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.