A little paleo, anyone?

paleo picAs we were joining CrossFit Hammock Beach my wife and I accepted the paleo-diet challenge offered by the owner/coaches. Six weeks of eating like an ancestral hunter-gatherer caveman. We ate healthy already, so how hard could it be?

The biggest adjustment was eliminating grain from our meals. I was used to making a sandwich, smearing peanut butter on a slice of bread, snacking on tortilla chips, cereal for breakfast, and preparing pasta and rice as side dishes. I cut all that out and switched from peanut butter to almond butter, too.

Another adjustment was not drinking alcohol. A beer a night, a little bourbon here and there, or a glass of wine with supper were part of our routine. We hopped on the wagon for six weeks.

We were already mostly dairy free. Just had to cut out cheese. I already drank my coffee black. We had already stopped buying food with added sugar, so that really wasn’t an adjustment. I hardly ever drank soda, so nothing changed there. We cut way back on oranges and bananas, easy to grab snacks but a little high on natural sugars.

To tell you the truth I didn’t think it was really that hard. I like to cook and I like to cook with fresh ingredients. Most of our suppers were already just a salad with a grilled piece of meat. My only cheat along the way, if you could call it that, was a bite of cake after my grandson’s baptism and a glass of red wine at a family birthday celebration.

The big question: did it make any difference? Did I feel different? Did I look different? Did I perform better, especially learning new skills at CrossFit?

Here’s what I noticed:

  • I pay much more attention to what I eat. I used to grab whatever, not really thinking about it. Now I think about everything I eat.
  • I need to eat more. Without any breads or chips to temporarily fill me up, I’ve increased all my portions of meats and veggies and nuts.
  • I’m not sure if I lost weight overall, but I know my pants all fit looser at the waist. My muscles seem more defined, but that may also be a result of the challenging workouts I’ve never done before.
  • I didn’t really have any health issues coming into this, so I can’t comment on any changes like that.
  • More energy? Maybe. That’s hard to say. I don’t remember feeling worn out before.
  • I might be sleeping a little bit better. Either that or the WOD wore me out and I was in bed earlier.

The biggest difference for me is probably psychological rather that physiological. I know I’m not eating as much junk and that alone makes me feel better about myself. Plus the fact that I was up for the challenge.

I’ll know more when I weigh in and get measured next week. I’ve saved room for desserts at Thanksgiving, of course, but I’ll continue this plan. I think that it takes more than just six weeks to feel the full effect of eating this way. I’ll let you know how things turn out. I’ll probably start writing about some of the recipes and products we’ve found along the way that work for us.

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