Days like today remind me why Paleo is an important part of my life. Three words: Puerto Rican Barbecue. I nearly had to be rolled home, I haven't eaten so much rice and beans probably ever. I feel like I might die, it's really a rather unpleasant situation.After about 3-4 weeks dairy free, post survival of the most awful detox of my life (seriously, I was bloated, moody and achy all over for over a week, even though I was past "craving" dairy products), I decided it was best to cut the rest of the crap from my diet. If my body responded this hard to withdrawal of something as simple as cheese, what were things like high fructose corn syrup doing to me? I'd already had to eliminate a good portion of processed food from my diet thanks to the trace amounts of milk in just about everything, so this felt like a logical next step to defeat all my cravings once and for all! (Cue maniacal laughter)
I put myself through another 3 weeks of suffering on a full carb detox: no grains, starches or sugars, even from fruit. I lived on meat, fat and veggies. In the process, I learned just how MUCH you can do with such a seemingly simple repertoire. I truly discovered Paleo in this time. I have a friend who's Paleo and tried to explain it a bit to me, but I just never quite "got" it. It seemed like the thing a body builder or serious athlete would need to do, but just crazy and unnecessary for us normal people... right?
But, it feels so good and there's just so much to do! I started to like cooking and experimenting and finding healthier versions of my favorite comfort foods... some of them are BETTER now.
If you want the science behind things, there are (insert extremely large number) of those blogs and websites out there. I'm just gonna tell you what I think tastes good and works good for me.
Now, the reason I am "sorta" Paleo is because I just don't quite feel as hardcore about the methodology as some. I'm gonna have a hot dog on a bun every once in a while. Why? Because it's delicious, that's why. Don't judge me. But, that's not where I was going. Let's talk legumes. Legumes are things like beans, peanuts and lentils. Not only are they very high carb in addition to the protein and fat, but according to the Paleo belief, they are very high in toxins that are no good for the body. Green beans are given a pass because they are more like a vegetable and have plenty of benefits. That being said: beans are freaking delicious. Sure, I could stop eating them, but why? I'm not too worried about this type of toxin in small amounts (and it will be small amounts since I am remaining lower carb for as long as possible) and homemade refried beans just go so freaking well on my Paleo shredded chicken tacos (more on that, I promise).
Paleo (or sorta) has been a very good experience for me. I eat more natural, wholesome foods, need less food to feel satiated, am finding my body composition to be changing in a way I love and am finding more energy to be functional, social and active. I've also lost about 12 lbs and 4% body fat in the last two months.
Today was a delicious, but painful reminder of how much better I feel grain-free. I feel over full, bloated and already know that I am going to be suffering terrible carb cravings for the next 3 or 4 days. The simple barbecue chicken and roasted veggies I had for dinner last night did not do such terrible things to my belly and it was just about as delicious.
It's all about the choice. I don't believe in the mantra "eat to live, don't live to eat", because I am a total foodie and fully endorse eating and enjoying everything you can. But I have learned, I don't need to eat the 4 plates of rice (though today I forgot...) as a few bites are just as delicious and don't leave me feeling awful. I don't need that sugary, high fructose corn syrup loaded, store bought cookie because I can go home and MAKE some that are far more delicious and even someone wholesome. Whether you think it or not, you have control over what you put into your body and you don't have to deprive yourself of a single damn thing. You just adapt and find a better fit.
Though... I'm still working to find the perfect adaptation for mac and cheese, I'll get it, I swear.