As you might have noticed, all of my recipes follow a gluten-free, Paleo lifestyle. Below are a few questions and answers that might come to mind as you look through my food posts. If you have any recipe specific questions, please feel free to pose your question in the comments section of that specific post, or for more indept questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via email.
A: To me, Paleo is a lifestyle– not diet– in which your daily nutrition consists of lean proteins and/or seafood, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. This means eliminating a lot of the foods we have become accustom to eating, such as: grains, processed foods & sugars, Legumes (beans), pasteurized dairy and starches (pasta, breads). I am not a nutritionist, certified dietitian or have any medical authorization to tell you what/how to eat. I use this space to share my opinions, recipes and personal journey through health with hope that it might give you some clarity in figuring out what works best for you! At the end of this page I include resources to explain the science and facts from the experts who are qualified to do so. Eating ih this lifestyle is about eating whole foods that give you all around better fuel for your body. Some may see this lifestyle as a list of what they can and can’t eat. But in reality eating this way is very freeing. Sure, at first it can be hard to change certain eating habits. But after doing so, you will see all the benefits of eliminating harmful foods and will never turn back.
According to Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist and New York Times Best Selling author of “The Paleo Solution – The Original Human Diet” (pretty much the paleo guru) states,
“The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.”
Many people categorize Paleo as the “Caveman Diet” or the “Ancestral Diet” because it relates to eating as our ancestors did, eating without processed or refined foods. I agree and disagree with the whole “eat like a cavewoman”. Diane Sanfilippo, Certified Nutrition Consultant and New York Times Best-Selling author of “Practical Paleo” says it nicely:
“Whatever name you choose, the “paleo” way of eating is simple: Mimic our ancestors, who suffered from fewer chronic diseases than modern populations. This doesn’t mean that you’ll recreate a caveman’s food landscape, of course. Our food supply and our environment are different from our ancestors, so we must adapt as new information comes to light.” (Practical Paleo, p.22)
With that said, Paleo is all about learning how the foods you consume make you feel. Are you having chronic headaches? Or, are you stressed out and don’t sleep well? Most of the time we go to the doctor when we don’t feel well, and he/she prescribes us some type of meds, and thats it– yay we become temporarily healed! But the truth of the matter is, we feel better temporarily. Changing our eating habits not only affects our waistline, but it influences our mind, emotions, hormones and overall well-being.
I have to say, Sanfilippo’s book, “Practical Paleo,” is by far the best resource I have seen. She covers everything from the basic Paleo shopping guides, to eating Paleo at restaurants and on the road, how to handle a leaky gut, blood sugar relation, digestive systems, recipes and more! There is not much she doesn’t cover. And for anyone, whether interested in starting a Paleo lifestyle or even Paleo vets., this is an amazing resource.
Q: So, what can I eat and what do I ditch when eating Paleo?
A: To put it simply, eat lean proteins & seafood, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. And, ditch dairy, grains, processed food & sugars, Legumes (beans), pasteurized dairy and starches (pasta, breads, etc).
Click here for some VERY useful guides from Diane Sanfilippo’s book, “Practical Paleo”.
Q: What made you start eating this way? And, would you recommend it to anyone?
A: After two years of being a dedicate Weight Watcher and vegetarian, I got to a point with in my health where I just didn’t feel strong. After many transitions, from graduating college, traveling and being introduced to the career world, I was in search of a new regimen to get me feeling great. I came across Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution,” which instantly spoke to me. I decided to leave my veggie days and try eating strict Paleo for 30 days, as he suggests. If it didn’t make me feel better, than I would start back from square one. After two weeks or so into eating Paleo, my stomach lost the bloating that it always had, my skin was glowing, I wasn’t always hungry, my clothes were fitting better, I no longer had headaches, I was regular– if you know what I mean — I slept like a baby and started feeling great! Since then, I’ve been hooked. I am a strong believer that what you put into your body is what you get out of it. If you are eating processed sugars you will see the effects. But, if you eliminate harmful foods, you will notice a huge change in many areas of your life. This is why I say Paleo is a lifestyle. I do recommend this way of living to everyone and anyone. Also, I encourage reading up on it. You must figure out what works best for your body and life.
Now, I should note that I do eat in a what some call “80/20” paleo lifestyle. Although, I do not eat refined foods or anything processed, I do like to have a gluten-free beer, red wine or cocktail time to time, and love to experiment with Paleo friendly treats and dishes that have natural sugars (honey, maple syrup) in them, all following the Paleo guidelines.
Q: I see Paleo eaters still eating dairy, why is that?
A: Similar to our ancestors, adapting to different environments, I believe there really isn’t a “one size fits all” diet when it comes to food, even when considering the Paleo lifestyle. It all depends on what your goals are; weight-loss, strength conditioning, etc. Everyone has different tolerances and reactions to various foods. You may be able to have raw cheese, yogurt or milk and feel fine, which is great! But as for me, I personally cannot consume milk or dairy products if I want feel at my best. The most important thing here is making sure whatever you are eating, dairy included, it is from good products and sources you recognize with ingredients you can spell and understand.
Q: What brands do you use?
A: Almond flour, I discovered HoneyVille Farms almond flour from New York Times Bestselling author Danielle Walker, Against All Grain. I order bags from Amazon. Almond flour is a different consistency than Almond meal, which tends to be more coarse. I prefer HoneyVille Farms over Bob’s Red Mill for this reason.
Coconut Milk, I use Natural Value Coconut Milk. I love this brand because it is BPA free, and has no added gums. Many Whole Foods or natural food stores carry this brand, but you may also purchase it on Amazon.
Coconut Flour, I use a variety of flours. I haven’t seen much difference between the brands. I recommend Let’s Do Organic
Other brands and items I love are:
Dairy Free Chocolate, Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mega Chunks
Coconut Sugar, Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar
Coconut Crystals, Coconut Secret Coconut Crystals
Tapicoa Flour, Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour
Vegetable Shortening, Spectrum Organic Shortening
Coconut Aminos, Coconut Secret Raw Organic Vegan Coconut Aminos
Q: What kitchen tools do you use?
A: The main tools I use are a standing mixer, food processor, blender, Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer, juicer and crock pot.
Cookbooks and Recipes
Growing Up Paleo, “Paleo Slow Cooking”
“Against All Grain”
Balanced Bites, “Practical Paleo”
Paleo Parents, “Beyond Bacon”
Nom Nom Paleo
Paleo Girl’s Kitchen, “Paleo Happy Hour”