On April 1, I started what is essentially the “paleo” diet. No dairy, no grains, no sugar, no legumes. For the month of April I’m eating only unprocessed meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts. It seemed limiting at first but there are really a ton of great foods that are allowed.It’s only been a week so far but I feel amazing and I’ve already lost a few pounds. Before I embarked on this adventure, I had no idea how much unhealthy food I was eating – even when I thought I was doing okay. The first thing that people ask when I tell them about this is, of couse, “But what do you eat?!” Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been eating lately:
- homemade chili with ground beef and pork, tomatoes and bell pepper
- scrambled eggs with spinach, onion and bell pepper
- black coffee or coffee with almond milk
- green salad topped with chicken
- lemon mustard salmon and green beans
- steak and roasted zucchini, carrots and bell pepper
- grilled chicken with mixed frozen vegetables
- chicken salad with diced apples, walnuts and homemade mayo
- apples, carrots, almonds and walnuts for snacks
- I consider red wine and the occasional cocktail of tequila and lime juice to be “on plan”
So far the most challenging aspects have been planning ahead and seasoning my meals. As you can tell, this diet doesn’t really make it easy to eat packaged foods. I’m not being too picky about eating processed foods (I’m not willing to give up my almond milk, for example) but most packaged foods contain things like soy, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and other things that I’m trying to avoid. That means that if I get home from work at 9 p.m. and I haven’t cooked something ahead of time, I still have to find something to cook and make a real meal. After a dinner of sardines and veggie juice one night, I realized that I’m going to need to cook a bunch of meat and veggies on Sunday night so that I have something to fall back on when I get home late. I will also probably try to make some soup and chili that I can freeze for emergencies.
Seasoning has also been a challenge. Most sauces, packaged or homemade, contain sugar, soy and/or butter. We have a seasoning mix from New Orleans called (hilariously) Slap Yo Mamma that only has salt, pepper and garlic in it, so I use that a lot on meat. I made homemade mayo the other night with egg, lemon juice and olive oil and I’m hoping to use that as a base in some new sauces next week. I also used an old-stand by of mine, lemon mustard sauce. It’s a blend of lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and it tastes amazing on both chicken and salmon.
Overall this has really opened my eyes to what I eat and how it affects me. I have so much energy and I feel a lot better than I have in a while. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the month goes!