Paleo Food is Simple Food

Broccoli & Pine Nuts | popularpaleo.comSince I started cooking Paleo and keeping an eye on blogs and recipe sites in the same vein, I’ve noticed two common things. The food is either super simple–so simple, in fact, I wonder why a recipe is even needed–or I notice it’s highly complex and/or uses obscure ingredients. Now that I’m a blogger and churn out my own recipes, I understand the plight of the Paleo food author and am guilty of both offenses.  There is only so much you can do with whole foods free of sugar, legumes, most grains and dairy. And I’d be encouraged by that.

Every blog has its place. Some are all about the food, where others are highly technical and break down the Paleo diet to a scientific degree most of us can’t understand. It can be quite an undertaking to get down to the nitty gritty of why this Paleo thing works so well. We only have so much space in our brains, right?  My guess is that you already have a full plate with work, families, community involvement, gym time, etc. If you are looking into Paleo, you must want to boost your physical health–and probably not at the expense of your mental health! My hope is to be a reminder that Paleo is approachable for everyone and takes well to modification.

Here’s my concern. If you’re a seasoned Fitspo and know your way around the health food aisle, you’re likely not intimated by recipes calling for coconut aminos, avocado oil and kelp noodles.  But for the rest of you who are investigating which lifestyle you think you might be able to pull off, I imagine the perimeters of Paleo can feel a bit daunting.  So looking at Paleo blogs might actually be a deterrent–not only does the concept itself seem complicated, but now you gotta be a nutritionist-slash-chef too?!? Let me fill you in on a little secret. It’s actually pretty easy. All the food-porn shots and exotic ingredients are not necessarily a fair representation of the day-to-day.

Paleo food is simple.  Most days it’s veggie scrambles, fruit and a handful of nuts, hard-boiled eggs, leftover meat from last night’s dinner on top of salads or alongside sliced veggies. It’s easy roasted meat and simply prepared vegetables. All of this you can do. In fact, often times I like to think that most people are already Paleo, they just need to cut out the foods that are undoing the good work of the healthy aspects in their diet. It’s almost more about what you don’t eat than what you do. (*Note that I use that statement in relation to the general ingredients… quality matters!)

Maybe we’ve become accustomed to things being complicated in the nutrition arena? Could that be why when Paleo folks say “No, we just eat meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and specific healthy fats” it’s returned with a blank stare? It can’t really be that simple? No counting calories, no strict meal plans or food journals?  Just stay on track most of the time, enjoy thoughtful “breaks” here and there and judge your progress by how you feel, not by the scale (though fat falls off pretty efficiently when eating this well, but that’s another subject).

This week’s meals have been pretty chill. Roasted pork loin, acorn squash, pan-roasted broccoli, grilled steak, roasted garlic, and meatloaf loaded with hidden veggies. Quality food doesn’t have to be complicated; Paleo food doesn’t have to be complicated. Arm yourself with basic cooking skills, quality ingredients and a couple must-have cookbooks. You can put this into practice!

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