I’ve never followed diets. Not fad diets. Not my own diets. I’ve been vegetarian and vegan. I went gluten-free when I had gut issues about eight years ago. But nothing long enough where it made a difference. And certainly nothing where I had to count calories and fat. “Diets” always felt like a time-consuming hassle. But, I’ve found as a busy mom and wife, my normal diet has morphed from its once super-healthy structure into one that is more convenient and a bit unpredictable. I might cook. We might eat out. It might be healthy, but probably indulgent.
I’ve had enough. The way I feed my family and how I view their and my health is very important to me; so, Nathan and I started Paleo about two weeks ago. It has been a positive experience, overall, but challenging–with some hilarious poop jokes to lighten things up (pun intended!). I feel like I have been hungry for days, but I am sleeping better. My face looks a bit thinner. In face, I feel a little thinner, which could be my body not being bloated from the grains and sugars, and losing some of the water weight. It feels good. My wedding ring was starting to feel tight, which is really bad news; because of the way it is designed, I can’t enlarge it. Motivation.
Ultimately, Nathan and I hope that this lifestyle change will help us achieve a higher level of health. He wants to lose about 30 lbs, and I have another 15 lbs of left-over baby weight I wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to! But I like being freed (physically, emotionally, mentally) from sugar and sweets, which are my downfall, and foods that cause the inflammation and bloating, lethargy, chronic allergy conditions (sinusitis, for both Nathan and myself). I am looking for optimum health; the weight loss is almost a side effect of all the other positive results from changing the way we eat.
The hardest part has been not having the easy-to-prepare foods available, which usually included a bread or grain of some kind – oatmeal, toast, frozen waffles, pastries, etc. I can’t eat any of those things anymore. Basically, everything we can eat has to be prepared or pre made (homemade); it doesn’t come packaged or frozen unless it’s whole vegetables or fruits–kinda the point of eating clean, whole foods. The next step is to prepare meals and foods in advance so that we do have things available. When good paleo-practicing friends of ours recommended Tammy Credicott’s Make Ahead Paleo, I immediately went out to buy, along with Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. So far, I love them both.
Make Ahead Paleo has been a great resource to plan for meal prep. Tammy provides handy tips and resources for creating your “paleo” kitchen, including a tear-out or print-out checklists on how to stock the kitchen with basics, freezer inventory sheets (for preparing and freezing meals ahead of time), and how to store all kinds of foods and for how long (my absolutely favorite tip! For me, these are all resources I need to organize my kitchen and make our lifestyle and nutrition a success.
Back in the day when Nathan was going to crossfit and participating in Whole30 challenges, I bought Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed cookbook, and it was a gem. I have friends who consider her books more gourmet or difficult; but I found the meals delicious and easy to prepare and make. That being said, my favorite recipes in her book were the spices! This time around, I added Well Fed 2 to my cookbook collection – again, the spices and international flare to Melissa’s meals in this book are top notch. My newest favorite is the Lebanese 7-spice on pork tenderloin. I think it’s my go-to seasoning now for most roasts and some grilling meats.
It’s still too early to give a full report on progress, but every day I make the decision to not reach for the sugar and simple carbs. That, for me, has been an insightful and empowering process, because, in general, my level of self-control can be pretty low! And with every moment of having some personal success, my self-esteem slowly grows a bit, too. And I could always use a little more of that, to be sure!
This probably won’t turn into a “paleo blog”, but because it’s already a “get outside” blog, it will probably morph more into a whole wellness blog. My husband and I didn’t marry until our late 30s, and my goal is to be married to him as long as absolutely possible, so we need to get and stay in a healthy frame of mind and body in order to achieve that. The winter months will make this new journey more challenging, since the weather in Seattle that time of year is cold and wet, and we all want to huddle under the blankets on the sofa with some hot potato soup and bread, right!? But, we’re up for the challenge!