A Realistic View of Optimal Eating

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Eating Paleo in a non-Paleo world

Once you start eating Paleo, you’ll notice that most of the world is
very much non-Paleo. Like maybe your spouse, roommate or best friend.
Fear not, it’s possible to be a happy Paleo eater in a non-Paleo world.

meals with a non-Paleo eater

Structure your meals around a
protein, a vegetable and a starch. You can eat the same meal, just skip
the starch and eat a bigger portion of vegetables. It’s a win/win
situation. Your dinner companion gets more organic cheesy bunnies and
you get more salad greens.

It’s not all or nothing (for you
or anyone else)

Do you ever wish everyone you know would give
up processed starches and stick with fresh foods? It’s tempting to feel
that way. But for the majority of people, cutting out entire food groups
is not going to happen. Pasta brings a lot of joy to some people.
Noodles are practically a religion in New York. Without rice, billons of
people would be hungry. In the grand scheme of things, starches play a
major role in feeding much of the world’s population. The real issue is
that grains are being lumped in with fruits and vegetables as health
foods. People think they’re supposed to eat lots of grains to be
healthy. Ideally, Paleo eating—fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit,
nuts, seeds and healthy oils—would be viewed as the ideal diet, with
some leeway for grain and dairy products. An occasional grilled cheese
sandwich or bowl of pasta is not going to hurt anyone and can be very
good for the soul. But compare that to someone who eats processed foods
at every meal, day after day. There’s a middle ground when it comes to
healthy eating. Being 100% Paleo may be your goal—and it’s an awesome
goal—but there’s also a lot to be said for 75%.

I’m not 100%
Paleo. Most of my meals are, but sometimes I eat non-Paleo foods like
black beans and raw cheese. I also embrace occasional treat days. No one
should have to give up eating pizza, forever! Eating a Paleo diet
doesn’t mean being perfect. That’s asking a lot. The majority of your
meals should be made up of real foods. Start with protein, add
vegetables, natural fat, and get creative. If you allow yourself a
little wiggle room, it’s easy to eat more Paleo, if not exactly
so. Realistically, aim for 90% and watch the magic happen.

out is easy

I live in New York City—a major food town. As I
write this, it’s a Tuesday afternoon. If I stroll through my
neighborhood this evening, every restaurant will be packed to the gills
with boisterous eaters. I love eating out and I never worry about
finding a meal that is perfectly Paleo. I almost always get fish or
shellfish. Salmon, tuna, branzino, clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp…the
list goes on. Most fish is served with a vegetable and sometimes a
starch. Here again, it’s obvious what to do. Either ask that the starch
be left off your plate or just ignore it (and if you’re tempted, have a
bite—it’s not the end of the world). I never ask for a special
preparation of fish in restaurants. Most chefs prepare fresh fish very
simply. Besides, I’m not afraid of a little butter and salt.

is the way in New York, we get dinner delivered a lot. This is just a
small sampling of the meals I eat, but it shows a clear focus on protein
and vegetables:

Chinese: shrimp and broccoli, steamed

roasted chicken or pork, avocado salad and black beans

Brisket with greens or chicken breast with salad

Meatballs or chicken with salad

Mexican: chicken or shrimp with
salad, salsa, guacamole

“Chicken” and “salad” pop up a
lot, but luckily, every place prepares them differently. I keep mixed
greens, cooked vegetables and homemade vinaigrette on hand to supplement
delivery meals.

You don’t have to talk about it

you started eating Paleo, feel great, look great, and want to stand on
the mountain top and tell the whole world, right? Or, maybe you just
want to tell someone you care about how to improve their health by
eating more real foods. Not so fast. Eating is similar to
politics and religion in that most people have an allegiance to one
viewpoint. Trying to convince someone to change their eating habits can
be very tricky; instead, let them watch your transformation and be

Eating around people who expect you to eat the same
food they do presents a different challenge. Most of the people you
know—-friends, family and co-workers-—probably eat lots of stuff you
don’t eat. Here’s the thing: there’s nothing strange about eating
protein and vegetables. An apple is not strange. An avocado is not
strange. Putting olive oil on your salad is not strange. You don’t have
to single yourself out as having special needs. Eat what you dig. The
best way to avoid the wrath of non-Paleo eaters is to avoid labeling how
you eat. If you say, “Hey I’m Paleo. Grains suck,” you’re just asking
for it. I spent YEARS in corporate America eating protein and salad for
lunch and the only thing I ever heard was that I was “very health
conscious.” No one busted on me for taking an interest in my health. I
used to joke with one friend that I had three food groups: protein,
vegetables and wine. It’s possible to get away with not eating birthday
cake, donuts, cookies, etc. if you make the decision that those
things don’t apply to me
. If you happen to be someone who is
dedicated to staying fit and working out, tell people you eat for
optimum performance and recovery (if they really need an explanation).
No one can argue with that. 

courtesy LeanMachineNYC.com


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