I’ve always been the odd one at family gatherings. The one who didn’t eat collard greens (oh, how that has changed), the one who didn’t eat meat (at least not for 13 years), the one who passed on the cake. It’s hard not to get scrutinized at large events. Now that I’m eating strict Paleo again, thanks to The Whole30, the scrutiny is in full effect.
Passing on meat or cake is one thing, but when you’re passing on grain, all sugars, legumes and dairy, people notice. . .
First come the looks, then the questions and then THE question – “So, what CAN you eat?” (usually preceded by – Oh my God, I could NEVER do that!)
Back in January/February I did a Paleo Challenge with my friends over at CFDV. For seven weeks I cut all grains (yes, even whole grains), sugar, alcohol, dairy and legumes (even soy and peanut butter) from my diet. The goal, well I’m not sure what my goal was originally. Perhaps I needed a post-holiday hard core clean up, or maybe I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. That, and I didn’t want to be left out. After all, all the cool kids were doing it. Whatever my motivation, I ended up losing 15 pounds and a bunch of inches.
People choose a strict Paleo route for a variety of reasons. The Paleo Diet has been credited with helping people improve their workout performance (the more work you can do, the more calories you burn, the better your body will look and fell), lose weight and increase their energy levels. For some people, Paleo is the answer to their nagging food allergies or sensitivities. A few weeks without gluten or dairy, and the headaches, skin problems and bloat are gone.
I don’t have food allergies. I can consume gluten and dairy with the best of them, and I’m thankful for it; a girl needs her pizza and ice cream once in a while. What I do like is the way that eating strict Paleo makes me feel. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. I do have more energy, but in addition to that, I just feel better in my skin. My body feels and looks tighter – at least to me. Eating strict Paleo also forces me to be a more creative cook. I try new recipes and cooking becomes fun.
After the original Challenge I maintained my Paleo lifestyle about 75% of the time. Weekends, when treated myself to desserts, alcohol and pasta, were a different story. Then, over the summer I fell off the Paleo wagon – face first. I needed to do something major to get back on track. Luckily I found The Whole30, 3.0 (30 days of strict Paleo eating). Even better, Lynn, my rockin’ assistant, has joined me in The Whole30.
But back to the question at hand. What CAN I eat? Well, lots of things. Here’s a partial list of this week’s intake:
- Baked eggs with vegetables and chicken sausage
- Omelet with smoked salmon and shallots
- Sauteed peppers and onions
- Salads with tuna or chicken
- Sardine fillets
- Homemade mayo (this was a big fail in terms of consistency, but still usable)
- Acorn squash
- Salmon with avocado sauce
- Chicken breast with mango salsa
- Chicken w/ “Sunshine Sauce” (Thai satay sauce made with sunflower seed butter)
- Greens – collards, beet, turnip and mustard
- Swiss Chard
- Roasted broccoli
- Spaghetti squash with ground turkey sauce
- Fruit – oranges, Blackberries, grapes, bananas
- Almond butter
- Macadamia nuts
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato “fries”
- Coffee with coconut milk
- Chocolate tea
Again, this is just a partial list and based on my tastes, but it sure looks like a lot of food to me. Considering that most people eat the same 20 foods day in/day out, week in/week out, I’d say I’m doing pretty well in the variety department.
I’m on day 18 of The Whole30. There’s no food that I miss, although on day 5 I did leave a party early when they brought out the cake from Clay’s Bakery. I can resist cake but this was Clay’s!
I’ll keep you posted on my last 12 days and the holiday season Paleo style.