The Paleo Diet is a diet that consists of eating what humans ate during the Paleolithic Era. If you’re not a history guru, this means eating the food that hunter gatherers ate. It does not restrict the amount of food that you eat but it does restrict the types of foods you can consume. In broad terms: dairy, legumes, sugar, processed foods, and grains are off-limits. Instead, whole foods are consumed in place of these.
I volunteered to do this not because I needed to make a change in my diet— although it wasn’t the best, but because I was genuinely curious. I had heard of this diet online and in YouTube videos and it sparked my interest. Did I know what I was signing myself up for? Absolutely not.
The beginning of my Paleo diet was rough— I think that’s the nicest way to put it. I was constantly hungry because I only had processed foods like granola bars or chips or dairy products at my house and my family’s eating habits certainly did not help my cause. I had never realized how “modern” my eating habits were or how much I relied on bread. It wasn’t until I actually educated myself and went on a much-needed grocery run that I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the past three weeks I documented my meals and snacks. In the beginning, there was no diversity in foods because I didn’t really know what was acceptable or not. For example, my breakfasts consisted of eggs and eggs and even more eggs. The Google search history on my phone contained questions like “What snacks are considered Paleo?” and “Is grape juice Paleo?” I even pondered, “Why are potatoes not Paleo?” But these Google searches slowly turned into, “Paleo lunch ideas” and “Paleo breakfast bowls.” The more I learned about it, the more I was able to enjoy the ride.
Having about a week left in my diet, I realized how much my eating habits had changed for the better. But to be completely honest, I did have some cheat meals. I really wanted to put my best effort into this, so I opted to have cheat meals instead of cheat days. All in all, I had a cheat meal once a week.
As I was nearing the final days of my Paleo diet, I started to think about the choices I made the past couple of weeks and how they’ve affected other aspects of my life. My body was desperate for all the snacks I could consume and the candy and dairy that I would indulge in after this diet, but I do think I learned something. To start off, this diet helped me lose weight without my knowing. My family made some remarks in the last week and it was true! This was probably a result from having no dairy, something that I mindlessly consumed every so often. A beneficial habit that I acquired is that I started to plan my meals in advance. This planning helped me consume healthier meals because it left no room for cravings or last-minute unhealthy choices. Another pro is I discovered my newfound love of fruits and vegetables, something that will be a huge part of my diet going forward. This diet opened my eyes to new ideas and recipes that I never would’ve learned about if I hadn’t taken this leap.
As for you, if you’re thinking of making a change to your life or your diet, the Paleo diet may be a great way to go. It doesn’t have very strict rules like many of the existing commercial diet plans, but instead it has general guidelines you can follow. The most important thing about this diet and other diets is the ability to give your mind control over your body. I most certainly had my fair share of cravings throughout these weeks and temptations that I had to overcome. But my motivation to stick to it eventually mattered the most. This diet will definitely broaden your horizons and add a little spice to your life.
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