Let’s first set a few things straight. I don’t believe in dieting. I’ve never believed in dieting. I hate diets.
They’re like a tool for torture that force people to restrict themselves beyond what is healthy and in turn provide a skewed sense of self, usually somewhere between self-loathing and disappointment. Marketers spend billions of dollars a year trying to get us to buy a pill, a quick fix and tell us that we’re too big/too curvy/unattractive. In short, I don’t agree with any of it. Diets have always been the enemy to me because I believe in lifestyle changes. You should want to eat healthy because it’s good for you and you shouldn’t restrict yourself in a way that makes you feel like you’re “giving up” or “missing out” on something delicious. I’m a huge fan of Portillo’s Chocolate Cake. I love bread. And cheese is life.
The time has come though where I need to start being more conscious about what I’m putting into my body. So I’m trying the paleo “hunter-gatherer” diet for 30 days. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you.
- My allergies and asthma are taking over – I’ve written about my allergies and asthma before, but over the years my doctor(s) have been urging me to cut wheat, dairy and eggs out of my diet. I would nod my head in agreement and tell them that I would absolutely follow through with doing that. *rolls eyes* But I’m tired of using pills and inhalers to help ease my internal inflammatory response to the world around me. I’ve had asthma attacks at my desk before — JUST FROM SITTING. Fitting my inhalers in my purse is a minor annoyance, but the risk of forgetting one has become even more terrifying. And what if I’m traveling and don’t know where the nearest hospital in my network is located. And can I even pay for another hospital bill?No. No. And definitely no.
- I live in a constant state of hives – Call them chronic, but I consistently have hives on one part of my body. Usually on my neck and stomach or arms, the itchy bumps can be from anything. I’ve been doing paleo for 4 days now and I’m already starting to see these little monsters disappear. Coincidence? I think not.
- I’m addicted – Cutting out refined sugar, bread and cheese was what I was most concerned about. How can I give these up cold turkey?! I might die without cheese!!! [yes, I’ve actually said this]. The first few hours of trying paleo were the hardest. I had a friend’s housewarming party the evening I had started paleo and by the time I made it there, I was going through withdrawals. I was cranky and short. Generally unpleasant. It was definitely time to break the habit.
- I still can’t lose the last 5 pounds – When I moved to Chicago 4 years ago, I gained 15 pounds. It may have been the high stress environment of my 60-hour-a-week job, my crumbling long-distance relationship or my full-time grad program in health communication in a completely new city, but either way I was eating my way through Chicago. Literally. I never said no to grabbing dinner or going out for a night of binge drinking. It caught up with me, as most things do. I’ve shed the 10 I gained, but there’s no reason for me not to lose the rest.
- I’m training for a marathon – Again. I’ll be running Chicago in October this year and the more I researched “primal running” the more it sounded like a great idea. Runners who stick to an 80/20 split of following paleo have faster times and recover faster. Also, if you’ve ever looked into what’s inside your sports drink, gel or endurance bar, it’s just packaged sugar disguised as carbs. THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY. And there is.
- I want to start cooking more – As a busy working lady, I don’t spend as much time as I’d like getting creative in the kitchen and testing flavors. I’m more of a baking fiend than a cook and a self-described “stress baker.” Aka when the going gets tough I stay up later than I need to and fall into the familiarity of whisking, stirring, sifting and kneading. The kitchen is my happy place [don’t even THINK about making a sexist joke about this].
- Natural energy – The feeling after eating a big lunch and sitting down back at your desk is miserable! There are few things in life I hate as much as the food coma. Or general heavy breathing and meat sweats after over-eating and over-indulging. If food is energy, I shouldn’t be spending half of my time feeling like this (see cat) and exhausted from my diet choices.
- I have been looking for something new – I’m tired of feeling like I’m in a rut. Big things are happening in my life right now (new job, new home, family moving closer, etc.) and I need to change up the routine. And I’ve recruited the boyfriend to try it with me, and so far so good! He’s been there for me in my weaker moments and is so supportive and willing to taste test some of my new foods/recipes.
So get ready for a LOT of new recipes coming your way! And follow along on my adventure on Instagram. Things could get messy.