Friday, July 6, 2012

My take on Paleo and making it work for us.

I need to reiterate that my reading everything I can on Paleo is an incredibly recent thing. I really know very little about it. I am working to change that, but this will take time.
However, I thought that I should to the best of my ability, give you my understanding (right now) of what Paleo is and how (and why) I intend to include this way of eating into my family's life.

Paleo (short for Paleolithic) is basically a diet based on thinking about what our ancestors ate before the advent of Agriculture about 10.000 years ago. So pretty much meat, vegetables, fruit, some good fats and nuts. That's it. No grains, no soy, no legumes, no dairy, no sugar. Nothing that has been altered in any form by a human process.

Here's a great chart I found tonight on Multiply Delicious which incidentally also has some amazing looking recipes I will be checking out.
Not only is this pretty funny, it also illustrates perfectly what you need to know about Paleo.

So how do I intend to apply what you see above to our family?

Well, if I was to completely overhaul our diet overnight I think I'd have a mutiny on my hands. It's one thing for a single person or a couple living alone to make instant dietary changes but you try telling three puppy eyed kids that you are taking away their chocolate chip biscuits and you better be prepared for civil war.

My intention is to take the main principals of a paleolithic lifestyle and make them work for and fit our family. I am not going to try and slot us straight into a regime that could potentially send us on a roller coaster of awful meal times with our kids. I don't want to be THAT Mum.
I'm also not going to be religious about adhering puritanically to Paleo, we will adjust to this gradually. If I want to grate some cheese on top of my meatballs I will be. I am not anti dairy, but I am anti the 'recommended' daily serving of dairy. This is nothing new and as a family we consume very little considering we live in the dairy capital of the world.

It has been my initial observation that eating well and getting the amount of protein required on a Paleo diet is not cheap, especially when you are trying to feed 5 people. It's a lot more costly to fill a plate when a large portion of it can no longer consist of cheap, go-to staples such as pasta, potatoes or rice. We are a one income family and will continue to be so for some years to come. I have a limited amount that I can spend on food each week and having seen the cost of substitute products for certain flours and oils, I don't think we'll be going down the road of baking with Almond Flour and cooking with Coconut Oil. These things may be readily available in the USA but they certainly aren't here in little old NZ. So if I need to thicken a gravy for a stew for example, I will be using regular flour. I'm not going to send myself into a tailspin because it's not 100% Paleo.

I will continue, as I have always done to buy the best quality food we can afford.

We are very lucky in that we are given some vegetables(usually broccoli and spinach) every week from my Mums garden, often eggs too. Unfortunately her Chickens have taken a break from laying for the past few months but they seem to be slowly starting up again. Sometimes we are given locally farmed or hunted meat (last night we had Venison for dinner) by Dave's parents who live in a rural community in the Waikato. It's often given to them by friends and they like to share with us =)
This certainly makes things easier but on average we would still be spending about $230 a week on groceries. It will be interesting to see how our budget can handle a Paleo lifestyle.

So why Paleo? Well I outlined in the post above how Dave has been training in a CrossFit gym. The Paleo and CrossFit movements seem to go hand in hand largely thanks to the work of Robb Wolf . Most CrossFit gyms now promote Paleo as the way to eat to compliment their training programs. Jamie Milne  a trainer from Dave's gym introduced the idea to him and we have just kind of adopted it. Paleo is my new baby ;)
Mine and Dave's take is that if you are going to eat substandard food, you can expect your training results to be pretty substandard too. Food is your body's fuel. While I don't do CrossFit, I want Dave to get the most he can out of it. For me it's about having a good level of energy to do what I need to do - raise happy, healthy food aware kids.

Ok, this is getting long. I must be getting more into this than I thought! If you want to know why Paleo is good for you and why we are trying it then check out the question and answer section here at Fitbomb. I read this and I was almost sold (I'm still a little skeptical about eating so much meat and no dairy -especially for kids) but the article covers Paleo way better than I ever could.

Love to hear your thoughts. Comments are welcome!

I've been creating in the kitchen the past few days, so I'll be back later with some food photos and recipes.

Kate =)

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