pretty much paleo

From the start, I am feeling funny about writing this post. But this shift in my eating has been such a mental health game changer I feel like I have to share. I ate this way last January to April, and swore I never go back to "normal" eating again. But I fell off the wagon on Easter Sunday and never was able to get back on. I wanted to. For a whole eight months...but it seemed overwhelming and I couldn't quite remember what I ate...

So here I am to document what I am eating, why I'm eating it, and to say from the start that the plan in this eating strategy is this: Get back on the Wagon. That's the goal. The success of this eating plan is not based on calories or pounds, but rather getting back on track when I get off track.

This is going to be a doozer of a post, so if you don't care, just move on. You'll be annoyed by the end if you don't. :) You've been warned, and now I'll move on with the back story. Last Christmas, we were driving home from my mom's house where I had played the part of Mary while acting out the nativity. And a we drove home, I was scanning through the pictures on my camera and could not get over the size of my face. I looked so round and poofy. I looked unhealthy. (And white, which is an unfortunate part of winter...we eat, we hibernate and we turn white. It's really a triple whammy.)

That night I grabbed a book off of Rory's nightstand, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. I started skimming it, and I started believing it. Without any sort of fanfare, I started eating paleo the next day. And three days later it was as if a fog lifted. I can't explain it more that that. You just have to try it. Because the same thing happened to me this time around, one year later. Just three days into this eating plan and my energy, clarity of mind and mental well-being are all noticeably improved.

The crazy thing is that I'm eating really fatty foods. Which feels backwards. But last time around I lost a good amount of weight, and this time around the scale is moving in the same direction at a motivating clip.

So I'm going to list out my actual eating menu here. This is mostly for me, to help me get back on the wagon when I fall off. I simply forgot what I ate, how I snacked, even my go-to's for breakfast. This list isn't exhaustive, but it's definitely the core of what I'm eating. And hopefully, if you're interested at all, this will give you a concrete way to start.

You'll notice right away (if you are familiar with Paleo) that I am not super strict with that diet. I think this eating plan falls somewhere between Gluten-free and Paleo. It's more than Gluten-free (I'm not eating any grains except corn) and not quite full-on Paleo (I eat potatoes and even some dairy). Mostly, it includes no grains and no sugars outside of natural foods. (But there are some let's-be-serious foods on there that help me get by from day to dark chocolate and chocolate soy milk. Because, let's be serious.)
So here's my Pretty-Much-Paleo Plan: (all of my eating options)
Over Medium Eggs and Roasted Sweet Potatoes (I eat this 80% of the time)
Hard Boiled Egg whites (good for eating on the go)
Grain-Free Granola
Scrambled eggs and hash browns
Ham, Salami, Bacon, Sausage
Fruit: banana, kiwi, orange, grapes, pear, grapefruit

Apples with Peanut Butter and Raisins
Ants on a Log (my current obsession. I cannot get enough. It's like I'm five.)
Homemade hummus and sweet pea pods
Hard boiled egg
Yellow corn chips and Salsa
Sarah's corn salsa
Canned Fruit (when I'm dying for sugar...)
Ghirardelli dark baking chips
Chocolate Chex cereal
Flourless Chocolate cake at cupcake shop (for special occasions!)

Green Leaf Lettuce or Spinach Salad with Broccoli Slaw and nuts and dressing
Tuna Salad on lettuce
Chicken Salad on lettuce
BBQ meatballs
Soul Sisterhood Chicken
Turkey Kielbasa and Peppers and Onions
Skin-on hot dog with mustard and giardiniera
Pork Chops
Bok Choy Salad- no ramen

I can usually eat what my family is eating in some modified way. Instead of spaghetti, I'll stuff a pepper with the sauce and meat.
A few things to note:
-Last time around I ate no dairy. But this time around I crave milk, so I'm going with it. I'll have dairy in moderation.
-I'm taking a multivitamin, vitamin c and vitamin d everyday.
-I will have some rice, but not even a serving. I also am fine eating potatoes. Mostly sweet potatoes.
-I have found a tea that I drink all. day. long. I'm off of caffeine and sleeping like a baby.

And I try to always have:
-a dozen hard boiled eggs
-grain-free granola in the fridge (for when I want chocolate, something munchy, or "cereal"
-roasted sweet potatoes, already roasted and in the fridge. Makes for fast breakfast prep.
-homemade hummus
-homemade mayonnaise (seriously, I'm losing weight...)
-Sarah's corn salsa

Again, all this is probably overkill. But I hope it's helpful to someone. The greatest part is that once you are off of carbs and sugar, you stop craving carbs and sugar. It can be a tricky three days to get there, but I do not crave those things anymore. That said, if I do have bread or a bar, it is like starting over from day one. My body wants more of that goodness, and it is a fight to get back to this place of non-craving. Which means it actually is not worth it to have a cheat-day, or to indulge just one time. I don't mean that to be legalistic, but it really means there is a three day battle to get back to my happy self.

I got the book Grain Brain from the library last weekend, and it's worth a skim. It's a more technical read for all that I am feeling. I personally didn't need to know so much science behind this eating plan. The proof in my mood, my energy, my outlook, my clarity, my productivity is enough for me. I know there are probably critics to this sort of eating, but when you find something that makes you feel so much better, it's going to be hard to convince me that caramel rolls, biscuits, scones, crackers, muffins, donuts, cereal, cake, bread, buns and bars are actually things I should add back in to my diet.

If you do give this a shot, let me know what you think. I'd be curious to know. :)


Jennifer Prod said...

i'm always interested in what people eat and why- to me, it's a balance thing, and i'm always trying to find what makes me feel most 'me' -- usually that means lots of sweets and vegetables interspersed throughout the day :) i guess i need my sugar and my greens? like i said, balance:)

Unknown said...

Great Job Becca! Keep posting those meal pictures! I love that. My sister and I did that for 28 days...and it was such an encouragement when one of us didn't know what to make for dinner, the other would text a pic of what we're cooking! Sure helped me focus on healthy choices. Thanks for helping me focus too!

Brenton Balvin said...

Becca, way to go girl!! I totally agree with your post. I continue to experience the truth that eating the stuff God make for our bodies to eat and use feels SOOOOO good! I'd love to borrow the Robb Wolf book, although I have a rather lengthy list of books I'm already working on. There is a great podcast our there called Fat Burning Man. The host interviews many of the people and books you mention in your post. I love it and listen to it on the way in to work. I think you'd really enjoy it.

Brittany Paino said...

Love this. I cut dairy for two weeks. And I found it naturally eliminated most unhealthy recipes and treats. Prior to that, I always craved chocolate after every meal. That was the hardest part to cut at first, but the craving was gone near the end of my two weeks. I would love to incorporate some of the recipes you find delicious. Keep posting them.