paleo gaileo

so i’ve been doing this paleo thing off and on (mostly on, but more off than i should be) for awhile now. i don’t know when i started exactly, but it’s been after my move to kc back in august. (before my move, i was working 7 days a week, getting free meals from trailside and otherwise doing the fast food thing, which is not good, but was what my schedule allowed – not that i’m making excuses or anything…) i’m seeing results because all of my pants are now officially too big, although i really can’t afford to buy new ones at this juncture. i’d like to put that off as long as possible, at least until before my trip to amsterdam next spring. however, i suspect i’ll have to break down in the next month or two and buy a couple of pairs as sort of a transitional thing. in the meantime, i’ll be making do, swimming in a sea of fabric as time goes on.

anyway, i really enjoy the paleo/hunter-gatherer/primal/low-carb way of eating. i’m actually eating more vegetables than i was when i was a vegetarian. my meals are certainly more filling and delicious. (not to go off on a tangent -but here it goes: people selling vegetarian diets often tout how vegetables are so very wonderful and you can eat so many of them to get that full feeling, as opposed to eating other items that are more calorically dense that you have to eat less of, and therefore you’ll be hungry more often. i’m calling bullshit here. the calorically dense foods often being referred to usually include items containing flour and/or sugar, or are otherwise processed. beef, poultry, and seafood are also more calorically dense than vegetables, but in addition to their other benefits – such as providing building blocks for our bodies – they also provide a satiety that you’re not gonna get from eating 3 pounds of lettuce or a loaf of whole grain bread in one sitting. eating a medium-size grassfed piece of beef with a couple of sides of vegetables is going to keep hunger at bay a lot more easily and realistically than eating a bunch of carrots dipped in fat-free ranch dressing. but i digress…) lately i’ve been on this kick, that i kinda stole from the idea behind chipotle, where i pick some kind of meat, such as chicken or turkey breasts or even ground beef, sauté some veggies fajita-style, add some cumin and chili powder, mix that all together, then top it with salsa and guacamole (or just a plain sliced avocado). heaven. it fills me up, and it’s good for my body, and i’m seeing results. a couple of weeks ago i was into (by ‘into’, i mean having the same meal 3x in a week) having a grilled salmon filet, with sautéed spinach and roasted asparagus. other times, i’ve been into having salads featuring a mesclun mix with grilled chicken, red onion, avocado, and chopped pecans, with homemade honey mustard dressing. and these meals, yes their vegetarian versions can be just as delicious, but it’s the protein that has made all the difference for me in so many ways.

i am all gung-ho about this although i actually don’t talk about it to people in my day-to-day life. i’m the kind of person, if i talk about goals, i seem to set myself up for failure. so, other than this blog, which i’m not sure my friends read anyway, i’m keeping it to myself and the results will speak for what i’m doing. however… as excited as i am about this ‘lifestyle’, i have one major major major problem: i still have a sugar addiction, and it’s only because i don’t cut sugar out cold turkey. i wake up every morning with the best of intentions, but then after work i go to cosentino’s grocery and they sell slices of tippin’s peach pie, right by the entrance, and i tell myself, this is the last time, and i buy the damn thing and take it home and eat it for dessert. or my roommate will bake bread from scratch and the smell fills up the house and how can i say no to smelly bread? 🙂 (ultimately bread, or any carbohydrate, turns to sugar as it goes through the digestion process. and sugar is sugar, whether it’s the cheap refined white stuff or honey or agave nectar or from a piece of fruit. it has the same effect on the metabolism – at least it does on *my* metabolism.) the worst thing is knowing that i feel so much more energetic when i’ve gone a few days without it, feeling almost invincible, then i’ll have a bad day at work and fall into the trap of thinking ‘this reese’s peanut butter cup will solve it all.’ and the cycle begins anew.

my other problem is trying to figure out breakfast. one thing that has worked for me in the recent past is making a crustless spinach quiche on sunday evening and intending to have that for breakfast. however, it usually ends up being lunch (which, if i planned better, wouldn’t be a bad thing). other things i’ve tried have inclued making paleo style muffins using almond meal and honey or mashed dates as a sweetner. however, just because something is paleo doesn’t mean that you should eat it all in one sitting. perhaps, i have other food issues that  need to addressed before i can trust myself to make half a dozen muffins and savor them throughout the week. the third option, the one i exercise most often but like the least, is grabbing breakfast at the hospital cafeteria. i usually get scrambled eggs and a couple of sausage links. this isn’t the cleanest way to eat (although it’s definitely the best out of all the other choices there) because: 1. i know i’m not eating real eggs. and even if i were, i know they were not raised organically or in a free-range environment, and 2. sausage? do i have to go into all that about the slaughterhouse floor? plus, this is all served up in styrofoam, that i am embarrassingly helping to contribute to the landfill.

sigh. i’m trying to make the best decisions i can at this point, but honestly need to step it up a bit. i read and/or listen to anything that mark sisson and robb wolf have to say, plus i check out blogs such as the clothes make the girl and primal kitchen chaos for inspiration from people i can relate to. in addition, for the holidays this year, i’m buying myself a kettlebell – yeah, you read that right, a fucking russian kettlebell. okay, yeah, my kettlebell will be much smaller, starting out at 15 pounds. my hope is that committing to a kettlebell practice will will motivate me to stop it with the sugar once and for all (well maybe not for all, but for a significant portion of the time) as i start to see *real* results.

i will not be going back to being a vegetarian, especially after reading lierre keith’s the vegetarian myth last year. there’s too much at stake for me (my health, my quality of life, my life), plus i think there are some real holes in the vegetarian idea that sustainability means not eating animals or wearing leather shoes.  i don’t want to go into that aspect of the choices i make daily, but i imagine at some point in the future i will. i’ll just end this particular post by saying that this is the way that most of humanity has eaten for thousands of years. diabetes and heart disease and inflammation were not issues back in the day. people alive then of course had other issues to deal with in order to stay alive, but it is the paleo/hunter-gatherer diet that gave them the energy and fortitude to deal with those other issues. i think such a way of eating could do similar things for many of us, right here and right now.

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