Health & Food

Do I Follow The Paleo Diet?

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No, I do not follow the Paleo Diet, because I don’t like having rules to follow.

I’ll admit it, I do not eat the “perfect diet” based on my personal ChooseMyPlate recommendations. I do, however, follow the USDA Dietary Guidelines very well (I eat 5-6 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, I get at least 3 cups of dairy or dairy alternatives each day, I always choose whole grains, I enjoy a variety of lean meats, fish, and vegetable proteins, I watch my added sugar intake and drink mainly water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages). So what’s stopping me from following my personal guidelines based on ChooseMyPlate? In my opinion, the grain recommendation is too high.I’m not saying the USDA is wrong, and that the supporting research is inaccurate, but for me personally 6 ounces of grain is just too much (I typically eat closer to 2-3 ounces). And why do I think 6 ounces is too much for me?

  • I’ve been diagnosed as “gluten sensitive”and therefore many of the foods I used to eat have been basically eliminated from my diet (mainly whole wheat bread). I can choose to eat whole grain gluten-free bread, but I’m cheap and I’ve yet to find one that is worth spending a lot of money on.
  • I would rather get my carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They make me feel more energized than a bowl of pasta.
  • I love what I eat, and feel great on my current diet. I really don’t know how I could fit in anymore grains…..
  • I’m a healthy weight (yeah!) and I do notice that I put more weight on (mainly in the dangerous and not-so-attractive belly) when I eat more grains. Whether this is just from bloating or whether it’s because my body more readily turns carbohydrates into fat, I do not know.

The only problem I see in not getting enough grains is the lack of B-vitamins, but let’s be honest, most gluten-free breads and pastas are pretty low in B-vitamins anyway, so by adding those to my diet I doubt it would make much of a difference. I do supplement my diet with a B-complex (hence the name “supplement”. I am “filling in the gaps”, not simply making up for an unhealthy diet). Some might argue I’m also missing out on fiber by not getting enough grains, but I beg to differ. I get close to 25-35 grams each day, based on my calculations (ummmm, hello 5-6 cups of fruits and vegetables!).As it turns out, my diet is very similar to the Paleo Diet. I was checking out this latest fad diet to see what I thought about it, and it turns out the ratios of fat:carb: protein are very similar to my own. The only difference between the Paleo “FAD DIET” and my own is that that nothing is “off limits” on my diet (the first clue that something is a “fad” is that it makes certain foods and food groups off-limits). If you haven’t heard of the Paelo diet, the premise is that you eat like a caveman, or a hunter-gatherer (as we did prior to the Agricultural Revolution). On this diet you feast on animals, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, herbs and spices, and you neglect grains, dairy, and a few other things.

So what are the recommended macronutrient distributions on this diet? The following is from Wikepedia:

According to certain proponents of the Paleolithic diet, practitioners should derive about 56–65% of their food energy from animal foods and 36–45% from plant foods. They recommend a diet high in protein (19–35% energy) and relatively low in carbohydrates (22–40% energy), with a fat intake (28–58% energy) similar to or higher than that found in Western diets.

So, the Paleo diet suggests 19-35% protein, 22-40% carbohydrates, and 28-58% fat. The USDA DRI Guidelines suggest 10-35% protein, 45-65% carbohydrate, and 20-35% fat for adults. The main differences are more fats, less carbohydrates.

Here are my totals for a typical day, based on MyFitnessPal.

32% protein

37% carbohydrate
35% fat

(I know this doesn’t add up to exactly 100%….but I did the math and this is correct.)

Here are my totals on a typical weekend (I eat out more on the weekends, and typically drink one to two alcoholic beverages).

25% protein
34% carbohydrate
35% fat

Based on this I have decided to create my own “Fad Diet” (aka, my typical diet) where nothing is off limits………

Gina’s Fun and Fabulous FAD DIET
(Servings are based on ChooseMyPlate)

Breakfast
1 ounce of whole grain
1/2 cup of vegetable (non-starchy) or fruit (I do pumpkin)
1 cup of Greek yogurt
2 ounces of nuts/nut butter

Snack
1 ounce low-fat cheese
1 ounce nut/nut butter
1/2 cup fruit

Lunch
1 cup vegetable (non-starchy)
1 ounce dehydrated vegetable chips
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 ounce nut/nut butter
1 ounce whole grain

Snack
1 cup vegetable (non-starchy)

Dinner
3-4 ounces protein
2 cups non-starchy vegetable

Night Time Snack
(Or you can add some of this to your afternoon snack)
1 ounce of whole grain
1/2 cup of dairy (I do unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fruit or vegetable
Dark chocolate (one piece)

TOTALS:3 ounces whole grain, 5.5 cups fruit/vegetable, 3 cups dairy/dairy alternatives, 11-12 ounces protein
(**my ounces of protein are mainly from nuts/nut butters, fish, chicken, pork, and lean beef but I also get a lot of protein from my dairy (Greek yogurt), which doesn’t count towards my ounces of protein, it counts towards my dairy intake. My Greek yogurt does count towards my daily protein grams, which is depicted below**)

Macronutrient Breakdown:
32% protein
37% carbohydrate
35% fat

Benefits:
Nothing is OFF LIMITS! Wahoo!
You’ll feel GREAT!

Ok, I’m joking, this is not something I recommend, necessarily. It works for me, but it may not work for you. You may read this and think I eat like a crazy women. But hey, I enjoy my diet and everything I eat!

QUESTION: Have you ever done a fad diet? Have you ever tried to follow your personal guidelines from ChooseMyPlate?

ON SALE NOW! Please check out my Food Label Guide “iPhone App” that I am now selling (see the top right corner of my blog). I’ve been working on this project for a year now and I really hope you find it helpful as you peruse the aisles. Let me know if you have any questions.

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