So...it all started back in March. A coworker and friend of mine had been eating this way for some time, and she was telling me how positive her results had been and how much better she felt. I read the book Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson, and decided to give Primal Eating a try. The thought of eliminating grains and legumes terrified me. (Remember me, the girl who ate oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast every day, and would rather eat cereal than just about anything...any day.) I was also very nervous about increasing my fat intake, being as how I had been eating a low fat/no fat diet like the rest of America. I am not going to lie, I was afraid I was going to fail miserably, but just the opposite happened.
Along with the principles I had researched in deciding if this could work for me, there was another factor that I would be changing a great deal, my exercise. Previously I had been working out doing at least an hour of cardio a day, and three days a weeks doing weights for 45-60 minutes on top of that. Guess what? That routine was getting me nowhere. I wasn't seeing any changes. I was tired all the time, and always hungry. I decided to change up my exercise plan as well...3 days a week of 30-40 minute intervals, focusing on keeping up my intensity, REALLY busting it for that short stint of time. 3 days a week of circuit training with weights/plyometrics/intervals for 30-45 minutes. Again, working as hard as possible for that time period. Long story short, shorter workout stints, but more intense. Making the workouts worth it! Mentally, this change was probably the hardest part for me. BUT it made sense to me. I was training for the Utah Valley Marathon for part of the time, which threw off my plan a bit, but also made me excited to finish the endurance training and mix things up.
Part of the "Why" behind this way of eating just makes sense. You are getting rid of all of the processed crap that has infiltrated our diets in such a big way. By eating clean, you eliminate so much of the foods that don't do anything for us. Think of it more as filling your diet with good, whole foods instead of focusing on what you "can't" have. Many have questioned the elimination of whole grains.
The reasoning behind this principle is because of insulin regulation, and avoiding inflammation of the gut. I would also add in that so many people eat tons and TONS of empty calories via their bread/sugar/cracker/candy/processed snack addiction. The problem is, many of the "Whole grain" foods we are eating, aren't really even whole grains. Many of them are still very processed. The evolutionary process of what a whole grain is now, compared to what it was years ago is very different. Getting rid of the grains is difficult, but doable. You can read some more detailed information on why grains are removed from paleo eating HERE.
- It keeps me full. This aspect of it absolutely amazes me. I am eating good fats and protein that help to keep me full. I never feel ravenous like I used to.
- I am more intuitive about my eating. I never thought I would say this, but because I am not always hungry, I don't always feel like I have to eat. I pay attention to my hunger cues more.
- I don't count calories. I never thought I would ever say this, but it's true. I am pretty sure I could show you an online log of every single thing I have eaten for the past five years up until 6 months ago. It is crazy, but true.
- I have dropped ten pounds. Nuff said.
- I feel more condensed. I realize now that I don't eat grains and legumes that I no longer feel bloated or gross after I eat. When you are eating good foods, your body responds well.
- I am not a slave to my exercise routine. I used to mentally kick myself if I didn't get my 60-90 minutes of cardio in per day. Who wants to live like that? Not me.
- I have more energy. I love this part. I reaaallly do.
Sure, I miss cereal and oatmeal sometimes. I miss a good PB&J every now and then. BUT I LOVE how I feel. I know this has worked for me, (and for quite a few of my clients.) So, it is worth it to me.
Any questions? Comments? Arguments? Concerns? I'd love to hear them!