WARNING: STRONG OPINIONS AHEAD!
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, NURSE, THERAPIST, PHARMACIST, OR ANYTHING IN THE MEDICAL FIELD. I AM JUST A 30 YEAR-OLD STAY AT HOME MOM THAT LIVES WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION. TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DEAL WITH IT AND LIVE A SOMEWHAT NORMAL LIFE. Thank you.
First of all I hate using the “d-word”, DIET! Luckily, Paleo is not a diet. Paleo is a complete lifestyle change. I hate the negative connotation that comes with the word “diet”. So, in the context that I will use the word “diet” it will just be used to describe the foods I eat. I have never taken part in any type of diet ever. After college when I gained the Freshman 25, I wanted to get rid of that extra weight. That was when I started running, exercising and watching what I ate. Crazy. Right? Nothing special.
I know many people think of paleo as a very restrictive “diet” where there are tons of “no” foods which scares people off from even giving Paleo a try. The answer is Yes and No.
Paleo is a very restrictive “diet”
Yes, there are many “no” foods: dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and legume-free. I know that sounds like a lot of elimination. I am not going to lie, it takes a little time to get yourself used to your new “yes” foods, both mentally and physically. The way I have been able to succeed for so long is because of meal planning and prepping food for the week. I set aside one day a week, usually Sunday, for a few hours and cook as much food ahead of time as I can and have several different ingredients ready so you can just throw them together for a quick go-to meal. For the amount of food you will eat during the day you need to plan your meals ahead of time so you aren’t spending hours every day in the kitchen which often discourages people from continuing the Paleo lifestyle. Yes, I know crazy, actually having to spend time in the kitchen and COOK! The kitchen isn’t just there for decoration. It isn’t just another room to store your crap. Ok maybe just a little.
Paleo is not all about the “no” foods
I like to focus on what I can eat and enjoy coming up with new ways to eat them. There are so many more healthy choices of food to choose from that you probably don’t eat enough of to begin with. Chicken, beef, fish, pork, lamb, any protein, vegetables (non starchy) and root vegetables (starchy), nuts, seeds, oils, fats. Paleo is basically a REAL WHOLE FOODS “diet”. Thanks to Paleo I have tried foods that I never would have tried and turns out I love them now! Beets being one of those foods. I am obsessed with those things! My favorite way to prepare them is roasting and marinating them in balsamic vinegar (similar to those pickled beets you buy in the cans). I use this recipe –>>>http://nomnompaleo.com/post/4459404121/marinated-roasted-beets
No more bread?
Many people ask me how can you not eat bread? Truthfully if you were to ask me 2 years ago if I could ever give up bread the answer would be absolutely not. Obviously things change. Your mentality changes and not eating bread, pasta, etc doesn’t bother me anymore. Don’t get me wrong it did take me awhile to stop craving breads especially when I would be making Z an almond butter sandwich that was the hardest. Once I got over that initial craving it became much easier to be around bread and not want to do a face plant into a loaf of bread.
I never thought I would be as much of an advocate for the Paleo lifestyle than I am at this moment. Over the course of the last year there have been about 2 or 3 times where I completely went off the paleo wagon for extended periods of time with really no adverse effects (regarding my autoimmune condition).
When my symptoms reappeared in December I was in denial that going back strictly paleo would have any effect. I was wrong. In my last post I mentioned briefly how on day 3 of my autoimmune protocol paleo diet most of my symptoms disappeared. I was shocked. I figured it was just a huge coincidence. Well, fast forward to last Friday (1/3/14) afternoon and another huge coincidence occurred! I was on day 7 of the paleo diet and was already getting tired of it. I just wanted something different. So, during the course of the afternoon I consumed a muffin, a bowl of cereal and had In-n-Out Burger for dinner. GASP! I know. Well, by the late evening I started feeling the hives coming back even though they visible weren’t there, I could feel my body starting to get hot. Saturday morning I woke up and my hives were back and itchy and burning, puffy eyes and my hands red and feeling hot again. I was miserable again. I couldn’t believe I was going through it AGAIN. My hubby pointed out maybe it was what you ate yesterday? I again was in denial. I just didn’t think non paleo foods would have that much of an impact on my body and that quickly. By Sunday morning I was feeling good again, majority of my hives had disappeared and no swelling. It was confirmed. It had to have been what I ate on Friday because that was the only thing that changed. I always knew going Paleo would benefit me but, I had no idea how much it would help me internally.
Why Paleo is not a fad diet?
There isn’t a diet out there that is like this one. A diet based on whole foods and nothing else. No special shakes, supplements, pills, calorie counting, weighing in, etc. It is about eating the foods that work with your body not against. Ideally, the concept is they want you to focus on the grass-fed, organic, pastured raised lean meats, wild caught salmon, organic non-starchy vegetables, organic fruits, and organic starchy vegetables (yams/sweet potatoes/ beets/any other root vegetables). One of the major complaints against this lifestyle is that it is too expensive, the foods that are suggested are too high-end. The nice thing about this “diet” is that if you can’t afford grass-fed pastured raised beef than that’s fine, don’t buy it. You can buy the leanest cut of beef you can find, commercial grade, and that is ok. I do not buy any of those high-end products, mainly because of the cost and luckily my body isn’t that sensitive to the grain fed meat and dairy products. It is all about what your body can tolerate and to fuel your body to perform at the highest capacity. I can’t see this “diet” fading any time soon. As long as there is fresh whole real food around, Paleo isn’t going away.
Hope my ramblings made some kind of sense?!
Have you ever participated in a “Fad diet”? Which one(s)?
What one or two words come to mind when you hear the word “Paleo”? Be honest. I will still like you.
Here are some helpful posts/websites/books that might help you if you were curious about the Paleo lifestyle but didn’t have all the facts and information to help you get started:
The Clothes make the Girl- blog and her cookbooks Well Fed and Well Fed 2
PaleOMG– blog and her cookbook PaleOMG
Whole9Life – website- They are the ones that created the Whole30 program and have a book all about it as well: It Starts with Food
I will maybe get a little crazy sometime in the near future and create a separate page for all the paleo links/resources/etc. Don’t hold me to it though!