Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Am I Living in a Cave? -- Gone #Paleo

Okay, I'm not really living in a cave, I've merely committed myself to a personal challenge to follow the Paleo Diet for 30-days.

What is this crazy diet, you ask? Well, the Paleo Diet, otherwise known as the Caveman Diet or the Hunter-Gatherer Diet, is all about eating the way the cavemen would have before they invented McDonald's and figured out how to mill grains and make processed foods.

The "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? And a little restrictive if you're a Diet-Coke-guzzling, convenient-food-eating, chocolate-makes-my-afternoon-complete kind of girl!

But then again I always remember when I take the time to buy and prepare foods, I LIKE chicken off my grill! I love me some steamed vegetables. Fruits, nuts? Yes, please! I can do this!

But why? And why go hard-core right out of the gate? Don't many books/sites/blogs recommend easing into it? Sure, many do and that might be a recommended approach for many - BUT I'm kind of an addict by nature. If you let me continue with some things it gives me too much room. I know myself. If I can prove to myself I can make it through 30-days, then I can find a way to continue while balancing in other kinds of food as well.

And if I don't commit to go all the way, there is an excuse every single day. Birthday lunch here, going away party there, happy hour with old friend here, luncheon there ... there's nothing to stop me from making the whole month a cheat day if I didn't fight ALL temptations.

But why consider this as a diet option at all? Yes, I'm kind of following a trend. I started doing Crossfit workouts late last year and the Paleo Diet is something that community embraces and supports. The more I've read about it and the more success stories I've heard (more energy, skin better, allergies better, sleep better, waist fat reduced, etc, etc.) the more I realized it wouldn't hurt to give it a go.

I'm 41. I've been on and off from running over the years -- more injured than not the last few years. The magic of Crossfit gave me strength and self-healing enough to return to running. I'm running with new friends and going faster and doing more training miles than I ever have. I'm doing yoga or walking or biking or Crossfit WODs when I'm not running (sometimes sweating 2x a day!). And yet, I'm continuing to struggle with my weight - particularly belly fat.

I'm not smoking and I cut back on my Diet Coke and yet I still have trouble breathing sometimes when I'm running. My allergies have been driving me crazy from sinus pain to itching skin. I'm tired. My digestive system -- as it always has been -- is completely out of whack. I've gone on a few diet plans and lose a few pounds and then I'm stuck. And then I feel bloated. My body is driving me crazy.

So why not? I'm going to give this a go and see how I feel in 30 days. If it's working, I keep going. I determine what compromises I will allow myself so I can eat out occasionally or how frequently I allow myself a "moment". Maybe I slowly introduce a few things in that I felt I was missing and see if that changes anything? I don't know yet. First I need to climb this mountain.

I'm on Day 3 of my 30-Day adventure. No miracle cures yet! My skin is still itching ... I'm still having trouble with focus. But I just started.

I'm not hungry. I haven't had any major withdrawal problems yet. Yesterday was a rough day for me - completely overwhelmed with work and having trouble keeping myself focused and really wanted my 3 pm pick-me-up in the form of a silver and red frosty can. I listened to the office next to me as they opened the giant bag of peanut m&ms and talked at great length about them. But I did okay. I'm even off gum and mints right now too which is somewhere I might turn if I having a craving and interestingly enough, I'm okay there too.

I think I need to remove cashews as an option for me. In the pyramid of foods, lean protein is the base (and what I should eat the most of) followed by vegetables, then fruit, then nuts & fat. I might have been a little off-proportioned with the cashews yesterday and will watch that. Very important tool: sparkling water. I get the bubbles without the junk. Nice to keep on hand: lemons, jazzes up the constant stream of just water all day and makes a good flavoring on the steamed vegetables instead of butter. I'm happy to report it's going well.

P.S. according to my readings WINE (in of course appropriate quantities) is OKAY. Wine & Gluten-free beer - yippeee! Grok totally could have picked grapes and put them in a skin sack and made himself some tasty vino so why not me too?

Captain Cavewoman ... over and out on Day 3!


cheapblueguitar said...

Well thank God wine is okay. Otherwise, that would just be savage.

Good luck! xo

Mandi Runs said...

You got this!! I am so excited for you. && So happy that vino is still allowed :-D

Kerri O said...

I'm sure you'll feel so much better at the end of the 30. I think I'm feeling so great already because I went off slowly a week and a half before, I gave myself a cut off date for full paleo. and I had less to sort of cut out. I was going light on the carbs/sugar etc already. I'm sure week 2 you will feel fab!