|My paleo breakfast|
But now let me backtrack.
About 40 days ago, I started on this 30 day Paleo Reset diet, inspired by what I read in the book called "The Paleo Cure". I wrote in detail in this post about why I tried it, but in short, I did it for a few main reasons:
1) To try to lose weight
2) As an elimination diet of sorts, to see if there were any foods that I was eating, that I hadn't been able to pinpoint as the cause, that were causing me issues, as my stomach issues were so much improved than how they used to be, but still not perfect.
3) To do that with my kids as well, to see if there were any specific food triggers that they had.
So let me first talk a little about weight. I debated about sharing this, because I know some people are very private about this, but what the heck.
Growing up I was very skinny. Like super skinny. And then I reached puberty, and started packing on the pounds. But never was really really heavy. I wore a size 10 or 12 skirt, I think. Not sure. But I exercised a ton- walking a lot, ballet, karate, gymnastics class. I once calculated that as a teenager, I was exercising at least 10 hours a week.
Then when I was sixteen my family moved abroad, and I went to a dorming school, where I was cooking all my own food, while going to many hours of school. All my exercise stopped. By the end of that year, I weighed about 195 lbs or so. That number scared me- I didn't want to be that close to 200 lbs, and my doctor also told me I needed to lose weight.
Well, over the next bit I did lose some weight, and it culminated that when I was engaged to my husband and planning our wedding at 18.5, I weighed only 175 lbs or so- merely because I was so busy and in love that I "forgot" to eat.
Then when I was pregnant with my oldest, I threw up so much that in my first trimester, I got down to the upper end of my ideal weight range- 165 lbs... and then went up again. Ever since then, to be honest, my weight has pretty much stayed the same- hovering between 175 and 180 lbs.
My goal weight, because of my height and build (5'9.5 and very broad/large boned), is between 150 and 165 lbs.
My pregnancy with Rose was my most different pregnancy. Instead of constantly throwing up like I did in previous pregnancies, I just was nauseous all the time and eating food helped ease the nausea. So unlike my previous pregnancies where I didn't gain so much by the end (10-15 lbs), by the end of my pregnancy with Rose I had gained 35 lbs or so, and then postpartum I couldn't stop eating.
Last summer I got a reality check, because I felt really fat and overweight and flubby, none of my clothes fit me, and when I stepped on the scale it showed a scary 208 lbs. As I said- before when I'd reached 195 I was pushed to action, so you can imagine how I felt being over 200 lbs for the first time ever...
So over the past year I really did try to focus on eating healthier, tried to eat less, etc... tried adding exercise into my life, but to be honest wasn't so successful with that, because whenever I seem to try to work out, Rose would wake up and want my attention then and there...
But I did get my weight down to my pre-pregnancy weight, the weight my body seems to like. I was fluctuating between 175 and 180 lbs... And my clothing fit me again. But I did want to lose weight still, because I am not in love with my love handles, or my chub, or the fact that it is hard for me to find clothing in my size (16 or so) locally.
I decided to try the Paleo diet for 30 days, because my mom was on a strict Paleo diet since April and lost over 30 lbs, weight she hadn't managed to get off beforehand, and I was really hoping I'd have similar success...
Well, I don't know. I certainly didn't lose 30 lbs nor even close to it. I don't even remember what my starting weight was on day 1- if it was 175 lbs or 180 lbs. All I know is that before I started that's where I was at, approximately. I didn't take any waist measurements, etc.... I mean I did, but I forgot to record them, so that doesn't really help. But some days I just looked in the mirror and I felt like I looked better, looked thinner. But who knows... And someone commented when I asked, if they could tell a difference, that before I started I looked about 4.5 months pregnant, but after doing it for a month I didn't look pregnant at all anymore.
My clothes didn't get any looser, at least I don't think so.
And the scale on day 30 showed 171 lbs... which as I said before, I've never seen other than when throwing up when pregnant. So at the very least I managed to do that, even if I am not keeping that off (the other few times I stepped on the scale since then it hasn't been that low).
So... weight loss. I dunno if I actually officially lost anything.
But does that mean it's a bust? That my doing the 30 day reset was a waste of time?
I wondered if physically I would feel any different being on this diet, because my diet wasn't so far from it to begin with, if I would have what people call NSVs, or non scale victories...
And I'd say I certainly did have some, some very unexpected.
My stomach has always been sensitive, and I thought doing the 30 day diet would be really hard, because the proteins allowed on the diet are poultry, meat, eggs, and fish, and eggs gave me stomach issues and beef gave me stomach issues, so I would be down to only poultry and fish for the 30 days.
Well, after 8 days of only fish and poultry, and wanting to broaden my horizons, I decided to try some beef. But took plenty of digestive enzymes and had fermented foods with it, and apple cider vinegar... and was waiting for the standard digestive issues I got with beef to kick in. Didn't get any! So next time I tried beef again, without the digestive enzymes or ferments or apple civer vinegar, again waiting for the digestive issues to kick in. Nope. Didn't happen!
That, my friends, is really amazing for me. To actually be able to have beef! Not that it is something I do every day, because it is expensive, but you know, for variety, to be able to have it without my stomach hurting made this all worth it for me!
And, another thing- eggs? I still can't eat whole eggs, but many times while doing this diet, I made eggs for my kids, and my littlest ones didn't want their yolks and they gave them to me... and instead of figuring out something to do with them, or tossing them, I ate them. And they didn't give me issues anymore! I had tried just egg yolks before this 30 day reset, and they made me nauseous and hurt my stomach, but not while on those diet!
Another really random thing- fizzy drinks always ended up bothering my stomach, making me feel all bloated- even just seltzer. While doing this 30 day diet- no stomach issues from fizzy drinks!
I must say that I am not stomach issue free. I still had some minor minor non painful stomach issues during the 30 days, but overall, I see it was a diet that was good for my stomach.
But other than physically how this made me feel during the 30 days, I'm realizing also some of the emotional aspects that this has affected.
I hadn't realized how much I was literally addicted to grains. I grew up with rice being the staple in my diet. Most people asked me, when I went off gluten, what did I eat if I couldn't eat bread, but bread never was a staple I relied on- but rice was. In my family growing up, we had rice at least 5 meals a week, usually more than that. Going 2 days without rice was nearly sacrilege. So going without gluten was not such a "biggie" for me, but going without rice, and without any other grain substitutes in its place, for 30 days, was a huge thing for me, and quite frankly, was scary for me. Not only did I actually literally have withdrawal symptoms the first week (light headedness, exhaustion, headaches, etc...)- and no, not due to lack of carbs, because I was replacing rice and buckwheat with permitted carbs, I also was having emotional reactions, panic attacks at what I'd feed my family, being afraid that I'd starve my family if we went away for a weekend where I wasn't able to cook and I didn't have rice or another grain prepared.
It actually was quite nuts to see and experience- because I didn't realize just how much of an addiction I had to grains, and rice specifically- but at this point, after my 30 days are over, I no longer have this addiction, and to be quite honest, I have lost my taste for rice, and have no desire to eat any grains...
So now that I finished the thirty day elimination diet, the next part is the reintroduction of forbidden foods, one at a time, to see how my body reacts to it. I must say that this reintroduction part of the diet is being very eye opening for me.
First off, I have to say that I always thought rice was totally fine for me, that it was one of my "safe" foods. My father, whose sensitive stomach I inherited, used to say that rice was his medicine. So that rice could be less than amazing for someone wasn't something I could fathom. Even Chris Kresser says that white rice can be a healthy addition to a Paleo lifestyle, so long as you can tolerate it.
Apparently I do not.
Other than a little bit of coconut sugar in my coffee (I'm sorry, I just can't tolerate that stuff without a bit of sweetness to mellow out the bitter), white rice was the first thing I reintroduced to our diet after our thirty days were up, since white rice was something that I was sure would be totally fine for us.
First off, when I tasted the rice, it tasted so gross to me. Tasted like I was eating glue. And this coming from someone who would crave rice if she went even a few days without it before.
After I ate the rice, I felt insanely exhausted, as if I pulled an all nighter. And then a few hours later and the next day, etc... my stomach started bothering me again. I had never heard before of rice causing exhaustion- that is the type of reaction I had to gluten, but why rice? Google came to my rescue, and I found out that it has to do with the blood sugar spike and crash after eating it. My kids reacted to rice just as I did- but more on my kids' reactions in a bit.
I also tried corn and cheese- I got a stomach ache after the corn, and a splitting headache after the cheese, and in general, ever since trying to reintroduce these foods, I've been feeling awful, out of it, headachey, like I haven't been sleeping nearly enough lately, when the fact of the matter is that I've been sleeping many more hours a night than I usually do, I feel dizzy and light headed like I am dehydrated but I am not in actuality... And I'm nauseous much of the time.
It is quite clear to me that my body does not like these foods that I've tried reintroducing. And of them all, the cheese is what is making me saddest- because I really do love my aged cheeses, and I really thought that I was ok with them, but I guess not.
And interestingly enough- when I eat an egg yolk now, or drink seltzer- I feel funny again, like I did before I started the 30 day diet.
In short, other than wine, a drop of dark chocolate, and small amounts of coconut sugar, pretty much everything I've tried to eat has been not good for me. I even tried potatoes, but they are making me nauseous, and don't even really appeal to me.
And as I said in the first line of this post- doing this reintroduction on vacation has been the stupidest idea ever; I thought it would make my vacation easier to have more options of what to eat, but what it did was make me not enjoy my vacation as much as I could have because I haven't been feeling well. So if any of you are considering doing the 30 day reset, and want to reintroduce foods during or before a vacation- don't! Stick with the diet longer, even if harder on vacation, so that you can reintro when you can take your time and aren't trying to go enjoy yourself...
So it looks like I'll be sticking to a grain free diet for now. Maybe in a little bit, I'll try some sourdough buckwheat pancakes. But for now, nope.
And actually, one thing that I will be doing, once I get back home, is sticking to this diet more strictly- lower in carbs. I gradually have been getting myself to eating fewer and fewer carbs. Now I actually am able to feel satisfied even after a lower carbohydrate meal. I strongly suspect that my issue with weight is due both to the amount of carbs I eat and that I overeat.
So I also plan on working on portion control. Because I am pretty sure that the reason I didn't have as much success as my mom with this diet is that I am a huge eater. I eat with my eyes, less with my stomach. From when I get home on vacation, I will try to keep a food journal, and write down every single food I eat, along with why I'm eating it- hunger, boredom, emotional reasons, wanting a good taste in my mouth, etc... Maybe if I have to stop and think about why I'm eating what I'm doing, it'll help me not overeat.
And another thing I've been trying to do, but I'll try to do more. is drink more. Many times thirst is mistaken for hunger, and if I drink, I no longer find the need to eat.
Anyhow, so that's about me.
What about the rest of the family?
Well, we started off the month with the entire family doing the diet together. Around day 5, Mike, who was short on sleep, started feeling really funny, which made him go to the urgent care center. He was totally fine. But upon research, it seems that it was a combination of extreme fatigue and reactive hypoglycemia or something. But his feeling that horribly made him really wary of doing this diet, so he ate the paleo food I made at home, but did his own thing as well, and didn't do the diet.
But my kids- they stuck to it beautifully, and I am really proud of them!
If you want to know how much weight they lost or gained... No. I didn't weigh them before and I didn't weigh them after. My children are very healthy weights, slender, muscular- they didn't do this at all for weight loss purposes! I don't want my kids to lose weight. We did it purely as a lifestyle change and an elimination type diet.
So my kids had quite a few non scale victories. Number one that I noticed is that my kids behavior really was amazing- they didn't have any melt downs, any major crying fits. They were mature, well behaved kids. In case you think that that is how they normally are... well, most of them are, most of the time. But we do have issues with tantrums with a few of my kids who shall not be named. But going off these foods meant that these issues went away, and when we introduced back rice, sugar, and corn, gradually, they immediately came back. Mike is a huge skeptic when it comes to food affecting behavior, but after seeing it really clear cut how sugar especially, but also rice and corn caused my kids sugar highs (and incredible misbehavior, tantrumming, "regressing" and acting like they're a year or two younger than they are) and then crashes- to the extent that my kids literally fell asleep in the middle of the day when they never nap anymore... he's a believer, and he's on board with cutting white sugar from my kids' diet. And rice and corn. I'm still experimenting to figure it all out- I think brown rice doesn't cause the same sugar highs and crashes that rice, corn, and white sugar do. And we're still trialing dairy.
Speaking of which- I did this diet with my kids mainly as an elimination diet, to see if there were food triggers that they had that they/I were missing, because some had stomach issues and some other issues, and it seems that their stomach issues have gotten much better this way.
And unexpected, another bonus for them is I found that they are now able to have more self control when it comes to treats and things that aren't healthy- they are willing to turn it down and not cry that they want it. A guest came by and gave the kids treats, and instead of eating it, they returned it to him and said "we can't have it now, we're on a 30 day diet". I mean- wow- what self control!!
They aren't always demanding cakes, treats, junk, etc... we even have a bag of junk in my house from before, and one of my kids would always have a melt down if he/she saw it, and I wouldn't give them the junk, but now he/she is fine without eating the junk. They are also totally content with fruit as treats, whether dried fruit or fresh, and aren't looking to eat garbage.
And I see now my kids are more willing to explore new things- Anneliese now is a huge chicken eater- before she would just barely pick at it, but now she can easily eat 3 large wings in a sitting.
I see my kids are thriving on this nutrient dense diet.
The hardest thing for me, though, is I felt my kids were constantly constantly hungry, and it was super hard to keep on cooking more and more and more food to fill them up- and the fillers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash- were very heavy and expensive now, so my grocery bill has definitely gone up. Nothing quick to serve them- no pouring a bowl of milk and cereal in the morning- I had to keep on cooking.
So now that this diet is over, I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do. I am going to see how they handle quinoa, buckwheat, and legumes, and I'll trial brown rice again...
But for now, I am going to be still cooking predominantly Paleo... but we'll see what happens in the future.
All in all, I must say that this has been very enlightening to me and my husband- especially that the foods that I thought were totally fine were actually problematic for me and my kids...
And wish me luck that once I go back 100% on the paleo diet, but a lower carb version, I'll be able to lose more weight than I did, and actually keep it off.
Have you done a 30 day Paleo diet, or the Paleo diet in general? Have you found it had an effect on you physically, emotionally, or your weight, and if so, what type of effect?