Paleo 30-Day Challenge...Hunter-G
atherer vs. Modern Nutritionist
Friday, December 28, 2012
It's been awhile. I hope everyone's holidays were filled with love, joy and family!
After spending Christmas with the mouse...as in Mickey Mouse, I am ready to get back to my routine -- nutrition-wise and fitness-wise!
I never realized just how limited the food choices were @ Disney and the surrounding area. Disney tries ... but still healthy choices were hard to find. I found a few quick service venues that offered more nutritional options, but still not great options. The full service restaurants offer better choices, but good luck trying to get reservations during the peak time of year! Local area restaurants include the chain restaurants (the McDonalds and Outbacks of the world), and offered their typical calorie-laden menus. Now add to the equation that I don't eat fried, processed or anything with a sauce, and you see my challenge!
Since I was staying at our timeshare, breakfasts were my nutritional saving grace! If we could have had the majority of our meals in our villa, I would have fared better...but who wants to cook while vacationing...and logistically, that would have been nightmare! Try telling a 16-year old that he is not able to go on that one ride or see that show because we need to go back to the resort to eat.
So after a week of eating off diet, I definitely felt the difference. On diet, I feel energetic, satisfied and alert. I eat only when hungry...and experience no cravings. During this past week, I felt 'heavy' and slow. I was always 'hungry'...never satisfied...and cravings ran rampant! I can't wait to get back into my eating routine!
Which leads into the subject of today's post...the Paleo way of eating.
A month or so ago, I started researching the Paleo diet. I started because I realized that I needed to change the way I fuel my body to support my CrossFit training. In the Community, a large number of CFers recommend 'going Paleo' to enhance performance and to redefine your body. Of course, I couldn't just take their word for it...I needed to see the 'science' behind the hype. So I began to read all that I could find on the subject.
Previously, I wrote that Paleo seems like a re-branded Atkins diet...and for the most part, it still does. But, the premise of the diet struck a chord with my belief that the increases in chronic and terminal diseases are tied to our food and environment. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. I need to determine for myself whether there is any validity to the Paleo claims. So if for no other reason than to prove the theory wrong, I decided to 'go Paleo' for 30 days.
For those of you who have never heard of the Paleo diet, below is the Wikipedia definition:
"The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, such terms as the "Paleolithic diet" also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils."
Even though I am willingly embarking on this eating plan, I have a couple of concerns....
1. Protein...I'm not a big carnivore. I eat mainly poultry, fish and seafood...but can easily go days without any meat in my diet. Soy and yogurt are my alternate protein sources...but a no-go on Paleo. So, I either make a conscientious effort to increase my meat intake or plan to consume a lot of eggs.
2. No peanut butter sandwiches, Ezekiel bread or oatmeal!...other staples of my diet...my go-to meals when I don't have time to cook. I will have to be very diligent when it comes to planning and cooking my meals for the next 30 days. If not, I will find myself with no standbys!
But it's only 30 days,right? I can do anything for 30 days. If any of the touted benefits (health and fitness) are true, it would be well worth it. Even if I do not decide to follow this eating plan full time after the 30 days, I may very well incorporate a number of Paleo meals in my diet. So, I can't lose...a real win-win situation.