Going Paleo(ish)

When in Rome, do as the Romans do….Right?  We’ve all heard that statement before but it’s one of those universally (ok, at least in America) recognized phrases that applies to just about anything.  Right now for me, my “Rome” is CrossFit and the Romans are….wait for it….CrossFitters. You totally didn’t see that coming, did you?

Janice

One handed rope climbs? I will not be doing like this Roman crossfitter anytime soon.
This is my instructor Janice. She’s a total beast – even with a broken hand/arm.

During this month, I really want to embrace the whole CrossFit experience, not just bits and pieces of it.  Afterall, how can I know if I really like or dislike something without having given it a fair shot.  A big part of the CrossFit lifestyle is the way that they eat. Paleolithic style or Paleo for short.  Now, I realize that not every CFer follows a Paleo diet, but it seems like most do. So when my CF instructor challenged us to reduce (not eliminate) our dairy and grain intake, I accepted. I dig challenges.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Paleo, the short and sweet definition is that  it’s basically caveman type eating.

the-paleo-diet11source

Think primal, hunter-gatherer type stuff.  Meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and BACON.  Oh wait, bacon’s not a food group… Whatever, it should be.  The graphic below gives you a pretty good idea about Paleo.

paleo

We all know that I eat clean, so getting rid of the processed stuff isn’t a huge deal for me.  But what you don’t know is that a HUGE part of my clean diet consists of the first three bullets on the “don’t eat list.” I typically eat anywhere from 3-5 servings of dairy a day, 4-6 servings of grains (cereal, pasta, brown rice), and at least 1 serving of legumes a day. I don’t really eat a lot of meat….until now. *gulp*

So where the Paleo(ish) comes into play? A bit of background first for context.  In the past, I have had the tendency to go off the deep end with my eating habits, unfortunately, in an unhealthy way.  I’ve learned if I put food on the restricted list, it almost instantly becomes an enemy.  Something I can’t have or shouldn’t have because it will “hurt” me.  It can make me feel like I’m back into a corner. I get anxiety if I eat restricted food, or, even worse, to avoid anxiety in the past, I just wouldn’t eat. {side note: My not eating didn’t have anything to do with weight loss.  It was completely because I didn’t want to put “bad” food into me.}

That mindset is completely, totally, 100% unhealthy.  But I know this about me and that I have a tendency to think that way so in an effort to avoid potentially leading myself down that path, I am going Paleo(ish).  I am not outlawing dairy, grains and legumes.  Instead, what I’m committing to is allowing myself one serving of each per day.  I am going to try to not eat them at all, but if I do, I know that they aren’t “bad” and I haven’t done anything wrong by eating them. No guilt, no shame.  Just a happy and healthy Gina.

Life is all about finding the right balance that works for you.  I’m not convinced Paleo is the most healthy lifestyle but I’m going to give it a chance.  I really need to research it and I know there are a ton of great reads on the market right now like It Starts With Food.

ISWF-Cover-Header-Food4

I started my Paleo(ish) journey 1 1/2 weeks ago and so far I have had no problems.  At first I was a bit sad every time I opened my fridge and was greeted by my organic milk and plethora of Chobani flavors but after a week, I’ve really gotten the hang of it.  I think the transition was a bit easier for me since I eat clean.  I didn’t have to worry about sugar withdrawals or anything like that.

I’m excited to see how the rest of the month plays out.  The thing I’m looking forward to most is seeing how the increase in protein effects my muscles.  However, in my heart I know that once May hits, I’ll return to clean eating.  A different form of clean eating though, I don’t see myself reintroducing a ton of dairy and grains back into my diet.  Now beans, I’ll be bringing those back with a vengeance.  I love ’em! Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat…. (HA, I know you just finished that sentence in your head.  You’re welcome.)

Question:  Have you ever gone Paleo? Did you stick with it or reintroduce some of the restricted foods back into your life?

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28 thoughts on “Going Paleo(ish)

  1. I’m partially paleo! I haven’t taken the dive just yet with a T1 hubby (gotta have some sugars around for emergencies) but do like being aware of my eating moreso when I’m out to try the best I can! You’ve got it girl, you’re like a clean eating machine – not like a washing machine – but you get my point 😉

    • Not like a washing machine – bahahahahaha!! I’m definitely going to give Paleo a good go this month. However, I learned the hard way that I need to do a bit more research into fueling my runs with Paleo. Had to cut this morning’s 10 miler a bit short. =/

  2. I have wanted to try paleo but I am not a meat eater. I eat seafood only. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey. I eat the first few things on the Don’t List as well. I’m going to make modifications to my diet and see how that goes. Good luck!

  3. I am so with you on the diet thing! Wow. I know the anxiety and fears of putting “bad” in your body. Ive battled it for a long time! I know that restriction makes me nuts too! I eat sort of paleoish already, but theres no way id give up my chobani and my oatmeal!!!! Im glad to be able to relate so well to your words!! I cant wait to c how u do w this! We need to chat more! Xxoo

    • I wish we lived closer Jenna, you are such a kindred spirit. (And I could totally give my stock of Cho to you. I wasn’t thinking I’d go Paleo when I stocked up on it – whoops.)

  4. I’ve heard so much about the Paleo diet. The other day I saw an article titled “Paleo debunked”, although I didn’t read it. But I know there are pros and cons of every diet. I’m the same way, if something says I can’t eat it, that’s all I crave!
    Well, I’ll be interested in seeing how you do! And I totally finished that sentence in my head. Haha!

    • There are definitely pros and cons to every lifestyle. In my heart I don’t feel Paleo is the most balanced but I haven’t done my research so I probably shouldn’t make that statement.

      Glad to know you finished that sentence! 😉

  5. Wow this is really interesting. I personally know I need a lot of carbs for all the cardio I do but I know it really does work for some people. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up loving the paleo lifestyle?

    • Apparently I need to so some more research into fueling runs the Paleo way. Went out for 10 miles this morning and had to cut it short at 8.75; not enough fuel in the tank. We’ll see what happens over the next two(ish) week. 🙂

  6. Sounds Great! I’m on Day 12 of the Whole30 challenge and have never felt better. I realized that I am relying a bit too much on dried figs, which I never ate before. I never used to eat much fruit, so this is different. I’m still working some things out, but I like this lifestyle. I’ve always had stomach issues, so I chose to do this in an attempt to find the culprit food or food group that causes my pain. Good luck! I’m also reading that book 🙂

  7. I guess you never know until you give it a try. I’m excited to see how it goes for you. As someone who is diabetic, I lean towards a more high protein and fat diet and less carbohydrate but I’m by no means paleo.

  8. I think it’s great you’re embracing crossfit to the fullest and trying out this new way of eating!! I felt a little sad when I first went vegan and stopped eating cheese, but overall I am much happier without it! I’m glad you’re keeping a positive mindset about it all too! You’re awesome, and I can’t wait to see your transformations both inside and out..(not that you need them!)

    • I bet going vegan was a huge change for you! Oddly enough, until this temporary switch to Paleo, I’ve been highly considering cutting out all meat from my diet. I can’t think about what I’m eating; it tends to make me feel terribly guilty.

  9. Love that you jumped in head first, Gina! I like your honesty about your relationship with food, and it makes sense. HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend that you read “It Starts with Food.” It changed my mentality, though also changed the way I look at whole grains.. However, i still let myself indulge on the weekends if I want and not think I am ruining my life and my training if I do.
    It’s a balance.

    • I definitely need to read that book. I’m a total book person and need to know the reasoning behind stuff so it’s really unlike me to just jump into something so drastic without doing my homework. I think I underestimate how different Paleo is from clean eating. Love that you’ve found the right balance for you!

  10. Gina, I love that you’re taking the Paleo concept and making it work for you, your lifestyle, and your fitness goals. I’m similar when it comes to food: as soon as something gets put on the “naughty list,” then it starts to stress me out–and I want to eat a ton of it! The Paleo emphasis on eating whole, unprocessed food is great, but I wouldn’t be able to totally cut out Greek yogurt and black beans. 😉

    • Right?! Why does it become so desirable when we can’t have it? I’m definitely going to give this Paleo thing a good go and hopefully I’ll grow some muscles because of it. 😉

  11. I tend to go through stages where I’ll have months that I’m more paleo than others. Lately has been a “not so good” stage, but for the most part, my offenders are peanut butter, yogurt, and pasta/rice/beans. I really do think that the diet goes well with the crossfit exercise – most people seem to see the most progress by eating so lean. I know that for long runs or longer intense workouts, I would definitely need some paleo friendly carbs or sugars or I’d bonk hard.

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