Is It Realistic to Follow a Strict Paleo Diet?

Summary: This post is about my philosophy on Paleo, which has a lot to do with the types of deals I will post on CFP. I'm not strict paleo. Read on for more about why.

If you’ve read the About post (it’s a novel, I know), you know that in 2012 I went paleo. I started slowly. I just decided that I would go one day eating paleo and see what happened. One day gave me enough momentum to stick with it for another day, and so on.

I had a lot of personal things going on at that time, in addition to my Mom’s health issues. I was depressed, and felt like my life was totally out of control. I think eating paleo was a way for me to gain control over my life.

My perspective was that I might not have much control over the things happening in my life, but I COULD control what I ate every day. I was able to stick to a strict paleo eating plan for about sixty days. I could feel my body healing, my thyroid getting back in balance, my hormones going back to normal, my face clearing up, and of course, dropping weight easily.

These are all great things. But is it realistic to eat strict paleo every day for the rest of your life?

I don’t think so.

I have moved toward the idea that paleo is a blueprint, a great place to start. Eliminate all that stuff for 30 days and see how you do. Everyone’s body is different, though, and just because something works for everyone else doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for you.

I learned to listen to my body. There were days when I swear I could feel my thyroid doing funky stuff. Detoxing from the SAD was nasty, with headaches and fatigue.

Then I noticed my hair began to fall out, which scared me. I did some research, and found a post on Danny Roddy’s blog. I read this post about how eliminating sugar from your diet completely can cause hair loss. His perspective opened my eyes that a strict paleo diet probably was not going to work for me. Like a lot of things, you have to look at the data and decide for yourself.

I also read an article by Chris Kresser about how dairy isn’t necessarily bad for you. His position was that if you can tolerate it, it’s a great way to get nutrients.

I also wanted to go out to eat occasionally, and I needed to practice making this way of eating more realistic under real life conditions. Like it or not, eating is a social activity. Unless you are going to live under a rock for the rest of your life, you need to learn how to make some compromises in your diet to eat at most restaurants.

Finally, sometimes we just feel like we want that certain something, like soda, or whatever your thing is. When that happens, I’ll have a Zevia or a Hansen’s. It’s not paleo, but it’s still not as bad as drinking the stuff with high fructose corn syrup in it.

Also, perhaps like many of you, I have another person who lives with me, my Mom, who is not as strict as I am in my diet.

What’s funny is that if you read some of the comments on the popular nutrition blogs, the hard core paleo eaters make it sound like you’re going to straight to hell if any sugar or wheat passes your lips. This is an extreme position.

Here’s another example: I have a family member who has completely eliminated all fat from his diet. And yet, he complains that he’s tired all the time. When you try to show him new research, he REFUSES to read it or even budge.

Smart people change their mind when they get new information. It’s OK to change your position when there’s a good reason to do so. Don’t let others do your thinking for you.

That’s where I am with paleo.

I consume dairy, but it’s not nearly as much as I used to consume. When I do, it is full fat and organic whenever possible. I also consume grass fed butter. I have been using a grass fed whey protein supplement that is very digestible. I also like Greek yogurt because it’s packed with protein. I noticed that don’t have nearly as many problems with hormone imbalances as before with organic or grass fed dairy.

However: don’t beat yourself up if you can’t afford organic right now. Buy the best you can afford and keep working on changing your spending habits with coupons and strategy.

You’ll get there eventually. I didn’t think I could afford organic either but it’s almost all I buy now. Over time, as you change your shopping habits, you’ll be able to afford organic.

So, while the deals I will share here are mostly paleo, I don’t follow strict paleo and I suspect many of you don’t either. We are all striving to be better in our eating habits. Eating paleo is not easy, and it can be expensive if you don’t change your shopping habits. More on that in another post!