In my search for healthy (and budget-friendly) recipes and meal ideas, I’ve come across quite a bit of Primal Diet talk. This is not a new concept if you’ve ever heard of or read Foods Jesus Ate, What would Jesus Eat?, and Moses Wasn’t Fat. But there seems to have been a reinvention that is sweeping the internet. This is awesome!
What is The Primal Diet, you ask?
It’s been called other things, like the Caveman Diet or the Paleo Diet. It is pretty much what is sounds like. To some it may be more of a raw diet, but overall it is eating foods that are natural and un-processed. It has also been referred to as the raw meat (or neolithic) diet, but as for me, that is not what I am advocating here. I do not think cooked meat is the cause of all our problems (i.e. diseases, obesity, allergies, etc) . It is the processed foods we eat, and that includes more than just meat.
Think about what you eat on a regular basis. When you go to the grocery store do you tend to go down every aisle and put something in your cart? How much of your food comes in boxes or cans? How much of what you eat and serve to your family comes from a box or a can? This includes frozen meals as well.
The bottom line is this: the more ingredients listed on the packaging = less healthy for you. Convenience isn’t better. It may be faster but it is doing you and your family’s bodies more harm than good. It might take a little bit more of your free time, and initially it might seem as though it is taking a little bit more of your paycheck (until you figure it out), but healthy meal planning is worth it in the long run.
Go to your pantry and pull out that box of Hamburger Helper. How many looooooooong, hard to pronounce, chemical-sounding words are listed in the ingredients? This is bad for you. (I’m only using Hamburger Helper as an example- no offense meant.)
Did you know that the Food Pyramid has changed…again? Actually, there were nutritional guidelines issued by the U.S. government long before the words “food pyramid” were even introduced. Back in the 1920’s guidelines were shockingly different from what they are today. Most meals were recommended to be centered around milk, with a little bit of grains, like toast or even a biscuit-like cookie. Think milk toast….blech! Then the “Basic Seven” was introduced in 1946 by the USDA: the first ever Recommended Daily Allowances guideline. No serving sizes were defined, and butter was a food group.
Next came the “Essentials of an Adequate Diet”, which cut the seven groups down to four. Those 4 food groups being the ones we’ve all grown up learning. The focus was still on getting “plenty of food”. How little known it was that the focus would shift to making sure people didn’t eat too much.
In 1979 the name “Food” became the new guide where the USDA addressed the link between certain foods and chronic diseases. This is when the category of “Fats, Sweets, & Oils” were added to the 4 basis food groups, but cautioned with moderation.
The food pyramid debuts in 1992- I had no idea. I thought it had always been around. Funny how I was already 20 years old when it made its appearance. That just goes to show you how healthy I was. Funny thing about the food pyramid is that you’ll see the good fats (ones that protect the brain) are shared in the same blocks as bad ones (artery-clogging fats). Bacon was considered equal with lean poultry. And 6-11 servings of bread a day? Really? We scarfed it up, not knowing any better, because the USDA told us to do it.
In 2005 the pyramid got an edgy make-over and was called “My Pyramid”. It was vague and confusing and most people didn’t understand that the wedges indicated that some foods were supposed to be eaten in smaller quantities than others. But just in 2011 a new diagram popped up showing us what to do, called the The Plate and The Moon. The plate is for our four basic food groups, and the moon is for a serving of dairy. On one half of the plate there should be all vegetables and fruit (I recommend more vegetables, as most would, but did you know it is not good to eat most fruits with a meal? More on that some other time…) And the other half of the plate should be all protein and grains (and please don’t forget that “protein” is more than just meat. Try some beans once in a while).
I find that eating healthy can lead to questions when it comes to snacking. If you’ve been able to research recipes and plan meals you’re on the right track, but if you craving something in-between meals, or if you’re on the go and need a replacement meal, then here is a list of little to no preparation primal snacks.
Seeds and Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Macadamia, etc.), Almond Butter, Hardboiled Eggs, Jerky (Be careful of certain brands; it’s best if you make your own.), Canned Salmon or Tuna (Albacore), Smoked Sardines, Cold Shrimp, Cold, Sliced (unprocessed) Meat, Avocado/Guacamole, Black and Green Olives, Half of a Coconut (and other Coconut products), Fresh and Dried Fruit, Veggies (jimcama, celery, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, etc.), Sauerkraut, Pickles, Salsa, Dried Seaweed, Dark Chocolate.
A few great websites I have found are:
Primal Toad @ http://www.primaltoad.com/
Mark’s Daily Apple @ http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/
Mattie Roberts @ http://thecareandfeedingofdivas.com/