Wednesday, March 06, 2013

How to do Paleo Eating

Paleo Style Dinner. Meat, vegetables, and fruit.
Lots of people ask me about the so-called "Paleo" Diet, which I've been following for about 18 months or so.  First off, I don't consider it a diet in the sense of Weight-Watchers or Weigh-Down, or any other diet you can think of. It's not about controlling portions or quantity of food. Instead, the focus is on choosing healthful foods over processed, meaning the closer to raw or lightly processed you can get, the better.

Why "Paleo"?
The moniker "Paleo" is because some proponents of this lifestyle like to say it is how our ancestors ate. Not your grandmother or great-grandmother, but ancestors like pre-historic, or paleolithic man. In my opinion, there is no such thing as truly "pre-historic" man since the Bible gives us a history of the very FIRST people on earth! However, there is no doubt that previous generations did not subsist on the packaged, factory-formulated boxed and canned stuff we call food. They also didn't suffer from many of our modern maladies, at least not in huge numbers. Diabetes used to be a rarity. Heart disease and cancer happened, but not like the epidemic we see nowadays.

(Now, even if you eat a completely organic and natural food diet, there are still modern sources of chemicals and pollutants that abound, but eating well is a way to eliminate much of the unnecessary exposure we subject ourselves to.)

So--call it what you will, Paleo, or Cave-Man or Cave-Girl Eating, or whatever. It's all about returning to eating food the way God made it. This is not to be confused with a completely raw diet, either, since Paleo is most definitely about eating cooked food as well. (Fire, after all, is as old as Adam, and after the Fall there was certainly the use of fire for cooking raw meat. It was God, after all, who instituted the first burnt offerings.)

Essentially, to follow this eating lifestyle, you need to be committed to cutting three things from your diet:
White Flour
Almost All Other Grains
(White) Sugar
Some people give up most dairy as well, but I am assuredly not among such as they.
In some respects, you might think this is simply a repackaged lo-carb diet, but it isn't, and here's why:
On a lo-carb diet you can't eat lots of great, nutritious vegetables and fruits because they have higher carbohydrate contents. Things like sweet potato, butternut squash, maybe even carrots; fruits like bananas,
mangos, some melons. They're off limits on those diets. But not so on the Paleo regimen. You can eat basically any plant food except for what modern agriculture has tinkered with, such as wheat and other grains. Paleo purports to follow the pre-agricultural eating style of mankind. But any fruit and any vegetable is okay.
A family favorite (before baking): Zucchini Chips

As I said at the start, it's not about controlling portions but if you want to stay lean, you'll have to use some common sense, which you should be doing anyway, no matter how you eat. Personally, I've found that weight has slipped off without any effort on my part other than cutting things out of my diet! I still eat as much as I want, and it's been a joy to eat the kinds of food that were previously thought to be real no-nos, such as nuts and seeds and coconut oil.

If anything, I may eat more than I used to, but I eat differently than I used to, and I'm now 27 pounds lighter than I was before I embraced this way of eating.

To get a real handle on the Paleo lifestyle, I recommend the following resources:

And my favorite website for great do-it-yourself recipes (not just for food but for lots of household products. I make my own toothpaste, for instance, from a recipe I got here.) is the Wellness Mama. The Wellness Mama also has links to articles that will tell you all you want to know about the Paleo lifestyle and tips on how to follow it.

Are you ready for a change? Ready for healthier eating? What's your biggest block to eating right? Share it with us, and if I get enough responses I'll do a post on this topic (Stumbling Blocks to Eating Well).
 I also still have a three-tin set of English Teas to give away, because I did not get 12 unique commenters on my last post. Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!


Debbie Lynne Costello said...

Ugh! I don't know if I can do it, Linore! We've been on the Adkin's diet for 2 months. YUK! Paleo isn't a whole lot different. I don't know how you do it. I miss by mashed potatoes, rice, homemade bread, pancakes Not oatmeal cakes ;o), pasta, Oh my! I need to stop! heehee. I am proud of you for sticking with it. We are trying to figure out what we can live with in a life change. Certainly not Adkins but the mass amount of carbs do need to go. I'm going to forward this on to Joe. Love you, my friend!

Kathleen Maher said...

Linore, this post really resonated with me. For some time I have felt a prompting to go grain free and incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my family's diet. That is so hard for me to even consider, because I am sure I have a sugar and carb addiction. But I am convinced that gluten and other gut-unfriendly foods all have an adverse affect on focus and energy levels, and I need to do something drastic. Your weight loss is inspiring. How did you get started?

Diane Archibald said...

Linore, you are an inspiration. I know once I get started and organized in the kitchen, I'll love this way of eating. It's how I used to eat when I was healthy and thin. I guess my biggest stumbling block is time to prep and cook, and convenience. I know the rewards far outweigh the effort. I just need to get over that first hump of developing new habits.

Pat Cochran said...

My chief obstacle to changing eating
styles is plain old HABIT!! When you
have followed certain patterns for
over 70 years, it is nigh impossible
to change! Though I have adapted
fairly well to my diabetic diet

Pat Cochran

chaplaindebbie said...

Linore, you are always an inspiration to me. Yes, cook the meat!

Mary Preston said...

I think that the closer we eat to that of generations past, the better. Everything now is so over processed.

Linore Burkard said...

I always forget that if I don't write a comment following a post, I DON'T get email notifications of comments-so--sorry for the delayed response, everyone.
Debbie Lynne--(and the rest of you)you can do this. It's far better than the Atkins Diet because you can eat all you like of the good foods, and there are plenty of them. But Kathleen asked how I got started, and the answer to that is the key to success with this lifestyle: I read the facts about how bad white flour (and other grains) are, until I practically memorized the stuff. I actually began to see food differently. All that sweet, gooey stuff looks like, um, poison! (Because it is!) Once you see the bad carbs as stuff that kills you, it suddenly loses its appeal. Having said that, I'm human, and I have five kids, so I do cheat on occasion. But I rarely miss any of the things you mentioned, Debbie Lynne. If I really need something sweet, I have some dark chocolate and nuts. So, Kathy, head on over to and look up her article on how grains are slowly killing you. Print it out and read it every day for a week. You'll be losing your appetite for bread in no time. And Diane, it really does become a habit NOT to eat grains. I do cook more than I did when I was eating anything quick, but I feel so much better. You will, too! And Pat, the Paleo diet is naturally great for diabetics since it has so few simple carbs in it. It would be a great idea for you to take a stab at. Thanks for coming by, everyone!

Anne Payne said...

My husband and I have been thinking about this for a while. We have a friend who went Paleo and she has 40 pounds in two years, without exercising! Of course, she is under a doctor's care and gets closely monitored. biggest obstacle is two grown sons at home that like to eat sweets, and cereal, and pizza! How do I convince them the food will be better?! Shoot, how do I convince myself? ;)

Linore Burkard said...

Anne, try doing what I suggested to Kathy: Go to and look up her article on how grains are slowly killing you. Print it out and read it daily for at least a week. Soon you'll be looking at flour products like they're poison (because they are!) and you'll be surprised how easy it becomes to pass on eating those things. The best way to change your attitude on diet is to incorporate a lot of great Paleo recipes into your own lifestyle. I still cheat on occasion, but the key words here are "on occasion." Unhealthy eating is now the exception instead of the rule. Once you do start eating this way it becomes second nature and you'll only wish you started sooner. Hope that helps!