Transitioning to Paleo: Week 4

Here we have another big one. For those of you still hanging on to breakfast cereal, I hate to burst your bubble, but your going to have to say good bye to granola and rice crispies (cause those are basically the only cereals that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup right?). And no more toast! Heavens, what are you going to do? Breakfast is about to truly become a breakfast for champions, that’s what!

Week 1 + Week 2 + Week 3 + Week 4: NO WHEAT (including GLUTEN) AND NO MILK

I was a total cereal-aholic before going paleo. I ate cereal five times a day. And toast. I also ate a crap ton of toast. Those were two of the things I thought I could never ever in a million billion years live without! Guess what? I was wrong. I used to drink skim milk because that was the “healthiest” of the milks. People, skim milk is basically just sugar water, and unused sugar turns into fat, SAY WHAT!!! And milk is so damn processed it looses most of it’s nutritional value in any form found at a grocery store. You don’t have to believe me, but something inside me cringes when I hear that white dye is added to milk to cover up the blood and pus which turns the milk a much less milky color. Does that really seem so hard to believe. I don’t think so. Find your own reasons if you must, but milk is out. You should be glad you can still have your greek yogurt and melty cheeses!

Time to join the throngs of people moving to a gluten free diet! Read labels, wheat and gluten are in a lot of things. Empty your pantry of all wheat flours and products right now! Don’t ask questions, just do it! Paleo is grain free, grains including wheat and all other grainy products containing gluten. By the way, this includes oats and oatmeal, yes even the steel cut ones. Did anyone’s jaw just drop? I hope not, you knew it was coming eventually.

Why no milk and no wheat (gluten)?

I already described why I think milk is pointless and gross. Milk encourages starting your day off with a huge sugar high. Maybe you’ll feel great off that for an hour or so, but when your blood sugar crashes and you find yourself craving that 9:30 snack, you won’t be so happy. And you certainly won’t be doing your body any favors.

As far as wheat is concerned, many people are sensitive to the digestion of wheat/gluten without even knowing it. And even if you are not one of those people, there are WAY healthier choices you could be making for foods to fuel your body. As the main guideline of the paleo diet is to consume as much whole food as possible, wheat does not fall into that guideline. Not even whole grains. Every grain is processed to some degree, some more than others. Have you ever tried chewing on wheat grains right off the shaft? I thought not. Another reason to omit wheat is it will drastically decrease the amount of processed food you have the option to consume. Without corn and wheat, the only main grain left to you is rice. Wheat products are typically high in carbs and sugar and low in nutrient value.

We are started to tread on thin ice, meaning wheat/gluten and milk are two products which get a lot of hype and attention, both negative and positive. I would like to see someone argue that high fructose corn syrup is good for you, but there are many “research studies” proving that cutting gluten and milk out of your diet is actually a bad thing. While I don’t want to get into a debate about it, here are some sources for you to digest… hahahahaha!

A Tale of Two Gluten Studies

Why Grains are Unhealthy

The Place of Dairy on a Paleo Diet

Q&A With Dr Loren Cordain: Milk

All I have to say about this touchy topic is that both wheat and milk are processed to an unrecognizable point compared with their original makeup. And that I believe there are better options for nutritional value out there. And I do not believe purchasing “alternatives” to gluten and milk are acceptable either. In other words, for the long term gluten free products are not a nutritional benefit in place of normal gluten products and soy, coconut, or almond milk are not good alternatives to cows milk. It is much better to adjust your eating habits to include more fresh food than to supplement new products in for the old ones. Setting new patterns of eating is much more beneficial than playing a switching game. And now I am rambling but this is exactly why the flexibility to eat small portions of normal food within the paleo diet is so appealing to me. If you are dying for cereal and milk, just eat it like a normal person, don’t buy paleo cereal (if you can find it) and use almond milk. That isn’t the point of the paleo diet. The point is to rewire all of those standards and transform your diet into something that consists primarily of whole, fresh foods. *sigh* Take it or leave it, paleo is grain and dairy free.

The exceptions…

If you own a cow or have access to a cow and can get your hands on some fresh, whole, raw cows milk, you can continue to have milk a part of your diet. Some paleo’ers still use raw milk, while I do not have access to it or the desire to use it, I choose to omit it. You cannot buy raw milk at a grocery store, at least that I have seen. It is very thick and tends to curdle on the top layer. The reason truly raw milk is ok in my mind is that it is not processed AT ALL. It comes out of the cow and into your fridge. Therefore, you have a product that is pure and full of fat and nutrients, not one stripped down and built up with dyes and chemicals.

There are no exceptions to the wheat/gluten omission. If you notice your commercially produced energy products contain wheat and/or gluten, I will ask you to temporarily make a switch. Look for products made with rice and that are gluten free. Many Honey Stinger products are gluten free and the internet is a good place to go when inquiring about what products are or are not gluten free. Remember, still no peanuts and no corn syrup. We are trying to lay hands on the BEST quality fuel as possible. I know is nearly impossible to have a truly paleo commercial energy product, but we want to sort through all the riffraff out there and nail down which brands contain the most whole and pure ingredients. I’d use price as a good indicator of the quality of the ingredients. The more it costs, theoretically the better it is.

So what can I eat?

You can still consume many dairy products, just not specifically milk. Instead of cereal and toast for breakfast, start trying out egg, meat, and fruit dishes. This is your future in a paleo lifestyle after all. I eat eggs almost every day for breakfast: 1 egg, 2 egg whites. Jake is particularly fond of omelets. Even if we don’t have any extra veggies, he will simply use hot sauce. And meat is an acceptable breakfast food. Whether it is sausages, fish, or chicken, meat consumption is not restricted to after 10am.

You can still eat rice. And if you are an elite athlete, I recommend doing so. Don’t rely on rice for the bulk of your calories, but supplementing a meat and veggie dinner with a little brown rice can be a life savor if you burn 2,000-3,000+ calories a day. I do not recommend buying a bunch of commercial “gluten free” products. Only because you will be cutting those out too eventually and the nutrition they offer can still be topped by cooking meat with fresh veggies for your meals. However, whatever you need to do to ease this transition is acceptable to me. Sweet potatoes, and I suppose normal potatoes (for now) are another place to get a lot of carbs without consuming any wheat.

Remember one of my favorite motto’s: if I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it!

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