Paleo…. or Primal??!

So, firstly, apologies for the absence of late, I’ve come off my 2 week swing at work and when you spend 14 days straight sitting at a PC for 12hrs a day, the LAST thing you want to do when you get some down time is… surprise… sit at a PC. But I’m sufficiently recovered now, so here I am.

[Note: I spent the first lot of downtime exploring cooking the Paleo way – came up with loads of yummy food – I WILL post recipes, or links to recipes, soon]

On my mind at the moment [today] though, is some interesting research outcomes that I experienced recently.  I was just doing my usual net surfing for Paleo stuff, and I kept coming across “Primal” as opposed to “Paleo”.  I had assumed they were the same thing, but apparently not.  So – I looked into “Primal”, mostly via an awesome blog called “Mark’s Daily Apple” [google it], and now I’m wondering… am I Paleo, or am I Primal??

The more I read, the more I got confused, concerned, etc., until my head was about to implode and I didn’t know WHAT I was.  So I shut the laptop down and walked away.  After a couple of days, I had the nerve to look again.

There are some key differences, and to get your head around them I suggest you head to a particular post on Mark’s blog = http://www.marksdailyapple.com/whats-the-difference-between-primal-and-paleo/#axzz2OMKOCyva

But there are also the key similarities, and I guess these are the most important: stop eating processed foods… they just are NOT good!  Don’t eat grains: we just are NOT supposed to. Cut out Dairy [or limit it, according to Primal]: our bodies are just NOT that able to deal with it. And don’t eat sugar: it was NEVER designed to be eaten by us, unless you mean grabbing a stalk from a sugar cane plant and munging on it.  And good luck with that – I have – ugh 😦

I guess the thing that motivated this post for me was that I did not appreciate, being already confused as the Paleo world seems vague enough to me now [some eat dairy, some don’t, some eat eggs, some don’t, etc.] by finding another diet that is strikingly similar but actually different, JUST to confuse me more.

But.  We are four weeks into our 3 mth trial.  My husband has lost 6kgs and now holding steady and I have lost 4.9kg [still going down, but more slowly now, and I’m sure will go up as I get toned….?].  We both feel better for eating this way.  We are both sticking to the ‘rules’ – neither of us have cheated yet, no 85/15 for us EXCEPTING when our remote location doesn’t allow for anything other than a slight cheat.  Actually that’s not totally true. We had ‘Paleo Pasta’ last night – you can buy it here: http://paleopasta.com/ – and it has both quinoa and xantham gum in it. But OH WELL. It was a tiny cheat and gave me a fix of pasta which is the one thing I am absolutely always going to miss.

I now cannot even fathom eating food that contain grains [esp corn – its EVERYWHERE] or any ingredient that has a number in brackets after it.

So. My conclusion in regards to Paleo / Primal is that I need to look into it more and I will most probably pick n choose what suits from both.  For example, I won’t be drinking soda with artificial sweetners, as allowed by the Paleo diet apparently; but I may start to include some dairy now that I’ve passed the initial 30 days, as allowed by the Primal diet.  My suggestion to any readers is to do the same.

I better go now… my husband has just informed me that I need to get dinner going because he’s hungry. On the menu tonight: lamb chops with a spice rub, broccolini with garlic and steamed squash.  Surprising how much I’m looking forward to such a ‘clean’ meal; I think my actual tastebuds have been revived!

Thanks for reading – follow me if you’ve not already – and feedback is ALWAYS welcome 🙂

Eck so, eck so,

Paleo Girl

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The Saving Grace of the Dinner Party: 85:15

** Warning: this is a LONG one J

 

So, once the perils of dining out at a restaurant had been conquered, it was time to take the next step. A leap into an area much more fraught with danger: dining out at a friends place.

 

You see – dining out at a restaurant, the only worry you really have is finding something you can eat. But, given that these places have menus, with a variety of dishes available and usually at least a vegetarian option you can turn to (with a ‘steak on the side, please’) you are generally going to be ok. The worst part will be fighting temptation!  

 

At a friend’s place, not only is there a restricted menu – ie restricted to whatever’s being served – there is also an extra set of complications.  The guests don’t want their hosts to feel they ‘have’ to cook paleo (thank goodness for the 85:15 rule), the hosts feel like they should cook paleo (don’t know about the 85:15 rule) and when it comes time to sit down there’s the thoughts – ‘If there’s something non-paleo, can I refrain from eating it without offending my hosts?’ or ‘Have I accidentally cooked something non-paleo?’.  And god forbid additional, non-paleo or paleo guests are dining too!  Extra NPs will add to the pressure the Paleo’s are feeling whereas additional Paleo’s might make the hosts feel they have no choice but to try to cook a suitable meal, adhering to guidelines they don’t know.

 

Phew. What a drama!  Why would any person willingly submit themselves to so much stress?!

Well – because despite our different choices of diet, we all love our friends and family and sharing a meal is an ancient and wonderful bonding experience.  I can’t think of times that are in my ‘golden memories’ bank that don’t involve a meal shared between family and/or friends. From our wedding with sixty of our nearest and dearest right down to a simple but amazing meal at a friend’s place where the four of us got to know each other a little better.

 

So then – how to combine the two for the recently Paleo? (Read:me)  Dinner with my friends and not compromising my new diet?

I do not want or expect or need my friends to cook Paleo when I visit them.  Their house, their rules, I totally respect that and if they want to cook a pasta or a chicken schnitzel or whatever, I will happily dig in and chalk it up as the 15 of my 85:15.  That said – the majority of dishes I can happily eat anyway with just a simple minus – eg a roast dinner, mostly paleo, may just mean I don’t eat the potato and just have extra pumpkin or carrot.  Or a BBQ – usually all paleo too, just omit anything like the cheese from a salad.  See what I mean?  And I hope that the host isn’t offended by omissions and just gets excited that they get to eat the extras.

 

This theory came into play recently when we were invited for dinner. The first ‘eeek’ moment came up with the question of dessert – another couple was coming along and providing dessert (we did the salad) – I got the question of “what can you guys eat? Do I need to google a Paleo friendly dessert?”  I admit, I felt guilty. I didn’t want my friends to stress about what they were putting on the plate.  So I told her not to worry about us and to make whatever suited her, and if it wasn’t Paleo, we’d just not eat it. (That last bit on the advice of my husband – I should have explained the 85:15 rule instead!)

 

The hosts had already said they would do the meat – so that was fine.  But I was stressed that our friends were feeling extra pressure, or would not make the food they really wanted to, because of my diet choice.  And I think my friend was stressed because she wanted to ensure everyone could happily eat her dessert. Plus she probably looked at the finished result and thought ‘Man I could have made non-Paleo desserts that would kick this sorbet’s ass!’

 

Stressed. Not how I want to go into a dinner with friends!

 

The dinner was an absolute success – there was meat which we all ate; roasted veggies, which we all ate mostly (Husband and I avoided the potatoes); and salad which was Paleo, which we all ate. Even the NP’s.

Dessert – paleo sorbet because of course my amazing friend did not want us to ‘just not eat it’.  Ironically I was too full to really eat dessert but that’s not the point.

 

The point is – if you aren’t Paleo but have friends who are – get them to explain the 85:15 rule to you so you can feel good about having them over and cooking whatever you want without worrying you’re putting them out or that they’ll just sit at the table and politely sip at their drinks while you eat the non-paleo meal.

 

If you are Paleo – explain to your friends the 85:15 rule and that you would much rather utilise it so you can still enjoy these wonderful nights without them having to stress about what should just be a fun experience.

 

And then – when it’s your turn to host – blow them away with an amazingly yummy, totally Paleo entrée, dinner and dessert 🙂

 

Ek so, ek so – Paleo Girl.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Dining Out

So – I’ve hit Day 12. Doing much better than I was the other day; no threats to passing snackers any more.

Today, I faced my biggest challenge yet. I mean, yesterday was tough – one of the guys bought in a tub (yes a TUB) of chocolates slices, caramel slices, mars bar slice….*insert drool here* ….But I resisted, clamped my hand over my mouth and nose, averted my eyes and took out my grapes.  Munched away at them imagining they MUST be JUST as tasty as those slices that everyone else was in chocolate ecstasy over… mustn’t they? MUSTN’T THEY!

Anyway.  Back to the point. Sorry.

Today – my work group WENT OUT FOR LUNCH.  To a little café with a limited menu. A limited menu that includes ‘gourmet cheeseburger’, ‘butter chicken’, baguettes with beautiful, lovely, gourmet ingredients…. Sigh.  Literally everything had rice, cream, cheese or bread in it. Didn’t help I’d eaten most of it before, and knew that a lot of it was really, really good. (Before you say it – yes, I know not good for my body, but man was it good for my soul – take that).  Spotted one possibility – tuna patties – til I saw they were tuna and potato patties………!!!

An emergency text to my husband –> omg out to lunch with office and nothing to eat 😦

Bless his cotton socks, his reply was “Do your best. 80/20 remember.”
But I was determined – so I searched through the menu – found an almost paleo meal and ordered:

Steak Sandwich w/ aioli, served with fries

And amended it to:

Steak Sandwich with Salad

And then when it arrived – removed the bread (gave it to my lunchmates – how’s that for recycling!) which also had the aioli on it and voila!  I suddenly had for lunch a steak with salad. Totally Paleo AND didn’t make me look like a weirdo!  BAM!!

Feeling amazing – then the waiter says – and what would you like to drink?

Scan the menu…. Fruit juice – no; smoothie – no; soft drink – no; tea/coffee – no; milkshake – no!  In desperation – I say to the waiter – do you have mineral water? Thankfully yes, so that’s what I ordered. Still Paleo. Happy Days!!

Just goes to show, even when you’re out for a meal you can still stick to this new lifestyle.  And to be honest, because I had a steak with my salad, I didn’t feel like that sad-sack miserably eating salad in the corner while everyone else tucks into a yummo meal.  Protein is good for that (except chicken, that screams I’M ON A DIET!!!).

So – moral of the story – Paleo fine dining is possible.  If I can do it in my little, isolated, very very limited town, it can be achieved anywhere. AND, its possible to do it without feeling like you’re missing anything. What you are doing is making a better choice for your body 🙂

PS. Turns out the waiter didn’t understand English so well and my ‘mineral water’ actually became ‘soda water’ which I am about 70% sure is NOT Paleo due to the added sodium…. Fail.  But at least I tried, right?  Right?

I’m cheering, anyways 🙂

The Before and After

image

This is “before”

Thought I’d share these pics, to demonstrate just how much of what Chris and were eating everyday Is considered a ‘No’ food by Paleo rules. Shocked me!!

 

image

 

Yep, this is “after”; big difference! Goes to show how little of what we were eating WASN’T processed 😦