Over the past few years, the Paleo diet has been all the craze. First of all, the concept is kind of fun, right? “Eat like a caveman!” And with the many success stories, this diet is hard to ignore.
Personally, I’m conflicted.
The Paleo diet shuns processed foods for real food (yay!)… but it is also one of the less sustainable diets today.
The Paleo diet encourages high meat consumption. The production and processing of meat is one of the worst culprits for carbon emissions in terms of food. On top of that, the Paleo diet discourages people from eating some of the most sustainable food options like lentils, beans, nuts and rice.
I’ve been itching for another food challenge since the SNAP challenge in May. This seems like an an excellent opportunity.
For two weeks, I am going to try the Paleo diet… with a twist.
I am going to attempt to eat a sustainable Paleo diet (low carbon footprint).
Here’s the Plan: I’ll be eating Paleo from January 5, 2016 – January 19, 2016. During this time, I’ll be following the Paleo diet do’s and don’ts using this and other guides.
It’ll be a challenge to eat sustainably, but here’s how I’ll do it…
+ I’ll be considering carbon footprint as I plan my meals. It wouldn’t be the Paleo diet if I cut out meat completely, so instead, I’ll consciously choose more sustainable meat options using this guide.
+ I’ll also be loading my plates with lower carbon footprint foods like eggs, fruits and vegetables.
+ I’ll buy organic, free-range and grass-fed as much as possible.
+ I’ll stick with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies as much as possible, and avoid frozen or packaged produce, out-of-season fruits or tropical fruits that are shipped from far away.
+ I’ll cook as efficiently as reasonably possible using tips from this article (see their “Cooking smartly” section)
+ I’ll buy foods that I can use as completely as possible and that have more sustainable packaging in order to reduce food waste.
+ I’ll compost my food scraps since I’m sure I’ll have plenty from the fruit & veggies.
There are a few other things to consider…
+ Ideally, I would be buying from local farmers and food producers at farmers’ markets. But those are hard to come by at this time of year (and this challenge is already difficult). So I’ll be buying from my nearby grocery store instead.
+ I’m sure that I’ll end up dining out sometime over the next two weeks. When I do, the goal is to order Paleo meals (or as close to Paleo as I can) by choosing Paleo-friendly restaurants & menu items, or by making substitutions.
+ I have food tastings planned for my wedding during this time period, and not all of those tastings will be Paleo. So, I am granting myself an exception for those meals.
+ I am still learning about what is and isn’t Paleo-approved, so I’m going to use my best judgement with the resources I have.
Here’s what I plan to track…
+ I’m not doing this challenge for weight loss, and I’m not a fan of crash diets. So I won’t be tracking my weight as part of this challenge. Instead, I’ll keep a diary about how I feel during the diet.
+ I’ll track how much money I’m spending on this diet to understand the financial commitment – Exactly how accessible is this diet? Is it reserved for only those with higher disposable incomes? I will be using some pantry items that I’ve already bought, so I am simply estimate the cost of those items.
+ Some say that the Paleo diet is not about tracking nutrients: Just eat what’s allowed and avoid what is not. But because I’m doing a more limited version of the diet with a small window for adjustment (and I admit, I’m curious), I’ll be tracking my meals with MyFitnessPal. The goal is to see if I’m getting a good amount & variety of nutrients.
So that’s the plan… wish me luck!
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?
If so, share them in the comments! I’d greatly appreciate the advice. 🙂