When it comes to health I believe in an approach that focuses on prevention with proper nutrition through a healthy diet. For me (and my family) this is based on a foundation of the Paleo Diet principles. This means choosing meats and vegetables, and a little fruit. No breads, pastas or typical convenience foods most Americans are now so used to.
This Paleo Diet might seem like we are missing out, but it doesn’t feel that way. Instead of focusing on the foods we don’t eat I look at the foods we do eat as healthy fuel for our bodies to run as optimally as possible. It’s also a way to avoid foods that make us feel bad (or less than good).
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Our moods have shifted. We are happier and calmer. I feel great eating this food. My husband feels great. No more bloating or feeling stuffed after big bowls of pasta or pizza. These feelings are worth the sacrifice, but I don’t consider them sacrifices anymore. I don’t even want to eat them anymore.
Besides if we want something reminiscent of our bread or sugar filled past lives I can make a Paleofied version (like the amazing Monkey Bread recipe we decided to make every Christmas morning).
Paleo Challenge: Eating On the Go
The only problem we seem to face is eating this way when dining out, and whether in our home town or traveling on the road. Most cities in the United States are now overrun with fast food and restaurant chains. This creates both advantages and challenges.
We no longer eat at most fast food chains making it more difficult to find a quick bite.
In-n-Out Burger: Protein Style Burger
In-n-Out Burger (here on the west coast) has a protein burger option. This means a burger wrapped in iceberg lettuce. To make the best Paleo burger you can here you’ll want to choose only mustard, no ketchup or secret sauce (both contain sugar), and no cheese (unless you are Primal). From there you can add what you want; onions (raw or grilled), jalapeno peppers, pickles, and/or tomato.
And we all drink water. If the water tastes bad, like tap water can at times, then we add a squeeze of lemon. On the rare occasion my husband will order an iced tea (not sweetened, but maybe add a squeeze of lemon).
Beef vs. Chicken
Beef is (in my mind) a better choice than conventional poultry in regards to overall nutrition and less omega-6 fatty acids. If you don’t eat beef, then Chick-Fil-A and El Pollo Loco are possible ideas. Choose the leaner cuts of chicken, like the breast, to avoid extra toxins (which are primarily stored in the fat). Remove any skin and choose grilled (not fried) whenever possible.
Chipotle: Really, Just A Salad?!
The best fast food chain for followers of the Paleo Diet is Chipotle. However, since they do not have a drive through I don’t know if they are ‘technically’ a fast food restaurant. A simple menu with few options, you get to build your own burrito, tacos, or salads. The only Paleo option is the salad, you’ll avoid the tortillas and rice.
Chopped romaine lettuce with choice of pinto or vegetarian black beans, meat (braised carnitas or barbacoa, adobo-marinated and grilled chicken or steak) or guacamole, salsa and cheese, with freshly made chipotle-honey vinaigrette. (Chipotle)
Normally (well before eating Paleo) I wouldn’t get a salad if my life depended on it. With meat or without, a salad was just not a meal. Salads were appetizers BEFORE the meat arrived. They never filled me up, but the Chipotle salad helped change my salad position. Branndon’s always liked salads, so he didn’t notice much difference when switching to Paleo.
Chipotle offers more sustainably produced meats, including naturally raised beef, pork and chicken. Their meats must meet antibiotic-free, naturally-raised standards.
How to Order Your Paleo Salad at Chipotle
- Order a salad, no chipotle-honey vinaigrette.
- No beans.
- Add the grilled onions and bell peppers (known as the fajitas) if you tolerate nightshades.
- Choose a meat (or two).
- No cheese. No sour cream. (Unless you are Primal.)
- Choose a salsa. (Avoid the corn salsa as corn is a grain.)
- Guacamole… or not? This is up to you and your budget (I save money by bringing my own avocado!).
Extra Meat (Please)
Sometimes you can get extra meat sneakily by asking for half of 2 different meats. It’s harder for them to get half scoops so you end up with a little more. This has worked, but depends on the person.
What do you get at Chipotle?