So, this is what happens when I attempt to do paleo for a couple weeks. I suck with willpower. I can go about a week without any cheats, but when I do take even the smallest step off the no sugar wagon, I fall head first into Ben and Jerry’s. Or wine. Or a basket of tortilla chips with queso. Or attacking a birthday cake at a party.
And the funny thing is, the next day I feel so miserable, I swear it will never happen again. Come to find out, changing behaviors is hard. And sticking with this diet is great. More energy, clearer skin, skinny pants. It really does work when you can tell yourself no.
D and I are going paleo. This is the first week, and I would lick this computer screen if I thought it would give me the tiniest hit of sugar. Or a bump of booze. Or just a tiny crunch of foods I’ve never even craved before — like salt and vinegar potato chips.
So, yeah. It’s going swimmingly. We are both sleeping and feeling better already, but boy, am I in a mood. And oh! Is there anything more self-indulgent and douchey than writing about what you aren’t letting yourself eat, while perched in the land of plenty? No. No, my dear, there is not. As such, how about a few tips and recipes for those also going the way of the cave folk:
The first week is expensive. You’ve got a lot of weird purchases to manage that will only be occasional, like coconut oil, aminos, etc. Suck it up and buy the best quality you can muster. It will make the first bit a lot easier if your food tastes great. And it should. There is no reason why great meat and vegetables shouldn’t make your mouth water.
If you are looking for a creative paleo cookbook, I’m a fan of this one. We are eating a lot of meals from Melissa’s book during the next two weeks. Also, get a large cup that you like to drink out of and take it with you everywhere. It may be a Nalgene, or a glass goblet if that suits your fancy. The point is: it is a lot easier to get through sugar cravings and faux happy hour when you have had plenty of water. The headaches will suck less. Naps are a plus too, if you can sneak them in.
First paleo recipe I’m willing to share: Cupcake Eggs. Either use coconut oil or spray to cover the cups before inserting several pieces of nitrate-free sliced deli meat, forming a cup. I used 8 eggs, whipped, and distributed them over the cups evenly. Then I added a hefty spoonful of salsa to each and topped them with scallions and a dash of pepper. In the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. They are delicious, and hit the spot after a hard run first thing in the morning — you don’t even miss the cheese. Or the delicious tortilla in which this could be wrapped. Or the refried beans.
Next week will be easier. Off to find more water and that nap.
My friend Juliann and I are currently rocking the Whole 30 challenge: 30 days of nothing but strict paleo eating.* It’s a way to reset your diet if you’ve been doing paleo, but have found yourself having far too many cheat days/exceptions.
My goal is to continue with this way of eating, keeping the 80/20 rule in mind. And, it’s working. I feel great. I started this challenge in addition to finishing the UltraMind Solution, which Finny recommends. I’ve watched her migraines disappear thanks to Hyman’s formula for adding a few specific supplements and vitamins to a much healthier way of eating. While it is far too early for me to make sweeping statements about what my new routine is providing, I will say the combination of drinking less alcohol, being mindful of what I’m eating, taking a supplement and vitamin routine, and getting a daily dose of exercise has me feeling good.
In fact, the way I know I’m feeling good is a result of those cheats. When I do fall head over heels into a bucket of margaritas and guacamole? I come out the next day achy, cranky and with a sick stomach. And the ever-annoying feeling of guilt.
Better sleep, clearer skin, stronger nails (as in, I actually have nails for the first time in my life), and a rosier outlook — they may all be placebo, but I welcome them happily. I’m fascinated to see what the result of our 30 days will be, and how we’ll move forward.
And having this little one as my hiking, walking and running buddy isn’t hurting either.
Yeah. 100% madly in love.
If you are interested in paleo, I highly recommend Karen’s blog for recipes, insight and humor.
*By “strict” I mean allowing myself a bit of wiggle room on the weekends when being social.
Sheila treated me to a homemade meal this week that was too colorful and delicious not to photograph:
Salmon, poached with dill and lemon; roasted acorn squash; plantains with cinnamon
This paleo/primal way of eating is tricky. Whole milk in my morning coffee, grilling sausage for dinner, eating cheese or greek yogurt when I want an afternoon snack? All fantastic. I am satisfied eating much less, with much more fat in my diet. My skin is clearer. My cravings are changing. I’m enjoying eating foods I’d previously banned on some ridiculous fatty prohibited list.
If I never eat a no/low-fat cookie, yogurt, ice cream sandwich again — it will be too soon. Bring on the fat. Hold the sugar.
That said — this way of eating is not convenient. Just like any significant behavior change, it takes a commitment and preparation. Working from home, I spend a lot of time now in coffee shops with wifi. Empty carbs are cheap and prolific. I can’t just have a bagel for breakfast. If there aren’t eggs on the menu, I’m either going hungry, or I’d better hope I remembered to grab something before I left the house. A wrap for lunch won’t work. Pizza for dinner isn’t happening.
Yet the benefits are worthwhile. When I move into my own little homestead (with wifi and a coffee pot) that produces vegetables and eggs from the yard? Well. It will make this all that much more convenient.
Who knew eating like a knuckle dragger would be so satisfying?