Why I Went Paleo
Why I Went Paleo What It Means To Me
Back in the summer of 2017 I had recently been diagnosed with IBS and I was beginning to feel worse and worse. (Read more about that discovery here) I wasn't sleeping well, my stomach was always upset, I woke up feeling nauseous every morning, my acid reflux was out of control, and to top it off I had migraines more days than I didn't. I knew it all had to do with my gut health and what I was eating so I started to try the "Elimination Diet" or "FODMAP Diet" that most IBS suffers start with. I found it difficult for me because I didn't want to wait 6 months to really understand what I could and couldn't eat, I couldn't go 6 more months feeling this way.
Instead I became really aware of how I was feeling after I ate specific things. I kept a food log of everything I ate and everything I felt including times so try and narrow it down. One by one I started realizing that what, dairy, and processed sugar were 3 big ones for me. So I worked to eliminate them from my diet entirely. I was a little hard at first (because pizza, mac & cheese...am I right?) But even then I still had migraines, constipation, and I was overall in a bad mood...Like ALL the time. I knew what I was doing was helpful, but I needed more professional help.
That's when I started working with a professional nutritionist and trainer at Total Health and Fitness in Centerville, Utah. Working with them was an AMAZING investment in my health and wellness. They taught me how to meal prep so everything was in balance and I felt I was in control of my food sensitivities. (Learn how you can meal prep here!) If I was sick that week I could just look at my plan and narrow down what it was. Even then I felt like every week it was something new. One week it was tomatoes, then garlic, then onions, then chocolate (and the list goes on and on).
Around December I searched for Wheat Free and Dairy Free recipes on Pinterest and stumbled upon the Paleo Diet (or the Caveman diet). Basically it's a wheat free, dairy free, and sugar free diet ...or anything a caveman would've eaten. I was like great! Finally something I can use to search for recipes! My diet had a name to it and was a total blessing! I did have to make some adaptions, and like always I don't recommend sticking to it exactly. If you ever decide to give it a go no that it's not meant to be a short term thing for weight loss. If you're looking for lasting results - it needs to be a lifestyle change! When you tell yourself you "can't" have something and it becomes restrictive, you're likely to break it and fall right back in your normal eating habits. Think of it as choosing to respect your body by not putting in certain foods.
The transition wasn't easy, but I was already one step ahead of the game. Because eating things like wheat, dairy, and sugar made me really sick I had more motivation no to eat them LOL. But if this is something you want to adopt - do it slowly. Take foods out one at a time until you feel comfortable doing more. Doing it all at once can leave you feeling like you don't have any options - or stressing about every little ingredient all the time.
What is the Paleo lifestyle anyways?
You can find master lists everywhere of things you can and can't have when on the Paleo diet (or better the Paleo lifestyle). Of course you should alter this when needed and not be so focused on strictly following it. I DO NOT recommend this as a weight loss plan, rather a great idea if you're struggling with something similar to me and want to ensure you're eating only good things for your body.
Get a really detailed list of Paleo friendly and non friendly foods here.
What is Paleo to me?
There are some things that are considered "safe" foods with the Paleo diet that I still can't tolerate. And some things that are on the "no" list are still fine for me to have in small quantities from time to time. Here's a list of everything that I can't have; so if you're still felling sick with the Paleo diet consider pulling some of these out. Just really make sure you're listening to your body and treating it the way it needs.
- Wheat (Including breading, like breaded chicken nuggets - however I LOVE Chick-Fil-A's grilled nuggets!)
- Dairy (Including milk and cheese, I've been drinking almond milk for years and absolutely love it)
- Processed Sugar (I usually substitute honey in my recipes)
- Any overly processed snacks or meals (I'm picky about the processed foods I do buy, I prefer to cook things my self so I stay in control - but there are some brands like LaraBar that I trust for quick and easy snacks)
- Onions and Garlic (surprisingly the harder ones to avoid!)
- Tomatoes (they're the DEATH of me, I never realized how much of our food was tomato based until this experience)
- Red Meat (or any greasy meat really, this includes things like Steak and Hamburgers)
- Potatoes (I can do them occasionally in small quantities but not really)
- Corn (not very often and never more than 1/4 cup)
- Anything Fried (Oil KILLS me!)
- Carbonation of any kind (this hurts my stomach and acid reflux a lot)
- Bacon (too fatty)
- Raw Vegetables (Raw veggies are known to cause inflammation in your gut, it's best to have them cooked or steamed)
- Rice ( = DEATH)
- Sugary drinks like apple juice etc.
So yeah, it seems like a lot but by meal prepping and really being positive about it I'm able to keep my symptoms at bay. Plus my favorite supplements is the Plexus TriPlex. This helps feed good bacteria already in my good and weed out the bad bacteria. So even if I do cheat and decide to have a treat, I don't experience my symptoms like I used to. If you're interested in learning more about how Plexus changed my life feel free to reach out to me on social media or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! (Also contact me about how you can save money on Plexus!)
Why you should go Paleo too!
If you're like me with lots of digestive issues and eating in general makes you sick; you need to try it.
If you're feeling
Or like you're not seeing results with your regular diet and exercise, going Paleo might be enough of a break on your digestive system to really get things working properly.
Going Paleo for me isn't like being a vegan. There's no ethics debated about it - it's about you and you're overall health. If you've always wanted to eat "super healthy" but don't know where to start - Paleo is a great option! Wheat is terrible on our digestive system and honestly shouldn't be consumed as much as we eat it, so taking a break from it for a while (or forever) isn't a bad idea.
How to start the Paleo "Diet" (LIFESTYLE!)
1. Make the mental shift
DO NOT think of it as restrictions or a short term diet. You'll fail if you go in with this theory. Paleo is a big commitment and it means giving up a lot of good foods. But if you're in the right mind set and focused on your goals it makes it a lot better!
2. Set your personal goals
Why are you doing this? Is it simply to lose weight? To eat healthier? To clear up that acne? Whatever it is have that clear in your head.
3. Eliminate everything not Paleo friendly from your house
If you don't have sensitivities like I do it'll be hard for you not to snack on your roommate or significant others sugary treats! Try and get your household on board or design a special shelf or cabinet just for you!
4. Research before shopping
Know your safe foods, your substitutes (blog on that soon) and where to get them. It might mean getting familiar with your local Whole Foods or just your natural food isle at the grocery store. I always recommend reading up and shopping online with a grocery delivery service (Walmart has this service for free in most areas) so you can take your time and get exactly what you need without being stressed in the store. (Plus I hate grocery stores...)
5. Compile a Recipe Folder
I like to keep my recipes digital so I just create a recipe folder in my google drive. This way I can add notes and change things as I'm making them so I never forget. Follow me on Pinterest! I have a couple of great boards for recipes! (Like this one here!)
6. Start slow and don't give up
If you're committed to making a better life for yourself you want to stop slow. Maybe start taking out wheat. I eliminated it entirely from my diet for a while before trying like gluten free bread. Even some gluten free products are hard on my digestive system, so I wan't to give my body a break before introducing it. But you do you! Try eliminating one group a week and if you begin to feel better you'll love it enough to stick with it! But it takes a lot of mental focus, support from loved ones, and determination to get there. If you're like me, after doing this for a couple of months you won't even want wheat or dairy products, and when you do eat them they'll make you feel gross and sluggish (which is more motivation to stay Paleo!)
7. GET A GOOD PROBIOTIC!
In my case I was Paleo for about 6 months and seeing some results. I had less headaches, my bowel movements were better, my acne cleared up - but I still wasn't 100% and definitely had rough days. I had tried TONS of probiotics from my local health store and 90% of them didn't work, while 10% would work for a week and then stop. I was frustrated and throwing money down the drain. Until I found Plexus. Plexus focuses on gut health and gently cleansing the bad bacteria in your gut, planting good bacteria, and helps to feed the good bacteria it plants and that you already have in your digestive system. This helped me see more weight loss on the Paleo diet and overall better health. Going Paleo was the first step in getting my gut health in order - but Plexus is what took it to a whole new level and made me feel like a new person. Interested in Plexus? Feel free to reach out to me on social media or shoot me an email at email@example.com and we can chat about it more and see if it's something that might help you!