Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Paleo? and 10 Reasons to Try Eating Paleo

I once read that if you take a break from blogging, you should never mention the absence, excuse it, or apologize for it.
Here I am, ready to do all three.

1) Hi. Nice to see you again.
2) Iʻve been on a diet and I kind of hate it.
3) Iʻm sorry.

If I didnʻt do those things, Iʻd be that douchey guy in the movie that knocks on the door, sits on the couch like its owner, like heʻd never left, when really he walked out on her three months ago without explanation. And if she said, "Hey, whereʻve you been?" heʻd roll his eyes like caring made her weak. (Yeah. Iʻve seen lots of terrible movies.)

Well, caring is what brings me back. Thank you for caring.

If you follow me on instagram then you probably know allllll about what Iʻve been eating, since thatʻs my record keeper these days. Please let me know if you have an account-- Iʻm all about seeing what youʻre eating too. I have friends that roll their eyes about this (caring about every day food makes you weak) but I really do want to see what deliciousness you had for dinner, even though Iʻd probably tear it out of your hands if you had it in front of me.

I get asked a lot, "What is Paleo?" and I always feel a little silly answering that question, because it sounds kind of crazy.

Basically, itʻs...

Protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds)
A lot of vegetables
Some fruit

And thatʻs it.

I donʻt exactly buy all of the caveman theory behind it, so I wonʻt get into that, but here are my reasons for paleo.

The 10 Reasons You Should Try Paleo

1) You will probably lose weight. (I say probably, because if you eat ten pieces of bacon every day Iʻm sure you wonʻt, but in general, youʻll probably lose weight.)

2) You wonʻt be eating sugar.

3) Your normal cravings will slow down. You will probably still be hungry, but the "I need to eat this whole box of doughnuts to fill this void" kind of craving will slow down significantly.

4) You will be eating whole, real foods, which means youʻll feel better that youʻre not eating processed crap and chemicals. Thereʻs a big emphasis on organic as well.

5) You wonʻt feel full and sluggish after meals. I have this problem, where I eat until I am past full. When Iʻm eating Paleo, I NEVER feel that way. When you cheat and have a meal where you eat 4 pieces of pizza, something you didnʻt even think about before, you feel totally sick and you want to never eat pizza again (you will, of course, want to eat pizza again by the next day).

6) Bacon.

7) You will eat so many more vegetables.  I feel really happy with myself when I am eating tons of veggies. It just feels right.

8) Your eating will become more mindful. No more of this "Iʻll just grab a few chips..." only to eat the whole bag. Snacking is pretty much gone.

9) Less joint pains. Iʻve read a lot of accounts of paleo dieters claiming that their fibromyalgia and other significant diseases are cured. I even read one account that claimed her plaque was gone. Iʻm not about to believe all of that, but I have been dealing with achy joints for my whole life, and they always seem to flare up when I donʻt drink enough water and when I eat a lot of carbs or sugar. When Iʻm doing well with my Paleo diet, I donʻt have achy joints. Zip. At first I thought it was coincidental, but I canʻt deny it any longer.

10) Youʻre eating and youʻre eating good for you food. I am very wary of diets that just make me feel hungry and sick and I have to count calories all day long and youʻre still allowed to eat all of the boxed jello you want. Iʻm still hungry. Just not sick.

Now, it wouldnʻt be fair if I didnʻt list some cons. The biggest one is that eating is a very social thing, and Iʻm often feeling left out, even at home with my family. 50% of the time Iʻm making something no one else wants to eat and the other 50% of the time Iʻm jealous of what everyone else is eating. Itʻs very difficult to find a balance with that. Then thereʻs all the food I have to say No to, and it really makes it very clear just how much food is part of your social life. Mostly everyone thinks youʻre a bit weird and obsessed. Unfortunately, if youʻre on a diet, you kind of have to be. That can be dangerous too. Thereʻs dieting cross over into lifestyle cross over into eating disorder.

Another big con is that youʻre eating a lot of meat. I used to eat vegetarian and vegan most of the time. Iʻm still struggling with that. I donʻt really like that Iʻm eating so much meat, but I feel very weak and tired if I donʻt. I also donʻt believe that a lot of meat is good for you for the long run. Iʻm definitely going to add back in whole grains when I reach my target weight.

There are other cons, namely dairy, beans, peanut butter, and sugar. Those are huge. And boy, does that suck.

Iʻm not at 100% Paleo. Iʻve been kind of dancing around it because the cons are big ones and especially when I like to cook and bake, itʻs hard. Iʻve been eating about 85% Paleo which means I mess up for about 3 meals a week. I also exercise every day, and I think if you go Paleo you have to do that because youʻre eating so much protein it really needs to go somewhere. I donʻt think this is a sedentary lifestyle kind of diet.

If you are looking for a diet to reverse some of your bad habit eating and are trying to lose weight in a way that isnʻt about crash-dieting, I suggest you try Paleo. Try it for thirty days and see if you think itʻs worth all the hype. And then write to me and mourn all of the things we love to eat that we canʻt.

For now Iʻm all about eating whatever I can thatʻs delicious.

Paleo Fried Rice (serves 2)

·      2 tsp coconut oil
·      1 Cup Cauliflower stalk and leaves
·      1 red or yellow bell pepper
·      1 small onion
·      1 small carrot, peeled
·      3 cloves garlic
·      1/2 C ham (not deli meat—from a slice of whole ham)
·      3 slices bacon
·      1 ½ tsp coconut aminos (very similar to soy sauce)
·      ½ tsp sesame oil
·      salt and pepper to taste
·      1 medium zucchini, grated
·      2 eggs, lightly beaten

1.     Chop the cauliflower stalk, bell pepper, onion, and carrot into very small dice, about ¼”. Heat the coconut oil in a wok over high heat. Toss all of the vegetables in at once and stir fry, tossing around vegetables quickly with a wooden spoon. After a few minutes, the onion should start to become translucent and the vegetables start sweating.
2.     Mince the garlic and chop the ham and bacon in very small dice as well. Add the garlic and meats to the pan and keep tossing together. Keep frying until the veggies seem mostly dry, a couple of minutes more.
3.     Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Stir and then make a little pocket on the side of the pan for the eggs. Pour in the eggs and stir them around to cook like scrambled eggs. Once the eggs are cooked add the zucchini. Toss until the zucchini is just tender. This goes from fresh and light to soggy, quickly. Serve while still hot. 

Donʻt worry, Iʻm not going to become an exclusively Paleo blogger. Youʻll just be seeing a lot more Paleo for a while. StumbleUpon


Stephanie said...

I love this! I snorted out loud on 6) Bacon! hahahaha

Proud of you my friend!

Robbie said...

I'll eat your fried rice with you!

Nippon Nin said...

The diet sounds very hard for me but the fried rice looks great! The blond boy pic is so neat! You should be a professional photographer. I'm serious.

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Unknown said...

Hi Mariko,

This was such a great read. I completely agree paleo diet slows and reduces many of your *guilty* cravings! I'm not on Paleo, but I had been at one point and ever since, I don't ever find processed foods appealing and get tempted to grab a muffin when hunger strikes. I credit that to low sugar element of Paleo, and I'm forever thankful for that.

I also had a very similar feeling about eating too much meat on Paleo, and after reaching up on the link bw health and meats, I went vegan for a month. Being Japanese, I found it extremely hard to give up sushi for life, so I gave in and settled for being pescatarian, which is my happy medium.

I don't necessarily think eating meat is bad, but I believe how they are raised and how often you eat them can trigger health risks. Fish is no exception, btw.

When I first moved to Hawaii, I too was shocked to find out how many of social gatherings are around food. I'm often the odd person in the group and feel left out at times, but I think my health is pretty important too, so I'm ok with that. But I have to say, it was much easier being vegan or pescatarian in New York than in Hawaii as most people there do have their own sets of dietary restrictions too.

Anyhow, I was happy to come across your site and find that you are from Hawaii too. I'm over on fitwirr.com often writing about my favorite recipes and sharing my latest superfood addictions. Just wanted to say hello!


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