Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fleshing out Paleo

Yesterday after writing my post, I ended up ordering Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution from Amazon and hope to find it waiting on my doorstep upon my arrival home from work.  I can't wait to read it all, including stories of people who have found not only weight loss success but also improved health in a relatively short time.  Improved as in progress with Type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, cholesterol and lipid profiles, and lowered blood pressure, to name a few.

I'd been hearing about 'Paleo' for quite awhile, but didn't really take much interest, because I'm such a believer in the general low carb trend - based on the science behind it.  When I eat very low carb, I lose weight and feel scads better in short order.  A few years ago (before my blog), I jumped on the Atkins train and actually stayed on it strictly for about 7 weeks (the induction phase).  It was supposed to last only 2 weeks, but in his dook, Dr. A. noted that if you were getting good results from Induction and feeling well, it was fine to stick with it for longer.  Hell, I could eat bacon everyday - so I was on board. 

I had blood studies done for a physical towards the end of that 7 weeks and my total cholesterol was 134!  My doctor actually said to be careful not to let it get much lower.  (Um, he didn't mean to go hog wild with carbs again, which I've done several times since:( ).  My other vital stats were also stellar, after so many weeks with zero sugar, and less than 30 carbs/day.  In every way, my health had substantially improved, and I lost close to 20 pounds.

You know where this is wasn't sustainable for me.  Once I began adding back in healthy carbs, like fruit, I started with an occasional slice of bread, and off to China I went again.  I've written recently about striving to eat low carb (the kind with virtually no fruit...etc), and I have been unable to maintain it over the long haul.  I'm so damn black and white in my thinking sometimes, and regarding food it seems to be part of my brand of eating disorder.  I know the whole spiel about gradually adding back in the healthy carbs for maintenance, but my brain starts to scramble when I try to moderate.  This is just boring background info that you probably already know about moi.

Lately I was struggling with trying to stick to the idea of abstinence of 3 meals and a snack daily - for starters.  Not too much manipulating of food content other than the obvious high calorie, high sugar, highly processed crap NOT included.  Still aiming at low carb, and agonizing over every grapefruit.  I just can't continue that nonsense - I'm driving myself crazy and setting myself up for bingeing after restricting.

Enter the story of Helen (that I spoke of last week) and her recent experience with Paleo.  While she was going through her challenge from November-December, I read with interest, and thought a lot of the food sounded great.  But what really grabbed my attention were the physical results revealed when she saw her doc last week.  So I started doing a little research and found a couple of blogs where others were trying Paleo, and one gal was able to give up her asthma inhaler after some time.  (Asthma flares, so this isn't a cure, but improved the gal's symptoms enough that she could leave out something she'd needed daily for a long time.) 

Well.  I have asthma that has been pretty flared up recently (few months).  I have Type 2 diabetes.  My B/P is borderline high.  I've had thyroid issues (nodules requiring biopsies, though thyroid function has been good).  My cholesterol and lipids have always been pretty good, but last round of blood work they were moving in directions they shouldn't.  That was almost a year ago - God knows where they are now.  I've avoided the doctor's office like the plague because I keep wanting to wait "till I get my act together".

The version of Paleo that has attracted me includes no dairy, lots of animal protein (recommended organic and humanely raised), vegetables and fruit.  And sweet potatoes?  YES!  And cocunut oil, and other healthy fats from nuts and seeds.  No sugar other than what's in fruit, no booze (no prob here!).  As I said above, I haven't read all the deets yet, but the food plan feels workable and right for me.  I'm now 3 days in (woot) and actually craved, and ate, an apple this morning!  And it satisfied me in a guilt free way. 

Sorry to go on so long again.  My mouth tends to suffer from incontinence...or is it my mind to finger connection?  Hopefully by tomorrow at this time I'll have begun reading the book and beginning to establish some meal ideas.  I've been going by a Paleo cookbook I checked out of the library:

It has some great recipes and a month of menu plans.  I see I need to get some breakfast things made ahead so I can get out in the morning with the right food at the right time.  Planning is everything, yes? 

Promise to be shorter winded tomorrow!
P.S. - I'm starting to feel like one of those bloggers who keeps trying different things...and I am.  I can't apologize because I'm determined to find a sustainable healthy plan that I can use for my life, with modifications as needed.  Don't judge!!!


  1. Who would judge? Different strokes for different folks. We all get to where we are for different reasons and why shouldn't our way back be equally unique?

    I'm totally with you on the "moderating" carbs bandwagon. If I could "moderate", I would have never got into that situation. So for me, I stay pretty clean, as in low-carb, but do allow myself the treat out once in a while, as in dessert in a restaurant. I can do that because I rarely go out and the portion is measured.

    I am glad to hear you be excited about your new program. Woo Hoo! WTG Leslie

  2. You have to do what's right for you Leslie! And while I tried to do the Paleo diet, it was hard for me to sustain, so I am back to good old WW.

    That being said, Rich, the guy who gave both me and Helen the Zero Scale keeps emailing me that if I just gave Paleo a try for 21 days, my diabetes will be cured.

    Um, pretty sure my pancreas doesn't work anymore, the reason I take insulin, and I don't think by leaving whole grains and sugar in my diet will suddenly make it start working.

    That being said, because you are Type II, you may be able to reduce the amount of medication you are taking - I do believe that is possible.

    Looking forward to seeing how it goes for you! Just be warned, its a bit more time consuming to meal plan on Paleo. :D

  3. That's a great cookbook and she has a website too! In fact if you really get into it there are a ton of Paleo sites with recipes out there. I tracked my food for a while because I wanted to see what the carb intake was and was astonished to find while lower carb, it was not low carb at all. At least not in the Atkins sense. There are lots of carbs in fruits and vegetables. So now what I'm realizing for my health, for the majority of the time, I am better off getting my carbs from fruits and vegetables instead of carbs from grains. Beware though - just like with Atkins it's easy to eat really high fat. As Rick Kreps told the Challengers, if you want to lose weight it will be better to choose leaner proteins (i.e. not bacon and racks of ribs or Porterhouse steak every day). I'll be looking forward to your progress reports especially those on your health!

  4. I don't mind that this was long because I was very interested! Not sure if I shared with you that my husband is following The China Study which is pretty much the opposite of paleo or what I eat. NO animal products at all, including eggs and dairy. And along with fruits and veggies and beans, etc, lots of carbs and that includes white potatoes. So, right now we are pretty much not sharing any meals!

    What really kills me is that the experts all disagree and seem to have evidence to support their plan. I just read (okay, skimmed) Wheat Belly which is probably a lot like paleo in its recommendations.

    So some say animal products raise cholesterol and some say carbs raise it. Arrrgggghhh.

    As for changing - go for it! It's all about finding what works for you. I'm still looking.

    Looking forward to reading how it goes.

    1. Karen do you both end up cooking your own meals? The mixed messages about what works and what doesn't makes me crazy. Every time you turn around there is a new study with a new claim!

    2. I agree - it's nuts how all these different plans have supporting data. Bottom line - as far as weight loss goes, any reasonable plan works if it's worked! That damn compliance, moderation - etc!

  5. ♥ Sarah's Everyday Paleo cookbook. Everything I've tried from it has been great. I do what would be considered paleo(ish). Feel good. Hope you have good results!

    1. Thanks, Tiffany. I've tried one thing and it was great. Good to hear a positive review! And love the notion of Paleo-ish! Realistic. I'm alrady missing Greek yogurt so I may add it back in before it's over.

  6. It was too long of a post Leslie - it's interesting to say the least. Many of us (of a certain age) seem to by trying new food plans and trying to find the right combination of foods that allows us to lose weight, not crave carbs and feel good.

    I look forward to hearing more about your food plan and what great recipes you try!

  7. Trying different things is better than giving up!

  8. I'm excited for you, Leslie - and the thing about why there are so many different plans out there is that what works for one may not work for another. But there IS something for everyone, and you have to be open enough to try, which you are! Good luck! :)

  9. I'm transitioning from Medifast (72 pounds down) to a modified Paleo. Very interested in how it works for you. I'm very certain that I'll be comfortable in maintenance. Good luck and the Paleo blogs and recipe sites are fabulous. Safe travels and I'll be following along. :)