If eating paleo is wrong, I don’t want to be right! When I am eating paleo, I feel incredible, sleep well, my skin glows, and my brain works properly. And I have so much more energy! I love eating this way because I never feel deprived. I don’t count carbs and calories because it’s not a diet, and I get all the veggies, fruits, carbs, fats and proteins that I want. I even eat sweet treats. I believe that if people eat paleo (whole, real, unprocessed foods sans processed sugar, dairy and grains) they will feel INCREDIBLE. But what got me here in the first place?
Six years ago, I had cancer in the front of my mind. My mom and aunt had passed away just a couple of years apart. They both fought breast cancer and won. Later, ovarian and uterine cancers reared their ugly heads- my mom battled and won again. Eventually, though, the monster came back and claimed both my mother’s and aunt’s lives. Their father died from prostate cancer when I was young, and my mom had the BRCA-2 gene. When my 29 year old sister was tested for the BRCA mutation, she ended up positive. Because of this, it prompted her to go in right away for a mammogram. Thank God she did. They found breast cancer in one of my sister’s breasts and she ended up having a double mastectomy as a 29 year old. Thankfully they caught it early and she didn’t need chemo or radiation.
All of those factors got me thinking- maybe I should be better at taking care of my body. I got curious. What feeds cancer? What halts it? I started looking into food.
What I found is that inflammation is bad for just about everything. Inflammation ruins joints, causes or exacerbates all kinds of auto immune disorders, and can cause eczema and acne.
Inflammation accelerates the development of wrinkles and causes lethargy, brain fog, and SO much more, including hair loss! But most importantly, inflammation fans the flame of cancer. A lot of things cause inflammation: pollution, stress, and sun are just a few. But the biggest cause of inflammation is what we eat- specifically, dairy, sugar, certain grains, and processed foods. This is what prompted me to look into paleo eating.
I found that eating paleo is anti inflammatory when done right, and it’s all about consuming real, whole foods- not processed- and lots of vegetables, fruits, good fats and proteins, all while staying away from the inflammation culprits.
IT’S JUST REAL FOOD.
You see, a paleo diet is not about going low carb or restricting yourself. It is simply about putting good things in your body and choosing the best foods that you can!
I heard it said before that our food is either a poison or a medicine- what will we choose? Paleo is not a diet, but instead a lifestyle. Oh and the food is GOOD!! Do I eat paleo 100% of the time? No. However, I do make wise choices most of the time, because I FEEL better when I do.
SIX YEARS IN…
After eating this way for six years, I don’t give myself rules to follow. Rather, I understand what makes me feel the best and I reach for those foods 80-90% of the time. And if I’m craving something that’s not paleo, I count the cost. Will it be worth breaking out and feeling a little crappy? If I’m in Chicago trying their regional specialty, or in Seattle at my long lost ice cream shop, YES, it’s worth it for something I cannot experience back home. But sometimes I think, nope, and I move on. That’s my food freedom!
While this all started as a way for me to reduce the chances of cancer, I found that I didn’t gain the weight that most 40 year olds do, and my skin looks better than it would, had I not started eating this way.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL LIFE CHANGE
Some people think that eating paleo is extreme, or hard. It’s actually not at all- unless you consider eating real whole foods an extreme measure! But here are some tips that helped me to make this a regular way of life.
1. START WITH A WHOLE30
This is where I think everyone who wants to go paleo should begin and this is why: A Whole30 will help you understand how YOUR body responds to certain foods, and it will make it possible for you to maintain a paleo lifestyle when you’re finished. Not based on rules, but based on the freedom to choose what exactly makes you feel your best. It also rids you of food habits and addictions which is imperative if you want to start eating paleo. Whole30 is a 30 day program where you strictly eat three meals a day, the first within an hour of waking, another for lunch and the final meal no later than 3 to 4 hours before bed. This removes the habit of snacking for emotional purposes. It also gets you in a nice rhythm that brings clarity of thought and better sleep. The whole30 is like a reset button where you incorporate certain foods afterwards for the purpose of seeing how certain ingredients affect YOU.
For me, as I incorporated things and took note, I realized that dairy made me break out and bloat, wheat and gluten caused brain fog and lethargy, and processed sugar made me feel like I got hit by a truck and made my skin look dull wrinkly. I found out that corn tortillas and fresh corn don’t bother me, but popcorn makes me feel torn up. I saw that rice is OK but makes me a bit sleepy, and that oatmeal is cool, outside of a little bloat. For you, this will be different, and that’s why the whole30 is so important. Once you’re finished incorporating different foods, you’re on your way to food freedom!
Tips for a successful whole30- Set it in your mind that you will not be cheating and plan ahead! Come on. You can do it. It’s just 30 days of your entire life. Buy the book “It Starts With Food” and read it. It will make the process easier on you! And know that you WILL have withdrawals a few days in because sugar is a powerful drug. Stick with it. You can do this!
2. DON’T MAKE IT COMPLICATED
Paleo eating is simply eating REAL whole foods. Don’t try to go low carb or deprive yourself. Just eat real food and call it a day. Heavy on the veggies, some protein, fat and good carbs from a sweet potato or other root veggies is going to make you feel amazing- and you’ll feel satisfied! Once you’re done with a whole30 you can absolutely go back to snacking and having sweet treats- it’s just that now, they will not have processed sugars and grains.
3. FOLLOW PALEO FOOD BLOGGERS
Once you’re used to eating paleo, you’ll realize you’re cooking a lot more. And you will definitely want some variety and inspiration! Some great follows are listed below:
And that is how and why I went paleo successfully and long term. I really believe that a paleo diet is sustainable because of the fact that you are not depriving yourself or setting yourself up with strict caloric or carb guidelines. Instead, you are simply living your life, eating real, whole foods. I hope you’re inspired to do this, for a long healthy, life… and to look and feel your best.
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