PaleYo

Gluten Free is the Way to Be

Gluten is evil.

Gluten can cause weight gain and weight loss.  Gluten can damage the GI tract and that can cause malabsorption.  We need our guts to be in optimal health.  It’s important for a lot of reasons!  It breaks down the food we eat so that it can be absorbed, it disperses the vitamins and minerals.  Some foods are actually resistant to our digestive systems – beans are an example.  When these foods don’t really get along with our guts, then an autoimmune issue happens.  Some reactions to food are not immediate, and progress over time – in most cases.  When it builds overtime, it will break down your GI tract causing leaky gut.

People don’t always take “gluten free” seriously, but they should.  It’s a very real condition.  Gluten can cause inflammation of the joints and muscles – this is what I have experienced.  Gluten can also cause belly fat – also something I have dealt with.

Even when you cut it out for a week, you will feel a difference.  I know I do.  I’m down 12 lbs. now and the cramps in my legs and feet are gone.  It’s crazy how your body reacts when given the right fuel.

“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.”

Feeling Really Great

I am down 11 lbs. now, and I’m feeling good.  It’s just one day at a time.  I’ll be back to a size I’m more familiar with before I know it.  Slowly, all of my ailments will go away.  My digestive system feels good – not feeling bloated.  My chronic sinus issues should subside soon, too.  After I fell of the Paleo wagon, the cramps in my legs started coming back – but guess what, they are almost gone again!  Hallelujah!  I had introduced gluten back into my diet, and gluten is a terrible, horrible thing.  Gluten causes so many issues – not to mention how many people are gluten intolerant and don’t even know it.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
-Hippocrates

Ending a Long Relationship with Sugar

It’s not unlike any other relationship – when it’s over, you feel it.  In the end, it was good for you…but at the moment, it stings.  That sting gets you at all moments of the day.  At times, seemingly, it’s all you think about.  Why is our relationship with sugar so hard to quit?  We know it’s bad for us, we know that there are consequences…but yet, we still keep it around.  You need to clean out those kitchen cabinets and the fridge – donate all the stuff you should avoid on Paleo – get a new start.  You may need to pick up a new hobby and take a bunch of Aleve the first couple days, but you’ll get through it.  You’ll have to find new, better, healthier ways to satisfy those cravings.

Sugar has been linked to a lot of health problems, so maybe you can use that as motivation.  Every organ system in the body is at risk when it comes to the damage sugar can do.  Cardiovascular disease is linked to too much sugar intake.  The more sugar, the higher the risk.  If you have one sugar sweetened drink a day, your risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is higher.  Sugar intake is linked to leaky gut.  Your risk for getting Type 2 Diabetes is increased 1.1% for every 150 calories consumed, per day.

All of that simple information, without going in depth, should make you feel okay with the sugar break-up.  It’s not worth all the risks.  You can certainly enjoy your sugar cravings, but don’t over do it.

“Eat less sugar, you’re sweet enough already.”

Embrace Your Inner Caveman or Woman

So once you learn the basics, you can put it into gear.  I would definitely recommend getting a book to help you out if you’re just starting.  Most of them give you a meal plan with a shopping list, and that’s a huge help!  Keeps the guess work out of it all.

The best advice I can give you to help you not feel overwhelmed with cooking – is make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day.  Also, keep your breakfast simple.  The first 30 days, no desserts, minimal snacks, and no alcohol.  It will help you see the results you deserve to see, and to allow your body to adjust.  Commit to 4 weeks of Paleo – blog about it, post it on your social media accounts, tell your friends…just give it your best effort for at least 30 days!  If you do have setbacks, don’t stress it.  Just get back on the horse and keep going!  Embrace your inner caveman or woman…and give it go!

 

Exercise!

To be honest with you, the first time I did Paleo and lost the 43 pounds, I didn’t work out.  Maybe a workout here and there, but I was not a fan of working out (still not).  I hit a plateau around a year after I started with my weight loss, and looking back now, if I had worked out – I probably would have lost at least 20 more pounds.

I haven’t worked out this time around, and during the last week I’m down 9 pounds!  I feel great.  I definitely have more energy and my hair feels healthier.  It’s amazing the transformation that’s happening already and it’s only been a few days.

So back to exercise – our genetic ancestors – hunters and gatherers were very active.  They couldn’t drive to the store and buy some food, they had to hunt and gather.  Now don’t go out and hunt all of your food, all I’m saying is that you need to be active.  During the first 2 weeks or so, you’ll probably feel fatigued – and withdrawing from sugar, but I assure you that after that, you’ll feel the energy.

Don’t let it stress you out, thinking that you need to go be in the gym for hours – start small.  Go for a walk, and maybe every week, increase the distance.  You can take classes at places – spin, yoga, dancing.  Lots of places have trial periods..try something out – you may like it!

Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Take it one day at a time.  Oh, and take photos – for your own reference.  You’ll be happy you did.

“To get through the hardest journey we need to take only one step at a time,
but we must keep on stepping.”

Start Small and Don’t Give Up

I was thin and athletic my entire life.  I never had to watch what I was eating, and I drank Coca-Cola non-stop.  Literally I woke up and drank a soda, and drank cans of it until I went to bed.  I would skip meals and just have a can of soda.  I never drank water, I’m surprised I made it this far.

Once I hit the age of 27, I felt things starting to change – I was gaining weight.  By the time I was 29, I put on more pounds that I care to share.  Something needed to change.  I was wearing waist slimmers and corsets.  I would sometimes wrap my stomach in ace bandages trying to “slim” myself.  I was in denial for a long time, until New Year’s Eve of 2012.  I decided it was time to stop drinking soda.  On January 1, 2018, I will be celebrating 5 years soda free.  I lost a few pounds, but nothing like I wanted to.  So over the next few months I started working out and eating less…yes, eating less.  I started feeling it mentally and emotionally.  By August, I had heard about Paleo and decided it was time to try something new.

I bought a book, researched constantly, read everything available, and consulted with my friend, Dr. Noah.  I was excited, it was all so new.  The only thing I was able to cook was pasta and egg “McMuffins”…and that was it.  But then I slowly started to learn how to cook.  I would have to look at the cookbook non-stop while I was cooking – now I know measurements without a measuring cup, and I know what ingredients work together.  I was cooking meals, I was prepping meals, I was eating…a lot…and I was losing weight.  Over the course of the first month I lost about 15 lbs.  By the new year (2014), I was down almost 40 lbs.  I was able to shed about 3 more pounds and I started to tone up.  Workouts were easier, daily tasks were easier, I had more energy, I slept better, I looked better…it was amazing.  I felt like I was cheating the system.  I lost all of this weight mostly by eating better.

I continued a strict Paleo lifestyle for almost 4 years.  Sure, I missed pizza and Doritos, but Paleo pizza was so incredibly satisfying that I realized I didn’t actually miss pizza as I knew it.

My downfall happened when my life got a little bit stressful.  I was moving, my dad got sick, he had treatments, I wasn’t handling a full time job and going to grad school well…I just felt like I had a lot on my plate (no pun intended), and my diet took the brunt of it.  I got lazy, I didn’t want to prepare food anymore.  I would order out, get sandwiches, grab something quick…I put back almost all of the weight I lost, but I’m inspired now to get back to where I was.  I’m handling stress much better; my dad is in remission…I’m already down 6 lbs.

“Remember why you started.  Don’t give up; find a way.”

Don’t Be Intimidated

When you make the choice to adopt a Paleo lifestyle, it can be a bit overwhelming.  Once you start to learn and see the patterns, it gets easier – I promise.  Paleo, in general, is not complicated.  Just keep it basic at first and be open to trying new things.  If you keep it simple, your chances of being successful are much higher.  They key to your meals is to make sure your meals are balanced.

Eat lots of vegetables, meat, fruits, and good fats.  The local farmer’s market is a great place to get fresh, in season vegetables.  You should buy frozen ones too – they are good when you’re in a jam or a veggie is out of season.  When you choose your meat, try to find grass-fed (side note: if it says “Product of Australia”, it’s grass-fed).  When you pick your fruits, try to go with the low sugar 0nes – berries are a great option.  Paleo should be a stress free endeavor.  Make it easy for yourself and it will work.  Keep your spice rack stocked up.  Do yourself a favor, look up the health benefits of spices.  You’ll be surprised by what you find!  And as the Spice Girls say, “Spice up your life!”

It’s really rewarding once you start to feel better.  It makes you want to stick to the plan.

“Stick to your plan until success sticks to you.”

If I Can’t Have Dairy, Where Do I Get Calcium?

Calcium is an important mineral and the most common one found in the human body.  We need it for bone formation, as well as muscle contractions.  Calcium is also important for many other things!  When you commit to a Paleo lifestyle you have to cut out dairy, but let’s face it – milk makes baby cows big cows – and that’s not our goal.  While you can go buy a calcium supplement, you can also get it from the food you eat.

Leafy greens, sardines, and homemade bone broth – to name a few.  It’s easily absorbed from these sources.  I just discovered Epic Bone Broth.  It’s a ready to heat beverage.  They have a few flavors.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

The way you and most people have been living is not the be all, end all of what we eat and drink.  There are other ways to get nutrients, flavors, and textures – you just gotta do a little bit of research.  I had to learn this all myself, and once I did – I was happy about it.

“Alcohol won’t solve your problems.  Then again, neither will milk.”

 

What Am I Going to Eat?

Believe it or not, the list of things you have to AVOID on Paleo is far shorter than what you can enjoy.  We know Paleo does not include gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, processed foods, legumes, grains, or alcohol…and I know perhaps it sounds like your weekend is ruined – BUT I promise you, that is not the case.  You can drink alcohol in moderation, but if the only thing you drink is Bud then you’re going to have to make some adjustments – but that’s for a later blog.

If you start your morning with coffee, good news, you can still drink it – in small quantities without milk and sugar.  You can put almond or coconut milk in it and/or a natural sweetener.  Once you really get into Paleo, you’ll have so much energy that you won’t rely on coffee as a pick-me-up.

So butter is a highly debated subject.  Organic and grass-fed is generally accepted with Paleo.  Good substitutes would be EVOO, coconut oil, or ghee.

Legumes or beans, are not allowed.  They contain phytic acid.  In short, phytic acid binds to nutrients – calcium, iron, zinc, maganese – which doesn’t allow for absorption, thus, making legumes nutrient deficient.  Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes – so they are not Paleo friendly.

Rice is a grain and grains are a Paleo no-no, but once in awhile I have sushi – you can opt for brown rice, too.

Some new things you will probably be introduced to are almond flour, almond milk, ghee, and coconut aminos.  Once you give them a try, you’ll see how good they actually are.

“You are amazing.  Remember that.”

Eat Until You Feel Full

One question I always get asked is, “How much do you get to eat?”  People make the assumption that we hardly eat anything, which is not true.  When you follow a Paleo diet, you eat until you feel full.  If you follow the recipes, you’ll learn the foods that help make substantial meals that make and keep you satisfied.  You will feel fuller longer.

Another thing with Paleo, you have to keep an open mind.  There’s a lot of new foods that are going to be introduced to you, with the exception of a few – I enjoy them all.  Although, I’m not a big fish person.  You’ll be eating real foods that aren’t processed, your body will thank you.

Just a little tip, become friends with a lot of spices – they are your best friends.  You can make amazing tasting meals with different combinations of spices.  Best part, they are all Paleo approved!

“I spend a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open looking for the answers.”