(I’ve written and re-written this post about a hundred times over – in my head, that is. Time to get it out, imperfections and all…)
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. In short, paleo = eating real food, not manufactured or modified or ‘transformed’ into food(stuffs). “Eating paleo”, for me, means not eating grains, for example. Or anything made with added sugar. Or almost all dairy (I make an exception for pastured butter, heavy cream – as a treat in coffee – or full-fat Greek yogurt from time to time.) Or beans – yes, this includes anything made with soy (one of the more, um, irradiated and chemically-altered foods out there, thanks to Monsanto & Co.).
I am eating plenty of protein – mostly in the form of meat or eggs. (Yes, my cholesterol is better than it’s been in YEARS, thanks for asking…) All kinds and hues and textures of vegetables. Fruits and nuts, in moderation. And plenty of good fats, whether as an entire avocado diced into my lunch salads, pastured butter used to scramble eggs in the am, or coconut oil to saute dinner stuff.
Can I eat out? Absolutely! Dick’s Kitchen is a paleo-friendly restaurant here in PDX, while my friend Meagan-Kate collected a whole plethora of great places to find paleo options. And my fellow Paleo ‘steak buddy’ Sue pulls me out to go eat rare red meat with her around town, don’t you know…
Do I ever feel deprived? Hungry? Left out? Nope. Really. Because I’m eating enough protein & fats to keep me satiated, and I’ve switched my body to burn fat instead of glucose. (So my blood sugars don’t drop and spike any more before or after meals, for example.)
Huh-wha? I’m not on the blood sugar roller coaster? Nope – and here’s proof positive. I’ve never been able to fast for Yom Kippur before (which requires a 25-hr fast if you’re going to be observant) – I’d always caved early because I was ‘ravenous’ or ‘lightheaded’ or had ‘low blood sugar.’ Not this year – sailed through the entire 25 hours without missing a beat & with plenty of energy. And nope, I didn’t believe I could do it, either.
What else has ‘going Paleo’ done for me? In six months time, I’ve dropped 40 lbs. Eliminated all of those negative labels on my health record (Pre-diabetic? Gone. High blood pressure/high cholesterol? Ditto.) And my insomnia, leg cramps & other health annoyances are all a thing of the past. Finally, I’ve also dropped several sizes & had to replace my entire wardrobe by now (am not a big fan of that ‘Flashdance’ look after all…)
I had plenty of help along the way, thanks to the burgeoning Paleolithic community that goes by several different names: Primal (as represented by Mark Sisson), Paleo (my favorite Caveman, Robb Wolf), and Archevore (Dr. Kurt Harris). I devour the questions (and answers) provided by the PaleoHacks.com contributors.
And the Paleo movement is going mainstream, thanks to media outlets willing to take a closer look & actually try it out for themselves (this 5-part series by a local SF CBS station reporter & medical professional is fascinating – I believe she originally set out to debunk Paleo, but couldn’t when all was said and done!)
Have I completely overloaded you with links and information and stuff to tag to ‘read later’? Are you sick to death of hearing that ‘Paleo’ word by now? Sorry, I’m not done yet.This excellent graphic from the folks behind PaleoHacks lays out the entire primordial story, along with how our supposed health improvements (canola oil? trans-fats? fiber, fiber, fiber?) led us down the wrong path.
Finally – is this a temporary diet? Will I ever go back to eating birthday cake, bagels, or ice cream? Nope and nope. It’s now a way of life for me. Sure, I may tweak it from time to time – but I’m in control now – which means I can indulge in a birthday bourbon instead of cake & ice cream. And I like it better that way.
Or to twist that old expression just a tad: “Once you go Caveman, you never go back…!”
Update: Want to see a clearer version of that graphic? Look below the fold…
Learn more about the Paleo Diet.