The Dreaded Paleo Perfectionist

For this week’s blog challenge, my group decided to talk about the extremists in our area of blogging.

A perfect definition of "paleo perfectionism."Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

A perfect definition of “paleo perfectionism.”
Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

For paleos, this is the dreaded “paleo perfectionist” (also called “paleo police”).

What’s a paleo perfectionist? Well, I’ll tell you. They think they’re paleo.. and perfect. Yes! That is paleo perfectionism.. Sort of!

A paleo perfectionist is one who thinks that paleo is an all-or-nothing diet. They chastise innocent people on the internet who do not follow paleo 100% of the time. They leave nasty comments on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blog feeds. It’s almost like they feed off of giving other people negative energy. They will judge you before even getting to know you (by what you eat, of course). If you deviate from the “rules” of paleo, you’re out of the club. Didn’t you know you had to follow paleo 100% of the time?! WELL!? DIDN’T YOU?!

Ecard paleo perfectionistThese paleo perfectionists do not represent a majority of the paleo population, and they certainly do not represent me. The great thing about paleo is that you get to judge what is good for your body. When you ate that strawberry, did it make you feel good? Then by all means, continue to eat them! Did that banana that made you feel sick? Maybe you should leave it out. That is the philosophy of paleo. (Also, here is another great philosophy on paleo treats).

Of course, you will hear paleo described as: legume-free, dairy-free, grain-free, etc. Yes, this is true. Most people do encompass these things.. For a majority of the time. Let’s take me for example. I am not a paleo perfectionist in any way. I don’t police other people expecting them to be paleo day in and day out. I think it’s an unrealistic expectation in the world that we live in for people be paleo in every way, shape, and form. It just doesn’t fit people’s lifestyle to never eat any processed foods. I quite enjoy my goat milk yogurt that comes in a container, thank you, and I think I’ll keep eating it because it’s delicious. In fact, I’m not afraid to admit that just last night I had a gluten-free (not grain-free! gasp!) cookie from a PACKAGE. YES! (Side note: these cookies were amazing, and you should buy them. Additionally, I don’t necessarily think these are 100% processed because there are no preservatives) I ate a processed food. Why? Well, because my dad bought it for me, and I wanted to eat it. So I ate it. And it was delicious. SO THERE. What are you gonna do, scream at me?

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

I would say that I am in tune with my body, and I put science behind it. I don’t say, “well, I’m gonna eat that lamb heart tonight, because it is DARNNNN tasty!” Lamb heart isn’t actually that bad, but I eat lamb heart because it’s nutritious for my body. Offal is the most nutritiously dense meat you can eat, so I eat it.

There’s a general 80/20 rule to paleo: most people eat paleo 80% of the time, 20% not paleo. Of course, this doesn’t mean going to Taco Bell once a week because Taco Bell isn’t even food; I’m convinced it’s cardboard or something. Anyway, you’d just be adding a whole bunch of chemicals to your body that shouldn’t be there, and obviously that is very bad. 20% maybe means you have a gluten-free cookie once a week, or something.

So, what’s the lesson of the day? Back off, paleo perfectionists. Stop policing people. We don’t care what you think of our diet or our lives. We don’t care if something isn’t paleo. We just want to do something that makes our bodies feel good. We want to heal our insides and our outsides. We want you to leave us alone. And not just paleos, so do those “annoying vegans“! And don’t even get me started on any nutrition police. Let us be us.

P.S. the electronic device you’re currently using to look at this site? Totally not paleo 😉

Nutrition Label Shmabel

If you haven’t heard, the FDA is changing the nutrition label that you find on packaged products.

FINALLY! Right?! ‘Cause I’ve been waiting 20 years for this to happen. Oh wait, no I haven’t.

Well, why haven’t I? Because who actually reads nutrition labels, really? I see people all the time in the grocery store (which is one of my favorite places to hang out, just so you know) pick up items off the shelf and dump them in their cart. No questions asked, no label scrutinized.

When I was younger, I didn’t bother with reading labels either. Because.. Well, let’s face it: I liked what I liked. I was young. I didn’t care what was in it. If it was delicious, I ate it. I never had a nutrition class in high school, so why would I bother looking at the label? I didn’t know what it meant anyway. 50% of my daily intake of fat? Okay. Sounds good and delicious: I’ll take that one, please!

So, let’s look at the new label. Some changes they’ve made (and some commentary):

New nutrition label by the FDA Image courtesy fda.gov

New nutrition label by the FDA
Image courtesy fda.gov

  • Larger font for total calories: alright, I guess, not that people seem to take this into high consideration.
  • Requirement for showing added sugars: this is one change I approve of 2,000%!
  • Removing the calories from fat info: sure, this one is alright. I doubt anyone was looking at it before, so why not?
  • Moving percentages into the left column: I think this looks particularly tacky. Are they trying to scare people with the “large” numbers? If people didn’t see it before, they probably didn’t look at food labels.
  • Serving sizes based on what people actually eat: I’m on the fence about this change, but I’ll address it later.
  • Removing vitamin A & C percentages: good move, these are found in everything. They were never really needed.
  • Adding vitamin D & potassium: vitamin D is certainly important, but I’m not seeing the advantage of potassium. Potassium is in a lot of foods, so maybe someone can enlighten me on why this change was implemented.

The biggest and most positive change being made is addressing whether there are any added sugars. I want to know how many added sugars are in something and so should you. Those “natural flavors” aren’t actually so natural, and they are really, really bad for you. Why?

Natural vs added sugars Image courtesty boostjuice.com.au

Natural vs added sugars
Image courtesy boostjuice.com.au

Read up, people: a study on the effects of sugar. Yes it’s true. A Cambridge University study has found that it’s not that saturated fat killing you, but rather the lovely sugar people add to everything. It has been impossible to get an accurate depiction of just how many sugars are natural (milk and fruit sugars) and how many come from added sugars in processed products. How is the average person supposed to know the difference between these two distinctive types of sugars when the ingredients label is nothing but scientific jargon, anyway? They can’t, and this is why it needs to change.

In regards to changing the serving size to reflect American portions: I have a hard time with this. The standard serving size for a juice drink, for example, is 8 ounces (one cup). However, the new “standard size” is actually 12 ounces, and this will be reflected on the label. The change will allow people to accurately see how many calories they are actually consuming.. Or will they? Because who knows if they’ll even care about the nutrition label.

Whole foods Image courtesy berkeleyside.com

Whole foods
Image courtesy berkeleyside.com

The answer to all of this is to eat whole foods. Stick to something without a box. The label becomes obsolete and useless once you start doing so. In addition, you can ditch counting calories. Why waste your time with that? The body thrives on whole foods, so you won’t even need to worry about it (unless you’re taking the opportunity to eat 3 or 4 bags of grapes).

What do you think of the label changes?

Nuts on Nuts

I’m nuts about nuts.

Nuts are really, really tasty. AND! They have this new thing called “nut butters” (hehehe!) Yes, I’m a little immature.

So.. Okay, I might totally eat more than the recommended daily amount of nuts. But, I can’t help it. Almond butter is such a staple in my diet. Particularly, I love Justin’s nut butters.

This is my collection of nut butters

This is my collection of nut butters

Chris Kresser explains that nuts actually contain phytic acid, which is a “storage form of phosphorus” that prevents our bodies from absorbing important minerals like iron. Yikes. In addition, he also says that chocolate probably contains copious amounts of this stuff. So, even though I’m not iron deficient, it makes me wonder if this is what’s causing my fatigue. I mean, I do enjoy my chocolate and my nut butters.

This post mainly centers around Pili nuts. Now, you’re probably thinking, “wtf is that?” which is exactly what I thought when I heard the name from Barefoot Provisions. Well, I couldn’t help it. I ordered these babies before I even knew what they were. As an added bonus, Barefoot Provisions sent me a free pack of Stephen James’ regular Pili nuts (not dusted with cocoa). SCORE!

IMG_7229

Pili nuts are from the Pili tree. The Pili tree grows in the Philippines. They are relatively large in length and width. What do they taste like? They’re honestly amazing. Barefoot Provisions describes them as “buttery,” but it’s hard to imagine a nut that tastes like butter. They really do taste like butter, though! It’s not a sickeningly oh-my-gosh-I’m-eating-butter-straight-up, but a subtle, mild flavor. Buttery consistency is a better term. It’s spectacular. It reminds me of a soft nut like cashews. They’re sort of easy to bite into. After biting into a Pili nut, though, it just melts in your mouth the whole time. It’s the best nut I have ever eaten.

Cocoa Pili nuts

Cocoa Pili nuts

Cocoa Pili nut in my man hand

Cocoa Pili nut in my man hand

The company, Stephen James, also makes something called “Carazuc Coconut Flower Sugar,” which is made from the sweet sap of the coconut tree flower. I had bought the Pili nuts dusted in these, and since there was some carazuc sugar leftover in the bottom of the bag, I got to try it on its own. You know how things like Splenda and Truvia taste like crap? Or maybe you’re saying right now, “how dare you! Splenda is the greatest invention EVER, BRITTANY!” Not for someone (like me) with a distinctive palate. Every bite I take that is made with an artificial sweetener tastes so fake to me. I can’t deal with it. Carazuc sugar, however, tastes like sugar. AMAZING sugar, that is. BUT! It’s low glycemic. I’m waiting to order some until I have a big order on Amazon (you can get it cheap as an add-on!).

If you ever see Pili nuts, buy them. You won’t regret the snack.