Against the Grain: 30 Days on the Paleo Diet
The amount of 'ideal' diets are endless
There's vegetarian/veganism, raw foodism, the alkaline diet, the Mediterranean diet, the candy diet (well, that one isn't ideal, but my partner's coworker lost weight on it, so there's that!). And yes, there is the paleo diet, which is the one I will be discussing in this post.
Anyone who has done a fair amount of research into what us humans should actually be consuming for optimum health will usually find their head spinning in multiple directions for a time. My research led me to the conclusion that the paleo diet was worth trying out, at least for 30 days.
A recent post by @wakeupnd about the health benefits of eating saturated fats and cholesterol is also worth your time!
What the Paleo Diet Is
The basic premise behind the paleo diet is that the diet humans have been eating for thousands of years is the one we should still be eating. Things such as grains and legumes were only cultivated in the last 10,000 years or so, and in the case of grains, most of the time they cannot be consumed without some degree of processing.
As a result, eating paleo means avoiding all grain, all dairy, added sugar (honey and maple syrup are ok), all legumes and certain starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes (sweet potatoes are allowed on some versions of the diet, thankfully!). The primary things you can eat are pasture-raised meats and eggs, nuts (not peanuts, those are actually legumes), fruits, and vegetables.
Why I Decided to Try Paleo
I, like most people in the western world, have eaten grains and dairy my entire life. I absolutely love a good pizza, I'm a sucker for tacos, and cheese and crackers just might be my all-time favorite snack.
However, when I consume large quantities of dairy and grain, I often feel incredibly bogged down, and my energy and mood are lowered. I've also noticed that no matter how much wheat I consume, my craving is never satisfied, and I overeat as a result.
After reading about the many health benefits of going paleo, I wanted to see how it would impact me, and if it is all it's cracked up to be.
What I Eat
I usually make eggs and sausage/bacon for breakfast, sometimes with avocado or sweet potato. Often we will make a frittata to throw in some veggies as well. For lunch I tend to have leftovers from dinner, which is usually things like grilled salmon or chicken with fresh beets, carrots, squash and greens from our garden.
We grew spaghetti squash this year, which has been a godsend for replacing pasta. We'll throw some tomato sauce, ground beef, and onions and garlic in with the squash to make for a satiating meal.
We've also been experimenting with almond and coconut flours to replace some of our grain-based favorites. Ideally, you don't want to overdo it with nuts or dried fruit, but I can't give it all up. We've been making a terrific paleo granola recipe that is to die for!
For most of our existence, fats and protein were our primary energy source. Modern agriculture changed this, as our primary energy source is now carbohydrates.
To sum it up, from a post by a nutritional therapist:
We’ve replaced wholesome, clean plant matter and animal foods with a high carbohydrate, low nutrient, high toxic chemical diet and we’ve gotten sick. We’ve shrunken in size, our bones are osteoporotic, we have more cancer, obesity, and diabetes, an alarming incidence of heart disease, inflammation of all kinds, skin problems and the list goes on. And on. We are sick. But our Paleolithic ancestors were not and the hunter gatherer tribes that still exist are not.
Two Week Mark Results
I have to say, my energy levels have improved tremendously. I don't feel the same afternoon crashing effect I used to experience. My mood has improved as well, as I feel a tad bit less anxious.
And I must report, both my partner and I have experienced no bad gas whatsoever since beginning the diet. My partner used to believe it was the meat, but it turned out it was likely due to grains, legumes, and dairy (we'll find out once we start to incorporate items back into our diet).
We both feel less bloated, and digestion is a breeze. There have been a few times I overdid it with salty nuts or too much sugar from fruit and gotten heartburn.
Overall, I feel great, and it is no longer a huge challenge to go without grains or dairy. I do intend to integrate grains and dairy again after these 30 days but at a drastically reduced consumption rate. I am curious to see how my body handles these items after the 30 days is over.
All images courtesy of pixabay.com, with the exception of the title image.