|[Sometimes you have to make Paleo exceptions... Like to have the highest beer in Australia - Mt Kosciusko]|
I used to consider myself "strict Paleo"… whatever that means. However, these days I consider myself to follow a "Paleo template", as Chris Kresser (legend) would say.
The more I discover about Paleo and the more I look into the actual research behind many of the standard Paleo claims, the more liberal and open-minded I become as to what actually constitutes Paleo for me. It is only through self-experimentation and patience that you can forge a nutrition plan that really works best for you.
In Paleo there are foods that are accepted to be good (meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds) and foods that are accepted to be bad (grains, legumes, processed foods, sugar, vegetable oils). Then there are the grey areas. This post is about some grey area items.
Here are four items that the most (over)zealous Paleo-pushers may condemn, but that I allow myself - often liberally - and my explanation/justification:
While my Paleo ancestors of 50,000 years ago where probably not brewing single-origin, lightly roasted Colombian coffee beans in an Aeropress in the mornings, I have done the cost-benefit analysis on coffee for myself and I will gladly accept any of the suggested costs (dehydration, adrenal fatigue, addiction, insomnia) for the following real or perceived benefits: alertness, heightened fat metabolism, slight physical and mental performance enhancement, a reason to live, I'm half Italian and would be ostracized by my family, I was a barista in a former life, I love cafes…. and about 326 other reasons.
Please note that many people would do better sans caffeine (pregnant women, those with autoimmune disease, insomniacs, highly stressed, or people with GI (gastro intestinal) issues.
I tend to tolerate coffee fairly well. Let me rephrase that… For me coffee is a pleasure and a necessity! (AKA, an "addiction"). I try to drink organic, single source coffee of the highest quality (preferably grown at altitude, hand picked and using wet processing) to ensure it has the lowest toxicity possible. Dave Asprey - The Bulletproof Executive - harps on about mycotoxins in regular coffee and why his own coffee is the best.
I drink a coffee first thing in the morning, and then one or two more large, black, brewed coffees during the day. I typically don't consume caffeine after 3pm. I tend to train best when I have a coffee around 45 minutes pre-workout. I've actually given up espresso since leaving Australia.
Well it would be Un-Australian not to really! That's a joke. But fortunately or unfortunately alcohol plays a large part in our society and particularly in my own social scene. (I live in NYC and my friends are mostly Australian).
I love red wine. Again I can blame the Italian family connection, who grow wine grapes in the Montepulciano region of central Italy.
Depending on my current health kick or goals I range from going months with zero alcohol, to drinking one or two glasses of red wine every night. I try to limit my big (some would say binge) drinking sessions. I could be more specific as to the words "limit" and "big" here but you'll have to give me artistic license and just appreciate the fact that I care for my health and I think I'm pretty responsible for a 28 year old Aussie model living in NYC without a "real" day job.
Another staple choice of mine is a good tequila - either on ice or with soda water and fresh lime. Tequila seems to be the most Paleo-friendly as it is made from the Agave plant as opposed to most other spirits that use grains (whiskey, bourbon, vodka), sugar (rum) or potato (some vodka). I used to love beer but have weaned myself off it because it is probably one of the worst choices for your health - grain-based and high carb.