Guest Post: How Paleo Gave Me So Much More Energy

Copy of NutritionA few weeks ago, I chatted on the phone for a while with Louise Hendon from www.PaleoMagazine.com.  We compared notes on what we love about the Paleo diet, and in this guest post, Louise shares one of the biggest benefits she got from going Paleo.

Here’s Louise…


 

How Paleo Gave Me So Much More Energy

Getting Old at 20

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that about halfway through college, I started feeling like I was getting old.

First of all, I started gaining weight.  Not much, but a little bit here and there. More to the point, though, I kept getting tired and sleepy, I kept forgetting things, and I didn’t feel young any more.

Looking back, it’s not all that surprising.  While I’d eaten pretty healthily as a kid, my favorite foods in college were chicken pot pie, cheese on toast (I’m British, and that’s what we call it…), cheap ramen, cheap wine, and digestive biscuits (the British version of cookies).

Not exactly a diet that screams out youth and vigor, huh?

So I Was Feeling Less Than Ideal…But What Possessed Me to Go Paleo???

Going Paleo was a huge decision for me.  Seriously.

When I said that my favorite foods were ramen, toast, and biscuits, what I really meant was that those foods were a very significant portion of my meals.  So going Paleo was a big deal.

And that’s why it took me a while.  I didn’t actually go Paleo until several years later, when I was in law school.  At that time, I’d started gaining even more weight, which was really starting to bother me.

I’d dieted a few times by then, but I HATED counting calories and restricting how much I ate.  And I wasn’t very keen on spending a lot of time in the gym.

So, with some reluctance, I decided to try a Paleo diet.  Which, it turns out, was a very good thing…

Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

Eating a Paleo diet to lose weight worked for me.  I very quickly lost much of the weight I’d gained over the prior few years, and I started easily keeping it off.

And I know that’s what a lot of people are looking for.

But for me, the “side-effects” of going Paleo were much greater, and I didn’t expect any of them.

In college, I remember waking up most mornings and feeling very smart and very clear. I could recall equations (I was a physics major), I could easily solve problem sets, and everything seemed pretty easy.

But that was just my morning…

Shortly after I woke up, I would have buttered toast and tea with milk for breakfast.  And then, my brain would just shut down.  By 10.30am, I would be crawling back into bed, wondering what on earth had just happened, and the rest of the day would be no better.

And law school had been much the same experience.

But after switching over to a Paleo diet, everything changed for me.  Like magic, I wasn’t falling asleep in the middle of the day anymore.  I felt full of energy all day long.  And my mind was clear even in the afternoon!

I can’t fully convey in words the beauty of feeling full of energy and excitement all day.  However, it is by far the benefit of a Paleo diet that I am most grateful for every day.

Can You Get the Same Energy, Weight Loss, and More?

Everybody has a slightly unique experience, but my experience is certainly not unique.  Many other people have experienced a surge in energy and mental clarity after staring a Paleo diet.

If you want to gain more energy, then here are 3 things to consider, even after you go Paleo:

  1. Make sure you don’t eat carbs for breakfast. Foods like sweet potatoes, fruits, and honey are definitely considered Paleo, but if you eat them for breakfast, they will often make you feel tired quickly.
  1. Get your adrenals and thyroid checked out. This could be especially important if you feel chronically tired.
  1. Sleep more. This seems like an obvious one, but yet it’s often the hardest to implement.  I have had to make sleep my #1 priority for 6 months in order to correct my bad sleeping habits.

3 Things To Consider For More Energy

Ready to Start a Paleo Diet?  Here’s What to Do…

If you’re new to the whole Paleo concept but want to try it out to see if it can also help you lose weight, gain more energy, and generally make your life better, then follow these 4 steps:

  1. Read http://thepaleovangelist.com/2015/07/20/how-to-start-eating-paleo-a-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/ on starting Paleo.
  1. Try some delicious Paleo recipes – like these.
  1. Pick up some Paleo snacks (like these) to keep with you in case you’re out or have to miss breakfast or lunch one day.
  1. Forgive yourself and enjoy the ride. It’s ok if you eat a burger one day or have a slice at pizza during a work lunch.  Recognize that you were hungry and chose to eat that, but that you’re choosing to eat a Paleo diet again the next day.

And if you want more tips, then definitely download our free book, “15 Common Paleo Pitfalls”.


Follow Louise Hendon and PaleoMagazine.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on Instagram at @ancestralchef.

 

How to Start a Paleo Diet: Free Guide

how to start a paleo dietMy last post, How to Start Eating Paleo, was my most popular one yet. It answered a lot of the questions I get from people who are interested in beginning their own paleo lifestyles, and the fact that the post was so popular helped me realize that there are SO many people out there who are just on the brink of trying a real food, primal diet.

That, my friends, is awesome. Still, a lot of people in that position won’t ever try a paleo diet. Why? Because it’s so different than the conventional norm. Because going paleo means doing away with traditional recipes we’ve loved for years. Because going paleo sometimes means questions from family, friends and complete strangers.

So, in an effort to make it easier for people interested in starting a paleo diet, I turned my last blog post into a FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 Steps to Starting a Paleo Diet. Get your copy and use it to start your own paleo journey, or share it with family and friends interested in getting started.

Click here to download your free guide: 5 Steps to Starting a Paleo Diet

Want more resources like this one? Sign up for my email list and you’ll be ready to receive my newsletter, currently under development!

How to Start Eating Paleo: A Guide to the Paleo Diet

NutritionWhen people find out that I follow a paleo lifestyle, there is one question that is very often asked: “How did you start? And how can I start a paleo diet?” It’s a simple enough question, but one that I often struggle to answer.

You see, how one starts a paleo diet is dependent on so many factors, from the person’s current eating habits and overall health, medical history and activity level, to their reasons for beginning a paleo lifestyle.

If you’re doing it to treat a medical condition, I’d definitely recommend seeking the advice of a holistic medicine doctor or nutritional therapy practitioner for a professional opinion. But if you’re looking to improve your overall health, lose some weight or just get closer to real, local food, then try out my tips below for a smooth transition to a paleo diet.

1. Clean out your pantry. When you’re planning on changing your diet, you won’t be successful if you don’t also change the food that is in your house. You can shop at all the farmer’s markets in the world, but if you have cookies, chips and candy in your pantry, it highly unlikely you’ll choose asparagus over the processed junk. So go through your pantry and get rid of anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce or identify, ditch anything with lots added sugar and get rid of the rice, pasta and traditional flours.

2. Hone your cooking skills (and tools!). If you’re going to be tossing the processed foods in your home, you’re going to need to do a lot more cooking. I’m not suggesting you’ll need to make complicated meals, but you won’t just be boiling pasta any more. So make sure your knives are sharp, invest in some good pans, and then head to YouTube. There are tons of great cooking demos you can find online to about roasting, sauteing, boiling, scrambling, flambe-ing and basically any other cooking term you can think of. Sharpen your skills and you’ll feel confident to begin cooking more meals at home.

3. Find replacements for your favorite traditional foods. While some may find success going completely cold-turkey into a paleo diet, that kind of drastic lifestyle change just isn’t for everyone. Just because you’re no longer going to be eating sandwiches and pasta doesn’t mean you have to move away from your favorite meals all together. Love spaghetti and meatballs? Learn to make spaghetti squash and meatballs. Love chicken and rice? Try some cauliflower rice? Are sandwiches a lunch time staple? Stuff a lettuce leaf full of your favorite clean meats and veggies. If you’re feeling really adventurous in the kitchen, you could even try making some plantain tortillas for tacos or some grain-free biscuits to eat with breakfast. As time goes on, try branching out from some of these replacement foods and try some new things.

4. Don’t be afraid to go slow. Just because you have the motivation to change your life doesn’t mean you’re a super hero. It’s not easy to completely change the way you eat, so don’t be afraid to change slowly. I waited 8 months before cutting out dairy because I couldn’t handle another change to my diet. And guess what? I still lost weight, I still improved my health and I still felt great. I didn’t beat myself up about it either, I went at my own pace and as a result, I was able to successfully made a lifestyle change I know will be life-long. Go too fast, and you may find yourself falling back into your old habits.

5. Find your tribe. Making a major diet and lifestyle change is a lonely road if you try to go it alone. So try to get your family on board, or find a friend interested in changing their health. While you can’t expect everyone in your life to jump on board the real food, primal train, you’re likely to find someone who wants to join you on this journey. If you can’t find a friend or family member to join you, head online. There are tons of Facebook groups and online paleo forums where you can find a virtual support group. Try a nutrition workshop at a local gym, or head to a paleo book signing nearby. Chat with some of the other people in attendance, and you just might find a new friend who can be a support for you during this transition.

Looking for more great tips? Check out the infographic below from Paleo Living Magazine on what to eat on a paleo diet to start stocking your fridge and pantry with delicious, whole foods. Like what you see? Check out Paleo Living Magazine for more great resources! Paleo Diet Food List Infographic ImageVisit us to find out more about what to eat on a Paleo diet.

Have you already transitioned to a paleo lifestyle? Share your best tips in the comment section below. Have more questions? Share those, too!

The Paleovangelist Meets the Ketovangelist: New Podcast!

NutritionI was super honored this May to be interviewed for a brand new podcast, “Ketovangelist,” hosted by Brian Williamson, the author of Ketovangelist.com and the e-book, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet.” (Clearly, great minds think alike when it comes to picking blog/podcast names!) This week, the episode with my interview went live! I’d love so much for my readers to check it out, learn more about my story and support this great new podcast.

Brian’s website and podcast is a fantastic resource for all things keto, and is a great way to learn more about this high fat, low carb diet (which is very similar to a paleo diet). While I personally do not follow a ketogenic diet, it was a lot of fun to chat with Brian and talk about the differences (and similarities) between keto and paleo.

Ketovangelist

In my interview I share more background on my own transition to paleo and how I went about making the change, why I’ll never completely give up cheese, and how other podcasts, including Balanced Bites and The Paleo View, helped inspire these changes in my life.

You can read more about the interview and listen to the podcast online here. Search “Ketovangelist” on iTunes to download the podcast to your phone or device, and while you’re there subscribe to the podcast and/or leave a review!

Thanks to everyone for their continued support! Click here to listen to the episode online.

 

Is the Paleo Diet Expensive? Eating Paleo on a Budget

eating paleo on a budgetFor many people thinking about following a paleo lifestyle, the potential costs associated with the primal diet are often a concern. It was for me when I first learned about the diet, and I wasn’t sure it would be possible to follow paleo on a budget.

I learned about the benefits of grass-fed, pasture-raised and free-range meats and poultry. I knew the merits of organic fruits and vegetables, and the reasons to eat cold-pressed, high quality fats like coconut and avocado oil. But I was nervous. How could my meager budget support this kind of lifestyle? And would I still see results if I couldn’t buy the highest quality meats and fats?

So, is the paleo diet expensive? My answer today, after more than a year of following this lifestyle, is a resounding…it doesn’t have to be.

I won’t lie. I spend more money now on food than I did before starting a paleo diet. But in part, that’s my own fault, and it’s not all the time. In fact, the only reason I do sometimes over spend in the food area of my budget is because I am so excited to try all of the paleo friendly products I hear about, and because I love to develop new recipes and frankly, that requires a lot of food and new ingredients.

But in all honesty, the paleo diet does not have to be more expensive than a Standard American Diet (SAD). In fact, I think it can be even less expensive. When I was eating SADly, I was buying meats, fruits and vegetables, but I was also buying pasta, rice, bread, cheeses, canned soups and beans and pre-packaged convenience foods.

Have you ever really thought about how expensive those items are? A can of pre-made soup costs anywhere from two to four dollars at my local grocery store. And who doesn’t eat the whole can? That’s a single serving of soup for $4! Buy your own bones from the butcher (or save them from a prior meal) to make bone broth and add some veggies, however, and you could spend $10-$15 to make 10 servings of soup! It’s cheaper, just as easy and far healthier.

The key is this: while you will likely spend more on meats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats on a paleo diet than you did following a SAD diet, it all evens out. You won’t be buying processed dairy products, you won’t be buying chips (unless they’re Jackson’s Honest, of course!), you won’t be buying granola and protein bars (unless you buy Epic Bars, Lara Bars or the Granilla Bar!), you won’t be buying pre-made and pre-packaged convenience foods.

Instead, you’ll be investing your money in your health. And that, in the long run, is the best way to reduce your costs. (Do you know how expensive diabetes testing supplies are?!)

Want more tips to save money on a paleo diet? Here are some of my best:

1. Choose high quality meats wisely. My husband and I can’t afford to always buy the best quality meats. We just can’t. I wish we could buy all our meat from a local farm, or from the Whole Foods butcher counter, but we can’t. Still, we do it as frequently as possible, and we do it strategically. For example, we may not be able to buy the grass-fed sirloin and filet, we can afford to buy grass-fed ground beef. And why not eat ground beef? It has the same healthy fats, vitamins and minerals as the sirloin and filet, and it’s super versatile. Whip up some lettuce wraps, burgers, meatballs or meatloaf, or just throw it in a pan with some veggies for a stir-fry. Similarly, when we’re buying high-quality chicken we try to select fattier (read: less expensive) cuts of meat. Not only are they full of healthy fats, but cuts like chicken thighs are significantly less expensive than chicken breast. Buying full roasting chickens is also a great option to save money because you can use the leftovers for later meals and use the bones to make broth for homemade soup.

2. Don’t be too dogmatic about organic produce. Yes, organic produce is great. And if you’ve got plenty of discretionary income, then go ahead and buy every organic item you can think of. For many people, that’s just not an option. So don’t skip on nutrient-dense fruits and veggies because you can’t buy the organic version. Instead, follow the guidelines for the “dirty dozen”, those fruits and vegetables most likely to contain high levels of pesticides, and focus your organic produce budget on those foods. Everything else, feel free to buy conventional produce. Wash your produce well, and then move on. It’s better to eat a plate of conventionally grown kale than to not eat it at all.

3. Be strategic about meal planning. Meal planning can be a challenge. It requires you to select meals days in advance and create a schedule for meals that can be hard to stick to. But in my experience, it is absolutely key to saving money. By planning out meals that use similar ingredients, you can get in and out of the grocery store without buying every vegetable available, and without bundles of expensive herbs, obscure ingredients and a variety of meats. One of my favorite things to do is to make a big batch of a meat, like pulled pork, beef roast or a chicken, and use the meat throughout the week for other meals. So don’t plan to eat pork tenderloin one night, chicken thighs the next, burgers the night after that, then a grilled steak. Instead, make a big pork tenderloin one night (or make two at the same time), use the leftovers to make pork fried cauliflower rice or pork lettuce wraps the night after. Make double the baked chicken thighs you need for dinner and use the leftover meat to make a quick chicken, zoodles and tomato sauce dish the next night. Making a beef roast? Have it with some veggies and potatoes one night, use it to make omelets for breakfast the next day. Use the leftovers for tacos and stir-fries, or just put it on top of a baked sweet potato for a quick, simple meal.

4. Don’t be afraid to buy frozen. A lot of people who start a paleo diet think it means they need to swear off the frozen food section. And while there are many things in that area of the grocery store that are certainly not worth anyone’s time (or money), there are plenty of budget-friendly options that are perfectly healthy, too. Especially at a store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, you can find plenty of organic frozen vegetables, fruits and other items that can make meal prep simpler and less expensive. Trader Joe’s even carries frozen riced cauliflower! Just be sure to check labels on frozen products carefully. A lot of frozen fruit, for example, contains added sugar, while some frozen vegetable products may contain industrial seed oils you’re trying to avoid. But as long as you’re careful about choosing the highest quality frozen products, there’s no reason to avoid them!

5. Don’t be afraid to buy local. Are you a regular yet at your local farmer’s market? Well why the hell not?! It’s a pretty common misconception that the produce and other items at farmer’s markets are more expensive than those found in grocery stores. And while this may be true in some cases, I’ve found it’s usually just the opposite. Farmers are often willing to negotiate, and if you’re buying local than you’re buying what’s in season. Joining a farm share is another great way to get fresh, local foods at a good price. While farm shares often require a lot of money up front, the per week price breakdown is actually a great deal and is a fantastic way to get the freshest produce possible (and try items you may never have thought to purchase!). A lot of farms in my area also offer more than just fruits and vegetables in their farm shares, with options to get free-range eggs, pasture-raised pork and grass-fed beef once a week or once a month. Some farms also offer the option to buy a whole cow, or half a cow, and have it butchered to your liking. Again, this requires a big ol’ pile of money upfront (not to mention a lot of freezer space), but if you plan in advance and save up the funds, you’ll be getting great prices per pound for high quality meat and will dramatically reduce your grocery bill for months.

What are your best tips for eating paleo on a budget? Share your tips in the comment section!

The Paleovangelist Goes to Print #2!

NutritionAs many of you know I have been lucky enough to share my nutritional musings and grain-free recipes with a wider audiences through a newspaper column in the Nashua Telegraph! I am so happy to have this opportunity, and was really excited to see my second column come out in print and online today.

In this second column, I discuss the importance of treating yourself, even when following a healthy lifestyle. But in my world, treats don’t mean filling my body with refined sugars, processed foods and other junk– I like to make my treats conform to my paleo lifestyle!

In this week’s column I discuss how I do that, and also share one of my favorite sweet recipes of all  time: Bacon Bourbon Cinnamon Rolls! You can also find the recipe here.

Take a look at the column and let me know what you think! If you like it, please share it with your friends and family!

Throw an Egg on It and Call It Breakfast: Simple Paleo Breakfasts

Nutrition“Throw an egg on it and call it breakfast.” This has become a mantra of sorts in our house. It’s the way we make delicious breakfasts that are quick enough for early work day mornings and delicious enough for a weekend brunch.

So what does this mean exactly? It’s just how it sounds. We get up, select some leftovers from inside the fridge, and then throw an egg on it and call it breakfast. It’s why we always make more meat than we need for dinner, and why I like to roast extra veggies at the start of the week.

Chopped leftover steak and roasted vegetables topped with a couple of eggs is an insanely delicious and incredibly filling breakfast that I can put together in (literally) two minutes before I head to work in the morning, heat up at the office and eat at my desk.

So why am I sharing this mantra on the blog? Because I think breakfast is often the most challenging meal for people transitioning from a standard American diet to a paleo diet, and I want to show just how simple breakfast can be! It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated to make a delicious, nutritious breakfast every day of the week!

Before I began my paleo lifestyle, breakfast was always one of a few staples: egg sandwich with sliced American cheese on an English muffin; cereal with milk; bagel and cream cheese; or an English muffin with peanut butter. Notice the trend? Yup, pretty much everything I used to eat for breakfast is not even close to paleo-friendly, filled with refined grains, processed dairy and other stuff I try to keep off my plate nowadays.

Naturally, when I decided to try paleo, I was at a loss when it came to breakfast. The things I had been eating were easy to make, quick to eat, and perfect for downing in my car on the way to work. I viewed paleo breakfast options as complicated, and felt completely overwhelmed.

I imagine lots of people beginning a paleo lifestyle feel the same way. But I’ve got good news for all you soon-to-be-paleo peeps: it doesn’t have to be that complicated! In fact, I find breakfast quicker to make these days than even when I was simply toasting a bagel or English muffin.

Here are my top tips for making paleo-friendly breakfasts simple:

  1. Throw an egg on it and call it breakfast: As I said earlier, this is kind of our household mantra when it comes to making breakfast. But in order for this to be possible, you’ve got to do some prep work. The easiest way to do this is to simply make more meat and more veggies than you need a few nights a week. If you’re making burgers, baking chicken thighs or braising pulled pork or beef, make some extra to keep in your fridge. When you’re roasting potatoes, Brussels sprouts or other veggies, roast a ton and hang on to the leftovers. In the morning, simply add some chopped meat and veggies to a pan with some grass-fed butter, heat them up, and top with a couple fried eggs.
  2. Make egg muffins: Egg muffins are simple to make, can be stored in the fridge for a week, and are the perfect on-the-go breakfast. Basically just mini frittatas, egg muffins pack in tons of protein, healthy fats and veggies, and can be made with all kinds of fillings. To make a dozen, simply whisk 10 eggs with a bit of coconut milk and then add cooked meat and veggies of your choosing. I like to do some chopped ham, peppers and broccoli. Add cheese if you can tolerate it and mix to combine. Line a muffin tin with foil liners (or use ham slices to line the tin for an extra protein punch), pour in the egg mixture and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. These egg muffins let you cook once and eat all week! Bring an egg muffin or two in the car for an easy and healthy on-the-go breakfast!
  3. Pack your freezer with heat-and-serve meals: While a standard egg sandwich is off the menu for paleo-friendly breakfast, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring your eggs to go! Make a batch or two of simple paleo biscuits or tortillas on the weekend, cook up some eggs, sausage, bacon and other fillings, and then assemble a bunch of egg sandwiches and/or burritos! Wrap these in plastic wrap and tinfoil and pop them in the freezer. Take one out to thaw by morning before you go to sleep at night, or simply take them from the freezer to the microwave for a quick, delicious breakfast that takes minutes to prepare in the morning.
  4. Make a better smoothie: Smoothies are a delicious and incredibly easy way to get in some calories in the morning. But they can often also be a sneaky sugar bomb. Add the wrong protein powder or too much fruit, and you’ve got a meal that may leave you heading for a sugar crash after just a couple of hours. So how do you make a better smoothie? Don’t be afraid to add veggies, use healthy fats and choose better protein. Try blending ice, coconut milk, a banana, avocado, kale or other greens with some grass-fed whey protein or egg white protein (click here for a look at some paleo-friendly protein options). You could also add some gelatin for a joint- and gut-health boost or some nut butter for added protein, fat and flavor.
  5. Don’t be afraid to eat outside the box: Breakfast doesn’t have to actually consist of traditional breakfast foods. If you’re happy eating some dinner leftovers, making some soup with bone broth, meat and veggies, or even just rolling up some good deli meat with lettuce and avocado, then do it! The breakfast police aren’t waiting around the corner to slap that soup spoon out of your hand.

Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. I find that when I eat a healthy, filling breakfast I make much better food choices throughout the rest of the day, and am able to better concentrate on work and other items on my to-do list.

What are your favorite simple, paleo breakfasts? Share your best tips in the comment section!

The Paleovangelist Column: First Addition!

NutritionAs many of you already know, I am expanding the reach of The Paleovangelist to a local newspaper! I am incredibly grateful to have this opportunity, sharing my paleo recipes, nutrition tips and paleo lifestyle musings with the New Hampshire community.

My first paleo cooking column went live yesterday, May 21, in the Nashua Telegraph newspaper and online. In my introductory column, I explore how I came to the paleo lifestyle, the concerns and challenges I faced when I started, and how I overcame these challenges.

I’ve also shared one of my favorite recipes: Honey Sriracha Meatballs!

Stay tuned for my next column, which will go live on Thursday, June 18! Thanks for all of the support so far!

Are Whole Grains Bad for You?

NutritionWhen people find out I follow a paleo lifestyle, they typically ask the same questions:

  • Isn’t it expensive?
  • So what DO you eat?
  • But aren’t whole grains good for you?

I’ve already addressed what I eat, and I’ll cover the costs of following a paleo lifestyle in another post, but today I want to focus on the third question. This is a question I hear all the time, and one that I completely understand.

After all, it was barely more than a year ago since I stopped filling every meal with every whole grain I could find, firmly believing it was the right thing to do for my health and well-being (meanwhile, wondering why my butt wasn’t getting any smaller and I wasn’t feeling any better).

The fact is, conventional health wisdom (and dietary guidelines from the USDA) heavily promote eating whole grains.

Whole grains lower cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease; the fiber in whole grains improves digestion and keeps you full; whole grains provide vital nutrients and are an essential part of a healthy diet. This is what I was always taught. It was what I always believed.

In fact, I believed it so unfailingly that I never questioned the fact that my devoted consumption of grains didn’t actually seem to be making me healthier.

I was still struggling to maintain my weight without extreme calorie restriction. I was still having blood sugar issues, out-of-control hunger, near-daily headaches, body pains and random spells of tunnel vision. I was still anxious most of the time and worried constantly about why I just didn’t feel right. At one point during my senior year of college, I was so concerned I scheduled an MRI, convinced there was something horribly wrong with me.

But throughout all of this,  I never questioned my food choices. I figured I might be eating too much, or not working out enough, or not getting enough fiber, but I never- not once- questioned whether the food itself might be the problem. It was clearly something wrong with ME. I mean this was, after all, what I was “supposed” to be eating to be healthy.

Not so.

In fact, there are many reasons that whole grains aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Among them:  the fact that they don’t provide vitamins or minerals that you can’t also get from meats, fruits, vegetables and seeds; they cause digestive issues for many people; they are often highly processed; the list goes on.

And over the last year I’ve discovered that I feel so much better without grains in my diet. I feel so much better without processed foods and “diet” foods. I feel so much better when I focus on getting the most nutrient-dense foods with every meal, when I cook my own food from scratch and when I focus on getting foods that have been raised and grown responsibly.

In fact, over the last year I can count the number of bad headaches I’ve had on one hand (and can pinpoint their cause- WORK- quite easily), I’ve completely gotten rid of the strange symptoms I experienced that led to the MRI, I’ve cleared my skin dramatically, learned to be a great cook and dropped 30 pounds.

So how does this answer the question of whether grains are bad for you? I guess it doesn’t. What it does tell you, however, is that grains are bad FOR ME. And they could be bad for you, too.

I’m obviously not suggesting that whole grains alone are what is causing America’s obesity epidemic, or that people who eat whole grains can’t be healthy. That’s just not true.

But it’s also not true that we NEED grains to survive. You will not become “gluten deficient,” if you switch out grains for whole, unprocessed carbs like vegetables and fruits. In fact, you’ll be getting far MORE nutrients and might find yourself feeling better and getting healthier.

Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year, it’s that each individual person should explore their food choices on their own. No one should take one person’s dietary advice without doing some research and some experimenting of their own, and no one should feel pressured to eat a certain way.

What is right for me may not be right for you. But it may be! And if you’re not feeling completely 100 percent, if you you’re heavier than you want to be or feel like you’ve not reached your optimal health, then try something else! That something else just may be a paleo lifestyle.

It’s not easy, at least not at first. But if you’re like me, it will be completely worth it.

What questions do YOU have about following a paleo lifestyle? Do you want tips for making the change? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Transformation Tuesdays: Make Your Meal Paleo

Tips for Paleo LivingOne of my favorite things to do in my kitchen is to remake classic grain- and dairy-filled meals and turn them into paleo-friendly goodness. I’ve done this with pizza (although I left the cheese on!) and with eggs benedict, and I’m looking to transform even more “standard American diet” meals. There’s only one problem: I need ideas!

That’s where you come in, trusty readers. Do you have a favorite meal you just can’t live without, paleo or not? Share the meal in the comment section of this post or send your idea to me on social media, and I’ll transform your favorite dishes into paleo-friendly meals everyone will love.

Your ideas will help form the basis of a new series on the blog: Transformation Tuesdays. Each Tuesday going forward, I will post my newest food transformation, inspired by your ideas. Then, you can take the recipes and eat healthier, all without missing out on your favorite meals. It’s just another way I’m working hard to “spread the good food.”

So please– send me those ideas, already! The more challenging the better 🙂 I’ve already got one request for lasagna…what do YOU want to see me transform?