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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