The 80/20 Rule: Living Paleo Realistically

Realistic Paleo Living

Traditionally, the media has pushed the idea that dieting and lifestyle changes should be applied 100% of the time to be effective. This isn’t necessarily true. Take for example body builders, these ultra hard working athletes frequently incorporate large calorie mounds in their diet to keep the body from dropping too low into a state of “survival mode”. While calorie binging isn’t really as effective as it might appear, it certainly proves that sticking to a diet 100% of the time isn’t necessary to reap its benefits.

Now, I’m not saying that you should intentionally stray from your paleo diet principles, however you should certainly not be waiting and ready to rap yourself over the knuckles when you don’t eat strict paleo. What you should try and achieve is a comfortable 80/20 ratio. If you eat healthy, grain free foods 80% of the time, you don’t need to worry about the other 20%.

So what makes up the other 20%? 

Within reason, anything you want. Having said that though, as you progress in your paleo lifestyle, your cravings will change and you will more than likely lose interest in foods you would have eaten if you weren’t enlightened by your inner caveman’s requirements. To explore what it is exactly that you have lost interest in, or in the case of gluten rich foods such as wheat, all you have to do is try them every once in a while. Personally, I’ve seen changes in my cravings across the board. Where I would have perhaps craved something like chocolate, I know crave roast vegetables. It sounds bizarre, and once you realise it it really is bizarre, but it is awesome as well.

I love the fact that I can eat as much of what I’m craving as I like and reap positive, not negative effects of said food. I enjoy great food, in large quantities, and I don’t feel guilty, ever.

Evil Delicious

Cheating, and not being a Nazi

Food Nazi’s aren’t the friends of anyone, so don’t become one. The whole point of letting go is, well, letting go. When you do rarely give in and allow your tastebuds to go crazy, do it properly. By doing this, you will more than likely get over the negative effects of these foods and lose interest in them almost entirely. You see, it’s really a double edged sword in your toolbelt. One side of the blade is allowing you to enjoy chocolates, cake and biscuits, and the other side follows through, swiftly showing why it is that you removed these bad foods from your diets in the first place.

If you follow a paleo eating philosophy 80 percent of the time, you don’t have to worry yourself with trivial things like ordering rice free sushi, and you could even enjoy some freshly baked bread every now and then. Although you’ll probably pay for it afterwards. Ultimately, it shouldn’t be your intention to make it known that you eat “differently”, not because you should hide the fact that you know what constitutes a healthy diet, but rather because its both taxing to you and others if you constantly promote the benefits of going grain free and living life through the loin cloth.

At the end of the day, embracing your inner caveman should be an experience of learning and adaptation. No one diet is perfect, but the paleo diet is pretty darn close. If you can stick to it 80 percent of the time, you’ll reap nearly all of the rewards. And if you want to go 100% hardcore paleo that’s fine as well. It’s all about balance, and it’s all about enjoying life the full.

So go out and remind yourself just how much you dislike cake, haha!

Keep well,