Paleo, Primal, Ancestoral, Caveman: A way of eating and thinking about food
Is this a trend? Perhaps. For me, it will and already is a lifestyle change. It is very hard, but yet, very easy after seeing and feeling how great I feel.
Disclaimer: I am not, and will probably, never be PERFECT. However, I believe the science and arguments behind what I’ve read. For the most part, Paleo “experts” will tell you to follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent on track, 20 percent “off”). While I do believe in this way of eating and living, do understand that I am still a work in progress. This is my journey to feeling healthy and getting into great shape!
My history with eating Paleo (in our house we call it “cavemen”): Spring of 2010, my husband ran across The Primal Blueprint via Mark’s Daily Apple (the original blog place for swapping ideas and recipes) after getting into Crossfit work out regime (most people who do Crossfit recommend this type of eating style).
He researched and proposed we try it out. My first reaction, “I am not giving up (FILL IN THE BLANK)!” What’s a life without pasta, french bread, dessert, milkshakes, you name it – I was not going to give it up. Until I did. (Now, did I eat 100% perfect all the time. No, we still had pizza on the weekends, random sandwiches here and there, but I’ll get to that in a minute).
Slowly we migrated to a more Caveman diet, rather than Conventional Wisdom (Conventional Wisdom = Traditional low-fat, high fiber and grain diets. Think food pyramid).
We cut out processed carbohydrates (cereal, bagels, oatmeal) from our breakfast and moved to eggs, bacon, and fruit w/yogurt (rookie mistake, more on this later). Lunch moved from sandwiches to salads with whatever protein we had (leftovers, tuna salad, etc.) Dinner was more of the same; although, many times, we made stir fry type dinners with veggies and meat.
I’ll call this our phase one: we really worked hard to cut out that processed carbs from our Everyday diet. We still relied heavily on organic yogurt, fruit, nuts, and nut butters. Also, I still drank red wine, had chunks of dark chocolate, and ate “out” on weekends. This phase was hard though. Why? Because I love cereal – LOVE IT. My go to snack and breakfast. My husband loves sandwiches. Also, learning how to prep fresh food was challenging. However, we made a huge amount of progress this phase (I’d say it was probably over 6 months).
But it worked! It really worked. We als0 integrated vitamins and fish oil supplements in our diet, as many primal experts recommend. Energy went through the roof! (At this time, we were also working out about 5 days a week, Crossfitting). Granted, at that time, we also lived in an adorable house, loved where we lived, and worked quasi part time (husband was job hunting, I had odd hours and wasn’t full time). Life was stressful, financially, but we were in a great place physically and mentally.
Main areas to avoid:
Summer of 2010: We uprooted to Florida, both got new jobs, and I got pregnant. As you can imagine, the healthy regime we had worked so hard to create got pushed aside. Generally, we kept with our protein, veggie, fruit, and low processed carb diets. Time for working out got pushed out. My first tri-mester nausea and exhaustion meant I slept a lot and ate lots of saltines! Then, we had our sweet boy and learned the meaning of parenthood. Parenthood = Survival on no sleep, no food in fridge, and whatever we could do to get through the week.
Image via Mark's Daily Apple
By the way, I think all primal experts and enthusiasts should remember that Cavemen had lots of time to catch up on sleep when they added new little ones! Ha. Seriously though, it took us about a 5 months to get back to a schedule where we were actually getting sleep and could think coherently. As we attempt to focus more on our food choices and working out, it has become even more important because we have this little person for whom we want to give the most healthy life.
Our eating style now? We are in a new phase. Taking what we know, with a much more jam packed schedule (less time to workout and eat healthy). It is Challenging. If I were to be totally honest, I would say we are about 60/40. Many late nights and early mornings inhibit the choices we could and should be making. However, living in Florida makes produce choices easy and great (straight from farmers). We aren’t in the budget world to afford grass fed beef every week, but we stick with reasonable, organic meat choice.
As we get better about our eating choices, I will post regularly about what and how we do. This is our journey and I hope that in documenting it, it will help us become better! My favorite quote I’ve heard lately and is now my mantra:
PAY THE FARMER, NOT THE DOCTOR
Fabulous recipes websites, with articles thrown in:
The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate
Nom Nom Paleo
Excellent article links (These links answer a few, but not all, questions about Primal/Paleo):