Cheating On Paleo: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

If you’re on a paleo diet right now, or you’ve tried it in the past, then you know it can feel a little restrictive… especially when you’re at a restaurant with friends and wondering, “what can I eat?” But it doesn't have to be this way if you know a few tricks - and I'll tell you more on that in a second.

But when most people look at the paleo 'allowed' and 'not allowed' food lists, it’s easy to have an “all or nothing” mentality... Our ancestors didn’t eat lentils, grains, and beans, so we shouldn’t either!

So is this the right approach? Let’s see…

The fact is, following the paleo diet’s food list is a great place to start and has been proven to be successful in clearing up a wide variety of health issues. If we remove the grains, processed foods, and start eating like nature intended - we can reverse a lot of the modern-day diseases that are plaguing our nation today.

But let’s also remember there was no single “paleo diet” that our ancestors ate...

Thousands of years ago our ancestors lived all over the world, in diverse environments, and ate really diverse diets.

Some ate more meat, some more root vegetables, and others ate more fats… they pretty much consumed whatever was in season and whatever they could get their hands on in their environment.

Whether that was deer, bison, or seal… berries, leafy vegetables, or tubers… it was a seriously diverse diet!

And a diverse diet = a diverse microbiome (the bacteria that live inside our gut)… And having a diverse array of bacteria in our guts is the key to being healthy, having a good metabolism (and therefore improved weight loss), and a powerful virus-killing immune system.

So when we look at the paleo diet guidelines, it’s easy to feel boxed-in...

Like if we branch out we’ll be breaking a paleo law and can’t call ourselves “paleo” anymore.

But in recent years people following paleo diets are becoming more lenient, experimenting with different foods, and seeing what works for them.

However, sticking with common paleo food portions and guidelines is a great way to jumpstart your health and get your body back on track. But remember there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. We're all unique, and as such, it's a good idea to tailor your diet to what works best for you.

Some people might be better off consuming more meats or fats, while others might thrive on the starchy tubers and high carb vegetables.

So it’s okay to branch out and “cheat” if if feels right for your body.

But let’s also remember why we ditched the processed foods, the gluten, and the sugars in the first place… Because they're damaging to our health and lack any of the nutrition our bodies need to truly thrive.

So when I say “cheat”, I don’t mean shovelling loads of pizza, ice cream, and chocolate into your body each day...

That would be a recipe for disaster and one of the main reasons for the diabetes and heart disease issues we’re seeing in our modern-day society.

But branching out to other ingredients and foods that are healthy and actually work for your body is a great thing. And If that means you’re eating more plant foods and less meat, or more starchy tubers and less protein, just do what feels right for your body and experiment with eating a diverse amount of foods.

And don't feel boxed-in eating the same foods day in and day out like most people do on the paleo diet.

The fact is, Eating the same food each day Is depressing. and it’s not too good for your body either, even if it is healthy...

The one thing we know for sure is, our bodies thrive eating a good healthy diet, but also a diet that’s diverse.

So remember, the paleo guidelines are just that, lines to help guide you on your journey to health.

And don’t get stuck thinking you can only eat chicken, broccoli, and spinach every day…

That’s just boring!

But I do understand it's difficult to eat paleo without spending hours in the kitchen or being an expert chef...

That's actually why I created something to help you do paleo the easy way. So you can now make great tasting food quickly, easily, and cheaply...

Food that looks great, is good for your health, and puts you on the paleo fast-track!

Chelsea Brinegar

About the Author

Chelsea Brinegar

Chelsea is the Chief Nutritionist at Ultimate Meal Plans and a head writer at Ultimate Paleo Guide.