It is a somewhat scientifically untested diet but based on an interesting theory that our bodies have not evolved to handle all the processed stuff, many refer to it as the cave man diet. Some people think it is like Atkins, but it isn't--the meats are lean, they focus more on veggies and I don't recall Atkins people cutting out grains.
I am sure I have blogged about in the past, but as a refresher, every year from October to December 25, I don't eat sugar or refined flour. Or chocolate, but that is kind of redundant because I can't afford to buy chocolate that doesn't have sugar or flour.
Why do I do this? Well, I use this dieting approach called attrition:
See that blue dot? Well, if you are 30 and you weigh 150, you are somewhere in the 60th percentile for weight, kind of on the tubby side. But if you wait it out at 150 for 10 years, suddenly, you find yourself hovering right above 50th. If you wait it out for 10 more years at 150? You drop down below, so suddenly you become trimmer than the average woman. And all I really want is to be a little less fat than everyone else. Isn't that the American Dream? So I just need to maintain my weight in an effort to lose the appearance of weight each year. Brilliant, no? (I don't know what I will do when I hit 70 and the average goes back down but I am thinking that is just because the older generation aren't as obese as we are so I am counting on that going back up as we age)
In my effort to win this normalizing war and shave off a few pounds during the holidays that I may have gained from my busiest travel season, I simply go without foods I really love. Abstinence, very effective (mostly).
This year, I discovered that after 3 years of going without sugar and flour, I have replaced those foods with other yummy things that have rendered the change in my diet almost useless and I wasn't noticing any difference in my weight or the way I felt.
So this year I needed something different, a change that would help me shed those extra pounds and stick with my general short-term policy.
As a periodically avid pinterester, I had started to see reference to paleo recipes. And aside from the cashew cheesecakes, most everything looked like good foods, things I believe in eating. I started
So I decided to try it.
The biggest changes for me?
Dairy products. I didn't know I was eating so much cheese there, whoops! It was easy enough to give up, but made all my concoctions slightly less yummy.
Corn products. Long ago I cut out corn syrup with very few exceptions and I haven't eaten the fake corn stuff from chicken nuggets or other hidden ingredients (thank you mucho to Michael Pollan for forcing me to read every single label ever). But tortilla chips? And yummy corn tortillas??? What the heck was I going to do about this one? I did it, but it was hard.
Whole Wheat. I thought this was going to be hard, but given that I think it impacts my reflux so I had cut back over the years, it was actually not too tough. Missed a few almond butter sandwiches, but I was strong.
What the.. no rice? Do you know even KNOW how many foods contain rice? Or how many tasty and healthy meals can be enhanced with rice? And how rice makes everything cheaper? Yes, I make quinoa but not a real replacement. And I am not making no cauliflower rice.
Well, I did shave off a few pounds so good for me. But, like any other change over a period of months, I learned a few things which were of value:
1) I used to have to blow my nose every morning. Like, I would get up, get my drink of water and a box of kleenex. Since I cut out the stuff, no problems. After December 25 I have had a bit of ice cream and, whoops, blowing my nose again. So, perhaps bye-bye to dairy for awhile.
2) I have completely lost my appetite for whole wheat flour. I am even LESS tempted by processed flour (like flour tortillas, once a former favorite food even seems a little gross).
3) I have no idea what to eat now. I love the paleo foods but they take so much effort! So I have gotten into a rut with a few foods but I haven't come up with many "quick" dinners other than the same old soups that my kids are tolerating. I have dropped certain habits but haven't picked up new ones, how annoying!
4) Eating right is expensive. I don't care who you are or how amazing of a cook you are, I have come to the conclusion that unless you have unlimited time, eating right is costly. I am not a woman of leisure who has hours to prepare food, I am full-time employee, full-time student, and full-time mother. I can either come home exhausted and then spend hours cooking or I can do something quick and expensive. What would you choose?
5) I am still not going organic except for corn chips. Sorry. I am still not good enough at what I put in my body in general to get to that refined state of being. If it is around the same price, I will do it, but other than that, count me out of that movement.
So I think I will stick with the no sugar policy, I like it, I feel good, and it keeps the weight off.
Moving forward I will keep most of what I gained from the paleo people and stick with mainly those foods, but I reintroduced the corn chips (organic to avoid the whole GMO thingy).
My resolution for the next several months is to require 30 minutes a day of exercise. I am hoping to keep the habit as long as possible before reality sets in. If I can keep up the self-control of the food thing and then add the exercise, maybe I will feel great, stay trim, and beat the death threat of age 55 (average age in which my parents died) that my husband thinks I face.
Overall score for the paleo diet: 8 (until I get a few recipes under my belt).
Overall score for the paleo community: 10