It has been just over a month since I have started eating and writing about the Paleo Diet. I initially thought I was going to do each of these diets for one month. But a lot of the diets say you need atleast a month for the effects to happen or your gut to heal or your toxins to be cleanses or the sparkles to shine from your superior skin. So I went with two months, to give me time for all those effects to happen, and to really get a feel for how it would be to “live” these lifestyles.
So I have been living paleo for a month. How is it going?
Moderate. I have had to spend a lot more time doing meal planning and preparation. Which is not really a bad thing, I think that meal planning and prep is a very useful tool for healthful eating anyhow. But I have two young children, am a full time student, and try and have a tiny bit of a social life in-between the schooling and the people raising. Meal planning is something I did a lot of before starting paleo anyhow… but there were always those options. A really long day, just want to get dinner over with…throw some pasta in a pot and call it a night. In a huge rush in the morning because you slept in and you now need to have breakfast and get out the door? Grab a bagel or some toast or scarf down some oatmeal. These are not healthy eating practices, and I would not suggest people do them on a daily basis. But there is that option. Now, if a meeting runs late and I need to get from point A to point B and there is no option to go home and grab dinner, I can’t just hop in a drive-thru line.
I have combated some of this by always carrying around a big bag of seeds and nuts trailmix in my purse, and keep a paleo friendly Lara bar tucked in, but this is hardly ideal.
The recipes themselves however are quiet easy. I haven’t had any trouble cooking for myself, and have quite enjoyed learning new recipes, some of which will be added to my regular dining repitore. So the difficulty isn’t a matter of food preparation, it is of having enough time.
High, and I am not even purchasing all grain-fed sparkle beef. A considerable amount of my budget is now geared towards groceries, this is not an expense I would be willing to have long term.
When a considerable amount of your diet is coming from meat, you are going to be paying through the nose. Paleo proponents also suggest buying as much as possible organic, free range, grass fed meat. No wonder cavemen hunted, they couldn’t afford the grocery bill!
I think the biggest expense for me has been snacks. I have never minded paying a little more for a dinner meal, and I was already a fruit n’ veggie snacker. However fresh produce can also be pricey, especially if you are buying organic (which I am not, but which is highly recommended on the paleo diet) so I keep things like cheeses, whole grain crackers, low sodium pretzels, ect on hand. These things are inexpensive and filling. With paleo, I am snacking on produce (and more of it since there are no refined carbs on the side), meat (prosciutto, which has become my new best friend) and nuts (pricey!)
Lastly, I am the only one in the family going through with this insanity. If I wanted to feed my entire family paleo we would have to go without heat, phones, or internet…and you can always put on another sweater but you can’t live without internet.
People have been surprisingly accommodating.
The Huz has been over the moon. He has texture aversions due to sensory issues, and does not eat any fruit or vegetables. He is a meat and ..meat kinda guy. With some pop and white pasta thrown in for good measure. I have never been that kind of eater, so while previously we had some cross over with our meals, we generally ate separately. I was also not a vegetarian, but I did not frequently cook meat, though I would eat it if someone prepared it for me, or I was eating out. Now, he suddenly has a partner who is saying “Hey! Lets go find some exotic game meat!” and “Hmm… you know what would taste good with that meat? Some more meat!”
I don’t anticipate him being as thrilled when I switch to veganisim, though I suspect cute vegan girl will be ecstatic.
Speaking of which, cute vegan girl has also been more than accommodating, especially considering she is, you know, vegan. Even going as far as bringing me paleo friendly cookies. What a peach.
As for my other friends, people have been into it. I have gone to potlucks and had people try and find something for me last minute, have gone to a friends house and had them whip something up for me. People have been apologetic that they don’t have anything paleo friendly on hand.
My parents have been more than accommodating. My dad hopped on the food train and got me to pick up elk tenderloin and short ribs and rabbit so we can have paleo friendly dishes at their house, and he has been making sure to prepare foods that I can eat when we go there for family dinners.
I don’t know how much of this however, is due to the fact that this is for a blog project. I find that people are very interested, and want to talk about it. My meal planning becomes a conversation starter. This is not a huge lifestyle change I have chosen to make. I am also not preachy about it. I suspect that I might have a different reception if I suddenly announced that I was switching to a Caveman Lifestyle because this is the way we evolved damnit! Instead of having to cater to someone making a huge lifestyle change, they are participating in my blog project. That makes a difference.
Has not been difficult, but has been boring. I generally can find a salad with chicken, hold the dressing or request just balsamic vinegar. Steak, steamed veggies, hold the potatoes. I have grown to adore tuna tataki, which is a popular appi in Vancouver restaurants, where fusion reigns supreme. Most places are very happy to check that there are no sugars or other paleononos in the dressings.
I have also had two absolutely sublime meals at the now closed Shore Club, and Cin Cin’s on Robson. At Cin Cin’s I ordered the Sakura Farms Pork without the polenta it comes with, and asked them not to use any sugar or contraband oils.
I think it was one of the best meals I have ever had, and I won’t be able to have it again for a loooooong time after paleo ends.
Which is okay, because I couldn’t afford it even if I wanted it!
You know what I want though. Noodles. Mother. Fucking. Noodles. When we order out, we generally get thai or chinese or japanese and I miss it. I could go completely without pasta at home if I could just get some pad thai once and a while.
This is one I am slightly hesitant to talk about, so I had to think about what I wanted to say. The paleo diet claims to cause weight loss, because it is the one true way of eating. It seems unbelievable, because you are eating so many fats and a lot of meat.
Here is the thing. I don’t weigh myself. It leads to all sorts of bad habits for me and I don’t like my thought process when I step on a scale, so we don’t have one any more. I briefly considered getting one for the blog project, so I could have an objective measurement. Decided against it.
So have I lost weight? Yes. I don’t know how much and I don’t care to know how much. But my pants are fighting looser, some of my favourite shirts that I had stopped wearing for a while because they were tight are now back in my regular closet circulation, and I look slimmer.
I have also had many people stop me to say “Ohh….are you loosing weight? What are you doing? You look great!”
So it appears that despite stuffing my face with nut butters and steak, I am shedding some weight.
Let’s not get me started on the “You look great” comments.
How Do You Feel?
Fantastic, though a little frustrated. Mostly because I want some fucking noodles.
I find that I have more energy (though, I historically start feeling a little more upbeat and energetic around spring time when the sun starts reminding us of its presence after half a year of grey) I am also very seldom hungry. In fact, I think the biggest benefit I have gained from going Paleo, is that I have stopped eating when I am not hungry. I have some big issues surrounding food and it’s consumption and how that plays out for me. I am overweight, but it is not due to eating a ton of junk all the time. A combination of a debilitating unhealed injury that makes it very hard to be consistently active, and a love of eating *too much* are the culprits. I eat very healthy foods, I just have shitty portion control. I find it easy to go back for seconds and thirds, even when I am full I feel like I can keep eating.
There is no doing it on the paleo diet for me. There have been several occasions where I have thought “Oh I better finish this off. There isn’t enough to keep for left overs but there is too much in the bowl to just throw it away.” But I can’t eat it. My body sends a very strong “You are full, stop eating” message, and if I try and ignore it I feel ill. I find that very interesting, because for years I have tried to figure out how to just stop eating when you are done, and for whatever reason, that happens to me while eating paleo.
So here is the deal. I have lost weight and I feel great, which is what many people would consider a success.
Here are the two problems.
1. People hear about the paleo lifestyle.
They suspiciously try it out.
They loose weight, they feel good, they convert.
They become fanatical with the zeal of the newly converted and are convinced that this is the one true way to eat, the way that cavemen ate, the way we evolved to eat.
People are not feeling great because they are eating like cavemen. They are feeling great because they have cut out all refined carbs. They have cut out choosing unhealthy snacks, they have cut out sugars, they have cut out additives and preservatives. They no longer go through the drive through once a month when they are late or shovel sugary cereal in their face while running out the door, they eat out less, they have less money to spend on crap food the food in their house is predominently healthy… I could go on and on.
If you cut out refined carbs, stop eating sugar, and up your produce in take?
You are going to loose weight, and you are going to feel good.
It is not because you are eating like a cave man.
Which is fine. People should feel great, and if following the paleo diet makes you feel great, then you should do it. But you should understand that the science behind the paleo diet (specifically paleo, not low carbing or cutting out processed foods or whatever) is dubious at best.
The paleo period lasted *thousands* of years.
It was the pre neolithic period.
In some places in the world, the paleo period lasted way longer than others.
In different places in the world, the paleo diet looked COMPLETELY different.
If you really wanted to get specific, you would also be eating a paleo diet based on your ethnicity, since the diets would be soooo different depending on what group of humans you belonged to and where you were living.
And peanuts. Fucking peanuts.
I still am not over the time that I read “We know that legumes are very healthy for you, but cavemen probably didn’t eat them so no legumes for you.”
If you want it to be about eating well and feeling good, then call it eating well and feeling good, and eat some fucking legumes along with it, because, as no-legume-poster said, they are healthy for you.
But don’t hide it behind pseduscience.
2. This diet is not accessible to a large amount of people.
It is prohibitively expensive.
It is also time consuming.
When you have to work two jobs or be running to pick up your kids or all sorts of things, you do not have the time or the money to follow a very specific lifestyle that does not allow for a granola bar in the car.
I have *huge* problems with the way these lifestyles are pushed, while totally ignoring social issues that go hand in hand with food consumption. I think it is both dangerous and unethical to tell people that the only way to health is through eating this very specific, very expensive, lifestyle.
Not to mention the paleopeople who promote complete raw paleo to cure cancer.
From what I have seen, paleo followers fall into one of three groups.
1. People who are not reallllly all about the lifestyle, but want to loose weight. However atkins and low carbing are way too mainstream, and attract ridicule. But a lifestyle? That sounds way better, especially when it is backed up by “science”. These people can loose weight, shun the mainstream, and feel superior all in one fell swoop. They kind of suspect they are full of shit, but keep it under wraps.
2. People who get excited by things very easily. This diet! Its a lifestyle! Not a diet! And there is science! And I can plan things and do things and make cool recipes and talk about it endlessly on my blog and to my friends! And! Stuff! Also jerky! This is fun and exciting and different, and the bottom line is it makes me feel good, so I don’t really care if the reasons behind it are questionable!
I am very familiar with those types of people because I tend to be one myself.
Ask my husband about my flirtations with bento, knitting, and couch to 5K.
3. People who really truly believe it. If you just eat some fermented counter beef and dig for grubs in your garden, you will live to be 214 and defeat cancer.
Would I do paleo again?
Maybe. I could see myself cutting out sugars and refined carbs and eating more protein. These are all good things for me. But I wouldn’t call it paleo, I would eat legumes, I would have a rum and coke now and then, and I would have some motherfucking noodles.
So it is has been brought to my attention that I have been offensive and did not do a great job at getting my point across.
So I will apologize and clarify.
If you are telling people that they will never get cancer, or that they will live to be over 100 or they will cure their AIDS, or that they will always be healthy no matter what…if you are latching on to psedoscience and claiming that all paleo people ate the way you do, or that they didn’t eat various things because you kind of think you might have read about it, or are making wide sweeping generalizations about what all cave people ate, if you are saying that everyone should eat this way because we have evolved to be this way… I am talking about you.
If you are believe in eating healthy whole foods, lots of produce and protein, if you avoid grains and dairy because they don’t agree with your system, and you find that eating a diet low in processed foods and high in fresh simple ingredients makes you feel great… 1. I was not talking about you and 2. I think that is really awesome and intelligent and you should continue to do so. I just don’t think it is really “paleo” as defined by the modern paleo movement.