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“I am so used to eating cereal and oatmeal for breakfast every morning. It makes me sad to think I can’t have that any more. Do you have any Paleo-friendly options?”
There was once a time in my life where Froot Loops and Lucky Charms were my staple breakfast item. When I first tried Paleo, it was hard to get past that mindset of feeling like I HAD to have that for a complete breakfast.
Fortunately, once I realized that eating a breakfast composed of protein and healthy fats (instead of refined carbs and sugar) made me feel so much better during the day, it made it easier to say goodbye to the cereal.
That being said, there are some Paleo-friendly options if you just need that bowl and spoon in your hand! I’ve listed some of my favorite recipes below:
This recipe uses pumpkin, coconut cream, banana, flax and sunflower seeds to create a nourishing porridge. It’s delicious.
Grain free granola is a great alternative to cereal. This version is made with nuts, seeds, and coconut. Throw in some dried apricot for a scrumptious spin on regular granola. Eat this plain or top it with almond or coconut milk. I bet you’ll want to eat this granola every morning.
If you’ve never tried chia seed pudding before, you’re in for a treat! It’s creamy, satisfying, and absolutely delicious. This version is topped with blackberry and mango, but feel free to personalize yours to your taste preferences.
“How would you define a high quality and low quality food?”
This is SUCH a great question – and one that doesn’t have an easy answer. In a very general sense, I would say a high quality food is one that is as close to its natural state as possible.
But, what does that mean?
I can tell you what it DOESN’T mean. It doesn’t mean to eat the exact same food in the exact same state that our cavemen/women ancestors did.
Food, like humans, has evolved over time. According to an article by National Geographic, the vegetables of today are nothing like our ancestors. Tomatoes were smaller, cucumbers resembled spiky sea urchins, potatoes were the size of peanuts…
So – no – you can’t eat exactly like the cavemen. I know someone out there wanted to call me out on that 😉 But, be thankful that we don’t have to eat the same (often unpalatable) food they did!
What I do mean is that it’s important to eat food in as an unprocessed state as possible. I love the way Michael Pollan puts it – eat food that your great-grandmother would recognize as food.
First off, I consider a food to be high quality if it has a single ingredient. Anything you find in the produce section of your local market usually fits the bill. As far as organic versus conventional produce, I try as much as possible to stick to the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen.
When it comes to animal protein, this is where I try to buy the highest quality possible. This means beef and poultry that has been pasture-raised and fish that has been wild-caught.
Studies have shown that grass-fed beef and eggs from pastured chickens are higher in healthy fats. Have you ever compared the egg yolks from pasture-raised vs. conventionally-raised chickens? Try it if you haven’t! You’ll be able to see a noticeable difference in the colors; the pastured egg yolk will be a deeper shade of orange. This signals a richer concentration of carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids.
You also vote with your dollar. I choose to support farmers that raise their animals sustainably and ethically. This is better for the animals, better for the consumers who eat it, and better for our environment. It’s a personal choice for me and you can certainly choose differently.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that we do live in a modern world with modern-day conveniences. That means we can go into a grocery store and buy food that has already been prepared and packaged. How do you tell what’s high quality in this instance?
I look for a few things. First off, I make sure to read the ingredients label. As a general rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that I can’t pronounce, I pass on it.
A great example would be trail mix. Initially, you would think trail mix would inherently be high quality. A mix of nuts and seeds and dried fruit perhaps. But, take a quick glance through the ingredients list of a Planters version of trail mix:
INGREDIENTS: ALMONDS, HONEY ROASTED SESAME STICKS (UNBLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR [CONTAINS MALTED BARLEY FLOUR], SOYBEAN OIL, SESAME SEEDS, BULGUR WHEAT, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, WHEAT STARCH, SALT, BEET POWDER AND TURMERIC [VEGETABLE COLOR], HONEY, XANTHAN GUM, SOY LECITHIN), PEANUTS, CANDY COATED DARK CHOCOLATE SOYNUTS (DARK CHOCOLATE [SUGAR, CHOCOLATE, COCOA BUTTER], SUGAR,
There are a lot of sketchy ingredients in this mix, and I’d choose to avoid it.
Stick to products that are made up a only a few ingredients. Look for sneaky sugars. Familiarize yourself with all of the ways sugar can hide in the ingredients list.
Don’t get bogged down with the minutia of a bunch of food rules. Keep it simple. Make the best choices you can in your situation. If you do that, you can’t go wrong!
“Is non-dairy cheese Paleo?”
Non-dairy cheese can be Paleo – but it depends on the type. First off, what non-dairy cheeses AREN’T Paleo.
Any type of cheese that’s soy-based would be out of the question. Soy is not Paleo-friendly – read more about that here.
Some popular brands of soy-based cheeses include Follow Your Heart and Cheezly.
Non-dairy cheese can also be nut-milk based. Most commonly you’ll see almond or cashew cheese. These cheeses would be considered Paleo-friendly.
Although I haven’t personally tried it, I’ve heard great things about Kite Hill cheeses. Punk Raw Labs also produce nut milk cheese. Their ingredients list is SUPER clean and they have amazing flavor combinations as well – just check out their Cashew of the Wood flavor:
Cashew of the Woods – Flavored with button, crimini, and shiitake mushrooms, black and white truffles, celeriac, and white pepper.
Ingredients: organic cashews, water, culture, salt, mushroom (shitake, crimini, button), black and white truffle, celeriac, white pepper
When buying non-dairy cheese, just be sure to read your ingredients label closely. Choose cheeses that stick to all Paleo ingredients and don’t include weird fillers or additives.
And remember – you don’t NEED to include non-dairy cheese in your diet. But, if you’re a cheese lover and miss that creamy goodness, these cheeses are an option.
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