Oct 3, 2014:

4 foot 11 &  3/4 inches
128 lbs.

Goal: 120 lbs., improved skin, more energy, attempt to fight genetics

Most of my close friends know that for the past few years, I have been “eating Paleo.” It’s been before Paleo became the latest fad “diet” or “eating lifestyle.” Before it’s current 15 Minutes of Fame, it’s been a way of eating primarily known among climbers and lean athletes who need to feed their body healthy things so they can continue to operate and perform at their best.

In 2008, in an effort to trim down for my best friend’s wedding, I followed an eating plan that had me go from eating cereal for breakfast and pasta for lunch and dinner to eggs/cheese on whole grain english muffins or yogurt/fruit/granola for breakfast and chicken and veggies for lunch and dinner. I lost weight and felt great. I was also in the midst of starting the Bremerton Farmers Market and learned about eating better quality vegetables, fruits and meats.

In 2011, through climbing friends, I heard about Paleo and was interested in changing my eating habits again. I like a challenge and I love to cook so this seemed like it would be fun.

Within a few months, while I’d only lost about 5-7 lbs, people complimented me on looking great. I noticed I felt better too when I ate “clean.”

So, I think there’s something to be said for this “fad.” In an effort to get back on the Paleo wagon, I’m starting the latest eating plan through Whole30 – basically, eat strict Paleo for 30 days, no cheating whatsoever.

So, what exactly is Whole30 and Paleo and what are my goals?

Story: My friend Don walked into my disaster of a kitchen on the evening of Day 1 as I was whisking away a bowl of spices, olive oil and chopped cilantro for a Moroccan dipping sauce/dressing. Next to me was a dirty crock pot from the Italian pork roast, a food processor bowl with leftovers from the “Sunshine Sauce” (a paleo version of soy sauce, dear god SO MUCH BETTER THAN SOY SAUCE), and my dinner consisting of broccoli dipped in the Sunshine Sauce and a bowl of cold pork roast.

Because it’s Don (one of my dearest friends here in the PNW), I didn’t apologize for my mess and just looked up and said, “Doing Paleo.”

He said, “OK, what does that mean exactly? You talk about it but I don’t get it.”

So, here’s my elevator speech:

Paleo means eating just meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. No bread, legumes or dairy. On Whole30, it means no sugars whatsoever for 30 days. I’m bored with my usual eggs/chicken/veggies and wanted to try some new recipes. I’m viewing this as a “Paleo Cleanse.”

Also, paleo refers to the way our Paleolithic ancestors ate and followed a similar diet – meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, whatever was available.

(Yes, I know, tea and coffee and today’s fruits weren’t eaten by our ancestors and this “diet” is ripe for ridicule. But come on – the whole point is to eat healthier. In our day and age of obese children, skyrocketing healthcare costs and corporate marketing selling us processed crap that our sheep mentality has managed to accept as “food”, everyone could stand some healthier eating habits. And people apparently need labels, so “Paleo” it is. This may result in another blog post regarding eating seasonally, farmers markets and food co-ops and how it’s absolutely reasonable for EVERYONE to eat this way. You’ve been warned).

I’ve noticed since I’ve been eating mostly clean the past few years, when I DO eat bread, legumes or dairy, I feel a definite change in my body. Rice, beans and lentils have never agreed with me. Bread is just instant gratification at first but then I feel gross afterward. As for dairy, I won’t deny, I LOVE CHEESE. I LOVE MILK. I used to drink a gallon a week as a kid. I LOVE cream cheese and taco dips and smearing creamy savory things onto crackers. But I’ve noticed how I feel after eating all those things and it’s not always good.

Example: Last week, I was doing really well eating clean, with eggs/veggies in the a.m. and huge filling salads for lunch and dinner.  Then I got my favorite ice cream and had some for dessert after dinner, ironically while planning my first week of Whole30. Sure enough within 30 minutes, I felt blah and sluggish and felt like I’d put on five pounds. All the more reason to cleanse the system.

So, pretty simple, really.

Trying to convince The Boyfriend is another story though. He’s a flatlander who just moved from the East Coast and grew up on starches and meat and processed foods. My meals with him the past four months have consisted regularly of sausage and veggies and some carb (rice, pasta), his amazing potato soup, amazing hash brown/cheese/egg burritos and frozen Reese’s Cups for dessert. And beer… introducing him to our local craft beers.

I ain’t complainin’ – it’s been good eatin’ the past few months. But oy, I’m feeling it.

After I explained what Paleo is, he had some choice words about it. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, oh well. He’ll miss out on some pretty spectacular meals. Like that Italian pork roast. Herbs de Provence-roasted yams. Coconut curry and beef.

But I THINK he’ll be supportive. On Thursday morning, he made my breakfast and said, “Oh, you’re starting Paleo! No cheese for you!” And I was grateful.

And tonight, I’m going to cook some type of meat, steam green beans and make a baked potato for him and a yam for me. I think it will work. And if this means cooking more for him, that’s fine. He’s been generously feeding me on a grad school student budget and I think it’s time for some reciprocation.

So, the final bit:

The “inspirational” emails I have for each day from the Whole30 plan (Thanks T2!) include writing down my goals and motivations:

  • I hope to lose some weight – I’m topping out at the heaviest I’ve ever been for the second time in my life, plus I turned 35 this year, so my metabolism came to a screeching halt at the same time I had to cutback on my workouts due to injuries.
  • With the results I’ve read from other people, I hope my skin clears up and my foggy mind clears up too.
  • I’m bored with my usual eating routine, so I hope this adds some easy new recipes to my palate.
  • My genetics have me predisposed to heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol (which I’ve had since checking it regularly since I was 18). After I went Paleo for a year in 2011, my doctor reported that my cholesterol was finally in a healthy state. So, there’s a good reason right there.

SO….here goes.