Friday, January 22, 2016

Paleo-cheesesteaks

Noon class working on squats
Last night we were talking about whether there were any foods that I missed since transitioning to a paleo-inspired diet 7 years ago. The only thing I could think of was a traditional Philly cheesesteak - I do miss those. Quickly the discussion switched to paleo-ifying the cheesesteak, which sounds easy at first: steak, good; grass-fed cheese, good; Mark-Sisson-tears mayo, good; some weird almond-flour bread? (EJ suggested grass-fed bread.)

But it still wouldn't be a cheesesteak. Anyone from PA knows there's something special about the ingredients in a cheesesteak, and it would never work to paleo-ify it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm totally against paleo-ifying snacks, treats, or desserts. Removing unhealthy foods from of your diet is good. But the benefit of going paleo is changing your habits, not changing your ingredients.

Many people like to use paleo-ified treats to help them transition to a paleo diet. It can be a comfort to have something that's kind of like what you're missing. But in the same way that methadone, used to treat heroin addiction, is not a long-term solution, paleo treats should not be a substitute for a diet of real foods. Think about heroin addicts in treatment. If they are no longer using heroin, does that mean they are all better? The best prognosis is for recovering addicts who have changed their habits - not hanging out with the same old crowd, building positive social support, doing something different with their lives. It works the same way with food - if you're eating treats, whether or not they're made with paleo-approved ingredients, they are triggering the same part of your brain that makes regular cookies (or pizza, or cheesesteaks) addictive.

They're also not that good for you. Substitute grain-based flour with almond flour? Do you know how many almonds it takes to make flour? Would you eat that many almonds if you had to crack them yourself? It's not just the ingredients that matter, it's the quantity. Watch your inflammation skyrocket with that many almonds.

Substitute maple syrup for sugar? It's still the same thing. It's all sugar. It all does the same thing in your body. I'll just leave this here when you want to talk about sugar:
Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado,  Sorghum syrup, Refiner's syrup, Ethyl maltol, Yellow sugar. 
Yup, those are just some of the words that the FDA allows instead of the word sugar - your government at work.

Then there's the "treat" part of paleo treat. A treat is an occasional (read: rare) thing. A special dessert on your birthday is a treat. Having paleo-pancakes every weekend is habit, not a treat. You'll never change where you are if you keep doing the same things.

I know I sound unreasonable, and you're probably thinking I never have any fun. But there's plenty of joy to take from eating healthy foods that trumps the quick rush of a guilty pleasure. Instead of focusing on things you can't have, you can instead focus on the amazing variety of healthy foods you can choose from, and there's no need to feel deprived. Sure, it can be hard sometimes. Amy wrote about the difference between discomfort and pain yesterday. This is the same idea: a little discomfort now (not reaching for that paleo-ice cream) will make you stronger. You'll adapt, and you'll save yourself from the pain of sickness later (whether that's later this month, later this decade, or later in life).

I promise you, once you change your habits, you'll stop missing the treats. Except the cheesesteaks, they'll haunt you forever.

Cheesesteak wit - why would you ever get it wit out?
Workout
strength - add weight from last time (more info) 

front squat 3x5 

then

8 rounds every 3:00

5 cleans, heavy but perfect