Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Radical Challenge - It Starts With Food

In the, oh, 4 years or so that I've been losing (and gaining) weight, I've come across tons of theories and plans and fads. At one point, I heard about something called "Paleo", or "the Caveman diet". Obviously I brushed it off as a fad. What were you supposed to eat? Pterodactyl eggs? Random twigs and leaves? 

But then I stumbled across this blog called Mark's Daily Apple. And read more about Paleo. And his version which he calls Primal.

And then I tried it for a couple of weeks.

And it was like a miracle had happened to me. I felt amazing. I had energy, and clarity. I loved what I was eating. Food tasted better to me. And most amazingly, I didn't have the cravings and food craziness that I thought were just hardwired into my brain. I've done a few clean eating challenges in my day, and even did Joshi's Holistic Detox for a couple of weeks, but I've never felt anything like this.

The more time I spend working at (or struggling with) weight loss -- the more I read, and learn, and experiment, the more I firmly believe there is something wrong with the standard North American diet. I don't think people were meant to eat the way we do. Following the 'primal' diet for a few weeks further convinced me. Sugar and grains are like drugs, at least for some people. I'm one of them.

This week I got a reminder email from Amazon that "It Starts With Food"was released this week. It's a book based on a 30 day challenge of eating a very strict paleo-like diet.

I rushed out and picked it up right away. And devoured it. And decided to do it.

Basically the rules are:

  • No sugar
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • No soy
  • No alcohol

Which means you eat:

  • Meat, fish and poultry
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lots of healthy fats like coconut, olive oil, avocado, clarified butter, bacon, oily fish, etc. 

For 30 days. It sounds crazy and militant but it's actually pretty amazing. Although in the past, I haven't done it this strictly. I've kept dairy and red wine and bits of dark chocolate a couple times a week. Even that was enough to make me feel great but this time I want to really go for it.

I plan to stock up on groceries tomorrow and start on Monday. I also plan to blog most of the process and my food choices. I don't think I'll be able to update every day -- I'm just too busy, I think -- but I'm going to try to log what I can. In the past, when I've eaten paleo and then quit, it's always been for more emotional reasons -- I start to get bent out of shape about not being able to eat 'like a normal person'. I'm hoping that blogging through the process will give me a place to better deal with all those things.


  1. I'm so excited to read about this, Andrea! Sugar is like a drug for me, too. I really want to get to a place where I don't have crazy cravings all the time. I'm happy that we're both doing "extreme" eating plans at the same time--maybe it will help us stay on track!

    We should get together sometime soon! :)

    1. Yes! Even though we're doing very different plans, I look forward to reading your updates! Let's get together soon for sure!!

  2. I'm happy to read that both of you are blogging again and working on healthy food, because I am trying to recharge, too! (I have gained 20 pounds since my BLBE lowest weight in fall 2009).

  3. I 100% agree with you - our diet is so f*cked up. I know I feel so much better when I avoid grains and sugar. Recently I discovered I can't have dairy because of a skin condition and I can't have soy because of thyroid problem is I really dislike meat and all the low carb diets I've tried before I couldn't stick to because I couldn't eat enough meat and low carb vegetables to stay satisfied and not feel sluggish...but this plan seems to be close to how I've migrated to eating over the last year. Like you, I still sometimes have dark chocolate, cream in my coffee and the odd bite of something decadently sweet. I'm going to get the book for more recipe/meal ideas and I am enjoying following your progress!

    1. Yes, I think it would be hard if you didn't like eating meat. The book does have some recommendations for how to do it vegetarian. It's harder, but I think it's doable -- and really, I think the most important part is ditching the grains and sugar.

  4. I used to read Cake for a Wife, so I'm glad you linked up to your new blog. Just wanted to say that I too have yo-yoed with weight (i lost 110 lbs on weight watchers 5 years ago), but in the last year, I've really done a lot of reading on diet also, and switched over to a mostly paleo diet last summer. I finally started losing baby weight (after 9 months of not losing anything), and did a Whole30 in January. I was able to drop the last 15 lbs of baby weight during the 30 days, we felt awesome, and my husband's allergies went away (and he dropped 20 lbs and got back to his high school weight!). It really is amazing. Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way of clean eating lately, but I think it might be time for another whole30 soon...

    1. Hi Becca, thanks for stopping by! It makes me super excited to hear about your success with the Whole30. Though I agree that it's certainly a challenge to maintain. You'll have to let me know if you end up doing another one. :)