Friday, February 20, 2015

My first two weeks on Paleo diet

The Paleo diet seems easy. Just take out of your pantry -and plate all foods- that everybody likes; those include cookies, muffins, donuts, pizzas, pastries, sandwiches, pad Thai, sushi and brownies. Then add also beans, lentils and chickpeas, potato chips, Japanese rice snacks, wasabi peas, breakfast cereals and your favorite cheeses and you are all set. Sorry I forgot peanuts and peanut butter. You can pretty much eat everything else.

Right. I am not trying to be funny. The Paleo diet consists of foods that are ancestors ate, aka the cavemen. Wild meat and wild poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Some oils. Some drinks. So this is what you should eat if you really want to try this out. Grains and legumes are out all together with potatoes and dairy. And rice.
As I don’t like legumes really and most of the flour-based baked goods mentioned above, it wasn’t difficult to start my experiment which I want it to last for at least a month.

A few of the notable days: 

Day 2. I was in Portland for the Future of Food Conference. This was pretty cool but for lunch I realized that paleo may not be included in the future of food. The buffet lunch provided four different gluten free salads with pasta which I couldn’t eat as they are still grains; tufurku meat that I am not allowed to eat as it is made from soy; some tuna sandwiches and cheese omelette. So I could only eat the green salad and kimchi. But there were many food exhibitors at the Marketplace so I thought I could munch my paleo diet around. I had some luck. I enjoyed the wild salmon at one of the stands; the Kuli Kuli bars made with nuts and moringa; almonds and seeds and few nut butters. But I passed on burritos, cheese, bean salads, hummus, peanut butter sandwiches and all the gluten free items available from pasta to cookies. I realized that paleo is a tough choice even at such a unique conference….

Day 5. It was interesting as it was the “cheat” day starting with plain Greek yogurt mixed with flax seeds and fruits. Lunch was a big green salad with salmon and for snacks the newly discovered Honey Mama’s fudge nectar made with coconut oil, organic cocoa and almonds. Dinner was probably a blend of nuts and some greens paired with a glass of Syrah…

Day 8. I was working out the entire morning and early afternoon so I had the Kuli Kuli paleo-friendly energy bars with me and some Garden Herb Crackers from the two Moms in the Raw, both great for snacking. Of course I brought an apple as well so not a problem.

Day 10. It is almost impossible to eat out without asking for “hold  this” and “hold that”. I had lunch at the Pop Pop Thai Street restaurant and I had to try their amazing grilled chicken but  I had to ask them not to bring me the rice. The waiter looked at me in a strange way but I insisted. 

Day 11. Invited at an evening reception, I could only eat meat or fish. I had to decline all Italian hors-d’oeuvres - pasta, rice, bread, cheese and to get rid of the bread from the mini sandwiches with pulled pork. I also asked for rice-free sushi. Japanese will never forgive me!


1.       1. It is easy to eat paleo at home with minimal preparation. Prepare a salad and add some protein –meat, fish or eggs. Experts recommend grass-fed meat, wild fish and antibiotics-free chickens and eggs. I can’t say that I always fulfill this parameter but overall I don’t buy the cheapest I find in the super market aisles. I also eat only seasonal vegetables and fruits.
2.       2. If you like nuts, you will love your snacks.  Raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and Brazilian nuts together with raw seeds are my daily snacks which are healthier than potato chips but are very high in calories.
3.       3. The paleo experts are not very much into calories and strict portions so this affected me because I didn’t keep an eye on the portions of the nuts I had, probably more than I should. 
4.       4. I had decent amounts of dark chocolate which I like.
5.       5. I cheated a few times for breakfast. I don’t like eggs early in the morning so I alternate the grain free granola or the nut butter on fruits with some plain Greek yogurt and kefir. The moderate paleo experts allow that because Greek yogurt and kefir have little lactose. 
6.       6. I kept drinking wine.
7.       7. It is tempting to cheat when you cook for others. I made a nice cheese soufflĂ© and I was so close to try it out but I didn’t. 
8.       8. I did not bake anything nor I used coconut flour or oil. Coconut may not be my preferred ingredient. I definitely didn’t like the coconut yogurt I bought and I usually use olive oil for my cooking needs. However, the So Delicious Coconut Milk Cherry Amaretto Non Dairy Dessert is really … delicious. I had it only once during the first two weeks.

 Paleo-friendly on-the-go snacks

Kuli Kuli –energy bars made with the moringa plant and fruits 

(generously offered by the food producer)

Two Moms in the Raw Garden Herb Crackers (generously offered by the food producer)

Betsy’s Best Whole Food Rounds – paleo friendly bars -purchased at Whole Foods

Honey Mama’s Nectar Fudge -purchased at Whole Foods

The discovery of the week:
Cappello’s Grain and Gluten Free Lasagna Sheets (made with almond flour) - purchased at Whole Foods

Terribly missing: Sriracha flavored chips. I don’t care if they are made with real potatoes, brown rice, corn, beans or chips. I like them all. Can I only have a bag?