Being a health nut has always been in my genes. I’ve grown up with two active parents who love to exercise and eat healthy. Naturally, I’ve learned from their example and have developed a love for working out and feeding my body what it needs/deserves. Staying fit was never an issue for me until I entered high school. I was so used to being able to eat whatever I wanted, simply because I could run it off after school at practice. After quitting sports, I soon realized I wouldn’t be able to eat seven pieces of pizza for dinner on a regular basis anymore (true story. I wish I was kidding….) Even more than my physical appearance, I began to struggle with how I felt emotionally and mentally.
High school is stressful. I’m constantly going from one activity to the next and I don’t get much sleep or down time. This year especially, I’ve realized how my diet plays a role in being the best version of myself. When I fed my body junk, I felt lethargic and was not being who I wanted to be.
As I mentioned before, I’ve always been fairly conscious of what I eat. Fruits and vegetables are a staple at my household, and I’ve never been much of a pop drinker. Yet when it comes to eating healthy, my fatal flaw is self control. If I decide to eat a cookie, there’s a 95% chance I’ll end up eating four. I just cannot control myself, especially when it comes to carbs and sugar.
It was frustrating to me. I exercised and worked SO hard, and it didn’t feel like I was seeing any changes! That’s why I decided to hit the books and do some research to find a lifestyle that would work best for me. Notice I said lifestyle, not diet. I consider eating vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and/or gluten free to be different lifestyles and ways of eating. Unfortunately, the word “diet” has developed a negative connotation. I knew I loved bacon too much to become a vegetarian, and appreciated certain aspects of the gluten-free approach, but needed something stricter to help me cut back on sugar. My body struggled to digest grains and certain dairy products, but after multiple allergy tests coming back as negative, I decided to take matters into my own hands. That’s what attracted me to the Paleo lifestyle.
In short, eating paleo is similar to what a caveman would have eaten hundreds of years ago. The approach is to feed your body what it needs while cutting out grains, dairy (I still eat cheese), sugar and other processed foods. Since going paleo back around Christmas (awful timing, I know, lol) I have felt better than I have in months!! I still exercise the same amount as I did before but feel less bloated and more energized.
It sounds a lot more challenging than what it is. I don’t have a difficult time finding something I can eat when I go out with friends or visit at someone’s house. A common misconception of the paleo lifestyle is that carbs are eliminated. Instead of consuming my carbs in processed breads and starches, I get them from vegetables like carrots and zucchini. There is no need to obsess over counting calories because you are only consuming what your body needs without taking in anything extra. There’s also the 85:15 rule which allows you to consume three non-paleo meals per week. Typically, I save my cheat meals for the weekend for when I want to indulge in movie theater popcorn or banoffee pie from Milkfloat (it tastes just as bomb as it looks)
Still not convinced? Here’s a sample of what I eat in a day:
Breakfast: One banana, egg white omelet with prosciutto, spinach, bell peppers, and mushrooms
Mid-morning snack: Small handful of almonds
Lunch: Grilled chicken with asparagus, grapes, one paleo chocolate almond butter cookie (see recipe here)
Afternoon snack: Apple, sugar snap peas
Dinner: Grass-fed hamburgers with lettuce wraps, carrots, strawberries
I also drink six liters of water every day!
I’m not trying to say that eating paleo is right for everyone, but it’s increased my awareness of how I take care of myself. One of the greatest blessings God has given us is a healthy body, and it’s important that we take care of this precious gift!!! I challenge all of you to try eating paleo for one week, or even just one day, and see if you notice a difference in yourself. I’ve helped you out by putting together some of my favorite recipes that I’ve tried so far:
Have a lovely week, friends! This is Paleo Paige, signing off (is that a thing now?)