Paul on Paleo
Have you thought about going paleo?
Last January I decided I was going to get myself healthy. I was a bit over weight, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and drank like I was still in college. Like most Americans, I waited till January first to make this pledge. It somehow seems more realistic to change everything about myself on the first of a new year. I promised myself I would exercise more, I would be more conscious about what I ate, and at an upcoming date I would quit smoking. I was already a member of a gym and I have no preconceived notions of what it’s like going. I decide to go five days a week. I’ll practice yoga three to four days a week. I am giving up fast food, which I eat once or twice a month while I’m working. My biggest weakness is sweets. I love cake, pie, ice cream, candy bars, chocolate. I eat some at least once a day. Quitting smoking will come at a date I will determine once I start to see some results from the gym. I weight about 185 pounds, I’m 5 feet 9 inches and I would like to be about 175 pounds. This is all very realistic in my mind.
I get right into it too. I’m going to the gym six days a week, I’m running several miles a day and doing a circuit workout. I give up fast food all together. I give up sweets, I still have ice cream once a week. I practice yoga on my iPad through an app called Pocket Yoga. I’m still smoking at this point and still drinking heavy on the weekends but I’ve cut down to one night instead of both nights. By the time March comes along I feel pretty good. I’ve lost about five pounds. I’m feeling good and thinking I’m building muscle since I’m circuit training. I decide this will be the time I quit smoking. I set a date for a few weeks away. I gear myself up and that day I quit. About a week later I start feeling quite bloated. I read online that this happens to some people when they quit so I don’t think much of it. I continue to exercise, which is becoming easier since I’m not smoking. I’m not losing any weight but I contribute that to not smoking anymore. I’m still feeling bloated all the time, and now I’m feeling achy. My joints start to bother me in a way I figured was due to aging and exercising.
Into May I haven’t lost any more weight, I’m growing tired of the gym so I start running outside. This perks me up a bit, as I’ve been feeling mentally blurry and run down. My body is becoming more and more achy, and at 33 this starts to worry me. Maybe there is something else going on. I push it to the back of my mind and continue on my quest to be healthy. In June I have a conversation with my boss at work about how I’ve been feeling so run down and foggy. She tells me her daughter was feeling the same way so she tried this thing called the caveman diet. She explained it to me a bit, enough that when got home I downloaded a book, The Paleo Diet, revised edition by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. I read the whole thing that night. It made so much sense to me. All these issues I was having, this Doctor was saying I would be cured if I just ate the way I was designed to eat. I decided to give it a shot. He said give it 30 days, what is there to loose. So that's what I did.
Shopping for this diet proved easy but quite expensive since all the meat and produce should be organic, free range, pasteurized. The basis was to eat nothing but meat, vegetables, and fruit. Add in some healthy fats and you're on your way to a new healthy self. The first week i ate tons of fruit because I was craving sugar in the worst way. I ate a lot of chicken and green vegetables using olive oil as my fat. The first week I dropped 3 pounds. The bloating was gone, I was feeling happier and my mind was clearing up. Not totally, that happened around a month. What else happened about a month into it was the achiness that I had been feeling was fading. I was feeling like I was 23 again. Week after week i was losing about three pounds. I felt amazing. It was like a magic pill. I began to experiment with the diet more and more, buying several cook books and I was pulling recipes off line. I went for a check up with my primary doctor after six months on the diet, got some blood work and my levels checked out. My total cholesterol was high but the good numbers were higher then the bad so he was okay with it.
By November I was down to 145 pounds, my friends and coworkers were nervous, asking me if I was eating. At first I was flattered by it, all the work I had been putting forth had paid off, but it soon became insulting when people would tell me to eat a hamburg, when i was actually eating a lot of them. I was feeling good, I got a clean bill of health from my doctor. My skin looked great, and I was mentally clear and on point. I was sleeping better, the only pains and aches I was feeling were from a previous accident i had while running.
Last month marked a year following this plan. I have no plans on quitting or changing it. If anyone out there who is reading this and thinking about trying it, I encourage you to buy Dr. Cordain’s book or The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. Try the 30 day challenge and see how you feel after a month.
Keep in mind, when I started eating like this, it was a total shock to my body. The first two weeks my body was going through a detox. The third week was the hardest on my body. My gallbladder was working extra hard to break down the amount of fat I was losing. By the fourth week my body started to level out and it became quite easy. I was no longer craving sugar. With this type of lifestyle you really can eat as much as you want, you just have to stay within the basic allowed food groups.