How about we throw chocolate into the bush. ‘Cause if you have to hunt or gather it, it is basically paleo – someone thinking outside the box.
Over the past decades, “Kerndlfresser” (Bavarian for “grain munchers”) have finally been accepted, but the concept of being “grain-free”seems to be an even greater struggle than recognizing someone’s discomfort of having meat and fish. I do not see a difference in being a veggie, vegan or paleo though – it’s a personal choice.
Nevertheless, I feel the urge to bring some more light into the topic of “my” paleo diet* and why I decline certain types of food or seem picky about my restaurant choices. Maybe it will answer some questions, maybe it will help you if you are trying to take me out for dinner #lol.
Eating paleo essentially means only eating “real food”, which means sticking to meats/eggs/fish as a basis, loads of vegetables, little fruit and a healthy dose of natural fats like avocado or nuts. Simple enough I think – let’s sum it up with “grain-free” and “do not eat anything which has a commercial on TV”.
Since changing my eating habits at the beginning of 2015, this approach has been comfortable and realistic both at home and at restaurants, plus whereever in the world I was travelling. I tried and tested China, Australia, Panama und Spain – and it all went well.
Go check out my post about being a part of the popular #fitfam culture nowadays and you might stumple across many different terms though – paleo, ketogenic, lchf or low carb. But what is the different? Is paleo not low carb? Because you eat no grain? And what is this girl talking about when she claims to be a 80/20 paleo? IIFMM??
Here is some transparancy for those of you, who question the terms or are confused on what instagram throws at you- come on, I will ease you in quickly with a simple explanation:
Low-Carb/High-Fat (LCHF) vs. Ketogenic Diet
Quick and dirty, that is exactly the same thing. Both diets aim for a low intake of carbohydrates (around 20g) per day and followers source their energy mainly through fat. YES FAT. I can share more of that with you guys in another post, as in my opinion I have been fallen too often into the low-fat trap with no results for me personally.
LCHF vs. PALEO
Due to multiple intersections, people often get confused between the two of them, as when you look at the fine print of both concepts there are differences, which in my opinion everyone should work out him/herself.
Let’s first look into what both diets* have a common believe in
- Our modern diet is often too heavy in refined foods, trans fats and sugars, which are often seen as the root of diseases like obesity, cancer, diabetes or heart problems.
- Both concepts focus on the consumption of natural (unprocessed) food, or simply what our ancestors ate and the type of food our body knows how to process smoothly.
- They are completely grain-free and also eliminate legumes**.
- Both diets include a high share of animal protein.
- Both diets are actually not “diets” but a lifestyle change, as benefits will be even more visible in the long term.
But when we look at the differences between LCHF and Paleo, it get very specific and in my opinion dependant on your preferences and goals.
- Paleo in it’s basics allows you to eat all kinds of real foods, which of course includes all vegetables and fruits, even the ones high in starch or sugar like carrots, sweet potatoes or pineapple.
- LCHF aims at a maximum carb intake of 20g per day to reach a ketogenic stage in your body – starchy veg and high sugar fruits are therefore off limits.
- Paleo does not allow dairy products.
- LCHF embraces the intake of full-fat dairy products like cream, milk or cheese or joghurt. Keep full-fat in mind though, as low-fat options are always higher in sugar.
- Paleo does not specifically have a recommendation for fat intake, but also does not forbit it.
- LCHF results in having fats as the dieter’s main source of energy. Hence high fat foods like nuts, cheese or fatty meat are embraced.
So in an ideal world I would love to provide you with a tick-in-the-box chart to find out which way of nutrition will work for you – might it be vegeatarian, vegan, lowcarb – or one of the above. But luckily our bodies are all different and you might need to take the time and try to find out yourself – even hybrids might help you to reach your goals.
Speaking of goals – this is where I found my path now: IIFMM – another crazy #fitfam term means simply “if it fits my macros”. And that is how I roll these days.
IIFMM for me means being a lchf/paleo hybrid:
- All the intersections mentioned above are my basis. And when I travel or can not prepare meals myself I stick to simply those “rules” and it has become an easily managable lifestyle.
- On a day-to-day basis here in Munich, I tend to steer into the LCHF direction: I do dairy in fair amounts, but aim for a general low carb intake – so potatoes and high sugar fruit. And I up my fat intake with a daily portion of nuts and avocado.
- My personal goal is a 80/20 approach: I stick to my LCHF/Paleo approach 100% for 80% of the time. The remaining 20% are grain-free, but I would have for example ice cream or chocolate – this just keeps me sane and the whole thing does not require much effort or obsessive thinking.
This approach seemed to work best for me – I reached both body image and fitness goals and have enough flexibility and power to enjoy life at it’s fullest.
Do not be afraid to find your way – people might think you are picky, people might ask questions or question your sanity but in the end it’s your plate, not theirs and you should like it.
*DISCLAIMER for German readers – diet in English is not the equivalent to Diät in German – it means Ernährung and must not be generally confused with a restriction of food to lose weight.
**grains include wheat, rye, spelt, oat, rice, quinoa etc./ legumes are beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas …