Beginning in February I’m going to dig deep to find my inner cave
man woman and take the Paleo Challenge. For the month I’m going to follow a Paleo food plan, while staying within my 32 Weight Watchers daily points.
Since I went low carb nearly two years ago, I’ve been Paleo-curious. Not one to follow popular trends, I’d kept my distance. But after reading The Paleo Primer, I’m excited to give it a try.
So What Exactly Is This Paleo Craze?
As best as I can tell, there is no one absolute Paleo diet. Some plans limit fruits where others don’t. Likewise, dairy is banned on some but not others.
But there are a few consistent rules across plans. Grains and legumes are out. So is sugar. You want minimal processed foods. So when it comes to dairy, raw gets the thumbs up. Meat and seafood should be grain-fed or wild-caught. And everything is organic.
So What Can I Eat?
The Paleo Primer, by Keris Marsden and Matt Whitmore, offers some great recipes that looked easy to prepare. I’m all about easy when starting with a new food regime!
The foods outlined in The Paleo Primer include:
- Grass-fed meat and free-range poultry
- Eggs fortified with omega-3
- Wild-Caught Fish
- Fats & Oils
- Cooking: extra virgin coconut oil, coconut butter, organic ghee, grass-fed butter, lard, beef drippings, and goose or duck fat
- Eating: Avocados, coconut, olives & olive oil, Animal fats
- Dressings: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil
- Dairy — Organic or raw heavy cream, grass-fed butter or ghee, Greek yogurt with live and active cultures, kefir with live and active cultures, raw milk
- Nuts (limited)
- Vegetables – locally grown, other wise organic
- Fruit – limited; however lemons, limes, avocados, and berries on regular basis
- Raw honey
For the most part, it’s not that much different from when I was eating 20g of carbs a day. But I also wasn’t working out as much as I am now. Thanks to my more intense workouts, I’ve added grains — steel-cut oats, barley, quinoa — back into my diet. Something that isn’t allowed on Paleo. At least the Greek yogurt and berries I added back in are OK.
Will Paleo Fuel My Workouts?
I’m worried about whether I’ll have enough energy for my workouts. I needed to up my carb count from 20g to 50-100g a day, depending on the type of workout. Less than 50g and my metabolism plummets.
I’ve scanned a few things on the Paleo blogs related to slowing down on exercises, but I need to do a bit more investigation to figure out what that means.
Clearly, my post-workout protein shake is a no-no. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’ll figure out something. I’ll need to closely monitor my energy levels and prepare to tinker with my food options and when I eat.
The Cost Of Healthy Eating
The other difference – the potential hit to my pocketbook. Organic foods, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, raw dairy…when reading the list of foods, I swear I could hear a “cha-ching!” sound, loud and clear.
So part of this little experiment will look at the costs of low carb vs. paleo. I’ve come across lots of articles on the cost difference of eating healthy vs. non-healthy foods. But I haven’t seen much on the cost of healthy vs. organic healthy.
After the first week, it’s possible I’ll make some changes to the types of foods I buy to avoid breaking the bank. Yes I want to get healthy, but you know a banana, organic or not, is still a banana.
As for Weight Watchers, I’ll need to do some research about the points value of some of these foods. I can’t image lard will have a low point count. When eating low carb, I spend a lot of points on non-lean meats. I found I’m much more satisfied with non-lean cuts and lose the desire to binge or graze on food. I’m wondering if Paleo’s grass-fed and organic cuts are more Weight Watchers friendly.
Time to start working on my menu.