Eating Like a Cavewoman by Maureen McHugh
If we went out to eat together, you might look at my order and think, "What is she eating?" The answer? I'm eating like a cavewoman.
Named for the paleolithic era of time, the basic premise of the Paleo diet is that if cavemen didn't eat it, then I shouldn't eat it (though protein powder is a notable exception). The rules are simple, the application challenging:
1. Lots of meat, seafood and vegetables. I'm not kidding, LOTS of meat, seafood and vegetables.
2. Nuts and seeds for snacks.
3. Fruit very occasionally.
4. Limit the starches. That means eating hamburgers with no bun – wrap those patties in lettuce and hold the cheese.
5. Change your milk to unsweetened coconut milk.
6. Saute your breakfast kale in coconut oil.
7. Keep a stick of ostrich jerky in your purse.
8. Make friends with sweet potatoes.
9. Eat more eggs than you ever thought possible.
10. Sugar is the devil.
11. Put down that beer.
Like most local Paleos, I drank the Kool-Aid and became a convert at CROSSFIT gym. Based on the premise that 80% of results are achieved through nutrition, CROSSFIT encourages all clients to keep a food log. After grueling workouts flipping tractor tires and doing hand stand push ups, I have to sit and watch as Coach Jessica Sharratt-Stephen goes through my food diary with a red pen. Leftover slice of cold pizza for breakfast? Handful of Goldfish? One and a half Tiff's Treats cookies? Sharratt-Stephen doesn't care that I was only eating those cookies because a patient at the hospital gave them to me out of gratitude, she'd slap them out of my hand if she saw this happen in person. Then she's make me do 10 Burpee's.
I thought I was a good eater. I was initially resistant to the idea that I was not achieving results (more weight loss, even lower body fat) because of my diet. It's not like I eat whatever I want; I can hardly recall a recent time I sat in a restaurant and didn't order something that I considered "healthy." I only had "one" piece of bread from the bread basket. I only had "a couple bites" of the rice and beans on the side of my tortilla-less Migas. Just as it was a "tiny" slice of cold pizza for breakfast, it was a "small" handful of Goldfish, it was "only" one and a half Tiff's Treats cookies, not two. All these little tiny decisions were making my booty not so little and tiny.
CROSSFIT three times a week for two years made me strong, but changing my diet finally got me lean. I started slowly – designating two nights a week as bread and pasta free, bringing Paleo meals to work for lunch, ordering my breakfast tacos at without tortillas – and have evolved into 80% Paleo committed. That means only three cheat meals each week. I know what you're thinking: Taco Deli without tortillas sounds like a crime, Hopdoddy's without a bun sounds insane, but it honestly tastes the same. I don't know what feels better – the improved energy and digestion, or the compliments.
Coach Sharratt-Stephen explains, "When eating on the Paleo lifestyle we like to stick to a 90/10 or 80/20 rule. 80-90% of the time eat Paleo approved foods and 10-20% of the time indulge in those modern day delicious treats to keep yourself from feeling deprived and enjoy life without sabotaging the benefits of your clean eating."
Basically, be good most of the time and let treats be treats. Give this clean diet a try by picking up a designated Paleo meal at Snap Kitchen – you'll know them by the illustrated caveman sticker affixed to the lid. Or try one of the recipes featured on paleoplan.com or thelabelsayspaleo.com food blogs.
Coming soon: what to expect from a 100% Paleo "Strength and Beauty" challenge.
Image courtesy of Pinterest