Holidays are often difficult times for many people, but for those in recovery, holidays can
A Farmer’s Look at the Paleo Diet
So, what is the paleo-diet? I’m sure most of you have heard of it by now, but for those of you who haven’t—here goes. The Paleo Diet is essentially a diet, or eating trend, that is based on our primal beginnings. In other words, if a caveman wouldn’t have eaten it during his time, you shouldn’t put it in your mouth. The goal is to eat more nutritious fare, avoid sugars and processed foods, and to become healthier, trimmer, and more wholesome in mind and body.
To get healthier, fitter, and leaner, you are going to put aside all those cakes, cheeses, and salty foods. No midnight snacks of milk and cookies. When you start a Paleo diet, you are returning to a meat and veggie-based diet. Those following the Paleo path take the “whole animal” approach—they can consume meat, bones, marrow, and cartilage. Animal products, such as eggs and honey, are still edible. Veggies, fruits, raw nuts, seeds, and added fats (coconut oil and etc.) are standard foodstuffs.
The idea is to eat more naturally and to dodge all the food that is ultimately bad for our figures and our health. Sounds great so far, right? John and I both recognize the positive aspects of the Paleo diet. We grow our own pasture-raised hogs, we use all-natural ingredients in our products, and we prefer to eat unprocessed foods. In fact, our diets are fueled by a high amount of fruits, veggies, and naturally raised beef and pork. On the other hand, we don’t neglect our grains.
While the Paleo diet is a wonderful base for any meal, I personally feel that you have to look at the whole table. The health benefits of the Paleo diet are tremendous, I must admit. Overall, people, as a whole, consume too many processed foods that adversely affect their health. Naturally grown meats, veggies, and fruits provide many necessary nutrients. On the other hand, fully eliminating dairy from your diet can lead to deficiencies in Calcium and Vitamin D. Paleo also denies grains, even whole grains, which are essential for our bodies because they provide complex carbohydrates vital to brain and muscle function.
Yet, the downsides of a paleo diet can be overcome. The key is to prepare a balanced table. Choose your meats, your fruits, and your veggies wisely. Hand-pick your meat based on quality; pasture-raised animals such as the hogs we raise here at Circle B Ranch are healthier for consumption, and they are higher in Vitamin D than store-bought meats. The animals are fed all-natural diets, there are no additional hormones or antibiotics, and they are processed minimally. In fact, nitrite-free—or unprocessed—bacon, which we also provide, is a perfect breakfast component for a Paleo or Paleo-based diet.
If you don’t want to consume dairy, be nifty and select a veggie that is high in Calcium. The vegetables in this category include your leafy greens such as spinach, kale, arugula, and collard greens. Cooked cabbage and Butternut squash are high in Calcium as well. For Vitamin D, you may want to eat pasture-raised pork, Portabella mushrooms, tofu, soy milk, or almond milk. If you want to eat grains, concentrate on whole grains, and you may decide to bake your own breads to control the amount of included sugars. You can also portion these edibles to ensure that you eat just the right amount of complex carbohydrates.
So, what is the right choice? Pro-Paleo or Team Skip It? The answer is up to you. How healthy do you want to eat? The decision is ultimately yours; neither John or I can determine how you eat. But we can promise our pasture-raised pork will always be here for your Paleo, or non-Paleo, needs.
And for those of you who would like more information about the Paleo Diet, here are some wonderful additional resources: