May 3, 2013

100% Paleo, 80% of the Time

For the month of April I stuck to a primarily Paleo diet. We know lots of people who have jumped on board the Paleo train and while I've made recipes before that are Paleo friendly or dabbled here and there within the guidelines, I never really researched it much or read up on the impacts non-Paleo friendly foods can have your body.

So I decided that for an entire month I would try to stick to it the best I could. Meaning I wasn't going to be hardcore strict about it. I didn't buy EVERYTHING organic, I didn't fret if I ate or drank something that's not Paleo, and I wouldn't stress about it too much if we were out exploring a new restaurant or eating over at friends, etc. I wasn't doing this for any food allergy reasons and this wasn't a diet - in fact, I gained a couple of pounds during the month. I wanted to do this to see what all the rage is about and to see if it did impact how I felt.

Here's a little overview for those of you unfamiliar with how it works:

So this diet, also called the Cave Man Diet, centers around the thought that unless you could kill/pick/grow your own food in it's organic state, you shouldn't eat it. No gluten or grains in any form, no soy, sugar, legumes, or processed foods. And no beer. But you can have cider and wine and I much prefer a Woodchuck Cider to a beer anyway. And there are other things to limit like dairy, which I did limit, but didn't omit. I enjoy milk and cheese but limited how much I consumed and gave up all other dairy. Here is another really good overview of the Paleo Diet that kind of explains why you shouldn't have all those above mentioned items. I bugged my friend Ashley throughout the month asking her questions about foods and brands to buy and bugging her for good recipes as she is the most normal Paleo nutjob I know. And also the most patient! Most of the people who drink the Paleo Kool-aid can be over-the-top food snobs and in the end it's about listening to your own body and doing what's best.

Also, of the foods you can eat, most of them should be organic. We already buy all organic, grass-fed beef  and other healthy meats (as long as it's available which fortunately hasn't been a problem since moving to Texas - land of beef), cage free eggs, and look for deals on organic produce, but I don't stress ensuring that every single thing we buy is organic. So the shopping wasn't a big transition, though I had to go to a few new stores to find certain things, but I basically just stuck to the outside aisles  of the grocery store and had to stock up on some of the essentials like coconut oil, almond flour, non-peanut nut butters, etc.

As far as sticking to the diet - it wasn't too hard. I was thinking it was going to be way more challenging than it was because I LOVE to eat cereal, waffles, BREAD, and of course the occasional garbage junk food I shouldn't eat anyway like red vines and those sour straws I get every time we go to a movie, oh and anything and everything that Haribo makes. But those cravings were only intense for the first day when I wanted to shove a bunch of goldfish crackers in my mouth or gobble down some oreos with milk, and then they went away fairly quickly. We started this diet the month that my brother and sister-in-law stayed with us and they helped cook a lot of the meals and come up with some new recipes. Also, we were able to make some Paleo-friendly desserts which satisfied my sweet tooth. Organic dark chocolate is somewhat acceptable in the Paleo world thank goodness. Here are some of the desserts we enjoyed.

Zucchini Brownies: 

 Carrot Cake:

Kitchen Sink Cookies:

Here are a few other recipes made during the month (that I took pictures of - we obviously made a lot more, I just started to get lazy with taking pictures):

Paleo Pancakes:  Oh they are so good.

Coconut Milk and Spinach Smoothie:

Paleo Pizza:

Zucchini Lasagna:

So after a month I really do have good things to say about my little experiment. Prior to going Paleo, each night I used to get obnoxious headaches at the base of my neck and could count on having at least one a day. I haven't had a headache in almost a month now and I contribute that to the diet as well as being much better about drinking a lot of water during the day. I can't really tell a difference in my energy levels, but another positive is I think MAYBE my skin is starting to clear up a bit. Instead of a 16 year old maybe I look like a 19 year old now? Also, I rarely felt bloated, full, or uncomfortable, even after eating a big meal. I enjoyed how my craving switched from girl scout cookie to some grapes or plantain chips. I certainly started to see that the better I fed myself, the more I craved those healthier foods. Not that I won't still destroy some non-Paleo desserts and enjoy every last bite, it's just nice that I know I can do without them too. So will we be strictly Paleo converts? No. But we definitely will continue to incorporate a lot of the recipes into our diet and just be even more conscious of what we eat and how it makes us feel which is really what everyone should do anyway - find out what works best for your body and go with it.


  1. That paleo chart is funny.

    And I could never do it. Because I don't eat things with faces. Except fish. But Lord. I could not eat that much fish.

    But my goodness. Some of that food looks really good to me! I'm super impressed with your tenacity and I'm glad you saw some results you liked. High five, sister! {what a dork, but really, we should high five when I see you next}

  2. I wish I were better at meal planning...I used to all the time and they were super healthy! For the most part we eat healthy but it's on the whim day of planning!
    Need to get back into it!
    Good for please come cook for me!!

  3. I love your run-down on your Paleo experiment. Have you considered getting a Vitamix? It will blow your mind with all the cool Paleo-friendly things it can do!

  4. More carrot cake and zucchini brownies please!

  5. I love the flow chart!

    Arthur is trying to do as much of a paleo diet as possible. (Which isn't too much since I do the cooking!!) Nut your food looks good, so I may try the recipes. We'd love to try the carrot cake recipe!

  6. Ha, *BUT your food looks good!

  7. I'm headed this route but not willingly. I'm still having issues and my doc just told me today that I need to try a dairy/gluten elim diet. Sigh. I tried the zuchini lasagna one night because I saw it on Pinterest but was starving like a wild banchee after. I guess if it also helps my skin then *maybe* it would be a little bit worth it.

    Where the heck did you start???

    1. If Caroline hasn't already inundated you with all the info I gave her to start with (and her own finds), let me know. I can forward you the email I sent her. I've been Paleo/primal for nearly 2 years (started after Riley was born). I LOVE it and it has made this pregnancy SO much different (for the better). Anyway, lemme know!

  8. I loved this post, it was really honest and unbiased, which is hard to find when critiquing diets. It's great you mostly stuck to it but weren't too hard on yourself and noticed a difference. Thanks for sharing!