I’m back for my second post! This time to talk about my experience with the paleo “diet.” The reason why I’m typically hesitant to call it a diet is because it’s not a short-term weight loss gimmick that can’t be sustained; it’s a lifestyle.
I got my hands on a copy of It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig towards the beginning of December. I first found out about this book through Instagram and after seeing that it got rave reviews on Amazon.com, I was very curious about what they had to say. This book provides substantial information about nutrition and outlines a 30-day “reset” program, based on the paleo diet, called the Whole30. Some of the chapters were more science-y than I expected, but it really allows you to gain a better understanding of how and why certain foods can affect your body.
To be honest, when I got to the chapter detailing the foods that are off-limits for the duration of the program, I was pretty shocked.
- No grains (bread, pasta, rice, barley, oats, quinoa, etc.)
- No dairy (with the exception of clarified butter or ghee)
- No legumes (all beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts and all forms of soy)
- No real or artificial sugar (maple syrup, honey, stevia, etc.)
- No white potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok)
- No alcohol (even when used in cooking)
- Limit consumption of vegetable and seed oils (canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, etc.)
I initially thought, “There’s NO WAY I’m going to be able to do this for 30 days. What am I supposed to eat?” But after reading the book in its entirety, I was completely onboard and excited to try something new and challenging.
It’s been 6 months since I completed my first Whole30 and I know that I will never go back to my old eating habits. From zoodles, homemade mayonnaise, sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil to summer squash pancakes, the paleo way of eating has made me love and appreciate delicious food even more than before. Eating real, wholesome food really changed both my physical and mental health for the better; more energy, clearer skin, strength gains and best of all, feeling satiated after every meal. I don’t feel like I need to snack every 2 hours anymore because I’ve learned to listen to my body and nourish it with the right kind and right amount of food.
As a side note, the actual Whole30 program isn’t meant to be sustained for 365 days a year (even Melissa and Dallas will attest to this). Rather, it is a tool that should be used to help you step in the right direction and figure out how to choose the foods that are most beneficial to your health while eliminating the foods that negatively affect your body. With that being said, following a paleo “diet” for life is absolutely feasible and that is how I choose to eat 99% of the time. The remaining 1% is saved for very special occasions (think holidays, birthdays, etc.) because when something is really worth it, it just is!
Yesterday, Zach and I stopped by Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Annapolis for breakfast on our way back from Rehoboth Beach. I can honestly say that I’ve never found a place with so many paleo-friendly breakfast options until now. It was very refreshing to not have to order my go-to meal for most breakfast places (veggie omelet sans cheese) – I will definitely be going back!