On February 13, 2013, about a week before I started Crossfit we transitioned to the Paleo diet. Sometimes called the Cave Man Diet. People who eat Paleo follow a gluten-, legume-, and dairy-free diet with an emphasis on foods that are whole and unprocessed. Grass-fed meats and poultry, wild-caught seafood, organic fruits and veggies, naturally occurring fats (coconut milk, grass-fed butter, coconut oil and olive oil) are the basis for this way of eating.
We’d spent the month or so before going back and forth, half committing and ultimately decided to do it full force. For us that meant completely emptying our fridge, shelves and pantry and starting from scratch. We have little to no self-control in our house and knew that if even a single cookie remained, we’d probably break down and eat it. I made bags of food and gave them away to family members and brought the rest to our local church for donation. Our shelves were literally bare.
We had done A LOT of research before hand so we felt prepared to hit the store and stock up on the essentials. Some great resources on the Paleo Diet can be found at Robb Wolf’s website. We found most of the items at our local Stop & Shop. I like to cook our meals everyday so I wanted to have all the staples on hand. As far as pantry items go, the things I find myself using most often are coconut oil, olive oil, almond/coconut flour and our Paleo dressings from Steve’s Original. (Ginger Cilantro is my favorite for a salad dressing)
I bought a few Paleo cookbooks and then revamped my old homemade cookbook to only include Paleo recipes. There are a ton of websites and bloggers that post great recipes daily. Just a few I love, PaleOMG, Civilized Caveman, and Against All Grain I print a few a week, try them out and if they make the cut, they go into my “cookbook”. My “cookbook” is made up of a split-back easel binder (about $13.50 online) and clear plastic sheet protectors. It really works great when you are trying new things and collecting your favorites.
There are countless resources online that will provide information and explain what this diet will do for you. What I can tell you firsthand, is what it did for us. Our goal was never to lose a ton a weight but rather get consistent. We would always yoyo 5-10 lbs in either direction during the year. We wanted to stop eating anything and everything and feeling like complete garbage afterwards. Eliminating the processed food and gluten has made a visible difference and we feel amazing everyday . It also fixed my never-ending skin problems. I never had acne but would always have an aggressive monthly breakout that no cream or wash could fix. After seeing my doctor, OB and countless dermatologists, they all chalked it up to hormones. Not one, suggested changing my diet. I can honestly say that after the first full month eating Paleo I haven’t had a single breakout.
I would say we are 90/10 Paleo. We are pretty strict during the week and cook all of our breakfast, lunch and dinners. But we are also realistic. We still go out to eat, get together with friends and crave the occasional sweet. Sometimes we have an off weekend, but really try hard to get back on track for Monday. The only reason this way of eating works for us is because we are realistic.