Yesterday marked my second week of trying out the paleo diet. A more appropriate “label” for my diet might be lacto-paleo or primal, but for this four part trial series, the paleo diet still remains a focus and overall dietary starting point for me.
Like last week, there are a few key things I want to consider about this new “diet.”
1. What have I been eating? Lots of new things. I whipped up buffalo burgers for the first time ever. It was my first time handling raw meat besides simply pouring a marinade over raw chicken. I also tried sardines. Wow. I really never thought I’d try them, but after hearing about the numerous health benefits I decided I’d give it ago. I tried the Bela brand in the cayenne and tomato flavors and I must say, they weren’t bad. They actually weren’t bad at all. After getting over the sight and idea of eating literal fish scales, I simply mashed the sardines up with a fork, added some spices, and tossed the mix over salad. It tasted like tuna. I recommend the cayenne flavor.
2. Adopting a paleo/primal diet has definitely challenged me to try and make new things. I made my own bone broth and chicken soup last week. I’ve also cooked up some paleo-friendly recipies, such as Elana’s Dirty Cauliflower Rice and The Primalist’s Curry Apricot Chicken Salad. Both were quite successful. Although it can be time consuming to prepare and make almost every single thing that I eat, I’ve really started to appreciate the quality of ingredients and preparation that goes into a meal. I’ve also really started to appreciate the convenience of tasty leftovers!
3. Costs have been pretty high on this meal plan. My first two trips to the grocery store ranged from $80-$90. Of course, I did stock up on some high ticket items, such as expeller pressed olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic almond butter and fish oil, most of which will last me more than a few weeks, perhaps even months. Purchasing high quality meat has also upped the cost of my weekly grocery run, but about half of the meat I’ve purchased is still in my freezer, waiting to be used. Since my freezer was pretty well stocked with meat when I went shopping this week, I did a brief shop of mostly produce and a few other items. My most expensive item was pastured eggs for $6, which is comparatively cheap next to a $17 jar of almond butter or $25 container of fish oil capsules.
4. I’ve noticed no great improvements in my acne since starting this diet. In fact, I’m pretty well peppered across my forehead with small pimples right now. This could be due to a. it being my time of the month, b. my forehead getting sweaty yesterday after a run, c. me always picking at my skin, or d. the fact that I still consume dairy. I have no grand ideals that eating a whole foods diet will immediately clear up my acne, but it would be nice to see some improvement. It would help if I completely stopped picking at my pimples/blackheads, because I know this does no good. I’m also aware that dairy is a big dietary culprit for acne, but I’m not ready (I’m not sure I’ll ever be!) to give up dairy for the sake of my acne just yet. Aside from acne, however, I’ve been told that the skin on my face has more color in it. One of my coworkers even told me that I looked tan, which is just ridiculous, but hey, I’ll take it.
5. My digestion has greatly appreciated my transition to the primal diet. As I said last week, fullness from mostly meats, vegetables and fats is much more endurable to me than fullness from grains. I “cheated” on Friday night with a bit of rice at dinner and an ice cream cone for dessert and my stomach suffered the consequences. I was bloated and severely uncomfortable for the rest of the night. Jay pointed out that part of my fullness could be psychological, especially if I’m correlating grains and sugary foods as “bad” and “unhealthy.” In reality, they are not the most nutrient-dense foods that I could be eating, but I sincerely believe that since starting this diet my stomach has a hard time processing grains. Another thing I’ve noticed on this diet is that I seem to snack a lot. The volume of the foods I’m eating makes it hard for me to consume a lot of calories in one sitting without feeling uncomfortable, so I’ve been doing my best to listen to my body and stop eating when I feel full. Unfortunately, this leads me feeling hungry only a few hours later. I do prefer to eat a combination of meals and snacks but some of the hardcore paleo people (see paleohacks) seem to think it’s best to stick to 2-3 meals a day, and that’s something I just can’t and don’t want to do right now.
6. My health suffered a blow last week with the introduction of a nasty sore throat and cough. I went to the doctor’s and was tested for strep throat, but it was negative. I could have easily caught a cold at work or some other public place, but this virus was strange in that no one else in my family, not even my boyfriend, caught it. The fact that I and I alone had this cold leads me to believe that there is some validity to the low carb flu. I’m not positive that it’s what I suffered from, but this cold was unlike anything I’ve really ever experienced before. Intense pain swallowing, congestion in the morning, and eventual itchy-throat coughs. I guess I’ll never really know the exact cause, but it’s gone for now. Other than the virus, I’ve been doing well in terms of health. I saw my doctor as a follow up a few days after the strep test and my weight/vitals are fine.
7. As I’ve researched more and more about the paleo diet and whole foods, I’ve come across a wonderful variety of resources from the blogosphere. This week I’ve been obsessed with Nourishing Days and Elana’s Pantry. I’ve been reading both as if they’re going out of style, which is impossible because they’re both wonderful, wonderful blogs. Neither blog focuses strictly on paleo eating but rather they view whole foods as essential to well being. Of course, there’s more to their blogs than I can sum up in a sentence, so you should find out for yourself just how amazing they are.
Previous entries in this serious include: