Yes. A long time. I’d say I’ve been circling around it for about a year and a half now. I’ve spent less time considering far more drastic life changes, so I figured it’s time to go ahead and dive in. The interesting thing is…rather than feeling uncertain and trepidatious about the change, I’m feeling pretty excited. I have no sense of sadness attached to the foods I’m going to eliminate. Honestly, based on the experience I have already had greatly reducing them from my diet, I’m kind of excited! I am so excited about what lies ahead that I came to the conclusion I should blog it. Who would be interested in reading this? I have no idea. It’s going to be my story about how my diet changes my life—whether it turns out to be good or bad. I’m pretty optimistic though, based on what I’ve already been through.
So how did I get here? Well, I think it’s important to note that I’m not exactly going cold turkey from my former eating habits. But it’s also of note that I have very specific health reasons for doing this. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. Seriously. My. Whole. Life. Even as a child I was overweight and always felt it plagued me. I tried to be healthy, and I was very active and fit in high school, but still I was overweight. My lowest point came when I gained 50 lbs. over the course of three years that I spent in a pretty terrible relationship. When that ended I didn’t like who I had become, and I wanted to change it. I knew part of that process included going from 250 lbs to 170 lbs—an ideal weight for my frame.
I didn’t know how to do that.
Things I’d tried in the past were not helping me lose weight. Things that scientifically should result in weight loss, weren’t working. Clearly there was something wrong with my body. After a year of trying on my own, I joined a gym and a weight loss class because I knew I needed expertise I didn’t have. I walked in at a whopping 231 pounds. Shortly afterward I discovered that I had stage II hypertension. When my doctor ordered an echocardiogram for me at age 30 I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I began to take my lifestyle very seriously.
I was learning a lot about nutrition from my trainer and really from all the trainers at my gym. My doctor was also giving me the same run-down. I needed to eat more protein. A lot more protein. And I needed to drastically reduce my intake of starches (not carbohydrates, but starches) and dairy. As I began to do that and I was learning about the smartest ways to exercise, I began to see drastic changes in my body. My lowest weight was 208 but even as I increased my activity, I had plateaued and I wasn’t budging. In the meantime my diet was slowly becoming more starch heavy. Now I’m sure I’ve gained back almost 10 lbs. But I don’t really want to get on the scale to see.
Throughout all of this I was hearing a lot about the Paleolithic diet from my newfound CrossFit friends. (CrossFit is a great workout BTW. If you haven’t tried it…you should! Talk about primal!) My interest in Paleo grew and grew. The more I read about it, the more it made sense, and the more I wanted to throw away the last of my strongholds. Generally, for the past year I have been practically free of grains and dairy with the following exceptions: Greek yoghurt, occasional cheese, half and half in my coffee, occasional ice cream, Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas, oatmeal, Ezekiel English muffins, buckwheat waffles, and occasional cheats of pasta, bread/rolls, cakes/cookies. I could easily say that most of the time (until the most recent holiday season ;) ) I was eating grains and dairy only once or twice a day and always very small portions. So…I’m not making a terribly drastic change to let go of the rest. And honestly, even with that change I noticed a lot of improvements in my health. I never had any stomach issues anymore. I no longer experienced the depression I’ve struggled with my whole life. The endometriosis I have suffered from since puberty no longer plagues me. My dentist has noticed a difference in my teeth. My blood pressure is lower.
At the beginning of November I got really busy and my priorities shifted and I went back to my old, typical American diet. In the past couple months I have a nearly constant stomachache. I have had a couple of bouts of depression. My teeth have deteriorated again. And my blood pressure is back up. This is when I began to feel like I was ready to go for Paleo all the way. I purchased Loren Cordain’s book right before Christmas and have been reading it to understand what I’m doing and why before I begin. This week I have been mostly Paleo with the exception of one Italian meal and all the oatmeal, cheese, Greek Yoghurt, and black bean soup I’m trying to finish. So far, in only four days I already feel happier and my stomach no longer hurts. This only makes me more excited to jump in.
My favorite for the week? Paleo cereal! I mean, can you say Ahhh-mazing?! For real. Throw any combination of nuts and berries and seeds in a bowl with some almond milk and you won’t even want to eat any type of grain cereal again. Truthfully, the best thing about my plain oatmeal was the nuts and fruit and almond milk I put in there anyway. My choice? A handful of walnuts, a handful of trail mix (dried cranberries, dried blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds), and some fresh raspberries. I think I’m going to have another bowl after dinner. And what’s for dinner? A salad of red cabbage, arugula, frisee, red chard, radicchio, celery, grape tomatoes, and grilled pork loin with an olive oil vinaigrette. Yum. Is it time to eat yet?
If you’ve managed to make your way through this long introduction, thank you! And not to worry. This will be the longest post in here. I hope the journey will inspire you, at the very least, to try some of the recipes I’ll be posting. I promise they will be delicious.