space? etc. You can define it how you wish in the answer. Maybe the answer to my question isn't even a definitive %; it's more general guidance on how to proportion or ratio the different servings as compared to each other.
Clarification: there might be a meta-rule involved here; what would even be helpful would be general broad strokes ("mostly meat, with a touch of this" or "mostly vegetables with meat once every few days" etc)
In Paleolithic times, the % probably varied a bit according to season.
For your concerns, I think you need to consider your goals.
Since there is a wide range of Paleo within Paleo - some (Robb Wolf) advocate lots of protein filled in with fat and veggies, while others (Kurt G. Harris, Mark Sisson) advocate up to 80% fat filled in with protein and minimal carbs - it's important to know your body and what it wants.
• Working with 40% protein, 30-40% fat, and 20-30% carbs works really great for some. If you are highly active, carbs help replenish muscle glycogen stores quickly. This usually looks like a huge hunk of meat with a serving of veggies and serving of fruit.
• 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs is spot on for others. If eating fruit or tubers packs on pounds (insulin resistance), this is a better option. This could look like a yummy coconut milk curry with meat and only the veggies used to season it.
Generally, staying away from nuts gives you a better omega6:omega3 ratio.
If I have a specific weight loss goal or putting on muscle, I use high fat, low veggies/fruit. If I'm working to maintain and extend my endurance efforts, I add in more veggies and fruits.
Most of the time, I listen to my body and what it is craving. Meaning, if I am craving lots of fat that day, I'll eat fat. If I'm craving veggies, I'll eat what's seasonal with my hunk of meat.
If your insulin resistance is good, experiment with what you like! You may enjoy 90% protein and it could work well for you.
Bones are always tasty, though, and should be enjoyed! ;)
When my goal is muscle, I eat almost exclusively meat
When my goal is weightloss I eat high fat
When my goal is maintainence, I base my meals on activity
Why worry about percentages? Eat in a way that works for you. It's natural that your tastes and desires may vary throughout the year (week, season, etc). Like geelyn said, consider your goals and of course your current state of health (ie if you have metabolic syndrome etc, you may want to be on the lower end with respect to carbs)
Incidentally, meat and non-starchy veggies are what I eat 90% of the time. :) If you want to eat other things, then eat them. Fretting about how much of them to eat is pointless, IMHO, unless you have a health issue that warrants such concern, or you're trying to lose weight. If you want some strawberries, eat some strawberries!
As far as portion sizes, unless you have some kind of issue with hunger regulation (like I used to, so if you do then I completely relate), just eat when you're hungry and stop when you're not hungry anymore. If you grill up a big ribeye and can't eat all of it, then save it for later. If you eat a teeny one and are still hungry, eat more. If you do have a hunger issue, keeping carbs low can/does help get things back in order. When all is working as it should, if you overeat one day, you'll generally find that the next day you don't have much of an appetite.
Eat according to what your body needs... not according to a 'worldview'.
I think it will help you if you think in terms of the three macronutrients that include all of what you mention: 1. protein 2. fat 3. carbohydrate
Like one responder mentions, it depends on how good your hormones are. How much control over insulin release you have. If you are healthy, have been exercising for a long time, have been eating well, do not require a lot of weight loss, etc you can prolly up the carb-intake. if however you are coming off the SAD, and want to lose weight and gain better hormonal control, i'd say youre better off with very little carbohydrate (that'd cover all your veg, fruit, and nuts) and medium protein and lots of fat. Maybe tinker and up the protein and decrease fat so that they're equal, too.
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