Monday, June 10, 2013

WTF is Paleo, and my new nutrition plan...

When Amy posted a while back about her awesome egg breakfast casseroles, the recipe blog she referenced (Chow Bella) had some paleo recipes. I thought , "what be dis?" I looked into it briefly, found it to creepily resemble Atkins, and thought "didn't that fad die a slow death in 1999?"

Some of you know that I've strugged with weight gain (for probably as long as you've known me). Being in the high-stress, no-exercise, no-friend environment that is Missouri, I gained 15 pounds over the semester and literally cannot fit into anything. I feel heavy and tired, and I hated having my picture taken on my vacation in Tennessee this summer because I looked so different.  It's an awful feeling.  I'd rather spend my money on flowers and seafood BBQs than new clothing. 

So naturally, I was excited to talk to my Montreal fitness trainer yesterday for a session, and we discussed a new nutrition plan for me. The nutrition plan is meant to be long term, and the basic idea is to eat extremely naturally, avoiding refined foods as much as possible, as well as reducing portion sizes. Very chill. I'm into that. But when I heard that the plan focuses on a higher-fat to low-carb no-carb-ratio, I was like "SOMETHING SMELLS fishy here and we're not at the fishmonger, kids." 
Admittedly, I am scared of consuming fats, esp animal fats on a regular basis, and am skeptical as to how the plan can actually contribute to weight loss.

I want and need to share this with you ladies because I'm conflicted about a lot of the foods suggested, and I know how much the pursuit of good, whole foods means to us all, regardless of how we negotiate what that entails. 

shit! quick! must hide the Irish coffee!
My trainer has tried eating this way herself, and has actually gone from being a sworn pescetarian from when I last saw her in December, to now eating bacon and liver! Her other clients have tried it too, and they claim they have much more energy as a result. Even though the plan may not be entirely "paleo", it's pretty similar, and the first thing that comes to my Coptic mind is "I'm on the fast-track to a massive heart attack at 32."

 List of NO

-no wheat 
-no fructose or any refined sugars 
-no grains, even quinoa! (supposedly because they aren't terribly nutritious and bloat us--except for white rice? which is most mind-boggling) 
-nothing cooked or coated in vegetable oil or soybean oil
-no pasteurized cheese
-no milk or soymilk (apparently because there is research that that actual milk, unless it's raw and whole, actually has so many nutrients stripped from it?)
-no peanuts
-no stevia
-no beans
-no dried fruits

List of YES 

-cooking in coconut oil and olive oil (though not at high heats for olive oil)
-MCT oil (SOMEBODY please look this up with me and tell me what you think? Looks like a body-builder fad. I Wiki'ed it this morning and to me, it still counts as refined. I don't think I'd touch this anyway.)
-ONLY organic bacon (I could cry with joy)
-ONLY organic meats and organic animal organs (liver, etc)
-grass-fed butter 
-plain walnuts and pecans (no soybean or vegetable oil on them)
-seafood and fish (even smoked salmon, which has high levels of sodium, and to me would lead to water retention and bloating?) 
-maple syrup and coconut sugar is ok on occassion (but doesn't the body process these as refined sugars anyway?)
-avocadoes regularly if possible
-full creme fraiche to put in my coffee (I'm like wtf here)
-completely natural almond, hazelnut, macadamia nut butters, etc
-kelp and dulse seasonings
-fermented foods
-apple sauce
-coconut shreds 
-Sweet potato

Sample breakfasts: 

-1.5-2 egg veggie omelet or fritata with bacon


-A mix of almond butter, coconut milk, blueberries, walnuts, pecans (maybe fermented sour cream if I can make it at home )

The thing I've always liked about my trainer is that she's open to change, and I'm generally bound by conventional wisdom on most things. She suggests I try the plan for a month and see how I feel, and we can adjust accordingly, and I know she will respect my feedback on how the plan goes for me. I will research more and try it, particularly to see if my indigestion (ahem) problems are better or worse. Frankly, I am wary of avoiding grains and legumes (they're good sources of insoluble fibres and proteins!), and I never wanted to be one of those people who "diets". I hate restrictions. I never, EVER want to pass on that kind of mentality to my family or children. I love good food, good company, and lots of laughter, but I also want to start feeling better again in my skin. 


  1. Wow this is huge for you! Yes it sounds intense! There is help! Like "just eat real food" on facebook, they post stories pretty often of people who have lst a ton of weight and gained vitaloty on paleo. What your trainer gave you looks basically like primal, eg paleo plus dairy. Almost GAPS-ish. There ar blogs out there you can read. I don't agree that you should feel restricted to only organic, pastured meat. It is certainly ideal morally, and it's more nutrient-dense, but there are certainly a lot of paleo folks who don't buy exclusively organic. The log to start with might be Paleo Mom, it's really about paleo more than mom-hood, and she used to be some kind of scientist, and has reeeeallly well-researched pieces. I know she definitely prefers organic but can't always afford it, that's juat real life. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic load I think. Fermes Groleau has grass-fed dairy, that's the kind of milk I've been buying. It's not raw, raw is illegal in Quebec, but it's non-homogenised, and it's pasteurised at a low temp. Perhaps their milk, made into kefir, wouldbe okay? Except I knowyou thonk dairy is a flashpoint anyway for you.

  2. Oh Amy, thank you so much. This is exactly what I need! Yesterday was my first day and it was HARD. I had a massive headache. I also cheated, I had a teaspoon of ice cream and didn't watch dinner portions well, but I did wake up this morning feeling less groggy and lighter in general. I tried having creme fraiche in my coffee this morning, and I got gassy :( I've read that creme does contain lactose, but the fat should help the body digest it better. The green light to have REAL, full-fat creme was probably the most exciting thing for me about doing this plan. Boo.