I think that the goal should be striving for 100%. The 20% is the inevitable "cheat" that occurs when you go out to eat, are invited to a party, etc.
In other words, it's not so much about intentionally eating 20% of your calories in the form of "non-paleo" foods such as bread, beer, sugar, etc.
It's to account for the fact that life will throw you curveballs and cookies and chocolate cake.
i eat only meat/chick/seafood, green veg, nuts + eggs for every meal 7 days a week except for one meal - my "cheat meal" which i usually have on a saturday or sunday night and i can eat whatever i want. i try to stay away from gluten and dairy though as being so strict during the week really means i bloat up like nothing else and it actually gives me bad tummy pains!
last weekend for example my cheat meal was pancakes made with 1 cup buckwheat flour, maple syrup, saltanas, icecream, thickened cream + some dark chocolate. it was DELISH.
apparently my cheat meal also helps to reset my metabolism and keep burning fat efficently (fat loss is my ultimate goal)
this really works for me. if during the week i see something i really fancy i just put it on "lay by " until my cheat day!
find what works for you!!!
My general rule is no non-primal food in the house. Of course, I make exceptions here as well - I will keep beer, wine, mead and spirits around, but I don't drink every day; I keep rapadura (raw cane) sugar around and a couple times a week might put a teaspoon in my coffee or tea; I fairly regularly use raw (unpasteurized, straight from the farm - even thought it's illegal in Canada!) and/or fermented dairy products. If I get invited over to a friend's house or plan to go out for a meal then I might indulge in something off the primal menu if it looks really delicious, like sushi or dim sum or a piece of naan with my curry. I really can't afford the time or money to eat out more than one or two meals a week, so it regulates itself pretty well.
Like Bex, I don't keep any non-paleo food that I'm interested in around, My kids aren't 100% primal/paleo, so there are things that they'd be interested in... though less and less so. If there's no Pirate Booty in the house, they can't eat it, right? I agree with FED that the 20% is to capture things like eating out.
For me, it's about not stressing about what's 'paleo' and just trying to eat a nutrient-rich, mostly whole foods diet that makes me feel and look my absolute best. It approximates the diet that my ancestors probably ate before agriculture, which makes intuitive sense to me, but I'm not at all hesitant to eat non-paleo foods in moderation as long as I continue to feel healthy and not see any reoccurance of my many pre-diet-change health issues.
I honestly don't give a shit about being 'compliant' to arbitrary rules about my diet, and I don't feel a second of guilt for eating things that aren't paleo. To me, that's unhealthy thinking - although I suppose it's very different for people who are doing this for weight loss and need to be strict to get results.
I've never had a problem with binging on junk foods, and while I definitely had strong cravings for wheat when first giving it up, I am now not at all tempted to eat foods that make me feel poorly. If I didn't clearly have gluten intolerance I would DEFINITELY make bread part of my '20%'- but as it is, not worth it at all.
I eat starchy tubers which many people don't consider 'paleo' - but I do. I also eat lots of dairy (well, mostly dairy fat, and some cheese) and white rice. With more moderation and more rarely, I drink beer and liquor, and eat corn tortillas, sugar in ice cream and chocolate, hummus, and other beans.
The easiest way to deal with this is to do the best you can to be 100% and when you can't you can fall into that 20% without guilt.
If you use the 20% every day or each week, you'll likely find yourself non paleo or cheating more than not and that wont be good.
I believe this rule is there so you remove the guilt and rigidness of traditional "diets" that so many of us have fallen victims to. This gives freedoms to accept and just enjoy good foods without aCll the guilt.
Personally, I don't really have any temptation at all to "cheat". I have been eating nothing but steak and potatoes for months, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The only problem is that I occasionally "cheat" because my employer requires I take an hour lunch outside the office, and I end up buying some fast food out of boredom once or twice a month while I listen to the radio. Next job I take is going to be one that does not require me to take lunches, since it's pretty much a complete waste of my time and screws up my diet.
I guess I can say I am 80/20 I stick with no rice, carbs or dairy. Lots of veggies, kababs...The only dairy I may have is Feta, I have a weakness for it, but just a little in my salad. Occasional dark chocolate covered Goji raspberries, just to erase any sweet tooth. I have had scoops of spinach dip with carrots and veggies.
My cheat meals are usually Korean BBQ or Sushi/Maki (Yes with rice). I have also eaten a scoop of brown rice and I felt so guilty.
As for alcohol, my drink is Patron or a 100% agave tequila, sparking water and lots of lime.
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