Paleo with a Twist

So it’s officially been only 2 weeks since I started the paleo challenge and let’s just say the challenge ended quite quickly though these 2 weeks were pretty tough. To start, for those of you that know my grandmother, she’s an awesome cook/baker!Well,I called her not to long ago, and my dearest grandma decided that she just had to fill me in on how much she misses our dinner nights (while I was at SU)..which I do too don’t get me wrong!. The best part of all though was how she misses making me dessert and felt the need to share that she made this incredible apple pie and crescent rolls and can’t believe I’m doing this paleo challenge. She proceeded to discuss the pie and crescent rolls for about another 20 min, how delicious it was, warm out of the oven, etc. (thanks grandma). Both of which are some of my favorite foods.

Then, with a flare up of IBS and other tummy issues earlier this week that left me nauseous and immobile, along with a craving for only applesauce, oatmeal (not paleo), ice cream (not paleo), and crackers (not paleo), I sort of broke the rules a bit. I mean seriously, do you really feel like meat and veggies when your sick?…I didn’t think so. With that being said, I’ve come to realize that while this experience has been eye opening, it’s just not practical for some people, such as myself. I can not physically consume the required meat servings, veggies, and fruit that are being asked of me daily. I miss my probiotic yogurt (which helps with my IBS) as well as my granola (paleo granola is just not cutting it). While I could live without the bread, crackers, processed JUNK, and cheese, as a future Dietitian, I see many benefits that outweigh the negative of eating dairy. Probiotics are essential for intestinal health and let’s be honest: yogurt is good for the waistline ladies. 

Another factor that has influenced my decision to do paleo with a twist, is the fact that’s it’s freaken fall, the time of the year when you can get cider donuts, PUMPKIN BEER, pumpkin spice lattes, and all sorts of delicious treats. Lucky for me I had a cider donut before paleo (hehe), but I REFUSE to say no to pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin beer. I actually went to a nice little restaurant and  known as MeadHall last weekend and enjoyed a few beers thank you very much. One of the things I love about Boston is there extensive beer selection (not that I was ever a huge beer drinker before, I typically prefer wine), but Boston has such a great variety of beers and while I could wait until November to have beer (since it’s not paleo), I think i’ll pass.

 

Now I appreciate all of those who have supported me and encouraged me to go paleo. My wonderful boyfriend still makes sure not to make me an english muffin in the morning with my omelette to respect the fact that I am trying to eat paleo, though I love that he’ll still let me sneak bites of his (as I pretend I didn’t have any)…and besides it’s not cheating if it’s not on MY plate right?

 

Anyways, to inform most of you who may be wondering, I AM NOT QUITTING THE PALEO CHALLENGE. I’m just doing “paleo with a twist.” What that is is I am still trying to focus on eating real foods, fresh food, and limit my Carb intake, but I am going to be a bit less strict when necessary. Does that mean I am going to eat a donut when I feel like it? NO! (not til the challenge is over..this is still a challenge people!) I need to show that I can truly challenge myself and stick to something that is difficult. It just means that I am going to allow myself to have healthy dairy and the occasional PB and granola bars. The cakes, pies, cupcakes, ice cream, chips, graham crackers still come after the challenge. This challenge has really shown me how much carbohydrate I really do eat (did you know peas, corn, and milk are a carb??) Well now you do! And that carb gets broken down into sugar! These foods are often seen as healthy and most people over-consume carb on a daily basis… i know I certainly was. I wasn’t eating enough vegetables or protein, and this challenge is really helping me to do so. It’s giving me way more energy than I’ve ever had and the correct nutrients to repair my muscles. 

Through working in the hospital setting, it’s been eye opening just how many people have Type 2 Diabetes. But, it’s no wonder with how much junk we put into our bodies. Most of us are unaware that peas, corn, milk, whole grains are all carb and all effect blood sugar. Let’s take a simple b fast of oatmeal and fruit and milk. oatmeal=2 carb, fruit 1 carb, milk 1 carb…that’s 4 carb right there!!=60 gram of carbohydrate! that’s a pretty sufficient amount for breakfast compared to the 30grams or less that are recommended A DAY with paleo. Therefore, to reiterate, while I may not stay below 30grams of carb a day, I am going to at least try to keep my carbohydrates below 80-100grams or stay as close to 30 as possible, hence allowing my body to turn into a fat burning machine :). 

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Week 1 Paleo

After effects of paleo pancake

 

So, I apologize for not entertaining you sooner, but working 14 hours a day doesn’t leave much time for such activities.I officially applaud myself for operating daily on only 5 hours a night (something I’ve never had to do). But, anyways, this week was my first week of paleo, and as some of you may know, day 1 SUCKED! IT IS VERY HARD TO EAT REAL FOOD. My body has apparently gotten accustomed to the processes ways of this world, and I felt so sick to my stomach eating solely veggies, nuts, fruits, and meat. I felt lightheaded, nauseous, and very fatigued. It was not a very fun day. It also requires much planning to eat paleo and creativity. I think my roommate got a kick out of my 10 baggies full of snacks and food that i packed for my first day of work at Milton Hospital. It was quite challenging to eat every few hours, but I managed to do it. However, day 1 left me still feeling quite unsatisfied and hungry by the end of the day.

Day 2: More successful and less so at the same time. Day 2 was a ton easier- I felt less hungry (but still very hungry!) I’m not sure why these fiber filled foods and protein aren’t quite filling me up, and it’s frustrating as I feel like I’m eating 10X more than I ever have. I still am having some tummy troubles, but I didn’t feel lightheaded nor as tired AND I had less cravings. For those of you who know me, I HAVE TO HAVE MY DESSERT, practically after every meal, but I’m finding i’m totally content without dessert these days and am adjusting nicely.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I am not an avid snacker, and I’m snacking constantly! It amazes me how hungry I’m getting. (let’s hope it’s that metabolism getting fired up, and not a lack of food at each meal).

Remember how I said with paleo it takes a lot of planning and creativity? Well, after chatting with my fellow crossfitters (who btw are racking up the points and kicking my butt at this challenge), I’ve discovered paleo pancakes! that’s right- PANCAKES! And they actually taste like pancakes, but better! So every night now before I go to bed, I’ve been making these paleo pancakes, which I highly suggest trying sometime. All it is is 1 egg, cinnamon, 1 mashed banana, blueberries, almond butter, and almond meal. So simple and delicious! This weekend I plan on trying out paleo bars and paleo muffins. I figure the more I can trick my mind into thinking I’m eating carbs, the better my body will behave. Next: Blueberry sweet potatoes: http://paleomg.com/blueberry-breakfast-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

I’m truly excited to be learning all this paleo stuff, and I’m just hoping the fatigue eventually ends, and I am able to stop feeling hungry all of the time. I’m loving being part of a community that is so supportive, and my fingers are still crossed that I start seeing some changes with my energy levels, body fat content, and overall strength 🙂 It’s certainly tough, but I’m trying to be as best prepared as possible! I think the biggest struggle right now for me is time and lack of creativity with recipes. I really have to plan my meals ahead (because who wants to prepare a meal when they get home at 930pm at night??)…especially an elaborate one.

If you’re going to embark on a paleo journey, I highly suggest researching recipes ahead of time and seeing if you have time for this.

I am doing this not only for my health, but also to better my performance, see how I change through the process, and to really challenge myself. It’s not a diet to lose weight, but to gain muscle and get stronger.

That’s all for now but stay tuned to continually read about my struggles and how I’m doing!

Love,

The paleo princess

Surviving Paleo 101

First off, let me just start by saying that the title of this blog (paleo Princess), was my boyfriend’s idea (no, but really it was!) And, I find it fitting. I’m sure during these 2 months of eating paleo I’ll be a little bit bitchy, a little bit sarcastic,  A LOT OF INSANE, and a huge complainer. You’re getting excited to follow my journey already aren’t ya? 😉

Anyways to fill those of you in, who are in the dark about paleo, a common crossfitters way of eating, paleo is “a nutritional diet, based upon the diet of the cavemen.” In simple terms, it’s lots of vegetables and meat, little fruit and starch, nuts/seeds, and no sugar. It’s based upon the idea that our bodies are most naturally  suited to digest this sort of diet, as opposed to the common processed diet of most Americans, resulting in optimal health and well-being. 

I decided to start this paleo challenge, after moving to Boston, for a number of reasons. (And for those of you shaking your head at me in disbelief and disagreement, keep reading, I’ll address you in a second). I’ve always been one to work hard, workout hard, and eat fairly nutritiously. I wholly believe in fresh food for the body, but I’m not one to turn down a good piece of dessert or a late night slice of pizza. I like to enjoy food as much as I enjoy life.

However, I’ve always struggled with my weight, my metabolism sucks (who else do you know that has to work out for 5 hours a day just so that I won’t wake up in the morning looking like an elephant?), and being a Dietetic Intern, starting Monday (the same day I start paleo), it seemed most appropriate to actually try to eat nutritiously for two whole months. 

I’m sure many of you are thinking “Oh paleo’s not nutritious!” there’s no whole grains and no dairy! oh my how dare they exclude those important food groups. And don’t get me wrong these have been my exact words for the past year directed towards many paleo advocates. And, as a nutrition major/soon to be professional, I do feel kind of hypocritical. Like I’m defying my own profession. Aren’t I supposed to be the one to tell my clients to eat everything in moderation? To eat all 5 food groups?

However, I’m sure I will get many clients, especially if I plan to go into sports dietetics, who eat paleo, and what better way to fully understand them, than to try the diet myself and experience the changes within my body (if any occur). 

But what about the food pyramid and nutrition?

I’d like to take this time to share some studies with you that were shared with me through Crossfit Southie.

1) “The USDA is always changing diet recommendations. In one of the first food pyramids, butter and lard were listed as necessary for daily intake. Science is always evolving and recommendations will change.” The food pyramid was recently just changed again btw to MYPLATE. 

Carbohydrates are an energy source- so we need them correct? And the paleo diet severely limits carbs. Well, yes if you are running long distances, I don’t suggest limiting your carb intake to the extent that paleo suggests. But,you can limit your carbs while increasing your consumption of fat and protein (think healthy fats!). 

Grains are beneficial because they reduce stroke risk, they provide fiber, and lower cholesterol to name a few. However, these same benefits can be accomplished with fruits and vegetables and you can still meet your nutrient requirements.

Dairy- According to the research I came across “researches from Yale found on a nation-by- national basis- people who consume the most calcium from milk have the weakest bones and the highest rates of osteoporosis.” Harvard as well followed a group of women and found that those that consumed the most calcium from dairy broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk.” All other factors aside- there could have been other reasons those women broke more bones, and I like my yogurt and soymilk! But You can get calcium from leafy vegetables as well.

 

Now I could go on and on about various studies, but I’d prefer not to since I’m not an expert and I really am doing this to challenge myself and see if I can. 

I will always be an advocate for eating everything (in moderation), but I would like to try eating real food for an extended period of time for once, no more chips and cookies (unless paleo) or processed junk, and truly tune into food and my body. I’ve seen remarkable changes in others just by eating paleo, so it’s time to see if it’s really paleo+hard work or some magic pill they’re taking!

So, I hope you continue to follow me and enjoy my struggles, accomplishments, and cravings, as I embark on this adventure.