Paleo(h) what am I getting myself into?

by Angela on October 2, 2012

I’ve done the 1-month vegetarian challenge.   I’ve done the 3-day juice cleanse.  It’s about time I take on another challenge to up my health game a bit. 

Enter the 1-month unprocessed food challenge (insert announcer echoes here ). 

But that’s not all…I’m also challenging myself to eat a Paleo diet on top of this, but it’s really one in the same.  Let me explain.  The basis of the Paleo diet is to bring us “back to our roots” in regards to our eating habits.  The Paliolithic Era spanned 2.5 million years and ended about 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture.  That’s when some die-hard Paleos believe it all started going downhill for us.  Food started getting processed and the introduction of modern science began entering the foods we eat, and therefore entering our bodies.  I’m not sure what I believe as far as processed foods, however I believe that something is causing all these diseases and allergies and intestinal problems.  And while some of it is surely environmental, why not try and eliminate the possibility of it being the crap we’re putting into our bodies?  It really makes sense if you think about it.  Our bodies were made a certain way many, many, many years ago (whatever your belief, I think we can all agree it was a long, long time ag0).  Our bodies are very well, oiled machines.  If you have doubts, think about the creation of life and what a woman’s body is capable of….enough said.  Our bodies are amazing.  So what’s causing it to fail us?   It has to be something that we are putting into our bodies…throwing a wrench into this well-oiled machine.  

But I’ll get off my soapbox and get back to the challenge.  So unprocessed foods….essentially anything we could reasonably make in our kitchen is unprocessed.  Look at the ingredients.  If you can make it in your kitchen, it should be good.  Another definition I saw is if you can pick it or kill it, it’s unprocessed.  A bit crude, but it works.  So yes, this is not a vegetarian challenge at all.  Grass-fed meats are perfectly acceptable.  Same for Paleo….our ancestors ate meats, so no need to give that up on this challenge (the hubby was extremely happy). 

Paleo eating also believes in removing common allergens from our diets, the biggest one being gluten.  So no bread products of any kind…no rice, no pasta, no wheat, no rye, yada, yada, yada.  It also discourages dairy, though eggs and butter are fine, as long as your body digests it okay.  So these few other “requirements” is where things get fuzzy for me.  Because there is gluten-free bread, right?  But I guess the idea is if you look at the ingredients, it’s not all unprocessed.  I don’t know, I’m still learning. 

But the whole reason I was introduced to this Paleo thing (I don’t like the word “diet”…how about Paleo “transformation”?) is because a good friend of mine started eating this way a few months ago.  And she looks fabulous and says she feels incredible too.  She was not an unhealthy person before, but whatever Paleo did for her, it compliments her, and she sings its praises.  So I thought, what the hay?   I’ll give it a try.  It’s not necessarily a diet (er, transformation) you keep for the rest of your life, but everything I’ve read says to give it 2-4 weeks and see how you feel.  If it works for you, then implement an 80-20 rule where 80% of your eating habits continue as is, and the other 20% allows for cheat days. 

So on day 1, I erred on the side of overly conservative with my eating, which may be why I found myself hungry and with a headache at the end of the day.  The headache could also very well be just my body recalibrating itself after a day of no refined sugar.  But I did notice I did not feel bloated or gassy at all.    My food intake was as such:

Breakfast – coffee with agave and unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana, and a Lara bar (delicious with simple ingredients…must find bulk purchase option).

Lunch – baked sweet potato with butter and a little maple syrup and cinnamon.

Dinner – Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans minus the potatoes (meat-free Monday will have to happen another day this week). 

Snacks – plum, nuts, another Lara bar, Paleo-friendly muffins my friend made for me (yes, that was plural, thank you very much)

So we’ll see how this all goes.  1 day down, 30 to go!  Join me?  🙂

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amy October 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

Another blog I read she is also doing a Paleo challenge. She did a quick run down on what you can’t eat that is very helpful. Good-Luck!

T he rules of the Paleo Diet are to eat foods with very few and all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

Omitting all of the following foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness, and quality of life. Obviously, since we are going off of a point system in this challenge, you can eat these foods. However, the more you indulge in them, the more you are limiting the extent of your results.

Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize. However, for the purposes of this challenge, we will allow Stevia as the only approved sweetener.
Do not consume alcohol. It just isn’t good for you and you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, right?
Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains, and all of those gluten-free, pseudo-grains like quiona. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this challenge, corn is a grain. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our food in for the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kind (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.) peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts (no peanut butter either). This also includes all forms of soy—soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or organic butter.
Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best ot leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate. But DO eat sweet potatoes! Just go light if weight loss is your goal.

Ashley Campolattaro October 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Gooooo, Angela! I’m 7 months in and not turning back…it’s a lifestyle for me now. I look forward to hearing how you feel. Thanks for the kind words. Good luck!

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