My Diet & Lifestyle Evolution
I found the Paleo community a couple of years ago when I was obese and sick. Prior to this, nothing seemed to work to help me lose weight, stop the nausea & heartburn I was having, dizziness, the swollen ankles, the constant hunger, and fatigue. I had just finished reading the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes and had my mind blown – fat was good for me? Chronic exercise was not good for me? I was intrigued! And so confused. How could this be? While that book is not about Paleo (nor did I even know what Paleo was then) Taubes put forth many ideas I know now to fall in line with an evolutionary perspective on health. I did some Google searches on evolutionary diets and all these Paleo websites popped up. Curious, I clicked on one. It was called Mark’s Daily Apple. I was immediately fascinated with the evolutionary perspective on diet and living. It made so much sense! From there I bought Mark Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint. From there I have devoured almost every blog, website, book, and podcast on the Paleo way of life. My eyes were finally open! Two years later, I continue to feel amazing. There is no doubt that going Paleo saved my life.
The Paleo diet is not actually a diet at all. It is much more than that. Paleo is a lifestyle based on eating real food, moving around, getting regular sleep, reducing stress, and having fun. This lifestyle is one that I find ultimately more natural, fulfilling, and easier to maintain than any other ways of living I have tried. In the 2 years I have been Paleo, the results speak for themselves:
- I have lost over 50 pounds – 30 of those pounds without exercising
- I no longer have acid reflux (GERD)
- I have normal, healthy bowel movements
- I have more energy
- No more PMS or bloating
- No more dry skin
- No more sugar cravings – or any blood sugar imbalances so my moods are stable
- No more dizziness
- My blood pressure is lower than ever: 108/64
- I no longer have swollen ankles
- I look and feel better at 40 than I did at 30!
Pretty amazing, isn’t it? My doctor thought so too!
What is Paleo?
When people hear about the Paleo diet, images of Cavemen hunting with spears come to mind. While the diet is based on eating what humans ate in the Paleolithic Era before the advent of agriculture, this is an inaccurate depiction of an extremely clean way of living that the media, food corporations, and some vegetarian groups have distorted to their own ends. True some Paleo followers push the caveman image themselves, but mostly it is just an inside joke. To me, the image is a reminder that humans have been thriving for millennia because we had a lifestyle based around eating complete nutrition, moving around, sleeping a lot, and having fun. We were not meant to be fat, sick, stressed, over worked, and sedentary. You never see a picture of a fat caveman, do you?
The basics of eating Paleo are simple: EAT REAL FOOD. That’s it! I eat what humans were meant to eat: Nutrient dense food.
Here is a very basic breakdown of what I eat:
- Grass-fed and pastured meats, including organ meat & the bones for broth
- Pastured eggs
- Wild caught seafood
- Grass-fed saturated animal fats like butter, tallow, lard, ghee. Monounsaturated fat like olives & olive oil, and fats from coconut products and avocados.
- Organic fruit and vegetables
- Fermented foods
- Small amounts of nuts and seeds
- While dairy is not technically Paleo, I tolerate dairy well & eat only the full fat kind with cultures – like Greek yogurt, aged cheeses, kefir and sour cream. If I can get raw & grass-fed that is optimal. I only eat dairy occasionally.
The foods I avoid make common sense – another reason I love Paleo. I don’t eat anything that contains pesticides, GMOs, hormones disruptors, chemical cocktails, digestion corruptors, inferior nutrient profiles, empty calories or any processed foods. Here is a list of foods that fall into most of these problem groups:
- Anything that comes in a box (processed foods)
- White and wheat flours & corn starches
- All Grains
- All Legumes (including peanuts!) & Beans
- All Soy products
- Sugar & sugar substitutes
- Sweetened & artificially sweetened beverages
- Low fat dairy products & dairy substitutes
- All industrial seed oils or highly processed oils like Canola, Corn, Crisco & Vegetable Oil
- All butter substitutes
- Pre-packaged meals, including fast food, deli counter offerings, and I minimize eating out
There is a lot of misinformation and myths about health and nutrition being passed around that are based on bad science and biased studies. In fact, the entire Standard American Diet (SAD) diet is pretty much nutritionally unsound and is causing more health problems and weight gain than it is helping people. In a time when people are so confused about what eating healthy means, Paleo offers simple, complete and healthy options that make scientific sense. Eating real food also takes the guesswork out of making healthy food choices; I can choose an apple, broccoli, and a grass-fed steak. They are what they are, real food, real nutrition – not a mystery in a pretty package covered with false advertising. Perhaps we can all benefit from looking back to our ancestors for the answers now and then.
Paleo can change your life too.
Many people report the following health benefits and MUCH happiness from eating Paleo – the list below is comprised of only a handful of the positive changes you may experience. There are countless success stories online at Mark’s Daily Apple if you are looking for some more inspiration.
- Reduced or eliminated sugar cravings
- Regulated blood sugar levels
- Healing years of damage to your body from poor diet and lifestyle
- Weight loss as a by-product of healing
- Not feeling hungry all the time
- Better mood and concentration
- More energy
- Disappearance of most digestion issues
- A tightly knit Paleo community for support and continuing education
Sounds great, right? It is! And the best part is that it is not a diet – it is just eating real food we were meant to eat. I do not count calories or worry about portion control – I eat until I am satisfied and only eat again when I am hungry. And the food is absolutely delicious!
Ready to give Paleo a try?
If you would like never dieting again, having more energy, being free from sugar addiction, and losing weight healthfully, then Paleo may be the answer for you. If you are interested in trying Paleo and would like some guidance, please contact me. I offer a coaching program that will teach you how to live and thrive this way for life.