Wednesday, 17 April 2013


Here's reason #3 for why I'm not (just) Paleo:

Animals are expensive. From my pet cat to a pasture of cows, animals can be costly buggers. For a glossy coat and a happy digestive tract, Zoey eats quality cat food. Cha-ching! After she's consumed all of her food, she needs somewhere to dispose of it. Cha-ching! Oh, and don't get me started on her constant shedding. She costs time spent cleaning just from the amount of fur she leaves laying on the couch, on our clothes, on our clothes after we've sat on the couch. Cha-ching!

As for those cows, they can be costly, too. Sure, you can find inexpensive meat at your local grocery store, but what kind of meat is it if it's from animals that lived in cramped pens surrounded by their own faeces while feasting on processed grains and being injected with steroids and hormones to prevent them from getting "sick"? Mm probably the inexpensive kind that also costs very little to produce. Do you really want to be consuming that meat?

Okay, so choose the higher quality meat that's grass-fed, free-range, free-pasture, and free of steroids and hormones, and you're looking at a much heftier price tag. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather pay more for meat that I can feel good about, physically and ethically, but it can be costly. That said, in order to achieve adequate protein intake within my budget, I like to supplement cuts of meat with tofu, nuts, hemp, quinoa, and the occasional bean or two. While some of these foods (ie. nuts, hemp, and quinoa) might seem more expensive to some, a little goes a long way. A serving of any of these foods doesn't need to cost a lot. And, while the same goes for that higher quality meat, it can still cost more than many of these plant-based options.

The Paleo diet can be very expensive if taken to its extreme - that means grass-fed, free-range, free-pasture, and generally, healthier meat (and perhaps more importantly, healthier animal fat). The accessibility to such product at an affordable price is much harder to come by within an urban centre. My parents live in a smaller town and get most of their meat from friends with a farm of their own. They know exactly where their meat is coming from and can therefore trust the quality of that meat. For someone like myself, who lives in the city, the Paleo diet remains costly. That said, by including some plant-based proteins in my diet, I can now afford a little of the best kind of animal protein. Here, it's quality over quantity.

Learn why else I don't just do Paleo here and here, and stay tuned for my Paleo Confessions conclusion!

image via pinterest

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


I love Meatless Mondays (and other days when I declare vegetarianism). The truth is, I enjoy vegetarian options (almost) as much as I enjoy meat-lover options. I like the added variety that consuming plant-based proteins provides. I like the affordability that comes with many of these plant-based proteins. I love coming up with new and delicious ways to cook with these foods. And of course, one of my favourite lunch spots is Fresh.

Oh, and did I mention the added variety?

As noted in my last post, the Paleo diet excludes legumes and grains, two food groups that typically play an important role in a vegetarian diet. Paleo advocates argue that legumes and grains contain anti-nutrients. But, did you know that soaking your legumes in water prior to preparation and consumption can eliminate or reduce these anti-nutrients, not to mention unlock valuable nutrients that make them more nutritious than in their raw form?

Can beef do that?

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good steak and am a huge fan of fish, but since reintroducing legumes to my diet, I haven't experienced any major side effects, therefore giving me no reasons to exclude them. For me, including plant-based proteins is a great way to switch up my menu week to week. After all, chicken can only be prepared so many ways. And with no serious side effects from consuming these foods, what's stopping me from enjoying a chickpea or two?

Diets modelled after a Paleolithic one are said to be the best choice in order to alleviate symptoms of inflammation and therefore, the most beneficial for those who suffer from autoimmune disorders. However, even with my lupus, I refuse to label my diet "Paleo" for fear of restriction and limitation. I choose to consume real, whole foods. Sometimes, this includes dairy (non-Paleo) and sometimes it means a glob of hummus (also non-Paleo). But most of the time, I know exactly the ways in which consuming certain foods will affect me. Just because the Paleo diet has served so many so well, doesn't mean it's the right option for me (or you). The Paleo diet has re-taught me what foods and/or food groups I should avoid, but also what foods I can consume without serious side effects, at least in moderation.

As I'll say over and over again: it's about finding what works for you. 

Despite avoiding certain foods all together for reasons important to me (ie. gluten), I choose to consume everything in moderation. Variety. These foods that presumably contain anti-nutrients aren't typically finding their way on to my plate on a day-to-day basis. Why? Variety.

As I'll reiterate in a later post within this series, the old adage of "everything in moderation" is key to living a healthy and happy lifestyle. It's that added variety I keep talking about, right?

Check out one of my favourite foodie links My New Roots for Meatless Mondays, and my recipes page for vegetarian options, including Four Cheese Macaroni and Sweet & Spicy Tofu Stir Fry.

And, if you're interested, Kim at Yogitrition offers a great summary of why we should soak our legumes.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


After completing the Whole30 and reintroducing any eliminated foods and food groups, after declaring the continuation of my diet Paleolithic according to Cordain's 85-15 rule, and after sliding down the slippery slope away from a Paleo diet and towards one that includes non-Paleo foods, I'm slowly starting to (finally) conclude what kind of diet serves me best - for now at least.

Back in December, I wrote a guest post here entitled Paleo Confessions. In this post, I talked about my experience during the Whole30 and my transition to a (predominantly) Paleo diet, including any challenges I may have encountered. Now, I want to share with you the reasons why I've decided to not fully adopt a Paleo diet, a choice that I've made not only based on personal diet and health, but finances, convenience, and well,  just life, in general.

In the next few posts, I will be writing about my reasons for ditching Paleo and adopting the best diet that works for me, a nutritionally-dense one with an emphasis on real, whole foods and balance.

These are my confessions in Paleo, part II. So long, Paleo.

To start with:

Nothing is perfect, including legumes and their anti-nutrients. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet find comfort in knowing that foods such as legumes and whole grains can provide adequate protein. They consider legumes and grains as healthful additions to a plant-based diet, full of fresh vegetables and fruit. In contrast, and for the purpose of this discussion, Paleo advocates strictly avoid the consumption of legumes and grains, with the reasoning that these foods contain anti-nutrients that inhibit the body from absorbing healthy nutrients and are therefore, considered harmful when consumed.

But, must we completely exclude legumes and grains? Or can we enjoy them on occasion? After all, these foods are known to have many health benefits as well. While on the one hand you could argue that legumes and some grains should be avoided for their anti-nutrients, you could also argue that meat should be avoided for lacking particular nutrients found in plant-based protein sources. Or, you could say that those who choose a plant-based diet and who, perhaps, consume an increasing amount of soy are putting themselves at higher risk for other health ailments (read here). There are all kinds of different arguments that you could make about the nutritional value of specific foods. After all, it's what the food industry wants.

The food industry wants us to remain in this constant state of nutritional confusion.

But, back to my main point. Just like legumes and some grains with their anti-nutrients, soy with its increasingly negative hormonal effects, and processed foods with their high salt, sugar, and fat content, nothing is perfect. Legumes boast beneficial nutrients. Soy, if fermented, can actually help stop the effects of certain anti-nutrients and is beneficial to our gut health. Processed foods, although not recommended and are the one thing that should be excluded from any diet, get a pass in exceptionally moderate amounts (the problem is, most people don't know what moderate means - and this is another topic for another day).

But again, nothing is perfect. Not even the Paleo diet - for a number of reasons, I'm sure, but the ones that come to mind for me are (1) it's expensive, and (2) it's difficult to maintain within our current social environment. From eating out at restaurants to family dinners and other social functions, a true Paleo diet can be extremely limiting and our social surroundings can't always be accommodating of that. I'm not saying don't give it a whirl - finding a diet that works for you is all about experimenting.

Don't knock it 'til you rock it. 

Bottom line (and you'll hear it again in numerous posts to come), I like having the option of consuming plant-based proteins. I don't eat these proteins all of the time, but I also don't eat animal protein all of the time. I've found a balance that works for me.

I think that so many of us get caught up in following a particular diet, one that is prescribed for us by others who might not necessarily know what works best for our individual body. For me, the best way to determine what diet I should follow is to experiment. I have tried a lot of different approaches, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm making progress in terms of what works best for me - what's best for my health, a lifestyle that offers nutrition, variety, sustainability, and above all, enjoyment.

Stay tuned for parts 3 through 5, or 6 or 7.

info and image via dr. mercola, wellness mama, and super human

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.