Really confused on veggies and fruits with Primal eating. I have been to MDA website many times but am just finally reading the Primal Diet book - on Chapter 2. I am borrowing it from the library.
He is clear about eating no grains and sugars. It looks like no potatoes and perhaps no corn. I found an article where he says “limit starchy foods like beans (not sure if that’s dried beans or green beans?), sweet potatoes, beets, etc”
So I went to look up high starchy vegetables and am wondering if these are ok for Primal eating and how often?
Corn, sweet potatoes, dried beans, lentils, green beans, peas, winter squash, pumpkin, beets, carrots.
We tend to grow beets, carrots, peas, green beans and winter squash in our garden so we can eat them fresh and organic. Also some of these veggies are very affordable. We do not have the budget for mushrooms, avocado, out of season tomatoes, asparagus.. We mostly eat potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, squash, lettuce and broccoli. I buy frozen asian veggie mixes for stir fries too.
This is one reason we didn't end up following Primal strictly and went more towards a one-ingredient diet... but I think one point I did take away from it was that less labor-intensive foods (like grain, which took a lot of time to collect, cook, etc.) were consumed earlier, and obviously they tried to eat in season with the exeption of drying and storing some things for winter.
Sorry I can't be of more help, it was the limiting veggies that kind of bothered me about the whole primal thing. I'd love to see more input, though, from someone it has worked for or from people who are more knowledgable.
If you're going to be strict about it, lentils are out because they're legumes. Corn is supposed to be out because technically it's a grain. Starchy vegetables (like squash, sweet potatoes, and I guess beets?) depend on your overall state of health and activity level. If you're lean and active, more starch is fine. If you're looking to lose weight or are not active, less starch is better.
Now...that's the party line, but in practice, I think you have to figure out what works for you. Personally, I consider myself a Primal eater, but I eat starchy vegetables, including white potatoes. I also eat corn in its vegetable form occasionally, and I eat plenty of fruit. I have a healthy metabolism, am active, and am at a healthy weight. If I wanted to get truly, truly lean, I would start by cutting out some of this stuff. But I don't think it's worth it to lose that last ten pounds that I really don't "need" to lose anyway. I think the most important things are to avoid processed foods and eat a diet that consists of whole, nutrient-dense foods, and that will get you most of the way there. Worrying about corn, squash, sweet potatoes, etc is not going to give most healthy people much additional benefit IMO (barring food sensitivities or something of that nature).
I lost what I felt was too much weight on a primal diet. I was still feeling 100% healthy but I didn't want to be SO skinny! I wasn't actually even overweight before but lost 30 lbs in several months. It was dramatic!
I have eaten a relaxed "primal-centered" diet ever since (it's just been a few months), which started as a deliberate attempt to put back on a few pounds by choosing bulking foods I was previously avoiding. I have a hierarchy of preferred foods and if I indulge outside of the primal bounds I don't stress or guilt. I'm still seeing how well this works out for me. So far I am content.
Anyhow I was really just trying to explain my hierarchy. I am mostly grain-free but not completely. I'll even use a slice of white bread as a tidy way to hold my meaty meal--like an edible wrapper--sometimes. I don't hesitate about eating any of the vegetables as I no longer consider being "starchy" to be a significant disadvantage. Grains still are problems IMO so I think that potatoes are better than wheat. I regularly eat winter squash, carrots, greens, onions, green beans. I also eat some corn. I eat few fruits, I think fruits are naturally scarce and that their sugars are better for children than adults. In my house, fruits are mainly for the kids.
I eat some legumes and some grain but consider myself clearly outside primal diet when I do so. Still it's pretty limited. I am happy having my core diet be primal and not worry about the 5-10% that isn't.
My kids don't eat primal. I have a child who is GFCF by his own choice currently. I also have a child whose tummy often gets upset by meats and doesn't like eggs. I am even flexible about sweets. I actually have a "no wheat for breakfast" rule for the kids but oatmeal is okay...
For myself I watch for signs that I am getting carb-focused hunger swings. When my appetite seems to get more "munchie" then I feel like I am off-track. But for me eating a few of the non-primal things isn't enough to mess that up, and as long as my appetite feels healthy I am 100% content with my diet. The change in my appetite patterns is my favorite benefit from primal diet because I am free from cravings and no longer have a desire to overeat.
ME&HE... loving our: dd(18) ~~ds(13) dd(13)~~ dd(10)
Sorry OP, this is not an answer. I just wanted to say, littlest birds, what a very smart and balanced take on things. So glad you are working to find what works for your family and your body.!
Becky- Wife to DH, Mama to "Nani" (July '08) "Coco" (July '10) and Decker the Wrecker (May'13)
Thanks all, this is very helpful. I read ahead a bit in the book and agree.... most veggies are not "off limits" but be aware the starchy ones are high carb. He does mention beets and sweet potatoes favourably so I know they are nutritious.
I feel like with his overall carb recommendations for both maintaining and weight loss, I could see where these starchy veggies fit into my diet. I would like to lose weight and have experiemented with grain free in the past, but not going all out primal. So the book is giving me a wider perspective of the whole lifestyle..
Well, my experience was that being more strictly primal, plus eating smallish meals (which was actually what matched my appetite), really made the pounds drop off. I still ate a few potatoes even when the weight loss was occurring FWIW but it would be a few little chunks of potato and carrot beside my big chunk of roast. I ate lots of eggs with veggies and bacon and lots of salads with meat in them.
In the old days as a vegetarian I used to sometimes make a meal of a full sweet potato (with soy milk and raisins). We've also made many dinners where the main course was two large baked potatoes per adult alongside a green veggie. I would say don't do that. But if you want a portion of either of these with your "real" food go for it. That would be qualify as "limited" In my opinion starchy veggies are healthier than starchy legumes.
Green beans are vegetable, dry beans legume. The first ranks pretty high because they're green and not starchy, but dry beans you should limit or completely avoid.
Like you I eat more in-season and do not buy the asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, etc. We currently eat only eat a handful of veggies as go-to staples: sauerkraut, greens, onions, squash and carrots. Moderate green beans, broccoli, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Only occasionally mushrooms and extras like frozen sweet peppers from the garden. (I do use canned tomatoes and salsa)
My approach to vegetables is that it's best to give preference to something green (I mean other than sweet peas BTW) as often as possible and then onions/garlic/sauerkraut are my personal superfoods. Beyond that they are mostly moderately starchy and yet basically healthy things to get in the mix and round out a meal. We do a lot of repetition.
ME&HE... loving our: dd(18) ~~ds(13) dd(13)~~ dd(10)
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