How I did it.

I left off on my last post letting you all know that I had been eating Paleo for almost two weeks. Well, I have now passed that two week mark and cannot believe how much better I feel vs how I was feeling at the beginning of this little challenge of mine.

Making the Island Salad from Against All Grain!

Making the Island Salad from Against All Grain!

So the main comments and questions I’ve been receiving from readers, friends, coworkers and family all pretty much center on how I could make such a drastic cut in the items I’ve been eating.  That was so not the case! I have been gluten free for a few years now, so that takes care of cutting out wheat.  I recently found out I have a slight allergy to corn, so I’ve been phasing that out for a few months now.  The same goes for dairy, as I wasn’t actively trying to completely cut it out of my diet, but more so I’ve been reducing the amount I’ve been eating because it doesn’t make my stomach feel the best (and lets be real, cheese isn’t really something you should be eating large amounts of while trying to drop some libbies.) So that leaves me with legumes and refined sugar to reduce/remove from my diet in this Paleo endeavor.  Legumes weren’t very difficult because I wasn’t eating them very often as is.  Sugar though, Woah.  Guys, I had the most intense candy cravings I have ever experienced in those first few days.  It was a huge reality check on how much sugar I was actually consuming.  And now that I’m reading food labels even more religiously, sugar is is EVERYTHING.  Ugh.  SO I’ve been doing without a lot of things like store bought sauces and have been making my own instead.

There is a lot of debate and misconceptions surrounding this diet as a whole.  I read the book “It Starts With Food” (which is the book that outlines the Whole30 challenge, which is what I’ve roughly based my 30 days off of.  The book really gets into the scientific nitty gritty of the Paleo diet and while I think some of it is a little extreme, most of it was a good takeaway for me.  There are numerous factors that have led me to believe that the Paleo diet would help me feel happier and healthier.  I have Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder that effects ones thyroid and disrupts metabolism and weight regulation (these are just a few of the issues that arise with the condition.)  While reading a book on Hashimotos, I came to learn that the disorder cannot be wholly managed with synthroid pills every morning, but is better managed with a combination of medication and diet changes.  The diet changes they recommend?  No grains, no dairy, no corn, no sugar. Hmm, sounds pretty Paleo to me.  Another factor that led me to this diet was a recommendation by a holistic doctor (the same one who initially diagnosed my allergies years ago) to follow something called the blood type diet.  The blood type diet (I am an O) is a list of foods that are recommended for individuals with different blood types.  I hesitate to call it a diet due to the fact that it is not calorie driven, there are no meal plans, and no gimmicks.  This “lifestyle” was designed for each different blood type and the foods that would help them perform optimally. Type O diet is limited on grains, limited on dairy, no soy, and limited sweets.  Hmmm, once again, sounds pretty Paleo.

So the first of the year rolled around a few weeks ago and I was feeling the holiday food hangover in full force.  Everything seemed to come together in my head for the first time and I just kept thinking – Allie, you know what you have to do to be happy and healthy, so do it.  So I set a date, enlisted a friend (kateswholeplate) and here I am, two weeks later, feeling great and not really missing any of the foods I ‘gave up’ on my journey to health.

It's all about preparation and planning.

It’s all about preparation and planning.

So onto my eats! I’ve been happily noshing on lean proteins such as chicken, fish (so much fish!), flank steak and eggs.  I’ve been having eggs most mornings for breakfast, usually in the form of a scramble (ain’t nobody got time to flip an omlette) and I mix the eggs with spinach and veggies, and sometimes meat if its available.  Bacon FTW.  I always try to incorporate healthy fats in there like coconut oil or milk, tons of avocados, and nut butters (almond and sunflower seed are my favorite).  Make sure you check labels on all of these things!  Almond butter could have added oils or sugar, which is why it is so important to check!  Also, checking to see if non dairy milks have added carageenan has been important to me, since I have done some research and it has been linked to polyps and colon cancer more than once.  In addition to the protein and fat, I’ve been eating squash and tubers (sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, etc) and a ton of veggies!  My boyfriend and I took a run to Costco one Sunday (note to self never go on weekends) and bought the largest bag of spinach I have ever seen.  So my goal is to finish that before it goes bad. I’ve been making some smoothies for breakfast on days I have to work.  I try to limit my fruits to one per day due to the high fructose content, but I’m not super strict about that.

A sampling of a late lunch I had one day.  Sunbutter, Apple, Clementine and heirloom grape tomatoes.

A sampling of a late lunch I had one day. Sunbutter, Apple, Clementine and heirloom grape tomatoes.

Overall, I am beyond thrilled that I have been able to get past the fear of what I was ‘giving up’ and can now see the beauty in what I’ve gained.  I am on my journey to restoring my health and I am so excited for the path ahead!  Also, this was not a decision I made on a whim or took lightly.  I attempted a challenge similar to this a few months back and was not successful.  This time around, I was mentally and emotionally prepared, I had done preparation and planning for what was needed and I had a support system that was on board with me.  I am not a doctor and as such, I am just sharing what is working for me nutrition wise.  Consult your doctor if you need further guidance.

If you haven’t seen whatshouldwecallpaleolife.tumblr.com go there now.  It’s hilarious (at least to me) HA!

PS. I’m sorry if I ever burped in your presence.  Now you know, I couldn’t help it!  But it was pretty funny for a while.

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On Going Paleo

A few months back I vowed to go to crossfit and train for a half marathon to whip myself into shape.  Well, here I am, almost done with January, still barely able to run a mile.  I asked myself so many times, why isn’t this working and what am I doing wrong, but I kept coming back to one thing: nutrition.  Random, right?  Well, as you may know from my about me or by knowing me personally, I have some dietary restrictions that I need to adhere to in order to feel healthy and happy.

For the longest time I though I had my gluten allergy under control and figured my stomach was just sensitive to other foods I was eating (like dairy which I know makes me ill and small amounts of soy) but I figured if I got those under control as well, I would be symptom free and healthy. Notsomuch. I have still been getting sick, and by this I mean extreme, painful bloating, and all the wonderful not-to-be-mentioned accompanying symptoms from bloating.  All I could think was, “SERIOUSLY?!”  What now? It was so beyond frustrating and for a while I thought I would always be the burping, bloated person I had become. But then I thought maybe there was a less dramatic (who, me, dramatic?!) way of dealing with these issues.

I’m going paleo.  I’m removing all of the things I have been noticing that have made me sick.

But that’s not all, I have already been paleo for 10 days.  I needed to make sure my will power was there before sharing this big news!

OK, no I will not be 100% strict paleo for the rest of my life.  Yes, I will have cheese and yogurt again in my life.  Yes I will also probably reintroduce some grains that have never made me feel ill.  But I will never rely on these foods as I was.  These will be few and far between.  Cheese will be a luxury, as I feel it should be.  Grains such as quinoa and brown rice will make appearances every once in a while.  But that’s it.

10 days ago, I went to bed with a stomachache (a normal occurrence) and made up my mind that I was committed to making it through 30 days of paleo.  If, after that 30 days, I didn’t see an improvement or change, I was going to have to figure something else out (i.e. a serious talk with my doctor).  I am a third of the way into that commitment.  I feel great. My skin is starting to clear up after some pretty bad months, I find myself less fixated on food and what to eat, and in the first 7 days, I lost 3 pounds.  Who knows if the weight loss was a fluke or due to the fact that I’m eating less processed foods, but it is the first loss I have seen in almost a year (and yes, I’ve been trying). This is major.

I made only one New Years resolution and it was to cook every recipe in the Against All Grain cookbook.  It has been fun, challenging and DELICIOUS thus far!

Since this post is getting lengthy, I will continue in another post on Saturday to get down to the nitty gritty of what it takes to go paleo.  I’ll leave you all with some pictures of my eats lately!

Breakfast Hash

Lunch!

Breakfast Egg scramble

Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Carne Asada Burrito Bowls

PS Now that my nutrition is focused and under control, I am working on the exercise portion! Crossfit has been awesome so far and running is just as much of a struggle as it has always been, but I’m hoping to change that!