Just this year, I was introduced to the Paleo Diet by a good friend. In addition to losing weight, she had noticed substantial improvement in her natural energy, her skin was clearing, and her hair and nails were growing healthier.
For those unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, it basically consists of eating the same diet that our Paleolithic ancestors followed. Lean grass-fed [free range] meats, organic fresh vegetables, fruits with their skin, and nuts. There is a bit of disagreement and contradiction regarding dairy, but most diet forums I’ve read recommend the total avoidance of milk and milk products, whereas some advocate dairy in its raw, unprocessed form.
In addition to dairy, the diet also prohibits the ingestion of grains [goodbye, whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, and corn!] as well as peanuts and other forms of legumes. Oh, and no soy.
No soy? But that’s in everything.
Yes. Soy is in almost everything. I truly feel bad for those people with soy allergies because, good God, soy is in practically everything in the grocery store except for raw fruits and veggies. It’s insane.
In August 2012, I decided to attempt the Paleo diet, impressed by my friend’s amazing results. Besides, the no-no list was short compared to the Atkins diet, right?
As amazing as this diet is – encouraging food in its natural state and avoiding processed crap – it is very difficult to maintain unless you can prepare the majority of your meals from scratch.
I followed the Paleo diet religiously from August 2012 until December 2012, dropping almost 12 pounds in the process. Yes, I was able to eat significantly more calories per day, coming close to 2,200-2,500 a day when you factored in the raw nuts I ate by the handful. However, purchasing only organic fruits, veggies, and meat was killing me at the grocery store [it was close to $175/week for myself alone] and I was having to prepare my breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
I did get into a good rhythm, learning to prepare certain things in large batches to store, but I still found myself in the kitchen a solid 10 hours per week to maintain the diet.
A few resources I came across that really made the Paleo diet much easier:
- http://www.paleOMG.com – hilarious blog and recipe lists
- http://www.paleoplan.com – great, step-by-step advice on getting started
- http://www.juliansbakery.com – a bakery in California that makes two types of Paleo bread [yes, bread!] and even macaroons!
Overall, this is a great diet plan for someone who can either:
a.) Afford to eat out at organic restaurants all the time .
b.) Has time to bargain-shop for organic/free-range products AND do all of their own cooking.
I can’t deny that I did lose weight, never felt hungry, and my skin improved dramatically as a result of this diet.
I fell off of the wagon over the holidays and have been unable to fully recommit to the program, primarily because I love Boca Burgers [soy & beans!] and cheese is as necessary to me as oxygen. While there are almond-milk cheese alternatives, nothing compares to the delicious flavor of a baked brie with crusty French bread.