This is my first blogging attempt ever-I’m totally new to this whole thing. So forgive me if I’m a bit slow going. I wanted to give an overview of what this will be about, what to expect, and why I do what I do. So!
#1: I eat paleo.
Some have heard about it, some haven’t. Most HAVE heard of gluten free and low carb. Paleo is different than both in certain ways. Gluten-free is mainly just omitting gluten (wheat products) from your diet. Low carb is eliminating some carbs or sometimes substituting lower carb options. Paleo is the complete omission of grains (wheat, corn, rice, oats, rye, barley, quinoa, millet), legumes (peanuts, cashews, beans, lentils, soy, chickpeas), vegetable oils, processed sugar, and dairy. Now….if you have never heard of this before, I understand it’s a bit scary sounding. My first reaction was “Then what CAN I eat?!” I assure you, I eat a big variety of food, without including anything from that list.
I eat food. It’s as simple as that. My diet consists of meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, and seeds. It’s a diet high in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Everything mainstream society has been feeding us (pun!) about what’s healthy and good for our bodies, I want you to forget all of it. Today, the American diet is mainly grains, processed sugars, artificially constructed vegetable oils (what vegetable naturally has oil in it? Think about it.), and soy. There are tons of articles and studies supporting how the American diet is killing us, but that’s for another day. I’m not asking everyone to agree with me. All I know is how great I feel since making this choice about my health and diet, and I wanted to share my experiences with others.
#2: I’m not an expert.
I don’t claim to be all knowing, and I’m everything but perfect. You can expect 100% honesty here. My plan for this blog is to share recipes, bits of information, funny stories, my failures as well as my victories, and to hopefully learn through all of it. This diet/lifestyle is not for everyone and that’s totally fine. While it IS different and seemingly opposing what we’ve all been told to do, it’s probably the best decision I’ve made for myself. I’ve never felt this good in the history of my 21 years, and I think that’s saying something.
I don’t want to advertise paleo as a “diet”. It really is more of a lifestyle change. You need to understand the “why” of it all. This is the Cave Girl Diaries, because paleo is all about getting back to what our ancestors ate. Being cave men and women. There were no processed anything , only those things they could find roaming, grazing, flying, swimming, or growing in a tree. These foods are what our bodies function best on and therefore, make us most healthy.
#3: I love food.
I’ve been in the kitchen since the day I could hold a spoon. Coming from an Italian background, food is everything. It’s what keeps us all together and brings us back, no matter how many miles between us. It also means a LOT of bread and pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE bread. Giving those things up was hard for me. I still make my Grandma’s sauce, I let it simmer all day, memories flood back. It’s awesome. Now, instead of making a pot of spaghetti, I make my noodles from zucchini. It’s not a restrictive way of living, I’m not constantly wanting desserts, or sandwiches, or all those starchy foods I once lived on. It’s about slightly tweaking those favorites, in a way that isn’t destroying your body.
Now. I don’t claim to eat paleo 100% of the time. The occasional sprinkling of cheese or corn chip happen. Especially when eating out. But for the majority of my meals, I’m a cave girl.
This is a change that takes dedication, because so many of our daily premade and prepackaged foods are filled with all those things that poison our bodies. Label checking and making a lot of things from scratch are my reality. It’s most difficult in the beginning. Over time, this becomes second nature and you look forward to doing it, because you’re so pleased with the results and the quality of life you now have achieved. I’m serious. Making mayo is fun now.
#4: Be happy!
I’m a fairly positive person about most things. Sometimes though, the one being hardest on me is myself. It can be easy to get discouraged and down about how truly awful all of our staple foods are for us. It’s just as easy to cheat here and there and pretend it didn’t happen. But I’m here to tell you, living this way isn’t a burden. It’s not a chore. It’s also not tasteless and boring. There’s always going to be times when other people around you are eating something you can’t, that’s just life. But I have the satisfaction of knowing how great I feel because I’m choosing something different.
This lifestyle is also not super expensive like most may think. It is a lot of produce and meats, but if you’re a smart shopper this won’t hurt your wallet. Buying meat on sale (and freezing the extra for later use) and buying produce in-season (which is when it offers the most nutrients anyway) are ways to cut down on cost.
Of course, organic everything is almost always better. But also almost always more expensive. So I pick the things that matter most to me. Vegetables I most often eat raw, eggs, and grass fed beef (when I can get it) are what I look for. The point is to keep it simple. Obviously, if my vegetables are sprayed with chemicals to make them grow faster/ripen quicker, I don’t want those same chemicals in my body. If my cow has been raised on an unnatural diet of grains, this would logically make for an unhealthy cow. Which I also don’t want in my body. Cage-free chickens who are allowed to roam their farm are healthier for me than chickens cooped (pun!) up in a small cage and fed growth hormones. A lot of this diet is common sense, really.
#5: I work out! 😉
No matter who tells you what about weight loss and fitness, the simple fact is this: everyone needs to move. Diet alone won’t make you a healthy person. Find something you like, and run (pun!) with it! I’m a biking fiend. I can bike anywhere and everywhere. Now that the weather is nice again, I can finally get back to it. Yay!
I’ve never been a gym person and in fact, I still am not a fan. But I also enjoy working out at night. So it’s down to my basement for a run on the elliptical I go. I love excuses as much as the next person, but when it comes to my workouts I have to really push myself as hard as I can and just do it. Even if it’s just walking, moving is always better than not moving.
AND! I also have good news! We’ve all heard that cardio is what we need to lose weight. While this is true, it’s only half the story. Weight training is a big part of fitness that everyone ignores or is afraid to do. You don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill anymore! 😀 The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. By incorporating lifting into your routine, you can burn more fat. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I learned of this I almost jumped for joy. If you can’t tell…..I’m not a cardio junkie. Some are. I don’t get it. But to each his/her own. I plan on making an exercise series in addition to my recipes/food-blurbs. So be on the lookout.
I’m not here to lecture anyone. All of us know we need to move more and eat healthier. I’m guilty of it too. Hopefully you find something that inspires you to make a positive change. Becoming a cave girl did that for me.