Hola. Don’t be upset with me because I haven’t posted in a while. I met a major deadline today and I’m ready to re-enter the blogosphere. YAY!
I had several different people ask me about clean eating last week. “Paleo” has been coming up a lot in the past year as well, especially amongst my athlete friends.
Basically, I am neither, and that is because I drink like a sailor, and there is nothing good about that. All drinking aside, I eat clean 90% of the time and Paleo 60%. I don’t like hard, fast rules. Everything in moderation. Except vodka. Let it flow…
So what’s the big diff? Be enlightened.
Clean Eating (CE, as I like to abbreviate it): Basically, CE means you are removing processed and refined foods from your diet. Barcode? Questionable. More than three ingredients? Questionable. I eat some meal replacement bars (Quest, Balance, Luna, Supreme Protein) and these have obviously been processed. Even protein powder is processed. I also cheat on Sunday afternoons and on days of significant sporting events. If someone wants to pay me to go full-on clean, I will. I will also clean it up 100% when I’m preggo. From what I’ve heard, drinking alcohol is not recommended when you are pregnant. Here are some basic rules to “live by” if you want to be a clean eater:
- Little to no salt or preservatives.
- Five to six small meals a day is preferable to three large ones. Grazing. I dig it.
- Steer clear of high saturated and trans fats. Good fats (olive oil, avocado, coconut oil okay) are… good. Shocking.
- Eat organic and local when possible.
- Processed grains are bad (most flour, bread, pasta) whole grains are good (brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats).
- Drink lots of water. LOTS.
Paleo – Pretend you are a caveman and eat accordingly. Seriously, die-hard Paleo folks try to mimic the eating habits of our most primitive ancestors, eating mainly meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Peleos eat things that can be hunted/gathered. As a runner, I don’t like the idea of NO carbs from grain. On the flip, I also don’t want my grains being genetically engineered! There are great things about this diet; tons of fiber from fruits and vegetables, high protein, and sugars come from fruits so there’s a lower glycemic index. Here are some rules of Paleo:
- No salt
- No beans or legumes (including peanuts, what?)
- No grains – AT ALL
- No potatoes. No, not even sweet potato. <-But WHY?! You can gather these! Don’t shoot the messenger.
- No dairy
- ALL THE FRUITS AND VEG YOUR LITTLE HEART DESIRES.
- DEATH BY LEAN AND GRASS FED MEATS. YES PLEASE.
Most Paleo’s I’ve talked to are athletes and calorie control is not a concern. The idea of eating as MUCH as I want of something, anything, is awesome. I can eat steamed white fish until I’m blue in the face?! I’d take that over eating one cookie any day.
So the major difference is that clean eaters will consume whole grains and pastas and dairy products while Paleo eaters will not. If it wasn’t around 100,000 years ago, it’s not going into their bodies.
I’ve found that Paleos can be a little fanatic. And that’s fine. There are worse things to obsess over. I, personally, like nice flavors. I know that chocolate cake is bad for me, but it tastes so good, so I will have a little bit. Cheese and truffle butter? I don’t eat them every day, or generally even keep them around, but I need them in my life. Also, I am a chef. I have to always keep my palette open to new experiences. Hey, just doin’ my job.
Clean eating makes sense to me. I totally cleaned up my diet in the past two and a half weeks and lost five pounds. WHAT? I’ve never really lost or gained much weight in my life, so there is something to this. Admittedly I’ve also stepped up the cardio, so that has contributed. As someone who has spent their entire life as an athlete (minus the surgery-fest of the last two years) I can say that clean eating makes you feel BETTER – which will translate to all sorts of good things in you life. You are happier, more rested, less bloated, your skin looks better… and your body looks better. Who doesn’t appreciate a nice, lean, muscular body?
Jump on the clean train. Immediately. 60% of the time it works every time.