Paleo Plan

Q&A: Seasonality, Nutrients in the Meal Plans, and Binge Eating Like Our Ancestors

We recently received this message with some important questions for our new members in it about the seasonality of our menus, the nutritional value of our members, and binge eating like our ancestors would have. Below are the questions and answers.

Hi Neely,

I’m brand new to the paleo diet and have a few questions for you. First, I found your site the other day and wow, this is exactly what I’m looking for. Not only can I get all of my meal planning, grocery lists and recipes handed to me on a platter, but it’s all paleo too! Definitely worth the $10- paleo or not- a great idea and a great model. Kudos.

Thank you! We’re very glad you like it.

Now my questions. I’m new to paleo and found a couple points on your blog to be very convincing- namely, the point that flour, in all its “vibrant anti-oxidant rich” glory, may not be the best source of carbohydrates, coupled with the comparison you made between a typical N. Am diet and a paleo diet. I initially saw the paleo diet and thought, “yeah, but all of my knowledge about nutrition is telling me this is bad and cutting out an entire category of food is no good.” Well, the comparison helped me see that you still get carbs, it’s just that they’re the good kind, a little less, and they carry so much more nutritional value than grains do. So that’s compelling.

To that end, I would love to see the nutritional breakdown of the meal plans each week so I can understand and be reassured that if I follow this, I’ll be getting all of the nutrients and stuff my body needs. I’ve used fitday and other iphone apps to track this info before, and I can certainly take the time to enter it all again, but thought I’d pass along that idea as it would be a great value-add for the subscription price and help other newbies feel comfortable starting out with this too.

That’s a fantastic idea. We’ll look into finding a program that will allow us to easily pull that information together. In the meantime, you just gave me a great idea for a blog post. I’ll put together a week of meals from Paleo Plan and analyze it and compare it with a week’s worth of a typical Western diet. I’ll do this in the next week. Thanks for the idea – I think our members will love it! (Look for this post in the near future!)

Second question. As we go along, do your meal plans take into account the seasonality of foods? For instance, am I going to be looking for fresh blueberries in November when they’re really not around?

Yes, our meal plans definitely take seasonality into account. Our meal planner, Molly, is amazing at putting together menus that incorporate seasonal (and on sale) produce. She’s very thoughtful and I look over her great work to put a second pair of eyes on it.

It stands to reason to me that our ancestors would probably find a bush of berries and eat the crap out of it before something else comes along, then move on to the next source of food. Ditto for a bee hive- honey mania for about 2 days- then nothing for a while. So is a binge-style of eating like this expected on the paleo diet? Why or why not? And is it “healthy”? Do we see lots of berries in the diet in the summer, and then switch more to squash, apples, parsnips, carrots, etc. during the fall?

Well, you could do it like that, but it’s not really necessary. We have unlimited resources, so we can eat more in moderation than that. Yes, it’s true that they might binge on berries, but for instance, the Inuit saved some of the summer berries and preserved them for the winter. And some cultures had honey available to them almost all the time. There’s one group in Africa who use honey as a main staple (and prefer it over all their other foods – imagine that :). So no, we don’t think binging is necessary, or even healthy, since most of our blood sugar management is all messed up from having binged on sugar for our whole lives (seasonal or not), anyway. That’s not to say that you couldn’t make it work for you – and I’m sure some paleo people out there do try to emulate our ancestors in that way. And yes, you see more berries, like the balsamic with berries recipe, in the summer and lots more squash, etc in the fall.

Hope that answers everything!

Thanks in advance, and again- great site and a great service!


Sara

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Neely, Great site! I can’t wait to see your post with the analysis of the week’s worth of food. I am sure it is going to be a giant feather in the Paleo cap! One tool that might be useful is Cron-o-meter:
    http://cronometer.com/

    There’s lots of other’s but this one is my personal favorite.
    Keep up the great work,
    Patty

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