I thought I should probably explain.
You're going to notice that, from now on, any recipe I share is going to be paleo. Y'know, that caveman diet.
I'm not going to explain the basis of paleo because you've got the Googles.
Paleo is something I'd been thinking about since before Thanksgiving. I did a bit of research; some of my reading indicated that making a diet change at the time of year I was thinking about it was not recommended so, instead, I just started cutting back a bit.
I was already eating what I would consider a 70% paleo diet. I eat lots of meats and vegetables. I had mostly gone off soda this past year, going from about 3-5 sodas a week down to maybe 1 every two months. The husband had made the resolution to stop eating fast food, so I followed suit. I already prefer to buy foods with no added chemicals (or as little as possible) due to sensitivities and allergies. Basically, my bad foods were down to pizza or Chinese a couple times a month, sugar on the weekends (I'm a stress eater so I didn't usually end up eating sugar unless I was stressed), bread every once in a while, a breve with sugar free syrup about once a week, half and half for my daily coffee, and cheese.
My only big concern about eating paleo is cost. Buying all organic, grass-fed, farmers' market produce doesn't reflect well on the bank account. So I made a compromise. Vegetables will all be fresh, not frozen; meat will just have to be what I can afford (not grass-fed, but not full of chemicals); little to no cheese but I'm not giving up my half and half since I only add about a tablespoon to my coffee in the morning, but I will give up my breves. *single tear*
In January I convinced the husband to do a 1 month paleo challenge with me. I sat down with several paleo books from the library and chose some recipes. I created a menu for our first week of eating paleo. It was immediatly difficult for me, not because of cravings, but because it required so much cooking and cooking just isn't really my thing. I like baking because you can "set it and forget it."
I made it through that fist month without a single slip-up. The husband cheated a couple times with bread, but whatevs. The weekend following our challenge I made cookies, but the following Monday I immediately went into my first Whole 30 challenge (husband not required). The only real difference between our initial challenge and the W30 was I had to give up half and half in my coffee and couldn't use any added sweeteners. By the end of my W30 I was craving some sweets, but I had no desire to eat junk. I found a paleo brownie recipe that I made the weekend after my W30 ended and it was perfect.
In the last 6 months I've eaten some junk here and there but I've basically kept to a strict paleo diet. The only things I would call slip-ups would be when I ate something I had failed to check on ingredients prior to eating and it ended up destroying me.
No, really, bad foods destroy me now.
My body is so completely void of chemicals, preservatives, gluten, etc., that when I eat it now my body freaks out and can't remember how to process that junk. I had HuHot the Friday after my W30; I skipped the noodles and only had meat and veggies, but I failed to check what was in the sauces and my body reacted poorly to something. No clue what. Saturday morning I woke up sore and with a minor headache. As the the day progressed my body got stiff and my headache turned into a migraine. By the end of the day I was absolutely miserable and so sore I felt like I had literally hit by a car. I've been to HuHot again since then, but made it out safely because ahead of time I did some research and found a list on their website for allergies and sensitives. Another time I ate a couple pieces of pizza and my stomach cramped for 3 days.
About the gluten-
I have not purposefully gone gluten free. I don't personally have an allergy or intolerance to gluten. However, a paleo diet automatically excludes items that contain gluten, therefore, I've become gluten free by default of paleo. So when I do eat gluten now I have a negative reaction, but that doesn't make me intolerant.
I don't think everyone needs to go gluten free and I do believe a lot of people who have decided that they're gluten intolerant are really just jumping on a band-wagon. BUT, that's not to say there aren't people who really have a gluten intolerance. Like my sister. I've witnessed her reactions to eating gluten or just breathing around it. She does have a real intolerance.
Back to paleo-
Please don't think I've hopped on a band-wagon myself. I really haven't. I've spent a long time not feeling mentally or physically good and I never realized it was because of the way I ate. Cutting things out here and there have made me realize food really does effect your health and well-being. I've tried Atkins, low-carb in general, eating sugar free, tried to restrict myself to proper serving sizes, and was even vegetarian for 2 years once. Most of those were because of weight, not because of how I felt, but changing up how I've eaten over the years has always effected my health.
Since I've been eating paleo, I've felt the best I've can ever remember feeling (since before I discovered a love of food as a pre-teen and got fat). But I've also been consistently losing weight. Since January I have lost approximately 20 lbs. and I'm still losing. I'm finally able to wear clothes that I haven't been able to wear in 2-3 years.
I've also joined a gym.
See that? I joined a gym. Yeah.
Know why that's a big deal? Because I feel physically good enough to be able to do that. I've wanted to join a gym forever, but I've never felt like I could physically exert myself like that. Eating a healthy diet of natural foods has made me feel so good and I felt capable of joining a gym!
Okay, that's enough. Now you know I eat healthy and naturally, I go to a gym, and I'm consistently losing weight.