Today was the first full day of my Paleo challenge, which I have decided to dedicate one month to rather than two weeks, to give my body time to adjust and notice the benefits.
The first major obstacle was breakfast. I’m so used to oats or quinoa in the morning but all grains are banned. I enjoyed a Spinach Orange Juice Ginger Banana Smoothie, follow by some pomegranate seeds.
I went straight to my blood test after the juice so I could assess my vitamin levels before and after the Paleo month. I fear blood but reminded myself I am doing it for my health and science’s sake.
Afterwards, I felt extremely hungry yet was at school, where no Paleo options were available. I normally grab a yogurt or oatmeal when I’m on-the-go and don’t have food on me, but both are on the ‘no’ list. I wish I had brought nuts with me and realized for the first time that we are surrounded by carbs, dairy and sugar. Not only in the vending machines, but everywhere. Frequented locations like Starbucks display a selection of a combination of carbs, dairy and sugar- each item was some sort of mixture of the three! (Yogurt parfait, muffin, donut, banana bread, oatmeal, cookies, brownies..) Coffee and soy milk are also both prohibited (no more Soy Mistos!) so I just got a green tea to hold my appetite until I came home. First lesson learned- always carry Paleo snacks.
|Tahini Covered Kale Chips|
I came home and scrambled some eggs with tomatoes and avocado topped with chia seeds, plus made some Tahini-Covered Kale chips to munch on later. I then decided to pick up some Paleo staples like almond flour, raw honey, dates and coconut oil so I can create some of the delicious Paleo desserts I see like Natural Evolution’s Mango Banana Coconut Pie. I’m really excited to create these sugar-less naturally sweet concoctions!
I also learned the difference between Paleo and Primal living, the latter including dairy. For the challenge I will try to avoid dairy for at least the first two weeks, then try adding some raw, full-fat dairy options. As an infant I was lactose-intolerant so I drank soy milk my entire childhood. I also began drinking dairy milk again and also felt fine, but am wondering if my body is still possibly lactose-intolerant, even though I do not exhibit any symptoms of it. I am curious whether we can grow in and out of food intolerances or if they are permanent.
I am also torn on the topic of soy. I’ve come across countless articles describing the detrimental side effects of soy. For the Paleo diet I am going to omit soy from my diet, but I am not sure exactly how I feel about it. I have eaten soy my whole life and have completely normal hormonal levels, plus no history of breast cancer in my family. Additionally, many Asian cultures have lived healthily off of soy for centuries and tofu is full of protein with no fat. However, the Paleo movement argues that soy should be avoided, as it is highly processed and increases estrogen levels in the body.
|Paleo Mango Banana Coconut Pie|
I will be doing a lot more research on the effects of soy on the body, but in the meanwhile, what do you think?
Another thing I am wondering about is intermittent fasting. I have read many Paleo bloggers advocating intermittent fasting to give your body a rest for digestion. They argue that humans never ate “meals” but rather ate whenever food was available, often going through periods of feast or famine. In my argument “Why Skipping Breakfast May Be Good For Your Health” I discuss how the idea of breakfast was created after the industrial revolution to fuel workers for hours in the factory. Granula, considered the first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, was developed from graham flour, made of a baked lump of slow-cooked wheat and water that was said to be hard as rock and had to be broken up and soaked overnight to be edible. (Ever wondered where the name granola came from?) It was sold at ten times the cost of its ingredients, showing that breakfast was created as a marketing strategy to convince customers to pay high prices for essentially nutritient-void food.
Humans naturally were not meant to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but rather ate more in peak periods and less during harsh winters. Therefore, if you aren’t hungry in the morning, you shouldn’t feel compelled to eat breakfast simply because Cheerio’s tells you to (Cheerios may lower your cholestoral? Do you know what will DEFINITELY lower your cholestoral? Exercise!) However, if you want to eat breakfast, I believe you should be free to, which is why I don’t believe in forced intermittent fasting. If you are hungry and have access to healthy foods, I believe you should be able to consume them, yet true Paleos will go through periods of intermittent fasting to recreate the starvation periods cavemen once faced.
Do you think we should practice intermittent fasting? Aren’t lifespans longer now because we have frequent access to meals? If you look at countries where access to food is sporadic, citizens have short lifespans and higher rates of child mortality. Yes more people became overweight from frequent eating, but a lot more were able to stay alive.
I’m not really sure how I feel about fasting yourself to recreate the starvation cavemen faced. What do you think?
Lastly, I learned that the Paleo community is super supportive. I have received tons of messages from Paleo bloggers sharing tips on leading a healthy and easy Paleo diet and would like to thank you “cave men and women” for all of your support!
Ps: Shout out to tofu, tempeh, lentils, peanut-butter, soy yogurt and soy milk. Miss ya’ll already!