Many people have adopted the paleo or primal diet for health reasons, but the environmental implications of eating more meat and fewer grains have come up for debate. We asked Tiffany Washko, founder of one of the first green mom blogs – Nature Moms to weigh in on why her family made the educated decision to incorporate a paleo approach into their previously plant-based diet.
Is a Paleo Diet Right for Your Family?
Meal preparation and cooking for green moms can be tricky. We tend to analyze everything we buy and consume, wondering if it is the healthiest, safest, and most nutritionally intact food that can be found.
Add to this concerns about sustainable farming practices and many green moms may decide to go with a plant-based diet. Others yet may decide that unsavory agricultural practices and GMOs similarly taint plant food options and plant staples such as grains and soy must go.
I spent a couple years experimenting with my own diet and my family’s diet, trying to make heads or tails of all the choices myself. Ultimately, my family decided that a paleo or primal diet best suited our dietary needs. And when followed properly, it also met all of our requirements for a sustainable diet.
We decided to go paleo in large part because of all the studies and books published of late that incriminate grains and refined carbohydrates. We knew from our own experiences that these foods made us feel bloated and tired from an insulin roller coaster ride as the carbohydrates converted to sugar inside our bodies. The effects of this process were noticeable in all of us.
Quite commonly we would also feel famished only an hour or so after having just eaten a large grain-heavy meal like pizza or pasta. I also knew from my research on nutrition that grains have anti-nutrients that actually hinder your body from absorbing the nutrients it requires for optimum health, much the same way nuts do.
Whereas soaking nuts was relatively easy, soaking grains and making all my own pasta and bread, was a bit more work than these foods were worth in my mind. These observations combined with books like Wheat Belly and The Paleo Solution led us to what we now consider a better way.
For some time now we have been free of grains, pseudo grains like quinoa, and legumes/beans. We made the conscious decision to purchase high-quality grass fed or pastured animal products, which are better for us… and the planet .
For this former vegetarian, it was a big change, but looking at some of the foods we started to focus on, it’s easy to see how healthful they are.
Paleo Friendly Foods for Kids
We also make it a point to include nutrient dense fish products, fermented fish oils, and organ meats. All those healthy fats and nutrients keep us satiated and they ensure that our brains have fuel to function at their best. While a strict paleo diet usually does not include milk, we opted to go primal, or lacto-paleo. I did not want to abandon our delicious fermented and probiotic rich dairy favorites like cottage cheese, kefir, and yogurt.
We are lucky to live where we can get products such as this from a local grass fed dairy, or get the required milk to make them at home. In general we now eat very little processed food. Because restaurants are not usually paleo friendly, we rarely eat out. All of this has made for a much healthier diet.
The change in our health and lifestyle has been dramatic and encouraging. The bloating and constant hunger is gone. We have more energy and we have all lost some visceral fat that had accumulated around our bellies. We also maintain our high energy levels and do not see them skyrocket and subsequently plummet with every meal.
With every bite, we are reducing our risk for diabetes. And at every meal, we are nourishing our cells with high quality foods. For us, the diet experimentation has concluded, and we have settled on a paleo diet as best for our health and our environmental sensibilities.
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Jessica Anderson says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and journey! Two weeks ago my vegetarian husband came home and said he would like to try paleo…I was shocked! I just had my 3rd baby in 4 yrs and knew I needed a boost back to health so we started right up and we both feel great! It is amazing how different we felt right away! My question is about my children ages 4, 2, and new 🙂 they have never eaten meat, and are not interested at all! They don’t eat junk – lots of fruit, veg and wheat bread is a staple in their daily diet. Any advice for switching over such young eaters? Thanks!