Many of you have probably heard of the every popular “Paleo” diet. Many claim super success with this diet and I’m sure that for them, it was marvelous. However, I live in the real world which means I have a husband who likes chips and a 2 year old who loves velveeta. So for our family, it’s everything in moderation. Sound like your family? We should have dinner.
The number one thing that puts us off about diets that are restrictive is…..well, the restrictions. And I hate to just pick on Paleo for this because there are others that also fall under this category such as South Beach, Atkins or the perfect protein diet. I don’t know about you, but we are not necessarily the pillars of self control (hence, why we need the diet in the first place). So when a diet has unrealistic restrictions like no bread EVER we are just setting ourselves up for failure by committing to it. We’re not going to be able to stick to it which means we will fall off the band wagon completely. And then how successful was that? Not very. I appreciate a diet in which I can have variety in my diet and truly experience the world with all of it’s food. I’m gonna be here once, why would I never allow myself a bagel?
A good diet needs to allow you to say those three magic words “everything in moderation.” Just as much a I crave variety and spice in live, I crave balance. I don’t see the logic in only consuming one type of food with one type of nutrient. As I understand it, in the Paleo diet you eat as the caveman eats, meaning meat and cheese. No processed food including most or all bread. I just personally don’t see the logic in this. Where else in life do we cut out an entire portion of our experience? Such as, get a job but don’t ever go to the business meetings, just cut that part out. All of life needs balance, including how we feed our bodies. A little bit of protein, a little bit of dairy, veggies, fruit, a little bit of grain. And all of life is in harmony again.
Craving Culinary Education
Almost a year ago my husband and I decided we needed to make some changes in our eating. We had the option of blindly following a diet plan such as Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, Special K, Slimfast, etc, etc. However we wanted to not just lose a few pounds, we wanted to relearn how to experience meals. We wanted actual education on portion size, portion control, substituting high-fat for low-fat ingredients, cooking with fresh veggies and fruits and so on. So we decided on Weight Watchers and we had great success. I lost nearly 50 pounds in 6 months and my husband lost 35 in the same amount of time. For someone to just blindly a set of recipies, they aren’t necessarily learning how to re-eat in the real world. But we did on Weight Watchers and those lessons have stayed with us! For the person who did not recieve good education along with their diet, what happens when they are at an ocassion in which they cannot insist on only red meat with root vegetables? Will they know how to stay within their diet then? I have known many individuals who went off a restrictive pigeon-holed diet and gained all of the weight back because they never re-learned how to exsist in the world of food.
Craving something Family Friendly
“Ok hunny, we’re going eat Paleo today so that means no pancakes, no godlfish crackers, no Ranch dressing for your chicken and no ice cream. Sound good?”
“Yes Mommy! I only want radishes” said no kid EVER.
This is my major problem is that I have a toddler who, like many toddlers, doesn’t have a refined pallet yet. So to get through meal times and balance out the protein, veggies and fruits I have to also offer some carbs. Many family-friendly recipies out there woud be a Paleo eaters worst nightmare. I have a small, and I mean small, handful of family-friendly Paleo type recipies that a kid will eat. So that means we could get to maybe Thursday on that meal plan and then it would all fall apart. What does a mommy do then? Not to mention that the Paleo recipies are typically time-consuming and expensive per person. Sound family friendly? Umm….no.
So while Paleo may work well for alot of people, for this typical suburban American family with young kids, i’s not practical. Nor resourceful, nor cheap, nor quick and easy enough. So for us, we will learn how to eat with balance. We will fill our plates with seasonal fruits and veggies as well as a good piece of lean protein and a small amount of carbs. Followed by some low-fat ice cream. Not sure about you, but that sounds more like a sustainable family meal plan to me. And if you are looking for some amazing low-fat recipies which include balanced ingredients, visit one of my favorite cooking blogs by Gina over at Skinnytaste: http://www.skinnytaste.com/