our changing outlook on what we eat.

Curiosity got the best of us. After much discussion with our well-versed Paleo/Whole30 friends, Jessie and Brian, we decided to give it a go for one week. No grains (rice, pasta, bread, quinoa), no peanuts, no beans,  no added sugar. One week. Approved items consisted of grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed butter, lots of veggies, some fruit, almonds/cashews, coconut milk, Larabars (in moderation, yay!), you get the idea. Protein, fiber, and (good) fat heavy diet.

I am no where near qualified to explain why this way of eating has become to popular or discussed. There are a million articles you can read (listed below). Brian blogged about his experience and it's a great summary. I found this article very interesting and informative. You can also read more information here. Also, definitely check out this video which really explains what's going on in your body.

My very, very, very basic summary would go something like this.
  • Grains are composed of carbohydrates, and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function –any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.
  • Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we’re used to eating, so less carbs isn’t an issue. When there is an absence of carbs (which is how we’re USED to operating), our body will take stored fat and burn THAT for energy in a process called ketogenesis.

Here's what one week of a Paleo/Whole30/Whole9 diet might look like. We were not super strict so take this for what it is. This isn't the Bible. Obviously.

Day 1 // eggs, bacon, black coffee, protein shake, salad, applesauce, larabar, spaghetti squash with meat sauce

Day 2 // coconut pancakes, coffee with coconut milk, smoothie (coconut milk, almond butter, protein powder, blueberries, strawberries), almonds, larabar, beef taco bowl

Day 3 // mocha espresso smoothie with coconut milk and protein powder, salad, larabar, coconut pancakes, chicken with sweet potato and broccoli, dark chocolate

Day 4 // mocha espresso smoothie with coconut milk and protein powder, Fadi's chicken kabobs and cauliflower, larabar, chicken & salad, applesauce, dark chocolate

My thoughts at this point...
When lunch time rolled around on Day 4, I'm ashamed to admit some tears were shed. I was exhausted, cranky, frustrated, deprived and starving. We'd eaten all the lunch stuff so I wasn't able to make lunch that morning and I was having a really hard time finding a place to get lunch that wasn't going to be another salad. I couldn't bear to eat another pile of lettuce, I just couldn't. Honestly, I just wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That's all. Or some greek yogurt with granola.

I then ventured to the office kitchen to fill up my water bottle only to find...donuts. Like honestly. I can could 4 or 5 times where someone brought bagels or donuts to the office since I've worked here. So it's very rare. And yet it had to be the day that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

I settled on Fadi's for a chicken kabob and cauliflower. No idea if it was approved because I don't know what they put on it but I didn't really care. When I opened the chicken, it was sitting on a lovely bed of fluffy rice. You know what? I took a bite. Yup. One amazingly gratifying and delicious bite of rice.

It wasn't just food that was making me upset at this point, I was just generally moody. If someone so much as looked at me the wrong way on Day 4, I would have burst into tears. Talk about unstable.

But my small group had planned to get together for dinner so off to Kelly's house I went. I used all my willpower to avoid the wine, cheese, crackers, and dessert. Instead, I filled up on chicken and salad. I survived. But I did go home and have a piece of dark chocolate and a bowl of applesauce.

Day 5 // mocha espresso smoothie with coconut milk and protein powder, Naked Green Machine smoothie, almond butter, pesto salmon with brussel sprouts and sweet potato, dark chocolate

Day 6 // mocha espresso smoothie with coconut milk and protein powder, pumpkin muffin, banana, eggs with bacon, cashews, chicken with sweet potato and broccoli, dark chocolate

Day 7 // mocha espresso smoothie with coconut milk and protein powder, pumpkin muffin, cashews, pineapple mango coconut water, paleo pizza (recipe to come), dark chocolate

In a somewhat symbolic way, C completed a triathlon on our "last day" of this diet. He finished the race feeling better than ever. Needlesstosay, he was jazzed about eating paleo and wants to do it foreverrrrrrrrr.

As you can imagine, it's take me a bit longer to adjust (confirmed by friends that it can take women longer to "feel the effects"). As much as I'm starting to see a change, I still miss pasta and cupcakes. Lunch is the hardest for me because that's when I would eat greek yogurt with granola or a PB&J. 

Ultimate Takeaway
  • We are more aware of what we're putting in our bodies. We read labels and check for added sugar (which, bummer, is in everything). 
  • We feel "leaner" and feel like we might have already lost a little weight. 
  • Energy levels are becoming more stable and sustained. 
  • Less snacking because each meal keeps us fuller, longer. 
  • Good fat is good and keeps you full! (butter, coconut oil, animal fat, cream, coconut milk, eggs)
  • There are a lot more things we can eat with a little planning ahead. 

Going Forward: C is obsessed and wants to go Paleo full time. Ultimately, I think we'll end up trying to make more of our meals Paleo Monday through Friday lunch. The weekends will be more lenient because, well, it's the weekend. Obviously, there are a million occasions where it's tough to choose a Paleo meal but I don't plan to obsess about it. 

We are by no means qualified to explain all the ins/outs of this kind of eating plan. We did a lot of research and read a lot of information. Check out some of the links below for more in depth explanations. 

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