I have to say, I’m really pleased with how this month turned out. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about food, in general.
Food can be good without butter, cream and cheese! I cooked frequently with dairy, so having to go without for a whole month took some getting used to. There were times in the beginning when all I wanted to do was put a splash of cream in my soups or sprinkle a little cheese over, but I resisted and substituted with spices or coconut milk instead. And now? I don’t even miss dairy all that much.
It’s the same with sugar. I went into this hoping that I could kick my sugar habit. While I can’t say that I don’t crave sugar or sweets ever, I do crave it less often. And when I do, it’s not a ravenous, “Must have cookie now!” It’s more of a, “I could for a little bit of chocolate”. Right now, I’m really into these healthier homemade chocolate bars, as well as fried honey bananas.
Going back to that first point I made, I’ve experimented with food in a way that I normally wouldn’t have. Paleo meals were a lot more versatile than I initially thought, but it took some research and a lot of planning. I planned the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even snacks. Planning ahead was a huge contributor to my success.
- So much energy! Even at times when I normally would feel low, i.e. the mid-afternoon slump.
- Heavy research into Paleo helped me to be more informed about the food I was putting in my body.
- I felt accomplished knowing I was eating clean and disciplined.
- Less cravings for sweets! And when I did want something sweet, I went for something healthy and was surprisingly satisfied.
- Lots of delicious meals, much more than I had originally thought.
- We went over our food budget every single week, largely due to the prices of organic meat and fish.
- Frequent trips to the store.
- Eating out was tough. Paleo options were minimal. When you see someone at the next table enjoying the creamy mushroom risotto, it’s like, ooooooh, I want that!
- There was almost no room for error. If I forgot to bring a snack with me to work then I’d be left scouring the area for something to eat. There are no fruit stands or grocery stores nearby, so options were extremely limited. After passing Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and various cafes that seem to only sell bread (seriously, SO much bread), I went into a small convenience store to pay $4 for a Paleo-friendly but disappointing Larabar.
My 30 days are almost up and once I’m done I want to maintain the good habits I’ve acquired. While neither Bob nor I will be giving up grains and dairy for good, I want to at least keep most of our meals Paleo and heart-healthy (especially now that we know Bob has high cholesterol). We tend to be a little more lenient with ourselves on the weekends and while that probably won’t change, we’ll have to reign it back just a bit and save the really indulgent stuff for special occasions. I think that sounds fair enough.
In spite of the bad rep that Paleo has been getting in the media lately, I have to say that once I got over my initial fatigue, I felt fantastic, physically and mentally. I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of anything (maybe except doughnuts and cupcakes). Or rather I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of anything I needed. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Getting what you need and feeling good? I say a hearty YES to that.