Thoughts on Reintroduction & What is Paleo Really??


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I am 17 days in to my first ever Whole 30 and loving how things are going. In my quest to find new recipes on paleo sites, I have come across a variety of ingredients that raise red flags and I have a few questions from the more "seasoned" folks in da house...

* My plan was to continue eating this way for life and occasionally, when the circumstances were especially special enough, enjoy a burger, beer, or cake. Preferrably out of the house. Is that something that many of you have found do-able?

* Now as I am searching for new exciting recipes of the paleo persuasion, I'm stumbling upon a whole heck of a lot of things that seem like they are entering straight up unhealthy treat territory. I see honey in recipes, and paleo pancakes calling for maple syrup and all sorts of things and I have to tell ya, it scares me. I DON'T WANT to fall back into the trap of addiction and these things feel like they would do that! Any experience with that and thoughts??

In short, I suppose I just want to know how realistic it is to keep a variety of yummy Whole 30 friendly foods and recipes rockin in my house and just deviate on a rare occasion when I'm out. Would love feedback.

Thanks!!!

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The paleo/primal world is very broad and the Whole30 is a just one neighborhood. No doubt the healthiest neighborhood, but just one of many. And unlike the broader paleo world, the Whole30 is defined by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in consultation with some very smart people. The criteria of the Whole30 includes psychology, science, and experience. In contrast, a lot of the broader paleo world is based only on history in consultation with limited experience.

When you go looking for recipes, you need to know that the paleo world is a target rich environment, but full of crap too. But that's okay because during your Whole30 you are learning what is okay and what is not. You are learning not only to read labels, but to question conventional wisdom and (dare I say?) paleo wisdom.

You can eat Whole30 friendly all your life and be eating new things all the time. I started publishing Whole30-compliant recipes in 2010 and have about 370 on my site now. When I was crazy excited about it, I published at least 5 new recipes per week. I am pacing myself now and targeting the publication of just one new recipe each week. If I did not have a job and 3 or 4 other interests in my life, I could publish an exciting new recipe every day because there are so many possibilities. I have 50 great cookbooks stacked around my house waiting for me to convert the recipes from conventional to Whole30-compliant and I have only finished working through one of them.

I eat most of my meals at home because I am a great cook and like my food better than what I find in most restaurants. I eat something off plan almost every week when I eat out. Yesterday, I had babaganoush and some pita bread in a Turkish restaurant. Last week I had Indian food that almost certainly included dairy in the sauces. Last year I had a really great piece of pie at a friend's house. I've been around pie since last year, but Mrs. Smith's from the freezer case is not good enough and neither is most of what is sold in ordinary restaurants.

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Thank you for this post, Tom! Having just completed an extended Whole 30 (40 days) I have been giving a lot of thought to how I want to proceed from here. I do plan to make the Whole Nine the basis of my lifestyle for the rest of my life - recent events have shown just how important it is to be grounded in good health! I know, however, that if I tell myself I can't have a particular food, it begins to loom large. Eventually I would cave, and in feeling like I failed would likely sabotage my success with out of control eating. Instead, I plan to allow occasional 'off-roading', but I will do so consciously aware of what I am eating, how it will affect me, and what I will do to remain on track. And WHEN I off-road, I'm going to hold out for the best quality of food that I can find!

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Thank you so much guys!!! So are you doing what I suggest, which is off roading when it seems like a good idea (a.k.a. My moms amazing strawberry rhubarb pie...and infrequently) instead of making all these half-a%^ whole 30 recipes at home?? It seems so much more sensible to, say, enjoy my favorite pizza when I visit my family out of town instead of starting to make paleo pancakes all the damn time at home. Yes???? :)

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Hey Smiling Lotus! Good to see you here! The off-roading is definitely a post-Whole 30 deal - do it in the middle of your Whole 30 and you've just reset back to Day 1... - but yes - when I go to visit my family over the Thanksgiving holidays, for example, I will likely eat what is served and not quibble about a meal on a special occasion that doesn't quite fit the plan. (Of course, given that my SIL has celiac and my brother dabbles in paleo, I shouldn't run into more than some dairy or gluten-free grains on that trip...)

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In contrast, a lot of the broader paleo world is based only on history in consultation with limited experience.

I think the above is unfair and in general inaccurate. The are definitely some spheres of the paleo niche that cling to making their entire existence as close to Paleolithic as possible (no deodorant?), but I would say they're the fringe. I think everything else you addressed is spot on, but I just wanted to call you out on the above ;)

Call-out aside, I DO think that Melissa and Dallas have set a new standard for the rest of the practitioners by actually addressing the psychology of food behavior to their clients and structuring the program to demand that they have an awareness of it and own it. Many have talked about it on a scientific level, but, imo, few have brought it down to the regular peeps like M&D have.

As for the OP, the W30 is really a science experiment that has the added benefit of changing your relationship with food. Figure out how the foods effect you, and then add them back in how you deem appropriate or don't. it's up to you! we just gave you the tools!

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Thank you so much guys!!! So are you doing what I suggest, which is off roading when it seems like a good idea (a.k.a. My moms amazing strawberry rhubarb pie...and infrequently) instead of making all these half-a%^ whole 30 recipes at home?? It seems so much more sensible to, say, enjoy my favorite pizza when I visit my family out of town instead of starting to make paleo pancakes all the damn time at home. Yes???? :)

Yes and No. It depends on a) how you react to gluten and sugar after your introduction and b ) how much you care. If you're going to be absolutely destroyed from the pie and will be either on the toilet for 3 days OR the sugar will have resurrected all your sugar demons and lead you to rob a donut shop...you might decide that your mom's strawberry rhubarb pie, even once a year, is just not worth it. Then again, you could decide that it IS worth it, even given all of the above (as doubtful as the above scenario is :D)

Anyway, here's a handy flowchart for offroading, because who doesn't love a good flowchart?: http://whole9life.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Whole9's-Guide-to-Nutritional-Off-Roading.pdf

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And Tom, have I seen your site? Can you please post the link here along with a few of your favorite recipes?! :)

The recipe index for my site is at http://www.wholelife.../recipe-index/. My absolute favorite recipe lately is

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, but that is always subject to change. The recipes are in categories

with the newest ones added at the bottom of its category.

And just so you know, I've never made paleo pancakes. If I wanted pancakes, I would eat real ones. I just don't want them anymore.

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I think the above is unfair and in general inaccurate. The are definitely some spheres of the paleo niche that cling to making their entire existence as close to Paleolithic as possible (no deodorant?), but I would say they're the fringe. I think everything else you addressed is spot on, but I just wanted to call you out on the above ;)

You're right, but I do so enjoy being Totally Biased on occasion.

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You know, it's so funny that the link you posted seems to keep going to a link about the Whole 30 wedding, which is precisely what I'm talking about. (BTW I am going to have to track down that cool flow chart you reference. But anyway...)

So I know it's a wedding and a time to celebrate and all, but can we talk about the brownies? How are those paleo? They have sugar and honey. I totally respect treating for a special occasion, and I also appreciate making the healthiest brownie possible, but how is it paleo?! Cam we just call it an amazing off-road brownie recipe?? People can do what they want to do, but I'm thinking that for myself (and I'm wondering if I'm not alone here) taking recipes and paleoifying them gives the impression that they are almost healthy and that I could eat them regularly, which is my concern. Or maybe I just don't understand paleo still. Because to me, I am LOVING the food I'm eating on my Whole 30 and not wanting to paleofy things, rather I think I'll off road on special occasions but I'll call it off roading. And if I don't, I'm concerned I'll start becoming unhealthy again. Maybe I'm goofy and getting caught up in semantics, but really I think I just want to keep myself in check in my whole life, not just my whole 30. I want to understand. Anyone with me? More thoughts??

Thanks!!!!

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I enjoyed reading all this because this is so the way i want to go

My hope is to finish the whole 30 but then continue to eat like this with the occasional treat.

Like Tom says I don't want to make paleo versions of food I like.when I want that muffin i will eat that muffin.

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I disagree about making things like paleo brownies. I don't want to make them every day, or every week, but I've done loads of GF/DF baking and when it's done well, the product is not inferior in flavor or texture. If I can bring the dessert to an event and indulge along with my family/friends, then I get to eat a grain free dairy free, lower glycemic, probably more delicious product and I will feel mountains better the next day. I will also be less likely to bring back the sugar demons. A white flour, HFCS, RBGH dairy bomb is a LOT worse fr me. I can't see the harm in choosing the lesser evil. This is also a really important issue with kids. For example, if I can send my kid to school with a yummy bath of Gf/DF, honey sweetened cupcakes on her birthday or encourage her to offload with the mainstream equivalent, she will avoid crankiness, stomachache, study nose, and a migraine. How would it be more beneficial to eat the "real" thing on principle?

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I disagree about making things like paleo brownies. I don't want to make them every day, or every week, but I've done loads of GF/DF baking and when it's done well, the product is not inferior in flavor or texture. If I can bring the dessert to an event and indulge along with my family/friends, then I get to eat a grain free dairy free, lower glycemic, probably more delicious product and I will feel mountains better the next day. I will also be less likely to bring back the sugar demons. A white flour, HFCS, RBGH dairy bomb is a LOT worse fr me. I can't see the harm in choosing the lesser evil. This is also a really important issue with kids. For example, if I can send my kid to school with a yummy bath of Gf/DF, honey sweetened cupcakes on her birthday or encourage her to offload with the mainstream equivalent, she will avoid crankiness, stomachache, study nose, and a migraine. How would it be more beneficial to eat the "real" thing on principle?

It depends on your own situation and how you react to the above foods. Paleofied desserts aren't always satisfying substitutes, especially when it comes to foods with an emotional attachment like my grandmother's spice cake. If it's going to mess you up badly, then yeah...you probably have to stick with the less bad gluten free options... But if it doesn't, and if it's as infrequent as these treats should be, the real thing isnt a huge thing

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I suppose what I am doing here is to change my attitude to food

To live a life enjoying eating well and not really even want grain,sugar,dairy

I did it with dairy many years ago as the lactose really doesn't agree with me so even though i loved ice-cream I gave it up-and now don't even like it

Then a few months ago I gave up sugar ,in all forms .that has been a bit harder but I rarely crave cakes or biscuits

However ,only now have I given up grains ,and this is the hardest

For me ,i don't think there will be a time when I can give up bread forever but maybe that will be my treat food .

And when I do eat bread i want to eat grainy yummy bread or nothing

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Thank you so much for your feedback, guys, you are all rockstars in my book!!! :) What I'm thinking is that I'll avoid many of the paleoified versions of things so I don't start treating them as foods I can have everyday, and I'll eat some future treats in a paleo way and some not. Makes sense! Thank you all again!!!!

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