I’m constantly trying out new ways of eating. I don’t like to call them ‘diets’, because every bit of food we put into our bodies forms part of our diet. Instead, I like to think of them as experiments. I love to monitor how my body feels after a period of time eating a certain way – do I have more energy? Am I sleeping better? Is my skin clearer? Achieving these results is the ultimate aim of the game.
Having recently finished the book It Starts With Food, by brother and sister duo Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, I was eager to try a ‘Whole 30’ – basically where you subscribe to a strict Paleo diet for a whole 30 days.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, this way of eating teaches us to go back to our Palaeolithic roots and basically eat like cavemen. This was a time prior to agriculture so all grains are out (including pseudo-grains such as quinoa) as well as all dairy, legumes, soy and tofu products, sugar, processed foods, processed oils and alcohol. While this sounds restrictive, the Hartwigs encourage us to think about all the great things we can eat, such as organic meats, seafood, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds.
I have wanted to try this out for some time and have committed to participating fully in the program for the whole of February. I am now over halfway through and I can say with full conviction that I feel amazing. I now sleep better, my mind is clearer and I am able to process thoughts more quickly. I don't suffer afternoon energy slumps and I am full for hours on end.
he most challenging part so far (other than going sans wine and cocktails at social events!) has been cutting grains from breakfast. I am usually a muesli girl through and through but as of 1 February, the oats went out the door and made way for paleo-approved breakfasts such as egg white omelettes, smoked salmon, avocado and of course, my beloved almond butter banana mug cake!
unch is easy - some form of protein with salad. While I have loved cooking dinner at home more often where I have absolute control over what I put in my meals, eating at some restaurants has posed a challenge. I now have to ask one hundred questions even about the most simple dish. Is the spinach sauteed in butter? If so, can the chef possibly cook it in olive oil instead? Is there gluten in that steak sauce? Can I please have the beetroot salad without the goats cheese? Yes, I can be annoying, but the benefits my body is reaping well outweigh the downsides of being that fussy customer.
Despite the minor downsides, the changes that I have made to my diet have left me feeling fuller for longer and surprisingly, not as hungry upon waking. While I am definitely benefitting from a month off the booze, I am also less bloated, never eat to the point of feeling so full I feel sick and have full control over what I ingest. My skin is clear, I am more relaxed and I have certainly become more creative in the kitchen. Weight loss has not been the goal but I have lost 2 kilograms to date. While I am looking forward to the occasional glass of wine and a pizza every now and again, for the moment I am enjoying this latest food challenge and the way it makes me feel. I am interested to see how I will feel after a full month of this. Will definitely report back!
or more information about the Whole 30 program or the paleo diet in general, click on the links below.