Sunday, June 3, 2012

Foods that I eat.

   Most human activities revolve around food. Food plays a major role in all of our social activities. There is food at birthdays, weddings, and certainly there is no shortage of casseroles on even funerals. We are invited to dinner parties, and there are lunch meetings. We often shop at Costco and walking through the aisles there are samples of food being doled out at every corner. Food is everywhere, it controls our life. The food choices are limitless. And to confuse it all, every food manufacturer is trying to add some healthy spin to create a unique appeal for their product. Many breakfast cereals loaded with sugars and grains are proudly marketed as heart healthy products approved by the American Heart Association (AHA). Juices, once again loaded with corn syrup and artificial flavors are marketed to create a special healthy appeal to our younger generation. So in this confusing jungle, how is one to make sense of all this mess? The answer is simple, go back to the basics. Eating unprocessed whole foods is where our livelyhood is and we have a reasonable chance to stay healthy.

   Food is a major staple of Paleo Lifestyle. My friends often ask questions about what foods they can eat and not eat? Most people have trouble putting food groups together. They'll ask can I eat fish, lamb, or beef. Hey, guys, these are all proteins and proteins are allowed. Or they'll ask can we eat brown sugar instead of white processed sugar. Once again, a sugar is a sugar, doesn't matter in what form it exists. In the Paleo Lifestyle there are only few things that are not allowed, everything else is. Of course foods that are not allowed are the ones from which folks are simply unwilling to part with. In this post I've decided to post the foods that I consume on the daily basis. These foods have worked for me and continue to work for me. Before I list all the foods, let me start by giving few foods that are not allowed and should be avoided at all costs. In the future posts, I will write details why these foods are not good for us. So here we go..

Foods that should be avoided.

  • Grains: Wheat, rye, barley, oats, and many other cereal grains. Breads and pastas are all out. Whole grain is no more healthier than white flour. Corn and soy are out.
  • Legumes: Beans and lentils are out.
  • Sugars: Table sugar or any other sweetener. Cookies, cakes, and ice creams are all out.
  • Dairy products are out. Butter in moderation is OK. Clarified butter or Ghee is better.
  • Avoid vegetable, soy, and corn oils. These oils contain high amount of polyunsaturated fats.

   I told this to a friend and he said, "then what else should I eat?" His question was in such a state of desperation as if he knew nothing else existed outside the realm of these forbidden foods. I told him that he should eat the following:

Foods that are good to eat.

  • Animal products, lean meats are in.
  • Fats: Butter, Ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, olive oil, beef tallow, and animal fat are great source of energy and nourishment.
  • Incorporate coconut in your diet.
  • Don't be afraid of organ meats like liver, heart, and kidneys. My grandmother used to cook organ meats routinely. She cooked tripe, liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart. Organ meats are rich in nutrients. Unfortunately, in our modern society, these foods are not consumed but discarded.
  • Don't be afraid of eggs. Consume eggs on the daily basis.
  • Eat seasonal fruits, berries, and nuts.
  • Eat variety of vegetables. Limit consumption of starchy vegetables like potatoes if you are trying to lose weight.

   Still confused and don't know what to eat? Here is what I do on the daily basis:

Breakfast: 2-3 eggs scrambled. Sometimes I add a handful of chopped onions, tomatoes, and zucchini. Some mornings I have my eggs over easy or poached. On the weekends, I usually add potatoes to my eggs. A cup of tea and usually one or two cups of coffee when I get to work. In my coffee very little sugar, sometimes no sugar, and a table spoon of heavy cream.

Lunch: Most often a salad with chicken, beef, or lamb. If I am busy and can not make it out for lunch, giving my body a break from a meal is perfectly normal. The hunger pangs subside quickly and I am able to skip a meal without too much discomfort. A delicious Larabar ( is a good option few times when nothing is available. Stopping at my local grocery store to pick up a box of fresh blueberries and a hard boiled egg is another lunch option I exercise often. However, most often lunch is a social event and just getting away from work with few of my co-workers is relaxing and helps to clear the mind. My co-workers are patient and tolerant in listening to my ramblings. We frequent Bab's Delta Diner in our local neighborhood and I end up ordering "Luis' Special". A scramble of three eggs, ground beef, spinach, onions, cheese, and potatoes. I always decline the toast.

Dinner: 4 nights per week, I make a salad for dinner, with my own dressing. My wife cooks chicken, beef, or fish for dinner. I try to eat organ meats one night per week. Liver lightly salted and peppered cooked on an open skillet is very delicious. Meat is cooked every night. My wife also makes a pretty yummy cow feet soup once in a while. The soup has ample amount of fats and is very filling. I will share the recipe in my future posts. A cup of tea shortly after my meal is all I need to complete my dinner.

Snacks: In between meals, nuts like cashews, almonds, and macadamias are good snacking options. An apple or pear is also a good choice. That natural drink called water is great and very refreshing. If you want to kick it up a notch then carbonated sparkly water is also a good choice to have in between meals or with meals.

   There is no calorie counting. I eat my fill and enjoy my foods, my weight remains the same. I hope the above examples will give you some kind of a baseline and a good starting point. Some foods may not work for you. Don't be afraid to experiment and change things around. Once again eat when hungry is perfectly acceptable, but creating a routine is better. Planing ahead is always wise.

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