So what DO you eat?

Anytime Oatmeal and I face a lull in the conversation, we know that we can bring up our diet and it will lead to at least a 10 minute interrogation about our Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  Our friends and family asked a few questions in the beginning, but now that we’ve been eating Primal/Paleo for 4+ months, they’ve realized it’s not just a phase and are often more curious.

Question #1:  What foods can you no longer eat when you are eating Paleo or Primal?

(Side note:  Isn’t it funny that everyone immediately wants to know what they have to give up?  Here is the list of foods that you avoid when eating “Primally.” Keep in mind that Primal and Paleo are different, but Paleo tends to be a bit more limiting, or strict.) 

  • Processed foods that are room temperature, including bread, pasta, candy, cookies, crackers, etc.  If it comes in a box and can sit in your pantry at room temperature for a month or more without spoiling, and has more than 5 ingredients on the nutrition label, it’s processed.  
  • Processed refrigerated foods, including most sausage, most bacon, deli meat, frozen dinners, and nearly all commercial salad dressings and condiments.  If you can find sausage, bacon or deli meat that does NOT contain nitrates or other fishy looking preservatives or additives, then they are primal-approved, at least by Lola standards.
  • Foods that are considered “Products of agriculture.”  Corn, white potatoes, beans, wheat, oats, rye, rice, barley, quinoa, and soy.  (I know you are really wondering why Oatmeal and I don’t eat all of these supposedly healthy foods.  Buy the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sissons for a good explanation, or just take my word for it.)
  • Dairy is a gray area.  Some argue that small amounts of dairy are okay, while others say it’s detrimental to our health.  I have a serving of dairy every 2-3 weeks.  Oatmeal has dairy every month or so at most.  Butter is also a gray area, with some Primal/Paleo eaters claiming that butter made from grass fed cowmilk is best.  I have friends who have had great success on Paleo/Primal even while eating yogurt or some cheese.  I’d say that if you are where you want to be, physically, and can afford some dairy, it doesn’t hurt.  If you haven’t achieved your health goals, I’d eliminate it until you have.
  • Sodas (including diet sodas) and juices.  Yes, even the organic juice that claims to give you a serving of fruit and boasts that it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.  Need a serving of fruit?  Eat the fruit.

Question #2: What’s left?  What can you possibly eat!?  

Foods that are REAL!  If you can shoot and kill it, or fish for it, or pick it off of a plant, or dig it up, then it’s probably something we eat!

What we CAN and DO eat:

  • Lean meats including beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, venison, bison, etc. 
  • Organ meats (Oatmeal swears he is going to chop up liver and hide it in our meatloaf when I’m pregnant.  Haven’t tried that just yet.)
  • Eggs.
  • Fish such as trout, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, scallops (although Oatmeal doesn’t care for scallops, that’s one of the few foods I’ve found that he just doesn’t dig), snapper, tuna, and halibut.  That’s just to name a few.  I never buy any seafood that isn’t Wild Caught.  I don’t even trust the “Responsibly farm raised” label.  Wild Sockeye Salmon is our favorite.
  • Fruit, especially berries and cherries because of their high antioxidants and low glycemic levels.  Other fruits in moderation.
  • Lots and lots of vegetables!  Our favorites are asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, brussell sprouts (Michael calls them artichokes, but they are definitely brussell sprouts!), cabbage, carrots, bok choy, kale, mushrooms, onions, parsley, peppers (especially JALAPENOS!), spinach, squash, tomato, and avocado.  Sweet potatoes are also a staple, but since this is such a starchy vegetable (remember that white potatoes are not eaten), we only eat these in moderation and usually Oatmeal has a much larger serving than Lola.  That’s due to him being far more active than me.
  • Nuts and seeds, including almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.
  • Oils – we cook with coconut oil most of the time.  I make salad dressings with olive oil.
  • Some condiments, marinades, and dressings. Mustard is okay.  Worcestershire sauce is great for marinating our beef.  Honey Mustard is a good salad dressing.  But really, we make most of our salad dressings.  I’ll squeeze an entire lime into an equal amount of olive oil and add salt and pepper.  Or, I’ll use vinegar and olive oil. 
  • Some sweets are considered primal!  Dark chocolate is one of them.  I love dark chocolate covered blueberries or almonds for when I have a sweet tooth.  Also, dried fruit.  And, coconut milk ice cream.  Believe it or not, there are even paleo cookie recipes out there.
  • Water, sparkling water, and tea (unsweetened).  Coffee in moderation, though this is also a gray area.  Gluten free alcohol, including wine, are consumed in moderation.  We still have to have a drink every now and then, right!?

We chose to eat like this because we want to feel healthy and prevent chronic disease.  Now that we’ve eaten this way for a while, we really don’t have any desire to go back to eating things that are so processed.

And, so that we are strong and buff and can do things like THIS!

Here is Oatmeal doing a pullup.  Tonight he strapped on his backpack (it has 25lbs in it), and went through a quick bench press, squat and pullup circuit.  I participated in the pullups and bench press, but my knee is nowhere near ready for squats.

After our workout, I went straight to the kitchen to make a quick dinner.  Here are the groceries I picked up at HEB today on the way home… these are some of our weekly staples.  Salad mix, bananas, olive oil, salsa, nitrate-free deli meat, cilantro, parsley, onion, lemons, limes, nuts, eggs, larabars and mineral water.

And finally, dinner.  I made a very basic salad topped with ground beef (seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and paprika).  The salad included spring salad mix, red onions, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and cilantro.  I dressed it with lime juice and olive oil.  I forgot to buy tomatoes and jalapenos at HEB today.  That would have really set it off, but there’s always next time.

Welp, good night!

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