How I Stumbled into Eating Paleo-ish

I've spent the last nine weeks focusing intently on my students and classroom, which means I have not devoted time to blogging during those months. Our third quarter just ended, and I'm just giddy with excitement to have the space to share encouragement and treats for natural beauty. This hobby brings significance and purpose to my life, and writing is the best way for me to connect with people.

I didn't mean to start eating Paleo during the those winter months, the opportunity kind of just snuck up on me. We were hosting a Bible study for 10th graders in our home and I prepared a taco bar and brownies. This meal needed to be easy and cheap, since there would be twenty-five or so hungry teens ready to devour their dinner. As I sat down next to one of the boys, he remarked that his mom used to love eating soft tacos with cheese. I gripped my chest and prepared myself to hear of this young man's loss.

"Oh, is that right?" I prodded.

Through a mouthful of ground turkey and lettuce, I heard, "Yea, she doesn't eat gluten or dairy or processed foods anymore. Her arthritis got so bad that she couldn't even get out of bed for a few days."

I exhaled in relief. His mom was alive.

"So, how did she know or decide to go gluten-free and cut all of those foods out? Did it make a difference?"

He nodded, "She has some kind of autoimmune disorder that the doctor wanted to treat with a bunch of pills. She tried eating differently, and now has tons of energy."

I put more cheese and sour cream on my tortilla as I thought about what he was saying.

The very next day, I decided to cut out dairy, processed food, and gluten. I had been working out with a personal trainer since November and had only lost three pounds! My joints would swell after working out and my muscles ached for days. I felt puffy all over and IBS had me bloated and tooting frequently! What I was doing was not working.

Three days passed and I couldn't believe how good I felt. A week passed and I had lost three pounds. Two weeks went by and I was down six pounds. Three weeks later I had lost a total of nine pounds! By eliminating dairy, processed food and gluten, I lost weight and felt great.

I'd heard of Whole30 and Paleo before, but I thought those diets were for the really crazy fitness and nutrition fanatics. I thought it would be a lot harder to maintain. After three days, I figured I needed a plan to keep up this kind of energy and weight loss. Preparing for each meal was the key, and here are some foods I've enjoyed:

Eggs, tomatoes, spinach, kale, smoothies, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, avocado, salmon, cod, shrimp, tuna, steak, pork chops, pot roast, butternut squash, snap peas, coconut creamer, almond milk, almond butter...

You get the idea. The main reason I'm telling you this is to encourage you to try eliminating something from your diet and then see if it makes a difference. Start with sugar, or processed foods, or dairy. Pick something. A beautiful benefit of eating Paleo is that I no longer have brain fog. I'm also grateful for the ability to focus and persist at tasks. And I love that my stomach isn't puffy and my clothes now fit. I certainly don't miss the inflammation in my hips.

Two things I am not cutting out are coffee and wine. I draw the line with my morning and evening beverages! Oh, and chocolate. Well, dark chocolate. See, you can do this!

It's great to be back in the blogosphere. I'd love to hear your experiences in dealing with inflammation, eating Paleo, cutting out processed foods, and making healthier choices.