If you’ve been around my blog for a little bit of time, you may have realized that I don’t mind sharing my imperfections. I list them out on my post called, “I Am Not Perfect but I Am Enough” with transparency and honestly. Why not? I know we are all imperfect and I don’t try to live up to some fantasy housewife who has it all put together.
So, when it comes to eating Paleo, you should know that I am NOT perfectly Paleo. I know, I know…how can I call myself “The Paleo Mama” if I am not even 100% Paleo?
There are so many reasons why I cannot and never will be 100% Paleo. Before I go on to list them, let me disclose to you that this is just how it works for my family. I don’t encourage naughty Paleo behavior :). However, in all things: balance.
For my family, we are “80/20 lean“. I buy all Paleo foods and we eat almost 100% Paleo at home; so we allow our eating out and being out to fulfill the 20% of our foods that aren’t Paleo.
Why We Are 20% “Not-So-Paleo“:
1. This is the most important reason and the one I want you all to remember, so I am putting it on the top. Life is TOO short to stress, CONSTANTLY, about food. I think it’s important to know why you are eating Paleo and what “bad food” does to your body. I think it’s important to eat real, unprocessed foods most of the time. Paleo is NOT A DIET. It is a guideline that you follow, not a diet for fast results. Results will come with diligence and when Paleo becomes a lifestyle to live by.
2. I realize that I will never have 100% control over my children and my husband’s food choices. What I can do is provide healthy options and encourage healthy choices. I respect my kids as a person and if they gag when eating cauliflower rice, then I’ll allow regular rice (just an example).
When we teach our children good habits, we want them to choose to do something because they want to and because they know it’s right. An example of this is if your child picks up a glass vase of yours and you say to him, “Put that down right now.” He looks at you and says, “You have to come get it from me.” What do you say at that point? My response would be, “I’m not going to come get it from you and I’m not chasing you. I want you to put that down because you choose to and you want to do what’s right.”
3. Paleo beer does not exist. I tried to get my husband to drink hard cider, but he ain’t havin it.
4. Three words: Chic-Fil-A. Chi-Fil-A is my survival fast-food restaurant. Sometimes we are out-and-about and just cannot make it home for lunch or forgot to pack a lunch. So, I get my kids the grilled chicken nuggets with a applesauce.
5. Two words: Ice cream. There is this awesome place near us that makes the most unbelievable ice cream. So, we splurge once every few weeks and share an ice cream together.
6. One word: Pizza. I cannot turn down a piece of NY style pizza. It is my weakness. I don’t eat pizza everyday. I have even stopped eating pizza once a week. However, I fully accept the repercussions of my pizza-eating actions that bring me a few uncomfortable hours of gas pain followed by a few trips to the bathroom. I accept it. I know it’s coming. And for me…unfortunately, it’s still worth it!
7. In social functions I do my best to provide a Paleo-friendly side (without announcing the Paleo label) and I encourage my kids to eat it. However, I don’t limit them, constantly, to just Paleo food. I monitor what they are eating and how much they are eating. I allow room for cake at birthday parties…especially if it is homemade cake!
8. THIS IS NOT A DIET! This is a lifestyle and for it to be long-term, you have to allow “indulgences”. They keep you balanced.
9. I love some of my childhood foods so much that when my mom calls me up and tells me she has made lasagna, I’m headed right over! I’m not gonna tell my mama no!
10. Paleo does NOT define who I am. I am more than what I eat. I do not live by a “Paleo Bible”. In fact, there are so many gray foods in Paleo…I’ve decided to stop questioning these “gray” areas so much. Do I eat sweet potatoes? Yes. Do I eat quinoa on occasion? Yes. Do I eat rice sometimes? Yes. Do I eat WHITE potatoes? Sometimes. ::GASP::!!!
11. There is no substitute for cheese. Trust me, I’ve tried them and they are not good. I like cheese on my chili PERIOD.
12. When I eat out, I may try something that is not Paleo. I try to choose healthy, Paleo options when I eat out, but if there isn’t something that is 100% Paleo, I don’t stress.
I want you to know, I don’t advocate any of these reasons. I encourage you to do the best that you can and to feed your family the best that you can. Paleo is MUCH different when you are trying to cook for a whole family. You really do need to leave yourself a little room for grace though, and realize that any step towards eating Paleo is better than what you were before!
We think of this little 20% as TREATS for our kids. We also have a reward system set up so that they EARN these non-Paleo indulgences!