Friday, October 26, 2012

The Great Paleo Fail

"Even I can't stay on this Paleo diet."
The challenge is over. I failed miserably. For the first couple of days it was okay. I usually don't eat my burgers with a bun anyway and kept up with my meat and veggie intake. As I kept reading about the Paleo diet, it also had some conflicting "beliefs" from dedicated followers. For example, some people feel it's okay to eat tomatoes, while others say stay away from them. Most say do not eat beans or coffee since the cavemen didn't eat them. But, they're naturally grown, perhaps found later on during the earth's life...right?  Then you have to consider the strict rules in the quality of your meat - only grass fed burgers and steaks and organic vegetables and never buy fish that is farmed. Your life is basically dedicated to researching where your food is from when you're doing simple grocery shopping. And that's just it: it's not simple! While we try to cultivate a healthier lifestyle, are we truly happy with the effort behind the simple meals? After my 4th day, I found myself stuck home with stomach cramps and frequent trips to the loo. I'll spare you the details. It was like a cleansing like you've never seen before. I thought it would, umm, pass, but to my disappointment, it lasted for days. I was told that this was the "low carb flu" and that this was normal. But for 4 days? That's not normal. I could not leave my house. I cut out so much from my diet, which also includes beer and white wine (which white wine is my favorite). I only drank red wine as suggested in moderation.

As I declined the many offers of my mother's delicious dinner invites, I found myself exhausted and fatigued from the lack of carbs. Even my brain went a little fuzzy. I couldn't think. I always drink my coffee black with no milk or sugar, but I had a very hard time not eating a piece of toast with my egg whites. Dairy is also a "no no".  So my cereal option went out the door and I had to get creative with eggs and bacon. I literally felt my arteries clogging with days of eating real eggs with strips of bacon and no bread. I must say that it did fill me up to the point of skipping lunch sometimes. That was a good thing in my opinion. But is it a good thing overall? I also found myself bored in the kitchen. There wasn't much cooking other than grilling and boiling veggies. I couldn't make my delicious tomato sauce for my pasta. What else would I make it for? I was told to not exercise that much while on this diet. So during this week, while my pants seemed to have gotten a bit baggy, to me it was exactly like the Atkins Diet. Of course you're going to lose weight if you keep eliminating every 30 minutes from eating foods that just go right through you. There is nothing to hold it. I was told that it gets better.

But when??

I started feeling like complete crap after a while. I did everything right, even got my fish at the farm market and asked them, "Where is this from?" I always got wild Atlantic salmon and *gasp* even tried Australian filet mignons which tasted like gamey deer meat. For me, I was suffering. I couldn't hold on more than a week on this diet. I do realize that many foods turn into sugar. For years, I have gone without refined sugar and I don't have a huge sweet tooth. I appreciate all the help I did get from my doctor friend and I also give him a ton of credit for sticking to this diet, but for me it was a decision based upon how I felt and the inability to leave my home whenever I wanted to. I'm not the type that puts a TON of effort into shopping. If I can get organic, great. If I can get wild fish, perfect.  I'm also finding that meat, whether grass fed or not is absolutely tasteless lately. I'm not sure if it's me or if anyone else notices that steaks and burgers are starting to taste bland. Our food is definitely changing, but there is no way to make sure that it's "pure" --- even if you do ask for "wild salmon", I know for a fact that it can be lied about since having worked in restaurants that would tell their clientele that "this was wild" or "this fish is swordfish" when in fact, it was something entirely different. You can't rely on the truth when you're in a money-driven business. And that's the sad truth.

As for now, I'm in limbo. Oh, and by the way, my cooking blog suffered terribly during this diet crisis. I will continue to cook my favorite dishes, and try to do that "m" word --- m-m-m-m-moderation. Ugh, I can't even say it. I will also try to exercise every day when possible. I guess this is my only 'sane' way out. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how you live a healthy lifestyle, please feel free to comment and tell me what you do. I will try to keep up with my cooking blog as well if you want to swing over there for a few recipes. I'm Italian. I love my food. I love my wine. And for the record, Madelene was not a happy girl during this time, but God bless her soul for even trying it with me and supporting me, even though I know she had pizza at work. She's a good egg.

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Jess said...

Though I need to drop 30lbs or so, I can say that when I do eat and drink in moderation, I do lose weight. I am fortunate to have a good metabolism, when I get it in gear. It has been on bed rest for at least three years now. :)

My weight gain has been strictly due to sitting and drinking beer. At 96 calories (or more!) a pop...let's see, carry the yeah, I can EASILY consume 800+ calories a night in beer. Empty can, empty calories, sitting on couch = 30lbs more of me.


So yeah, I think you have the right idea...moderation, exercise. Just burn a little more calories than you eat each day and slowly the weight will fall off.

If you want it to go fast, then you have to burn even more calories and eat even less, which makes for hungry, hungry, least for me anyway.

So I say take it slow, if you stay on the path of moderation, it will go away.


The Elephant's Child said...

The paleo diet isn't kind to vegetarians anyway. Just the same I need to take some action. I am just not certain what.
Pain and fatigue are severely limiting my exercise. So I comfort eat.
Time to push away from the table earlier.

goatman said...

My girl and I went off of meat for awhile in the past for economic reasons -- mostly ate spaghetti roma and a lot of rice dishes while going through college. When mom would serve us roast or pork chops to "protein us up" on a visit, we would become sick and nauseous after eating it. A signal??

Snowbrush said...

Oh, my god, Deb, I see that you actually live in Manhattan. Where might you be at this moment?!

ultrarunnergirl said...

Kudos for giving it a try -- maybe some day in the future you'll feel like trying it again. Or not.

I started "leaning" toward Paleo for nearly a year before I took the plunge. I think the slow weaning away from grains and legumes made the transition easier. I still had the battle with sugar and dairy (and soy), but I think those are much easier on the body to give up cold turkey.

In that year before I went Paleo I discovered Spaghetti Squash. The final time I tried "real" pasta I was surprised to realize how little taste it had to me after growing to love spaghetti squash!

Roast, scrape out the noodles, saute in garlic & olive oil and top with your sauce. Bet you will love it. Even if you don't go Paleo after all.

Tara M said...

It sounds as though you made some unhealthy choices going paleo! There is a misconception that paleo is about meat, meat, bacon, meat, and meat which is not actually true.

I think anyone would feel bad eating bacon and eggs everyday (bacon is processed and not really paleo, it's more a treat). Most successful paleo eaters have things such as paleo "granola" made of nuts, seeds and fruit with coconut milk yogurt, green or berry smoothies, poached eggs with spinach, kale and zucchini frittatas, vegetable omlets and so on for breakfast. Poached eggs on paleo toast with avocado is my favourite but I don't have it everyday as there are allot of almonds in paleo toast and eggs are high in cholesterol.

Lunch for me is usually a steamed veggies or salad with tuna, chicken, or nuts. I still eat fruit but its not a free food due to the sugar content so I try and stick to 2 serves a day.

Dinner is chicken, fish or red meat based (I limit red meat to 2- max 3 serves a week) with baked or steamed vegetables, on high exercise days I have pumpkin, sweet potato ect.

Deserts or treats are cocnut milk yogurt or ice cream with raw cacao or fruits cooked or prepared in various ways.

If you try it again remember that the way of eating isn't a free for all in all things fat or meat, your choices still need to be healthy!

Deb said...

The bacon I get is not treated nor has nitrates in it. It's all about eating real food -- not processed or meat that has hormones and antibiotics in it. I'm 7 months in (I went back) lost 30 lbs on this diet and my cholesterol not only went down, but so did my blood pressure. The proof is in the numbers! I feel great and my stomach issues have lessened, if not disappeared altogether. I guess different things work for different people. This is a very old post, but if you go to you can see some of the Paleo goodies I have up on there as well. Grains and sugar are just poison to my system. I had to really give it more than a month trial.