Yesterday was our first day on the paleo diet. We, my wife and I, are giving it a try for 30 days in the hopes of slimming down, gaining energy, and all the other things you hope for when you start a diet.
If you’re looking to try something new for body health, maybe you should join us! Or if you’re an old paleo pro and have tips for a newbie, I’m all ears. 🙂
There’s many reasons we decided to get all pre-agricultural:
- After floundering out of my last diet debacle, the paleo diet has come up again and again. Of course, in my daily reading and syndication of articles for the home page – but also from a pregnant friend and random searches for things like “boundless energy” (a beloved personal mantra of mine). I don’t always listen to synchronicity, but I’m going to on this.
- My issues with salt and her issues with sugar make the paleo diet an appropriate structure for both of us. And of course, when both people in a couple get on a diet it’s so much easier.
- We’re also hoping the stabilization of blood sugar from both diet and exercise will translate to stabilized emotions. In other words, in mind and body, we’re hoping for a more even keel from paleo.
- It is clear, from recent events, that life calls us to change away from our current dietary approach. The summons of life indicates that it is time to move on.
The Journey Here: Veganism, Bulletproof, Atkins, Ayurvedic
We’ve done a lot of diets. Here’s a little background on my fairly recent dietary explorations:
- Being vegan was, for us, more about animal rights to quality life than it was about diet. We still do our best to keep things humane, of course, and we were vegan for (I think) seven years or so. It didn’t survive my wife’s pregnancy – that’s not saying it’s her fault, I was all-too-eager to jump back into animal products out of feelings of fatigue from, I think, hormonal issues. The only time I was thin during veganism was when I didn’t actually have a job – when I was a solo contractor, I was much more active. When I returned to the cubicle wars, I gained all the weight back.
- After a bit of free-wheeling and after joining my current company where it’s nearly all telecommuting, I decided to make moves back to health. I was alone on that one, and stumbled into the Bulletproof diet around the same point that I transferred to a standing desk. I lost about twenty pounds, and that weight’s stayed off. I quit the diet because I was feeling heavy with cholesterol and the financial aspects of heavily emphasizing grass-fed meat weren’t awesome. Also, I’d plateaued after the twenty pounds, digressing instead of progressing in health.
- Never one to quickly learn, I shortly thereafter did a short couple weeks of Atkins. I didn’t gain any weight, but the cholesterol feeling stayed with me (of course) and I acquired a new sensitivity to salt. Even as I write this, I can’t tolerate salt so well anymore. Perhaps some people do well on Atkins, but it’s clearly not a fit for me.
- I moved to Ayurvedic principles, with varying degrees of success. Again, no more weight loss but I didn’t keep to it all that well. It’s not structured enough for me; I have a deep fondness for food and need hard lines in the sand to define the space I can walk around in.
- So now, off into the land of no grains! We’re going to keep the meat somewhat low, and even after one day I have a feeling of greater lightness and more energy. It could of course all be in my head, but I know my blood pressure well and it’s already had a slight drop. Damn salt.
The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet faces a lot of criticisms, as does any diet movement. The idea is to eat like people ate some 15,000 years ago. That means no grains or animals fed on grains, most significantly, but also means no dairy, legumes, or potatoes. Happily for me, it means avoiding refined salt and, unhappily for my wife, it means avoiding refined sugar. That leaves fish, grass-fed meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and nuts on the table. I’m still a newbie at all this, but I’m charmed by the idea that I can eat as much as I want in the approved categories. I’m not charmed by the common emphasis on meat – I haven’t done so well physically in the worlds of heavy meat eating. Nevertheless, I haven’t done so well physically without any meat at all either.
So, we’re adapting the paleo diet with some key changes:
- We’re not seeking a huge emphasis on meat. On top of health, there’s still the animal rights issue with most ways meat is produced these days. So I’m struggling to love my leafy greens more than bagels once again.
- We’re going to allow a single dairy item: grass-fed butter. The best thing by far about the Bulletproof diet is, to me, Bulletproof coffee. When we went shopping to stock up for this foray there it was in all its beautiful glory: unsalted Kerrygold butter. Oh, this is going down.
Neither of those make the diet fundamentally un-paleo; butter certainly shouldn’t be had in a strict paleo diet but some paleo advocates say grass-fed butter is a good exception. And the whole meat-to-vegetable ratio just depends on who you ask.
So Here We Go
If I have any success at all, and the first indications seem to indicate that I will, I’ll report back here. Every time I try again to find a diet that works specifically for me, I get all excited and enthusiastic about it.
If you’re trying to figure out how to improve your body physically – won’t you come along and try the paleo diet with me? This might be the sign you were hoping for – and it’s always more fun to try things for the first time with others.
Links to Get Started on Paleo
- The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet – nerdfitness.com
- Paleo Diet Food List – ultimatepaleoguide.com
- The Round-up: 30 Days of Whole30 Recipes! – nomnompaleo.com