Monday, October 18, 2010

Petite & Primal - Adopting a Paleo Lifestyle

I know, I know...It's been ages since I posted ANYTHING.  Unfortunately, I've been spending lots of hours and weekends working - not to mention finishing up my last semester in grad school.  But, the good news is that it means that I have something worthy of posting.  At least I hope.

So, what exactly is new?  Well, I finally decided to take the Paleo plunge.  Let me step back a little first and explain how I came to learn about the Paleo lifestyle.  I decided to check out my local Crossfit gym at the suggestion of my stylist.  He raved about this gym he just joined and from the sounds of it - it was RIGHT up my alley.  He talked about all kinds of exercises and how you compete with others as well as yourself.

I emailed Frisco Crossfit and came in for a free trial workout.  I was HOOKED!  It was incredibly challenging, but equally fun too!  I was given some handouts, one of them included information on the Paleo Diet.

My first impression of the diet made not only say no, but HELL NO!  It talked about eliminating all grains (I love my Ezekiel Bread and my oatmeal!!), legumes (¿que que? No beans?!) and dairy (not my beloved Greek Yogurt TOO!).  I read and re-read the material and just shook my head.  I was NOT going to give up some of my very favorite foods.  NOPE.  NOT GUH'NA D'IT!

The seed was planted.  I started researching about Paleo - articles, books, blogs.  I wanted to know WHY these items were eliminated.  As I read and educated myself, I deliberately started cutting back on those forbidden foods.  Instead of having yogurt daily I would have it every other day, or every 2-3 days.  I did the same with my Ezekiel bread.  Legumes were easier as I was too lazy to cook beans often.  I finally decided at the end of September that starting on October 1st that I would cut out the last of the grain (my oatmeal) and dairy (no more half-n-half in my coffee or Greek yogurt for snacks).

Here I am, 2 weeks later and what can I say so far?  I LOVE it!  By far the biggest benefit for me has been that my insatiable hunger has finally been put in check!  Those of you that know me personally KNOW how I would just be STARVING all the time.  I could eat and eat, but just not feel full.  Now I can eat a good meal and not feel deprived.  It's such a wonderful feeling!

I know what some of you are thinking - because whenever I explain what I CAN'T eat, the most common response is **GASP!** What CAN you eat?!

Paleo Approved List:
  • Lean Meats & Eggs (grass-fed beef, poultry, pork, fish, shellfish)
  • Veggies (except white potatoes & other starchy veggies - exception is yam or sweet potato in your post-workout meal)
  • Fruits (berries preferred - with the caveat that if weightloss is your goal, keep fruit intake low)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, macademia nuts - NO peanuts, they are a legume. Same caveat as fruit, if weightloss is your goal, keep nut intake low as they are calorically dense)
There you go!  See, how difficult is that?

Ok, some of you need examples, so here are some of my meals:

Breakfast (PreWorkout)
  • 2 servings of egg whites
  • chopped onions
  • 1 serving organic salsa or guacamole
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk (add espresso or coffee)
Snack 1 (PostWorkout)
  • 2 eggs (preferably omega-3)
  • 2 servings of egg whites
  • chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms
  • 2-4 slices of bacon (organic/nitrite free)  - OR if I'm having higher carbs 2-3oz sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk (add espresso or coffee)
  • 6oz grass-fed ground beef
  • chopped onions, peppers
  • 2oz baby spinach 
  • 3-4oz avocado
  • 2-3oz spaghetti squash or 4-5oz zucchini
Snack 2
  • 5-6oz chicken breast - sometimes topped w/almonds, garlic, lemon
  • 3-4oz asparagus
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk (add espresso or coffee)
  • 2oz baby spinach
  • 3oz tomatoes
  • 4-5oz salmon - topped w/dill OR if I have Mahi-Mahi or Tilapia, topped with shredded coconut
  • 2oz baby spinach 
  • 3-4oz avocado
  • 2-3oz spaghetti squash or 4-5oz zucchini (depends on my calories so far).
Snack 3 (depending on my calories so far)
    • 1/2 ounce walnuts
    • 1/4 serving 100% cacao (dark chocolate)
    • 1/3 serving shredded coconut
    As you can see, I eat 5-6 times per day and I eat well!  The above is just an example of what a typical day may look like.  Yes, it means cooking!  Another wonderful benefit to this lifestyle is that I've learned how to cook so much better (at least no one's complained too much).

    My plan is to provide progress updates (more frequent posts I promise!) and post great recipes that I either find or develop myself.  I'll also post separately the logic behind the Paleo lifestyle as there is lots of information to cover.

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