Paleo Challenge

Hey everyone!

Some of you might have heard of the “Paleo Diet” or the “Caveman Diet” before, but I feel like it’s been popping up everywhere lately.

My boyfriend and I decided that we were going to take clean eating to the next level and start a new paleo lifestyle.

This “diet” is not so much a diet as a new way of life. It has made such a difference in our lives, that I can’t foresee us ever going back. I will admit that it does take a lot of planning and preparing ahead of time, but we’ve integrated it into our routine and it’s become easy for us to stay healthy.

Benefits of Eating Paleo

We’ve been eating paleo for almost 7 weeks now and here’s what we’ve noticed so far:

Weight Loss
So far I’ve lost 8 lbs. And that includes the last 2 weeks in which I haven’t gone to the gym ONCE… I’m bad I know. I got really sick last week with a bug that affected everyone in my office and was out of commission for a few days. I kind of fell off the paleo and work out wagon, but I am not discouraged. I’m back to eating right and I’m planning on going back to the gym next week and that’s okay. A big part of this lifestyle is learning not to stress about things like this.

No More Bloating/Inflammation
I no longer feel bloated – ever. Not even during “that time of the month”. I swear to it!! I’ve never felt better. My stomach “pooch” has reduced in size and I no longer feel crampy or get an upset stomach. I believe this is due to the removal of gluten from my diet.

More Energy
I feel more energized and don’t need coffee to make it through the work day anymore! (I still drink one cup of coffee a day, 5 times a week, but that’s just because I think it’s nice and warm in the winter J)

Improved Mood
Okay, so I am not an overly grumpy person or anything, but I used to feel stressed and exhausted nearly all the time. But I feel as though I’ve become a very joyous person! A few people have noticed and made comments about how much more I was smiling and seemed happier. I even came home singing a few times… at the end of a full work day… it’s crazy the difference I’ve seen in myself! It’s like all of a sudden, it would take a LOT to upset me. It’s a very good feeling. Who wants to be grumpy anyway?

What My Typical Paleo Days Look Like:

I do allow myself 2-3 “fun meals”, which I tend to reserve for special occasions or even for the weekend. For example, I’ll either allow myself a restaurant meal if we go out to celebrate something, or on weekends I’ll allow myself either some chocolate, ice cream/frozen yogurt, sushi, alcoholic drinks and occasionally even some pizza! How bad can this lifestyle be, right? We’ve reserved our “fun meals” for weekends because it makes our weekends more exciting when we are looking forward to our indulgence. But be careful not to over indulge or else you won’t see the same results – though I think it’s important and I definitely encourage treating yourself once in a while.

This is what I eat in a typical paleo day.

Breakfast
2 hard-boiled eggs
Fruit (usually ½ cup blueberries)
1 cup coffee, black
8oz of water

Snack
1 fruit (pear, apple, plum, banana, etc.)
8oz of water

Lunch
1 serving (about 4oz) of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables
16oz of water

Snack
1 oz of nuts (my favourites are: almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios)
1 cup of green tea, black

Dinner
6-8oz of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables (I usually do 1 cup orange and 1 cup green! I like carrots or sweet potatoes with broccoli or asparagus… but there are so many vegetables that are good for you and delicious!)
16oz of water

Dessert
Mango (this is the only fruit I buy frozen… I take out a cup and let it thaw. They are delicious and cold and this snack really curbs my sweet cravings)
8oz of water

OR

1 square dark chocolate (70%)
8oz of water

I find that I am never starving and never “stuffed”. I’m always satisfied and if I’m hungry, I eat! I don’t regulate it by time or count calories or worry about it. I know what I can eat and I eat it whenever. I have however made a point not to eat after 8pm, which I find has helped me sleep better. No more tossing and turning or waking up 5 times a night!

Do Some Research

I did a LOT of research before and during this whole change. I wanted to know WHAT exactly the paleo diet entailed, understand WHY I was doing what I was doing, HOW it was going to benefit me, etc. Also, I got a lot of negative comments about my new eating habits, mostly from people who saw this as another fad diet and who don’t understand it, or even care to understand it. If any of you experience this, I would say to just ignore them! I honestly have never felt this good and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to be genuinely healthy.

I also researched how to make a lot of things from scratch such as soups, sauces, dressings, etc. I’m a big fan of food and I wouldn’t be able to eat like a caveman if I didn’t add flavour to my food. We like to throw spices on all our food and we look up recipes when we feel as though we need something new. It’s important to switch things up – variety is key or else you’ll get bored so quickly!

WARNING: First week crash!

I have to admit that the first week was BRUTAL.

During the first week of eating paleo, I went into withdrawal. Yeah, I said it – WITHDRAWAL (from sugar, gluten, dairy, etc.) I felt dizzy, nauseous, weak, exhausted… you name it, I felt it. It was truly awful. I thought I was maybe not getting enough of something, so I did a lot of research and found out that this was normal. Apparently this crash only happens to about 30% of people who go gluten-free, but I’ve heard that a lot of people who go paleo feel this to some extent. I was unlucky and got hit hard. But I decided to stick to it and I made it through. I definitely feel as though it was worth it!

A book worth reading: Wheat Belly by William David, MD

This book has helped me understand what gluten does to your body and I feel like it has motivated me to start this whole lifestyle change. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about it.

Wheat Belly by William David, MD. (Click here to see the Wheat Belly blog)

To anyone interested in learning more about the paleo diet, here are some links that helped me get started:

Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain (Found of Paleo Movement)
Paleo Diet Lifestyle
Paleo Plan (Recipes)

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this further!

Love,

C.

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