When I started eating Paleo there were a few mistakes I made without knowing it. Looking back, they seem silly and obvious but they sure weren’t then! I think it’s important to share and ensure beginners have a quick “cheat sheet” of items to avoid – beyond the generalized grains, dairy, legumes and sugar.
- Peanut Butter – Peanuts are a legume. They have the same “bad” properties that beans would have. We replaced PB in our home with Roasted Almond Butter (Costco sells a giant jar for cheap) and Sunflower Seed Butter. The two have different tastes, so we use them a variety of ways. Mostly, we like to dip in Sunflower Seed Butter and use Almond Butter for smoothies, cooking and baking – but the possibilities are endless.
- Fats – I missed the memo on vegetable and canola oil fats being grain based. But, when I finally read the article on Fats at Balanced Bites it clicked. We use Olive Oil and Coconut Oil for cooking. We also have lard and tallow that is both from our own rendering as well as our local farmer. For baking we use coconut oil or grapeseed oil; it’s grain-free and doesn’t have a strong flavor that would disrupt cookies. There’s mixed reviews, so make your own choices.
- Dried Fruit – When we first transitioned, gummy fruit snacks were an area where we had to “wean” our kids. I had thought dried fruit would be an excellent replacement. However, after reviewing Robb Wolf’s Fruit and Sugars Table I’ve since changed to freeze dried fruit and fresh berries. I’ve also started offering the boys hard boiled eggs, beef jerky or deli meats as well as veggies with guacamole for snacks and have found they’ll often choose that over fruit. Don’t assume your children will hate you for taking their fruit away, mine thank me every time I replenish the meat drawer!
- Alcohol – There are a few things I’m not willing to give up. I recognize that they aren’t the best for my body, but they’re a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Alcohol would be one of those items. However, I wish I’d stopped to think about beer and most alcohols being grain based. Now, we enjoy Hard Cider (pear and apple), wine and Tequila. They’re all empty sugar calories, but when you’ve got 3 kids 5 and under a few are worth it sometimes!
- Omega-3s – I don’t want to get into complicated mode here. However, I will say that if you’re switching and using almond as your replacement everything (milk, flour, snacks) you’re going to be getting a lot of added Omega-6s. I recommend using coconut and hemp milk and adding flax seed or oil to your food where you can (smoothies and cooking for example). Take a fish oil supplement if you can stomach the idea of added pills to your regime; but, don’t over-do it. Fish oil can be tricky and if you’re making a lot of dietary changes it might not be something you want to do right away. Just give some thought into sneaking in the 3s when you can and keeping your 6s on the low-end of consumption.