The Paleo Diet: One Year Later

image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Note: this was written in January 2012. Check out my three-year recap post here.

Last month was the one-year anniversary of my switch to a modified Paleo diet (which = Paleo + white rice and some dairy). At the six-month mark I made this post with some lessons I’d learned; while many of these tips still ring true (although we haven’t had ice cream for some time now), I thought I’d add a few more.

I mentioned in my six-month post that hard cider has replaced beer for me; little did I know that there are gluten-free beers out there to be had. There are several kinds of sorghum beers available, including one made by Budweiser (that – surprise! – tastes like Budweiser) called Redbridge. My favorite, however, is the beer you see above – New Grist – which is made with sorghum and rice. It’s not a perfect brew, and I only have one every once in a while. But it’s nice to have a guilt-free beer every now and then.

We’ve kept a bag of Costco’s normandy-style vegetable blend in our freezer all year long – the mix of carrots (both regular orange and sweet yellow), broccoli, and cauliflower are a great way to make sure we get a good dose of veggies when we don’t have anything fresh on hand.

Another staple has been the Organic 50/50 salad mix by Fresh Express (the 50/50 refers to it being half spinach and half lettuce). It’s got plenty of variety (baby spinach, green romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, tango lettuce, green oak lettuce, lollo rossa lettuce, radicchio, red romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, red oak lettuce, red butter lettuce, red bok choy, arugula, mizuna) and keeps for a good week or two in the fridge. It’s an easy way to just grab a handful of greens and stuff them onto the plate along with the rest of your meal. I usually top my salads with Columela olive oil (hands-down my favorite salad oil), with a dash of black pepper. It’s cheap, too – you can usually find a 1 lb. clamshell at Sam’s Club or Costco for just a few bucks.

Chipotle has slowly become our go-to restaurant when we’re out and in a pinch; they’re sprouting up all over the place so they’re incredibly convenient, and their salads/burrito bowls are much easier (and cleaner) to eat than bunless hamburgers (which we usually get at Wendy’s if we’re away from the house).

I tend to order a salad (which is like a burrito bowl but lined with lettuce first), with white rice, double chicken (they charge a bit extra for that), sour cream, cheese, and then more lettuce. My wife does the same but with just a regular portion of chicken and some tomatillo salsa and some guacamole. Being able to order online (or through the iPhone app) and pick it up has been a total lifesaver; the only exception is that you can’t order a kid’s meal online so sometimes we have to jump in line anyway.

And finally, one quick concession. Over the past year I’ve taken a few nibbles on corn tortilla chips and had a hard-shell taco or two; turns out that I didn’t have any stomach issues afterwards. This year we plan on slowly trying to re-introduce corn into our diet to see how we fare. I’m probably going to limit it to corn tortillas and the occasional bowl of popcorn, but I look forward to seeing how it’ll go.

12 thoughts on “The Paleo Diet: One Year Later

  1. Congrats on your one year and good luck when you try and reintroduce corn. Couldnt agree more on Chipotle’s convenience in a pinch. I get the same thing as you except for in place of the rice I add guac.

    One question though, are all cider beers inherently gluten-free/paleo friendly?


    1. Hi Rob, thanks! I would definitely put more ingredients in my Chipotle meals but my strict aversion to eating onions (love cooking with them, just not eating them!) prohibits me from the guac and pico de gallo :(

      Hard ciders are definitely not all Paleo friendly – some have added sugar (like Magner’s – why would you do that?). There’s a real scam going on with other ciders, too – you may have noticed a brand called “Newton’s Folly” at Trader Joe’s, and that’s actually just Woodchuck Cider (also sold at Trader Joe’s) but re-branded with a counter-culture audience in mind. Ridiculous!

      Sorghum beers, like the ones above, are generally Paleo friendly (Robb Wolf is a fan of St. Peter’s) but the New Grist you see above isn’t strictly Paleo friendly since it also uses rice. Nearly every sorghum beer is clearly labeled as gluten free, though – since that’s their main audience anyway.


  2. Awesome post! I follow a modified paleo similar to yours and love the results, great recipes and I’ll be checking in regularly to see what you post next :)


  3. i’m new to the whole paloe thing, 2 and a half weeks in! lol. i’m not strict paleo, as i have oikos greek yoghurt everyday and beans every now and again, i just can’t cut them out completely! i haven’t had any grains or such in 2 and a half weeks, i however just had white rice for the first time, lol. that’s been my first cheat meal… i don’t plan on making a cheat meals or cheat days a habit, i’m thinking maybe a cheat meal every 2 weeks or every month… is that okay?


    1. Hey Lala, it sounds to me like you’re doing just fine. I would only caution you to eat the full-fat (traditional) Oikos greek yogurt over the fat-free stuff. I personally think that gluten-containing grains are the only real absolutely-bad food items out there – everything else is dependent on your individual tolerance. If you feel fine after eating white rice or beans every now and again, I wouldn’t sweat it at all. At our house we eat white rice, potatoes, dairy (kefir, butter, cream, hard cheese), and corn on occasion, with no ill effects; this may not be the same for everyone, but it’s what works for us.


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  5. Hi Russ! Big fan :-) your shephards pie is in the oven as I type this out. Just wondered about your reintroduction of corn. Any bad effects? After a few Whole30s and a Lupus diagnosis, it’s the only grain I can eat and not feel like I’ve got the flu. Hope it went well for you. Thanks for sharing your paleo genius with all of us!


    1. Hi Chrissie, our family eats corn from time to time – usually just corn tortillas and popcorn – and none of us suffer any ill effects. I tend to keep corn out of my recipes to keep them Paleo-friendly, but there are a couple on here (my Arepas and popcorn recipes come to mind).


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