Saturday, March 3, 2012

Paleo What?

I went on a date with someone who was on the paleo diet last week. I had heard of it before because of Dooce, but I'd never really given it much thought. After a few hours on google and a lot of curiosity, I've decided this paleo thing may not be totally insane. I've been under a lot of stress lately and a new way of eating maybe just the thing for me.

Here's an interesting graphic:

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Woah that was a bit much I know. Here's a short video that explains paleo in even a simpler way (excuse the bad puns):



Now I'm not a scientist or an evolutionary biologist, so I'm definitely not the one to say what is or isn't an appropriate diet for anyone. The thing I like about this way of eating in particular is it feels right to me for the most part. In my mind it makes sense to limit sugars, processed foods, and grains. I'm not saying I'll ever give up some things, like sweetened tea or tequila, but I can get behind the idea that most of your food shouldn't come out of a box. Anyone who cooks most of their meals will understand.

This isn't to say I don't have issues with some of the paleo "rules." First of all, animal fat is pretty gross to me. The no dairy thing is also kind of an issue for me. I have no intention of giving up cheese or cream and there are a lot of contradicting opinions about dairy within the paleo community. I also plan on having some rice in my diet which is another touchy topic from what I've read. For me this is more of template to keep in mind rather than a strict regimen. At the end of the day, life is short and you should eat what makes you happiest and healthiest. And maybe a gluten-free diet is just what I need.

If anyone has tried something similar I'd love to hear about your experience!

6 comments:

  1. It seems like an extreme change. If you can do it, more power to you. I will say that shifting what you eat that drastically can cause you some withdrawal symptoms (headaches, nausea, body aches) because your body can literally be addicted to sugar and meat. Every time I try to limit my meat intake too rapidly, it makes me sick. I have heard really great things about going gluten free, since many people realize they had an allergy to it after they stop eating it.

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    1. It's actually not as much of a change for me as it might be for other people (adding meat has been difficult so far). Mainly because I already eat somewhat along these lines and I prepare most of my meals myself. The hardest part is snacks and eating out. I'm trying to be realistic about what I will and won't give up though. No guilt! lol

      I have been having some dizzy spells the last few days. I think it's the decrease in caffeine though. I'm still drinking tea and coffee but the amount of caffeine and sugar is still a lot less when you consider how much soda I usually drink.

      I just want to prove to myself that I can give up some of the things I love. I need to know I can do it.

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  2. OOoh, a topic I'm quite fond of! My diet is very paleo-inspired, though it doesn't follow it strictly. My main rule with food is to eat whatever makes my body feel good, so I try to listen to that. What works for me is moderate but regular meat consumption (and I actually really enjoy the fat on meat), plenty of eggs, all the butter I want, yogurt every day, and a bit of cheese in every meal. I handle dairy well (especially if it's cultured like yogurt and cheese), so it really helps me keep my fat intake up enough to keep me feeling healthy and sane. I've noticed that if I don't keep my intake of animal protein and fat (through meat, eggs and dairy) up high enough, my mental health really suffers (a week without much and I've pretty much lost the ability to do anything but cry all the time and scream at people). I limit processed sugar as much as I can stand to (though I indulge in a pastry here and there), I keep grain to a minimum (a daily bowl of oatmeal, the occasional slice of whole-grain toast, and sometimes quinoa smothered in butter), and I try not to overdo it with the fruit sugars (vegetables/salad instead when possible), which mostly means moderating bananas and grapes. I rarely eat things like pizza or pasta anymore, because I've noticed they often make me feel icky later and I tend to burn through them really fast and constantly feel hungry when I eat like that.

    I do have a slightly disordered relationship with food (forgetting to eat, being unable to eat when emotionally distressed, having a hard time feeding myself enough of the good stuff), but this has helped improve it. I feel healthier and more alert in the last couple years I've been eating this way. And I've noticed I get sick MUCH less, though that may also have something to do with dropping out of school (but people are getting sick all around me, including people I live with, and I haven't caught anything for at least 6 months, which is unusual for me).

    I'm sure this stuff works differently for different people, but for me the thing that's worked best is low-carb, low-gluten, high protein, high-fat, with an emphasis on organic produce and pastured meat and dairy (cows eating corn is not a good thing, and forcing chickens to be vegetarian is not a good thing, the difference in the eggs is astounding) and stuff without a lot of added crap. And I avoid soy as much as possible (surprisingly hard) because I don't need all those extra hormones mimicking my body's estrogen, I don't need to have a harder time absorbing nutrients, and I don't need my thyroid function disrupted (aside from soy usually being irresponsibly grown). I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the whole paleo thing after trying it!

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    1. Your comment is exactly why/what I'm going for! I am really bad about simply not eating so I'm trying to fix that. I've also noticed I'm tired a lot lately, even when I'm getting sufficient sleep. I've been really stressed emotionally lately and I'm hoping this will give me something healthy to focus on and help me find a better balance. Going to Vegas twice in a month isn't too great for balance! haha

      And I want to be realistic about my approach as you seem to be. I don't believe in punishing myself for eating what I want. I just want a little more balance to my diet. Dairy (well types of dairy) and butter are probably the only way I'll get enough fat. I just have a hard time with fatty meat besides bacon. I've always been a chicken breast fan!

      I'll definitely let you know how it goes though!

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  3. My husband has lost 35 pounds on this diet. It's the first diet that has really worked for him. He still allows for indulgences once in a while and definitely isn't super rigid about it

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    1. I'm not doing it for the weight loss but that still sounds wonderful! I'm glad it's working for him. :)

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