I'm breaking up with Paleo and starting a new relationship with food. I have no complaints about Paleo, it just wasn't right for me. In theory, you are not supposed to have to count calories when you "do Paleo," you just eat when you are hungry. Most people claim that they are never hungry when the eat a Paleo diet. I found that was not true for me. I tended to eat more calories overall and be just as hungry as I was before starting Paleo.
I recently read two books (Eat to Live and Wheat Belly), the contents of which have changed the lives of several people who I work with, and I have combined what I learned from them with what I learned from Paleo and developed some new food philosophies.
I recommend both Eat to Live and Wheat Belly, but only if you are able to distinguish sound advice from misinterpreted studies and not entirely true information. Both of them had some very good information and made a few excellent points, but you have to remember that they were written to sell and you need to be able to wade through the crap.
My food philosophies:
Eat real food (i.e. clean eating) - I never ate a lot of processed food to begin with so this isn't a terribly daunting task for me. Eat mostly fruits and veggies. Eat some legumes and beans. Limit grains and starchy veggies. The biggest change will be eating less meat. Eat to Live suggests using meat as a condiment, not the main course.
Wheat/gluten free - Wheat Belly discusses the health hazards of eating wheat. While I think that some of it is a little extremist (and I've read that he misinterprets several of the studies that he cites), there is some validity to his arguments. Mostly, wheat causes inflammation which is bad. This article by a different author describes much more concisely what Dr. Davis says in his book.
Being wheat and gluten free does not mean that I am going to find a way to replace all of the things in my diet that I won't be eating. I will be eating fewer grains all together (this is driven from Eat to Live), but when I do consume them, they won't be wheat.
I have discovered that the hardest part of this is not eating bread or tortillas. Salad gets old, so sometimes it's nice to eat it wrapped up in or on something. Fortunately, I've found an acceptable replacement for the tortilla (the Flax Wrap from the Wheat Belly Cookbook). Corn tortillas are another acceptable alternative.
Low dairy - I don't drink milk to begin with, and I haven't been eating much yogurt as of late. I have suspected that I have a mild diary intolerance for a long time and figured it was better to just get rid of it for the most part. Cheese will be the biggest problem, but I have already drastically reduced the amount of cheese I eat, so I think I'll survive.
That being said, if a recipe calls for cheese, I'll put cheese in it. If I am eating real food, finding a fake substitute for cheese goes against that. It makes more sense to use real ingredients in moderation than to replace real ingredients with more processed versions of the original and claim that it's ok because it falls within a certain category or adheres to a specific diet.
I also had the realization that while we may never truly know what our ancestors ate, they probably did not eat meat at every meal every day. Meat was most likely an occasional treat, so what I am eating is not that far off from a mostly vegetarian interpretation of Paleo.
My problem with food is that I love it. I like the way good food tastes and I'm not willing to sacrifice that for the sake of weight loss or health. I'll find a way to make good food that fits into my guidelines...and so far I haven't had any problems with that.