Paleo? Here we go …

by AliMargo on February 17, 2015

Got fiber? Laurel's Power Smoothie

If you woulda told me I’d end up on some caveman diet, I’d probably say something obnoxious like, “I’d rather eat lint that have to give up pretzels and beer.” But last Thursday I began a 6-week-long commitment to the Sopris Chiropractic Paleo Challenge lead by Dr. Scott Tesero and his wife Laurel.

Here’s the thing: I’m in my mid-40s when there is no longer a “lose weight fast” option. I’ve gained what I like to refer to as “The Marriage 15,” on account of finding myself in that complacent comfort zone where your husband tells you he loves you just the way you are and you reply, “Great! Pass the fries.”

I’ve somehow pushed past the 130 mark on the scale (which I would consider high for my five-foot-tall frame) and it pushes back, (or up) because no matter what I do, I can’t get my weight any lower than that. I can workout until the cows come home; I can do weeklong juice cleanses; I can try cutting down on carbs or eating clean or eliminating gluten; I can do 30 hot yoga classes in 30 days. Last summer I participated in not one, but two 100-mile bike rides and trained all season long, pedaling for 4, 6, or even 8 hours some days. Two weeks after a century ride in Moab last September I weighed 138 pounds—the heaviest I’ve ever been.

I met Dr. Scott Tesero during my short stint at CrossFit (not knocking it, but would rather spend my money on my beloved hot yoga) and sought treatment from him when I developed a nasty knee tendonitis during cycling season I couldn’t shake. I joked with him that his chiropractic adjustments were “like crack” (Get it?) and was amazed when, within a few sessions, my knee started feeling better. There’s nothing like results to give you faith in someone. So when I complained to Dr. Scott about my weight and he suggested I do his Paleo challenge, I didn’t roll my eyes and flap my hand at him old-Jewish-grandmother-style.

Instead, I listened.

I listened for two hours when Dr. Scott and his wife Laurel gave a presentation to a group at Personal Rehabilitation Center in Carbondale about the science behind Paleo, a revelation in terms of looking at the “why” and not just the promise for results. They’ve developed their own brand of the Sopris Chiropractic Paleo Challenge, which is adapted to encourage a long-term lifestyle change.

Going nuts (and seeds) for Paleo!

Here’re The Rules (dum, dum dummmm)

1)   No Grains (flour, whole grains, corn)

2)   No sugar or sweeteners (maple syrup and honey in cooking are OK)

3)   No legumes (except peas and string beans)

4)   No soy (a little soy sauce in cooking is OK)

5)   No potatoes (sweet potatoes and yams are fine)

We’re basically talking grain free, gluten free and dairy free: no more pretzels, no more pasta, no more pizza, no more beer. Also, Dr. Scott recommends daily supplements of fish oil, probiotics and Vitamin D.

I know what you’re thinking: What else do you have to live for? The short answer is: veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and organic meat and fish. Not to mention a slew of alternative recipes for treats like pancakes, chocolate cake, muffins and the best granola I’ve ever tasted.

A few eye-opening facts:

• So called “healthy” foods like brown rice and other whole grains have the same affect on the body as sugar by triggering an insulin response. Insulin can be toxic to the body, creating inflmmation. Excessive inflammation is the cause of many diseases. Your body can’t tell the difference between a potato or table sugar when it comes to your insulin response. All carbs are sugar, even the ones you thought were good for you.

• Sugar is what makes you fat, not fat. (That includes brown rice and other whole grains)

• The right kind of fat (namely Omega 3) is essential for our cellular health.

• Meat and dairy that comes from animals raised on grain can have the same toxic affect on the body as eating the grain itself: avoid dairy as well as meat and fish that is farm raised (organic, grass-fed, free range)

• Ideally you want to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day by eating small meals frequently (5x a day is ideal)

• I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I wrote down.

5 days in and here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
I love preparing my food from scratch and trying out new recipes, which I’ll post here as I try them. My kitchen has been a disaster area as I play with new staples like almond meal, coconut oil, and chia seeds.

I’m never hungry.

The food I’m eating tastes amazing.

Fish oil pills are freaking huge—I should have gotten the straight oil.

I’m no longer bloated at the end of the day or after a meal.

My digestive system is more regular (I’ll spare you the details).

It’s great to have a reason to eat right.

I love trying new recipes, and working with new ingredients.

Healthy food is an investment (crazy expensive).

I’ve already started losing weight.

I’m stoked.

I think this is something I can do over the long haul.

Some of my bad habit forming foods before I started the Challenge:
Pretzels
Luna Bars
Soy lattes from Starbucks
Lots of condiments: bottled dressings, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.
Indulgent meals on weekends including pasta, pizza, fries
Beer (I love beer)
Frozen yogurt

Now I’m enjoying:
Egg “muffins”
Paleo granola
Chia seed pudding
Pecan crusted chicken
Unsweetened almond milk
Fruit smoothies with hemp protein
Oven baked sweet potato “chips”
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Grilled broccoli
Red wine (1 alcoholic beverage a day is OK but no beer. Tequila is the Paleo booze of choice, with fresh lime juice).

Starting weight (as of Thursday, February 12): 131.8

Do I still drool when I walk by the peanut butter pretzel bin at Whole Foods? Yep. Can my life go on? Yes. Do I feel good? Yes. Does it feel like time is going slowly in terms of staying on this program for 6 weeks? Kinda. Will I stick with it? Absolutely.

And you know I’ll tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help me, Dr. Scott).

Stay tuned for weekly updates, weigh-ins, and recipes.

 

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