What is Paleo?
I had never heard of Paleo before 2012. I didn’t know there was such a word, much less a lifestyle. The last ten years I have tried every “diet” you can name. I did the juice cleanse, with the water and lemon and Cheyenne pepper. I don’t know how my husband lived through those days. And it literally was just days because there is no way I could pull that off for weeks on end. You can’t chase after toddlers with no protein for energy. What was I thinking?
I bought into what Dr. Phil was selling for a while. Then it was Jillian Michaels. Both of their books have been easy to unload at yard sales, I will admit. I tried Adkins but it was too strict. I tried Weight Watchers online but the particulars didn’t work for this gal.
I went vegetarian for a while but let’s face it, I’m married to a firefighter who likes to eat meat. He eats more meat than veggies. After preparing meat and not eating it I was a lost cause to being a vegetarian. And honestly, I wasn’t getting enough protein and I felt like crap.
Then I learned about www.whole9life.com and their companion plan The Whole 30. I found their Facebook pages and began reading, researching and considering plunging my family into a Whole30. I bought the book “It Starts With Food” and had to read it twice. Why? Because some of the content goes against everything I was raised to believe about food.
Here’s an infographic that explains Paleo very well. (Click on it to see full size)
When I presented the idea of the Whole 30 to my family, I hit a roadblock, however. My Firefighter was not on board with some of the Whole30 requirements. So I decided to do it alone. Yes, it meant refining the meal planning and basically prepping two meals but I was able to sneak the Whole30 in on them without too much flack. If a meal called for cheese, I didn’t have any on my portion and their portion saw a decreased amount of cheese. If there was bread involved, I just declined. I stayed away from pasta when they wanted spaghetti and instead had spaghetti squash. My oldest daughter now loves spaghetti squash after having tried it. The girls love kale chips for a snack after school, too.
I lost 10 pounds that month and my Firefighter was impressed. I slept better. My mood was more stable. I skin was bright. My hair and nails grew like crazy. We began working out together more and more at the YMCA, even taking the kids since our facility caters more to families working out together.
It’s nice to be able to get the kids off to school and go to the Y to workout together. We are able to do this about three days a week with his 24/48 schedule. I will go by myself when I have to or if the weather is really nice, I’ll spend an hour walking around the neighborhood and enjoying the fresh air.
What about the cost?
I used to be an active couponer. With four kids under one roof we had to find ways to save money anywhere and groceries are no exception. The thing is, after researching Paleo and whole foods more and more I also learned about genetically modified foods. I didn’t realize how many of the items we were stocking our pantry with (using coupons) weren’t ever really considered “food”. Almost everything you can purchase that comes in a box is not real food. My kids were shocked to learn their favorite breakfast cereals were genetically modified. My family and I watched a documentary titled “Fat Head” that explains very well how and why our food came to be “modified”. If you decide to watch the movie (we watched it on Netflix), be forewarned it might make you mad. I say this because that is how I felt when I finished watching it. The fact that our government allows its citizens to eat food that is not really food is appalling to me. In order to save money on really good food you have to dig a little deeper and request coupons from the companies themselves. Facebook, Twitter and their own websites become your main source of couponing then, rather than the Sunday paper. We found a great source (through another firefighter) for grass fed pork and beef. Yes, there is an up front cost but our freezer is stocked for six months. When the farmers markets open in the warm seasons we take our kids with us to purchase the locally grown veggies we need for the week. We know they came from our area. We know they are fresh. We know the name of the person who grew and harvested them. Can you say that about the produce section of your grocery store?
One can also argue that eating the right food will carry you through those seasons where illness strikes, like Winter. I can tell you that our family, even with kids in school, have not been sick this year. I define “sick” as needing a prescription. Do they get sniffles and allergy coughs, yes. Have they missed school due to illness this Fall, no. I credit this to eating whole foods as well.
Where do you start?
These are some of my favorite go-to Paleo based books. The five on the bottom were Christmas gifts. I could have downloaded them to my iPad digitally but for cookbooks I prefer something I can hold and lean back on the recipe stand in my kitchen. I also have about ten different Paleo based books on my iPad.
There are many Paleo Facebook pages and groups out there to Like and Join. Pinterest has a never-ending supply of recipes and tips.
I love my Nom Nom Paleo app for my iPad and the step-by-step photography is second to none.
Take some time each Sunday to plan your meals for the week, including breakfast. Use a calendar with your family’s commitments and decide if you will be able to cook each night. If not, maybe planning a couple of nights of crock pot meals is in order. I know when school starts in the Fall and my girls get busy with school sports I spend a lot of Sundays freezer cooking. Freezer cooking allows you to prepare several meals at once and freeze them individually. Each morning you take one out of the freezer and place it in the crock pot. Pinterest is a great resource for freezer cooking too.
For my family, it’s unrealistic to expect we will be able to eat Paleo 100% of the time. There are too many social events where we don’t control the food for that to happen. If you follow any lifestyle close enough your body will start to respond in ways you will recognize when you stray from your new habits. For me, I know if I eat more than two slices pizza I am going to have a headache the next day. I know this is how my body is going to respond to the pizza dough. I have to decide how bad I want that pizza, and can I be satisfied with two slices or less.
I encourage you to try Paleo and learn how your body responds to different choices. It may change your life like it did mine.
Your Actions for the Day:
Try to go all day eating only meat and vegetables and fruits. Like a caveman!
Paleo is very popular in the CrossFit community. Why don’t you try today’s CrossFit “WOD” Workout of the Day?
Do 3 rounds as fast as you can:
1. Run 200 m (run/walk)
2. 12 kettlebell/dumbbell swings, 5-10# (don’t have a kettlebell or dumbbell? Use a jug of water. Click here for Kettle Bell swing video.)
3. 6 pull ups (assisted, or beginner pull ups) We don’t all have access to a pull up bar so trade these out for push ups if you’d lock. On your knees is fine. We’ve all got to start somewhere!)
Post your favorite tasty “Paleo worthy” meal. Think about it. Grilled skinless chicken breasts with grilled onions and peppers. Yum! There’s one.
For some more reading
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