How often do you stray?

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Howbouto
Howbouto Posts: 2,121 Member
I know the best way to eat paleo is shoot for 100% of the time and likely you will end up eating it 80% of the time! My question is how often do you stray from paleo. What do you consider a stray (I hate the word cheat :laugh:) ? Just curious. I have often what the paleo replacement items (ie treats, replacement for SAD foods) a stray but now I'm wondering if that mentality is actually hurting my efforts.

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  • SteamClutch
    SteamClutch Posts: 433 Member
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    I am currently primal so I guess technically I am a stray. The things I love to abuse are nuts, which I tend to keep and eat in small quantities. I also have extremely dark chocolate almost daily but it is usually at one sitting and also a small dose. Then there is the cheese which I consume when my calories are too low or it is meal appropriate but we have high quality cheese around and I try not to pile it up.
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
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    Last time I strayed was Christmas, and even then I didn't eat wheat. I will never eat wheat.

    I don't really "stray" far but do have organic popcorn and a few drinks on occasion. Right now I'm struggling with wanting to eat too much at night and letting my carbs sneak too high (for me, I MUST be ketogenic or I struggle and don't lose weight). So, because of that I have not lost for over 3 months, but I am also not gaining.

    Paleo substitutes are a fail for me. They lead me in the very wrong direction. I over-eat sweet or bready things, no matter if it's natural and made at home or not. I'm struggling with that right now too. My little one has to go without treats for awhile, which won't hurt her either.
  • GrokRockStar
    GrokRockStar Posts: 2,938 Member
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    My idea of straying is eating higher glycemic fruit like bananas or some roasted potatoes with my meal. I would typically do that once a week and it has pretty much hindered my progress. I'm not sure if I could ever be 100% all of the time :smile:
  • ascrit
    ascrit Posts: 770 Member
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    I "stray" on my Saturday meals. The rest of the week I am 100% paleo. In doing this I stay about 90% paleo overall. And yes, i track it on a spreadsheet. :glasses:
  • pattyproulx
    pattyproulx Posts: 603 Member
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    Ok - well I'll be the first to say, I stray too much, haha.

    Every Sunday is basically a stray for me since we have dinner at the in-laws and my MIL gets offended if we don't have the food that's been prepared. Luckily, most of what she makes is Primal, so I have the option of eating relatively well. My problem is that when I stray, I tend to *really* stray. I'm trying to control that though.

    Otherwise, I'll often stray at restaurants or when going to a friends' for dinner.

    I've also make my own regular exceptions that aren't primal (i.e. peanut butter, Heinz ketchup, white potatoes on occasion, flavoured protein powders).

    So when you add it all up, I stray quite a bit, haha. I do have time periods where I'm more strict and some where I'm more lax.
  • butterbear1980
    butterbear1980 Posts: 234 Member
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    I really enjoy having wine and chocolate with my husband. I usually do that twice a month I don't think of it as a cheat but just as a sometimes food. I also have grain free honey rich cake at my kids day parties and holidays.
  • Lizzard_77
    Lizzard_77 Posts: 232 Member
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    Hmmmm, I stray but, I never claimed I wouldn't. I follow an 80/20 primal/traditional foods way of eating. There fore, I allow myself rice, beans, grains, and the very occasional slice of non GMO, locally produced, sourdough bread. When I do eat these items though, I properly prepare them by soaking, sprouting, or souring them for digestibility. I do find that I suffer a bit when I eat some of these items so I don't often do it.

    I absolutely like dark chocolate and wine but many a paleo "guru" have given those things the A-OK when in very VERY small doses.

    A few times a year I will go whole hog and eat a piece of crappy white bread or chemical laden, white sugar filled chocolate cake. Or I may indulge in some food that someone else, who has no idea of the way i eat, has prepared. I try to make those occasions very far in between, like Christmas with the in-laws cause I'd have to hear it if I didn't eat my MIL's damn tater tot casserole, or canned green bean casserole with those scary canned frizzled onions on top. Boy, don't I make straying sound delicious?

    Anyway, when I stray from my diet I try to make the healthiest choices possible and not let it get out of hand. I can't stand the word cheat either and it drives me crazy when people plan a cheat day. It's a choice folks not an allowance, just admit that you made the choice to eat crap rather than calling it a cheat day (no disrespect to those who have decided this works for them, I just don't agree with it).
  • Howbouto
    Howbouto Posts: 2,121 Member
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    Ok so here it is, I know the primal/paleo lifestyle is the best thing for my health, my mood and ultimately my weight. However, trying to balance everything drives me nuts. If feel like I never stop thinking about food. I feel like I never stop cooking or doing dishes. I recently tried what I considered a kinder gentler paleo (basically if I strayed no biggie the most important thing was to go right back to paleo.) I was averaging non paleo twice a week. It is not working for my mood, it is not working for my weight, I do feel slightly less nuts. Those of you that rarely stray, how do you find balance? Or should I just pull up my big girl panties and realize the rest of my life will be in the kitchen.
  • HaggisWhisperer
    HaggisWhisperer Posts: 125 Member
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    Those of you that rarely stray, how do you find balance? Or should I just pull up my big girl panties and realize the rest of my life will be in the kitchen.

    I don't have much time in the evening for cooking - although I do love good food and I try to make an effort at weekends. I usually cook huge quantities of stews, curries chilli etc during the weekend and we'll have some for that day and the rest I will freeze in portions. That way I can take something delicious out the freezer in the morning and all I will have to do is nuke it in the microwave for dinner. I always cook my veg fresh in the evening but that only takes 10 minutes or so and isn't much of a hardship. Once you have been doing this for a few weeks you will have a selection in the freezer and won't end up eating the same thing several days running. Label your containers well or you may not be totally sure what you are having for your tea (I am very guilty of this).
  • each_day_stronger
    each_day_stronger Posts: 191 Member
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    Here's what I'm slowly learning. At the end of the day no one can tell you what to eat. Paleo tells you which foods are nutrient-dense and which are more like barely edible food products that may, depending on your constitution, make you sick (either that day or in the long haul).

    I tend to be moderately healthy, though overweight. I do suffer from some minor depression/anxiety, as well as some disordered emotional eating tendancies from a life of dieting.

    When I eat strict paleo, I FEEL BETTER. But there is a point where Paleo for me becomes a diet instead of a lifestyle. Where I start to wig out and crave these weird binge sessions. When that started I stopped doing it because I thought it was "too hard" and couldn't be done.

    Then after feeling like crap for a few months I just decided to do what I can and not worry about it so much. I won't say I'm paleo because I don't think I'm there yet. But I believe the facts are there to support this lifestyle, and because of my personal baggage it's taking me longer to get there than others. Fortunately I don't have an autoimmune disease (yet) and can have more "straying" that I should.

    In every social situation, I try to do the best that I can in a way which doesn't trigger the crazies in me. For me that means not saying OH NO I'M EATING A BAD FOOD. Instead its, oh I'm choosing to eat this piece of whatever. Before I eat it I think hmmm eating this will slow my fat loss, might upset my stomach, might make me slightly more anxious, might put me on the sugar rollercoaster again--is that what I want right now? If the answer is yes, then I have it. If not, I put it down.

    If I have it, I pay attention to how I feel afterwards and take mental notes. The very next meal, I am back. I try to surround myself with good options, but when I'm out and about (like at my boyfriend's mother's house on Sundays) that can be more challenging. To solve this I'm trying to volunteer to cook more.

    My personal results from this approach has been that I've been having more "strays" but that I feel mentally better about this lifestyle, and excited to move forward (rather than how I was feeling before which was like I was climbing this intense mountain). I know I will not have the dramatic results everyone else has, but I'm ok with that.

    Also rather than only focus on not eating the bad, I've been trying to do something new each week. Trying to add more fish or bone broth, or take supplements, or sleep more, or lift more.

    That said I don't think I'm allowed to carry a paleo card, but I'm ok with that. I also think that for some people my approach would be worse. Especially if you have a lot of health difficulties that need to be changed TODAY. But for the moderately healthy and the overly emotional about food, it might be another way to do it.

    I also think that in a few months after I've been at it for a while I will try to do a challenge to clean up my diet, but I'll only do it when my mind is ready for it. Sorry if this was a total tangent. Guess I needed to vent. Ha. Good luck!
  • Lizzard_77
    Lizzard_77 Posts: 232 Member
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    Absolutely, its all about proper planning ahead. Some of my buddies may roll their eyes at me here because they know I am a SAHW and I can spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I don't however, really want to! Every week I set aside time to cook up a bunch of food that I can throw together to make a quick meal.

    1-2 lbs of ground meat -beef, bison, or pork
    Pre-chop cabbage and put it in a container -both red and green
    Kale or other hearty greens -wash them and place in a hot pan with a bit of water, put the lid on and let them steam cook for a minute or so. That way they are mostly cooked when you add them to other dishes.
    Hard boil some eggs

    I also love the idea Haggiswhisperer mentioned, cooking up a big batch of something and freeze it. After doing this for a bit you will have a nice selection to pick from. I always make double batches of

    Chili
    Meat sauce
    Stew
    Soup (hearty)

    I also freeze meats in a marinade so while they defrost they marinate and are ready to cook by dinner time!

    Chicken parts -with or without bone.
    Chops
    Tougher cuts of beef that will do well with marination

    I like to keep easy stuff stocked for lunches, if I am not eating leftovers.

    Tinned Tuna and Mackerel, or sardines
    Salad mixes with heartier greens -my current fave is a kale/brussel/cabbage/raddichio mix
    Cooked chicken breasts
    Shredded carrots
    anything you would like in a big *kitten* salad -keep it chopped and ready to go

    The book, Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan is a great investment. She details a weekly cook-up and has a section on "one-pot" type meals where you basically throw together a bunch of pre-prepped stuff and heat it up.

    It's definitely doable, you just have to put a little more thought into your prepping . Take some time on a day off and cook up a bunch of stuff so you don't have to do it during the week. Be well organized. These are all things that many of us do to keep our sanity :)

    ***Get to know your slow cooker very well. It's great for hands off cooking, making large batches, and one-pot dinners!!
  • Howbouto
    Howbouto Posts: 2,121 Member
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    Thank you all for your response. I do cook ahead but I will be the first to admit, I do not freeze things for a later time. I really need to clean out the freezer and start this. My home dyanmic is strange. My husband travels and is only home Thursday to Sunday. He is not paleo but is trying to reduce sugar. I typically will cook a big roast or whole chicken on Sundays and use the left overs for lunch. Then on Monday's I cook something and typically eat it for the rest of the week. I think this is part of the problem. It is not uncommom for me to eat the same thing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Which is part of the my misery, I need more variety but I don't want nor really do I have the time to cook every day. Freezing seems like a logical solution and I need to give it a shot! May I ask what do you freeze things in? I am not a fan of putting food in plastic, but i don't have enough glass to freeze things (nor would I want to as when the hubs digs in the freezer he often knocks things out.

    Munzinni thank you for your response. We are very similar. If I eat a non paleo meal, I don't get immediately ill either. At very worse, I will get a stuffy nose. However, I do really notice changes in my mood and also more random aches and pains. I have changed my diet A LOT over time, however, by no means am I a paleo purist. And I feel like, I'm trapped in a limbo land. Whenever, I try to be a purist I end up binging for about 2 weeks when I do slip up (even though I feel aweseom while being pure). However, having 2 strays a week is not getting me where I need to be either.
  • Nutmeg76
    Nutmeg76 Posts: 258 Member
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    We make this way of eating work by sticking to easy meals through the week and fancier stuff on teh weekends when there is more time. Generally on the weekend I double the recipe for dinner, Fri, Sat and Sun. That way I have at least three pre-made meals for the weekdays...and it doesn't increase the workload to double a recipe, or at least it is less work than making the same recipes two days a week. We stick with broiled meat and simple steamed veggies most week nights, or "slop" which is sauteed onions and garlic with ground beef and spices, it isn't fancy but it works...add some frozen veggies and it is a one pot meal (I also add rice on occasion because it is budget friendly and none of us have any issues with rice).

    Making hard boiled eggs beforehand also helps. Keep them around for snacks, make a bunch. I take left overs for lunch and then add just cut up veggies to go with it. I don't like to eat salad, so I just do cucumbers, peppers, celery, carrots or whatever I have on hand.
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
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    RE: spending one's entire life in the kitchen. Yes, I can relate to that feeling! My whole weekend is composed of cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning... repeat forever.

    I think this lifestyle can be as complicated or simple as one wants. I spend an incredible amount of time in the kitchen on weekends but it's to save time during the week. However, I would be happy to live on steak, chicken thighs, pork chops, stir fries, salads, steamed veggies too; all of which can be made in under an hour every day. Bone broth is simple in the slow cooker and the kefir I make is equally easy.

    I take pride in knowing I am feeding my child and I the best food. Whenever I start to feel resentful of the time spent, I focus on why I do it. I could also just stick with making simple meals every night instead of cook ups.
  • Howbouto
    Howbouto Posts: 2,121 Member
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    Whenever I start to feel resentful of the time spent, I focus on why I do it. I could also just stick with making simple meals every night instead of cook ups.

    Resentful. That is a good word to describe the way I feel. Maybe a tad jealous. I'm jealous I no longer have the ignorance on what is good for me.
  • Lizzard_77
    Lizzard_77 Posts: 232 Member
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    Resentful. That is a good word to describe the way I feel. Maybe a tad jealous. I'm jealous I no longer have the ignorance on what is good for me.

    Word up! I catch myself sometimes wishing I didn't know now what I know about how food effects me. But I wouldn't trade how I feel now for anything! It's definitely a commitment, but totally worth it in the end.
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
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    Resentful. That is a good word to describe the way I feel. Maybe a tad jealous. I'm jealous I no longer have the ignorance on what is good for me.

    Word up! I catch myself sometimes wishing I didn't know now what I know about how food effects me. But I wouldn't trade how I feel now for anything! It's definitely a commitment, but totally worth it in the end.

    I feel the same. I miss having more leisure time and when things were "easier" but I won't trade my family's health to go back to "easier". A friend of mine in town has a husband that was resentful of seeing other people with far more time to be outdoors and go hunting, but when she reminded him that it's because everyone else is eating processed junk and are sick as a result, he accepts their choice. (and they have a full time nanny! must be nice....) Honestly, I still spend a lot of time on my computer and watching television and my grandmother did not have that luxury. I often have to remind myself of how blessed I truly am; it's easy to be resentful but it's not always justified. (Remind me of my own words in the coming years as I have to increase homeschooling my child to make up for the poor public education here.... lmao)
  • Dragonwolf
    Dragonwolf Posts: 5,600 Member
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    Ok so here it is, I know the primal/paleo lifestyle is the best thing for my health, my mood and ultimately my weight. However, trying to balance everything drives me nuts. If feel like I never stop thinking about food. I feel like I never stop cooking or doing dishes. I recently tried what I considered a kinder gentler paleo (basically if I strayed no biggie the most important thing was to go right back to paleo.) I was averaging non paleo twice a week. It is not working for my mood, it is not working for my weight, I do feel slightly less nuts. Those of you that rarely stray, how do you find balance? Or should I just pull up my big girl panties and realize the rest of my life will be in the kitchen.

    Dr. Peter Attia has a blog entry that talks about changing habits. In it, he says that there are four stages:

    1. Unconscious incorrect
    2. Conscious incorrect
    3. Conscious correct
    4. Unconscious correct

    He says that most people get stuck on #3 and often backslide to #2, because it takes a very, very long time to get to #4, and while you're on #3, it feels like your life is consumed by it.

    In that light, it makes a lot of sense why most people feel that way about something at some point in time (exact circumstances are different for everyone).

    I definitely second the easy meals. "Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods" is a great cookbook, because most of the recipes only take a few minutes of hands-on time and only about half an hour total, and most will only dirty a couple of dishes (often something to mix stuff together in, and something to cook the food in, plus utensils).

    My "straying"/"cheating" is often in relation to my stress levels (namely, the chronic stuff that I don't have control over until I can remove myself from the situation). The less of it I have, the better I am. The more of it I have, the more I reach for crap -- namely, milk chocolate, ice cream/milkshakes, and occasionally pizza or conventional chicken tenders (go-to comfort foods, basically). It's basically based on my mental exhaustion level, since coming up with compliant meals and resisting the desire for sweet things when I'm in that state just further adds to my stress levels and exhaustion. Thankfully, the above habit phases haven't been an all-or-nothing thing for me, so my food is still by and large compliant. There's just a meal or snack each day that includes non-compliant stuff. It's an ongoing process.
  • butterbear1980
    butterbear1980 Posts: 234 Member
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    Re; kitchen work.
    It gets easier,more normal feeling,especially when you've got recipes memorized and keep it simple. I keep it Really simple special meals for special occasions. Baked (grain sugar free) goods for special occasions. It really does get easier.