Here’s a picture of my little Cait refusing to eat the yummy squash I was trying to feed her. But isn’t this kind of what we do when thinking about changing the way we eat?
It was about a year ago that Chris convinced me
kicking and screaming, to give up grains. I think my exact words when he suggested that we try this grain-free diet called “Paleo” were, “I don’t WANT to live like that! I want to enjoy my food, and I LOVE bread so what is the point in living if I cant ever eat the foods I like?” Okay maybe I didn’t say that last part, but that is kind of how I felt. It took me a few months to even consider it (and the fact that what I was doing was not melting away the extra 90+ lbs I’d gained along with our then 6 beautiful children, God bless them). I will just say, the first couple days of not eating grains was tough, but after that it’s really not that big of a deal, I honestly don’t miss bread, I don’t miss the pasta, I truly could care less about leaving the white potatoes and legumes off my plate. The sugar? Well, that’s another story, and I’m getting there but it’s definitely a bit harder. I say all of that to encourage you who are on the fence about trying this new lifestyle; it’s not nearly as hard as you think it will be, and I think that once you get into the grove of cooking this way, you will even love it!
Quite a few of my friends have asked the simple question, “if I wanted to ‘go Paleo’ what book would you recommend?” Here are my recommendations on a few books that will help you get started.
How To Book-
Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation: A step-by-step, gene reprogramming action plan is a great place to start. It’s an easy read, he’s got great information in there. Some great thoughts about exercise. I don’t subscribe to all the evolutionary thinking but what I do believe in is that we’ve come a LONG way from how God intended our bodies to operate!
By Julie and Charles Mayfield, Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen. I’ve purchased several grain-free cookbooks and so far I think this one is my favorite. But every one is unique and takes on the flavor of the author’s cooking style. This particular cookbook has a good variety and I think is a great place to start.
If you have small children-
I wish we had started eating this way when Aidan was a baby, but we didn’t. So even though we kind of have the philosophy, “I make the food, you eat it and don’t complain about it,” I’ve still had the question asked about the dinner I was preparing, “What are you making for dinner? Is it paleo?” And that wasn’t a compliment. This book is a great way to help get your kids on board, it’s really a lot of the same recipes that I’ve used but they can look through the book that they know is for kids, and pick out what they want to try, or help you make. Written by The Paleo Parents, Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids.
Can I afford to eat this way?
I look at it this way, all the money I used to spend on chips, bread, pasta, flour, sugar, candy, ice cream, etc., I take that money and I buy more meat, more veggies, a little almond meal, coconut flour, raw honey and coconut oil, and we make it work. I really don’t think I spend that much more on my food than we did before when we were eating the Standard American Diet, with a whole wheat twist. In short, if you make changes to what you’re bringing home, you can make it work! (FYI-coconut flour is more expensive than wheat flour, so if you try to sub out all the things you used to eat with a healthier option, you will probably both gain weight and bust your budget :)
What should I avoid?
I got this short list from marksdailyapple.com, (a great resource by the way!)
- Grains-even the gluten free ones
- Sugar (all kinds including natural sweeteners, expect for the occasional dark chocolate-70% cocoa or higher)
- Vegetable oils and Trans fats-corn oil, canola, sunflower…you get the idea.
- Junk food-chips and pop and candy, potato chips and the like.
- Fast food-if you don’t know how it’s prepared, you can almost guarantee that it’s cooked with some sort of garbage :)
What CAN I eat?!!!
- Eat animals, all of them, especially the ones that are wild caught or small farm raised. Grass fed is best but if you can’t afford it now don’t let that stop you from getting the junk out of your diet!
- Eat seafood, again especially the wild caught ones :)
- Go wild with the veggies, the only ones you really want to avoid are white potatoes but other than that, have a hay day! The key is to have variety, since they all carry different sources of vitamins and minerals so to have a good balance eat lots of different colors.
- Eat some nuts and seeds-don’t go too crazy here. I think it’s easy to snack on nuts but I’ve found that if I avoid snacking on nuts it’s a lot easier to lose weight :)
- Healthy fats and oils-ie. coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, palm oil, red palm oil, animal fats,
- Spices-having the right spices is a big deal. Processed foods cause our taste buds to throw a party, if we make these new foods and our taste buds think you just downed a piece of cardboard they just might throw a fit. ;) Stock up spices and have a party with your taste buds!
Will it work? Am I going to lose the weight?
Yep. I’ve tried lots of diets, and they’ve all been hard, frustrating, non-productive and leave me feeling shaky and hungry. This is a lifestyle it’s not a diet. Some people jump in with both feet, and some people do it slow. But lowering your carb intake, getting rid of the bad fats, dumping the sugary drinks down the drain, those are all things that over the long run are going to be SO very good for your health, and depending on how much you take out of your diet, you will start to lose the weight. I’ve lost about 30 lbs in the last year, and I have about 60 lbs to go (but I got pregnant with #7 two months after we started!) I’ve got a long way to go, but I finally know that I’m going to get there! I hope this helps those of you who have been wondering :)