Paleo Challenge Update: Week One

Earlier this week I wrote about the hubby and I challenging ourselves to one month of the paleo lifestyle. So far so good! And since there was so much interest in my post on Tuesday, I thought I’d keep you all posted with an update at the end of each week, where I’ll address each of these four topics. So, here goes!

My Favorite Meal

We tried a few different meats this week, but I’m going to have to go with the pork roast of night one as my favorite! It was delicious, flavorful, and really made me feel like I wasn’t sacrificing anything in the way of dinners. So thanks to the hubby for being an awesome cook and whipping this up for us on the first night!

DSCN0440

My Favorite Snack

Ok, so actually this was my lunch yesterday, but earlier in the week I was snacking on smaller portions of these when I would start feeling munchie. Strawberries, almonds, and prosciutto, oh my!

DSCN0470

Something Learned

I learned that legumes are not ok on the paleo diet, so apples with peanut butter is out. But almonds are a great alternative! Throw some almonds in a food processor and viola, instant almond butter! (I prefer almond butter over peanut butter anyway.) Also, almond milk in my coffee has been quite delicious; I don’t miss my usual sugar and soy creamer at all! In fact, I might switch to almond milk for my coffee permanently.

DSCN0475

How I Feel

The biggest change I’ve notice in week one has been that I don’t get those sudden intense hunger feelings. Normally, hunger works like an off/on switch for me. One second it’s off and the next it’s on… and then it’s a count-down to get food before I start getting cranky. I’m starting to think that might have been because of all the refined carbohydrates I usually eat! I have not had that kind of instant hunger sensation even once all week. So that has been a big and welcome surprise in all this!

Are you living paleo too? How’s it going? If not, are you intrigued yet?

My April Paleo Challenge

mmmmm… my favorite…

If you know me, then you know I love chocolate chip cookies, cheese, and especially ice cream. I have been perfecting my chocolate chip cookie recipe since I was 7 years old, and my husband’s friends often request them for Guys Night. Any time there is cheese in the kitchen, I am right there on top of it like a hawk. And ice cream… well… it is the loveliest stuff on the planet. Ok, maybe a bit dramatic I know, but no sense in hiding my emotions.

Why the ode to my favorite tasty treats? Because the hubby and I have decided to give ourselves a little challenge of sorts. We are attempting to go completely paleo for one month.

Now I’m not the type to go on diet after diet just to follow the latest trends in weight loss, and this is definitely not a diet designed specifically to lose weight (although I suppose it’s possible that could be a side effect). But I have been known to diet or restrict myself of things or try to improve my lifestyle in an effort to be healthier. I think this should be the real reason people change the way they eat. Not because you want to squeeze into that bikini this summer, or because you were hoping to order one size smaller in that dress you’re dying to wear to such-and-such event. But because you realize that maybe you could be healthier, and healthier means more energy, better blood flow, feeling less out of breath up that flight of stairs, and raised self esteem once you realize how awesome you feel.

Jack Black and Michael Cera in “Year One”

So why go paleo? Well, the whole idea behind a paleo lifestyle is to eat like hunters/gatherers, which is how our bodies are made. So this basically means sticking to meat, veggies, and fruit. Grains are not generally acceptable because they are high in carbohydrates and have been highly farmed and genetically enhanced over the years, none of which is natural to our bodies. Milk products are another result of an agrarian lifestyle that doesn’t fly in a paleo one. And definitely no refined sugars. The idea is not to quit all sources of sugar altogether, but rather to get your sugar from fruit instead (and maybe a little honey from time to time).

It seems to me that there are a surprising number of gray areas on this diet, things that seem like they don’t meet the basic qualifiers of paleo but are actually ok, or vice versa. So I’ve been using this awesome blog (Eat Drink Paleo) to better understand it. She has great recipes, resources, and explanations on the paleo lifestyle, and on top of that there is a search field on the home page that lets you search for items to find out if they are paleo or not. (I will definitely be using that feature a lot over the next month!)

Image

Paleo Dinner – Day 1

We started yesterday and the hubby (definitely the superior chef of the two of us!) made a delicious pork roast with sweet potato, tomatoes, and kale, roasted together in a cast iron skillet. It was delicious, and I have to say not tremendously different than how we normally eat for dinner! But his healthy cooking is not what I’m worried about… It’s my habitual cereal, bread, and sweets eating that will be the hardest to kick over the next few weeks.

Do I see myself being 100% paleo forever? Definitely not. I love chocolate chip cookies, cheese, and ice cream all too much to quit them forever! But my hope is that this will encourage better, healthier eating habits over the long term (meaning less of the things I shouldn’t eat and more of the things I should) and maybe even boost up my energy a notch or two. Plus, one other aspect of paleo is regular exercise which we are combatting with a nightly walk through our very hilly neighborhood after dinner, and that little extra time with my guy will make every “no thank you” I dish out to my beloved ice cream completely worth the sacrifice.

Have you tried the paleo lifestyle? I’d love to hear about your experience!