I began my Paleo diet a little over one year ago today after my trainer suggested it as a way to help me lose weight. Turns out, Paleo for weight loss was an epic fail for me. Though I’ve lost about 4 pounds through the year (and I suppose that’s 4 pounds better off than I was last year), it’s no where near the results others have reported with the switch. Rather than be deterred, I kept with it, still hoping I’d eventually lose the weight, but mainly because I felt better eating this way.
Before the switch to Paleo, my stomach was…let’s just say, unsettled. That’s disappeared. So has the gas, water bloat, brain fog and headaches. Most of my sweet and salty cravings are gone. So is my joint pain. A surprising side effect was that my hot flashes have disappeared, those horrible hormonal waves that made me strip off my jacket and sweater and t-shirt in a mall only to leave me drenched in my own sweat and shivering—are gone! Eating Paleo’s worth it’s weight in gold for that discovery alone.
On the down side (besides no weight loss), food preparation is timely and costly. I can’t come home after a stressful day at work and pop something into the microwave for dinner. I must shop for fresh veggies and meat, prepare them, cook them, and clean up after ward. And while the fact that my kids enjoy my Paleo food is a bonus for them, it’s a negative for me as, no matter how much I think I’ve made, there are never enough leftovers and the whole process must begin anew the next day.
I’ve learned that…
- I don’t miss processed foods (except where convenience is concerned). In fact, when I eat processed foods, the brain fog and bloat and stomach upset returns the next day as does my hip joint pain, in both hips, including the one that was replaced three years ago.
- Spiralized zucchini has a consistency similar to Udon noodles when sauced.
- Stevia leaves an aftertaste and agave’s not as healthy as you think. The best sugar substitutes are coconut sugar and xylitol. Both are plant-based sweetners that are less sweet than refined sugar.
- I enjoy milk and milk products. My grandfather owned a dairy when I was a child. When he passed, my mom and her siblings took over. I was raised on yogurt, cottage cheese and cream cheese. I never much liked milk because I couldn’t get it cold enough. I learned I had a lactose intolerance with my first pregnancy when I decided to drink more of it. Thank heaven they have lactose free milk for my morning lattes. And though I don’t eat much yogurt or cheese, I do feel for it every once in a while.
- I can’t cut grains out entirely. When I crave a salty snack, I pop some popcorn. When I eat too much fibre, I need to eat a small serving of rice daily until my body corrects itself. I eat wild rice, because I reason the cavemen I’m emulating might have come across a patch of wild rice at some point and harvested it (Hey! It could happen!).
Lastly, Pinterest is amazing for finding recipes and new weight training moves. Without variety I’d be bored. Pinterest has yielded a number of amazing ideas for recipes. Here are some I’ve tested that I really like:
Microwave Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin on The Big Man’s World
I make a savoury version of this muffin. Take the basic recipe, omit the cinnamon and raisins. Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and a half teaspoon of your favourite spice. I like onion soup mix and/or garlic powder. After microwaving, cut in half like a real English muffin and toast until brown. I use this as sandwich bread, to substitute for a bagel (topped with butter or jam or cream cheese) and as the base for pizza muffins.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free on All Day I Dream About Food
When you make this, add in the optional molasses. It gives it a rich feeling and adds little sweetness. The result, when served slightly warm, is reminiscent of pecan pie. I recently served these at work and my colleagues couldn’t believe there wasn’t any flour in it! I take two of these for breakfast once or twice a week.
Chocolate Muffin in a Minute on DJ Foodie
The basic recipe for this muffin is great. Throwing in a teaspoon of chocolate chips makes it better. Ditto chocolate mint chips. This muffin works as a sweet treat to satisfy a craving or as a gooey weekend breakfast.
The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie on The Paleo Mom
My son absolutely loves this recipe, and I like pumpkin (who knew?). The crust is simply nuts and egg whites and the inside is pumpkin (a vegetable) and eggs. Rather than walnuts, I use pecans for the crust. I’ll sometimes have this for breakfast or lunch or for a guilt-free evening snack. I add a drizzle of pure maple syrup on my piece before eating.