Friday, May 6, 2011

May is Paleo Month

After years of weird food choices driven by weird hormones, I'm desperate to return to habits of old.  Habits that really worked for my body - giving me lots of energy, eliminating seasonal allergies, inflammation all over my skeletal system and menstrual cramps, and slimming me down to a trim and easily buffed state. Habits that worked for our ancient forerunners

Thus I've declared the month of May to be Paleo Month in the Barnacle household. And by declared I mean I closed the door to the office and elicited Bill's cooperation, and the proceeded to eliminate food from the pantry, pull out beloved yet dusty recipes, borrow several cookbooks from the library and almost completely change the food I present at the table at meals, all without saying a word about it to the kids.

You may be asking yourself what Paleo is.  The long name is the Paleolithic Diet, a lifestyle modeled after our Paleolithic ancestors.  They were the folks who lived 2.5 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture.  Basically, we're going back to eating meat, veggies and fruit.  Fortunately we get to add in cooking and spices, healthy oils and some coconut milk and a few nuts for fun. As a lifestyle, this also includes getting plenty of sleep and a varied and a short but intense exercise regime.

I started us out May 1st, and promptly got a migraine that left me eating saltines and feeding the family pizza from the place around the corner.  Dang.

Still, we're now on day 6 and I'm noticing a huge difference in how my body feels and the children's behavior.  I feel lighter, less sluggish and my jeans were a bit easier to put on today.  The kids seems to be evening out emotionally some, and they aren't begging for snacks every 20 minutes.

Why didn't I update the kids? In my experience there is *nothing* like an announcement that food will be changing to elicit tons of anxiety and defiance about mealtime in my short people. Where as, if I don't mention it and tell and interesting story or joke as I bring food to the table, they fail to notice (or at least complain) about the lack of bread, pasta, cow dairy or dessert at the table.

In returning to healthy habits, I really, really didn't want to read through the 640 pages of Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories to re-inspire myself.  Fortunately, my hold for Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution came through in late-April (after about 9 months of waiting!).  His book is full of good information, encouragement, meal plans, recipes and CrossFit workouts. He offers a challenge to try Paleo for 30 days and then decide where to go from there.  I always love a good challenge, and it fits my longer-term plan with the family, so I'm in. Thus the May thing.

At the same time, I borrowed one of Mark Bittman's books, Kitchen Express.  While in no way meant to be Paleo or low carb, lots of the recipes are or can easily to adjusted to work.  And his recipes taste like they were created by a foodie who loves good flavor, along with being fast.

Finally, one of Wolf's associates, Sarah Fragoso, just came out with her own cookbook, Everyday Paleo. As the mother of 3 kids, she gets the challenges of feeding a family against the grain of the standard American diet (hahahaha did you get the pun?). Again another book with lots of warm, practical advice, meal plans and recipes.

Wolf and Fragoso both keep helpful and inspiring blogs - I've put them on my Google reader and find it helpful to check in every few days to keep me focused.

I'm fascinated to see how May goes and what my body (and the rest of my family's) is like at the end of 30 days.  I'll keep you posted.

How about the rest of you?  What "lifestyle" do you choose?  Any you don't follow but *know* work great for your body?  Any other crossfitters out there? How do you get back on the health wagon when you've fallen off for a long stretch?

1 comment:

Kris said...

I didn't know I was eating Paleo, but the last three months have found me doing just that. It has changed my life: my well-being, my energy level and most importantly, my relationship with food! I think that a very low wheat and refined carb diet is just the thing for this body. I am no longer afraid of fats, pouring olive oil liberally on my salads and using whole cream for my coffee. YUMMMM! And yes, the jeans are much looser. Best wishes on your transition!