So after being stuck in an unhealthy eating rut for some time now I have made the decision to start following a Paleo diet in an attempt to get back on track, and in the hope that it will allow me to start seeing better results from my training. I have also found that since I have re-introduced dairy to my diet my digestion has been awful and I am often feeling nauseous, bloated and sluggish. I think the fact that I have been consuming a fairly large amount of refined sugar is also not helping my digestive health be in tip top condition, so I am hopeful that taking things back to basics and cutting out some of these things may be the answer.
So what exactly does the Paleo diet consist of? It basically involves eating like a caveman would have. The idea is that the basic principles of a caveman diet is how our bodies are genetically designed to eat. I am not qualified to argue whether this is true or not but Paleo does seem to be a very ‘clean’ way of eating and I am keen to give it a try and see how it affects my body.
The foods that are on the Paleo menu;
- Grass fed meats
- Fresh fruit
- Low starch vegetables (lettuce, cabbage, green beans, cauliflower etc)
- Nuts (except peanuts)
- Healthy oils such as olive oil or coconut oil etc
Foods that Paleo’s avoid;
- Cereal grains (wheat, oats etc)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
- The typical ‘junk’ foods
This all seems a little restrictive when you are used to eating bread, porridge and dairy products on a daily basis but there are some pros aside from the potential health benefits. Firstly you don’t count calories when following a Paleo diet and there’s no set portion sizes so you basically just eat until you are full (could be dangerous) but because of the nature of the foods the idea is you aren’t going to get fat. Although the effects of eating a huge amount of green beans are definitely going to be different than if you eat a vast quantity of high calorie nuts obviously! The Paleo diet is generally high in protein which tends to make you feel fuller for longer, it also means I will no longer be supplementing my diet with whey protein or vegan pea protein but should still be getting adequate amounts of protein to repair/build muscle.
I am not going to lie I think that this could be a real challenge for me! Becoming a Paleo when you are a self confessed pizza and peanut butter addict is not going to be fun, but I am hoping that feeling healthier and seeing better results from my workouts could be the ultimate motivation to make me stick to it and I am sure I can find some Paleo acceptable alternatives. Despite starchy vegetables not being a part of the diet I will still be eating white potatoes aswell as sweet potatoes (yams) because I need my carbs and I am not looking to lose weight be following this regime, I just want to feel healthier and better in myself. The Paleo diet can also be expensive and unfortunately we do not have the shopping budget for me to start eating prime, grass fed meats so I may deviate off of plan a bit there too. So it’s more my version of Paleo, rather than super, strict Paleo living!
I will be doing some updates on how I am finding Paleo life (and whether I actually have the willpower to stick to it!) and I will also be researching some good recipes for sweet treats that still abide by the rules because I have such a sweet tooth! But for now I need to figure out some suitable Paleo breakfasts as I used to be a die hard porridge (oatmeal) gal! If anybody has any tips for going Paleo (and sticking to it) please let me know!