I didn’t think I could do the Paleo diet when I first heard about it. I thought it was crazy, no wheat, no rice, no dairy, no sugar, what ?
But then I started reading online about how eating Paleo was being considered a holistic, natural approach to treating some illnesses, two of which I suffer from: eczema and Endometreosis.
Add to that I’ve been up a few pounds since starting to work at a place where things like shortbread, scones and cake are a regular part of the office vocabulary and hearing that Paleo would likely result in some bonus weight loss, I thought (one day, out of the blue) why not?
A friend of mine posted this question on Facebook:
“I don’t understand the point of the Paleo diet. Are you trying to eat what our bodies are actually evolved to process to improve functioning? Are you trying to reduce calories? What’s the difference between eating butter and cheese?”
I couldn’t answer all of her questions, but I did say this:
“Basically the idea behind paleo is for people to return to what we were eating before the introduction of agriculture and grain-based food, which happened about 10,000 years ago. Which doesn’t sound like that big a deal, except the Paleolithic era lasted 2.5 million years. I read somewhere that those 10,000 years in the span of 2.5 million is the equivalent to about 2months in the average lifespan. Which, when you think about the amount of time to adjust to the introduction of a new ‘food’ is not very long.
The argument is that our body has a very hard time breaking down and digesting processed foods. In the book I’m using, it states that 40-60% of our immune system is used breaking down those processed foods, which leaves very little of our immune system to fight illnesses.
I’m very new to this way of eating, but I can tell you that I feel substantially better eating this way. I no longer have any bloating, my mood has been steady for the most part, it’s helped my eczema (and endometreosis). When I stray from Paleo, I feel the effects almost instantly.”
This is the book I used to get me onto Paleo:
Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo. You can buy the book online here
Yesterday, I posted this to Facebook:
What I’m Not Eating (Mostly)
No grains or wheats (bread, cereal, pasta, rice, crackers, flour etc).
No legumes (Peanuts, beans, lentils, chick peas).
(Full disclosure: I still eat small amounts of dairy; the occasional grated Parmesan or feta on salads, sometimes ceasar dressing instead of a vinaigrette; and will indulge in the occasional “bad” chocolate (milk vs dark, usually 72%). Maybe more than occasional if I’m stressed, on my period or it’s Easter. And there’s my weekly white chocolate mocha from Starbucks that has both milk and sugar but that’s a post run treat).
What I’m Eating (Mostly)
A lot of protein, including bacon and nuts. A lot of vegetables, salads with avocado. Sweet potato is a staple. Some fruit, pure organic orange juice pre and post run. Nuts. Carrots, tomatoes, eggs. There are two recipes in Practical Paleo that I make a lot so that I have a “sweet treat”, her blueberry lemon muffin made with coconut flour and the flourless mocha bacon brownies.
Take a look.
And my attempt at eggs Benedict when I met a friend at Cora’s (no English muffins, or potatoes).
Of course, on mornings when I get out and run 10+km (or it’s a lazy weekend morning), I treat myself to bacon and almond flour pancakes. 36 grams of protein right there.
In fact, that’s what I’m making while I write this. Botched the pancakes. Having eggs and bacon instead.
My lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the night before, so a protein (usually fish, I’m finding ham too salty now and I get my share of sodium from my morning bacon or prosciutto), sweet potatoes and often a side like mushrooms, tomato or sautéed veg. Lots of salad, with chicken, especially if I’ve got lunch plans, which happens a little too often (I should really be using my lunch hour to hit up the local pool for a few laps).
Dinner is more difficult, with two other people to consider. Of course wrapping a chicken in bacon and roasting it helps.
I’ve switched from pasta to making ‘noodles’ out of butter nut squash, and eating it with my usual tomato and ground beef sauce. I’ll still make regular pasta for whoever wants it; but even Taylor has switched to the squash because its THAT good.
And my new favorite meal? Chinese 5 Spice ground turkey lettuce wraps, with a sesame sauce and filled with peppers, cucumber, carrot and cilantro. Last night we tried it with rice paper wraps and while not paleo, I’m willing to make the occasional exception for convenience (rice, but not wheat).
I confess. I eat more chocolate than I should. But it’s quality chocolate, who’s first ingredient is cocoa or cocoa mass and NOT sugar. I eat fruit and raw veggies too, but other than the chocolate (usually at 3pm in the work day) I’m not actually snacking that much. I do drink a lot of water and herbal, caffeine free organic tea and that probably helps.
This, so far, has been my Paleo experience. I’m loving the benefits and will continue to do it for the foreseeable future.
Questions? Ask them here.