Thursday, May 22, 2014

Personal Paleo Code: 1 Week In

We've been at this 30-day diet reset thing for a little over a week now {closer to 2 weeks, these posts take me a few days to compose & edit!}, so I figured I'd post an update on what we're eating and how we're doing. First, to give you a framework of what we're eating, the "reset" phase of the Personal Paleo Code consists of: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. No dairy, grains, legumes, sugar/sweeteners, industrial oils like canola, or artificial ingredients. Sound tough to live off of? It's really not that bad.

For breakfast I've been eating ground turkey with sweet potatoes and apples, berry smoothies made with coconut milk and chia seeds, and of course the incredible edible egg with some combination of salsa/avocado/tomatoes. Who needs cereal {i.e. sugar} to start the day? I will admit that I struggled a little with black coffee. I was used to a little sugar and some half-and-half, and black coffee was just not as exciting for me. I drank it for a few days, then gradually blended it down to half-caff, and finally to none at all. I prefer not to be reliant on a cup of coffee in the morning anyway. I really drank it because I love the taste, and once that aspect was gone there was no point. 

For lunch I stuck to my usual salads, though I switched to olive oil & balsamic vinegar instead of the honey-mustard dressing {homemade} I had been using before. I also had to omit cheese or black beans which I often included before. Instead I added avocado and/or boiled eggs. Sadly that has proven to just not cut it for a lunch meal. I've experienced more than one episode of extremely low blood sugar in the evenings where I start feeling dizzy, light-headed and like I need to eat something, anything immediately. It makes sense since I'm consuming significantly less sugar and carbs than I used to. Hopefully it's just my body adjusting to it's new fuel type. I did some quick online research and some advice was to eat more carbs {fruit or sweet potatoes} and other advice was to stay away from carbs {which could be causing a blood sugar crash} and eat more protein and fat instead. For today's lunch, I decided to skip the salad and go for something heavier.

Two salmon/sweet potato cakes, steamed carrots, and two boiled eggs. I also had an apple after that. 

It did not disappoint! My evening was much better. So, note to self: salad on the side, good dose of protein for the main component.

That brings me to dinner. Dinners have been the easiest and most fun. Some of our dinners have been steaks, burgers with pineapple slices and sweet potato chips, tacos in romaine leaves, pork roast and sweet potatoes, those salmon cakes I mentioned above, and a roasted chicken... all with a variety of vegetables. It's really simple - chose a meat, prepare however you want {within the parameters of the diet, e.g. no cheese}, chose a complementary vegetable.

I've even made ice cream out of frozen bananas using my food processor. Just slice and freeze a banana, place in the bowl of a food processor with other fruit, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nuts, etc. and process until creamy. I'm not sure I'll ever need to buy dairy ice cream again. I also love that it only makes a small amount so it's not just sitting in the freezer waiting to be eaten.

As for how we're feeling- I don't think either of us have noticed anything dramatic at this point. The first 2-3 days were a little rough for me in terms of energy, but I've definitely bounced back from that. I mentioned my couple of episodes of dizziness. Hoping that's just an adjustment to consuming significantly less sugar/carbs than before. I do not find myself hungry or experiencing cravings, which is wonderful and way beyond my expectations going into this. I thought for sure I'd be craving all the things I couldn't have. I used to always eat a bowl of cereal before bed also {a habit from childhood}, and I haven't been eating anything past dinner except the two times we made ice cream. I'm not ready to say that I see or feel my thyroid symptoms vanishing either, but hopefully I'll start to see improvements by the time the 30 day reset phase is ending {which will be June 10}. Without blood tests before and after I won't know definitively if the changes I've made are positively affecting my thyroid function. I do plan to follow up with my endocrinologist to check on my levels. They were only "slightly" off normal before, so it'll still be difficult to say whether any positive change is attributed to my eating habits or not. What I do know is that I've eliminated potential threats. By not eating foods that are known to be problematic both for my immune system and my thyroid, at least I feel confident that I'm not doing harm to myself. 

In addition, eating healthier is... well, healthier. I'm only helping myself in a variety of ways by changing my habits for the better now. My motivation originally came from having an auto-immune thyroid disorder, but the more I learn the more I believe that this change is just a smart thing to do for my long-term overall health. I'm sure there will be occasions and instances where I consume refined sugar or an artificial ingredient, but knowing that I'm careful 95% of the time will make those isolated instances much less of an issue. Therefore, I get to indulge when it's absolutely worth it and still maintain all the benefits of a clean diet. I'd say that's the best of both worlds!

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