In the previous post I teased you with a simplified philosophy of how I eat and how I believe we all should eat to be happy, strong and healthy. And sexy. Sexy feels good, right? I promise that I will look into individual components of cave-gentleman and cave-lady plate for those of you who need more convincing, more details, more arguments, but I really wish that you give it a shot right away without waiting for me to sit down with my laptop and feel that the stars are in the right constellation to write about protein, gluten, carbs and more. Today, I will show you how I build my plate to make sure that I consume all the nutrients (and deliciousness) that my precious body (and taste buds) needs.
This is what it may look like:
You can see that veggies are the base of my plate. There is nothing like too much vegetable. Eat as much as you like and make sure that you include all the colors of the rainbow. Not only it looks good and you can let your creativity go wild, but different colors give us different vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients. By including the whole specter you make sure that you feed your body in a balanced way. I always like to have some dark leafy greens as a “bed” and add colors according to my mood, taste or availability.
Protein is the king of the plate. Whatever piece of whichever animal you enjoy, bring it on. Birds, wild game, pork, fish, seafood, eggs, you name it. Seriously, there are no limitations when it comes to protein. Eat whatever runs wild in your area or at your favorite farmer’s backyard. Explore the world of weird meat parts. Some of them are extremely delicious yet surprisingly cheap! Don’t be afraid to eat the whole thing. Organs are so nutritious, bone marrow so delicious. Learn to take advantage of the whole animal. It will save you lots of money and you can surprise your family and friends with more than just another chicken breast lunch.
Are you still with me? Not yet running away thinking that I’ve gone crazy from too much steak? Alright. Let’s have a look at the toughest part. We are about to fight the conventional wisdom of the low-fat diet world.
Fat. Yes, you see it right. F. A. T. I will even make you say healthy fat in one sentence! That there is nothing like healthy fat? Welcome to my world. Healthy fat is the third part of my plate, and I dare to say that it is crucial component of the caveman diet. First of all, it is fat and protein that keep you satiated for longer periods of time. Secondly, it is the main source of energy for those of us who eat like cave people.
You might have noticed that there are very little carbohydrates on my plate. No potatoes, no bread, no rice, no legumes. All these named staples are rich sources of carbs, and Paleo eaters avoid them. I will explain more about avoiding grains and legumes in a separate post. At this point I want you to understand that in low-carb diet, healthy fats are your best friends. They keep you going and they do so for much longer than croissants or risotto. If you give up carbs and become a fat-burner, you will happily loose post-meal sleepiness, afternoon tiredness, grumpiness when hungry, mood swings and headaches. Isn’t it worth trying?
One more argument in favor of healthy fats. When we eat too much, how do our bodies store the excess of energy (usually from carbs)? Don’t we all get…FAT? Fat is the way to store energy. If you teach your body to stop using carbs as the immediate source of energy, it will automatically reach its well loaded fat stores! Not only we will be energized after meals, never nervous from hunger, tired or grumpy, we will be slimmer! Here comes sexy in picture again.
In terms of quantity, fat takes the least space on my plate, but I find it necessary to give it the most in this post. Although I plan on an entire individual post on healthy fats, let me quickly mention what healthy fats actually are. Animal fats – fatty organs, bacon, lard, pork belly, duck fat… I am sure you can come up with more. My mom has never used anything else but pork lard for cooking and even baking. Animal fats are great for cooking with high temperatures as they don’t burn that easily. And the flavor… hmmm. For cold cooking such as salads or dips, use cold pressed oils – extra virgin olive oil and nut oils. Coconut oil is amazing and just like animal fats can stand high temperatures. Other sources of fat you can count on are egg yolks or avocados.
I can hear questions about dairy products. Dairy is the grey and the most discussed area of the caveman world and the reason for difference between Paleo and primal. I will let you decide on whether dairy will stay in your fridge or not on your own, and I will provide you with explanations and arguments on why it should and why it shouldn’t. It all depends on your goals and digestive system. For now, stick with full-fat natural dairy products, ideally fermented (Greek yogurt, kefir) or aged (cheese!). I recommend that you avoid milk unless it is fresh and non-pasteurized, simply directly from a grass-fed cow.
Uff, I hope you are not overwhelmed! As complicated as it may seem, you will realize very soon that it is actually super easy. Just remember – rainbow veggies, animals, and healthy fats. And if you are not sure, just answer the most basic question – would caveman eat it?
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to live loud!