A question I have been getting from a lot of people is this: What the heck do you eat?! As I stated in my first blog post, I have given up all dairy, legumes and grains. What does that leave me with? Well, I am eating a lot of lean animal protein, healthy fats, and a ton of fruits and veggies.
Things like chicken breast, grass- fed beef, fish and eggs are the main sources of my protein. I have omitted my post-workout protein shake and now simply have some real food after I exercise, if I am feeling hungry. I make sure to take in plenty of protein to keep myself satiated during the day.
In the absence of any carbohydrates from grains, my body requires healthy fats to burn as fuel. I include a fat source with every meal. Nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive oil and almond flour are my primary sources of fat. This is, in addition, to any fat I get through my meat intake. Generally, I eat very lean beef and chicken, so the fat source isn’t significant. I have been using olive oil, primarily, but have read a lot about coconut oil. I think this week I will buy some and try cooking with it in lieu of olive oil. [Olive oil goes rancid above 400 degrees Farenheit, so I want to try to save olive oil for room temp use, such as salad dressing].
VEGGIES AND FRUITS
I eat an enormous amount of vegetables and a considerable amount of fruit. Since I prepare my food each Sunday for the week, I often will prepare a tray or two of roasted veg to have for the week. Broccoli, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, and even sweet potato. [The sweet potato was one of those foods that I decided for myself would stay in my diet. Some folks choose to omit them when on Paleo. It's whatever works best for each individual!] I also love to sautee kale, baby bella mushrooms & shallots with a bit of oil and white wine on the stove top.
Salads have always been a staple in my diet, and they continue to be with the Paleo diet. I jam-pack my salad with things like: baby spinach, tomato, carrots, mushroom, red pepper, avocado, walnuts, chicken, tuna, salmon, etc. I have made my own dressing out of olive oil, balsamic vinegar & lotsa spices!!!
As for the fruit- I have found that the decision to include or exclude fruit on the Paleo diet is very specific to the individual and her/his goals. After doing a lot of research and reading from trusted sources, I decided to incorporate fruit into my diet. This is mainly because I am not trying to drop a considerable amount of body fat and because I am engaging in intense exercise frequently. Eating a moderate amount of fruit allows my body to get the natural sugars it needs to produce the energy my workouts require. For other folks who may not be as active and who may be trying to lose body fat, the strategy would be different. They would limit their fruit intake or omit it altogether.
These two topics were up for debate and personal “tailoring” in many of the articles, blogs, and websites I’ve visited. I decided that it is not reasonable to cut out 100% of my caffeine intake but I have made strides in reducing it significantly. I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning with some almond milk, and try to stick to decaf herbal tea for the rest of the day. In the event I need a caffeine boost mid-day, I opt with caffeinated tea rather than coffee. I am also limiting my alcohol intake to red wine or Tequila, and am allowing myself to drink on a limited basis. This is for many reasons- the Paleo diet and triathlon training among them.
These decisions were made by me, for me, with consideration given to my lifestyle, schedule, and realm of what I could expect of myself. I know it is different for many folks, but for me this feels like a good happy medium.
Through talking with other folks on Paleo and reading blogs/websites, I have come across some Paleo-friendly recipes for treats that have been both yummy and satisfying!
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 cups of almond flour
1 tsp of baking power
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of honey
1 tbsp of allspice
Mix all ingredients without the eggs first, then mix in eggs and put in muffin tray.
350 for 20-30 min depending on your oven. Top with nut butter, or enjoy with a piece of fruit.
“Oatmeal” Minus the Oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 banana, mashed
1 whole egg & 2 egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together egg whites and almond milk and then stir in walnuts, ground flax, banana, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; blend well.
In a medium saucepan, warm the mixture on the stove, stirring frequently, until the “oatmeal” reaches the desired consistency; this should only take a few minutes.
Top with berries, nut butter, seeds, or whatever you choose!