I want to preface this post by saying that many of the foods here have Paleo alternatives that are very good. In many cases, they taste as good, or even in some cases, better than the original. However, there’s just something about the foods on my list below that I miss. I know it’s the sugar or the grains… either way, while I love my Paleo food, there are only a few foods that I no longer eat that I used to enjoy immensely. Fortunately, it’s a short list.
Chicago Style Hot Dogs. There are no alternatives, and nothing to replace this gaping hole in my culinary heart. This has been the hardest pill for me to swallow since going Paleo.
Real Pasta Spaghetti. This is one of the big ones for me. I love pasta. LOVE it. I am part Italian, and this part of me must be manifested by my love of pasta. I used to eat it at least once or twice a week. At one point in my life, I ate spaghetti as much as five times a week. This was back when I was in the Marines and running daily, so with that coupled with youth, I didn’t gain the weight. Now? My body is very efficient and storing everything from the spaghetti and making me fat. So, I avoid it. I haven’t had spaghetti in over a year. Sherry makes a really great spiralized zucchini that’s very close (or even spaghetti squash), but it’s not pasta.
Sushi. We can eat the fish, but not the rice. We have made sushi using caulirice, and it’s a really good approximation and very close, but it’s just not the same. I miss you, sushi rice in all your sticky goodness.
Fast food hamburgers. We eat burgers from time to time with either a Paleo bun or with a lettuce wrap, but there’s nothing like an In-n-Out hamburger. Nothing. I love these, and I miss them. Living in Houston has helped me keep from giving into the temptation of eating In-n-Out, but visits to Austin and Dallas have really tested my resolve. So far, I’ve won, but why do I feel like ultimately I’ve lost?
Pizza. I’ve had some Paleo pizzas that are really good, but nothing compares to a real pizza. I’m an equal opportunity pizza lover: thin crust, thick crust, Chicago style, New York style, or even Dominoes style. I just love pizza. I miss the real stuff, but at least there are Paleo versions that come close. Close.
Bread. There are some Paleo breads that are very good (the soda bread Sherry makes is, in my opinion, even tastier and better than the real deal!), but I love French bread. I love the fluffiness of the inside and the crunchiness of the crust. Paleo bread, while delicious, just doesn’t get all the way to perfection the way French bread does. Don’t even get me started on a bread that you cannot make in Paleo at all: Croissants.
Breakfast cereals/oatmeal/cream of wheat (farina). I’ve had some Paleo versions of these, but they have all been a bit of a disappointment. I am one of the rare people who loves oatmeal and absolutely adores cream of wheat, but Paleo versions, for me, don’t even come close. I have had to come to terms with never having these again.
BLT’s (and other sandwiches). I love a good BLT, especially on rye. Now, I can only dream of sandwiches, for the most part. At least I can have bacon. And lettuce. And tomatoes. Just not in a sandwich.
For every other type of food, there’s a very close analogue. So close, in fact, that it’s either hard to tell the difference, or Sherry and I have found the Paleo versions to be superior in flavor.
In the end, it’s about decisions that effect our health. I prefer to make decisions that are based on a long-term view. With the exception of the occasional holiday or special event, I eat only Paleo food, and I feel much better about it. Also, having lost over 110 lbs eating Paleo is a pretty good feeling, too.