Ask a health coach their number one recommendation for eating healthier, and they would say eliminate processed foods. Press further and they would say eat foods available in their natural form. Cutting out foods made in a factory and not by our own hands is healthier for us, and it’s better for the environment.
The idea of Paleo itself is very romantic. I love the idea of getting back to nature, connecting to the earth in a healthy way. It sounds so poetic. But what Paleo really is, and what people practice with paleo are often two different things.
Humans have made tremendous strides in adaptations since the days we were cave dwellers. Before starting civilizations and the agricultural revolution, we were fantastic foragers and mildly adequate hunters. Our ancestors ate a great amount of vegetation, nuts, seeds, and probably even some grasses. As occasional hunters, we ate meat, but probably not to the extent most of us think.
Hunting is actually hard work. I know this is may be a shock to you, but it’s the truth. Prey animals like deer, rabbit, and ducks don’t actually WANT to become your dinner. Without a scope on a rifle, it’s not as easy as it sounds, sneaking up on an animal which is ten times faster than you and has acute hearing. It’s not too hard to imagine humans eating a lot more veggies and fruit than meat.
But don’t get me wrong, Paleolithic man were far from vegetarians. Because of our ability to make things, we got good at fishing, building snares to catch small game, and spears to take down larger prey. We ate eggs, bugs, and snails. What we didn’t eat back then were fattened cows stuffed full of grain, corn, and soy. Our food ate natural food. We ate natural food.
When humans began to settle down and discovered how much easier it was to grow their own food, our entire lives changed. With the dawn of civilization, we changed the way we eat, sleep, and move. Before, we ate to fuel a very active lifestyle of constantly seeking food, and constantly on the lookout for danger. Living in communities, we moved less, slept more, and ate more nutrient rich food. Oddly enough, our diet stayed the same, even got more calories rich, but we used less of it. Our bodies, built to run, climb, push, pull, and flex, were doing fewer and fewer of these activities. Meanwhile, our diet began to expand to plentiful fruits and meats from livestock.
Nowadays, the most common food grown in the United States is corn, with sugar, wheat, and soybeans close behind. What’s interesting in all of these foods were not available to humans during Paleolithic era. Which begs the question, what are we eating today?
We are eating a lot of processed food. In the past, I have spoken on the dangers of processed food. It’s not good for our bodies, and it wreaks havoc on the environment. This week I will tackle several hot topics connected to Paleo, including my all time favorite Eating Green habit, cutting out palm oil.
While I don’t usually practice full on Paleo, it’s one of the easier diets for me to catch onto. It’s not too difficult and doesn’t feel like it is restrictive the way Keto, Whole30, and some other diets tend to be. No, you can’t eat sugar, because it wasn’t available in the form we eat sugar today. But you can have honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and heavily sweetened foods like bananas and dates.
Eating a flexitarian diet feels a lot easier on Paleo than some of the others as well. It’s super easy for me to adapt a recipe I get from a friend or online to make it Paleo. And even though Paleo practices less meat and higher fats like Keto, it cuts out the dairy, which makes a bit more sense to me. On the historical point, we didn’t drink the creamy white stuff that came out of cows’ teets until we started domesticating them.
On the holistic and environmental side, the cheese we have today is nowhere near the same as even a hundred years ago, much less thousands of years ago. Factory farms, growth hormones, unsanitary and unethical living conditions makes dairy one of those foods difficult for me to justify eating a lot of.
So, here we are at Paleo Week. Hope to share some great recipes and fun stories with everyone.
Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon and Maple Syrup (if you want to know what heaven smells like, make this dish)
Sweet Potato Hash 2 servings- 318 calories, Carbs: 49.2g, Fat: 7.2g, Protein: 8.1g
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
- 3 slices bacon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry up bacon until almost cooked.
- Remove bacon and cut into pieces. Add coconut oil and let heat up for a minute, then add the sweet potato to greased pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bacon back into pan, cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour maple syrup into hash mixture and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring.
- Sprinkle salt or pepper to taste and serve.
Lunch: Cauliflower “Rice” and Veggie Soup
Dinner: Tandoori Burgers with Mashed Turnips and Coconut Cream Greens
Snacks: Trail Mix and Caveman Candy
Caveman Candy 4 servings: 291 calories, Carbs: 12.7 g, Fat: 25.4 g, Protein: 7.2 g
- 1 and 1/2 cup nuts (almond, hazelnut, etc)
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ C pure cocoa
- 2 Tbsp honey
- Place nuts in a food processor or ninja and grind to minced pieces
- Melt honey and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add cocoa and ground nuts, mixing everything together.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto parchment paper.
- Refrigerate until hardened, about 1-2 hours.
CrossFit Beginners Class- OH Squats, Press, Step ups, Dragonflies
ZooFit- Partner Nancy with Rower- 5 rounds of rowing 400 meters and 40 single leg deadlifts
Mood: Kind of mixed today. Had a good workout both at CrossFit and at home, and my meals were all really good. So I feel great about that. But my luck with writing this month is 0 for 2. Went to attend a class this afternoon and was told I couldn’t because I didn’t sign up. Only, when I looked online beforehand, I didn’t see any way to sign up. I know these classes tend to fill up, so I was looking for that. But when I didn’t see a way to sign up, I assumed it was first come first serve. Got there 10 minutes early and was set up when I was told the class was full. Bugger.
I made the best of a shitty situation by stopping by the local fitness center and offering my books to sell in their apparel and accessories shop. Then I worked on an article and my book projects. Didn’t need the stupid class anyways.
Challenges: I feel pretty good about this week. I want to watch my calorie intake closely, as I foresee my biggest struggle is enjoying Paleo foods a little TOO much.