Two phrases I hear often: “I’m on a paleo diet” and “I eat clean.” What do they mean exactly? Which one does your diet resemble more? I researched both and here’s what I found.
The “Eat-Clean Diet” was originated by Tosca Reno. She has written multiple books and is the eat-clean expert. Wikipedia states, “[The Eat-Clean Diet] focuses on eating foods without preservatives, and on mixing lean proteins with complex carbohydrates. Tosca Reno is credited with creating this diet.” On this diet, you can eat whole, minimally processed grains and legumes. Dairy is acceptable in small quantities if organic. The main focus is consuming lots of organic, fresh vegetables and nothing processed.
The Paleolithic Diet is similar but without grains, dairy or legumes. Wikipedia states:
“The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.”
Overall I consider myself a “clean eater,” because I consume grains, legumes and yams/sweet potatoes. I do not eat or drink dairy because it doesn’t agree with me. I get most of my carbohydrates by eating oats and organic fruit in the morning, grains or 1 slice of wheat bread in the afternoon, and quinoa or brown rice for dinner. I love my slice of wheat bread usually covered in almond butter. The bread is made at a local bakery, Great Harvest Bread Company, and includes 5 ingredients: wheat, water, yeast, honey and salt. It is delicious and I refuse to deny myself this treat every day!
I researched quinoa too. I mistakenly thought it was in the legume family. Well I found out it is considered a “psedo-cereal.” The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (www.glnc.org) writes, “There are a number of different types of grains found within the Poaceae family from ‘true’ cereal grains e.g wheat, oats, rice, corn (maize), barley, sorghum, rye, millet, to the ‘pseudo-cereal’ group e.g. amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa (pronounced ‘kin-wah’). The ‘pseudo-cereal’ group are not part of the Poaceae botanical family, in which ‘true’ grains belong, however they are nutritionally similar and used in similar ways to ‘true’ grains.”
So what type of eater are you now or do you hope to become? Regardless of the label, making the decision to ditch sugar and processed food is a great start! Check out some great “clean” recipes from 6&6 for inspiration. We would love to hear about your paleo vs. clean diet and what works for your life!