I've decided that for five days every month this year, I want to try a new and different diet. The intention is not to lose weight, but to take a different approach at everyday life and try to expand my horizons while finding creative ways to enjoy food within a given set of limitations.
This month I did five days of paleo, and after thoroughly researching what foods were part of the diet, I made the commitment. I could have taken the easy way out and stuck to meat and vegetables for five days, but I wanted to get creative and try some true paleo foods while also living my life as normally as possible.
Five Biggest Challenges of Going Paleo
- No wheat or grain foods! Pasta, bread, and rice are all foods that I LOVE and eat a few times per week. Not having them in my life was especially difficult during the first few days.
- No dairy. When Jimmy came home on Monday night and surprised me with a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, I wanted nothing more than to rip it open and gorge myself on chocolate chip ice cream. The struggle was REAL.
- No sugars. My sweet tooth runs deep, and I always have some kind of chocolate on hand. It was super hard for me to ignore that craving, especially knowing that I had that Haagen-Dazs in my freezer :(
- Legumes, corn, and soy products are NOT part of the diet. This includes string beans, peanuts, tofu, and soy sauce. I originally put string beans in my frittata and had to make an entirely new one after realizing that string beans are a legume.
- Eating out on the paleo diet is even more limiting than cooking at home. While it's more convenient to eat food that's prepared for you instead of cooking it yourself, you have to carefully consider the ingredients used and whether they are paleo-friendly. Many times they're not, so you have to be very selective about what you're ingesting.
Winners and Losers
I've always wanted to try zoodles (aka zucchini noodles), but when I finally made them they turned out to be a soggy mess. I read somewhere that salting the zoodles and letting them sit for a few minutes would help release a lot of the moisture -- it did, but I don't think I drained it properly so everything clumped together and just looked really unappetizing. Plus, the zucchini just ended up tasting really salty. I don't think I would take this approach if I was to make them again.
I noticed that the first few days were the hardest because I was constantly hungry and craving carbs and sweets. But on the third day, my body started to adjust to the diet and I felt amazing. I was less hungry between meals, and regardless of how much food I ate, I never once felt bloated or disgustingly full.
Overall, I feel really healthy and happy with myself and my body image, and even moreso now that I've completed my 5-Day Paleo Challenge! I don't think I could live on this diet forever, but I do think it's a great way to cleanse the body from all the processed and unhealthy food out there. And in the end, yes, I would go paleo again.
I'm closing out the week with a new understanding and appreciation for the paleo lifestyle, and also with another fantastic recipe under my belt. I'll definitely be making that chocolate tart again!
My advice to you: give it a try. It might not be easy, but you just may end up liking it more than you expect! :)