I did a little experiment for the blog and your reading benefit. An experiment that required me to give up my beloved oatmeal. So, you’re welcome in advance. Okay, I didn’t #doitfortheblog at all. I’ll explain my reasoning below. Let my preface this by saying that one week is NOT a long time and I know it’s probably not be enough to make a huge difference.
First I’ll cover the basics and then get into the details:
What is the Paleo diet?
The media claims it’s “eating how the Cavemen ate.” That’s pretty much true but you don’t have to hunt and kill your own food with spears. It’s more about eating simple, whole, unprocessed foods.
What are you not supposed to eat? (I say “supposed to” because while some people follow it strictly, others deviate slightly if they aren’t sensitive to certain foods)
Legumes (beans, peanuts, peanut butter), grains (even GF grains like quinoa, rice, GF oatmeal, GF granola), soy, alcohol, pasteurized dairy, refined sugar.
What can you eat?
Meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, fats (think avocados, coconut products, nuts and seeds). Sweet potatoes and almond butter are allowed. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have tried this if not.
Why the hell did I do this?
Simply to experiment. I’ve been having some stomach issues and wanted to see if my diet played a role. Is one week enough to see an effect? Probably not. I’m *contemplating* trying it more long-term after I graduate next month.
I realized that other than GF grains, like the ones mentioned above, I already eat very Paleo-ish. I’ve never liked beans or dairy products so oatmeal and granola are the only “no-no’s” in my every day diet. Quinoa makes a regular appearance but it’s more like twice a week. The quinoa I showed in yesterday’s post was pre-experiment. I fully believe that whole grains are not bad/unhealthy/the devil/fill-in-the-blank, but I really wanted to see what would happen if I eliminated them for a week. Would I magically feel on top of the world? Would my foot be completely healed? Would I win the lottery?
So, what actually happened?
Let me add a disclaimer first: there were a few factors that could have influenced my “results,” including being at home for 5/7 days, which always makes things better. As stated, this was only one week, however, I think what happened is mostly valid.
-I had more energy. Normally I hit a mid-morning slump around 10 or 11 a.m. and want to close my eyes, but that didn’t happen. I still took my afternoon nap on days that permitted it, but that is a pleasure not a necessity.
-I wasn’t hungry between breakfast and lunch. Normally I have second breakfast! I think this one is more attributed to being sedentary for most of the day. It’s worth noting though.
-Fewer stomach pains, which have been a constant in my neck of the woods. Again, probably not all because I gave up oatmeal.
-That’s it. Unfortunately I didn’t win the lottery.
-It wasn’t depriving at all. I ate smoothie bowls with all the (acceptable) toppings for breakfast, plus some extra fruit and nut butter on the side to fill me up. Lunch, dinner and snacks were mostly the same as they’ve always been. I still had my sweet potato fill, I still ate lots of vegetables, chicken and fish, and I still ate straight out of the almond butter jar. Again, I naturally eat Paleo-ish most of the time so this was nothing crazy or different. All about that ish.
I even ordered this grain-free granola from Wholeme for smoothie bowls. There are a few other brands I want to try, but for not having oats it’s pretty good.
-I missed the routine of heating up a bowl of oatmeal, topping with almond butter and calling it a day. Making smoothies at home was more of a process ONLY because the Blentec my mom has sounds like an airplane is taking off and wakes up the entire house. I had to go into the bathroom farthest from the bedrooms and cover the blender with a blanket to avoid waking my sister up. I’m nice, I know.
-I wish I liked eggs. I haven’t liked eggs for as long as I can remember. Even when my mom dyed them green for St. Patrick’s Day I still thought they were gross (probably more so then). It’s something with the smell and aftertaste. But I’m willing to experiment because I think they would be a healthy breakfast staple.
I’m not giving up oatmeal, or other GF grains, forever. I like them and I think they like me. If something happens in the future and I can pinpoint them as the cause of pain, that’s different. I don’t want to dwell on it too much though because I personally think that’s one of the “issues” concerning any restrictive/elimination diet. Sometimes it’s all all in our heads.
Not all the time, though, as I’ll explain soon.
This was my own, short version of Paleo, and smoothies and copious amounts of fruit and almond butter probably aren’t suggested (not too sure, I didn’t do much research). This wasn’t Whole 30. This was a short experiment, one I’m glad I did and might revisit. I’m curious if people who’ve tried Paleo/Whole 30 felt the “benefits” kick-in after a certain length of time? Or was it immediate?
Will I continue to eliminate grains? I’m not sure about longterm, but right now I feel fine eating them so I don’t see a need for elimination. Some days I might naturally eat Paleo, others I might not. I don’t like labels and just eat what makes me feel my best. If anything, that is how I will continue to live my life and take it day by day.