We are a (mostly) paleo family. What that means is we try to eat the kinds of foods that humans are adapted to eat, and we try to avoid the suboptimal foods that humans are not adapted to eat and so make us sick. Basically, that means no wheat, no grains, no legumes, no soy, no vegetable or seed oils, no processed sugar, and no artificial sweeteners. Dairy products shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities, but it depends on how well you tolerate them. Dairy doesn’t bother me, but hubs is intolerant to cow dairy (though small amounts of goat cheese, goat milk, and goat yogurt seem to be okay).
Wheat and other grains are especially problematic because they make up so much of what we eat these days despite being a pretty recent addition to the human diet (only in the last 10,000 years or so). Grains are difficult for humans to digest, and they contain gluten, lectins, and phytates, substances that are known to irritate/damage our gut and reduce the bioavailablity of nutrients in your food.
Instead, we eat lots of grass-fed beef, free run chicken and eggs, fish, and other meats. Our meals include plenty of organic vegetables and fruit in moderation, though I’ll admit the definition of moderation gets pretty liberal during the summer when we can get fresh, locally grown, no spray berries and other fruit.
Of course, some things are harder than others. Switching from highly processed vegetable oil to coconut oil was easy. Ditching the margarine for butter and ghee tasted so much better, and they’re so much better for you too! On a hot summer day though, nothing replaces my Timmy’s iced capp, and I definitely treat myself
regularly once in a while. I’ve always been a potato chip lover, choosing chips over chocolate any day. That’s hard for me. Good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or higher) is a sometimes food in a paleo diet, but potato chips are a definite no no. I have to confess I’ve been known to splurge on Old Dutch sour cream and onion chips every now and then. A common rule of thumb is to eat paleo 80% of the time, and just keep the other 20% within reason. Or as hubs puts it: two cookies, not the whole box!
We’re lucky to live in a semi-rural suburb with several small family farms in the area. We buy our beef, half a cow at a time, from Rondriso Farms just a few blocks from us. The farm is inspected and certified to meet the SPCA’s farm animal welfare standards. I feel comfortable knowing their cows are eating grass in a pasture like they’re supposed to (not corn in a feedlot) and free from hormones and routine antibiotics. I got this picture of the cows enjoying some shade today.
That same farm sells free range eggs laid fresh every morning. The chickens always come running in hopes that visitors are going to feed them.
Much of the produce we eat in the summer and autumn is grown within a mile of our house. Not only is it better for our environment (a much smaller carbon footprint) and better for our local economy, but it just tastes better. Food that’s been sitting in warehouses and trucks and supermarket shelves for days and days just can’t compare to produce picked that morning. The best food is real, unprocessed, local food.
I like that we’re modeling a healthier way of eating for our kids, and I’ll probably live longer and healthier too. Eating paleo doesn’t spike your blood sugar level or stress your insulin system the way a standard North American diet (heavy on the sugar, wheat, and other carbohydrates) does. This is extra important to me because I had gestational diabetes in both my pregnancies. Luckily, my blood sugar levels went back to normal once I delivered, but this was a warning sign that my insulin receptors don’t work as well as the average person’s and I’m predisposed to type two diabetes.
Thanks to this shift in our eating, I weigh 25 pounds less after having two babies than I did before getting pregnant. Hubs has lost 40 pounds, and boy is he sexy! Neither of us ever went hungry, restricted portion sizes, or did anything extreme like fasting or eating only grapefruit for a week (!). Even better, hubs has stopped needing meds for chronic heartburn and sinus congestion. Both were gone within weeks of starting a paleo diet.
I’ll be featuring some of our favourite paleo recipes on this blog, and hopefully demonstrating that eating this way doesn’t mean depriving yourself of tasty, grab a second helping, where-can-I-get-that-recipe food. I’ll be posting our family’s favourite fish recipe soon. Stay tuned!
For anyone curious to learn more, we found The Primal Blueprint, Everyday Paleo, and The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet to be very informative and helpful resources. I also recommend Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle which provides information about going paleo, sample meal plans, and 120+ easy paleo recipes too.
What do you think about paleo eating? Have you heard of this approach before? If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!
Disclosure: I did not receive any material or financial compensation for this post. I just want to support my local farm. This post contains affiliate links, but we already owned these books and regularly recommend them to our friends and family. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca.