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I'm not the Paleo Police. I fudge my Primal lifestyle now and then with “non Paleo foods.” To explain myself, I've prepared a little gastro-tourism for ya.
This whole “non Paleo” subject came about thanks to a nutrition workshop I hosted at my CrossFit gym, which I named “the Cave Girl Eats Nutrition Workshop and Comedy Show.” Ya know, for obvious reasons. I'm still riding high from the whole deal, because I did NOT completely fudge up the whole thing.
My aim was to create an atmosphere just shy of the first half of Kindergarten Cop, without transitioning into a High School High-esque scenario. I must say, I believe I was successful.
My workshop was inspired by my Nutritional Therapy curriculum. This program ROCKS. If you're dying to make your nutrition education official but can't stomach four years of SADness, check out the NTA. And let 'em know Liz Wolfe (that's me) sent you!
We ended up talking about the whole Paleo/non Paleo “controversy.” You know: the Paleo Police vs. the more Laissez-faire the world is not a rigid set of rules and you won't die if you have some nachos approach.
Every day isn't a 30-day compliance challenge, and I believe that nobody else is my task-master BUT ME. Living in the 30-day-strictness-Paleo-Police mentality can be incredibly stressful, and stress is the enemy of good health. For this very reason, I don't follow someone else's “diet” – I follow my intuition, and the Paleo/Primal lifestyle (not Prison – lifestyle) is where it's led me. I learn, I experiment, and I live by my own rules.
The items I list aren't nutritionally malicious by any means – I'm not talkin' fried lollipops drenched in trans fat – but, for some reason, these items really, really confuse people. And they aren't even “cheats” or “treats,” really. They are just things I eat. But guess what? I have the cheaty-treaty stuff too sometimes, although I don't classify them in some forbidden category with all types of emotional baggage. That seems like a setup for failure and obsessive behavior.
So here they are. My top 5 Primal Fudgems. Or, things we really don't need to freak out about eating. Or, non so-called “Paleo” foods that a Caveman would totally eat.
The first time someone so judgily reminded me that “cavemen didn't have vinegar” was the first day I realized the ridiculous misconceptions about Paleo/Primal eating that persist. My response: this isn't a re-enactment of history. It's a process of learning and using lessons of science, history, and common sense. People have been fermenting and pickling and using vinegar for thousands of years, and for good reason: vinegar rocks.
I use Apple Cider Vinegar in my Bison Chili and my hair, I use white vinegar to make egg poaching a breeze, I drizzle balsamic reduction over my roasted brussels sprouts. I may even try my hand at home-making vinegar. If Variety is the spice of life, Vinegar is the Spice Girl.
Ghee is butter fat. All dairy proteins removed to leave the savory, delicious dairy fat. I get mine from Pure Indian Foods (they ship). They produce their grass-fed Ghee in small batches, in the Ayurvedic tradition. It's delicious, and it's a source of “Activator X” – the Vitamin K2 that is so massively deficient in our modern diets due to the disaster of Modern, corn-fed, low-fat dairy and the politically incorrect status of organ meats.
Please, please read Guyenet's post on K2. Then find a way to get it down your gullet. (It's got to be grass-fed…as in, properly raised and pastured. Rapidly growing grass – still attached to the ground – is the K2 key.) Find properly raised local meats here.
Any skin issues I had with dairy are nil with butter fat. And raw pastured dairy, for that matter.
Update: I contextualize dairy in my book. Too much for a blog post!
If you're going to tell me that a Caveman wouldn't polish off a bucket of Chianti had one come available…then you can't come over and play with my Barbies any. more. (And if you judge my “bucket o' wine” reference, you're not invited to my birthday party.) I don't indulge every week, but there's nothing better than a home-cooked dinner and a glass of wine with friends. Especially friends who are amazing cooks. Tequila may or may not fit into the same category. (winky emoticon)
4) Dark Chocolate.
My “wild nights” might include indulgences like bacon-wrapped dates or some 90% Cacao super-dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has been used for many, many years and is rich in antioxidants.
(Update: This book offers lots of chocolate goodness, along with a tutorial on ethical sourcing.)
Two years ago I moved to a part of the US that's famous for its tomatos and sweet corn. I'll enjoy an ear now & then, preferably organic. Look, corn is delicious. It's more of a garnish, in most cases (have YOU ever had a corn binge?) and I'm not feeding it to myself with a smattering of anti-biotics to fatten myself up for a vacay at the Factory Farm, where mass-produced genetically modified pesticide-laden corn is fed to animals like it's goin' out of style.
Sometimes, I'll have the Garden of Eatin‘ Non-GMO Project Verified organic corn chips. When I want to party hard.
6) Soy Milk.
It's delicious, it's good for me…it's the perfect way to start the day.
I'm KIDDING. I don't do soy. That's a quote from The Office. (What's the soy equivalent of a Rick-Roll? A Monsanto Swivel?)
Update: for more context on soy, check out my book. I discuss how almost all soy foods are actually by-products of the factory-farmed animal feed industry. Nearly 98% of all soy goes to animal feed. To avoid buying in to this vicious cycle, I don't just avoid soy products – I also try to eat properly raised animals from local farms whenever I can, because these animals spend their life on pasture eating their natural diet: grass.
In short: when it comes to almost any food, CWIHC. Caveman Would If He Could. Caveman definitely wouldn't have been dogmatic about his chow.
Thoughts? Leave them in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
Liz Wolfe, NTP
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