Two months ago, I took the huge step of clearing my house of all grains, legumes, processed sugars, and processed/prepackaged foods. From now on, my family and I were going to eat only meats (including fish, fowl, and eggs), veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, herbs and spices. We were going Paleo. For most Americans, (especially us former vegetarians) this would be a huge and daunting task, but I felt like it was needed. We had become so use to grabbing a quick carb-loaded snack from the pantry and forgetting about the veggies in the fridge. Our daily intake was super high in grains (mostly processed) and very lacking in vegetables and digestible protein. I say ‘digestible’ because Toby and I have food allergies/sensitivities, and imagine we’ve probably passed these on to our kids. Toby and I are both sensitive to dairy, soy, and beans, which doesn’t leave much in the way of protein if you are vegetarian. I was vegetarian for almost 20 years and began eating meat during my pregnancy with Kaia. WOW! Did I feel good! My body had seriously been lacking in protein! Still, even after we added meat and eggs back to our diet, those made up a very small portion of it. The carbs led the way and with them came the frequent blood sugar roller coasters, anxiety, depression, temper tantrums, bowel issues, acne, weight ups and downs, PMS, bloating… (Obviously, the kids had the temper tantrums and I had the PMS…. OK, and the occasional tantrum). For many people symptoms run even deeper and they develop inflammatory and auto immune diseases, and more.
I saw and felt immediate changes, my energy was up and my moodiness was down, my blood sugar stabilized while I lost weight and inches. Really, I feel fabulous! I feel strong and healthy! I use to work out here or there occasionally, but I found that I needed a place to put all of my new found energy and decided to start doing workouts at home. This only increased the feelings of strength!
Since it was my decision to clean out the house and change my lifestyle, Toby and the kids can choose to eat as they please when they are out of the house. However, in the house we are strictly paleo. Nothing comes in that doesn’t fit into our new food pyramid and the whole family follows this lifestyle when we are at home. (Well, unless a certain Nana comes to visit and brings along tempting tasties. You know who you are!) But, I’ve found that I’m not tempted to eat any other way. I feel so nourished, and I don’t want to go back to the way I was. Our meals are nutrient dense and toxin free.
Now, I know many of you are saying “Oh, I could Never go without my morning toast!” or “I just LOVE muffins too much to give them up”. Well, here’s the kicker. I can still have toast and muffins, but I make them myself and I make them without grains. I use nuts, seeds, and coconut in most of my ‘bread’ recipes and love the results. That being said, I eat those bread-ish type of things much less than I use to.
I know I’ve not talked about the science behind paleo… I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the research and science behind the benefits of living the paleo lifestyle. (How the insulin and glucose are processed in the body from one type of food or another, the gastrointestinal inflammation caused by grains and legumes,…) But, there are many fabulous blogs and cookbooks out there to get you started if you are interested.
And this is just a short list! There is so much information out there and so many recipes! I felt like it was a pretty easy change because of all of this support.
So, what do I eat, you ask?
Well, breakfast usually consists of eggs (fried, scrambled, omelets, egg muffins…), sometimes pancakes/waffles (yes, without grain and usually with veggies shredded up and added in), sausage or bacon, muffins, or leftovers. Lunch varies greatly and often consists partly of leftovers. Dinner… well, for the next few weeks are dinners look like this: Tex/Mex Chicken and veggies, Biscuits and gravy with mashed ‘potatoes’ and green beans (yes, all without grains or dairy), Farmer’s Pie, egg salad sandwiches (with paleo bread), chicken and vegetable ‘lo mein’, mini-egg pizzas , lasagna (ok, this one does have cheese, but zucchini instead of noodles), red curry beef stew, gingered butternut squash soup and lots of carrots, broccoli, other veggies and salads. Yes, we eat well!! No, I don’t feel deprived!