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  • Issues staying on Paleo

    Earlier this year I made some progress on my overall health, I had lost weight (40lbs), was sleeping better (not all the time) and feeling great. For the past few months though I've been struggling to eat Paleo, I can usually go about a day or so now before reverting to SAD foods. While I don't want to get into excuses I've given myself the only significant change in my life has been increased stress.

    I know I'm not the only one to go through this so I wanted to ask what has worked for you guys in terms of staying on track. I've been sedentary most of the time in the past and don't really enjoy cooking that much to begin with. So these are very big lifestyle changes for me and goes against many of my preferences. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions that would be great. If anyone knows of a cookbook or recipe site that has a lot of really simple dishes that would be great too as most recipes I've found either don't sound/look appealing or take a long time for an inexperienced cook like me.

  • #2
    You have to have a commitment to having enough fruit and vegetables in the house. A couple of times we found that we ran out of food by the end of the week. Trays of eggs are a pretty good food source as well.

    In the beginning, it was about finding primal 'go to' recipes, so that when we feel tired or in a funk, we can auto-pilot our way to a good meal.

    Here's some examples:
    Coffee with cream instead of milk
    Bacon and liver and eggs
    stir fry - Mince + veges , with steamed carrots and cauli-flower instead of rice
    slow cooker - stewing steak (plus boiled potatoes/steamed veges), sometimes with kidney (for steak and kidney pie)
    fried - steak/mushrooms/eggs
    Dessert - baked bananas, topped with cinammon or chocolate, covered in cream at the table (we have this basically every second night)
    slow cooker - corned beef + onions, with either steamed or roasted veges on the side
    salad - cold meat, plus tomatoes, olives, cheeses, red onion, leafy greens.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #3
      First, just acknowledge that stress sends you toward comfort behaviors -- in both activities and eating. just acknowledging that helps a lot.

      Second, as above, you need to discover your "go-to" recipes. For us, oddly, it's a quick pan-fried fish with salad. It's something that cooks up in about 20 minutes for us (less if you are doing less fish). We also have mince on hand to make a quick and easy sliders to have with salad or steamed veg. it's not fancy, but it's also not fussy at all and easy to put together.

      We also love our crock pot, and so we do a lot of stews in them.

      Our go-to sweet is frozen berries, coconut cream, and if we want nuts or chocolate chopped on top. It's a nice addition on those days when you want to eat away your stress (i know from experience).

      I like nomnompaleo blog. it's got some good recipes. Some are harder than others and I think she obviously likes to cook, but her crock pot recipes are great.

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      • #4
        It's easier if you can be prepared. Stock up on your main staples in the house.... veggies, meats, eggs and whatever other paleo staples you like. A stir fry meal is the easiest to throw together in my opinion Just cook the meat in a little coconut oil, add your veggies and spices and you are good to go! You could even make a few of these and store in the frig when you don't feel like cooking.

        paleomg has some good recipes... I've made the mushroom gravy slow cooked rump roast and it's soooo easy and delicious.

        Eggs, tuna, ground beef, ground turkey, no salt added canned veggies (for when I don't have time for fresh or frozen), coconut butter and coconut oil are some of the main things I try and make sure I can on hand to make things easier. I also keep fruit but I know that not everyone eating paleo/primal eats fruit.

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        • #5
          When you cook, cook big. Invest in containers that you can freeze. Put extras in the freezer so that you have a quick source of food that you can warm up when you don't feel like cooking. Use some of these for lunches too.

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          • #6
            Oh, and if you don't feel like cooking, also consider you intermittent fasting as a choice of what to do for your meal.

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            • #7
              For a quick meal I'm big on eating big salads, the stuff like spring mix. I'll add some blue cheese, sun dried tomatoes (esp for the lycopene), avocado, top it off with grilled meats/fish. It's quick and easy. I like fried eggs and smoked salmon, too. Since I eat out for lunch I've found that Applebee's is easy to eat primal. You just have to ask for substitutes, which they are willing to do. For example, on their salads I skip their HFCS vinaigrette and I ask for vinegar and oil. For the steak plates I sub the potato/rice for extra veggies.

              For staying focused and on eating goal getting in the right amount of exercise helps the most. If I slack on exercise my focus on food seems to slack off too.
              Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tristonian View Post
                Earlier this year I made some progress on my overall health, I had lost weight (40lbs), was sleeping better (not all the time) and feeling great. For the past few months though I've been struggling to eat Paleo, I can usually go about a day or so now before reverting to SAD foods. While I don't want to get into excuses I've given myself the only significant change in my life has been increased stress.

                I know I'm not the only one to go through this so I wanted to ask what has worked for you guys in terms of staying on track. I've been sedentary most of the time in the past and don't really enjoy cooking that much to begin with. So these are very big lifestyle changes for me and goes against many of my preferences. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions that would be great. If anyone knows of a cookbook or recipe site that has a lot of really simple dishes that would be great too as most recipes I've found either don't sound/look appealing or take a long time for an inexperienced cook like me.
                I think what has worked for me has been my age. Finally running out of health kinda gives you some perspective.

                I think the worst thing are cookbooks. They are ALWAYS too complicated. I only look through recipes to just see how hot the oven should be or how long it takes for something to be cooked.

                Easy anytime meal: Throw stuff in an oiled frying pan and eat when cooked. Good stuff includes: vegetables, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, some kind of meat or leftovers, eggs or even canned fish. Takes about 15, 20 minutes. Sometimes less.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  My problem is not with food in the house, its when I got out to watch football on Sunday!/
                  Health is Wealth!

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                  • #10
                    I don't think you need a cookbook. The best meals I've had contained the fewest ingredients, and were just well-seasoned. Learn to cook with raw ingredients, experiment with how flavored and herbs work together, and keep a good pantry of dried herbs and spices around. I don't think most people can argue with the deliciousness of a steak with salt and pepper.
                    F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                    "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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                    • #11
                      Avoiding nutrition advice, Not drinking enough water,
                      Drinking diet soda and beverages,
                      Eating off larger plates, Choosing white bread,
                      Sleeping too little or too much....

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                      • #12
                        Well, you're in the Bay Area, so even if you don't like to cook, there must be some healthful eateries near you. A burger joint (hold the bun and have a salad instead of rank oil fries), sushi galore (wasn't that a character in a James Bond book?), North Beach has all that Italian - think fish and veal, not pasta or pizza (more fish at Spenger's). The specials at Tommy's Joint, Thursday through Sunday. Rib joints.

                        As to keeping Primal at home, you've gotten some good advice. Make a list of your favorite primal foods, and stock up. I buy usually four pounds of grass fed ground beef at a time, and though it's a pain in the ass at the time, I divide that up when I get home into the size patties I like for one burger, then freeze them individually in ziploc bags. When I want one, they defrost fast. I also hard boil up half a dozen eggs at a time (not a pain in the ass and just as easy as hard boiling two) - another easy to grab snack. Treat yourself to a new spice each week. Google recipes that use it. If fresh veggies tend to spoil in your home (some do in mine), buy frozen; they're easy, and generally chopped which cuts out a lot of effort.

                        Do you not like to cook, or are you putting too much pressure on yourself? Buy a slow cooker. Toss meat, veggies, water, spices in in the morning; set on low. When you get home there's food - you cooked. I haven't had a slow cooker in years, but I think some of them even roast chickens or roast beefs now.

                        Stir fry: sliced meat, veggies, spices, good oil - easy. Bacon (pork chops or hamburger) and eggs - fry, eat. A burger topped with avocado and salsa.

                        A lot of people here (including me if I can find BPA free cans) like canned fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring, even oysters and clams. Opening a can is easy, and while not technically cooking, you've prepared a meal. Do you like lox and cream cheese on a bagel? Do lox and goat cheese on nori (sushi seaweed sheets) - it's really better because you can actually taste the lox without it being "muffled" by all that bread.

                        Find a deli you trust. Roast beef, tongue, sausage, cheese (if you do dairy). Roll them up, dip them in mustard. Eat. Even cured meats (although bologna can be dicey) aren't that bad. I was the queen of "pick up some cold cuts and a baguette and call it supper." Now I just skip the baguette (and I'm in Po' Boy country - they don't make it easy).

                        Pier 39 - Don't you have some of the best fresh markets in the world there? I drool with envy.

                        Salads. I'm not much of a cold greens eater, but I like salads a lot. Cold chicken or fish, hard boiled eggs, asparagus, tomatoes, beets, mushrooms, radishes, nuts, potatoes, vinaigrette (a fancy word for oil and vinegar).

                        Mark says to get rid of the nonprimal stuff in your home. Good idea.

                        Good luck and good eats!
                        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                        B*tch-lite

                        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                        • #13
                          I think to stay primal, you need to accept that you have to learn how to cook, or be happy with not very exciting food.

                          I would keep trying. Develop 4-5 easy to prepare meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that you look forward to. Always have those ingredients on hand. Then each week, try one new recipe. Kind of build up to having an arsenal of very attractive alternatives to SAD foods.

                          For example, these are my staple meals:
                          Breakfast
                          Bacon & eggs
                          Egg scramble with avocado and salsa
                          Fruit and almond butter
                          Smoothie with yogurt, frozen berries, banana and almond butter
                          95% of the time those 3 options make me happy. 85% of the time, it is the eggy ones. When I am just sick of those things (maybe once a month, I make paleo pancakes).

                          Lunch
                          Boiled eggs and lunch meat
                          Apple and almond butter
                          turkey burger without a bun, avocado and salsa
                          Avocado rolled with roast beef
                          Salad with some meat
                          Leftovers

                          Dinner
                          Grilled meat, sweet potato, sauted greens
                          Meat stir fried with veggies
                          Burger on top of a bed of spinach, sweet potatos, a dollop of homemade mayo and kimchi
                          Pulled pork, slaw

                          And usually once or twice a week, I make something more involved. Coconut rolled meat balls, a green bean braise with coconut milk, a roasted chicken etc.

                          Eventually you will have a collection of recipes and ideas that you can draw from. I have comfort foods (meat, sweet potato fries, spinach), exotic meals (laab), etc. etc. It's just about building that base.

                          Oh, and don't buy SAD foods anymore.

                          http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                          Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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