Transitioning to Paleo
First of all, what IS Paleo?
The main idea behind the paleo diet is that you eat foods in their most natural state, such as meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and healthy fats (cold-pressed coconut oil and ghee). You avoid eating dairy, legumes, all grains, sugars and processed foods because nature does not provide these foods in a way that is easily attainable to eat.
The core concepts of the Paleo diet is:
- Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods. Prioritize grass-fed, pastured and organic meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation.
- Avoid foods that can harm us by causing systemic inflammation, or foods that can adversely affect our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and the laboratory-concocted processed foods found in the middle aisles of your neighborhood supermarket (most likely with ingredients you have cannot pronounce, nor do you know what they are exactly).
What are the benefits?
Well….Just look at them.
That said, I don’t think it’s the diet for everyone nor do I think it’s something sustainable for life. Jeff and I are going to have cheat days now and again, but by no means are we going to completely fall off the wagon and go to town on carbs and horrible food. We’re just going to allow ourselves to indulge from time to time, that’s it. That way the temptation to cheat is minimal and it also gives us something to look forward to on days where we’re just not feeling it or we’re craving other foods.
Why are WE transitioning? Well, why not. I’m a gym fanatic but on weekends, sometimes my diet falls to shit and then come Monday morning, I’m left feeling like a bag of shit and I’m making up for it at the gym for the rest of the week. I think it makes sense, logically. Man has created some pretty awful, disgusting, processed junk and I’m going to call it junk because it is just that. There are little to no nutrients, packed with preservatives and sugars, dyes and chemicals and I’m sure a ton of other crappy shit that our bodies weren’t designed to break down. So if our bodies weren’t designed to metabolize the garbage, why bother putting ourselves through that stress? I think it is also a good way to clean out our systems.
My diet isn’t terrible but Jeff could use a jump start and while I’ve been trying to motivate him for a long time, this, I’m hoping, will give him the push. Jeff got really into cross fit from July to December 2013 and what got him off track was a bad bout of the flu and bronchitis and then following that, an injury. And then it all went to shit. I support Jeff no matter what, but I want him to grow old with me and in order to do so, he/WE’VE got to make some pretty big changes. We don’t eat a ton of carbs, but occasionally I’ll crave some pasta and make some with a protein (not much, but still, it’s pasta). I’ll make toast with breakfast on the weekends. But thinking about it now, all those carbs ball up and stick right on our problem areas. And frankly, I don’t always feel great after I eat grains. I usually feel bloated and uncomfortable. So I think for those reasons alone, it’s worth trying.
Other reasons I/we are changing out diet:
- You burn start to burn fat as opposed to any stored carbs you have in the body,
- I’m also hoping from some improved skin (although I think my issues are purely hormonal – I’ll be going to the doctor sometime in the near future to discuss other options (I think I’ve been on the pill for far too long), but generally my skin has been a mess since the whole Effexor fiasco last year when I looked like a junkie because that toxic shit was oozing out of my pores…),
- Improved sleep
- I also just think it’ll be a good way to cleanse the system and take out the crap.
What we’ve been doing to prepare? And when I say we, I mean ME. I’m the planner, the organizer in this relationship and I was told to figure out a plan and we’ll run with it when I say go. That’s another reason why were beginning this transition in March as opposed to say January. January and February have been really busy and we wanted to start on the right path and we figured it was best to hold off until we moved back home after spending three weeks at my mom’s house. We’re going to clean out our cupboards so there is no temptation for when we might be craving those big, bad carbs. I have been doing a lot of reading, recipe collecting, acquiring some cookbooks and lots of pinning on Pinterest (okay not A LOT but getting there). I think it’s all about being prepared and making lists on what to buy and making sure we have the foods we can eat readily on hand instead of making bad food choices and opting for something that we’ll know we’ll regret in the end.
As for our shopping, it won’t change too much. Jeff usually does the monthly Costco trip and that’s mainly to get proteins and some veggies. We’ll still do our week to week grocery trips to get fresh fruits and veggies so not much will change in this department.
I think the key is being prepared and being creative so you don’t get bored too easily.
Foods We Can Eat:
- Lean Meats
- Seafood (Uhh..I’ll be steering clear of this one, thanks)
- Nuts & Seeds
- Healthy Fats
Foods To Avoid:
- Processed Foods
- Legumes (Beans)
Challenges for me are going to be eliminating sugar, particularly I think of coffee when sugar comes to mind. I don’t think I’m going to look forward to the initial mood swings associated with cutting sugar out. I don’t consume much dairy but when I do, it is almond milk. I guess that’ll be easy. I’m going to kind of miss beans. Last year I started experimenting eating beans and trying new types and foods that incorporated beans into their dishes, this all with the hopes of going vegetarian (due to ethical reasons) but after much thought, consideration and disappointment, I don’t feel like going vegetarian or vegan is something I can sustain given the lifestyle I have and hitting the gym as hard as I do.
As for Jeff, I know it’ll be a challenge for him but he’s a good sport when it comes down to it. The biggest challenge for him will be cutting out the diet coke.
Some great resources that I found on Diane Sanfillipo’s website, Balanced Bites, that I think are exceptional and worth looking at:
EWG-shoppers-guide – Paleo Shopping Guide
Practical Paleo_GuidetoFoodQuality – Best Foods/Worst Foods List
Tuesday, March 3, 2015. I’m not so sure we’ll have taken the plunge by then, but definitely after the weekend of March 7-8 (I’m away for a girls weekend and Jeff is up north at a monthly match).