So what the HECK is Paleo?
Let me start this off by saying….I’m not a nutritionist, a doctor or a fitness expert. What I am is a stay at home mom of 3, wife to a loving shift working husband, owner of a busy photography business and a PRN working registered nurse. I live my life by the calendar with alarms going off constantly as a reminder to leave the house, pick up a kid from here, be at this practice at this time. Basically, I’m a taxi driver in a constant state of blissful chaos. It’s the season of my life right now…and MOST DAYS feel like a chicken with my head cut off and running around. I tell you this because if I can do this…YOU can too. (PS…If you are thinking this will be a blog post with beautiful professional pictures in it, this isn’t the blog post for you 😉 it’s all i phone pictures….)
It all started when my husband said he needed to start eating healthier and needed me to get on board. I could literally FEEL the weight of that request on my shoulders already. I knew the meal prep, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, constant monitoring and EFFORT would be on me. And you know what? I didn’t want to do it. So, I continued to cook the southern meals (Paula Deen’s Homemade Macaroni and Cheese IS a meal on it’s own OR at least that’s how I thought back then) and continued to fill his plate up. I LOVE to feed people and make sure they are full. But he kept on… and eventually I started to do research. The pivotal moment was when one of my kids asked me if I had a baby in my tummy. And while I’m all about having just ONE more kid… that was my come to Jesus get healthy moment. Weighing 164, feeling sluggish, hiding under loose clothing and wearing a size 12 snugly….I was suddenly all in. (Picture below is about 3 months into journey).
I decided on the Paleo Lifestyle. And when I told him what it was all about (and what it means he couldn’t eat)….he wasn’t so sure he wanted to do it anymore. LOL. Sucker! My mind was already made up 🙂
So what the heck is the Paleo Lifestyle? It’s called “the caveman diet”. You eat lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seafood and healthy fats. You avoid dairy, grains, processed foods, refined sugar, legumes, wheat and alcohol. There are a few different variations of eating Paleo out there (so I suggest just doing your research and deciding which version is best for you). (For example: Some Paleo recipes will use white potatoes, I do steer clear of them.)
When you get a minute, come back and read these articles on Paleo. They will give you more info on what EXACTLY the Paleo diet is all about:
Article from Beach Body: https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/can-i-lose-weight-on-the-paleo-diet
Article from Robb Wolf: https://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/
Article from Ultimate Paleo Guide: https://ultimatepaleoguide.com/paleo-diet-food-list/
Article from Paleo Magazine: https://paleomagonline.com/paleo-diet-101/
Article from The Paleo Diet: http://thepaleodiet.com/debunking-the-biggest-myths-about-the-paleo-diet/
Why did I choose Paleo?
Because I had stomach issues. After almost every meal, my stomach would hurt and would be upset. I knew I had an intolerance to something but didn’t have a clue to what OR I had some form of IBS. I figured cutting out all the crap and processed foods would be my best bet at a healthy gut. And guess what? I noticed a difference within days. No more belly aches and diarrhea. LITERALLY life changing! And after reading about all the benefits it had for people with diabetes, autoimmune disorders and the improvements in overall health…I was sold on it.
What are my FAVORITE resources for meals?
Paleo Running Momma: http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/recipes/
Paleo Leap: https://paleoleap.com/paleo-diet-recipes/
PINTEREST (My Paleo Board): https://www.pinterest.com/katiemyrick/paleo/
The Real Food Dietitians: http://therealfoodrds.com
Skinny Taste: http://www.skinnytaste.com
What are my FAVORITE Dinners/Sides/Desserts?
Grilled Pineapple Paleo Chicken: http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-pineapple-chicken-whole30/
Sweet Potato Chili: https://www.tastesoflizzyt.com/paleo-sweet-potato-chili/
20 Minute Shrimp and Sausage Skillet: http://www.paleonewbie.com/20-minute-shrimp-sausage-paleo-skillet-meal/
Paleo Beef and Broccoli: http://ahealthylifeforme.com/paleo-beef-broccoli/
Honey Roasted Carrots: http://www.cookingclassy.com/honey-roasted-carrots/
Steak and Sweet Potato Nachos: https://paleoleap.com/steak-sweet-potato-nachos/
Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash: https://paleoleap.com/apple-and-sausage-stuffed-acorn-squash/
Paleo Carrot Cake: http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-carrot-cake-cream-cheese-frosting/
Lebanese Lemon Chicken: http://acalculatedwhisk.com/lebanese-lemon-chicken/
Roasted Garlic Honey Cauliflower: http://kirbiecravings.com/2015/05/roasted-honey-garlic-cauliflower.html
Paleo Salisbury Meatballs: http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-salisbury-steak-meatballs-whole30/
HEADS UP: The very first week of eating ALL Paleo, you will more than likely feel like crap. Detoxing your body from sugar isn’t an easy task. In fact, this was the worst week for my husband. He literally felt like he was going to die. That may be slightly over dramatic 😉 but he didn’t feel his best during the first week.
READ YOUR LABELS: Learn what you can and cannot eat. Check labels. JUST because it says PALEO on it does not mean it is. My sweet dad was SUPER tickled when he brought home frozen PALEO chocolate chip cookies and was SUPER bummed when we looked at the second ingredient listed: SUGAR and told him he couldn’t eat it. Bless his heart, he was truly trying. Stay away from the high fructose corn syrups too. Once you learn what you can and cannot eat, checking the labels just becomes habit. I promise.
MEAL PLANNING: Make your weekly menu and grocery list each week. You will find that you are mostly shopping on the outer aisles of the grocery store (the produce and meat).
Getting all the WEIRD cooking stuff: Things like GHEE, Coconut Oil, Coconut Aminos, Soy Free Gluten Free Soy Sauce, Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, Arrowroot, Tapioca Flour. These items will be in A LOT of the foods that you will be cooking. Surprisingly, Walmart and Food Lion carry a lot of these items. What I can’t find there, I go to the organic market (Soho in Elizabeth City).
IS IT MORE EXPENSIVE?: Surprisingly no. Because we are no longer eating out (very rarely), we are no longer spending that extra money. Yes, you are buying HIGHER priced meats (so go ahead and prepare yourself and get it in your head that you are buying high quality/healthier meat). Yes, you are buying $100 plus dollars of fruits/vegetables a week. But our weekly grocery bill is manageable. With meal planning, a legit weekly grocery list and fewer trips to the stores….it’s preventing you from overspending. Think of eating healthy as an investment in your health.
What snacks do I eat? I eat a ton of fruits. My favorite mixture of fruit is blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes. Nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans). Dates (love these for their sweetness). Coconut Macaroons (they are sold at Food Lion in the small gluten free section, two is a serving). Good Life Dairy/Soy/Gluten free Dark Chocolate Bar (I eat half of it).
Can you eat out? Yes, but you have to be careful and it’s best to ask questions. What oil are they using the cook my food in? Are they saturating the veggies in butter? Is there cheese on it? When we do eat out, we often get a steak, steamed shrimp, fajitas (they still tear my stomach up because of the oil they are cooked in), and we eat a lot of Panera Bread (not the actual bread, but the salads they have are amazing.) You just have to keep yourself informed and not be afraid to ask questions. AND if you are planning a weekend away, it’s a lot easier to just have premade meals already cooked and ready for you to eat. When I go shoot weddings or go away for the weekend, I’m carrying an entire cooler of food with me.
If you go ALL IN with the Paleo Lifestyle, you will feel like CRAP when you eat the stuff you used to. Want that piece of cake? Be prepared to feel terrible after it. Only 2 weeks into eating Paleo, it was my sons birthday. I paid $60 bucks for his cake so I wanted to be sure it was yummy ;). ONE small bite tore my stomach up, sent me to the toilet and made me feel like I was going to pass out. (that’s the sugar and flour at work). Robbie (my husband) is not 100% Paleo, he still eats on occasion bread, drinks a Monster energy drink to get home from night shifts and will eat a slice of cake every now and then. He will still feel somewhat crappy after eating/drinking these things but no where near the extent that it does for me. Our kids are about 50% Paleo eaters. It has been by far the hardest transition for them. Especially with our youngest who has texture issues (he will puke up ANY form of cauliflower in a heartbeat). But even making the smaller changes in their eating habits has been amazing for them. We are still working on phasing out a lot of the sugary foods and more fruits…no doubt that is a work in progress.
How do you cook the meals with a BUSY lifestyle? There are a TON of crockpot Paleo meals that are awesome. Most of the time, I’m cooking dinner SUPER early (like 3 pm ish) because of having to run to get kids from school and trying to make sure Robbie has hot food to eat when he wakes up in the afternoon before going into night shift. I also cook earlier when we have evening ball games too. The main thing is knowing that whatever you schedule, there is a way to make it work.
After 2 months of eating Paleo, I lost 20 pounds. That’s without exercising. That’s just with eating healthy. Robbie has lost around 30 plus just by eating Paleo. It was after that 2 months that I decided to start introducing exercise into my lifestyle again. And I can HONESTLY say that this was and is probably my strongest secret to being successful. Because I was already USED to eating Paleo, I felt like I could add something else and not feel super OVERWHELMED. For me in the past, starting to eat healthy AND exercising at the same time proved to be TOO much. It was like setting myself up for failure. I’m 6 months into this journey and still going strong (and exercising daily).
Eating Paleo PLUS exercising daily has literally shaped my body into what I thought was LONG gone. 6 months ago, it felt totally unobtainable to even think about wearing a bikini to the beach. 6 months ago, I never thought I’d be able to fit into my wedding dress I wore 6 years ago (but I can and it’s actually too big!). Those were the goals that were in the back of my mind.. The ones I didn’t really tell anyone about.
Vitamins: I’ve started taking them too. B12, D3, Vitamin C (a lot of it), Echinacea, Fish Oil and an amazing Complete Vitality Complex (that supports health at the cellular level) and the Youth Factor Superfood and Antioxidant Boost Powder (that I put into water and drink once a day). The Youth Factor vitamin and powder, you can find here: http://www.nerium.com/join/noboss
Exercise: I started with the Beach Body program by Shaun T called T25 and completed the 5 weeks of Alpha and the 5 weeks of Beta and continued doing Beta for several weeks after. Inches starting melting off of my body during T25. It is no doubt one AMAZING workout. Then for Mother’s Day, Robbie bought me the Beach Body On Demand (it’s $99 a year) and it gives you access to ALL the beach body workouts. (Literally the BEST deal out there). So, now I’m working on Insanity Max 30 plus adding an extra AB work out in there too. Insanity Max is literally KICKING my butt but I love it. With all the programs, I start out modifying and then as I gain muscle strength I’m able to do the full on workout eventually. So don’t be intimidated if you try a workout and feel like you’re going to die. Modify and get it done. You can do it! IF you are wanting to do a program and you haven’t exercised in a while, I recommend 21 Day Fix and then move onto T25.
Really it all comes down to Self Care. I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should of been. I was putting every.single person and their needs before mine. That’s what us moms do. So I know you get it. You might not THINK you have the time to exercise for 25 or 30 minutes. You might not think you have the MONEY to eat healthy. You might not think you can COOK all the time and give up eating out. These are choices you have to make every.single.day. These are the actions that will get you where YOU want to be. It’s NOT easy but it IS worth it. And you DESERVE these changes.
Fast forward to NOW, I’m weigh around 138 lbs and am wearing a size 6. I have ABS now and I feel (somewhat) confident in my bikini 😉 But in reality it’s NOT what I weigh or what size I wear now, it’s the way I FEEL that has made all the difference in the world. I AM HEALTHY. And I have a little boy who wakes me up every morning and asks me if I’m ready to work out. His sweet little soul keeps me accountable. Changing the way I ate, the way I view food and the way I actually ENJOY exercise now….is a total blessing.
I hope this blog post has sparked something inside of you and has kicked your mind and booty in gear to make a change. Just a reminder, this is what’s worked for me and the blog post above is totally my opinion mixed in with the research that I’ve done. Do you own research, make up your own mind and GO AFTER IT. Blessings to you!