As the start of another Texas spring brings us out of hibernation and into the great outdoors, it’s time to nix the heavy winter foods and kick off the new season with a fresh start. We’ve all heard about the Paleo diet (short for Paleolithic; also known as the “Caveman Diet”). The premise of it has been around for—well centuries—but which foods exactly would our ancestors have approved of and which should we get rid of all together? Here, we deep dive into all things Paleo in Dallas.
So What Can I Eat?
[aside id=”1″]Paleo is a style of eating that takes a nod from the hunter-gatherer mentality—a time before processed and refined food, trans fats, and sugars. When the agricultural movement took hold, the foods we ate changed and became mass-produced. Proponents of Paleo eating like Robb Wolf, the author behind the New York Times best-selling book, The Paleo Solution, argue that our bodies have not adapted quickly enough to sufficiently metabolize these newer foods, so why eat them? He suggests that we should cut out the artificial, processed, and over-produced food, and instead opt for healthy, natural foods.
Why Do It?
It’s believed that sugars and processed foods cause inflammation in your muscles, joints, and organs potentially leading to health issues like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and more. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show alarming numbers that nearly one third of U.S. adults are obese, and rates of chronic health conditions like Type 2 diabetes are on the rise. For some, Paleo is a great way to target these health issues.
Wolf’s book argues a number of health benefits come from a Paleo lifestyle: it can potentially lower blood sugar, help burn off stored fat, balance energy levels, decrease inflammation, and lead to more efficient workouts.
In the Scientific American, however, Ferris Jabr debunks the thinking behind the diet based on the idea that we need to eat a balanced diet. But, criticisms aside, nearly all parties can agree on it’s positive message to cut back on highly processed junk foods.
Whether you go 100% Paleo—kudos for nixing the happy hour cocktails and red wine—or pick and choose your Paleo preferences, it’s a healthy way to be mindful of what what you’re eating.
Take a few simple steps to eliminate the bad and add in the good foods. Don’t think you can give up pasta? Try using spaghetti squash or thinly sliced zucchini noodles instead. Can’t kick your mashed potato habitat? Substitute starches for mashed cauliflower.
The Dallas 101
Now that you know the how and why of it, where can you go in Dallas? Thankfully, Dallas is known for keeping up with the trends and there are a number of Paleo-centric and Paleo-friendly restaurants throughout the metropolitan. Best yet? One even delivers right to your door.
Origin Kitchen + Bar
4438 McKinney Ave.
The Uptown restaurant first opened in 2013 as Origin Natural Food, a Paleo diet, gluten free grab-and-go style restaurant and coffee shop, but less than a year after opening it rebranded to become Origin Kitchen + Bar. You’ll still find the Paleo-centric, healthy food on the menu that is locally sourced, but you can also find specialty cocktails and local microbrews.
HG Supply Co
2008 Greenville Ave.
Inspired by Paleo with plenty of hearty Texas options for everyone, i.e. your non-paleo friends can still find cheese-covered Cochinita Nachos while you dine on chile-coffee crusted all-natural ribeye with lemon and garlic brussel sprouts.
3012 N. Henderson Ave
Texans couldn’t survive with out their taco-fix. Thank goodness, for Paleo-lovers, Velvet Taco lets you substitute your homemade tortilla for a lettuce wrap and substitute whatever toppings you’d like. Try the #17 Ahi Poke taco.
Katy Trail, 3136 Routh Street
Lower Greenville, 2104 Greenville Ave.
With a mantra of natural fresh fare, the Company Café menu is chock full of grass-fed local meets, hearty vegetables, and even gluten-free items like their gluten-free French toast. Order their market-fresh fish with a two sides like an avocado half, roasted cauliflower, or brussel sprouts.
For the busy Dallas residents looking for convenience without losing quality, Gourmaleo is the answer. Tricia Lewis’ Paleo-friendly meal delivery service brings high-quality, delicious meals ready to be heated and enjoyed. Delivered Sunday or Monday, you’ll enjoy a new Paleo-focused menu every week. Think BBQ Grass-Fed Meatloaf or a Spicy Buffalo Stuffed Sweet Potato.
The CrossFit Connection
Paleo goes with CrossFit like peanut butter and jelly. If your Dallas pals are frequent CrossFit gym rats, I would venture to guess they have at least tried or adopted some sort of Paleo habits into their diets.
So why is this? CrossFit is a recent fitness craze that says sayonara to the spin bikes, pilates classes, and instructor-led workouts of the past and hello to individual-focused strength training. These classes are high-intensity, interval-based workouts that work to improve endurance, strength, and mobility at the athletes’ own pace.
Wolf, also a CrossFit nutritionist, was one of the first to teach Paleo as part of CrossFit, and throughout the industry it caught hold and hasn’t left yet. Maybe that’s because the CrossFit community was initially small, and now has a national following, taking Paleo along with it, or maybe it’s because eating Paleo is said to have benefits on your fat-burning abilities and energy levels when working out, but either way, the star-crossed love affair seems here to stay.