Way back in 2015 when I started this blog, Paleo was cool. Sure it had probably peaked in terms of Google analytics, but it was still a hot search term.
I’ve always said “Paleo” with a bit of hesitancy because of the connection to Paleolithic Man that so many in this space emphasize. At the beginning, I would get comments/questions from readers or viewers on YouTube questioning my use of certain ingredients like almonds or yeast. “Is that really Paleo,” they’d ask. Meaning, would prehistoric man have eaten that particular food. My answer was always, “I don’t care.” I hope I said it more politely than that.
The truth is, Paleo was trendy. I really have no idea why for sure, but I believe it became popular because it was helping people. There were certain bloggers and authors that helped propel Paleo into the trendy category, but again, that was for good reason. At it’s core, Paleo is an anti-inflammatory diet because it excludes inflammatory foods. If there is some connection to what early man might have eaten, I think that’s just fine but totally irrelevant.
There is a health podcast I listen to and really enjoy, but they apparently began life as a Paleo-focused show and lately have been trying to steer themselves away from that designation. The episode I listened to today actually kind of made me angry because they were (in my opinion) teasing and putting down, bullying you might even say, Paleo and people who follow this diet. I really don’t know why they were saying those things and I don’t want to speculate, but I think they’re doing their listeners a disservice because this way of eating offers a lot of benefits.
Since the beginning, I’ve used Paleo as a template. Sure, I stuck very closely to the core tenets of the diet for a good long time while I got used to it and my body adapted and I was working to get off of the medications that had been controlling my Crohn’s disease. It was an elimination diet of sorts. And I have very casually added certain foods back in from time-to-time that do not fit the Paleo template. Some I add in more freely because testing has shown those foods to be ok for my body (like good quality dairy). But others, I just really want on occasion and so I eat them and pay attention to how I feel afterward. Here are a few examples of how I step out of the Paleo diet:
- Grass-fed butter: I will use this on occasion when the taste of real, old-fashioned butter is preferred. It causes me no harm whatsoever.
- Heavy cream: I almost always make my coffee at home, but when I have coffee out, I usually drink it black. Sometimes though, the coffee is so bitter, I can’t enjoy it without some sort of dressing up, so I opt for a shot of pure cream over any sort of sugar, chemical or otherwise.
- Fresh corn in the summer time: This is one I know will really set me back if I have too much, so I will have one bite. Literally just one bite during corn on the cob season and I savor it.
- Sugar: I do love sugar and it sure does hate me. But I believe firmly that the sugar taste buds will go away if you just leave them alone for a while. This is why an elimination diet like Whole30 is so valuable. By the end of it, most fruits will even taste way too sweet to me. And some vegetables too. I know! It’s crazy. But I’m human and sometimes (often hormonally driven) my sugar cravings get the better of me and I give in. Peanut butter cups, good dark chocolate, ice cream, even stuff that I know is horrible for me like jelly beans sometimes make their way into my shopping cart. I eat and enjoy, but I always pay for it in terms of joint pain so I don’t let it get out of control.
- Oats: Yes, oats are a grain so excluded on the Paleo diet, but I will eat oatmeal on occasion. I make homemade granola for my family and sometimes I’ll have a little bowl with real milk and it’s a huge treat. This small amount on rare occasions doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
- Restaurant meals: This is where all bets are off because you are not in control of your food. Even at the very best restaurants, there is a pretty high chance that you are going to be served something you don’t want. I know that gluten is the number one killer for me so I do all I can to stress to the staff that my meal must be gluten free, but I let everything else go – dairy, sugar, soy, etc. Now I won’t intentionally eat those things, but I don’t go crazy avoiding them. For example, I’ll order a bunless burger, leave off the cheese, but I don’t ask if there is soy in their sauce or seasoning. BUT if you know that soy is the real killer for you, then you have to be vigilant about that and let the other things go. It’s a balance. This is also why we eat at home 99% of the time and only have a handful of restaurants that we will visit. When I travel, I take lots of food along, but also extensively research restaurants before I leave home.
I write this to you because I don’t want you to feel in any way ashamed or embarrassed about the way you eat if it is what is keeping you healthy. I don’t really care what’s trendy or popular or otherwise. I know that the basic tenets of Paleo are keeping me and my family healthy for now and so that’s what we’re following. Sure, I could change the name or just say we follow an anti-inflammatory diet, but Paleo has been well-established and I think people know what it means.
In terms of search engine popularity, Keto ranks WAY higher than Paleo. So does Instant Pot for that matter. Because this is a business, I will produce keto and Instant Pot recipes, but it’s not all I’ll do because I want to stay true to you and to myself. You can rest assured that every recipe I create will be at the very least gluten free and almost all will be 100% Paleo. I know many of you are also following Autoimmune Paleo and so I make an effort to include recipes that fit that diet as well.
I guess this post was part rant, part education, and I hope it was helpful in some way.
Who’s with me on Team Paleo?