Physical Changes: To Paleo or Not to Paleo?

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Physical Changes: To Paleo or Not to Paleo?

Ever had a situation where you were continuously doing something while ignoring ALL of the signs that are yelling at you “NO!”, “don’t do it”, “turn around”, “put the cookie down!?” Some people may call this stubbornness, I’ll call it “I’ve-been-driving-in-the-wrong-direction-for-so-long-I’m-afraid-to-get-smashed-by-incoming-cars-if-I attempt-a-U-Turn syndrome” (should I abbreviate that? IBDITWDFSLIIATGSBICIIAAUT syndrome, maybe not…). well that basically sums up my relationship with food at the moment. 

Over the course of a few months I have been experiencing seemingly unrelated ailments. Toothaches, dry skin patches, anxiety, extreme exhaustion, mental fogginess, difficulty remembering things, sprinkled with bloating here and there. So I did what every person in their right mind does, I called my doctor…Dr.Google. Every single time I called, the good Doc pointed me in one direction: Paleo! It’s usually referred to as the paleo diet or the primal diet but I think the word diet gives off an “I’m trying to lose weight” vibe and believe it or not, I currently wouldn’t mind an extra couple pounds. So with that said, I like to refer to it as the paleo lifestyle because it really goes far beyond food. There’s tons of information about paleo out there, for our purposes here’s a long but useful infographic to briefly describe paleo. 

This info graphic is courtesy of MedicalBillingAndCoding.org.

The Paleo Revolution

When I first started learning about the paleo lifestyle I became intrigued. I looked up a lot of information and even convinced my husband to kind of go along with me. I successfully ate strictly paleo for 10 days before a sugar monster overcame me and destroyed my efforts in one swift bite of glorious cake. You see, you can take away my pasta, my rice, my cereal, my oatmeal, and I’ll even reluctantly give you my peanut butter, but my sugar?! Why oh why my sugar?! By the way, have you ever noticed how many things have sugar listed as an ingredient on the label? (hint: it’s a lot and it’s not only in sweet stuff). 

So in the meanwhile, an epic battle has ensued in my head between the sugar monster (let’s call her Grumbelina) and my common sense, my immune system, and my inner goddess (we’ll call this Team Duh!). Team Duh! has me convinced that Paleo is the way to go. All of the health benefits that other people have experienced plus the mini success I tasted during my ten-day vacay to paleoville surely helps Team Duh!’s argument! On the other hand Grumbelina is a 500 lb bully that sits on people to get her way. She’s got me convinced that depriving myself of sugary deliciousness is blasphemy and surely punishable by something drastic like… Well I guess being crushed by a 500 lb bully is pretty drastic in and of itself. Are you starting to see my dilemma? 

My artistic rendition of the epic battle happening in my head.

My artistic rendition of the epic battle happening in my head.

I’ve got other reasons excuses that are holding me back too. My teeth are currently very sensitive and not strong enough to handle eating steaks (so maybe I should hold off until after my dentist appointment?). Or what about waiting until I finally make my husband as excited and committed to paleo as I want to be, doing it on my own seems too hard! Blah, blah, blah! Are you buying any of these excuses yet? I didn’t think so :-/

A typical paleo dinner in our house. Lemon chicken with baby bok choy and sweet potato fries, yum!

A typical paleo dinner in our house. Lemon chicken with baby bok choy and sweet potato fries, yum!


Alas, I’ve come to the conclusion that paleo is definitely my ultimate goal. I believe in the benefits and I believe it’s optimal for my body. Now I just have to put on my determination cap and make it work. I need to see where I stumbled the first time I tried and make corrections before I try again. I have to set myself up for success. A healthy lifestyle is a priority not only for me but for my little who is looking up to me to form his own lifelong eating habits. How can I tell him junk food is not good for you while I’m stuffing my face with double stuffed Oreos?! That’s just not cool. 

I’ve gotta tell you friends (can we be friends :)?) this change business is not easy. I’ve gotta take long hard looks in the mirror and stare at the uncomfortable truth on a daily basis. Sometimes it bums me out, but sharing it here with you picks me right back up (thank you). I’ve already made progress with some of the other changes I’ve mentioned in previous posts so I know this will be no different. I’m really grateful for those who read and comment because you are all contributing to my healing process. The fears and anxieties that go along with big changes are slowly being replaced with your comforting words of empathy and encouragement. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but writing it here is my first step and I’ll keep taking it one step at a time until I reach the top.

Me and my grumbly tummy want to know.. What’s your food weakness? Do you follow a strict diet or is it a free-for-all on food? How important is food and the quality of what you eat to you? Lets talk food people!

Love & Light,
The Awakened Momma

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14 responses »

  1. Hi Kat,
    While the principles of Paleo are, generally speaking, sound, I really, really hate the idea of ‘diets’. Because they restrict what you can eat, they encourage cravings and encourage obsessive behaviour and attitudes towards food.
    I thoroughly recommend Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin and Hypnotic Gastric Band books. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to lose any weight at all! (I do… and I’m enjoying every second of it thanks to these books!)
    I Can Make You Thin is an awful title. But its contents are fantastic. I’m not overly concerned with the hypnosis or, indeed, gastric band element of the other book. But, again, the rest of the stuff in there is great. Basically, I have transformed my eating habits, started to lose weight (fat) in a healthy manner and done so effortlessly and without any hunger pangs or cravings. All I do is follow Paul McKenna’s Four Golden Rules. Take a look at my blog where I outline the rules and am charting my progress while following them.

    http://cheeriofatty.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/eating-consciously-day-3/

    It is not a diet. There are absolutely no restrictions in what you can eat. But, overnight, I stopped eating almost all junk foods and ready meals. I have had absolutely no desire to eat them for three weeks. It is so easy. So sensible. So healthy.

    I guess what I’m ultimately saying to you is that if you want to, largely, follow the Paleo Diet, that’s fine. But don’t beat yourself up for having the occasional cake etc if that’s what you truly want. The most important thing is to eat consciously and to enjoy every single mouthful that you eat. Free yourself from the idea of dieting and enjoy your food like you never have before! That’s what’s happened to me and I still can’t quite believe it!

    Bright Blessings…

    • Thank you very much for your comment! I am with you on so many levels. A huge part of why it’s so hard of me to commit to paleo is because I’ve always disliked the restrictiveness of diets. Again I don’t like to consider it a diet because I believe it can be more of a lifestyle commitment but you’re right, it makes me obsessive an anxious about food. I just want a healthy relationship with food so I greatly appreciate your links and info! Can’t wait to look further into it.

      Love,
      Kat

      • Hi Kat,
        I’m happy to have shared Paul McKenna with you! I’m sure you’ll find his books fascinating. Personally, there’s not much in them that I disagree with. And a lot that makes sense. More than anything, he has given me the (oh-so-simple!) strategies that I’ve always needed to be able to eat in a healthy manner but which very few of us are taught by anyone!

        Good luck with your exploration and the Paleo lifestyle (if you do decide to unleash your inner cavewoman!)

        Peace&Light from
        Chin

  2. Grumbelina, was it?
    Yes, I will be the first to answer. I have a bit of a sugar problem. My problem is that I am an EXCELLENT baker so when I want cookies I can just make them. I wish I was one of those snooty, dainty women who “doesn’t cook” but I cook and I bake….a lot.
    The quality of food I eat is a big deal to me, which is hard on my single mom budget, but I sort of live in the Michael Pollan school of thought on food. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.
    To me, as a romantic, cake is a marvelous, frivolous wonder of the human brain. We mixed flour, eggs, sugar and butter together to make something that pleases us, not just nourishes us.
    We paint to express ourselves. We make music to express ourselves. We dance to express ourselves.
    We don’t NEED any of these things to survive…but they make life sweeter.

    That’s how I view the culinary extras of the world.

    For me, the problem is not completely the carbs or the sugar. The problem, to me, is the American extremist viewpoint toward food in general. God forbid we just have a healthy relationship with the food we eat..nooonooo, we either need gallon sized big gulp jugs of sugary carbonated madness or we cut out three or four food groups altogether.
    Again, what about the French Paradox??

    But alas, I am not French. I am American. And while I despise the supersized or deprive method, it’s just what “we” do…

    • Hi Jessica,
      First off thanks for starting the conversation! Second, you’re hitting the nail, right on the head for me, it’s ALL about the relationship with food and our culture really does take it to the extremes. I absolutely love your description of the extras as enriching in the way music and art are to our lives, it’s certainly true. Your comment has given me a lot of insight into why I want to change my eating habits and what I want my relationship with food to be. In the end I don’t want a fancy shmancy name or rule book, I just want balance. Thank you for enlightening me!
      Love,
      Kat
      (aka Grumbelina, aka The Awakened Momma)

  3. Hello there, I enjoyed this post! I also follow a restrictive diet for my health. At the beginning it was extremely isolating and I obsessed over it. That ruined any health benefits that may have come from it at that stage.

    I cook nearly everything myself from scratch. So I rarely go out to eat. But now I have got used to it, and most importantly experimented and found some really delicious recipes to stop me feeling deprived. It’s just my lifestyle now and I am feeling such health benefits from it, but still have a way to go. It’s great you have the support from your husband in this as that will make it so much easier to make a positive change to your health. you will find your cravings do disappear a bit. Especially creating naturally sweet recipes. My favourite is hazelnut butter. Just like nutella. I just wish the world around me could change so I could find food on the go more easily and people didn’t think I was weird for not eating their beige food with them (sandwiches, sausage rolls… Cake…). That’s what I want.

    You have to remember though, 99 percent is what you think. If you think you will feel ill forever, nothings helping etc, you could eat the healthiest, cleanest food in the world and it would make no difference. Sometimes I just want to feel stressed and down but it plays out badly on my health at this point in time so I have to do positive affirmations or paint or go out for a walk and get my worries out. It’s a bummer I’m not allowed to wallow.

    I’ve gone way off tangent. Please contact me if you want to know more. Again, really enjoyed how thoughtful and proactive this post is.

    • Hi Imi! Thank you for your continual support, I always look forward to your comments. It’s definitely an insightful observation that the attitude towards food is almost as important as the actual food. I also always feel like its some kind of cruel joke that the food that is readily available is food that I want to avoid! Sometimes life gets busy and it’s in those days when I don’t feel like cooking that it is overwhelming to have restrictions on food.
      I would love to hear more about your food choices and your progress with it. It is definitely helpful to hear of other’s struggles and successes.

  4. I tried making my family go Paleo last year and failed miserably. It was overwhelming, to say the least. We have yet to replace our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with a Paleo recipe.

    I felt awesome for the first month or so, and weight started to literally melt off. But I was still breastfeeding and, with going Paleo, your carbs are automatically lowered considerably. My body and mind didn’t take too well to the drastic change in carb intake. And my kids and husband were cheating when they were out of my sight.

    So with the new year, I’ve modified our eating lifestyle because Paleo IS more of a lifestyle. It’s more than just diet. I told my family that we would start with gluten-free and organic. Make it simple. My teens were on board with this. Especially when I found them this pizza recipe which is FANTASTIC. Just look up gluten-free pizza on The Domestic Man.

    Also, if you haven’t already, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. This is the first exposure I had when starting to research Paleo.

    Good luck! And when I post weekly recipes on my blog, I do try to post them as Paleo as possible, so check us out on Tuesdays. 🙂

    • Thank you for you comment! Very interesting to me. I am also still breastfeeding but I actually noticed an increase in supply with paleo foods. I think a combination of more nutritious veggies and the little also eating more solids than he was pre-paleo contributed to more milk.
      I think it’s great that you modified your way of eating to best fit your family. In essence that is what I want, I don’t want a “diet” that someone else says is best for me, I want to eventually develop our own lifestyle that will be effortless to follow and bring great health benefits. I do want to use paleo as the base, but I think I’ll find ways to modify to make it work. Thank you for your insight!

      • I’ve read that some women who are breastfeeding do fine with the considerable decrease in carbs intake. My milk supply wasn’t affected; I just felt anxiety-ish and started having muscle cramps.

        I have ADD, so I think the clean-up in my diet really cleared my mind and that was a weird feeling for me. I started eating more brown rice and bananas, and my muscle cramps went away.

        I have noticed that I don’t have to depend on caffeine anymore to get that focus and alertness I lacked. I can drink a half cup of coffee in the morning, and I find that even that is too much caffeine for me now. So far, I totally suggest trying the Paleo diet (or at least a modified version) if you suffer from ADD. I’m beginning to think that all these mental and learning disabilities may quite possibly just be manifestations of a bad diet, individual to each person.

  5. Hi Kat,

    Thank you for the incredible comment you left on my blog. Your words brought me to tears and touched me deeply. I am so grateful you took time to share that with me.

    I am glad I decided to hop over here to your beautiful blog. You are a lovely writer with so much great information. I was so interested in what you have outlined here in this post. I have been eating very similar to what you describe here. I didn’t know there was a name for it. I have lost quite a bit of weight since I started eating clean about 1 year ago. I feel so much better, too. I am trying very hard to help my girls eat this way, too, although it is a little more challenging. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for all this great information and for such kindness on my blog. xo

    Rachel
    http://www.handsfreemama.com

    • Hi Rachel!
      Having you read and actually like my writing is an amazing honor. Than you! It is very interesting that you have been eating similar to this! I notice an increase in people going towards more wholesome foods, which is great! I think for your daughters the best you can do is continue to model good eating habits and explain your food choices to them. Maybe turn it into a weekend project to do child-appropriate research on where their food comes from and how it affects their bodies? I’ve even ran across some blogs that document whole families eating paleo and how to get kids on board. I can provide links if you’d like. I hope you had a great weekend Rachel and thank you again for stopping by!

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