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Monday, January 14, 2013

Becoming Paleo

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You all probably know that my family and I are going to try eating Paleo for a month. We've tried out a few Paleo recipes and, much to my disappointment, I've felt better after eating meals without grains and legumes (not dairy, because I don't eat it anyways). Why to my disappointment you ask? Because I love legumes. More so than grains (quinoa is an exception). I love bean salad, curries with chickpeas, chickpea flour pizza crusts, black beans in stir fries, re-fried beans, and the list continues. Giving up legumes will be especially hard not only because I love my beans, but also because soy is in everything. Have you ever noticed how expensive soy-free chocolate is? It's cheaper, albeit not as tasty, to make your own.

However, that's not what I came here to talk about. I'm here to explain why we're going Paleo and my view on some of the controversial Paleo foods. There are three simple reasons why we're trying out the Paleo Diet.

1. I Have A Sneaking Suspicion That Grains Are Not Doing My Tummy Any Favors

This is perhaps the most important reason why I'm going grain-free. If this Paleo thing does make us feel better I will probably never put grains back into my diet, but maybe try soaked and sprouted legumes every once in a while.

Grains, legumes, and dairy all contain anti nutrients. Anti nutrients are, in simple terms, compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients. How lovely, I know. Whatever nutrients these foods have are not absorbed by the body. All of these also have lectins, proteins that protect the plant from people who treat to eat them. Lectins damage the walls of the intestines, trick your body into sending it through the intestines undigested, then, to make things even worse, is seen as an invader by the immune system. The body proceeds to attack not only the lectin, but your own body as well.

Here's another reason why grains, legumes, and dairy are so bad.

2. As My Sister Puts It, She Wants To Get "Skinny"

Since I am at my ideal weight, I don't want to lose any more. But I want to get abs, and awesome calves and thighs, and biceps. Not like body-builder muscles, but enough to make me look toned. Hopefully, by getting started now, I'll be in shape for the summer. ;)

3. It's Time To Cut Out The Junk- All Of It

All those "healthy" gluten-free goodies, the non-gluten free goodies, sugar laden items, foods with MSG and other junk, and basically anything else that isn't "real food" needs to go. That means anything that has little nutritional value, lots of sugar, and artificial ingredients gets thrown into the garbage. I can't tell you how excited I am for our "Purging Day" this Saturday. It'll give me great satisfaction to finally throw all this junk out of the house.

Some foods like butter (full fat kind), ghee, agave, and other ingredients are constantly being debated as to if they are Paleo or not. Ultimately, I think it is up to each individual person to decide if they want to eat something or not. My family will probably cut dairy out for a month, see how will feel, and then add raw, hard cheeses and butter to the occasional list.


I think that since agave comes from a plant it is completely okay to use. A little bit here and there won't kill anybody. There are many reasons why agave isn't considered Paleo, but for now I plan to use it until I see significant evidence that it is bad for me.

Unrefined Sugar

This is also called raw sugar or evaporated cane juice. Generally, I don't use much sugar at all, but there are some things where I just need to. Like colored sugar to decorate cupcakes with or powdered sugar for special treats. As with agave, a little bit here and there won't kill me.

Grape seed Oil 

Most vegetable oils (with the exception of olive oil) are not allowed on the Paleo Diet. Oils such as safflower, soybean, corn and sunflower oils all have a very high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Grape seed oil has a lot of omega-6s as well. But so do nuts. And do Paleos not eat nuts? No, they eat them quite a bit. We use grape seed oil fairly sparingly in our house. A 1/4 cup of it in a batch of muffins that yields a dozen hopefully won't damage my daily omega-6 to omega-3 ratio too much. We don't deep fry very much either, but when we do I'll probably continue to use grape seed oil.


Most Paleos don't eat potatoes. However, my dad and I will both be eating potatoes during our Paleo month. Neither of us can afford to lose any more weight, so, to maintain it, we will need more carbs. All the people I've read about who eat Paleo don't eat many carbs because they are trying to lose weight. I'm not trying to lose weight, so I'll be eating starches with at least one meal a day. Maybe even two.

Tapioca Starch (Also Called Manioc)

The same deal that makes potatoes controversial also makes tapioca starch debatable. I say use it, because it helps bind things together. Plus, not that much is necessary to make a recipe work. Most recipes that call for tapioca starch only use a tablespoon or two. It's fairly inexpensive and is a great replacement for the more expensive arrowroot powder.

I think this post has gone on long enough so this is where I leave you. Tomorrow's post brings a new recipe to look forward to!


  1. This is a very interesting post. To be honest, I'm not a fan of the paleo diet as it seems to be the current diet-fad craze. But when people do it for logical reasons, as outlined above, I can certainly appreciate it.
    I will have to look more into the digestion of legumes myself. I buy mine dried, soak and cook them to aid with digestion, I'm curious to find information that says they are not digestible. I'm more the type of person that finds dairy not digestible... but again, I appreciate the full fat butter and ghee.
    Looking forward to progress posts =)

    1. I respected people who followed the Paleo diet, but never thought about doing it myself. That is until I heard lots of people's success stories, looked at the science behind it, and discovered that someone I know personally went Paleo and feels a lot better now. I decided that if I don't notice any difference after going Paleo for a month, the only thing I will have lost is my time.

      Thanks for commenting and hope you have a great week!

  2. I feel much better now that I have cut out most grains, all legumes, industrial seed oils, refined sugar, and packaged and processed food. The word paleo has a lot of baggage, but I believe in eating in line with what people should be eating - real, whole foods. It`s up to the individual to tweak it to their needs. I really love the primal lifestyle, as it has made me realize what I should focus on in life and reduced a lot of stress, mentally and physically.

    I used to have a strong attachment to beans, but you may find that what your body tells you is different from what your brain wants. And you can get really creative in the kitchen. I can eat potatoes, but I love sweet potatoes and all the different kinds of squash, as well as things like chestnuts, much more! Balanced Bites has a great chart on paleo starches. Enjoy feeling great and finding new sources of energy! There are amazing blogs out there for the paleo lifestyle

    1. I'm glad you've figured out what foods make you feel good and what foods don't. Unfortunately, I'm still on that journey. :( I believe in whole foods, too and that each person should eat what makes them feel the best.

      Even though I'm going to be giving up some of the things I love, I'm excited to discover new foods that I might like even better. I've always loved to be challenged, especially in the kitchen, so Paleo might be a great adventure for me.

      Thanks for commenting and have a great week! :)

  3. Here is the dense carbs chart from Balanced Bites!

    1. Thanks for the link! It was interesting and very informative.


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