Samantha FoodGeek discovers Paleo

Yep, you read it correctly. I have decided to eat like a caveman, within reason of course. I came to this diet through the suggestion of my brother who had been plagued for years with all sorts of allergies. He went through a battery of tests and discovered he was allergic to nearly all of the food he had been eating his whole life- including soy. So long soy sauce! He did some research and discovered the Paleo diet which focuses on vegetables, lean animal protein and fruit. Nuts and seeds are okay too. Basically, any food before the advent of agriculture is okay in the Paleo world.  Before long, my brother felt better, looked better and lost some weight too. I was intrigued enough to try it myself. I was desperate to lose the ‘last 10 pounds’ after trying for years. Plus, I had a more serious reason for wanting to reboot my diet- our family has a history of hypertension and diabetes and I have seen the long-term effects of these ‘diseases of over-eating’ and I was and am determined not to get either. Now, this was quite a jump for me- I bake bread every week and on weekends, I like to make pastries or quick breads or cakes for our afternoon merienda or Filipino afternoon tea. I loved noodles of all nationalities- ramen is my best friend!  And cheese..what was I going to do without my nibbles of cheese with my glass of ’5:30 wine’?! I was worried about how I would fare with this Paleo thing. So, with a bit of skepticism, I embarked on my Paleo diet for a week just to see how I would like it.

The first day was an adjustment- no morning toast to start and no chocolate bread with my afternoon coffee.  I tweaked the rules a bit and put a splash of milk in my coffee but for the rest of the day it was just lean protein and lots of vegetables and salads and LOTS of nuts and seeds for snacks. After a week of doing this, I noticed something- I felt pretty good and I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t have to keep a journal or count calories or portions. Having the animal protein made a big difference. I continued eating like this for about a month with only the weekends for ‘free’ days where I could eat anything I wanted. After a few months, I noticed that my craving for bread and pasta went away. If I did eat a non-Paleo food, it had to be of really good quality: if I ate a piece of bread, it had to be good artisan bread with butter. And I ate it without feeling guilty.

My workouts became more effective. I became leaner and had more energy. And my palate changed considerably. And if anything, I learned to appreciate those ‘prohibited foods’ more.  I noticed that a few food bloggers were ‘outing’ themselves as Paleo eaters too- the most notable of these was one of my favorites- The Stone Soup kitchen.  I love that her blogs focus on techniques NOT recipes and she always provides variations to cater to everyone- vegans and vegetarians alike. I also love how simple and easy her food was- most had only 5 ingredients or less. And she still eats chocolate too.

It’s been more than 8 months since I began Paleo and I’m still doing well. I have made a few concessions just to allow for variation. For example, I occasionally eat legumes and beans and really good Greek yogurt. I DO treat myself to dark chocolate when I need something sweet but I also have come to appreciate Medjool dates- their creamy dense texture reminds me of every sweet I’ve ever craved! And I make room for wine too. It’s eating like a caveman who has a more evolved palate!

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