Since January, Patrick and I have made a concerted effort to cut out simple carbs and eat “paleo.” It’s also been called eating primal, caveman, etc. It’s actually a pretty simple theory for how to model your food — cut out simple carbs in the form of bread, wheats, white rice, pasta, white and red potatoes and the like, and focus instead on eating protein, veggies, nuts and fruit (in moderation). If we were eating “true 100%” Paleo, we would cut out dairy 100%, but that is really just too difficult for me. I need my cheese. And as long as it is in moderation and isn’t soy cheese or low-fat cheese it is fine.
Why are we doing this you might ask? Primarily for health and weight loss benefits. Both of us should lose weight (especially before we have kids) and we want to feel better. Now that we are in our mid-30’s, we were both starting to feel more creaky and found we weren’t feeling good after we would fill up on some of our favorite foods like pizza and pasta and breads and potatoes. I also have a slight gluten sensitivity, and when I avoid foods with gluten, my stomach thanks me greatly. But most importantly, oh my God do we feel better and younger and faster and stronger eating this way! It’s hard to believe that changing how you eat on what is ultimately a minute level (we usually cooked at home before too) can promote a bunch of bigger and better feelings. When my blood sugar levels aren’t spiking after eating foods so high in starch like potatoes and pastas, I don’t feel the need to nap after eating.
I wish I could explain it other than just saying “I feel good” but it’s true. I feel good. My blood sugar levels are solid, my water intake is up, my joints feel good, my stomach feels GREAT and I’m sleeping better. By cutting out processed foods, increasing water intake and eating healthy foods for me, my skin has improved and frankly, when you have extra weight you’re carrying around, it kind of starts to melt off. The added bonus, of course, is that when you don’t need to nap after every meal or lay on the ground in the fetal position clutching your stomach, you can actually exercise too!
What CAN You Eat? This is a question I get a lot…..”sputter, sputter, if you’re not eating bread and grains and pasta, what the hell are you eating?” Well, first off, we are eating like kings lately! The general rule of thumb for our plates is half protein, half veggies/fruits/nuts. If it’s an animal? You can eat it. If it’s a vegetable? You can eat it. If it’s a nut? You can eat it. If it’s fruit? You can eat it in moderation. I love all those things! Nom nom nom. And when you fill your house with good foods, as I tell my mom all the time, it’s that much harder to eat the bad food. I have a heroin-like addiction to pretzels. BUT, if I do not buy them, and I’m craving them, it’s a lot of effort to get up, get shoes on, go to the store, run in to get the pretzels, and then return home to eat them. That’s a 30 minute time commitment I have to make to getting junk food when if I wait 15 minutes at home, the craving will probably pass.
My saving grace for eating in the “Paleo” lifestyle, though, is meal planning. Course, I’ve always done meal planning since we live in an apartment with a regular sized refrigerator and not 3 fridges and 2 freezers tucked into a basement somewhere. We have somewhat limited storage space in our pantry and while we store all of our “staples”, fresh fruits and veggies need to be bought at least weekly and I buy our meat in bulk about once a month. Sundays for me is the day to sit down with the paper and see what’s on sale (have I mentioned I’m an avid coupon clipper), check out the specials at the store, and sort through the recipes I’ve found during the week that I earmarked for trying. We figure out our schedules for the week, who will be home for which meals and start the planning there. My theory is always if I know what I’m going to be eating each night for dinner, AND I know that I have the ingredients all ready to make the meal, I’m not going to be as tempted to sit down and order take out on my way home or grab a frozen pizza. Because let’s face it, pork chops on the slow cooker sound AND taste way better than take out or a frozen pizza.
If you’re at all interested in reading up on the Paleo lifestyle, and/or looking for yummy Paleo recipes, here are a few blogs that I follow that make finding new and yummy foods easy: