Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Whole30/Paleo Challenge Mid-Point Update
Hey, everyone! I thought I'd do a Whole30 mid-point update so my readers can check in with me. So, how am I doing? Still good and even better. I'm really taking to eating this way.
I would say that it's totally worth it to give something like this a try. Often, the little things really add up in ways we don't see (or choose to ignore) and if you aren't quite where you want to be, health-wise, you owe it to yourself to experiment, even if that means a little (perceived) deprivation. Is that nightly glass of wine doing you any favors? Maybe, maybe not. Is that cheese making your weight loss progress plateau? Why don't you cut it and find out?
When I started Whole30, I was not looking forward to dropping butter, grass-fed cream and cheese from my diet, but I also wanted to see what would happen if I did. I also wasn't looking forward to not having any alcohol, even though I only infrequently drink. But, of course, the minute you can't have something, you want it, right?
So, the first week was the hardest, but truly not that hard. I've been able to be very compliant (but maybe that's the oldest child part of me not wanting to let my readers down;-)
I had fatigue and some sugar cravings, but the cravings have subsided and I have more energy now, although my energy issues run deeper than most people's as mine are thyroid and adrenal related and I still have more work to do in those areas. They are a 'work in progress', so to speak.
Cutting out dairy has been a big deal. When I first went Primal a year and a half ago, I immediately felt better and lost some weight. Recently, due to some thyroid issues coinciding with the holidays, I gained a few pounds and they wanted to hang out and not go away. Not cool!! What a relief to find that cutting the dairy also ended the plateau. I've done some reading and it seems I'm not the only one: Mark's Daily Apple had a recent article on the insulin secreting properties of dairy. In other words, for many people, the cheese CAN make or break your otherwise low carb diet and halt the weight from coming off.
So, cutting dairy has resulted in my pants fitting nicely again. When my experiment is over, I will add butter/ghee back in and some cream, though maybe not as much as I used to eat (these don't trigger an insulin release like milk/cheese/yogurt do) but I think I will leave the cheese out, for the most part.
The other reason I wanted to cut dairy was to see if my autoimmune issues would improve. So far, I can't tell a big difference like I could when I cut gluten out of my diet.
Reducing my intake of fruit and sugars/starches hasn't been a big deal- this is how I used to eat for a long time on Primal, but then all the starchy veggies of autumn came into season and I perfected my sweet potato fries and... you get the picture!
Right now, I'm more than satisfied with a half cup of blueberries, a spoonful of hazelnut meal, some coconut flakes all topped with thick coconut milk, cinnamon and sea salt. Super yum (and no blood sugar spikes/crashes or carb comas!)
I still need to up my workout frequency. I've been great about walking on a nearly daily basis (even when Nashville was snowbound, I was out there walking every day!), but I want to do more strength training. I want arms like Cameron Diaz!
I'm getting to bed later than I ought to (naughty me!!) I swear, getting to bed is my Achilles heel. I KNOW better! I'm positive that my energy and hormone balance would improve a whole lot if I did go to sleep earlier, before the nightly cortisol spike kicks in.
Here a some extras I've been doing to 'pimp' my program:
-fresh lemon in water in the AM- great for the liver.
-dry brushing before showers- great for healing the skin, releasing more toxins through the pores and stimulating collagen.
-ending showers with a few minutes of cold water- increases circulation and strengthens the vascular system, strengthens the immune system and boosts the metabolism. Not fun while you do it, but you feel like a million bucks afterward!
Since this program seems to be working out well for me overall, I've decided that I'm going to extend Whole30 for a few extra weeks to give my body extra time to heal. I think I'm finding that for me, a little less wiggle room is a good thing. I will never be one of the Paleo ascetics but I realize that I need a shorter leash when it comes to diet than some people do. If I didn't have an autoimmune condition, that would not be the case, but I have to work within reality. It's strangely freeing in a way, not having to seesaw about food choices.
I hope everyone else who has chosen to do a January Paleo challenge, Whole30 or even just a gluten-free challenge is learning a lot and reaping the rewards. And for those of you who are just contemplating doing this kind of thing, I hope it encourages you to take up the challenge!
I'd love to hear from some of you about your own goals!