“Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction” John Cage
How I was introduced to the paleo diet: I had heard mention of someone starting this lifestyle change at my crossfit gym and was curious. As much as I have grown up loving dairy, I have always known that I shouldn’t be eating it- but I’ve often wondered what else may contribute to mood changes or energy spikes and lows. The more I became informed about the “caveman diet”, the more eager I was to actually try this way of eating for a little while. I came home to Minnesota in May and my mom told me she would be my subject: eating and exercising whatever and whenever I told her to as a way for her to lose weight.
I spent a while researching this paleo business and made lists of what was acceptable to eat and drew up a big picture of why cutting out preservatives and certain foods may be beneficial. I made every meal we consumed for the next week, usually typing the word “paleo” and whatever dish I wanted to make into the Google search bar and creating my own recipes from this. Week one was a bit of a challenge because it was habit for both my mom and I to eat grains for breakfast, and usually a bread of some sort with dinner, and of course, desert. I made sure to include some sweet paleo desert each night so we had a little treat to look forward to. Mom found that she was tired the first few days, which is totally normal because her body was ridding itself of all of the built up toxins and telling itself to use stored fat for energy instead of looking for the grains and sugar she had been feeding it.
Week two was more of an experiment with restaurants, finding things that were okay to eat and learning how to alter my order with the waiter. It was easy to find a basic meat with a side of steamed veggies or some fruit. I found that I wasn’t tempted by sweets, dairy, or missing grains AT ALL. Each time I explain the meal plan to anyone, I redefine why I am on this diet and become more of a believer. My energy levels have stayed constant throughout the day and as my mom says, we will sure save a lot of money on toilet paper, everything that goes in comes right out!
Shopping tips: find nitrate-free meat at a health food store, mom and I learned along the way that most stores are sent their deli meat in a large clear goop filled with chemicals so it lasts longer. I found canned coconut milk in the ethnic section of grocery stores, and Costco was good for bulk things like olive oil, 100% honey, dates, fruit/veggies, frozen free range preservative free chicken, and nuts.
I also took mom off diet pop, which was something she has had every morning for years and really enjoys. We are experimenting with different teas and doing some juicing. What started as a two week cleanse/ challenge has turned into a complete diet change and outlook on what I put into my body. If I am asking my body to stay young and handle all of the activities I throw at it, it is up to me to fuel myself with foods that are designed for it. As I continue to experiment with the cave-person diet, I will post more observations AND share my favorite recipes and tips for eating while traveling!
“As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists” Joan Gussow