Based on the title of this blog, you may be thinking, why is she calling herself a cavegirl? Isn’t that derogatory and anti-feminist? Does she have really bad frizzy hair or something?
While the volume of my hair probably could rival that of any caveman’s, the cavegirl in this sense is a reference to the paleo, or paleolithic diet. This diet is based off what Paleolithic people (cavemen) would have eaten, in an attempt to make our bodies function naturally, the way they were supposed to. Essentially this eliminates all processed food and focuses on a diet of meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. It also means only using natural sweeteners, eliminating all dairy products, and no more gluten. Since I’m not strictly paleo, I also focus on eating “clean” which involves eating whole foods in their natural state. When eating clean, dairy and whole grains are allowed.
Since this kind of “diet” may be hard to follow when in college (cavemen did not live in tiny box dorm rooms with only a microfridge) I put together a list of some of the products that help me make clean food choices even during the busiest of weeks. As long as you take time to plan, healthy eating is really not a chore, and may quickly become something you love! All of these products can be found in your local grocery store’s organic/health food section because, really, what student has the time/money to order sugar-free bacon and coconut flour wraps online (I don’t!)
1. Lara bars
I would be lost without these little guys. While it’s easier and cheaper to make your own, not owning a food processor makes that a little difficult. These date, fruit, and nut concoctions will be your run-out-the-door breakfast savior, and are easily packed for trips and quick snacks.
2. Hint Fruit-Infused Water
I used to mindlessly buy and consume vitamin water. I don’t really know why, since I wasn’t particularly concerned about my vitamin intake. I guess it was just pretty colored and fruity and wasn’t soda. BUT it was sugar laden (even vitamin water zero is sweetened with stevia). I thought I would spend the rest of my days consuming purple XXX vitamin water zero until the day I spotted Hint water in the organic section. Fruit-infused water with no sugar? Is it too good to be true? Maybe. I should probably research it, but for now I’m just going to keep drinking it. It really is not sweet at all, so you may be surprised at first, but I promise you’ll get used to it.
3. Honest Tea Bottled Teas
I am somewhat of a green tea addict, but am too lazy to actually heat up water and brew a tea bag so I overpay to get it pre-brewed in bottles. So far, this is the best tea option I have found in terms of ingredients and amount of sugar. It is GMO free and sweetened with honey, so at least it’s pretty natural. Their peach white tea is also equally awesome.
4. Packaged Nuts
These are an obvious choice for protein on the go and for topping other dishes. While they’re great for satisfying crunchy cravings once satisfied by chips and crackers, a little goes a long way.
5. Canned Tuna
One of my favorite meals when I have absolutely no food/energy is a tuna salad. Tuna also takes forever to expire so you don’t have to worry about that! I buy light tuna in water, then mix in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, celery, and whatever other vegetables I have. Couldn’t be easier, or more filling!
6. Pre-packaged/Cut Vegetables
These are a lifesaver if you do not own a machete. I mean are regular knives even allowed in dorms anymore? You can find cut cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, celery, onions, peppers, carrot chips, baby carrots, petite carrots, carrot spears, etc. all chillin in the produce section washed and ready to eat. This makes meal cooking a lot easier, as pretty much any veggie can be roasted with some olive oil and taste amazing. Roasted cauliflower, for example, tastes pretty close to French fries. They also are great for when you’re starving and need something to mindlessly munch on while staring at the same five math problems/stalking Facebook.
7. Almond Butter
This is a food of the gods. Alas, it is also calorie-laden. But if the rest of your diet consists of fruit and veggies, you should be fine to eat a bit of almond butter here and there. Not only is it great for dipping apples, carrots, and celery in, it also serves as a substitute for butter and other ingredients in baking recipes.
Got three eggs? Bam. Breakfast. I mean apparently you can even cook them in the microwave now, although I have not tried that. Anyway you can cook a pretty mean omelette in just about the amount of time it takes to heat up a frozen breakfast sandwich (because let’s be honest, you’re going to have to reheat it like three times to unfreeze the middle). Eggs are also crazy versatile and can be used for an absurd amount of dishes beyond breakfast.
9. Black Coffee
While I admit I was not a regular coffee drinker before I started eating paleo, I did have my fair share of Starbucks lattes, mochachinos, frappachinos, whatever. And I don’t even want to know how much sugar is hiding in there. But really, once you eliminate all the extra, unnatural sugar in your diet and start actually tasting food, black coffee is awesome! If you want to ease your way into it, try adding some coconut milk or coconut milk creamer (which does have added sugar, so use sparingly)
10. Sweet Potatoes
These guys are insane. They’re like the overachieving multi-talented sibling of white potatoes. Seriously I don’t know how white potatoes are even surviving in this world because their self-confidence should be crazy low. Not only can sweet potatoes make crispy French fries and chips like their white counterparts (and with more nutrients to boot) they can also be made into delicious desserts! When was the last time you had a Yukon gold potato sundae? Yep.
There are many, many other things I wouldn’t be able to live without (I am a shopaholic, and that doesn’t stop at clothes) so I’m sure I’ll update this list, or make a new one. But these ten items are a good start toward a new, clean diet!