My Paleo Confessions: This Is How I Really Eat
(Update: I don’t consider myself “paleo” per se anymore. I just focus on real food and I’m happily label-free.)
If you’ve been following my Instagram feed you know I’ve been eating my Paleo way around the world. Seven glorious weeks in Sydney and one fast-flying month in Chiang Mai. From some of the world’s best beaches to some of the worlds most magnificent temples. Sights, sounds, tastes and experiences that will live on vividly in my no-longer-autoimmune-foggy-brain long after I return home.
And it’s all been Paleo(ish).
Yep, I added an “ish.” And I am 100% A-Ok with that.
Why I no longer stress about dietary labels
If there was one diet that worked for all of us, the whole world would be their healthiest selves. But the simple fact is a perfect diet doesn’t exist. We all have different bodies, genes, microbiomes, ancestry and lifestyles. What works for me may not work for you. And what works for my mom may not work for me.
After three years of a roller coaster health journey, I’ve finally learned to eat intuitively. To nourish my body with real food that makes me feel good. And perhaps equally important…to recognize when something I’ve eaten makes me feel crappy.
Yes, I’m a Paleo blogger, eater, cook and proponent. But I also believe it’s a framework. A baseline that removes both the glaringly obvious and stealthily hidden toxic foods from the average person’s diet.
But I’m also firmly rooted in reality. And my reality is that while I love my safe and sterile paleolithic kitchen, I choose not to stay confined to it. I’m an itchy footed explorer. And there’s an entire world out there screaming, singing and chanting my name!
Enter the grey zone
For me, there’s only one hard and fast rule, whether I’m home or traveling – I’m 100% strict gluten-free. As a celiac, I’ll be this way for the rest of my life. Because not re-inducing the internal autoimmune rave party in my body is waaaay more preferable.
From there, everything else is a choice. I choose to eat Paleo 80% of the time because it makes me feel awesome. This means no grains, high-quality protein, organic fruits and veggies, raw nuts, no refined sugars and no added nasties (colorings, preservatives, flavorings, etc).
Eating this way calms my adrenals, supports my thyroid and makes my immune system thrive. All good stuff!
But then there’s the other 20%
And I’ll be honest, sometimes that 20% makes me extraordinarily happy!
Like eating a corn taco at a Mexican restaurant in Sydney. Or whipping up gluten-free oatmeal on the plane flight to Cambodia. Or devouring mangos with sticky rice at a food stall in Chiang Mai.
These are definitely not Paleo – but they’re also not going to kill me. Ironically, becoming a stress-case and complete nutter about the do’s and don’t of Paleo parameters quite possibly could! (PS – take it from a former nutter!)
Yes, food is meant to be nourishing. But it’s also meant to be enjoyed. So if you’re stressing that the veggies used on your dish aren’t from a certified organic farm, you’re completely missing the point of a Paleo lifestyle. Emphasis – lifestyle.
Eat healthy, but don’t forget to live
When it comes to my diet, I do the best I can. I plan ahead, I research, I pack. And I’ve always got a healthy snack stashed in my purse. Always.
But when I’m in Chiang Mai and it’s 90 degrees out, I may have a few too many sugar-laden fruit smoothies. Just like I probably had a few too many caffeinated flat white’s when I was in Sydney. And I’m sure I’ll have a few too many something else’s in Bali – where I’m headed to next.
And here’s the funny thing. My diet and nutrition have never been better. Because I’m no longer interested in being Paleo perfect. Or really, anything perfect for that matter. I’m more interested in being healthy and happy…for the long term. Which means treating my body with kindness and feeding my soul with a little adventure.
Okay, a lot of adventure – and healthy food along the way!
Do you get stuck following “the rules” of a diet? Or the opinions of a certain “authority” figure? It’s easy to do! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.