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.”

Paleo Expectations

You will notice substantial changes in your overall health and well-being.  You will have sustainable weight loss, increased energy, and little to no digestive issues.  There hasn’t been much scientific evidence supporting this, but the proof is in the (Paleo) pudding.

Once you replace the processed foods with whole, clean food, you’ll see the weight come off and you will eventually achieve your body’s optimal health level.  You will experience overall improvements with blood pressure, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

You will be eating lean means, vegetables, and fruits.  The meat will give you protein and iron, and the vegetables and fruits will provide potassium, dietary fiber, and folic acid.  If you’re concerned about where you’ll get your calcium from – just eat more calcium rich veggies, fruits, and nuts – leafy greens, oranges, and almonds.

One thing I definitely noticed was my increased energy.  I didn’t feel bogged down.  You’re eating more foods with low glycemic indices.  “Good” sugars are absorbed more slowly.  Another thing was my skin.  I looked healthy and had that glow.  If you experience skin problems, Paleo will eventually clear them up.

“Good things come to those who believe.  Better things come to those who are patient.  And the best things come to those who don’t give up.”

Problems with the Standard American Diet

The way we eat is leaving us feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and out of shape.  Why?

Most of the meals we eat are processed and include bread, grains, or pasta.  Grains make up a big portion of the food pyramid.  Once you start researching and delving into Paleo, you’ll learn that grains are one of the biggest culprits.  They are proven to mess up your gut.  They cause a lot of digestive problems and inflammation in many Americans.

Many people focus too much on counting calories.  With Paleo, calories don’t count.  Americans who count calories consume low-calorie, over processed foods with very little – if any – nutritional value.  This does not lead to a healthy lifestyle.

The average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day – more than double the recommended amount.  High sugar consumption leads to weight gain, but also hormonal and chemical changes.  Why would you want to do that to yourself?

It may seem like Paleo is pretty mundane and super restrictive, but it’s not.  There’s a lot of ways to get different flavors in – and I promise, you won’t even miss your favorite meal (you’ll just have to come up with a new, better way to make it!).  I dedicated a lot of time looking up Paleo versions of recipes of food that I loved before I was Paleo.  I’ll share some of those recipes with you in upcoming posts.

When you adopt the Paleo lifestyle, you get to taste new foods that may have been unfamiliar to you, you gain a greater appreciation for food, and you see the benefits of Paleo and the way it affects your body.

“If you keep going, you won’t regret it.  If you give up, you will.”

Stick to 30 Days!

When I first started my Paleo journey in 2013, it wasn’t as popular as it is now.  I researched everything I could.  I bought every book I could find.  Food shopping would take me hours – I was learning new foods and I was reading every single label!  Now, food shopping is much easier, plus, most of the food is fresh.  I was lucky enough to have someone in my life who gave me a lot of advice and guidance – Dr. Noah.  I have learned so much along the way.  Dr. Noah has a podcast on iTunes – you should all go SUBSCRIBE – Beyond Your Wildest Genes.

Transitioning to Paleo can be difficult.  You need to have support and the right tools.  I spent 30 days focusing on Paleo – learning, adapting, and starting to love it.  You should never deprive yourself, and there are ways to do everything Paleo-style, I promise.

Paleo refers to the way our ancestors used to eat in the Paleolithic era.  The modern American diet is our worst enemy (but of course, this differs from person to person).  You need to be eating whole, clean foods!  No more GMO, processed, junk food.  The whole foods have nutrients that our bodies need.  Paleo is a lifestyle, not a fad diet – so if you adapt and you stick to it – it works!  With Paleo you have to ditch grains, legumes, diary, sugar, and gluten – but in the end, it’s worth it.  I never missed any of it.

I recommend sticking to a 30 day diet strictly – and then modifying it to fit your lifestyle.  If you’re feeling good, you shouldn’t change a thing…but we are all wired differently.

“Just stick with it.  What seems hard now, will one day be your warm up.”

Back to the Basics

What is it that you’re looking for?  Weight loss, health improvements, or a happier lifestyle?  If you make sacrifices and you make Paleo part of your everyday life from here on out, you can accomplish these goals.  You need a simple plan to help get you started!  It takes 30 days.  If you follow the plan precisely – you’ll get what you want out of it.

In 2013, I discovered Paleo.  I was overweight, stressed out, and very unhappy…something needed to change.  Paleo itself changed me – mind, body, and soul – but spending the time to learn and evolve helped me even more.  I turned 30 in 2013 and I knew that then was the time.  I was dedicated.  I was so dedicated that I didn’t go out to eat or have any drinks for 30 days.  I stuck to the plan and I got results.  Over the course of a couple months I lost 43 lbs. and I wasn’t depriving myself of anything.  My palette changed and I ended up really enjoying the foods.  I felt good – I felt healthy.

Without the right tools, Paleo can be a daunting task.  The more you know the less intimidating it is.  Once you understand the principles behind Paleo and how you can apply them in your life and you will start your journey towards a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  Your transition to Paleo will be simplified.

“I’m starting over.  A new pattern of thoughts.  A new wave of emotions.
A new connection to the world.  A new belief system in myself.”

Total Eclipse of the Mind

Maybe it was the eclipse, maybe it’s just an actual good day…but today was a very productive day.

I cleaned my turtle tank (extra good), and gave Francois (the turtle) a scrub down – a turtle spa day, if you will.  I mopped the floors, did laundry (clothes, sheets, and towels!), FOLDED everything (and I hate folding), painted an old cabinet to put my plants in (because now I’m a crazy cat lady), cooked, put gas in my tank, did some boxing rounds, and put all the laundry away!!  Insane.  And, I started the day with a blog post.  WHAT?!  Who am I??  haha

Today, I ate a yogurt when I got to work.  I had eggs with spinach for lunch.  For dinner I made a mexican chicken stir fry.  I didn’t have my fitbit on, but I definitely killed it in steps today!  Woo.  I’m a little sore from boxing, but c’est la vie.  I’m feeling great.

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it.  It just blooms.”