I mentioned a few weeks ago that Cameron and I had started to follow the Paleo Diet back in the beginning of February, so I thought I'd give y'all a little bit of an update on how everything is going so far. The Paleo Diet centers around eating healthy meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables and advises that you don't eat grains or dairy. (If you're curious to find out more about the science behind the diet, I highly suggest you read this book, it will explain things way better than I can!) Cam and I love carbs and dairy, and we realize that we're never going to completely eliminate these foods from our lives...nor would we want to. Our thinking is just that we travel and have special occasions often enough that we really want to save those foods for those times, and then try to follow the Paleo diet at home. So while we've definitely indulged over the past two months (including this weekend!) we have been pretty good about transforming our diet at home and have pretty much entirely eliminated grains and dairy from our pantry, fridge, and weekly meal plan.
I've lost about 15 pounds (from the weight I was at back in Jan/Feb, which was probably a little higher than normal due to the holidays slash baking all the time because we had just moved to Tahoe and I had nothing else to do!) and Cam has lost over 37 pounds! So yeah, I'd say things are going pretty well so far!
(Sidenote: Despite losing weight, I feel like neither one of us look super different. I'm 5'10'' and I feel like my weight sort of fluctuates and it's not as noticeable as might be if I were shorter, so even losing 15 lbs doesn't make a huge difference...and then Cam is 6'2'' and he's always been a bigger guy, so even having lost a significant amount of weight, it's not like he looks like a different person...that's what happens when you're tall!)
Our motivation for trying out this diet wasn't solely to lose weight (although that is a nice benefit!) but we really just wanted to improve our overall health, as we knew that we (like most Americans) were consuming way too much sugar. A few months ago when I was baking all the time, I'd literally go through a 5 lb bag of sugar every few weeks. Granted, we'd share the baked goods with Cam's coworkers, but a lot of the stuff I made was consumed by Cam and I, and it's kind of gross to think about just how much sugar we were putting in our bodies. So while we've definitely still indulged in sweet treats here and there over the past few months, it's turned into the exception not the rule, which is how I think it should be.
And the amazing part is we haven't really even been exercising all that much outside of walking Lola (which is somewhat of a workout around our house because the roads are so steep!) and skiing. (Much of the lack of exercise has been due to the fact that there is no good gym close by, it's been freezing here, and the roads are not really conducive to running...I'm hoping we'll find more opportunities to be active once the weather warms up though!) I think this really confirms what studies have shown about how eating healthy really has a much bigger impact on your body than exercise. Don't get me wrong, I think exercise and being active is an extremely important part of a healthy life. I'm just saying you can exercise all day long but if you're putting crap in your body you're most likely still going to look and feel like crap. You need to give your body the fuel it needs if you really want to be healthy, and there's just no way around that.
In my opinion, the best part of following the Paleo diet so far has been the dramatic increase in fruits and veggies that we consume now. We go to the store each weekend and literally fill our cart with fresh produce, and the best part is that we actually eat it all every week! We've always bought lots of fresh produce, but many weeks we wouldn't be able to get through it before it spoiled and we'd end up having to throw some of it out. Often that was the result of choosing to have an unhealthy snack like Ritz crackers and Nutella instead of the grapes or berries in the fridge, which would then mold and end up going in the trash. Even when I was trying to eat "healthier," many days I'd eat maybe one serving of veggies and one or two servings of fruit because I'd eat things like cereal with milk or yogurt with granola instead of that produce I had purchased. While those may not sound like the worst snacks in the world, removing grains and dairy from my diet has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and consume more fruits and vegetables. Now I probably eat 4-5 servings of vegetables and about 3 servings of fruit a day...and you know what? It feels great! Seriously, I feel a lot better now that I'm not constantly having that blood sugar crash that you get with carbs. I don't know how to describe it other than I just feel better.
I totally believe that diet is a personal thing; everyone is different and I think you need to do what's best for you and your body. I'm in no way trying to push my opinions on anyone or say that everyone should try this style of eating. I'm merely trying to share our experience because it's definitely had a positive impact on our lives. And it's not like it's rocket science or that the recent popularity of the Paleo diet is so radically different than anything else under the sun. It's common sense: Eat more real, unprocessed foods that come from the Earth and cut down on the sugary, processed foods that come from a package. That's pretty simple and intuitive. I personally have just found that by cutting out the grains and dairy it's opened up a lot of space in my diet for those fruits and veggies that I was neglecting before. And I think that's a great thing.
So where do we go from here?
Cam and I are planning on continuing to eat this way, as we're looking at this not just as a diet but as a lifestyle change. I think it's going to be even easier to keep incorporating all the fresh produce as we go into summer/farmer's market season. I'm planning on summer full of meals consisting of grilled meats, roasted veggies, and fresh fruits. Sure we'll still eat pasta, bread, and ice cream from time to time but it will continue to be sporadically and when we're out at a restaurant on vacation, not at home.
I'll be sure to keep you posted on our progress, and tomorrow I'll be sharing a few of my favorite "Paleo" recipes! See ya then! Xoxo