There’s a problem with Paleo.
And it’s not what you might think. It isn’t a problem with the food itself.
The Paleo Food Framework is still great (in my opinion). It’s a wonderful place to start when working to get in touch with your inner body cues.
High quality, whole foods are always a good thing–they help you hear your body and its cravings, which can be muffled by sugar and processed foods.
No, the problem with Paleo isn’t with the food itself.
I follow a Paleo diet, but what does that really mean? It means something different for me than it means for you, because what works for me might not work for you.
My food framework is different from your food framework, because we’re different people with different goals.
The problem with Paleo is that it’s called “Paleo” at all.
Putting a label on something forces a definition.
With something like Paleo, or any way of eating, it should be impossible to truly define. Because the definition should be different for everyone.
Because only YOU know what works for you.
Even if you don’t know it yet. High quality, whole foods are a good place to start figuring that out.
The Paleo Diet is a good place to start, but it’s not a destination.
Crowding out foods that have been scientifically proven to be potentially inflammatory (gluten, grains, legumes, dairy and sugar) and emphasizing real, whole foods (vegetables, fruit, animal protein, and healthy fats).
The secret is that “Paleo” is just a catchy name for eating more whole foods and avoiding inflammatory and processed foods.
“Paleo” is a gateway framework for designing the “Your Name Here” diet.
A diet that only you can define and that only works for you.
So next time someone asks you if you’re “Paleo”, tell them you follow the “Your Name Here” diet.
Unlike Paleo, the “Your Name Here” diet is a destination. It’s a destination because YOU created it based on YOUR needs.
You didn’t follow some else’s plan for your body.
You didn’t let someone else tell you what to eat.
You chose for yourself. You created it for yourself.
I follow the Allison Diet.
And the Allison Diet is always changing and growing along with my goals and what I discover about myself and food.
Paleo is a good place to start, but it’s not a destination.
It’s based in that Paleo Framework, but it also includes cheese, and gluten-free pizza from time to time.
And as my goals change, how I fuel my body changes.
The destination is a personalized diet that includes foods that truly work for you.
5 tips to creating the “Your Name Here” Diet.
Experiment with Paleo
Paleo is a great place to start. Eating whole foods allows you to hear your body more clearly–to hear and eventually interpret your inner body cues. Experiment with following a Paleo diet for at least 14 days (more ideally 21 to 30) to see how you feel. What changes do you notice?
Listen to your Inner Body Cues
Start to acknowledge your inner body cues– your hunger, satisfaction and your cravings. A food journal is a great tool to bring more awareness to these cues. You don’t need to write down quantities of food, just what kinds of foods you ate, what your hunger was before you ate and your satisfaction after eating. You can also keep track of your cravings: what they’re for, and if you felt physically or emotionally hungry for them.
Deconstruct your cravings
Figure out what you’re really craving. Is it food or non-food? Are you physically hungry? Or emotionally hungry? Here is an article that might give you some ideas of how to get started deconstructing your cravings: 6 Tips to Deconstruct Your Cravings and Celebrate Your Indulgences.
Test “non-paleo” foods to find balance
Once you’ve experimented with Paleo, and started to tune into your body and cravings, you can start to test non-paleo whole foods– like whole grains, dairy and legumes. Chris Kresser’s Book, Your Personal Paleo Code is a wonderful resource for how to plan your test.
Practice patience and forgiveness
This might be a broken-record-tip (as in I give it at the end of every post), but I do that for a reason. Patience is the most important part of creating your personal food routine– your “Your Name Here” diet. All good things take time. There will be ups and downs. Without kindness and forgiveness, you won’t be able to truly create your personal food routine.