Friday, August 19, 2011

My Thoughts On Paleo Eating (After One Week Of Eating 100% Paleo)

Well, it's been a week of eating 100% Paleo foods based on The Paleo Solution.

I can't believe it's only been a week. It actually feels more like it's been a month.

Here are my thoughts so far, presented in Pro/Con format...

Pro: I feel great. The headaches and lethargy of the first couple days has long passed. I don't have anything scientific to back this up, but I would assume that most of that discomfort came from quitting caffeine cold turkey.

Pro: I've lost 9 pounds. Yeah, no kidding. In a week. Without counting a single calorie, just eating solely Paleo foods. I've been tracking my weight for the last 6 years, and I typically range between 190-210. Whenever I get near 210 I start to feel it, so I've always gone on a diet and gotten down to 195 or so, sometimes taking it down to 185. Then I relax and gradually gain it all back before starting over. That's happened 4 times in the last 6 years. I've always lost weight by counting calories, which for me has clearly not been sustainable. In the last week I've gone from 206 to 197. That's a lot of motivation to keep going. I'd really love to get back to my college weight of 175. I'm 6 feet tall, if you were wondering.

Pro: I'm becoming much more healthy. I can't exactly FEEL or SEE it, but I KNOW it to be the case based on all of the research I've done. I now understand that there's more to health than simply your weight. There's a lot going on inside of you based on what you're consuming and that directly contributes to your quality of life over the years.

Pro: The cost. No, it's not cheap, but it's not as expensive as I'd imagined either. Between myself and my wife, we've purchased food for 11 days and the total cost has been $214.74. We had to buy about $30 worth of things like spices (and Tamari!) that we didn't have before that will last for quite some time, so let's bring the total cost down half of that to about $200. That works out to about $545 per month. It sounds like a lot, but remember that is ALL of our food for two people. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks (fruit or nuts mostly). We're spending exactly zero on eating out, zero on buying lunch at work, zero on quick trips into 7-Eleven for a snack, you get the idea. $9/day each total. That's exactly the same price it would cost us to get a sandwich, drink, and fries from the Dollar Menu at McDonald's for each meal all month!  When you consider all of that, I'm putting the cost of eating Paleo squarely in the pro column.

Con: It takes a lot of time. I feel like our entire life outside of work has become nothing but preparing food. Or maybe that's just me since Rebecca regularly made home cooked meals long before we started eating Paleo. The difference I think is that if we come home and we're both exhausted, we still have to prepare all of the food for dinner and for breakfast/lunch the next day. We can't take even one night off and pick up something that's already prepared (not pizza, not sandwiches from the Sandwich Club, not a Wawa hoagie, not anything). I suspect this will become less of a con as we get more conditioned to making Paleo meals, but for now it is what it is.

Con: I really miss the instant gratification of eating and drinking a lot of non-Paleo foods. Ice cream, Doritos, beer, Diet Coke, Burgers and Hot Dogs (with cheese and BUNS), cheese and crackers, freeze pops, chips, pretzels, etc etc. I don't exactly live off of that stuff, but it's really nice to have it when you want it and a bit depressing when you can't. Our Paleo meals have all tasted good, but not as good as that stuff. The difference comes afterward...I feel good and full for hours after a Paleo meal. If I have a bunch of pizza and chips I'll feel stuffed for about 30 minutes and then hungry again. Paleo is the clear winner there. But the pizza TASTES much better and it's much easier to get. A lot of the key to Paleo seems to be delaying gratification, and that's not always easy.

There's a lot to love about eating Paleo foods. We've done the research and after only a week of putting it into practice, my wife and I have already been sold on the health benefits.

The question then becomes, can we keep it up? Can we take this from what it is now (a temporary diet) and incorporate it into our everyday lifestyle?

At this point I think the answer is "mostly yes". I think that what we are going to settle on is committing to a strict Paleo diet Monday-Friday while relaxing that standard on weekends and family events.

That feels like it would be sustainable. We can enjoy our weekends without being afraid to have a sandwich for lunch. If we get a craving for anything during the week, we'll be comforted in knowing that it's only a few days away (though in reality the craving will be long gone by then).

We will be able to leisurely plan our our meals for the upcoming week and shop for them (pre-planning and buying exactly what you need really helps keep the costs down).

We won't treat those days like cheat days where we stuff our faces with chips and beer, but we also won't resentfully pass on a chocolate chip cookie at Christmas either.

I think that just might be The Perfect Solution.


  1. This is great! We eat 70% Paleo, 30% Keto... lot of explaining there but we are eating to lose weight. We plan to continue, of course, even after we reach our goals. The food prep definitely gets to be 2nd nature and fast. I HIGHLY recommend the "Cook Sunday for the Week" idea. We make chicken salad, egg salad, and our own roast beef and turkey slices on Sunday. Wrap them in green leaf lettuce for lunches. I pre-cook pulled pork (Pernil, actually) on Sunday too. Lasts all week. Also, Paleo Slaw!

  2. Sounds great! Do you have a Paleo Slaw recipe?


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