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In a culture where the “all-or-nothing” attitude prevails, it’s refreshing to give ourselves a little break -- especially when it comes to how we eat.
I’ve always been a big proponent of paleo-based eating, which includes an emphasis on fresh vegetables, ethically sourced animal proteins and healthy fats, but I’m never surprised when my patients balk at the idea of giving up grains or dairy.
So that’s why I love the premise of Leanne Ely’s new book, “Part-Time Paleo: How to Go Paleo Without Going Crazy.”
The title is pretty self-explanatory: Leanne breaks down the benefits of a paleo diet while showing us how to implement this type of eating in ways that don’t require a 100 percent commitment or complete dietary overhaul.
After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Leanne found that eating paleo helped reduce her inflammation and clear up her long-standing battle with rosacea. She’s spreading the good word on paleo, while making it accessible to newbies and, yes, even naysayers.
Part-Time Paleo Rules
Advocating that you can incorporate the best parts of this diet into your life without going full throttle, Leanne shares the following guidelines for adopting a part-time paleo approach:
1. Ditch dairy.
The traditional paleo diet bans dairy, and Leanne also recommends getting rid of it. But if you are going to enjoy cheese, have just a little of a high-quality variety that has been aged for over 120 days (which enables the breakdown of lactose).
2. Goodbye, gluten.
Like me, Leanne says you have to totally give up gluten if you really want to see a difference in your health and weight. Normal paleo rules hold that even nongluten grains are off limits. If you can’t swing that, however, indulge in a little quinoa pasta -- but watch your portion sizes.
3. No legumes.
Beans, peas and lentils are full of lectins, which are proteins that bind to carbohydrates, cells and tissues, Leanne explains. Since lectins can be hard on the digestive system, she recommends avoiding them unless they’re sprouted (the sprouting process destroys the lectins and therefore makes them paleo-friendly).
4. Be choosy with potatoes.
Skip white potatoes, but if you need your spud fix, have a small portion of the purple kind -- these have more antioxidants and a slightly lower glycemic index.
5. Go crazy on nonstarchy veggies.
Nonstarchy vegetables, like leafy greens, asparagus, cauliflower, peppers and carrots are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, paleo or not.
I also like Leanne’s stance on fruit (eat it in small amounts), sustainable meat (no factory-raised animals!), and calorie counting (stop stressing and just eat the right foods).
And for those of you who are looking for some practical paleo application, the book also covers meal planning, shopping lists and tips on making a part-time paleo diet work for the long term.
If that’s not enough, her gluten-free, dairy-free recipes will make you seriously hungry.
Leanne is giving away her Part-Time Paleo Starter Kit for FREE to celebrate the launch of her new book. Grab yours here, while supplies last. And be sure to pre-order your copy of “Part-Time Paleo” on Amazon!