Figs, fish and other fabulous finds from the Paleo project
We finished our month on The Paleo Diet. I dropped seven pounds in one month and now weigh 132, which, honestly, is a weight I have not seen in years.
My pants are baggy in my butt and hips. However, I also lost inches in my waist and thighs but not as much. In other words, I’m not ready to drop a pant size, but I’m close.
Rachel, who also lost inches, and I agreed to participate in this experiment under the supervision of Dr. Greg Haitz and our coach, Ashley Overholt, at Rimrock Chiropratic, A Creating Wellness Center, 2695 Patterson Road Suite 3.
The business is rolling out The Paleo Diet plan for clients interested in changing their lifestyle, most notably their eating habits, for $399. That price includes two books, weekly coaching sessions to check progress and discuss issues, and a log to track food and water consumption. There is no time limit. Clients stay on the plan until they feel like they no longer need to.
Rimrock Chiropractic tested out the program on us. (Note: I’m good friends with Haitz. I’ve known him for several years, so I was interested in trying this diet with his supervision because I tried it about a year ago on a less serious scale and still lost 2 pounds in a week. Plus, I wanted to eat better and truly monitor my eating habits.)
Rachel and I exchanged emails about our thoughts for our final blog. This diet was featured in the June 24 Natural Grocers advertisement in this newspaper.
Melinda: First off, congrats. You accomplished a goal - albeit my goal that you went along with. Reflect back on the past month.
Rachel: Thanks! And congratulations to you, too! You're going to look super foxy in your bridesmaid dress. Anyway, lesson-wise, I'd have to say one of the most important things I've learned in the past month is that eating four ounces of cashews per day is a TERRIBLE idea. DO NOT DO THIS. If you want to know the reason, I will hiss-whisper it to you (in a cave at least 125 miles away).
So, there was that. And the yogurt withdrawls — those were pretty killer. Also? That day I practically had the DTs as I came off Diet Pepsi with lime? IT WAS HORRENDOUS. I've never had such a headache. But that was the downside. The majority of the experience was upside. How about you? Give the past month a letter grade.
Melinda: A. I feel great. Sure, I craved iced coffees and frozen treats during this experience, but not as much as I thought. Plus, it's not like I can never have those things again. In fact, I had an iced coffee moments after our final check-in with Ashley, I just need to watch how often I have them. Four or five times a week is not a good idea.
Before this, I also was a lazy eater. I'd pour a can of soup into a bowl because it was easier and took less time than grilling fish and cutting up avocado. But that fish and avocado is SO much better for me. Bottom line is I just need to take a more active role in what I'm putting in my body, particularly when I'm snacking at my desk. This taught me that.
(Typical snack now)
Talk about that Diet Pepsi thing because I bet there are people out there who drink soda, particularly no-calorie diet soda, all the time. You struggled mightily those first few days. I felt bad for you.
Rachel: Yes, I'm ashamed to admit, I was addicted to Diet Pepsi with lime. It's just tasty and I like the fizziness in my mouth. But I've always known it's terrible for me, what with the whole decalcify-my-bones-and-teeth issue. So, I'm grateful for this experience cruelly slapping me away from the enticing green cans. It wasn't easy, though, because I still think it tastes better than water.
However, going off the sauce did strengthen my hit-or-miss commitment to moderation. I mean, my eating habits have never been bad, but I'd go weeks at a time in which the only thing I ate was yogurt, or avocados, or peach smoothies, or almonds. None of those things are inherently bad, but too much of a good thing and to the exclusion of all else...
Moderate amounts of good things — that's the way I want to live.
I did struggle to get enough protein, though. Any struggles on your side?
Melinda: I struggled to eat enough protein in the morning. I'm not a breakfast person. I'm still working at it.
The other struggle was eating enough vegetables, which goes back to the lazy thing. I love steamed broccoli and cauliflower, but I had to steam them myself, which took like 10 minutes. TEN!
What are three things you discovered that you want to include in your diet going forward?
Rachel: Ooh! So many delicious things:
1. Mix together a bunch of yellow mustard and some honey, and you've got a tremendous dip for cauliflower and broccoli. I ate an entire head of cauliflower one night because of that dip (and felt super lousy afterward, circling back to my need for moderation).
2. Put a bunch of spinach into your wok with a lot of fresh, chopped garlic, a sprinkle of salt and some olive oil and stir-fry for a few minutes. I didn't so much discover as rediscover this, since it's a very common dish in China. However, substituting olive oil for the peanut oil used in China was a healthier choice, I think.
3. Blend together frozen strawberries, a banana, some almond-coconut milk, water, honey and a dash of vanilla for a delightful smoothie.
What are your culinary discoveries?
Melinda: Dates and figs. I probably broke the record for most times a human could talk about dates and figs.
2. Fresh lemon slices in water. They gave water a kick because Paleo demands a healthy dose of water daily.
3. Flounder and cod. I used to only eat fish at restaurants. However, I found some frozen, wild caught fish at a local store and grilled those babies up with some olive oil, pepper and lemon juice.
Summer was the perfect time for this experiment because so many things are in season. I'm guessing the biggest reason people wouldn't give this "diet" a try is the cost. But, honestly, it didn't seem more expensive than normal summer eating. It'll be interesting in winter when nothing's in season, and, therefore, more expensive. But that's a ways off.
I'd recommend The Paleo Diet to others, and I plan to stick with it, but I'll probably not be as strict as we went. I guess it just depends on how I feel when re-introducing things.
What about you?
Rachel: I'll certainly keep some of the habits I developed: snacking on veggies, drinking water instead of soda, walking to the store to buy my fruit instead of driving there, etc. I'm grateful for this experience making me really think about my habits and steering me back to the middle path.
But yogurt, I could never quit you.
Melinda: I understand. Thanks for partnering up with me on this. It helped having you hold me accountable.