Today is day 7 of my 30 day experiment of eating “Paleo“. I generally distance myself from any diet prescriptions, because as an Intuitive Eater (IE) I prefer to take my queues about what best nourishes me from my body than from books or experts. I also am in the business of helping others learn to listen to their own bodies’ internal messages and to do away with the diet paradigm altogether in favor of a more organic approach to nourishing themselves. So what’s a lady like me doing going Paleo??
My Paleo Experiment–Day 7 April 8, 2012
On my IE journey, I am continuously learning more and more about what foods make my body feel its best and thrive. Approaching this work form an IE perspective, grounded in self-love rather than the body hatred that tends to drive the diet industry, changes I make really stick. The first thing that happened was that I stopped eating dairy for real (disclaimer, I’m a 90:10 girl, so when I say stop, I mean 90% of the time) after years and years of going on and off of the stuff. Once I really understood that it made me feel like crap, that was it. Sugar and it’s buddy alcohol came next, followed by gluten. Through these changes, I fell back in love with cooking and with food. I never let myself feel deprived. My sleep improved, my energy and libido improved, my ears stopped itching, my poops became regular, and I had fewer stomach aches. Any revisits into these foods, and I quickly was reminded of the connection between what I ate and how I felt. A few things were stubbornly not changing, I was still experiencing hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, and weight-loss resistance, and very high fasting blood sugar (95 at last check). In other words, I still wasn’t maintaining stable blood sugar. Frequent, evenly spaced, sugar-free meals high in fat/fiber/protein would work for most to reverse this circumstance, but in my case, it wasn’t enough.
When searching the web for great new gluten, dairy, and sugar-free recipes I have often been led to Paleo sites, because Paleo fits the bill. In my perusing, I learned more and more about the Paleo lifestyle. I still sort of hated it. I kept equating it with Atkins in my mind, and with the diet industry in general, and with bloggers obsessed with getting tight asses and six packs. At a major nutrition conference I had the pleasure of listening to sessions fromMark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, and Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat. Both of these really got me making some more connections between what I was learning and the condition in my own body. As a pescatarian, I was getting a tad of my protein from fish, but the majority from high quality grains and legumes (again, these are great for many of you). This was leaving many of my meals still apparently too high in carbohydrates for MY BODY to minimize insulin production. So I decided to ride the paleo train and take them up on the notion of a 30 day experiment and see how I’d feel.
There are no before pictures, or before measurements. For me it is critical to maintain my focus on wellness, and to keep my measures of a food’s impact on me INTERNAL. Anyone who has dabbled in disordered eating or IE knows that scales and tape measures can send us spiralling into the depths of unconscious eating and external measures of what is good enough.
So, if there is to be any real assessment, it will come in the form of the qualitative narrative. Now that I am on day 5, I see that this is quite the potent experiment and worth sharing, so I’ll be updating regularly.
PALEO Day 5: This week I bought and prepared clean chicken, grass-fed beef and bison, all for the first time, after 20 years of being mostly veg. Each time I prepared meat I was HILARIOUS! plastic gloves, permanent disgusted scowl, discarding more chicken parts than I was willing to eat to end up with NO WEIRD COLORS OR TEXTURES! Every time I was cooking I was thinking “this was a horrible idea. this is disgusting, I am handling chopped up muscles, I can’t do this!” Then I tried my first meatball in 20+years and I was sold. I devoured six of them. On theNight of the Red Meat I had a level of energy I had only previously experienced either in my 20’s or immediately after leaving a Micheal Franti and Spearhead show. I was PUMPED! My husband and I both experienced some cloudy-headedness the first couple of days. Mine cleared up fast, his continued…so he’s getting more fruit and startchy veggies, while I’m keeping pretty low there. One of the most notable differences: I am so much less hungry. I am experiencing no cravings, no yearnings (granted I baked Paleo Bread, and Coconut Bars to be proactive). I used to always always always get starving at 10 am. I am not anymore (and my breakfast hasn’t changed!). I used to snack in the evenings, I don’t anymore. Last night, I only had a snack instead of dinner because I just wasn’t very hungry. And the interesting thing is, I have already been eating a diet rich in nuts and oils, with plenty of protein. The only difference is the switch to more animal proteins (although eggs never made me feel so, so…satiated. All I can say is, so far so good. Stay Tuned for regular updates!