Y’all! I’m Back!

I fell off the paleo wagon finishing my last semester of school and realized how seriously I need to change my eating if stress really burdens my body so much I have to eat junk all of the time! I’m about 7 days back into it and feeling good! 

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First Paleo Dinner at a Restaurant!

Had my first official Paleo-fied meal at a restaurant! I was a bit skeptic about whether or not I could find a place in my hometown that worked with this way of eating. The big trick: don’t go to SAD restaurants (Standard American Diet).

My first meal came from a delicious Columbian Restaurant, and it was called ‘Pastor’, consisting of pork and pineapple with a (spicy) salsa verde and added a side of avocado. Yum! I also tasted onion, and some greens that gave it a fuller taste.

Delicioso!

Delicioso!

I’ll be checking out a lot more ethnic restaurants that I can find to put the paleo stamp on. Watch out!

This is my fifth day going totally paleo! 🙂

Going to War with Cravings

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Donuts, one of many enemy forces.

I’m in the heat of battle, enemy forces everywhere I look, opening fire with a full-scale attack strategy, and I’m drowning in a barrage of sugar-coated bullets…. 

Is this real life? Kind of, and its only 10 A.M. 

The past couple of days my no-sugar policy has been put to the test, and I’ve been battling my sugar cravings tooth and nail (quite literally). No honey in my tea, no after lunch/dinner mint, no dessert, and definitely no chewy candy (my weakness). Instead I fill my plate with protein and veggies, and if, and that’s a BIG IF, I feel like I can handle the sugars I’ll finish my meals with a small portion of fruit. I feel physically satisfied, but I definitely feel a sugar bag sized hole in my routine. Which is why I’ve realized sugar cravings aren’t just cravings…

Sugar Cravings Are Habits

I’ve structured a portion of my life to support my sugar craving habits, I’ll purchase candy at the store, keep a bowl of mints on my entryway table, store the honey next to the tea bags, and plan dessert as part of my meals. The most difficult part of letting go of the sugar, has been letting go of the habits. I haven’t been consciously choosing to eat sugar for a long time, but rather, have been automatically consuming without thinking – DANGEROUS.

Letting Go of Sugar Is Not That Hard…

..Letting go of my habits is. Cues and Triggers are everywhere, and I’ve had to re-route my routine in order to trigger healthier responses in my system. I’m seriously thinking about it like planning a battle field strategy.

Taking the Cue –> Routine –> Reward system and playing it to my advantage has helped me significantly. 

  • Instead of honey, I put a bit of lemon in my tea. I found that, that habit relied most on the physical act of adding something to my tea and stirring.
  • Instead of going for the starbursts when I crave candy, I go for almond butter and celery – the crunch and chew mimic the same mouth and jaw movements I use when eating candy
  • Instead of dessert after meals, I either plan a stimulating activity that works a different reward system in my brain (like painting my nails, taking a walk, playing cards), or brush my teeth, which gives me the minty taste I prefer after a meal, without the crazy sugar high and crash. See, literally fighting (brushed) tooth, and (painted) nail.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

And like Gandalf I’ll use my staff of neurological trickery, so staying on track-Paleo becomes less of a battle and more of a habit. BUT it still takes time!  I still feel the sugar cravings, but I can recognize them for what they really are, which is inverted pathways in my brain that are resetting themselves. And instead of dwelling in the sadness of giving up a beloved sweet goodness, I think of it as saying no to that pesky Ex who was never really that great for you in the long run. So you know what Sugar, we’re over! It WAS you, not me.

How do you deal with cravings while staying healthy?

Let me know! And I hope this helps you think about cravings and habits in a simple, straightforward way. Managing the craving only lasts until it becomes the habit, and then your physiological responses do the work for you! Yay.

Just give me three weeks to cement these habits and it will be less like battle and more like walk in the paleo-park. Oh, look there’s a dinosaur! 

Psychologically Paleo-riffic aka I’m a Recovering Vegetarian

Will update on my meals soon! Look forward to my New Years Eve food truck paleo adventure!

But in the meantime….

Hi. I’m Jennifer. And I’m a recovering vegetarian.

(Hiiiiiiiiii, Jennnnniffffeerrrrr.)

While my biochemistry is working itself out still, the psychological aspects of going paleo are becoming pretty apparent. I’m not sure if its the length of time I’m just felt sick and downtrodden from the way I’ve been eating, or never having been super proactive about my health and nutrition – but I feel great. Not just physically, but psychologically. My moods are much more even keel, and let me tell you, that is no small (sweet) potatoes. I have consistent energy, and I’m much more myself than I’ve felt in a lonnnnnnngggg time. This is only after about 1 1/2 weeks going paleo, and 4 days going super strict paleo. Wow.

Now it isn’t all grass-fed piggies and sunshine over here, I’m having ridiculous sugar cravings. But for the first time EVER I can manage them. I first tried getting my eating habits under control by going vegetarian four years ago…  I lost some weight, ate more fruits and vegetables, but just switched out proteins for an enormous amount of processed flours and incidentally, more sugar. What I didn’t realize was the “whole wheat” breads, and “enriched” cereals only added to the sugar load I was consuming, on top of my love for candy, soda, and the convenience of fast food while going to college. I began putting the weight back on and then some, all the while BEING A VEGETARIAN. Because veggie-ism wasn’t about eating more veggies for me, it just become about replacing meat with a TON of pasta instead.

Fast forward to the end of college, I’m a good bit over my healthy weight, tired ALL the time, stopped exercising because I had NO energy, and addicted to convenience  and sugar. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, maybe this is the route you’re on too. But feeling lethargic, having minimal energy to just be able to do the most basic tasks in your day, having your moods go up and down and then even further down, and then carbo-loading because your body is addicted to it…. THAT IS NOT LIVING.

It took me most of my college career to figure out, but towards the end here, I realize change is a comin’. And I’m ready to start FUELING my body instead of just feeding it what it tells me. I did a lot of learning in school, but very little did I learn about taking responsibility for my personal health and well-being. Which is why I’m shocked  I’m feeling so great. Why did I wait this long to feel healthy? Why is becoming healthy so much easier than I made it out to be? Essentially, why is there this velveteen sheen over the health care industry that makes you feel like achieving health is either – a) super expensive, b) for the people who are already healthy, or c) involves a HUGE “biggest-loser” type transformation. Because that leaves out the rest of us chugging away in our daily routine who know something just isn’t right. 

Which is why I’m a convert. And I completely advocate picking up your personal health torch and begin doing things you KNOW deep, deep down are beneficial to you. Paleo seems to be working for me, but so do brisk walks and meditating, its not just about picking a diet to follow (though I would recommend giving paleo a try if you have a similar history as me, Doctor approved, of course!) its about choosing health first, over cravings, over obstacles, and over every crazy marketing mass-media ploy who tries to tell you whats right for you. Put it away and start listening to your body instead. For starters, listen to your gut, because if your brain is anything like mine, its wondering where the heck the skittles are. 🙂