Food. Aaaarrrggh, food! We certainly can’t live without it, yet so many people struggle to live with it.
A year and a half ago I changed the way I ate, from your conventional “normal” food to eating mainly primal/paleo. I try not to eat processed foods, white potatoes, sugar, legumes, rice, or grains.
Dairy, I haven’t given up and probably won’t, so I’m not strictly paleo, more primal, I think they call it. I eat loads of meat, a bit of fish, quite a lot of veg, and a bit of fruit. Ideally, no sweeties, biscuits, cakes etc etc, but … Yeah, right. One day, maybe!
So what are the pros and cons of ditching the grains, lowering the carbs, and increasing the fat and protein? After a year and a half, they’ve become very apparent to me.
- More energy – it’s amazing how great more stable blood sugar levels make you feel!
- After a big, satisfying meal full of protein and fat, you’re raring to go – no post-lunch or post-dinner slump.
- Massively, humungously reduced hayfever. Last summer I took one anti-histamine instead of taking two a day.
- No joint pain in the mornings when I get up.
- I hardly ever get ill now and if I do get a sniffle, I throw it off exceedingly quickly.
- It’s good for weight stabilisation and you never get a bloated up stomach.
- My cooking is more adventurous now as I now use loads tons more herbs and spices. I never used to know what to do with them before.
- I don’t have to worry about quantities of food – I just eat till I’ve had enough. The odd time years ago I used to count calories, I’d be pissy as all hell due to just not being allowed to eat enough to keep myself going properly.
- Hearing people screech “you cook with BUTTER? OMG you’ll have a heart attack by the time you’re 50!” is kind of fun.
- Three good meals a day is quite enough: I don’t feel the need to snack. It’s quite liberating, being happy to go without eating for long stretches because you’ve filled up on fat and protein. Your mind’s not always on food.
- It’s a pain in the arse to eat out anywhere – everything has grains and sugar in it, it seems.
- It’s more expensive – decent meat is dearer than cheap bread and pasta.
- Cooking every meal from scratch and making my lunchat home to take to work is a pain in the arse.
- When I DO give in and eat grains or sugar the ill effects are a pain in the arse – weight gain, joint pain, yukky complexion.
- It’s a pain in the arse feeling horrendously guilty whenever I buckle and throw a whole pizza down my throat. And I feel appalling afterwards: sick and lethargic.
- Explaining it all to people who ask is a pain in the arse … Explaining that I don’t like to eat grains cause I believe they scratch holes in your intestines, let bad stuff from your guts leach into your blood stream and thus cause auto-immune issues … Plus they bloat me up and make me fat. People just think you’re a freak. And they don’t see to realise you actually CAN function, and function very well indeed, without bread, pasta and processed food.
So yes. It is a blooming pain in the arse really.
Nevertheless, I’m going to stick at it. It’s the energy thing that’s really swung it most of all – no falling asleep on the sofa after dinner, no desperately trying to stay awake after lunch at work.
Yesterday at my parents’ house we had my dad’s soup and home-made bread for lunch. Shop-made bread I can easily resist as it always seems so doughy, bland, and flavourless now, but my folks’ house full of the smell of bread just out of the oven … Well, I scoffed down half a loaf easily. Ohhhhh good god it was fabulous.
But I paid for it: I felt terrible afterwards – tired, grotty and bloated. Eating all that with a 2.5 hour drive ahead of me was really stupid as I had to fight tiredness the whole way back down to Edinburgh.
Today was completely different: bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms for breakfast at 7.00 am, lunch of grilled chicken, pomegeranate seeds, homegrown salad leaves, raspberries, cheese, a few grapes, and a couple of wee oranges. My own salad dressing made from ground up roasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Dinner will be baked salmon with lime with roasted sweet potato, and I doubt I’ll need anything else.
My energy levels are extremely stable from when I get up to when I go to bed on a diet like this which is great. I love not feeling shitty and tired!
I think the trick is, find what’s right for you.
What kind of fuel does YOUR system run best on?