Today I celebrate being one month paleo! This past month following a strict (kindof) paleo diet has actually been surprisingly great.
A game changer for me on the paleo diet: Paleo Almond Butter Cookies. And yes, the batter only makes 8 cookies. Because life is hard.
I have experienced a lot of positive changes this past month with my eating habits:
- After being a lifelong devotee of cereal, and repeatedly uttering the phrase “I could never eat eggs in the morning, it would make me sick” … I started eating eggs for breakfast every morning! And guess what? I love it! It has incentivized me getting my butt out of bed in the morning, as my lovely husband cooks for us while I lay zombie-like in our bed (I’m not a morning person), until he walks into the room and says “It’s time.” To him, this means, “it’s time to get up, seriously, you just snoozed for 20 minutes.” To me it means “your eggs will be cold in 30 seconds if you don’t get up and we all know there is no way you’re eating cold eggs.”
- I finally broke my processed granola bar addiction! I still eat a Lara bar everyday (sometimes twice a day) but, baby steps.
- I eat out a lot less and have saved a lot of money (that I spend on fancy groceries instead, but whatever).
- After six years in the work world, I have hit my lunch packing stride. No longer am I cobbling together a random apple and cheese stick and greek yogurt for lunch (ie. whatever I could find in my refrigerator 2 minutes before walking out the door) or just flat out forgetting to pack a lunch and having to run over and grab something to go from a fast food place. I make my lunch the night before, haven’t forgotten it once, and am enjoying not feeling hungry throughout the day!
- I have cooked some absolutely amazing meals out of Danielle Walker’s ‘Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple’ and that is saying something, because I am not an amazing cook. I have also expanded my cooking abilities – this month I made pork tenderloin for the first time, as well as spaghetti squash.
- I was introduced to ghee, which is butter with the milk solids taken out. It tastes like all the good things all at once.
- Because paleo is a niche diet with an active community, it’s been so much easier to find healthy paleo recipes than it is to find just healthy recipes. People who have this paleo cooking thing down are whizzes with spices and sauces and making plain food come to life. A lot of healthy food recipes I have tried taste like watered down good food. I once make a ‘healthy’ chicken fettucine alfredo that tasted exactly like the lean cuisine chicken fettucine alfredo. Which is fine, but if I am going to labor over a dish for an hour, I would rather it not taste like something I popped in the microwave three minutes before.
- I have been so much more intentional about what I eat, and when I’m going to eat it. I’ve had to meal plan. There is no other option. Food seems like both less of a big deal because I am not obsessing about it now that I know I am putting good food in my body, and more a big deal, because I see exactly how what I eat effects how I feel… and I want to feel good all the time!
With all that being said, I have found the paleo diet to be pretty restricting- of course I miss sugar and alcohol, but those should be restricted. I had more of an issue cutting out quinoa and brown rice and a lot of other healthy foods, without a really good reason (because to be honest, I think the ‘our collective digestive tracts haven’t evolved to accomodate modern foods is baloney. I think the bigger issue is the hormones, additives, and pesticides in the food we buy). So, I’m not sure I am done with the paleo diet forever, but I would like to expand the foods I can eat, especially since I am doing paleo for detox/health reasons and not for digestive/gut reasons. Through my search to find paleo recipes, I have been so amused by the recipes labeled ‘paleo’ that include yogurt and skim milk and brown sugar with the qualifier “if your paleo includes dairy” or “if your paleo includes sugar…”
Guys. If your paleo includes dairy, it’s not paleo. If your paleo includes refined sugar, it’s not paleo. Fess up! I think I do understand what they mean though- since a lot of people eat a paleo diet to combat digestive issues, and some people find that they can tolerate dairy, they add it back into their diet. I get it, I get it. But it’s not paleo.
Anyway, following suit, my paleo now includes wine, popcorn, whole grains, some dairy, legumes, and a whole lot of hummus, ie. it’s the mediterranean diet.
I learned about the mediterranean diet during a health and wellness seminar I attended in early January. The seminar was given by the doctor who wrote ‘Should I Fire My Doctor? Eleven Essential Elements to Living Well Aware.’ She talked about diet quite a bit, and recommended against going on any strict diets because they weren’t sustainable- she recommended the mediterranean diet because it emphasizes eating good, whole, organic foods, with lean meats, whole grains, and very little processed food or sugar. The mediterranean diet also emphasizes making eating a social activity, with the aim to eat as many meals as possible with other people. This puts food in its proper place- as a form of nourishment, both physical and emotional, to be enjoyed but not idolized.
If you want to learn more about the mediterranean diet, this is a great blog post I found about the lifestyle that goes with it:
In other news, I’ll be pouring myself a glass of red wine the minute I get home.