This is Part 2 of 3 on living the paleo lifestyle. Click here to read Part 1.
Why did I start eating Paleo?
Honestly? Because of Dooce. A year and a half-ish ago, Heather posted about how she was going gluten free, and then paleo. Since I was already gluten free, I was like, 'Yes, welcome to the dark side! You'll love it!' Then she talked about how she switched to paleo and I was like 'Eh, no grains? A ton of meat? I'll pass.' A year later she posted an update about how she was still eating paleo and how she still loved it. Wha? I have a high opinion of her so I had to look into it, and look into it I did. I read a million blogs, bought the book Practical Paleo, and then finally took the plunge into eating paleo. It just made sense. My life had transformed.
How do I feel?
Amazing. Simple as that. Before eating paleo, I was already gluten free because I have celiac disease, so I ate pretty healthy in general. I made most of my meals at home, ate plenty of vegetables, didn't drink very often, etc. I did snack on things like gluten-free bread and crackers, made fried chicken, drank soda here and there, and ate plenty of candy. I didn't feel like I was on my A-game everyday, but I also didn't feel bad, or so I thought. After switching to paleo, I noticed a difference in my energy. It was easier to go to bed at night and easier to wake up. It no longer took me an hour or two to be 'awake' and functional in the morning and I no longer needed caffeine from green tea (or on some days a Pepsi!) to think clearly. I was just awake when I got out of bed! I was also the kind of person who would do a shift at work and be tired the rest of the day, lazying around on the couch. Now I can go go go from morning until bedtime and not feel like I am utterly exhausted. I get so much more stuff done.
I've also noticed a difference in how much I eat, or rather how little. Don't get me wrong, I did not switch to paleo to lose weight like some people do. I am happy with my weight. I did, however, eat a lot of food before. I have a very high metabolism because I have a hyperthyroid so my body just quickly burns through anything I consume. I used to have to eat a full meal every two hours or I would get light headed, dizzy, nauseous and lethargic because I was so darn hungry. I'd have dinner and then would have to eat another full meal immediately before gong to bed or I'd wake up sick in the morning because I was so hungry. Now, I can easily go 4 or 5 hours in between meals and only need three solid meals a day, sometimes even two with some snacks instead. I'm not starving in between meals and I rarely get shaky with hunger anymore. This makes things tremendously easier for me because I don't have to cook nearly as much and it saves us some money!
My skin is another thing that is healthier. I already use oil to wash my face which has helped with acne a lot, but my skin cleared up even more, and when I 'cheat' and eat something non-paleo like a soda or frozen yoghurt, I break out! It gives me incentive to not cheat, knowing that not only will I feel lousy, but I'll have bad skin for a week or two.
What's it like when I eat something non-paleo?
I do sometimes 'cheat' (though I never cheat and eat gluten because I have celiac disease) and as I mentioned, my skin breaks out and I feel lousy, even if it's just eating a bite of Vince's gluten free pasta. I notice that my stomach is noisier when it's digesting non-paleo food and I get gassy, but I don't have bathroom issues like when I accidentally eat gluten. I do get very tired easier for a couple days after as well and feel 'off'. I can tell enough of a difference that I rarely eat non-paleo foods because it's not worth feeling like crap!
When I eat something that's not paleo, I do not feel guilty about it. I will not submit my mind to that kind of thing and I will thoroughly enjoy the food or drink I'm consuming. So far this year, I've had one can of Pepsi and one can of Coke and my god were those the most enjoyed sodas I have ever had. But after? When my stomach feels bloated and my skin starts to break out? I do wish I hadn't done it, but at least I enjoyed it while I was consuming it. By listening to my body after, however, I am reminded of what happens which affects my decision in the future when I really want a soda.
How did I 'go paleo'?
I started small. I took a couple months to transition to a full paleo diet and it was very helpful. I stopped eating gluten free bread, then cut out grains, then cut out beans, then cut out diary, etc. It allowed me time to find new recipes I enjoyed, it gave me the motivation I needed when I saw a body change with every new step, and it allowed my mind the time it needed to accept what I was doing to my body and for it to acknowledge that good things were happening despite my desire for a chocolate chip cookie.
How do I stay motivated, aside from the good feeling I get from being paleo?
These are all bloggers that, if you spend more than two minutes researching paleo, you will come across. They are well known for a reason:
Civilized Caveman Every recipe I've tried of his has been off the charts amazing.
PaleOMG Her recipes are awesome. She's also very real about her life, so it's fun to read her blogs even if you are not interested in her food! You just can't not fall in love with her. I also follow her on instagram and she does post a lot of non-paleo food though, so if you're new to paleo I wouldn't recommend following her there. It's a bad temptation!
nom nom paleo
Life as a Plate
Websites dedicated to recipes:
Foodgawker (search paleo)
Punchfork (search paleo)
And the book that got my ball rolling: