So, I did it. I ate paleo for a full week!!!!!
Let me do just a few more of those: !!!!!!!!!!
I guess that doesn't sound like much to regular paleo enthusiasts, but it really feels like an accomplishment to me; it's the only kind of special or restricted diet I've ever tried and succeeded at. My last day of eating paleo was Monday, and my only slip up was on the very last day: I had a smidgen of milk in my coffee.
But other than that? No grains, no dairy, no beans, no sugar. I seriously cannot believe I didn't eat ANY sugar for a week. I mean, I have no idea when I last didn't eat ANY candy for a full seven days. Maybe when I was a toddler? Seriously. Candy is my BFF; it's a bad, bad thing. But I'm glad to know I can exist without it! To satisfy my monumental sweet tooth, I ate fruit. I mean, duh, but I ate fruit after dinner every night, usually a big bowl of cherries in place of the Swedish Fish or Ritter bars I usually enjoy.
So how did I feel? Overally, pretty great. The second day I felt really tired: I woke up, ate breakfast and went right back to bed for another hour or so. But as the week went on, I felt very clearheaded. I wasn't full of energy like a lot of people say they are when eating a paleo diet, but I did feel different: kind of level and steady in my mind and body in a way I've never felt before. Also, I was way WAY less bloated, and I felt a lot less hungry overall, too. And I ended up losing about four pounds, which was kind of nice.
I definitely had a few moments were I was about to give up, where my brain was just screaming GIVE ME PIZZA GIVE ME CHEESE I NEED SWEETS. But I held out, and by the fourth and fifth day, I was definitely feeling less cravings for non-paleo food. I even ate at a restaurant and remained paleo; I had fish, spinach and that's it! R had to go on an unexpected trip, so he gave up paleo after the fifth day, sadly. But otherwise, he stuck to it just as much as I did, snacking on jerky rather than cereal and carrots rather than crackers. I was kind of surprised at our willpower: we didnt take out all the grains or dairy from our apartment, so stuff like tortilla chips and string cheese was right there, easily available at a weak moment.
I should also say we weren't crazy strict: I used soy sauce on our dinner one night, and not all the meat or veggies we ate were organic or free range. If we ever go full-on paleo (extremely unlikely), we'd probably try harder to stick to every single tenet of the diet.
But I'm sure you guys want to know what I ate. Loooooooooooootttts of eggs, lots of smoothies, lots of almonds. Breakfast was by far the hardest meal to make paleo, especially because my normal breakfasts are usually yogurt and GF toast. I took pictures of a bunch (but not all) of my meals and posted them to my Instagram account (@carriemurph), so here's a selection:
Mexican Chicken w/Spinach/Frozen Banana 'Ice Cream' w/ Frozen Blueberries/ Eggs Baked in Tomatoes/Carrots, Bok Choy and Soy-Glazed Salmon/ Egg Baked in Avocado/ Paleo Banana Muffins/ Paleo Taco Salad/Avocado-Strawberry Pudding/ Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
If you're wondering about any of the meals above, just shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'm happy to give you the recipe.
Overall, I think the experience of eating paleo, even for a week, was pretty awesome. I surprised myself with my willpower, realized I'm less dependent on specific foods than I thought, and made my body a little bit healthier. I also had to get quite a bit more creative with my cooking, as I couldn't just toss some parmesan on something to up the flavor factor, you know? Every afternoon I was half looking forward to and half dreading making dinner, but I'm pretty proud of what I came up with, even though most of them were just variations on protein + veggie.
I can't lie: I am pretty damn happy to be eating cookies (albeit GF ones), quinoa, and cheese again. But I'd recommend eating paleo to anyone, even just for a short time. It really taught me a lot about my own relationship with cooking and eating.