Occasionally people like to poke a little fun at me, because I'm not "really" eating like a caveman. After all, I eat chocolate, I use olive oil, and I'm making a mean Spaghetti sauce. Yeah, and I drink tea from a beautiful cup, I wear clothes, and I live in a house, too! Imagine that! I'm a 21st century human being, and I couldn't help being born into this time. It just happened.
Of course, we all know by now the health benefits of dark chocolate and red wine. There is no arguing with facts. I'll say, though, that I've been using a lot more bacon grease than olive oil lately. Bacon makes everything better. And when I say everything, do take it literally please. Bacon makes chocolate better! It's that good.
Okay, well, what's the Paleo diet? Basically you eat what caveman did. Meat (yes, the human species survived because we were eating meat! Look it up. It's a fact.), vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. And no matter how much fun people poke at you, go ahead and have your glass of wine and that delicious piece of dark chocolate.
10,000 years ago, humans started settling down. They started farming, raising animals, and everything changed right then and there. Over the past 10,000 years we've turned from strong, fit, and healthy to... well... look around you. Double burgers, fries, soda. A day's worth of calories in one meal. Grocery stores are three times as big as they need to be. Grains, sugar, starches fill the center aisles, and we are made to believe by conventional wisdom (don't you hate those two words?), that this is what makes ours a healthy diet. Add high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.
But don't take my word for it... look around you. Really observe! Who do you see? What do people look like? How do they feel? Or read some of the amazing success stories on Mark's Daily Apple. The Paleo Diet (LIFESTYLE) is not just a fad. It is here to stay. And please don't tell me that I'm ruining the environment by eating meat. By growing wheat, soy, corn and other crops humans destroyed precious wetlands, nature preserves, and killed off wild animals in the process as well... but hey, it's good for you, right? Okay, no need to dig into this subject any deeper, but if you are really interested, I highly recommend the book "The Vegetarian Myth". It is an exceptionally well written book by a woman who was a vegan for 20 years. No, it's not just about vegetarian bashing. This is an amazing book and offers ideas and arguments.
So, how do you do it? Doesn't it take an amazing amount of willpower? Well, yes, it does. Especially if you are, like me, a bit of a sugar addict. I went cold turkey, because I knew something was wrong with me. But, amazingly, when your head is in it, together with your body, it's really not as difficult as you might think.
1) Stop focusing on all the wonderful things you can no longer eat. If you stop thinking of them as wonderful, you will not struggle so much to give them up. As a matter of fact, after a few weeks living the paleo lifestyle you may just allow yourself a treat. So you buy a bag of crackers, and you eat them all up. They're no longer satisfying your taste buds. And afterward you'll feel like crap. Believe me, I've been there and done that.
2) Check out the long list of things you CAN eat! Meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds. Yum! Do a Google search for Paleo recipes. There are so many of them out there.
3) Eat quality food. Yes, you'll end up paying more for grass-fed meat, for eggs from happy chickens, for organic vegetables and fruits. But at the same time you will no longer spend money on bread, flour, soda, candy, rice, and whatever else it is you filled your kitchen pantry with. You don't need it anymore.
4) Drink when you're thirsty. Eight glasses of water a day? It's a myth!
5) Exercise, but not too hard. Don't worry that you won't lose weight. You will!!
6) Resist temptation. I'll admit that in the beginning this is a tough one. There will be plenty of temptations. And there will be the nay-sayers, who will first try to talk you out of doing "this weird paleo thing". Sooner or later you'll be admired for being so strong and driven, and they "could NEVER do it" (Hmmm, reminds me strangely of the homeschooling conversations I used to have with people). If only they knew how good you feel, and how healthy you are, and how you're really not missing anything. :)
7) Go for the 80/20 rule. Even though you're not missing anything (okay, so the occasional bag of potato chips sounds pretty darn delicious), you do live in the 21st century, and you know all about sweet, sugary treats. You may want to go out with your spouse for that anniversary date and have a couple of drinks. I DID! :) Stick with the paleo lifestyle 80% of the time... allow yourself a treat every now and then. No guilt. No excuses. Just live and enjoy.
I generally aim at 95%... I just feel better that way. I don't like the icky feeling I get after indulging in too much sweetness. It works for me like this... and you'll find your way as well.
My next post will be: How do I get started?
Have a wonderful day.