Wheatin’s cheatin’ – how paleo are you exactly?

18 Jan

You know when you question a religious leader and they turf you out of the compound and say you are full of the devil? No? OK, never mind.

You know when you read a million paleo posts a day about gluten and wheat and carbs and starch and processed food and all that jazz, and then you ask one of your fave paleo tweeters how come you are allowed to eat bacon when you’re paleo and they say, “Paleo is just a template, it’s not a religion!” like you’re some kind of zealot?

Yeah, I knew you would.

source: http://www.motifake.com/

It got me thinking – we all know what the rules are and the way we are meant to eat all day. And apparently we now also know Paleo is not a religion and ‘just a template’ of how to eat optimally (erm…. except perhaps if you are celiac and then you don’t really have the luxury to slip on and off the wagon like it’s greased up with organic grassfed hormone-free free-range bacon fat). So… aside from all the wonderful paleo recipes posted all day and night and the self-congratulatory “just ate 7 eggs fried in ghee topped with liver with a side of fermented kraut for breakfast #paleo #satfat” tweets, how many of us in fact cheat? And I’m not just talking wheatin cheatin, just any kind of cheatin’!?

For example, I just ate a slice of toast – rye, with butter and Vegemite. I was craving something salty and didn’t want olives. I’m sick of cheese, sick of veggies, sick of meat. I’m even sick of bacon and eggs! And I wasn’t crazy hungry, I just wanted a little somethin’ somethin’. So toast with Vegemite it was! But I certainly didn’t tweet about it: “Just sucked down a piece of rye toast smothered in butter and Vegemite – #oops #sonotpaleo – but feeling awesome and so glad I did it!”

My question is: In between liver and kraut tweets, how many of you (and them, and us) are in fact cheating? The only reason I want to know is so I don’t feel so naughty when I do it, and also so we can get a realistic idea of the outcomes people are getting from eating paleo – arguably, these are especially more impressive if people are in fact cheating a lot and just keeping it on the downlow!

A very theatrical cheater is Martin Berkhan of Leangains. When he cheats, he makes sure everyone knows about it – he dresses up in karate outfits, takes silly pictures, creates mortal kombat-style graphics for his photo series, and approaches the whole thing like an amazing feat. I admire that. And the bastard is still totally ripped, with 5.5% body fat. Kudos.

Mmmm… actually I could totally go a piece of cheesecake right now

17 Responses to “Wheatin’s cheatin’ – how paleo are you exactly?”

  1. Paula January 18, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    I do cheat. There are times when a piece of chocolate cake is called for!

    • cavelesbian January 18, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      Hallelujah! You just helped cast the demons out! πŸ˜‰

  2. peacekitty333 January 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Every now and then I cheat (of course). I’m an emotional eater. My staples of meats, animal fats (bacon, butter, cream) and veggies don’t always cut it when faced with marriage stresses or things that mess with my calm. Then it’s popcorn with butter and honey or some sweet my non paleo husband leaves around the house. Thank goddess it’s not too often or I would feel like crap the next day.

    • cavelesbian January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

      Yep – sure makes us realize how much we turn to those comfort foods! But as you said, it’s not that often so we must be doing something right – right?? πŸ˜‰

  3. Bedelia Bloodyknuckle January 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    You’re not the only one. I am just getting started on the paleo diet and so far it hasn’t been that easy especially when my mother owns a bakery so she delivers bread to me. I will have a bit of a tough time telling her that I want to try this paleo thing out for real.

    • cavelesbian January 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Oh dear – you’ve got your work cut out for you then! I’ve found family to be the least supportive when it comes to going paleo (another reason that cheatin’ can feel so wrong – no sooner have you preached to them all about how you want to give up bread than you are secretly hoeing into a delicious croissant!) Good luck with it!

  4. Erica January 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    This is your friend @lolfemme. I cheat and enjoy it. Last night I tweeted that I broke an intermittent fast with wine and Indian food (including the basmati rice). I had planned to come home and make chili and rice some cauliflower, but I had a really difficult day (I have a really emotional job) and it didn’t happen.

    • cavelesbian January 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

      Yes I saw that tweet actually! I was so impressed by the intermittent fast lasting all day and into the night that I automatically overlooked the wine/ Indian food sacrilege! There are some days I will either die or kill without a healthy tumbler of the red stuff…

      • Erica January 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        I appreciate this post, because the feeling I get from the blogs/tweets is that EVERYONE ELSE IS NUTRITIONALLY PERFECT ALWAYS.

      • cavelesbian January 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

        That is probably no accident!
        It is definitely important to take life into account when trying to be paleo, and remember that we can’t live in a bubble.
        I have a hierarchy of naughtiness hurdles I try to satisfy:

        1. Is it paleo?
        2. If not, is it low carb?
        3. If not, is it sugar-free?*** (new one!)

        That is my final defense against total hedonism

  5. PaleoPeriodical January 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    I started out not wanting to be a food freak, you know, inciting the 80/20 rule and all. But over time, I’ve found that I really can’t cheat with very much gluten and I keep sugar relegated to special occasions like birthdays or eating out. I’m probably closer to 90/10, maybe even 95/5 sometimes.

    That being said, it is a template. It’s kinda funny that you’re railing against someone (I saw the Tweets πŸ˜‰ ) who is giving you permission to relax when your post is all about not getting cray-cray and relaxing about the dietary parameters. Didn’t he just tell you what you wanted to hear?! πŸ™‚ And folks do sometimes talk about their cheats on Twitter and such, but you’re right, most don’t. I certainly don’t.

    Seriously, everyone has their own version of making this work for them in their lives. I personally don’t consider alcohol a cheat unless it creeps into 3 or more drinks in one night, which almost never happens. I don’t consider a smidge of honey in my tea a cheat. I see a lot of things as being part of the continuum. We’re all going to have our off-Paleo food moments and there’s no point in beating ourselves up about it. That being said…what the heckity-heck are you doing with bread in your house?! πŸ˜‰

    • cavelesbian January 19, 2012 at 12:39 am #

      No no! You must understand I just wanted to know the reasoning behind the fact that bacon seems to have become the masthead of paleo. People will be so prescriptive about some aspects and yet so relaxed about others – I just wanted to know how, based on the theory of paleo, bacon is considered paleo. The conclusion I have been told is that it’s not but it is allowed anyway because there are limits to how strict paleo should be – ie it’s not a religion. Now i know that that is the reasoning, not that bacon is inherently paleo.

      Re the bread – we kept it in the freezer for my mother in law but I got to it first!

      • PaleoPeriodical January 19, 2012 at 6:27 am #

        I dunno…I have recently committed to getting my bacon from a local, organic source so it’s minimally processed. It does have a bit of sugar in the cure, but not enough to even register as a carb gram. Is it Paleo? If it ain’t, it’s pretty darn close. I did avoid it when I Whole30ed though. I mean, indigenous cultures dried and smoked meats, so…whatever. It tastes good. See? I did it too. πŸ™‚

        Ha ha! Get that bread outta there!

  6. blogattack January 22, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Between this and the Paleonaughty post…. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I cheat. I cheat a LOT more than I think most people expect. Sometimes I just want some lasagna, dangit. Sometimes I want to load up on burgers and fries.

    And then of course, the preceding insulin-taking (yay diabetes!) and ensuing digestive issues make me wonder why I did it.

    I notice that the more I indulge my cravings for cheat foods, the more I crave cheat foods. For instance, the more I eat chocolate or sugary-sweet things (Christmas candies, I’m looking at you), the more I want to eat. I can’t stop at just one. It’s so frustrating.

    • cavelesbian January 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

      Sorry to cause you to have to unleash that avalanche of confessions and grief. Thank you. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Mmmm – lasagne! Haven’t had that in aaaaaages.
      As Scarlet O’Hara said: “Tomorrow is another day!”
      (She also said, “If I have to lie steal cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”

  7. Robert April 11, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    im am super strict when eating at home but eat everything when invited to others for dinner. That confuses ppl cause i eat everything with such joy while being slim

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