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    Blungld's Avatar
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    Is Paleo All or Nothing?

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    I am new to Paleo and have been learning and practicing the past few months. One question that keeps coming up for me is, if you do not meet the low carb benchmarks on a given day or indulge in a "bad food" are you doing more damage to the body then if you were not eating Primal at all? Eating the additional fat and lower carbs, does it make us more sensitive to carbs when we do eat a slice of birthday cake?

    Does this mean that Paleo is an all or nothing lifestyle? If so, that makes it not only hard to maintain longterm, but raises all sorts of questions in families. My kids and wife are not eating Paleo. My wife is vegetarian. My family is generally healthier in terms of whole foods & veggies & less sugar than most--but we are not completely restrictive.

    I don't know how to incorporate some Paleo principles into the non-Paleo family member's diets if they are not doing it all the way. My 11 year old is not going to stop eating sugar entirely or say no to pizza--so would I be doing them more harm by having them eat full fat foods all the time?

    So many people eating differently in one home is not without challenges.

    I guess my primary question is this simple: if your carb intake is higher than that prescribed by Paleo are you best not eating all the additional meat and fat--that you will do more harm than if you just kept eating the way you always have?

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    Classic's Avatar
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    I find eating paleo to be more forgiving than most WOE. After you eat this way for a few months the occasional "cheat" really does not seem to have any affect. If I start to crave something I eat it or I start eating more of other things to compensate. I have found quite often that I don't really enjoy the "cheat" food as much as I thought I would. Sweet things taste overly sweet and other things just don't taste as good as nutrient dense foods. My taste buds have changed.

    I do still love a slice of Good pizza once in awhile but if it is not of high quality even pizza does not taste as good as remembered.
    If I cheat too much all my old ills return, like inflammation etc. but I find that going back to clean eating fixes that in just a day or two. It is amazing.

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    Refer to Marks 80/20 rule.

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    It sounds like you are confusing "carb" with "grains". It can be a challenge at first to figure out how to do life without grains in a family that consumes them. But it actually isn't hard at all.

    You can eat any saucy thing served over grains with your family. They get their sauce over pasta or rice, you get yours over a sweet potato or just in a bowl with a spoon.

    You can eat any meat and side-dish meal your family eats. If the side dish is a grainy thing, you can just have the veggies and nuke up a sweet potato for yourself.

    Sandwiches/burgers: Wrap your sandwich fillings in lettuce leaves or just eat your sandwich as a salad with meat on it.

    One difficulty you may have is that without the bread/rice your meal is scanty. You may need to put more meat in the dinners. The other night I just opened a can of tuna and added that to my dinner. Another difficulty is a casserole/hot dish meal. You may need to just make your own dinner instead or decide if this is a night to eat off plan. I figure if the dish is potato-based it's fair game.

    But is it completely all or nothing, as in you can never eat anything non-paleo again without dire consequences? No, it's not. You will eventually find yourself in a situation where you have no choice. Make the best choice you can and do not feel like you did anything wrong. Take everything one meal at a time, one day at a time and you'll soon see how easy it really is.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 180 x 2. Current Deadlift: 230 x 2

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    JoanieL's Avatar
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    Paleo maybe. Primal no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    It sounds like you are confusing "carb" with "grains". It can be a challenge at first to figure out how to do life without grains in a family that consumes them. But it actually isn't hard at all.

    You can eat any saucy thing served over grains with your family. They get their sauce over pasta or rice, you get yours over a sweet potato or just in a bowl with a spoon.

    You can eat any meat and side-dish meal your family eats. If the side dish is a grainy thing, you can just have the veggies and nuke up a sweet potato for yourself.

    Sandwiches/burgers: Wrap your sandwich fillings in lettuce leaves or just eat your sandwich as a salad with meat on it.

    One difficulty you may have is that without the bread/rice your meal is scanty. You may need to put more meat in the dinners. The other night I just opened a can of tuna and added that to my dinner. Another difficulty is a casserole/hot dish meal. You may need to just make your own dinner instead or decide if this is a night to eat off plan. I figure if the dish is potato-based it's fair game.

    But is it completely all or nothing, as in you can never eat anything non-paleo again without dire consequences? No, it's not. You will eventually find yourself in a situation where you have no choice. Make the best choice you can and do not feel like you did anything wrong. Take everything one meal at a time, one day at a time and you'll soon see how easy it really is.
    This

    We always have salad (almost always) and another veggie or two, along with the meat. There's almost always cottage cheese in the frig if need be. We dont have vegetarians, but we have kiddos and teenagers that eat here. So there is something for everyone w/o feeling like a short order cook.

    Also, I freeze leftovers, so there is always that option if someone wants something different.
    65lbs gone and counting!!

    Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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    Think of it like this:

    In your past "eat whatever" life, you were hitting your head against the wall 5 times a day, now eating paleo, you're only doing so once a day - you're still better off.

    Don't over think it, just eat better most of the time, don't sweat the small instances where you can't or simply don't want to.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for asking this,
    My boyfriend (who I live with) is skeptical about eating primal and doesn't want to (yet. We will see what he says once I'm on it for a while.) I'm doing a lot of the cooking, by virtue of being the one with the specifications in my diet, so I'm making a lot of high fat meals. I warned him of it though, so I guess ultimately feeding the significant other isn't like feeding a kid lol

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    oxide's Avatar
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    I would say it's all-or-nothing for the first few months. Your body needs to convert its metabolism from fat-burner to sugar-burner, and that won't happen if you do it half-ass. After you're adjusted, you can cheat a little 80/20. But you can never go "off" the diet totally or the ailments will come back.
    5'0" female, 43 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Current weight: skinny-fat 106.5 lbs because of sugar cheating.

    MY PRIMAL: I (try to) follow by-the-book primal as advocated by Mark Sisson, except for whey powder and a bit of cream. I aim for 80-90 g carb/day and advocate a two-month strict adjustment for newbies. But everybody is different and other need to tweak Primal to their own needs.

  10. #10
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    I eased into primal over 3 or 4 months, at first accidentally as I kept cutting back on grain and other processed foods as a way to reduce calories, and then more deliberately once I found MDA. I felt (feel) better and better all the time. Every little step has been an improvement. I'm probably 80+% diet-wise now, but I still feel like I'm easing into it. Some people prefer to just jump in the deep end, which is fine if that works for them. I haven't found that approach to be necessary. The other 20% is for convenience, pleasure, whatever and I don't stress over it. Over time, I imagine that 20% will continue to shrink.

    As for non-primal family members, IMO, any SAD stuff that gets replaced with something primal is a good thing. My DH and kids (14 and 21) eat primal dinners when I cook, which is most of the time. They have what they want for breakfast and lunch, which is usually primal stuff plus whatever grains and grocery store condiments they think are necessary. DS drinks Coke and Gatorade, but I can see the volume is slowly decreasing. DD has been eating Honey Nut Cheerios with banana and organic milk for breakfast, but has recently asked for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. I am pleased about the reduction in sugar and dairy and will start with thinly sliced organic white bread while looking around for an alternative that she's happy with. I don't care if their transition is 10x slower than mine. It's better than not at all, IMO. It's easier for me than someone with vegetarians in the family, though, since mine are all big fans of meat.
    50yo, 5'3"
    SW-195
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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