Need some input / making food from scratch vs. primal/paleo - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-19-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope this is a good place to put this, I am just needing to read other peoples thoughts on this. If it turns into a long rant I am sorry.

My family has been on and off the primal wagon for the last 3ish years. When we went primal  at first it was because my DS was getting hives from all forms of wheat, corn, soy, and some fruits (he has since then grown out of all of his food allergies). We did great for over 18 months and then our diet went back to SAD. Then we tried to do gaps to fix my husbands food issues and honestly it sucked. I have never been so miserable in my life and my husband and DS HATED it so we tried to go back to primal but the SAD diet just keeps coming back up in the diet. We committed to going fully primal again back in September and it went great til Halloween and then it just went right back out the window. I feel like no matter how hard I try to do the primal diet I just can not stick with it. I forget to take meat out of the freezer and then we struggle to find something to make for dinner. I am tired of breakfast being just bacon and eggs, I try to make almond flour pancakes and muffins for breakfast but no-one really likes them and they are expensive to make and take forever to get cooked. My DH has said more than once that he is tired of not having treats in the house and honestly no matter how hard I try I just cant seem to get primal treats baked up, cost is a HUGE factor in this. Almond flour is anywhere from $8-$14 a pound around here and when I can get coconut flour its always at least $6 or more. I had a recipe I really liked that used almond flour and almond butter add in some pumpkin for some little pumpkin like muffins, then I did the math and have not made them again. So besides money and what my family is perceiving to be lack of treats and variety every time we are out late or have to leave really early we end up at a fast food joint spending $25 on food that in terms of nutrition and taste sucks. I cant help but think if I invested some time in making muffins and stuff that I can throw in a cooler and take with us I could avoid these places and we could eat some snacks on the way and make it til we get home (we live about 40 minutes from town, asking a 3 year old to wait 40 minutes when he is starving just does not work) I have tried taking fruit and nuts, beef jerky and hard boiled eggs with us but I am the only one who likes nuts or eggs, and DH cant eat fruit so I feel like a failure. I am almost 34 weeks pregnant and I am worried about DH trying to figure out what to do for food for a few weeks once I have the baby. I just want to feed my family good quality very nutritious food, its one of my top priorities but I just feel like the harder I try at this the more I fail. Anyone have any ideas? What would you all do? I see my options as keep trying to be primal and do the best I can at it but then we end up splurging and buying snack cakes and stuff from the store when we go because I just don't have the willpower to say no anymore, or just say screw it and I can make those same snack cakes and then at least it wont be processed and filled with all kinds of artificial crap and preservatives. I know how to make my own breads and pasta, I can make most sauces without packages of stuff. I don't know how to make my own yogurt or anything like that, I have tried many times to make sauerkraut but it never seems to do anything. So now that I feel this did in fact turn out to be a long rant what would you mamas do?

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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You could do one of two things here: 

 

1.  Do 80% Paleo or Primal instead of trying to do 100%.  Even regular Paleos do this!  Maybe try Paleo every OTHER night or so?  Just do Paleo for lunches and dinners?

 

2.  Focus on cutting the sugar and salt down to size, and eating non-processed foods.  So what if you eat beans, corn, or wheat a couple nights a week!  By cutting down sugar and salt, that alone puts you way ahead of many when it comes to improving health.

 

~Not a mom, but definitely a Paleo

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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I am a father.  I admin a paleo group on Facebook: http://is.gd/paleogroup and just put out a book called The Paleo Miracle: 50 Real Stories of Health Transformation (www.paleomiracle.com).  This issue comes up almost daily in the group.  We support each other through it.  Here is a post I wrote and reposted several times to the group. I hope it helps.

1 - Nobody is perfect. Don't beat yourself up for eating a cookie every other day, or even for binging. Paleo is hard enough to do without carrying guilt around at the same time. If you had a plan and it didn't work perfectly, for whatever reason, set new (realistic) goals and get back on track, and stick to it. Repeat as many times as it takes. You will succeed.

2 - It's a gradual process. If you are new to this and go cold turkey you are a lot more likely to want to binge than if you do it in steps.

3 - Other people may not like to hear this, but here it is: consider setting up rewards for yourself for accomplishing longer and longer periods of perfect Paleo. Yes, Paleo itself is the reward, but if eating a chocolate cherry every time you go longer will better motivate you, I say do it. Keep the rewards small because you will appreciate them more, and because you won't carry around any guilt for indulging in them. If you keep increasing the length of time, eventually you will lose interest in it.

4 - This is something that has NOT been talked about enough: We are constantly bombarded by ads for food that is horrible for us. We are surrounded by people - including close friends - who are eating things that may kill them and are loving every bite, offering it to us to share. We can't walk into a grocery store without thinking "at least 90% of the food in this place is off limits."

We are an extreme minority who often have to struggle for legitimacy from our own physicians. Without real life environmental, professional, or emotional support, or mainstream validation, and no one watching but ourselves, going Paleo can be very difficult because there is likely to be lingering doubt in either the lifestyle or in yourself, or both.

On the other hand: We are revolutionaries. We will be the fittest who survive. We should be recognized for our efforts in this regard, even when we have a setback.

For now, we mostly only have one another to provide us with support. It's hard to avoid negative feelings toward others who eat a SAD diet, and hard to resist temptation, so seek out others who do Paleo and surround yourself with them. This group is AMAZING, but we all need real life human support to thrive. And, if you are inspired, try to convert others and Paleo It Forward - but don't let it get to you if they resist. Some will want to learn and others won't. Such is life.

Of course, there will always be those people who go cold turkey, have no problem, and never look back. Just like there are people who run their first marathon impromptu and under 2.5 hours. Don't let them bother you. Let them motivate you.

 

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Old 11-20-2012, 08:46 AM
 
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Hi, I'm really sorry to hear of your frustration with your family's diet.

 

A few things jump out at me from your post.

 

One is that your family members seem to want different things from their diet. Another is that you all seem to be dependent on carbohydrates to satisfy your hunger.

 

Two suggestions are:

 

First, I recommend that you try to lower your carbohydrates significantly. If your family is able to do this, many of your frustrations will be solved. You will not need to snack frequently, if at all, in order to maintain your energy levels. You will not need to bake nor buy grain substitutes. Most of the products in the grocery store will not be appealing as impulse buys, since most of those products are carbohydrates, specifically sugar.

 

It took about a year for my family to lower our carb intake. We had "induction flu" on and off through that year. Carbohydrate metabolism is a physical addiction and there will be effects if you don't get the carbs you are used to. It seems to me that this is why people snack and eat so frequently, because carbs are metabolized quickly - used or stored - then low blood sugar sets in, is mistaken for hunger, and more carbohydrates must be consumed to prevent physical discomfort.

 

We now eat about 60-80 carbs per day. We eat three very small meals each day and don't snack at all.  

 

My second recommendation is that perhaps your husband could eat different food than you do if he has different interests and preferences in diet from you. You can prepare individual dishes ahead of time and then cook them at the same time. That's what we do here because of taste preferences; We use small crockery baking dishes and I assemble a variety of individual raw meals, then each person selects the meal they want and we broil them together at the same time. Some things, such as oven browned potatoes on the side, I make and cook ahead of time so that the entire meal in the individual dish is evenly cooked in one session.

 

If you and your family are able to view food as food and not as "dishes" and recipes, it will help a lot. We eat handfuls of plain greens rather than preparing a "salad," for example. A piece of meat is just that, topped with butter and accompanied by some baked cherry tomatoes or cold cheese. We basically "assemble" meals, with whole natural ingredients.

 

We don't have cravings, don't snack, and don't buy processed food. It seems to me that most dietary approaches attempt to mimic the SAD diet with recipes and faux foods. For example, nut flour is entirely different from grains in nutrition content and contains twice the calories as whole wheat flour; it is used as a substitute simply because of its texture.

 

Perhaps you can focus on your own nutritional goals for the time being, since you are pregnant and will soon have a newborn. Your husband should be able to manage for himself in the short term if he wishes to have other types of foods. Then you can address the "family diet" when you have more time.

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Old 11-21-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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Mama, it sounds like you are working hard to feed your family well -- Don't beat yourself up for sliding back into old habits now & then. Focus on the positive changes -- Are your kids eating more healthy snacks & fewer bad ones? That's a victory. Are you eating more from scratch/paleo than before? That's a victory.

 

My family's diet has evolved slowly over the course of at least 5 years (or more!). I feel that we're in a good place but it's far from perfect. For instance, we kicked our bread habit earlier this year. But now that I'm making more soups (in the cooler weather) we're eating small amounts of quality (& sometimes) homemade bread. I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

 

Also, we eat a lot of the same things over & over again. I'd say we have about a two-week rotation of foods that we modify slightly here & there and that vary by season. It has taken me years to become comfortable whipping up a soup or just throwing vegetables together to make a meal. Our routine sometimes gets boring but it's also comforting (& when it gets too boring, we find something else to add to it).

 

I'll also say that DH & I have both taken different journeys to get to where we are. I've always been into food but DH not so much. See if you can sneak some change into his diet & encourage him. But I found the more I pushed DH the more we remained entrenched in our own ways. If you notice some positive effect (or better if he notices it himself) maybe that'll be the push he needs.

 

But bottom line -- Focus on the small victories & have reasonable expectations for change.


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Old 11-22-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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I like the idea of paleo, but we live in an isolated northern community. Meat is expensive, and quality produce is hard to come by and also expensive. I find cooking from scratch a healthy alternative. We buy bread made from sprouted grains, I buy bulk brown rice, and beans, and lentils. I make muffins, and I throw in some hemp protein and extra eggs. We buy nuts and seeds in bulk, and enjoy quinoa as a side dish. I find eating a whole foods diet way easier than paleo, and it can be done taking allergies into consideration. I feel good about our diet. I have done GF, vegan, paleo, etc. for a few months at a time trying to find out what is best, and this is the best diet by far. Our dinner plate is 25% carb, 25% meat/protein, and 50% fruits/veg. 


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Old 11-24-2012, 05:39 PM
 
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Please don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to be rude or judgmental on anyone's food choices. But the thing that gets me about the paleo trend is the reliance on stuff like coconut and almonds. Those things don't grow in the majority of places on the north American continent, so I just don't get how it's a more natural diet. If I were literally a paleo person on the North American continent, I'd probably be getting my fat intake from high-fat seeds and animal fat. 

 

To answer the OP's dilemma more directly, I think good old-fashioned from-scratch cooking is the way to go. Eliminate the processed, packaged food. 


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Old 11-25-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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My understanding of paleo is not that we eat exactly as the cavemen did.  The idea is to drop processed foods, to do your own research into the nutrient value of the foods you do eat and the effect they have on your body (take nothing for granted simply because someone says they are healthy or unhealthy), and to listen to your body.  Coconut oil, for example, contains medium chain triglycerides and have been proven to be very useful and healthy for humans.  It is therefore on the paleo menu for many of us.  On the other hand, many paleo people can't eat nuts at all, for a variety of reasons including allergies, celiac, MS, etc. and for some of us they are off the menu.  Some of us never eat fructose, others do, daily.  Likewise dairy. 

 

Stated differently, there is no one universal paleo template beyond dropping grains, processed foods, and chemical ingredients.
 

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Old 11-26-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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^ Agreed. The biggest issue with dietary change that I see online is the reluctance to transition away from a SAD diet entirely by creating faux versions of it. For example, there are no sandwiches in my household because there is no bread; there is also no faux bread or bread substitute. So a "sandwich" is not a meal that we ever have. Letting go of the concept of "sandwich" is just as important as eliminating bread. This is why I recommend that people who want to change their diet toward paleo or whole natural foods focus on the actual food, not recipes or named dishes.

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread, the last few weeks were overly busy. There are some very good thoughts in here, thank you guys for your ideas. We don't actually snack that much, well I do because I am so overly pregnant that I can barely fit enough food in my belly to last an hour let alone 3 or 4. But we do still snack some. I think its important for me to offer my kid a snack between meals, hes only 3 and I do try to keep the snacks healthy like cheese sticks, apples and almond butter, grape tomatoes and cheese, stuff like that. But when we have to go on a 2 hour car ride to the Dr I need to have a snack for him in case it takes longer than I thought it would but he can only eat so much cheese or apples in a day. I sat down with my DH and talked about this and he agrees that the idea of primal is the best thing for our family and that if we do stray and want to have a cake it would be much better for me to buy the flour, sugar and whatever I need to bake one than to buy one from the store, but he also said that he sees me fighting constantly with cravings and he doesn't have the heart to tell me that I am eating to much sugar or whatever because he feels that I need to eat what I crave because I only crave it because I need it, I don't think my body is really craving sugar as much as its craving a vitamin that I assume the sugar filled snack will have. I know that doesn't sound right, but I just don't know how to put it into words I guess (lets say my body needs vitamin c, vitamin c is in a lot of fruits which are sweet, so is a little debbie snack cake, obviously I should eat an orange or something like that not the little debbie snack cake, but I choose the cake over the orange and I am not sure why). I also do not feel that eating 60 grams of carbs a day is a good number, I don't think we should be eating 300+ like on a SAD diet, but 60 is just not enough, we did strict primal long enough to know that when my DH goes below 100 or so he starts to have heart issues, like palpitations and irregular heartbeat and he is not the only person that has had this issue. I am also not about to restrict my child from eating carb heavy fruits and veggies because he might be to close to the 60 gram mark that day, I want him to eat real foods and plenty of them and not think oh bananas are bad for me because they have to many carbs. Real food is real food and I would much prefer him to eat real food than fake food. Mark Sisson says to stay under 150 so I set that as my goal. I also don't limit fruit at all. One of the reasons I stopped going to the forums on Marks Daily Apple is because those people are crazy, they take a statement that some people should stay at a very low number of carbs (to lose weight or because of specific medical issues) and its then written in stone and they do the same with fruit, some of them don't eat carrots because they consider them to high in carbs. I refuse to not eat a natural food because someone who is 300 pounds and diabetic probably should stay away from it for a bit to help get the weight off and help them reset their metabolism and insulin. I owe a lot to Mark but some of his followers are just a bit off the deep end. Anyway all this being said I do appreciate all the feedback from you guys and I am just going to try to get through the next month of being pregnant and then the first month of baby and by then hopefully I will be less stressed out and able to clearly look at our diet and see where I need to go from there. I never want to go back to eating SAD so even if I still make myself treats from wheat flour and sugar I will be better off making them at home than buying anything pre made from the store. Sorry if this is jumbled and not making much sense, my brain is overwhelmed right now.

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Salama View Post

My understanding of paleo is not that we eat exactly as the cavemen did.  The idea is to drop processed foods, to do your own research into the nutrient value of the foods you do eat and the effect they have on your body (take nothing for granted simply because someone says they are healthy or unhealthy), and to listen to your body.  Coconut oil, for example, contains medium chain triglycerides and have been proven to be very useful and healthy for humans.  It is therefore on the paleo menu for many of us.  On the other hand, many paleo people can't eat nuts at all, for a variety of reasons including allergies, celiac, MS, etc. and for some of us they are off the menu.  Some of us never eat fructose, others do, daily.  Likewise dairy. 

 

Stated differently, there is no one universal paleo template beyond dropping grains, processed foods, and chemical ingredients.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PumaBearclan View Post

^ Agreed. The biggest issue with dietary change that I see online is the reluctance to transition away from a SAD diet entirely by creating faux versions of it. For example, there are no sandwiches in my household because there is no bread; there is also no faux bread or bread substitute. So a "sandwich" is not a meal that we ever have. Letting go of the concept of "sandwich" is just as important as eliminating bread. This is why I recommend that people who want to change their diet toward paleo or whole natural foods focus on the actual food, not recipes or named dishes.

In regard to the above two responses, yeah - I'm probably oversimplifying a bit, but it's still something that strikes me as a bit odd about the way some people (certainly not all) interpret the diet. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogo0685 View Post

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread, the last few weeks were overly busy. There are some very good thoughts in here, thank you guys for your ideas. We don't actually snack that much, well I do because I am so overly pregnant that I can barely fit enough food in my belly to last an hour let alone 3 or 4. But we do still snack some. I think its important for me to offer my kid a snack between meals, hes only 3 and I do try to keep the snacks healthy like cheese sticks, apples and almond butter, grape tomatoes and cheese, stuff like that. But when we have to go on a 2 hour car ride to the Dr I need to have a snack for him in case it takes longer than I thought it would but he can only eat so much cheese or apples in a day. I sat down with my DH and talked about this and he agrees that the idea of primal is the best thing for our family and that if we do stray and want to have a cake it would be much better for me to buy the flour, sugar and whatever I need to bake one than to buy one from the store, but he also said that he sees me fighting constantly with cravings and he doesn't have the heart to tell me that I am eating to much sugar or whatever because he feels that I need to eat what I crave because I only crave it because I need it, I don't think my body is really craving sugar as much as its craving a vitamin that I assume the sugar filled snack will have. I know that doesn't sound right, but I just don't know how to put it into words I guess (lets say my body needs vitamin c, vitamin c is in a lot of fruits which are sweet, so is a little debbie snack cake, obviously I should eat an orange or something like that not the little debbie snack cake, but I choose the cake over the orange and I am not sure why). I also do not feel that eating 60 grams of carbs a day is a good number, I don't think we should be eating 300+ like on a SAD diet, but 60 is just not enough, we did strict primal long enough to know that when my DH goes below 100 or so he starts to have heart issues, like palpitations and irregular heartbeat and he is not the only person that has had this issue. I am also not about to restrict my child from eating carb heavy fruits and veggies because he might be to close to the 60 gram mark that day, I want him to eat real foods and plenty of them and not think oh bananas are bad for me because they have to many carbs. Real food is real food and I would much prefer him to eat real food than fake food. Mark Sisson says to stay under 150 so I set that as my goal. I also don't limit fruit at all. One of the reasons I stopped going to the forums on Marks Daily Apple is because those people are crazy, they take a statement that some people should stay at a very low number of carbs (to lose weight or because of specific medical issues) and its then written in stone and they do the same with fruit, some of them don't eat carrots because they consider them to high in carbs. I refuse to not eat a natural food because someone who is 300 pounds and diabetic probably should stay away from it for a bit to help get the weight off and help them reset their metabolism and insulin. I owe a lot to Mark but some of his followers are just a bit off the deep end. Anyway all this being said I do appreciate all the feedback from you guys and I am just going to try to get through the next month of being pregnant and then the first month of baby and by then hopefully I will be less stressed out and able to clearly look at our diet and see where I need to go from there. I never want to go back to eating SAD so even if I still make myself treats from wheat flour and sugar I will be better off making them at home than buying anything pre made from the store. Sorry if this is jumbled and not making much sense, my brain is overwhelmed right now.

 

OP - it actually sounds like you've got a pretty clear idea about what's healthy in general and for your family. My advice would be to not stress about it too much. It sounds like you're focusing on cooking from scratch where you can, offering healthy snacks like fruit and cheese and getting a good balance of foodstuffs and nutrients - everything in moderation. 

 

(And just a friendly note about the giant paragraph - if you try to break up long posts into smaller paragraphs, it'll be a little easier to read. But we'll give you a break since you're pregnant. :-) )


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Old 12-01-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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I wanted to point out that 60g of carbs per day is not uncomfortable or dangerous for many people, and that there will be a period of metabolic adjustment to a low-carb diet. It took me a year to adjust to low carb and I did feel ill some of the time, including heart palpitations. I was in doubt about the diet some of the time. If you eat low-carb, you will get authentic cravings for carbs during your induction period. The difference between a craving for carbohydrates and a craving for a particular food is that the vitamins in a particular food are necessary for health while carbohydrates (beyond a certain point) are detrimental to health (this is the opinion and evidence of low-carb diets). All these symptoms passed and now I'm in better health than before. Eating more protein was necessary for me to adapt to low-carb. A low-carb metabolism is a physiological change that many people (including me) believe is natural and beneficial, but every person should do their own research and make their own choices.

 

Eating low-carb or very low-carb is not the "deep end." There are carb-free diets - zero-carb, as well as vegan fruit-based diets that are more extreme.

 

Carrots are mostly carbs and are about half sugars. That adds up if a person is juicing them.

 

At 60-80g carbs per day and no supplements I still get at least 100% of all vitamins & minerals in the RDA profile, so it is possible to be well-nourished while avoiding sugars.

 

During pregnancy is probably not a good time to attempt shifting your metabolic function, and your nutritional requirements will also be affected if you breastfeed. My own experience is that tracking my diet took focus and effort at the beginning: in self-education, support, and regular calculation. That may not be something you have the time for right now.

 

There is good information and support in this thread, and I hope you gain peace of mind about your diet and have a healthy pregnancy!

 

Puma

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