A Beginners Guide Paleo Grey Areas
Since starting my paleo journey I've had a lot of questions about what is and isn't paleo, and since there are a lot of grey areas in the paleo template, I decided to write an overview of some of those grey areas and where I stand on them for myself. Before I get into that, though, I'd like to start this post by explaining that
a. I am not a doctor and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice - I'm just sharing some things I've learned, and what has helped me with my paleo journey so far.
b. This is a guide for beginners by a beginner. I'm far from an expert but I'm hoping give you some basics to help you start your foray into the paleo lifestyle.
So when the paleo template first came out white potatoes were listed as a no/no. Since then they have been labeled as paleo, but in moderation (especially if you're trying to loose weight).
So where do I stand on them? I eat potatoes as part of a balanced diet with protein and healthy fats, and I make sure not to go carb-crazy with any carbs regardless of their paleo status. For me specifically, I know that giving up white potatoes is not something I could sustain, so I keep them in moderation.
While most paleo purists claim that early men did not eat legumes, and that they contain "anti-nutrients," there's a lot of research suggesting that not only did early men forage and eat legumes, but that actually, the "anti-nutrients" they contain are not all that dangerous for humans. If you're interested on the subject Chris Kresser has a great article about wheather or not legumes are paleo.
So where do I stand on the subject? I love legumes! I love black beans in my salsa and on my tacos, bean chili is my favorite meal on a brisk autumn day, and sometimes hummus is the only thing that can get me to eat my veggies. They're just not something I could give up forever! So like most things, I eat them in moderation. I don't eat them every meal or even every day, but if I'm craving a bowl of turkey/bean chili, or if I'm making tacos, you better bet beans will be included!
Ok, this one seriously pisses me off, because for years I have been forgoing my favorite white rice at Chipoltle for their inferior brown rice. Boo. And it's not that their brown rice is bad, it's just not nearly as delicious as their white rice. I even started going rice free because it just wasn't worth the extra calories.
Then my aunt Jan told me that white rice is now considered better than brown rice. What?? I had to look this up! And sure enough, I found many articles about why white rice is actually better for you than brown rice. This article by Eat Drink Paleo does a great job of covering the basics.
And like any starchy carb it's not something you want to load up on, but in moderation it can still be considered paleo.
So that's what I do. I've never been a huge fan of rice (except Chipoltle's) but I will start adding it back into my diet when I need a paleo-friendly carb - like when I made beef and broccoli last week.
This is such a grey area. Most of the country claims milk is a god-send, some people claim it helps cause cancer, and most paleo's won't touch it. This article from Paleo Leap does a really good job of breaking it down from a paleo standpoint, and explains why even strict paleos sometimes still cook with butter.
I've been avoiding dairy as much as possible, but I don't stress it if it happens. At home I use almond or coconut milk, and I've stopped buying yogurt or cheese, but if I go out to eat and cheese comes on my dish I don't sweat it, since it's the exception and not the rule. I still cook with butter, and haven't had to buy any since going paleo, but from now on I'll be buying ghee or butter from grass-fed cows.
So I think those are the main grey areas in paleo. If you have any questions leave me a comment! Like I said, I'm not an expert, but I'll do my best to answer any questions!