Today is Team Alzen’s first Paleo anniversary. We began our journey into paleo exactly one year ago today. In honor of that, I’ve decided to start a mini blog series on reasons why people (myself included at first) think this just won’t work for them. This is in part informative, in part reflective, and in part encouraging to myself. I’m not trying to judge or force anyone into anything, so if you’re not interested feel free to move on. These are things I want to process before the end of the year. Husband and I will be doing another strict 30 days of STRICT paleo in January. More information will follow about that as we get closer. I’m excited about being strict again, but also a little apprehensive as we’ve allowed “cheat” meals for months now. Going over and above on strictness will be a bit of a challenge, and I want to prepare mentally. For now, let’s just take a brief look at one typical gut reaction when contemplating this lifestyle.
When I first heard about Paleo from a friend of mine at work, I pretty much dismissed it as something I could not do. No grains, legumes, and dairy meant no rice. I said “I’m Asian. I can’t avoid rice!” There were a host of other things I stated I “couldn’t” go without: cheese, ice cream, and bread to name a few. Then husband and I really talked about it. We both decided that if there were things we truly “couldn’t” go without, we may be addicted to them. To be super spiritual, we might even have some idols. We decided if nothing else, we could fast from these things for 30 days. When that time was up, we’d decide what to add back in, but 30 days without some of our “favorite” foods was not going to kill us. After doing extensive research to make sure we didn’t think this whole experiment was totally unhealthy for us, we decided to jump in with two feet. I’ll be completely honest. For about the first two weeks, I missed me some bread, potatoes, cheese, and rice. However, once those initial cravings were gone, it was totally fine. I don’t miss gluten and don’t care that I’ll likely never eat another piece of pasta or bread. For those rare times I do get a hankering, there are gluten-free alternatives that are fun and tasty. We’d done other “diets” in the past, and I constantly felt deprived. The great thing with this is that I ate whatever nearly Paleo foods I wanted, whenever I wanted them, in whatever amount I needed to feel full. There was no longing for more food because I’d used up my calories for the day. That was really quite freeing to me. I was a little worried about avoiding some foods, but my concerns were soon dissolved.
I know one thing I worried about right away was the whole fiber thing. We’ve got to keep things regular and all. I had completely bought into the lie that we’re fed from the media that I needed all those whole grains to keep things moving smoothly. Let’s take a look at this comparison I stole from the Whole 30 Grain Manifesto, one interpretation of why people who eat this way choose to avoid grains.
So I could eat that whole grain bread with dinner, or I could switch it out for some broccoli. The fiber is comparable and there are far more other nutrients per calorie in the broccoli. Paleo is simply getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to eating. I get more nutrients from my current food choices than my previous ones. You can eat like this. It’s not that hard. Here’s a sample day:
Breakfast: Quiche comprised of eggs, coconut milk, some meat, and various vegetables topped with some avocado
Lunch: Mixed salad topped with some source of protein like chicken, bacon, and or fish
Dinner: Steak and broccoli
If you’re a snacker, throw in some cherry tomatoes, berries, nuts, or carrot sticks throughout the day.
See? Easy. All things you’ve probably eaten. I guarantee, you can eat like that. Also, something interesting that’s happened to both husband and I is that our tastes have changed. We like things we didn’t like before and no longer like things we enjoyed before. I can honestly taste chemicals in many of the things I used to love, and I can’t handle anywhere near the same level of sugar that I could previously. A glass of orange juice pretty much makes me feel sick. My old Starbucks favorites are all sickeningly sweet and wrought with chemically tastes to me. I’d much prefer a black Americano to a hazelnut latte now.
Something to think about: Why do you think you can’t go without certain foods? Does it bother you at all that you think you “can’t” go without something? It might not, but it did us. Think about it. More to come.