We ventured down the rabbit hole of Reddit to find out the best and most accurate advice on the Paleo diet. Here at Cooking Light, Reddit isn't really somewhere we travel often, or really ever. Some of our friends and family members, however, are those wake-up-in-the-morning-check-Reddit kind of people. If you're one them, hey, more power to you. If you're not and really have never even heard of it, much less stepped into the Reddit world, we're here to help.
Reddit 101: Think of it like a democratic social media platform. While some social media sites run off certain algorithms that reward clicks, comments, and shares, they do not take into account the amount of dislikes or negative comments. They bundle it all up into one and then push it out into a the "feed world." Reddit, however, is based on positivity. You'll see next to a post up and down arrows (aka upvotes and downvotes). This is Reddit's rating system. The votes even out, so if ten users give a post upvotes and two give it downvotes then there is a total of eight votes. Have we lost you yet? It's a great place to go to get verifiable opinions and viewpoints on different topics. And, unlike other platforms, Reddit has monitors that shut down absurd statements, unrelated, and negative comments.
Now that you've got the gist, on to Paleo...
Since the Paleo diet always seems to be surrounded by controversy and opinions , we thought we'd see what Reddit had to say. Here's the most accurate and informational post that we found: What I learned about food and my body in a month of Paleo.
I just finished my first month of paleo eating -- I complied strictly -- and I learned a lot about food and my body. While I understand that everyone's different and thus my discoveries might not apply to everyone, some of them might help some of you, so I thought I'd share. Here's what I learned:
1. I don't need grains to live happily, obviously. But I can't do six workouts per week on VLC. After three weeks, I was feeling sluggish most of the day -- I didn't have the energy to work or exercise. I added in a little fruit (maybe a banana and some berries) and like magic my energy returned. Carbs, I found, aren't evil -- when I have a little bit of fruit sugar with meals (even while totally eliminating other sugars), I have higher energy, better workouts, and actually less trouble losing fat. My take: Carbs aren't evil. Sweet potatoes are a huge staple in my diet, especially when eating Paleo. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but they're also incredibly satisfying and energy-boosting. Try this Paleo-friendly recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broccolini
2. Processed food is really unhealthy. It doesn't make me feel well. My take: Agreed. It's crazy--you'll have this insane craving, eat it, and it's not even that satisfying. I found that homemade fries are so much more satisfying than fried restaurant ones. Try this Paleo-friendly recipe: Bacon, Egg, and Kale Breakfast Salad
3. Healthy fats might be healthy, but they're also delicious. Their calories still count, and because they're calorie-dense, they add up quickly. Half a pound of almond butter is really, really easy for me to eat, and though it's paleo-friendly, it's still 1600 calories. My take: Healthy fats ARE delicious, but as mentioned in the post, they are calorie-dense foods. The Paleo diet is no different when it comes to portion control. You can't have the "all you can eat" mentality when you're doing the Paleo diet. It just isn't good for you. Try this Paleo-friendly recipe: Salmon with Walnut-Avocado Guacamole
4. I'm a good cook, and I've gotten better over the past month. But not every meal needs to take an hour to create. Delicious, healthy food doesn't have to be complex -- and it's really easy to procrastinate by cooking because it's fun and healthy. My take: Couldn't agree more. We're all about quick, superfast meals that are nutritious and delicious. There's a huge misconception in the world that cooking healthy has to take a long time. False. With a little bit of prep, you can make most meals fast, but there are also tons of recipes that don't require an hour. See our Paleo-friendly recipes.
5. "Full" is the feeling past "sated," which most nearly means "not hungry." It's really hard for me to become "full" -- i.e., to eat past the feeling no longer being hungry -- without grains. But eating to eliminate hunger (instead of to be stuffed) makes me happier and keeps my energy up through the day. My take: Yes. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. You don't need to be "stuffed" to be full.
6. Life is better with lots of hard workouts, way more water than seems right, and plenty of sleep. My take: Water, water, water. We love water, good exercise and sleep. See our Thirst-Quenching Infused Waters.
7. This one's crucial: food exists to serve me, not the other way around. About three weeks in, I started feeling like a slave to my food -- many (or perhaps most) of my thoughts revolved around what I'd eat at the next meal, how I'd cook dinner, how many calories I had left, and how I could create paleo-compliant versions of non-paleo foods. That, I realized, is the exact opposite of the liberation I expected, so decided to simplify. The paleo plan is designed to make us happy and healthy, not to constrict or smother us. Especially in the world of r/paleo -- which, don't get me wrong, I love and visit frequently -- it's very easy to get trapped in a paleo fishbowl. That's probably, I think, a structural feature of diet- and health-related rule systems, especially because I -- and I predict many of the others willing to eat and exercise carefully and precisely for a month are probably the same way -- am rather compulsive. My take: Yes. You have to find freedom in any "diet." Don't let it rule you or consume you.