Packaged Paleo, Fake Ice Cream, and a Vision of Modern Shopping

It’s Week 2, and I’ve started going in search of the new, trendy paleo. The pre-packaged paleo. Paleo as marketed, if you will – because we’re damn sure not hunting and gathering, unless by that you mean “scrounging around Whole Foods while obsessively squinting at ingredient labels”. I suspect paleo adherents are going to become a whole new category of supermarket nutjobs, and cashiers/clerks will learn to identify them by appearance from 50 paces.

Proposed business model for JT’s next project: start a paleo certification agency. Companies pay us to inspect their products and ensure that they are strictly paleo-compliant. We serve the public by serving as a guaranty that our imprimatur on a product indicates that it keeps them true to their paleo eating ethos. Give it a nifty “rock and spear” logo with a Green “P” on it, and we’re ready to go.

I’ll even employ Robb Wolf as a consultant to give it credibility and gravitas. Then we can predict a backlash from the hard-core paleos who are opposed to processed foods entirely, and the no-gum paleos who believe that natural thickeners like guar gum are unacceptable. The more-cavemannish-than-thou proceedings will raise public awareness of the brand and ultimately result in a dominant market share that makes a shopping for a pseudo-primitive diet easily accessible to all modern western consumers.

Then again, maybe I’ll save that project for next month. For now, I’m going to stay focused on making CrossFit Fenway as awesome as possible, and that includes gathering my single data point of empirical evidence as to the efficacy of the paleo diet.

I’m still non-dairy, but this week I started branching out from the “eat whole foods” mandate to include some of the processed and packaged paleo foods I was discussing above. Let’s call them the technicalities. One of the most popular of these happens to be coconut – particularly the Coconut Bliss ice cream. I’ve had Vita Coco, and it’s a tasty substitute for water and good quick recovery/energy boost.

The Coconut Bliss ice cream… just feels like cheating. It’s REALLY good. And regardless of what Robb Wolf says about it, it’s got so much sugar that it can’t be all that good for my metabolic processes. (Really, trace sucralose is verboten but a giant gobfull of coconut sugar is a-okay? I don’t understand.) Still, it’s sweet and delicious and fits the dogmatic doctrine of paleo – so it’s fair game, I guess.

Ultimately, though, the prepackaged stuff makes life easier for on-the-go. Despite my already voiced frustration with LaraBars (200 cal carb-packs with no noticeable appetite suppression), they really do help take the sweet tooth off and are more convenient than keeping a basket of blackberries with me at all times… though I prefer the blackberries. I will say the LaraBar “jocalat” bars are delicious. Just smashing when I’m jonesing for chocolate sweets, and still just 200 cals. Also worthwhile are the Cliff C bars (at 120 cals and great taste), and I’ve found some others that aren’t bad on first blush. More reviews later as I continue to squint at nutritional info labels.

Speaking of packaged, I also placed an order for 2-3 of everything sold out of Robb Wolf’s paleo food business. I got the jerky early last week, and it is excellent. Strongly recommended, as I said in my last blog entry. On Friday, I recieved my package from PaleoBrands.com of Paleo Gourmet frozen dinners. Yes, prepackaged paleo meals, frozen and shipped to you, ready to microwave.

Now, I’ve eaten a lot of microwaved food in my time, and I gotta say: this was awful. I liked microwaved food back in the day, sometimes. It certainly served the purpose – juicy, tasty, pumps quick and easy and relatively nutrititive (versus cheetos or doritos) food into my system without interrupting my video games too much. Remember, this was “pre-CrossFit JT”, which means … well, lots of things. Let’s not dwell on that.

But this Paleo Gourmet stuff? Woof. I had the “Beef with Curry Pistachio Stuffing”. Curry? I’ve eaten more flavorful cardboard. The food was just bad. The broccoli was just fine: steamed broccoli, which is easy to do with any broccoli and a microwave. The meat and stuffing was uninspired at best. I’m certainly not excited about eating the other package of this stuff that I have.

Fortunately, there are 4 other varieties of meals I have yet to try. I’ll keep y’all posted on how that goes – and the rest of this Paleo Experiment. Meanwhile, all this packaging has filled my recycling bin, and I’m tired of the paper and plastic. I think I’m going to go grill some chicken breasts and graze off the produce at the farm stand next door.

As usual, food notated in (cals/g protein)

5/7/10

egg white omelette (140/24)
chicken sausages (220/28)
clif-c fruit bar (130/2)
6 roasted chicken legs (1080/150)
– nice lunch, eh?
larabar (200/6)
almond milk (120/4)
almonds (180/6)
red wine (240/delicious)
2310 cal, 220g protein

Is Red Wine Paleo? Heck, it’s made of grapes. I drank it. Someone tell me how it’s not (because I’m sure it’s not somehow) in the comments section. I promise not to tell you why I was having a glass of red wine, it might scare the kids. Let’s chalk this one up to maintaining my acid-base blood balance and call it even.

Also, note that this isn’t the most “zone”-ish day ever, thanks to that big chicken meal in the middle of the day. Didn’t feel so bad, but I don’t think I’m ready to start “Intermittent Fasting” yet – I like constant food flow better.

5/8/10

egg white omelette (150/25)
almonds (180/6)
fruit (120/0)
9oz fatty steak (500c/50g)
broccoli (80/8)
fruit cup (50/0)
almond milk (120/4)
paleo jerky (120/20)
half banana (55/0)
6oz shredded beef (300/45)
almond butter, fruits, misc snacking (300/0)
fruit cup (50/0)
almonds (180/7)
2210cal, 161g protein

A much more “grazing” kind of lazy saturday.

5/9/10

almond butter (180/7)
shaved steak, mushroom, onion (220/32)
coconut bliss ice cream (200/2)
eggs (300/39)
4 oz shredded beef (200/29)
almond milk (40/0)
paleo gourmet frozen dinner (450/36)
hemp protein powder (140/21)
coconut bliss ice cream (200/2)
8 oz boiled shrimp (200/51)
2140 cals, 214 g protein

Now that’s more like it. Today: trying for some Back Squat and Press PRs. See you in another few days with more food updates and stories from my head. (Can you tell that spending time in stores and malls tends to leave me a bit grumpy?)

  6 comments for “Packaged Paleo, Fake Ice Cream, and a Vision of Modern Shopping

  1. Paul E
    May 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I would hurry on the certification agency! There is already one developing on the west coast. They were at our sectionals. They are called Paleo approved.

    http://paleoapproved.com/wordpress/

  2. May 11, 2010 at 7:07 am

    If you want make at home coconut ice cream (while regulating added sugars), I like to take a little bit of coconut milk and blend it with frozen bananas. Comes out like soft serve and tastes great, not to mention super cheap, easy, fast and quick clean up :)

    • JT
      May 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      That… is simply brilliant. Really. Brilliant. Thank you, Erica!

  3. Nick
    May 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Points for using “gravitas.” Latin-approved. Also, thanks for the heads-up on LaraBars and Cliff Bars. And Erica, that coconut/banana sounds amazing. Maybe I should get a blender. Anyone have brands to recommend?

  4. DeniseB.
    September 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Any update on the other flavors???

    • JT
      September 18, 2010 at 10:47 am

      The fish cakes one was not terrible. I have not had the desire or desperation yet to try the others, so they are *still* (yes, even now) sitting in my freezer squeezing out room that might otherwise be favorably filled with shrimp, chicken thighs or something else more tasty.

      I can’t bring myself to eat the frozen paleo gourmet things. I may throw a tasting party just to inflict this on others… I mean, just to get rid of them… I mean, just to let other people sample the paleo dinners. :D

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