Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pre-Paleo Ponderings...

I first heard about paleo dieting from a good friend of mine. As she and I were anthropology students, we were familir with the diets that were common to ancestral humans and hunter gatherer tribes, and the entire philosophy of paleo seemed to "make sense" to us. She, more than me, was excited about the idea and wanted to try it. I was reluctant. I had lived gluten free for a full year and the idea of giving up what few grains I had left (mmmm, quinoaaaa) just didn't appeal to me at all.

And then, nothing happened.

Allow to me elaborate...

My husband and I had moved to a sweet 3 bedroom on the bench in Reno, Nevada. We loved our little community because it was full of bikers, runners, and hikers. We wanted to be a part of the activity, but coming from less than active families, we didn't really know all the ropes. So, we picked up books on backpacking, I scheduled a trip to hike the Inca Trail in Peru, and in addition to our gluten-free diet we crossed over into organics. Add to that putting in at least 5 hours at the gym, and we thought we were pretty darn healthy...

And then, nothing happened.

We didn't lose weight. We didn't feel more energy. We just felt blah.

Why?! According to everything we could read we were healthy. It didn't make sense! We started to calorie count...

And then, nothing happened.

What the heck?! Talk about frustrating! We were "healthier" than we had been in years (personally, than I had been in my life) so why were we always tired, grouchy, foggy, and bloated?

I came upon the book, Everyday Paleo, when I was at a bookstore. I carried the book around with me and glanced at all the beautiful pictures next to each recipe. That was what first appealed me- I love cookbooks with pictures. And this one had a picture for every recipe! My second thought was that paleo cookbooks would, naturally, be gluten free! No more wheat-free cookbooks with their horrid specialty flours or mystery grains! How nice! I bought the book on my Kindle and read it in less than a week. I loved it! Not only did the book have great recipes, but it also talked about paleo living, feeding kids, and *gasp* paleo exercise?! PERFECTION! The book broke it down step by step and proclaimed itself to be a diving board into the world of paleo- there are so many ways to make it your own! All the book suggests is giving paleo a try for 30 days (it even provides the menu and grocery shopping list!). And this is the topic of this blog.

Tomorrow is our first paleo day. I am excited, and nervous. Sure, we don't eat gluten, but I have been known to obsess over meringues! 30 days without refined sugar? 30 days without rice? 30 days without cheese? It sounds strange even for me to think it- but then I remember the words in Everyday Paleo: take it one meal at a time.

I am luckier than most. We already cut gluten and my kids don't go to school- so that eliminates a lot of the battles already. I am a stay at home mommy so I have the time to make delicious meals from scratch each day, multiple times per day. My husband works hard at his job and provides an income that allows me to toss (or donate) half of the items in my cupboard and restock with organic paleo selections. I have a husband who happily nods and allows me to do what I want with our family diet, and I already have one son who happily adores every fruit and veggie ever tasted. Lucky!

Because tomorrow is our first day, I am making an effort to clear our home of all things that are non-paleo. My brother lives near here, and is a bachelor, so many things will be gifted to him. His wonderful girlfriend also doesnt eat gluten- so my gluten free specialty foods will go to her. One would think that I am just ready to jump in with both feet, right? No... not really. When I was loading grocery bags and boxes I felt sad. There were cute cake decorations and specially ordered crystal sugars that had memories attached to them- memories of scones and cupcakes. Go ahead and laugh- no, we dont eat those types of foods since giving up gluten a year ago- but something in me mourned for their loss. I had to put the box down and walk away- just take a break.

I sat down and pulled up my facebook, trying to get a boost. That morning I had happily announced my intention to eat paleo, and was ready to hear all the praise and "good for you!" that normally file in after a healthy decision. Instead of encouragment, however, I was SHOCKED at the open criticism and discouragment! I am a Mormon stay at home mother, who gave up a promising career to be a homemaker. I am an attachment parent who believes that kids should play in dirt. I don't immunize, I am slow to medicate, and I buy organics. I homeschool. So... of ALL of those things for people to pick on... paleo? Really? I was surprised. And somehow- thrilled. I love a challenge, and I welcome this one. Less than a handful of my facebook friends support my decision- I plan on making them proud!

So. Today I am armed with my shopping list. I am prepaired with a paleo kitchen. I am ready to take this final step.

Each day I will be blogging what we eat, and how we feel. I will blog about my thoughts, and my kids' reactions. I want this to be my outlet. It will be difficult, at times, I am sure. But I know that this is a healthy decision, and I know that we can totally give this a shot. So... 30 days... here we come!

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