For Paleo eaters, there is a wide range of beliefs about what we should and should not eat. Note: for those of you unfamiliar with a Paleo lifestyle, jump to the end for some links to my previous articles on the subject. For some, they are die-hard Paleo and follow some of the original rules (e.g. no dairy, no legumes, no grains, etc.). If you follow some of the more “new school” Paleo rules, they are a little more lenient, making room for some of the things that we have today that are beneficial despite the fact they weren’t available to our ancestors. Another reason is that sometimes a strict diet regimen is difficult to fit in to our busy lives 24 hours a day. To be realistic about the stress we put in to our lives, everything we do must be balanced by what we get out of it. If it’s more stressful and time consuming to figure out how to eat Paleo at your best friend’s wedding, then it’s nice to give yourself the freedom to stray from the diet long enough to enjoy yourself!
I happen to fall into the more lenient category. While I avoid the big things like grains, sugar, legumes and dairy about 90% of the time, I still allow myself a few things off of that list because I know enough about nutrition to know that they’re good for me, and as long as I use my head and eat them in moderation. I also believe that there is value in enjoying life, and that means that tailoring the Paleo lifestyle to my life brings me more enjoyment.
I call the things below my “cheats”; however, I wouldn’t say that they’re deviating from the primary purpose of the Paleo lifestyle enough to be damaging, as is typical of a real cheat (like a daily hot fudge sundae or something!). It’s important to make sure that how you’re eating is balanced (balanced as it pertains to your life, Paleo nutrition is already well-balanced) and something you can easily sustain, otherwise it will never be a lifetime change.
So here’s the Top 5 ways that I “cheat” on a Paleo Diet, and why:
- Low-carb Yogurt- a healthy digestive tract is important, and yogurt is awesome to maintaining your health in that area. The problem is (beyond that it’s dairy), the plain variety is totally unappealing to me, and the flavored variety contains a ton of sugar. So, I went out and found myself a low-carb version. The one I’m buying is made by Kroger (a grocery-store chain). I haven’t found any other brands as easy to find; here’s the specifics: 60 calories, 3 g carbs, and 12 grams of protein. I get the flavor I want, give my digestive system something it needs, and don’t pay the high-price in carbs. I realize Kroger is not everywhere, so you may have to do some research and see if you can find a store in your area that sells a low-carb yogurt, but it’s worth the effort. Add some fresh berries to it, and it’s good enough to be dessert, too.
- Yogurt in my mind is one of the things that while Caveman obviously didn’t have access to it, it is an obviously healthy improvement to our diet.
If you’re interested in more, I first posted on the Paleo lifestyle on my other blog A Splendid Life, followed by a few updates of when I initially tested the diet. A while after that, I gave it another try and have been a “lifer” ever since.