Saturday, August 25, 2012

Paleo Diet: Sane & Satisfied Approved

My husband and I have been following a new eating plan called the Paleo Diet. It's also known as the Caveman Diet since it's modeled after the way humans used to eat before advances in agriculture and industry. The main idea of the Paleo Diet is that we are "genetically adapted" to the diet of our ancestors and that our genetic makeup hasn't changed much (from Wikipedia) The basic rules are to stay away from grains, milk products, starches, grain-fed meat and processed foods (including sugars). But everything else is fair game.

When my husband first told me that we should follow this eating plan I was skeptical. Because, for one, my husband has a sweet tooth just like I do and, for two, I thought just because cavemen didn't eat grain that doesn't automatically mean that we shouldn't today. I mean, I love my bread and pasta! I was glad however that I could continue eating meat, eggs and fruit to my heart's content.

The Paleo Diet boasts benefits from feeling more comfortable in your clothes/skin to curing yourself of diabetes. While any attempt to remove processed foods from your diet is better than nothing being able to completely remove unnecessary carbs, sugars and chemicals from your diet will have dramatic results.

The first thing you realize when you start a Paleo Eating Plan is that you have to rethink the way you eat and get creative with your food. Like any healthy eating plan you have to prepare your mind and kitchen if you want to succeed. And that means stocking the cupboards with Paleo-approved ingredients and getting rid of non-Paleo foods. It also means that you need to rethink food and get a little adventurous. For instance, remember how I said I LOVE pasta? Well, I'm not as sad anymore that I can't have pasta since I found a recipe for Paleo Spaghetti. It's made with spaghetti squash (you can also use kelp noodles) and a meaty tomato sauce. Plus I started making Paleo tostadas and the shells can double as sandwich bread. Very tasty.

Eating Paleo while on the run, traveling or at work is also fairly easy if you have a plan of attack. All you have to do is know which fast food restaurants have good salads and simply order meat, veggies and fruit at  sit-down restaurants. Ruby Tuesdays even offers a mashed cauliflower side now which is a common Paleo substitute for mashed potatoes.

There is so much information about the Paleo Diet out there. My favorite place to go is Paleo They have great recipes and a very informative blog. I'll let you read more about it at your leisure. Here's a great article about a common myth about cavemen.

The only drawback so far is that it can get expensive to eat Paleo. My husband and I now buy grass-fed meat and a lot more veggies and fruit. The cost can add up but if you budget, plan and make most meals at home instead of eating out you shouldn't see too much of a difference in cost. You will, however, see a great difference in your health and well-being.

The reason I have given the Paleo Diet the Sane & Satisfied stamp of approval is because it's the only diet (or one of a very few) that promotes eating consciously and making food from scratch. It also encourages you to eat dinner left-overs for lunch and even promotes mini-fasts occasionally. It also encourages you to have a cheat day when you eat whatever you are craving (within reason). It's based on a holistic view of humanity and the human body instead of a microscopic view or a small sampling.

How to get started on the Paleo Diet

  1. Read about the main points of the diet.
  2. Research Paleo recipes.
  3. Write down Paleo-friendly meal options at your favorite restaurants.
  4. Create a menu plan for a couple days a week. You don't have to do Paleo all the way when you are first starting out. It's like learning a new skill. Do a little at a time and practice incorporating Paleo options into your regular eating habits.
  5. Throw away most non-Paleo food items. Like I mentioned before many Paleo resources encourage you to take a cheat day so you can keep some foods to eat on that day.
  6. Stop buying non-Paleo foods.
  7. Experiment with new foods and recipes. My favorite recipe so far is Maple Baked Acorn Squash. You will be surprised to discover that you like many, many healthy foods.
  8. Don't get discouraged and don't be too hard on yourself. Changing your eating habits is HARD WORK. If it were easy we'd all look like models.
  9. Think of this eating plan as an adventure. You will be discovering new foods and recipes, you will be eating healthy and feeling better. Focus on that.
If you are already eating Paleo I'd like to hear what you think and how it's been going. If you live in Central Illinois (or even if you don't) you can join my friend Hannah's Facebook page Central Illinois Paleo.

Well, I'm going to go scarf down some Baked Maple Acorn Squash now... See you later :)


  1. Welcome to Paleo, or at least Paleo-ish. We still eat dairy (raw goat milk). But I've never felt better and I lost over 20lbs. I didn't used to eat breakfast, now I eat two eggs and bacon almost everyday and still lost weight. Food is so much better when its fresh and local. A little more work, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

  2. Thanks Drew. The best part for me about the Paleo Diet are all the new recipes I'm discovering. One of my favorite Paleo meals is sun-dried tomato meatballs with a coconut cream sauce and baked maple acorn squash. mouth is watering.