A few of you have asked me if I'm still eating Paleo, and the answer is...yes, mostly. I am rounding out two months of eating strictly Paleo with the exception of my weekly cheat meal. POPCORN! Every Friday or Saturday night I make a bowl of popcorn big enough for three people and enjoy every sea salty, air-popped bite. Mmmmm.
What have I learned from going Paleo?
- Our bodies need fat to burn fat.
I'm ashamed to admit that for a hot second I fell prey to the "fat free" epidemic that is circling America as a whole. I used to avoid nuts and other high-calorie fats like avocados and oils. The Paleo diet doesn't allow you to avoid fats, in fact, it encourages you to eat a large majority of your intake from healthy fat sources.
Go to the supermarket and you are bombarded with the less-fat-is-better mentality. But look at our society - we're the heaviest we've ever been. The obesity epidemic has been rising in correlation with this "fat free" marketing scheme. Avoiding fat as an ingredient seems to be making us fat. And it makes sense! That fat doesn't just disappear, but rather, manufacturers are pumping food products full of garbage (starch, sodium, sugar) in order to replace the flavor for fewer fat calories. Next time you're at the grocery store, check out the labels on the regular peanut butter and the reduced-fat peanut butter. The reduced fat PB has more sugar. Every time. In summary, eat fat, don't be fat. :)
- Cooking healthy food doesn't have to be a long, arduous process.
Because Paleo is all about whole, raw foods, cooking doesn't take forever because there aren't a million ingredients to throw into your meal! I love it. I've never spent more than 45 minutes on a single dish and yet everything has been delicious. In fact, lunch today took me 25 minutes to make and I have leftovers. BAM.
- Our bodies adapt to the demands we place on it.
For those of you who have followed my journey from the beginning of the new year, you remember be grumbling about being ravenous at the start of my journey. I stopped feeling hungry after about 3 weeks into the Paleo plan. My body made the 'switch' from burning carbohydrates to fat for fuel and has since left me feeling energetic and satiated. For some of you the switch to Paleo might be more challenging, especially if you're coming from a gluten and dairy-centric diet.
My weight has stayed exactly the same HOWEVER my body fat has dropped 1% in less than two months. I'm able to push harder and run faster in almost all of my workouts and I feel leaner. My body feels healthy and happy as I've been avoiding all processed ingredients, wheat, dairy and soy products.
Would I recommend it? Hm. That depends. I wouldn't recommend it as a weight loss plan. Sure, you will probably lose weight by switching to whole foods and avoiding junk, but you don't have to go Paleo in order to do that. It's not just a diet. It's very much a lifestyle, a commitment. I would recommend it to someone who has wheat, dairy or soy allergies. I would recommend it to an athlete who wants to better fuel their performance.
Maybe try it for awhile and see how your body responds. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for all. But I will say, if you're going to try it, be committed to trying it for at least a month so your body can adjust. Lent isssss coming up…do you dare to go Paleo?
Eat well. Live well. Be well.