So, my box has started a post Mardi-Gras Paleo challenge. We're on day 6 and for me, Paleo flu has set in. I've gotten a ton of questions about Paleo, what it is, how to do it and how it works. Let me start out by saying I am neither a nutritionist nor a Paleo Expert, but I do the best I can, especially for this challenge because we've got partners and I wanna make damn sure my partner doesn't have to do any burpees on account of me!
So I'm gonna attempt to impart some knowledge about what I've learned about Paleo since learning about and implementing this awesome way of eating! In case you're confused about what the heck paleo is this is it: basically, you eat only the things that would have been available to humans in the Paleolithic Era. That's gonna be your basic meats, veggies, nuts, fruits, and seeds. It's going to exclude any grains, dairy, and processed foods. 1) You've got to plan. Planning your food is extremely important. You've got to prepare for different meals/snacks/events everyday. Part of our problem as a society is that the food that is bad for us is just so damn convenient! When I'm starving, the decision to stop at Chick-Fil-A just gets more and more easy to make. I try to plan out my meals for the week on Sunday before I make groceries so that I can have a pretty good idea of what I need to buy. It also helps me not go crazy crackers when I show up to the grocery and spend $10182 on food I won't get to eat. 2) If it can stay on your shelf/in your pantry for a week and not rot, chances are: it isn't good for you. Y'all, this one is important. Real food rots. Yes, its gross and it smells, but it's how you know it's legit. If your food rots, that means it isn't filled with chemicals to keep it from rotting. Which is good because Paleolithic humans didn't have chemicals to do that. This is also why it's so important to plan. You don't wanna overload on food and have it go to waste! 3) Cooking does not have to be an all day affair. I would be lying if I said I ever knew what I was doing when it comes to cooking. I kind of just make it up as I go along and hope it comes out okay. I have a few things that I'm pretty good at-steaming veggies, searing, frying, grilling-and go with that. Nothing I make takes more than 30 minutes. I usually try to multi-task: steam while I'm searing meat, etc. In the mornings before work, I usually make two full meals (breakfast and lunch) and 3-5 snacks and it takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes. 4) Don't cheat. I know how tempting it is (especially in the first 2 weeks) to want to have a cheat. I know for me, all I want to eat right now is a large pepperoni pizza, covered in rocky road ice cream, covered in cookies. BUT! I won't do it. Why? Because if I cheat, I'll have to restart my body's entire carb detox. I can also honestly say that I've never eaten anything that was a cheat that was "worth it". I never walked away from a big plate of pasta and said, "oh man, that was so worth the detox I'm gonna have to do or the shitty way I'm gonna feel tomorrow". So yeah, don't cheat 'n' shit. 5) This is not hard. A lot of people hear about Paleo or try it and just say, "I can't do this, it's too hard." Eating clean isn't hard. I totally stole this from The Whole 30 but when I read it, I felt like I had never read anything that made more sense: "Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black is. not. hard." Yes, you have to plan. Yes, you have to make conscious choice about what you put into your body. But shouldn't you be doing that anyway? Whether you're doing a challenge or you're changing your eating lifestyle, you have to look at it this way: this is what you're supposed to do and this is not hard. Just like anyone else, I go through "Paleo Flu" (the couple of weeks where your body just FREAKS out and is devoid of any energy because it's pissed that you're withholding carbs) and cravings. But I'm working really hard to do what's gonna be right for my body. Hope everybody's having a successful food/crossfit week so far!