by Beverly Meyer, Clinical Nutritionist, MBA
Part 3 of a 3-Part Series
In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, I explained that the popular “Paleo” Diet (short for Paleolithic) asks us to eat the way humans ate for millions of years before we began growing crops and domesticating animals about 15,000 years ago. When we made that change, our diet changed completely, leading to our modern addiction to starch, grains, sugar and dairy. (Humans did not milk wild animals during the Paleolithic Era).
As hunter-gatherers, we evolved with a dependence on protein and fats from animals, seafood and the versatile coconut. We gathered plants where we could, limited by variations in seasons, longitude and climate forces such as Ice Ages. We did not evolve to be dependent on plants, due to their varied supply.
Rule No. 1 in shopping for Paleo-inspired meals is to locate grass-fed meats and wild seafood to the extent your budget allows. These foods are better for the environment than feedlot animals and fish, and the fat and meat from them is quite different than from lower-grade animals.
Rancher’s markets, online stores, local health stores and Mediterranean markets can all provide pastured meats, dairy and eggs. (Editor’s note: A great local source of green-grass-fed meat is Gourmet Country Store – see their ad below.) Once you’ve eaten fresh eggs from a truly pastured chicken (minimal feed, maximum bugs), you’ll never look back at regular “organic” or “cage-free” eggs the same. If your budget is tight, buy the best you can, and use less expensive cuts such as ground meats and organ meats.
Gluten-free bacon, sausage and hot dogs make fast meals. As for cooking, my rule is, “Whenever you cook ANYTHING, make MORE of it.” Instead of roasting one chicken, roast two or three. Grill 12 burgers – not four. Bake 36 meatballs at a time and freeze these extra meats for later.
Rule No. 2 is adding fat, and more fat. BUT, modern manmade hydrogenated oils are OUT. That means corn oil, canola oil, regular mayo, cooking spray, margarine and spreads, etc. must go! Stick with butter, coconut oil, non-hydrogenated lard (buy online) and Ghee (clarified butter), my personal fat of choice.
As an addition to the all-important animal and coconut fats, add avocados (and avocado oil), small amounts of nuts and seeds (and nut and seed oils) and olives and olive oil. These fats don’t take heat well, so use them as seasoning on food, or to reheat at lower temperatures.
The goal is 30-40 percent of our calories from these sources of good fat. As I said in Part 1 of this series, our bodies need the saturated and monounsaturated fats that animals provided us during the millions of years we hunted and ate them.
A hearty combination of steamed, grilled, baked and raw veggies and a small amount of fruit make up the balance of each plate, every meal. Think of fruit as a condiment, not a meal item – no more than your own cupped hand can hold at one time. For other condiments, plenty of herbs, garlic, tapenade, hot sauce, etc. will add variety.
OFF the Menu
Foods NOT on the Paleo menu include regular bread, cereal, grains, pasta and sugar. (You CAN make “Paleo” pancakes, muffins and breads from almond flour and coconut flour.) Taking in calories from protein and fat instead of starchy carbs will do wonders for your waistline, your hunger and your energy levels. It takes about two to three weeks for the body to make the switch from demanding carbs such as gluten, grains, bread and sugar, and gear up to needing just proteins, fats and veggies. Stick with it and you’ll be amazed. My DVD, “The Diet For Human Beings” teaches this and more in an easy format.
And we don’t need the “bad” hydrogenated fats – they’re off the Paleo menu. That means NO ice cream, Cheetos and definitely no “buttered” popcorn. However, ice cream made from organic whipping cream, coconut cream and fresh fruit is A-OK – Yum!
Don’t Forget Breakfast
What’s for breakfast? Personally, I eat “dinner” for all my meals. A serving of protein such as chicken legs or pot roast with two heaping handfuls of steamed veggies is one idea. Briefly reheat in a couple of tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil and season with real Himalayan salt and some fresh herbs. Pack more of the same for lunch.
Eggs with sausage, steak or bacon, guacamole, salsa and a little fruit will please most picky eaters. Start your new diet with breakfast first, if needed, and let your family notice how much better the first half of their day goes (until they eat bread, sodas, pasta and candy).
Other “on-the-go” Paleo ideas include:
- Lettuce roll-ups (with meats, veggies and avocado inside big leaves of Butter lettuce, sealed with plenty of ghee and/or coconut oil)
- Frozen meatballs with a big salad including raw and cooked veggies (the meatballs keep the salad cool while thawing)
- Sliced steak, guacamole and veggies with some fruit and almond butter
- Gluten-free quiche made with plenty of fat and vegetables (make several while you’re at it)
You’ll find great recipes online if you Google “Paleo Recipes.” Favorite books include: “Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals” by Mark Sisson, “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso, “Paleo Slow Cooking” by Chrissy Gower, and “Eat Like a Dinosaur” by The Paleo Parents (it’s great for reading with kids and helping them want their new foods).
Beverly Meyer is a holistic and clinical nutritionist in practice since 1985. Her popular podcast, “Primal Diet – Modern Health,” is available on iTunes or her website at www.OnDietAndHealth.com. Follow her blog and Facebook community for the latest in natural health news from “Beverly Meyer on Diet and Health.” She can be reached for consults at 210- 826-0034.