Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Following The Paleo Diet
Lately I've been reading more and more (mainly on the internet) about the Paleo (or Primal) diet. In fact, I think I may have mentioned the book, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson before.
Despite having read the book, which incidentally is an easy and informative book, I still haven't managed to stick to the diet for a lengthy period.
However, I'm not easily defeated, and I keep hearing about how the diet and lifestyle will work to regulate hormones, balance blood sugar and sort out your cholesterol. The added bonus is that you'll be fit, healthy, slim and feel terrific. And a diet that encourages healthy fats and grass fed meats is definitely for me.
So, why, so far, have I not been able to maintain the diet?
Like any diet, life sneaks up and sabotages it, every time. Celebrations, holidays, a dwindling supply of the right foods in the pantry and carbohydrate cravings have all been sent to test me, and oftentimes, I submit.
It's a bit like giving up sugar. You heard me rave about it here. I succeeded for more than four weeks. I felt really good for it. But then, I got pregnant, tired and sick and just had to eat whatever I fancied to get through, so I could feel "better".
So, with renewed vigour, I've decided to try the Paleo/Primal diet again. It is partly due the the fact that Michael has hypo-thyroid - it is borderline - not bad enough for drugs apparently, but enough to affect him with fatigue and weight gain. I've read that the Paleo diet will help regulate hormones, which in turn affect the Thyroid, so it's worth a go.
Michael loves his morning toast, and other grains too, but I thought we could just give it a commitment for four weeks and see how we feel. I suspect we'll feel really good and will decide to continue.
Exercise is an important part of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle too. What I've learnt from The Primal Blueprint is that you don't need to do overly vigorous gym workouts (thank goodness!), but walking is great, with short bursts of exertion (much like going anywhere with Charlie! He walks, he runs away, I sprint after him!), and it is important to lift "heavy things" (Mark Sisson's words), to lift weights. I wonder if picking up a 14 kg toddler counts as heavy lifting?
I've been following the diet fairly closely for about a week and a half. So far I've done quite well. I still have toast for breakfast, but it is gluten-free sprouted grain sourdough, so I think it fits okay. I top the toast with smoked salmon and cottage cheese, or avocado. Sometimes we'll have bacon and tomatoes or mushrooms, Mike will have an egg (I'm not a fan).
My slip ups have generally been caused by sugar. I indulged in some Turkish Delight, which is pretty much 100% sugar, and had a hot chocolate when I caught up with a friend last week. I'm sure it had a little sugar in it, but I didn't sweeten it.
Lunches and dinners aren't difficult: we usually have some meat, and some vegetables. I have a fridge full of vegetables, and I quite like them.
We are both eating some dairy, and I know a "proper" Paleo diet wouldn't include them. The Primal diet, however, leaves some room for that, and it allows some dairy, preferably organic and fermented. I bought some beautiful Goat's cheese from the markets on the weekend. It was great on my morning toast. We also like to have yoghurt for a snack. We like it Greek and full fat. I have it with some strawberries or nuts to help sweeten it.
I hope that giving up most grains will soon become second nature. It isn't so hard for me as I've been gluten free for a long time. I think it may be harder on Mike, but I think he;ll be glad he did it when he starts to feel lighter, fitter, and well.
If you want to share great food ideas related to Paleo eating, then please do...