September 13, 2013

Going Paleo

by

 Paleo quote

Sometime in July I decided to “go paleo“. I had been reading more and more about it and because I was still feeling icky I decided to give it a try. Almost a year ago I significantly cut out sugar. I only used stevia and didn’t eat things with artificial sweeteners. And since I’m wheat-sensitive I’ve greatly cut back on “bread stuff”.

I figured if I gave up all the “hidden wheat” I was well on my way to embracing the paleo lifestyle. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, CycleGuy decided he wanted to give paleo a try. He works with someone who’s written some of the most well-respected whitepapers on the paleo lifestyle. This wasn’t a choice he made lightly. But, he was willing to give it a try so jumping in to paleo would be easier since I wouldn’t need to make something different for him.

So what does it mean to “go paleo”? It means different things for different people. But for me (and my family) it means removing a lot of things from my diet. The list of “No” seems to be longer than that of what can be eaten on paleo. And that’s OK. Honestly, it makes cooking a little easier because the general categories are few – fruits, vegetables, protein. And while I’m a “do dairy” kind of paleo I do make ghee (clarified butter) and use yogurt for marinating chicken.

Why did I “go paleo”? I’ve been researching ways to make me feel better. In 2007 I figured out I was wheat sensitive. For awhile I went totally gluten-free, but I still didn’t feel great. My tummy was bloated, my back and joints hurt, and my psoriasis flared on my legs leaving me with red blotches. So I cut out dairy. I didn’t drink milk much or eat a lot of diary, but I would have some with different meals.

Cutting out dairy and wheat helped. Then one day I came across a tweet about giving up sugar. And because I’m crazy, I did this in December. Seriously! What was I thinking? But, I have to tell you, I started to feel better after a week or so. Whoa! No sugar, no wheat, no dairy seemed to be the right combination. It wasn’t easy, but because I felt so good I kept it up. Every  once in awhile I’d “test” myself and often the (negative) consequences were immediate.

Now, with CycleGuy deciding to go paleo with me it’s been pretty easy. We’re 80/20 paleo, so there are times when we do have “no” foods. For some, I’m sure this is sacrilege. But for me, it works. I’m sure there are some who’d question my commitment to the paleo lifestyle. I don’t really care because I’m not doing this to impress anyone. I’m doing it to feel better and eliminate eating processed foods.

The cool thing is that so many people have embraced the paleo lifestyle and they’ve created cool paleo blogs and have shared some of the best paleo recipes. That means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and when I have a question I can quickly find answers. I have also found that I have online friends who are moving to a paleo lifestyle which gives me a support system. And, as with most lifestyle changes it’s always good to have friends who can talk you off a ledge.

Change is good, right?

Sara

{ 7 comments }

Megan Broutian September 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I have psoriasis of the nails – I don’t have any skin issues because it attacks my nails only (less than 2% of psoriasis cases are nails only, yay me). My sister (the pharmacist who enjoys reading about the latest nutrition studies as a hobby) told me about a possible connection between gluten and psoriasis. I dismissed it because, well, what does she know about flareups? You’re the second person besides her to mention the connection and I’m starting to get convinced that there might actually be something to it. I haven’t tried the paleo diet but I think I’m gonna look into it as well. Thanks for the post, it was very informative!

Sara September 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Megan, I’m sorry to hear that another friend has psoriasis. Doesn’t matter where it is, it’s not cool. I still have outward signs if psoriasis, but for sure it’s much better without the gluten and dairy. As for your sister, well, siblings lie to us all the time, right? So it makes sense not to listen to her. Maybe this time though she’s on to something. Just this time!

Megan Broutian September 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I’e tried everything for the psoriasis, from light therapy to steroid injections. I stopped at biological, because I don’t think compromising my immune system is a good idea. I’ve never thought about nutrition as a way to control the symptoms until just recently and your blog post sort of helped steer me in that direction. How do you manage your symptoms?

Sara September 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm

My psoriasis was pretty well under control until I had my daughter. Since them it’s been in ‘freak out’ mode. 10 years! Gluten and dairy give me hive-like bumps on my shins and redness/dryness at my hairline (but only on the right side). Stress causes it to flare too. I take a homeopathic remedy (arsenicum album 30c), and have for many years, to try and keep my body from experiencing stress. Sunlight helps a lot, but it’s too hot to spend time in the sun. And I’d probably be burned to a crisp in the 30-min I need. In December I cut out sugar and that really helped. So now, with paleo, the psoriasis is much less. I am not a fan of taking medication, so I’ve avoided it at all costs. While it’s only been a few months with paleo, I’m already seeing less psoriasis issues than when I was just gluten-free.

Christine September 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I’m working on this too but struggling with the beans a bit. I was trying get FB to like quinoa and that’s not working but in this plan it’s ok…but not plant based (eg more beans) which was where I was headed. So again rethinking what will work for and fit into our lifestyle.

Kerri O September 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

Paleo has been a life-changer for hubby and I. It’s so much easier that it’s both of us, I’m in awe of those that do it and their spouses don’t support.

Sara September 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I agree, Kerri, that it’s much easier when your partner joins you. I’ve seen so many benefits in such a short time, I really think my husband and I found the right eating style for us. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

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