My Paleo Lifestyle Journey was something I selfishly started for me. In the end, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Going into my Paleo journey I had a few health issues including Eczema, NA Fatty Liver Disease, and a form of GERD. These issues were actually the main reason I wanted to make the switch. I absolutely hate taking medication. If there was a way to help my body heal without medicine, I was going to try it.
I want to make a point that I did not decide to go Paleo to lose weight. Yes I was 175 lbs but I am also 5’9” and have a decent amount of muscle and heavy bones. I made the change for health reasons but if I lost some weight in the process I wouldn’t be too bummed out:)
There was a saying that kept popping up on my Instagram feed, Pinterest, and thrown around by bloggers: Food heals. Wanting to know the truth in everything, I decided to put that saying to the test. And so my Paleo Lifestyle Journey began…
Paleo seemed to be an extremely easy change for me. Shocking! This used to be my typical “What I Eat in a Day”:
Breakfast: Big bowl of oatmeal with two slices of toast slathered with peanut butter
Snack 1: Yogurt with fruit and granola
Lunch: Deli meat sandwich with chips
Snack 2: Cheese stick and crackers
Dinner: Something with pasta or bread
Dessert: Ice cream
I know what you’re thinking…CARBS! But they were my favorite. I absolutely love bread. Beyond obsessed. When my cousin and I decided to switch to a Paleo lifestyle I knew I had to go all in. If I eased my way into it, I would never have been successful. So I went cold turkey. No pasta, no bread, no yogurt…the three staples of my daily diet.
To my surprise, thanks to my cousin who jumped into it with me, I had no problem with the transition. Let it be known that I am a super nerd. I love researching and organizing things that are new and interesting. So I enjoyed the entire process. Planning out my meals, prepping food, etc. Not only was I looking up recipes and creating my own, but I was digging into why certain foods weren’t Paleo and what effects they may have on our bodies. I learned how certain types of foods caused inflammation and gut issues that I was absolutely unaware of. My mind was on cloud 9.
Today, my typical “What I Eat in a Day” is:
Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, avocado, and spinach with either a bullet proof coffee or matcha
Lunch: Collard green chicken wrap with Chipotle Aioli and arugula
Snack: Guacamole with plantain chips
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with sausage marinara and Macadamia Nut Pesto
Dessert: Homemade coconut cashew yogurt with fruit and Macadamia Nut Granola
I was able to stop my medication for GERD, my eczema started to subside, and when I took my ultrasound six months later to get an update on my liver disease, the nurse was shocked with the results. She asked what I changed and there was just one word that came out of my mouth…Paleo.
Food indeed heals.
When I say “struggle” I definitely don’t mean issues with my new lifestyle; that was the easy part. My struggle was with outside influence and judgement. First of all I will start by saying that I do not succumb to peer pressure. Everyone that knows me well knows that I will do what I want and I don’t care what people say. That doesn’t mean that judgement doesn’t annoy me. The struggle I had initially was trying not to get upset by all of the badgering comments:
- Why are you doing Paleo?
- Why do you keep saying lifestyle when it’s actually a diet?
- You aren’t extremely overweight, why do you need to diet?
- Don’t you already eat healthy?
- That sounds like a boring diet. You can’t say you don’t want some cake.
- OMG what are you going to eat at the restaurant? You know, because your Paleo.
Blah, blah, blah. At first I would get annoyed and think I’d have to defend myself.
- I’m doing this because it makes me feel better.
- It’s helping with my health issues.
- I hate the word diet. Whatever you eat is considered your diet. A lifestyle is something that lasts.
- I don’t think my body needs processed foods.
- It really isn’t boring. I make Paleo desserts and they are great!
- I’ll eat whatever I want at the restaurant!
Then I told myself, “Hey! Stop defending the way you’re living your life! The way you want to fuel your body is no one’s business but your own. If it makes you happy and you’re not hurting anyone, who cares?”
Usually when people attack you it has a lot to do with their insecurities. So I thought why should that make me insecure? I learned to keep my answers simple and just say that this lifestyle is something that has made me feel really good and I enjoy the growth I have experienced. That’s it. If someone pushes forward I simply just smile.
One year later
My journey started on June 5, 2017. I was 175 lbs at 5’9”, had multiple health issues, and even though I was a “healthy” eater, I didn’t feel like I was doing the best I could for my health. One year in, I eat much more food, I am the same weight, got off medication, have clearer skin, and feel great! I am extremely strict with eating Paleo. The only times I’ll be lenient is if I go out to dinner (which isn’t often because I love to cook) or travel. Even in those cases I don’t totally indulge. I’ll fill up on protein and veggies and then, if I have room, I’ll throw in some dessert and maybe an appetizer.
The main reason I am so strict is because I know eating a bunch of crap will in turn make me feel like crap. I just don’t have time for that. Granulated sugar makes me have a headache and brain fog, dairy upsets my stomach 50% of the time, gross oils make my stomach turn, and grains make me feel weighted down. Don’t get me wrong, if there is something that I know I won’t get to try for a long time, I’m eating it. If it’s worth the pain, it’s going down. For example my family and I flew up to Milwaukee for my cousin’s wedding last September and I haven’t been back there in over ten years. My aunt pulled out a homemade apple pie my gram, who I hadn’t seen in six years, had made. You better believe I had two slices of that thing!
Looking back on a year of my Paleo lifestyle, seeing my health improvements, learning the actual benefits different foods provide, I can happily say that this has been the best decision I have made for my health. My body thanks me everyday for fueling it with delicious and nutritious food. I’m always doing things for everyone else, making sure everyone is taken care of. Sometimes you just need to do something for yourself. I did this for me, and only me. And it feels amazing!