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Astrid

Baby steps to paleo?

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Hello all, I'm considering moving towards a more paleo-ish diet but I'm worried about the difficulty of giving foods up. Whole 30 has been a HUGE trend at work and 4-5 different teachers have tried it since December. However, I take some issues with some of the philosophical explanations for rules, such as not being able to create "replacements" for non-approved foods using approved foods. The idea that using bananas and eggs to make pancakes is somehow wrong because it's "totally missing the point" and that "a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients" totally doesn't resonate with me. On other things, I'm more strict - I don't drink juice because I view it as just another fructose stripped of the fiber that would otherwise be there if you just ate a pineapple. As for alcohol... well, I'm a French and Spanish teacher so there's no giving up my wine.

 

In a week, I'm going to be moving in with my boyfriend for the summer and he eats a fairly typical American diet, complete with boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper. I'd like to outline for myself some baby steps for what I could do week-by-week for a couple of months to come closer to paleo - specifically, removing grains, added sugars, maybe some dairy. Does anybody have ideas for small, specific baby steps for what to switch or remove or add week-by-week. Without freaking out my boyfriend.

 

Any ideas?

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Welcome to the NF forums, Astrid!

 

Here's my little disclaimer: I am no longer wholly Paleo, but 90% of the weight I've lost has been following the Paleo basics fairly strictly.

 

If you take away nothing else from following a Paleo philosophy toward your nutrition, it's the value of vegetables and reducing your processed food intake.  I would start by adding more vegetables with your meals to fill yourself up where pasta/rice/potatoes would before, and replacing as many of your daily snacks with vegetables as humanly possible.  That would be step one in my book.  From there, like you've already mentioned, removing grains and added sugars would be step two.  If you can survive a lower carb intake, you'll melt pounds off.  As you lower the carb intake though you'll need to replace one food source with another as your begins to adapt.  Don't shy away from a moderate healthy fat intake.  Nut butters (almond, cashew rather than peanut ideally), cooking with lard, as full fat/healthy butter as possible, olive oil, etc, and fattier cuts of meat.

 

After that you're really only looking at tweaking your nutrition to personal preference.  Going full natural, organic, gluten free, basically Whole 365 from there is great for some folks, but I've never been able to sustain it. 

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When I'm on my own and my life isn't insanely hectic, stuff tends to go great for my diet. I don't eat bread, rice, or pasta when I eat at home, and I live alone so I get to set all the rules.

 

The second that A. I go out with someone; B. someone comes to my house, C. someone offers me homemade baked goods, or D. I go on a trip to stay with my boyfriend, everything gets shot to heck. I start making lots of excuses. It's a special occasion, or I can't tell my mom that she may NOT bring chips, crackers, and snack mix into my house, or my boyfriend will feel bad if I tell him I won't eat chips with him, or my friend will be offended I don't want their homemade muffins. And the problem is, those things just seem to happen all the time! 

 

When I'm at home, I have no problem making sure my meals come from the perimeter of the store - I pretty much exclusively buy fruits, veggies, eggs, meat, milk, peanut butter, spices, and oils. I eat lots of stir fried veggies cooked in coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee. I did 30 days in September with no added sugars of any kind and somehow magically trained myself to actually be repulsed by the idea of eating candy or store-bought cookies/cake/junk. My main problem seems to just be that I eat too much, and don't think anything of it. For a period of time, I'd been eating (what I thought was) a pretty careful diet while my scale was broken and when I got it fixed, I found out I'd gained 10 pounds. So I think it must be little bites of treats here and there that I think nothing of slowly adding on the weight. So my real issue comes in not letting those special occasions I mentioned above totally mess with me. 

 

My ideal diet would be intermittent fasting, however when I tried it for a few weeks, my yoga teacher told me I had to stop skipping breakfast because I was coming to class totally weak while fasting and unable to do even simple poses, let alone balances or strength poses. So in lieu of being able to do that, I guess trying paleo with some (actual) form of accountability is the next step.

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You could try taking a BCAA supplement before and possibly during class to see if that helps. I do a 16-8 IF and supplement with BCAAs about 10 minutes before I start my strength training.

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I am Paleo-ish and track food on MFP, and that seems to works for me. Gluten and dairy are no goes for me, as they cause health problems. I do like to have drinks on occasion, or eat other non- Paleo foods when I am around others, for the same reasons you said. So for me tracking on My Fitness Pal is a good solution. I eat a good amount of meat, veggies and fat. Tracking my food helps me be able to know how much of the other stuff I can have and still stay in my calories. 

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3 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

I am Paleo-ish and track food on MFP, and that seems to works for me. Gluten and dairy are no goes for me, as they cause health problems. I do like to have drinks on occasion, or eat other non- Paleo foods when I am around others, for the same reasons you said. So for me tracking on My Fitness Pal is a good solution. I eat a good amount of meat, veggies and fat. Tracking my food helps me be able to know how much of the other stuff I can have and still stay in my calories. 

 

How do you deal with eating around other people? I have a really hard time sticking to any form of rules with other people... And as I'm moving to where my whole family lives in a few days, I KNOW I'm going to probably end up eating 3-5 meals a week with either my parents or my boyfriend's parents. I don't want to come off as being pushy or saying "I don't want to eat the food you make," but I feel like the only other option is to roll over dead and just eat it. If you were to tell your family and friends that there's a single food category you're choosing not to eat, what would you make it?

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Just now, Astrid said:

 

How do you deal with eating around other people? I have a really hard time sticking to any form of rules with other people... And as I'm moving to where my whole family lives in a few days, I KNOW I'm going to probably end up eating 3-5 meals a week with either my parents or my boyfriend's parents. I don't want to come off as being pushy or saying "I don't want to eat the food you make," but I feel like the only other option is to roll over dead and just eat it. If you were to tell your family and friends that there's a single food category you're choosing not to eat, what would you make it?

Well for me , when I quit wheat for a month, I figured out it was causing joint pain. So that made it fairly easy to explain to my family that wheat doesn't agree with me.  If I were going to pick one thing though, I'd say sugar. Most people get that and understand that. I  tell people that I am really trying to cut back on how much sugar I eat, and so I would like to skip desert. It still gets into weird territory as some people will still be pushy, and say " just this once" and you  have to just smile and say no thank you. And then the other thing I keep in mind is portion size. Some of the problems with pasta, chips, rice etc is how easy it is to overeat. Especially if others are too. I keep in mind what one serving is and keep myself to that

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7 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Well for me , when I quit wheat for a month, I figured out it was causing joint pain. So that made it fairly easy to explain to my family that wheat doesn't agree with me.  If I were going to pick one thing though, I'd say sugar. Most people get that and understand that. I  tell people that I am really trying to cut back on how much sugar I eat, and so I would like to skip desert. It still gets into weird territory as some people will still be pushy, and say " just this once" and you  have to just smile and say no thank you. And then the other thing I keep in mind is portion size. Some of the problems with pasta, chips, rice etc is how easy it is to overeat. Especially if others are too. I keep in mind what one serving is and keep myself to that

 

I have been off sugar on and off for a few months, so that would be a good place to start! My boyfriend DID ask me if he should buy my favorite nacho cheese that doesn't have maltodextrin in it, and if I was "still doing that weird sugar thing." I'm having a rough week because my mom is staying with me to help me move this weekend and not only is she bringing more and more junk into my house (I've collected one box of chips/snack mix/crackers for every day she's been here!) but when she nags me about things I start emotionally eating. :( I ate better earlier in the day, though, so I don't feel so bad about it.

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18 minutes ago, Astrid said:

 

I have been off sugar on and off for a few months, so that would be a good place to start! My boyfriend DID ask me if he should buy my favorite nacho cheese that doesn't have maltodextrin in it, and if I was "still doing that weird sugar thing." I'm having a rough week because my mom is staying with me to help me move this weekend and not only is she bringing more and more junk into my house (I've collected one box of chips/snack mix/crackers for every day she's been here!) but when she nags me about things I start emotionally eating. :( I ate better earlier in the day, though, so I don't feel so bad about it.

It's hard to make new better habits. It takes time. Eating better when you do have the willpower to is great.

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Eating junk food can temporarily relieve stress, but too much of it will make you feel worse.  Just something to consider.  Just three bites of sugar is enough to lift your mood; after that, the returns diminish, so there's less and less point to eating more.

 

Also, if your mom stresses you out, why are you letting her hang around when you're packing to move?  Packing is a huge hassle, you don't need anybody around who makes it harder.  (Only ever invite people for packing who make it easier!)  If you've still got time to kick her out, do it, and finish packing yourself.  Then call her when it's actually time to move.  If that's not an option, try to shunt her off to make dinner or walk the dog or vacuum, or do something else that keeps her out of your way while still being useful.

 

Moving week is a good time to splurge on eating out, btw.  Maybe go get some good to-go dishes (salads, cooked meats, etc.) from a supermarket deli.

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7 hours ago, Raincloak said:

Eating junk food can temporarily relieve stress, but too much of it will make you feel worse.  Just something to consider.  Just three bites of sugar is enough to lift your mood; after that, the returns diminish, so there's less and less point to eating more.

 

Also, if your mom stresses you out, why are you letting her hang around when you're packing to move?  Packing is a huge hassle, you don't need anybody around who makes it harder.  (Only ever invite people for packing who make it easier!)  If you've still got time to kick her out, do it, and finish packing yourself.  Then call her when it's actually time to move.  If that's not an option, try to shunt her off to make dinner or walk the dog or vacuum, or do something else that keeps her out of your way while still being useful.

 

Moving week is a good time to splurge on eating out, btw.  Maybe go get some good to-go dishes (salads, cooked meats, etc.) from a supermarket deli.

 

Unfortunately, I live halfway across the country from my parents (they live in MI and I live in VT) so she flew out to help me for the week. I'm moving home for just the summer, so there's not much to work on (I had my stuff mostly packed when she arrived) so she's stressing out and doing things that either don't need to be done or are actively making things worse (she's done laundry three of the five days she's been here! I can't afford that!) Since I live in an extremely rural area and work during the day, she's made it a habit to walk down to the nearest grocery store and buy food, especially food I don't eat. The things I would like her to do she doesn't seem to want to do (feed the cat, do his litter, do dishes). So I'm really frustrated and I feel like I'm spending more money than I can afford (because she keeps forgetting her card when we go places), more time than I'd like (because I either have to re-do what she's done or deal with finishing her "projects"), and I don't feel like I have much of anywhere to send her. 

 

As for eating out, I'd really like to finish eating some of the food in my house. Unfortunately, her ideas of food don't mesh with mine so where I'd like to have a taco bowl with some guac, cilantro, and hot sauce, she insists on buying sour cream and other toppings, and she wasn't super fond of my chicken/veggie stir fry. :( Food is extremely expensive where I live and I feel like I keep spending more and more money on things and it's just STRESSING ME OUT!!!

 

FORTUNATELY, on Saturday we'll start driving so Sunday I'll be back in MI and move in with my boyfriend, and while he doesn't quite "get" healthier/cleaner food, he at least won't complain and insist on buying things I don't want! :) 

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If this is an established pattern, I respectfully suggest you stop buying things for your mom.  Especially things you don't want.  If she "forgets" her card that is her problem, not yours.  You might think you're being nice, but by repeatedly doing what she wants you're just encouraging more of the same behavior.  Sorry, but that's Psych 101 (also Pet Training 101 but let's not go there ;) ).  Don't reward mooching unless you want more mooching.

 

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Hey I agree with what's posted above. Unfortunately you are enabling her, and even though she's family... no especially cause she's family she's gotta stop :(

Family should support you when you make choices to better yourself in any aspect especially diet where it's easy for them to not bring unhealthy food into your house. I think you need to say something nicely and see what happens. With the money issues could you tell her you have no money for her to use? I do that with people sometimes when they ask too much and it works. She can't spend what you say you don't have. 

 

Hope things get better soon

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With all due respect, my relationship with my mother is none of anybody's business. Perhaps if you live in a very "American" family it's acceptable to say this type of things & behave this way to your parents, but my family is very traditional and it's not acceptable to behave this way.

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You mentioned that your mom was causing you stress by picking out junk food and expecting you to buy it and eat it.  I thought you posted about this because you wanted advice about changing it.  But maybe I was wrong.  Sorry.

 

(Admittedly this is not the way my own family works; in my family, the proper division is for parents to provide money, and kids to provide labor.  My folks would be ashamed if I bought their groceries for them, especially since they have money to spare and I do not.  I show respect by doing chores and errands for them, not buying them stuff.  Also, if something's bothering us we are pretty quick to speak about it.  But I know every family is different.)

 

I never said you should be disrespectful to your mom, but that doesn't mean you have to do what she wants all the time.  You could have a polite discussion with her, or just tactfully change your own habits to discourage her unwanted behavior.  But if you prefer not to do that, fine.  In that case, perhaps you just need to remind yourself that you are choosing to let it happen, and there's no need to get stressed about it.

 

anyways, I hope your move went well, and maybe you won't have to deal with that issue again for a while :)

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On 6/5/2016 at 10:14 AM, Rurik Harrgath said:

If you take away nothing else from following a Paleo philosophy toward your nutrition, it's the value of vegetables and reducing your processed food intake.

 

+1 on Rurik's response.  This is true knowledge.  There are plenty of ways to make vegetables appetizing and delicious.  If I wasn't so lazy, I'd do exactly that. 

 

On 6/7/2016 at 3:22 PM, Orion Antares said:

You could try taking a BCAA supplement before and possibly during class to see if that helps. I do a 16-8 IF and supplement with BCAAs about 10 minutes before I start my strength training.

 

+1 to this also.  I used to think this was bogus... BCAA's I mean.  Technically any good protein supp should have these.  Then I bought a tub of Optimun Nutrition BCAA's, and took it with coffee in the morning.  I was impressed with how well it worked.  IMO it was just as good as a preworkout drink, and no jitters or jacked up heartbeat.

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