If you are a die-hard Paleo purist, you probably shouldn’t read this post. I’m going to say some things that go against the whole strict Paleo thing. However, if you are someone that is considering Paleo or at the very least a gluten-free diet, read on. This might help you with your transition to this type of nutritional lifestyle and in my opinion, could help you be more successful at sticking with it.
I bought a bread machine.
Yes, that’s right. But, not for the reasons you may be thinking. After the holidays are now over, I am transitioning back to a more Paleo-ish lifestyle. And notice I didn’t say full on Paleo. Why? Well, its all well and good to be an annoyingly faithful strict Paleo follower, but there are some drawbacks. Namely, convenience, boring food and damn, sometimes I just want to eat bread or cookies, okay?
The last couple of months my lifting volume has picked up and my CrossFit-ish workouts have decreased depending on how close to a meet I am getting. On a heavy day and the day right after, I am starving all the time. I feel like I just can’t get enough calories in me, regardless of where they come from. And sometimes, I just don’t have time. This is the obstacle that our modern lifestyle imposes upon us. In exchange for conveniences like technology, we give up the simplistic nature we used to have. So, I can’t always be picky about where my food comes from if my main goal is just to replenish after a day of 10×10 back squats at 75% 1RM (felt like I would never regain feeling in my hamstrings). And, for all the low calorie fanatics and people that promote the whole low-moderate carb all the time, here’s the thing: you can’t do it all the time. It needs to be relative to your training volume and physical activity levels. Low carb for me is about 100g/day on a normal training day and about 200g/day on a really heavy day. That carb cycling needs to be worked into training to replenish the glycogen that’s been drained over the previous 2-3 days.
So back to the bread thing (sorry for the diversion). I have done some heavy thinking and I have come to the realization that I am just not willing to give up fried eggs on toast (if you’ve never used a piece of toast to soak up egg yolk, you are missing out on magic). But I really do have reactions to gluten that I’d rather not have to deal with if I don’t have to. The answer? Get a bread machine and make your own fresh gluten-free bread. That’s why I said Paleo-ish. Its really not Paleo since the bread itself is rather starchy and made from things like white rice flour, sourghum and other grain-ish substances, just without the problem-causing gluten proteins.
I’ll explain my reasoning here and hope that this will help some of you overcome some of the tougher decisions you’re facing with going Paleo or not. The years of dietitian and nutritional counseling training in me tells me that someone is not going to change their lifestyle if they are not ready or if the change falls outside the scope of what they are willing to do or capable of doing right now. Some people can quit huge things cold turkey and never look back while others need to make 20 small changes gradually in order to effect a major lifestyle change. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Personally, I care more about getting the calories into myself on those heavy days than I care about whether I’m pleasing the Paleo fairies. I already drink raw dairy, so what’s the occasional slice or two of gluten free bread going to do? (and by occasional I probably mean daily)
My point is, find what you’re willing to change now and work on the other stuff over time. If you can’t go 100% Paleo right away, that’s okay. Start with things like Gluten-free foods and cutting out vegetable oils. Then you can work on cooking more Paleo-friendly foods and increasing your intake of things like nuts, seeds and berries, along with fresh veggies and fruit. While going strict Paleo for at least 2-3 weeks initially is the best way to get started, I know how challenging it can be to remove entire food groups from your diet at once without proper planning.
Here is the fruit of my bread machine labors:
This bread loaf was from a mix of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free bread from Hy-Vee. I followed the instructions exactly on the box and the bread machine’s user manual and it turned out perfect. It also tasted better than regular store bought wheat bread (in my opinion). The texture was great, very fluffy and still had enough protein to feel like regular breads. The drawback is obviously that the loaves are smaller than regular bread loaves, but I guess there are sacrifices in every turn we take. You will also have to toast it longer than regular bread if you are planning to make toast with it. It does need to be stored in the refrigerator, also.
This loaf below was from a mix from the Gluten Free Pantry (bought a case of mixes on Amazon).
I actually prefer the Gluten Free Pantry mix as the crumb and texture are a little more consistent and more like regular bread.
What are some things that some of you have made substitutions for to transition into Paleo-ish eating?