One of my (not so) secret obsessions is watching what people eat. I survey grocery carts, restaurant plates, and buffet choices. I recently attended a party, hosted by two First Time Paleo Challengers. They had a very friendly Paleo buffet with chicken satay, a Thai vegetable salad, hamburgers with buns on the side. I noticed the man next to me in the buffet was eating a hamburger but did not take the bun. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask, “Excuse me, but why didn’t you take a bun for your hamburger?” “Oh”, he answered, “I am trying to watch my weight”. As hosts, I am sure these Paleo Challengers (who for the record were taking the day off the Challenge themselves) felt like they had to serve buns because who would eat a hamburger without a bun? They ended up with most of the burgers being eaten and a huge pile of leftover hamburger buns. Funny how people know they will lose weight if they reduce their grain/ carb intake, yet there is so much controversy about whether this (Paleo) style of eating is healthy.
That leads us to the 4th of July. The pinnacle of summer. The classic day to attend a barbecue, drink beer, and eat a strawberry shortcake. In case you’ve just started reading, this blog is about maintaining the Paleo lifestyle through all situations and challenges that come your way. I hope you can see that it is possible to strike a balance between being Primarily Paleo and still being a part of your family and community. Eating whole foods is about long-term health and wellness. One day doesn’t have to derail a whole lifestyle. And it is possible to eat a hamburger without the bun.
Here are my top strategies for staying Primarily Paleo for the 4th of July:
1) Pick your poison. If you just cannot help yourself from falling of the Paleo wagon, pick one thing that is the most important to you. For me it is marshmallows. I love them. I can’t keep them in the house because I will eat an entire bag. However, on the 4th of July I allow myself to eat them. For you, it might be a cold beer or a slice of blueberry pie. Whatever it is just pick one thing that gives you the most enjoyment, and practice moderation.
2) Bring a dish to share. If you are attending a barbecue, bring a Paleo side dish or dessert that you can look forward to eating. This can be a great opportunity to try something new that you haven’t had a chance to make before. There are myriad recipes for Paleo potato salads, Paleo dips, and Paleo desserts for you to chose from.
3) Eat Paleo foods first. I always recommend having a small snack before attending a party. This tactic works to make sure you aren’t starving the second you arrive somewhere and are tempted to eat a food you normally wouldn’t. To extend this idea, make your first plate of food at the barbecue a Paleo plate. Load up on green salad, meats, and grilled vegetables. If you are still hungry, or still really want something that isn’t Paleo, you can have a small taste and not go totally overboard.