Paleo diet may be right for your lifestyle

Published 12:01am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Several new “diets” or eating plans are out and about right now, and one that I hear and see a lot about is the Paleo plan. The Paleo plan is based on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten and the concept that food should be changed as little as possible.

Here’s information from a Paleo cookbook and website I found: “Foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.”

This is very reflective of the healthier lifestyle I’ve been trying to live myself. They encourage you to increase your protein intake on the Paleo program. They are very specific about the type, unlike the Atkins diet, on which people were eating massive quantities of bacon, sausage and other fatty meats. This program also states that 35 to 45 percent of your daily calories should come from non-starch fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of these are digested and absorbed slowly so they don’t make your blood sugar levels spike. And of course they are high in fiber which is always a good thing. So there are some very good points from this program that you need to incorporate into your daily life.

My struggle is two-fold — I have trouble eating breakfast at 5:30 in the morning and sometimes I just want something sweet. Now trying to have those two things and not have something processed or that takes a long time to cook has been a challenge for me. But, I’ve finally found two things that make it a little easier.

The breakfast issue. When I don’t eat breakfast, I am hungry all day and I don’t feel as good, but I don’t have time to cook in the morning and processed food is off the list. So how do I handle this? My oldest daughter Holly, is going to laugh when she sees this because she tried to tell me this months ago and I turned up my nose at her healthy “icky” drink. Turns out the smoothie route in the morning is pretty perfect. If you keep all the needed ingredients on hand you can literally whip this up in no time, and I stand corrected, it tastes good too. You can change this up anyway you like

 

Morning Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 /2 a frozen banana

2 tablespoons flaxseed

1 1/ 2 cup fresh baby spinach

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

 

I put everything in my food processer and blend until smooth. Pour it into my insulated tumbler, pop a straw in it, and I drink it on the way to work. Problem solved.

 

Next up, something sweet. The funny thing is that we don’t eat a lot of sweets at our house, and we never have. I never made dessert for my family unless it was special occasion and didn’t keep a full cookie jar on the counter. But, the more processed carbs I cut out the more I want something sweet. Thank goodness for Pinterest, because I finally found my answer there. If you’ve ever been to a state fair you’ve probably had a pineapple whip and those are full of calories and artificial stabilizers. But here is different version that is a breeze to make, and I love them. This recipe makes a big batch, so I freeze the extra in little cups in my freezer to either enjoy later or use in a smoothie.

 

Pineapple whip

1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon honey

Place the cut up pineapple in a bowl and place in the freezer and freeze solid. Place all ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth.

 

Christina Hall writes a weekly food column for The Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.