[If you are unfamilliar with what the Paleo Diet entails, here it is in a nutshell: omit dairy, legumes, grains, processed foods from the diet. Eat lean meats and fish, veggies, fruits and nuts. The pyramid picture above gives a basic visual idea. For more detailed info about thePaleo Diet, click on the link !]
Many friends and clients have asked me about The Paleo Diet, and what I think about this approach to food. I have been able to answer them in a limited fashion, based on what I have read about it and what I have experienced second-hand from other folks on this diet. I wanted to get a deeper understanding of what, exactly, it meant to “go Paleo” and learn more about how it would affect my body. Another reason I decided to try the Paleo diet is because it was Lent time and I needed a challenge that would not be detrimental to my health/wellness/fitness, as well as something that I might decide to stick with even after Easter Sunday. Going Paleo seemed like a great idea, so I started my research and as of Ash Wednesday (nearly two weeks ago), I have been Paleo.
I plan on doing regular blog posts which document my progress and journey; I hope that it will spark discussion, answer questions, & create new questions and thoughts. Whether you are for or against the Paleo diet, have no idea what it entails, or are on the diet yourself, I encourage you to leave your thoughts, ideas and comments below!
My First 2 Weeks on the Paleo Diet
Week 1 on the Paleo Diet was very interesting, to say the least. While my pre-paleo diet did not differ drastically from what I’m consuming now, I got a lot of education on what IS and ISN’T paleo. The major changes I’ve made are omitting dairy [skim milk and Greek yoghurt], grains [Ezekiel bread and any crackers, quinoa, pasta, rice] & legumes [beans, hummus]. It might sound like a big adjustment, but truthfully I eat a LOT of the same foods each week and most of them are Paleo-friendly. What I found to be the most valuable and interesting part of my first week was trying to educate myself on what “is Paleo” and what “isn’t Paleo”. It seemed that the more articles I read, the more people I spoke with, and the more I dug for information, the more I realized that there was not one straightforward answer.
At first, it frustrated me because I wanted to make sure I was doing it “right”. I am a very competitive person and when I commit to something, I want to make sure I do it perfectly. But I couldn’t figure out whether or not I was “allowed” to have sweet potato, Kombucha, honey, or a small serving of Greek yoghurt. I had heard of some people who included these things into their Paleo Diet for different reasons. But on the other hand, others staunchly said NO!
What I finally learned was that there is not one simple Paleo Blueprint or Bible to follow. Instead, it’s all about understanding and following the principles of the Paleo Diet as closely as possible and tailoring it to fit your lifestyle. One thing that stuck with me, which I heard in an interview was “Don’t get caught up in the minutiae.” This set me at ease because all I need to remember is that sometimes a situation will be out of my total control and all I can do is make the BEST decision possible in the moment. Since hearing that, my stress about what exactly is on/off-limits for me has decreased tremendously. I make most of my meals for the week, so I’m able to use the ingredients of my choosing. But when I dine out, I no longer freak out if my steak tips were cooked in an oil that is not Paleo friendly.
There have been noticeable changes in my weight. Within the first week alone, and almost through to the 2nd week, I have had consistent weight loss. I generally weigh in somewhere between 138-141lbs. After one week of Paleo, I was down to 131-133. This scared me a bit, as I wondered if I was losing muscle mass and questioned whether or not I was getting enough of the proper nutrients. I have been keeping very close track of my weight (I usually don’t weigh myself every day, but am now monitoring it) as well as making sure I am taking in enough protein and healthy fats throughout the day. I have kept my normal workout regimen [and will start Triathlon training this week, YAY!] and it seems that my strength is still there. I think that as long as my weight stays where it is now- 132/133lbs- and my strength remains the same, I find that acceptable.
I do feel more lean, cut and much less bloated in my stomach. I am never overly hungry; I eat when I feel hungry, and stop once I feel satiated. I have removed protein drinks from my post-workout regimen and have started eating regular food instead. I think that overall, I’m eating LESS food; I’m eating things that fill me up, so I don’t need to eat as often. I have also cut back on the amount of caffeine I’m drinking. I have limited myself to 2 cups of coffee on the Keurig machine in the morning, and then for the rest of the day its tea and water.
It’s been an interesting journey so far… Nearly 2 weeks in, and I feel great. I am certainly learning a lot and am looking forward to reading/learning even more! I welcome your feedback, questions, and comments!