Paleooooo. I’m honestly a little tired of saying it, but dairy/grain/gluten/refined sugar/legume/white potato/alcohol free is a bit cumbersome. But I am probably 90% paleo these days with a few exceptions (namely French fries, some funnel cake from the fair, and one rogue glass of wine that got me really drunk and itchy).
So, breaking my ties to sugar has been the best decision I’ve made as an adult, easily. I started in hopes of a breakthrough with eczema but it has really become what will probably be a permanent lifestyle for us. Marshall eats paleo when we are together and still does his own thing for lunches or if we eat out. Lincoln currently drinks a very dairy based formula (which makes me cringe every time I give him a bottle) but I plan to offer some milk alternatives once we are weaning from formula. He will have some cheese and grain-free puffs and eats what we eat. He’s just now learning how to feed himself small pieces of food and seems to really like veggies, he loved the paleo lasagna and our weekly paleo waffles. Other than a small patch of eczema on his face that comes and goes, he seems to do ok with dairy which makes me happy. So glad he is half-Marshall.
So here’s the skinny on me and paleo:
I have honestly never felt better, in my entire life.
I have so much energy. I sleep so well at night (although sometimes it is interrupted by a small child who has peed everywhere). I feel like I have reached some sort of nirvana that I’ve only read about in blogs and seen on infomercials. But it’s really real! In real life! And in real life I don’t tolerate sugar well. Especially in excess which is how I like to consume it (there are several documentaries on Netflix that will corroborate this). And much to my joy, eczema has improved tremendously. Healing is happening, albeit at times slowly, but it is happening. I still itch from time to time (and scratch in my sleep, starting the healing process over at times… so frustrating), but in general my skin is in much better shape.
So, I guess this is my 3 month paleo update. I miss cheese and pizza and stuff, but I really like living life like this. It’s pretty wonderful. I don’t feel like I’m in a fog all the time! I love coffee black (SO MANY FLAVORS SO YUM) and I actually enjoy the taste of kale. I’m still not a celery fan, and that’s a major ‘eczema friendly’ food, so I’m still working on it. A week or so after Lincoln’s 1st birthday party I plan to commence 6 weeks of the autoimmune protocol to see what my skin/body is like without eggs, nuts and some other things. Planning way ahead and planning when I’ll reintroduce some things. So grateful for this time of learning about food and my body and self-discipline. It’s truly been a spiritual awakening of sorts. Although, given the choice between some kale and a paleo chocolate chip cookie, I’ll most definitely choose the cookie.
Here are some practical paleo tips if you’re interested in taking the plunge. Even if you don’t suspect that any foods are causing you trouble, you may be surprised to find what ife is like off of sugar!
- Clean all the things out of your pantry that you can’t eat during the time you plan to paleo for. Donate to a friend or stick non-perishables on a top shelf where you won’t see them.
- Plan ahead! Be realistic, the holiday season may not be the best time to give up the good stuff.
- Budget your food like you budget your money. Meal plan and stick to it, don’t buy anything without knowing exactly when you’re going to eat it.
- Produce will go bad, learn how to store it. What ripens on the counter? What goes straight to the drawers in the fridge? How do you kill fruit flies (because they will find you!)?
- Eat a lot! I see a lot of “clean eating” posts where people are eating 3 pieces of deli meat rolled up and some almonds. Not cool. I literally ate 16 (!) pieces of turkey the other night before bed because I was hungry. Eat until you are not hungry because you’re eating things from the planet that are good for you!
- Don’t focus on what you can’t have, focus on what you CAN have! I found that trying new vegetables and fruits and recipes was so exciting!
- Don’t spend a lot of time trying to recreate your favorite non-paleo meals. We tried to make paleo banana pudding for our anniversary and for what it was, it was pretty good, but compared to the real thing it was not.
- Know that preparing all your meals will take a lot of time. This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but in my previous life of working outside the home, sun up to sun down I probably wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. (Actually, I only lasted 25 days the first time I went paleo then I threw it all away on some brownies because I was starving). Setting time aside/planning time for cooking is essential. Be realistic about time, say no to some things, set aside a “prep” day, etc.
- Have a back-up plan. Have something fast that you can cook if your day doesn’t go according to plan and meal prep time gets cut short. Eggs, bacon and fruit are an easy meal. Applegate makes some great hot dogs and deli meat for the freezer. Or, visit your friends at Chick-Fil-A for 12 grilled nuggets and a fruit cup (and plan to be hungry later).
- Steam-in-bag veggies are your friend. Certainly there are reasons why those are not safe, but they are fast.
- Cashews are super versatile, it will blow your mind the things you can make with them! Our favorite “fancy” paleo recipes use cashews… from waffles to nut-cheese in lasagna, you can make it all!
- Enjoy it!