My Paleo Approach
Before reading this article, I suggest you read my What’s (Nurtrient Rich) Paleo? article first…
This article will focus on what paleo means to me specifically!
The Shorter Version:
My approach to Paleo is all about maximizing nutrient density in a way that works for my individual body at any given time in my life.
The Longer Version:
Let me start by saying, I think Paleo is amazing. I first got introduced to the idea when I started being interested in homemade home and beauty products. Once I got started reading up on paleo, I was instantly hooked. The idea that healthy, nutrient-filled foods could make you feel better was not at all surprising to me and the science behind the omission of grains and dairy resonated with me from a biological perspective. I also loved that it was a structured way to eat that made following this “diet” (Eek! It’s a lifestyle!) easy. I started the very first day after reading about paleo when I realized I could start down this path just by removing grains, dairy, and processed sugar from my diet. This step made me realize that my one non-negotiable is complete removal of gluten from my diet. After getting that under my belt, it was much easier to start looking at the nuances. I gave a lot of thought to the quality of our foods and spent a good chunk of time on how to optimize our food sources. I realized I should be looking at food intake as nutrient intake and assimilation. Eating went from being a quest to eat as much food for as little calories as possible to a way to really nourish my body and take care of our little family. In short, Paleo taught me a great deal about food and served as an amazing start to an elimination diet.
As I have continued to learn, however, my views have changed a little bit. I now know more about food and nutrients as well as how my own body reacts to them individually than I ever have. I’ve found that while some Paleo foods are good in theory, there’s some that I just can’t eat. One day I hope that I can eat eggs (a nutritional powerhouse!) but right now I can’t. I also have found that I can’t indulge much when it comes to seeds and nuts so those aren’t included much in my diet. It’s disappointing but feeling better than I have in a long time makes it worth it. On the flip side, I’ve learned that not all diary needs to be removed from our diet (we don’t have diary sensitivities) and, to the contrary, grass fed and raw butter, milk, yogurt, and kefir (both cow and goat) provide a host of vitamins (vitamins A, D, K2) and minerals (calcium) along with beneficial probiotics. I found that I can tolerate fermented sourdough buckwheat bread/pancake recipes which emphasize the importance of proper food preparation (soaking, fermenting) in order to create a food source that is also nutrient dense. Lastly, I found that food choices go beyond the biochemical processes happening in your gut. Sharing food is part of the human experience; stress and lack of connection can leave you stressed mentally which almost always has physical manifestations and that’s something you need to be as diligent about as much as where your meat is coming from.
So in summary, I could best describe my current way of eating as a “whole-food, traditional, unprocessed, and gluten free diet”. I realize it’s not the picture perfect image of a “Paleo Diet” (capitals) but, honestly, I don’t think that matters much. The big ideas are there and being able to call it Paleo/Primal for ease of discussion makes a lot of sense to me. In the end, I’d love to promote the idea that Paleo is an individualized thing and this community has no room for rule-enforcing-sticklers but rather focuses on inclusion and learning about providing every body all the nutrients it needs.
So that’s that. I’m still learning and I have no doubt my views on food will continue to change and expand. And that’s something I’m really looking forward to.