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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eighty Percent Paleo?

Ok, let's say you are 80% paleo...
Does this mean that the above is just fine??


I don't think so; but it appears to me that this is just exactly what is done by a lot of paleo, or as Mark Sisson dubs it, primal folks!  I mean, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it is really easy to cheat, and say:

"Hey- I've been really good today- I had eggs and fruit for breakfast, a salad with salmon for lunch, and now some friends are visiting, and I wouldn't want them to feel deprived, and so I'll join them in a nice little dessert, and maybe some bread with dinner, because I wouldn't want them to feel deprived..."

I'm sure this is not what Mark Sisson, or any other Paleo person has in mind when they say to "just eat 80% paleo, that's OK!"  Even a little gluten, say a cookie, will seriously irritate (think: punch holes in!) your gut lining!  Does that sound like a minor thing?  It opens you up to all of the ills of modern civilization, including autoimmune disease!  Also, if you are just getting started in the paleo way of life, and you "cheat" with a slice of bread here, a cookie there, and justify it with the thought that "Well, I ate that way for 20-30 years, and I'm OK", just remember, the damage is cumulative, meaning that eventually it will catch up with you!  If not diabetes, or skin problems, obesity or heart disease... something will sooner or later come to get you...

I think the worst of this 80/20 mindset is that you never really get a good benchmark of just how good you can look and feel!  You have to go pretty much all out paleo for 30 days or so to even get an idea.
Then, and only then, you can "tinker" with the concept; experimenting with dairy (many people have NO trouble with kefir and cheese), trying a little white rice, etcetera...

You will have also reached the point where, if you do introduce something like the 20% Twinkie idea above, you will feel so crappy that you will have learned a valuable lesson!  But, if you don't have that 30 day benchmark, all you know is how crappy you've been feeling for years- you don't really have anything to benchmark against it.

I think a good way to conceptualize the Paleo Diet is to think of eating the best, most nutritious foods you possibly can, every day, for every single bite. ( A paleo smoothie just makes it that much easier). This is what our bodies really want, need, and require- 0% empty calories!  If we keep this in mind, if every single thing we feed our starving bodies (this is the state of bodies eating a Standard American Diet) is nutrient dense, then eventually we will find there is no room left for "fake" or bad foods, i.e. grains, sugars, and other drug/foods that our brain-washed minds may crave, but that gradually poison our bodies.


“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius

"The happiness of your body depends upon the quality of your food."
---PaleoJay