I usually try and keep dietary things to myself, not wanting to be one of ‘those’ people.
You know, ‘those’ people.
The people that try something new and don’t shut up about it, no matter what until either you, or someone else, politely asks…
Either that or they give up on whatever they are endlessly braying about and, not wanting to draw attention to that fact, they go about as though they never mentioned anything about it in the first place.
Yeah, those people.
SO, not wanting to be one of those people has led me to some interesting experiments when it comes to dieting. I try things, find what I like, what I don’t like, and adapt as needed in order to cut weight whilst, hopefully, still having enough energy for my day to day existence, let alone for BJJ training.
Last night marked the first non paleo meal that I had in over a month+, and I felt terrible for it.
Oh yeah, I did paleo for well over a month. And it was awesome.
For those not in the know, paleo is described as such, taken from Wikipedia:
“The paleolithic diet, also known as the paleo diet or caveman diet, is a diet based on the food humans’ ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as meat, nuts and berries, and excludes food to which they likely wouldn’t have had access, like dairy.”
I believe that the blanket, layman term of ‘caveman’ diet is a little too simplistic, having had experience with what paleo incorporates.
It goes beyond simply surviving off of meats, fish and fruits and nuts, as though I were scavenging for food, foraging like a squirrel.
What it does entail is the mixing of flavours and herbs (seasoning becomes your best friend) and lots of concoctions with various by products of the miracle fruit that is the coconut.
It wasn’t easy, and there were a lot of recipes that looked amazing that I wanted to try, but knew I would never have the inclination to make. When a recipe calls for completely obscure ingredients, not available in any local market (let alone supermarket), with the only way to get said ingredients being to pay a princely sum online to some pretentious, self righteous seller, I think I’d rather go without or just bulk up on veg/fruit.
I never went without on paleo. I missed certain things I enjoy the taste of, sure; life being what it is, flavour and food are some of the best things we can experience in this world, so having to abstain from certain things was difficult at first, but after a certain point you don’t miss not having them – you simply replace them with other, newly discovered treats. I love sweet things, for example, and I have a gnarly sweet tooth, but I was able to sate its appetite by trying new things like dates and, even more recently, prunes.
Yeah, prunes. The things old people eat to help them poop. Those. They’re awesome. Don’t believe me? Try some, and don’t judge them on this:
Thea found an amazing recipe, via one of many amazing paleo based apps, consisting primarily of dates and shredded coconut, somehow magically turning them into Energy Balls. Well, in lieu of coffee (at least for two weeks – a self imposed detox) and caffeine from else where, I took what I could get, and they were awesome, and unbelievably did give me an energy lift when I had them.
I can’t stress this enough:
Paleo does not = tasteless, boring meat with uninspiring veg.
It DOES mean a great opportunity to mix foods and think about how you consume, and what you consume, in a totally new and unique way. I couldn’t recommend it more to anybody who is at least curious in trying it.
The reason however that I wanted to finally share my paleo experience is because of last night.
Last night, as I prefaced earlier, I finally had my first non paleo meal which, although still meat heavy, consisted of a naan type flatbread as well as halloumi cheese and samosas. We didn’t even order those.
Let me explain: this place we ordered from as usually pretty awesome. Last night however we ended up having the wrong food delivered after waiting an hour in the first place. They, thankfully, were very apologetic, and assured us they would get our actual order to us as fast as possible. The fact that we don’t get this new order until about 9PM doesn’t help, especially as we were finally reintroducing carbs into our diet. Thanks to the delay in the second (actual) order getting out to us, the restaurant told us to keep the food they incorrectly delivered to us at no extra charge. They even through in a free box of baklava. I love baklava. What I don’t love is this, at past 9PM, all being a part of my first meal off of paleo.
What was meant to be a nice reintroduction of light carbs into our diet instead left us feeling bloated, heavy, and sick. Not worth it. At all.
The food was amazing, I can’t fault the taste, but the botched delivery and subsequent delivery times made for a very late dinner, and to two unwell individuals wishing they had gutted it out with paleo options a little longer.
I wanted to do paleo to shred fat, to get a little leaner – a long term goal of mine as I keep creeping towards my personal target weight. But now that I’ve come to the end of my paleo journey (technically the finishing line was the end of May) I just found myself wanting to continue.
I’d done it for a month, why not longer? The way I was eating, the things I was eating, and the way it made me think and approach food had me engaged with my health in a way no other attempted diet had in the past, and I’ll probably be returning to a heavy paleo influenced diet from here on out. The weight loss, although slower than when I have detoxed in the past, has been noticeable as I have shredded fat whilst maintaining muscle mass, and the fact that I have been doing it with Thea to help spur her on and help her commit has led to her losing quite a lot of weight as well. Win, win, win.
My experience with paleo was nothing but positive, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in trying something new to help them shed a few pounds and, perhaps even more importantly, rethink how they view food as a whole. Maybe try it as a couple as Thea and I did in order to encourage and support one another to the finish line? I certainly found it easier having that support there, and I know she did too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grill some meat and get back to Temporary as I Write, Steve, Write!
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If you’ve tried paleo and felt its benefits, I’d love to hear from you – especially if you were on it whilst doing heavy or intensive exercise. For me it was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but I’d love to hear about what you ate and avoided in order to fuel yourself with the energy for the exercise!