Sunday, September 14, 2014

paleo post (16 days in)

Several of you have emailed or commented to ask questions about my transition to eating paleo* over the past couple of weeks.  I definitely am still very new at eating this way -- so I have experiences to share but little wisdom to impart.

FIRST, I have to say that I have complicated feelings about the whole paleo/primal 'movement'.  I could write an entire post on this (and perhaps I will), but I do find that there is a lot of scary pseudoscience out there, and a good number of companies who are clearly looking to capitalize on what seems like the newest food trend to catch on.  That said, I do think that the CW ("conventional wisdom") is flawed, and that the fear of fat (and hearty embrace of alllllll the carbohydrates) has led to a lot of problems in a lot of people.

I decided to try paleo for 3 reasons:

a) I was feeling frustrated about feeling hungry nearly ALL the time.  Seriously, I would eat every 2-3 hours and still feel shaky between meals/snacks.

b) I was not losing the last few pounds of baby weight, and it was annoying me.

c) I was intrigued by others' tales of more energy/feeling better/etc, and honestly the food looked very unprocessed and just . . . good to me.

16 days in, and here is a summary of my experiences so far:



the positives

a) I DO feel better.  I do not get that crashy/shaky/must-eat-now feeling all the time anymore.  I actually find my energy levels are more steady and reliable.  This puts me in a better mood, and is great.

b) I definitely lost some weight.  Today I wore shorts that haven't fit since before I was pregnant -- yay!   I don't want to lose much more, but I'm guessing things will stabilize soon.  This has also improved my mood.  Vain perhaps, but it's the truth.  I'll own it :)

c) I genuinely like the food, and really haven't had any cravings for non-paleo foods*.

the negatives

a) $$$$.  My GOD it is pricey to eat this way.  Our last grocery bill was astounding.  Not in a good way.

b) Sustainability.  While we buy meat that is of high quality/grass-fed/organic, I know that environmentally eating this way is not as kind to the earth as, say, a vegan diet.

c) It definitely requires more prep work/planning.

d) I am running significantly slower.  I'm guessing this is because my body needs some time to get used to a lower-carbohydrate fuel source, but I've been surprised about just how much I was impacted, and how quickly.  Today's not-that-long run was at least a minute-per-mile slower than I was running before.


So, the verdict?  Am I going to continue this?

YES.  Honestly, I actually really really love it.  I feel better, I enjoy the food, and I am happy.  I am hoping that my running will improve, or else I'll work on figuring out some dietary work-arounds (sweet potatoes for carb loading?).

There is no way that I am gong to commit to never eating pizza (or key lime pie, or scones, ice cream, or brie) again.  However, I do think that I will save these things for special occasions -- and probably enjoy them more as a result.

* By paleo, just to clarify, I am eating meat / fish / vegetables / fruits / nuts / seeds / oils.  I also still drink wine and eat dark chocolate (1-2 squares/day), because -- well, because there's no way those were going anywhere.  I have not eaten grains, dairy, or legumes since starting, but I have compromised on things like canola oil or salad dressings/questionable sauces (? Thai curry) in restaurants at times.

To come in a future post:
Meal ideas, a "what I ate" day, etc.

For those of you who do eat this way (or have tried it), any new ideas/advice/comments are welcome!  I am definitely very new at this but plan on sticking with the lifestyle.


next step: CrossFit
(no NOT really!)