This is a guest post from Michelle Dryburgh. You can check out her blog here.
From February 1, we are committing ourselves to the Whole 30. And I don’t intend on stopping there.
I’m not a newbie to the world of Paleo. After being diagnosed with Celiac’s and dairy intolerance three years ago, I switched to a 100 per cent cavewoman diet for six months.
After the first week of sugar withdrawals, and dreaming about bread so vividly I could smell it, I fell in love. I swore I would never go back to eating grain or dairy again.
Then I met my boyfriend.
He was a carboholic, and a great cook. And there was no way he was sacrificing rice and at least gluten free pasta from his diet (or eating my ‘weird’ food)
In time he has come to appreciate the ways of Paleo and adopted a lot of Paleo principles in his cooking, including religiously using coconut oil and coconut milk, and creating a yummy sweet potato ‘pasta’ as our go-to dish when we’re short on time.
But some time around Christmas we went into celebration mode, and we’ve been overindulging on sugar, dairy and gluten-free grain ever since.
While the festive season may have ended a month ago, evidence of our binge is still everywhere.
The pantry is fuller than the fridge. The bin is overflowing with packaging. And our clothes are fitting a little (okay, a lot) tighter around the middle, legs, and well, everywhere.
Alcohol has made its way into our bad habits too – and the worst kind. Beer for him, and flavoured ciders for me. Basically liquid sugar, and we’ve paid the price.
For weeks now we’ve both been extremely lethargic, quick to fatigue, suffering with headaches, digestive upsets and terribly reactive skin. Days off have been wasted on the couch, too tired to move. And our usually regular workout routines have slipped, some weeks completely off the charts.
Noticing the physical effects of our lazy habits, we started making some changes a few weeks ago. Whenever he’s home, my partner has been cooking up Paleo meals for us for dinner, and we’ve stopped buying all those devilish little extras, like dip and crackers, and the occasional icecream or chocolate bar, that somehow always crept into our shopping basket.
But with only one week left until we go 100% Paleo, it’s fair to say ‘the last supper syndrome’ has set in. Well and truly.
Last night we went out for a quick dinner before seeing a movie, I ordered pizza, and he had a crumbed chicken parmigiana.
Today we went out for lunch. I had risotto, and he had crumbed veal.
Then tonight I went to the store to buy fruit. And came home with chocolate mousse, four tubs of yoghurt, strawberry flavoured custard, spinach dip, a bag of jelly beans and two boxes of gluten free cereal. Oh, and almond milk!
No doubt we will regret this last hoorah when the sugar withdrawals hit two weeks from now. But my way of thinking is if we make ourselves sick enough on junk food, we won’t want to eat it again. I hear that method can work with cigarettes, so I’m sticking to it.
Despite some slight trepidation, we are both excited to be going Paleo. And I’m particularly excited to be going back to a diet, and lifestyle, that I know works for me.
I have been involved in a lot of heated discussions about Paleo of late, arguing against the claims we’ve all heard a hundred times before. Everything from Paleo is a ‘fad diet’, right through to it being dangerous for heart health because of the high fat content. These claims make my blood boil.
I accept that everyone is different, and perhaps Paleo isn’t the answer for all of us. But I don’t think anyone has a right to pass judgement on any diet until they have tried it for themselves. And by try, I don’t mean eating bacon and eggs for breakfast for a week, not exercising and giving up because you’ve gained a few pounds.
Having struggled with my weight all my life, I have tried nearly every diet in the book. Perhaps one of the most expensive, least successful, and damaging was a shake diet I tried in my early twenties. It’s promoted as being a sure-fire weight loss tool and great for overall health. But the truth is, each shake contains more sugar than a bottle of soft drink, and the mixture is a cocktail of chemicals so extreme I wouldn’t be surprised if it glowed in the dark. It goes without saying, the ‘diet’ didn’t work. I was hungry and craving carbs and sugar all the time. And despite my intense exercise regime, I gained weight. My body was starving for nutrients and I completely destroyed my metabolism. Now that is what I call dangerous.
I have never felt better than when I was on a completely Paleo diet, supported by a healthy and active lifestyle. My digestive issues settled, my energy levels were boundless, my body was lean and strong, my skin, hair and nails looked healthy. But above all, I simply felt well. I slept soundly through the night, and woke refreshed and ready to take on the day with a smile.
I don’t know any other diet or pill that can do that.
I can’t wait for February 1 to roll around. It feels like I’m going home.
About the Author:
Michelle Dryburgh is an Australian writer, Celiac foodie and passionate advocate for the Paleo lifestyle.
Her daily hunt for gluten-free food, flavour and fun is a constant challenge – but makes for an interesting menu of insightful, emotional and entertaining reads.
So join Michelle as she laughs, cries and eats her way through life on her soon to be launched blog at www.aglutenfreelife.com.au