My Path to Paleo: Choosing my Route

I had to examine myself very thoroughly to find the right path personally.
Fritz Sauckel

Many years ago I followed the Atkins low carb plan and had good success with it.  The science behind the diet made sense to me.  The problem I had with the Atkins diet was that low carb treat foods were allowed.  Most of these foods were highly processed and ultimately unsatisfying to me.

This summer, when I began my journey to health I looked at low carb as an option again.  I decided to do a real food low carb approach, avoiding low carb candy, syrups, and artificial sweeteners.  I did continue to eat “healthy” whole grain low carb tortillas.

One of the first things I did was find a low carb forum to hang out on.  I ended up on The Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Forum  On the forum, I learned about Gary Taubes and his book, Why We get Fat and What to Do About It  I found the book fascinating.  It piqued my interest and I began to read everything I could find on Nutrition and Metabolism.  If this is a topic you are interested in, here’s the web site for the Nutrition and Metabolism Society

I also heard about Jimmy Moore’s podcast. The Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show .  This podcast has an array of guests in the low carb, Paleo, nutrition and fitness areas.  It’s very professionally done.  Listening to some of the guests focused my interest on the Paleo Solution and Primal Blueprint .

Both of these books discuss the growing Ancestral Health movement.  They prescribe a method of health optimization by changing dietary and lifestyle habits to approximate those of our hunter/gatherer forebears.  The two suggested programs are very similar, and I felt they had a lot of merit.

On August 15th, I began the 30 Day Paleo Challenge.  I have been steadily losing weight, and looking and feeling better.   I don’t generally tell people I am eating Paleo.  It’s not a diet that is well understood by many.  It goes against the conventional wisdom (CW) of eating low-fat, with lot’s of “healthy” whole grains.  The CW didn’t work for me, and clearly it’s not working for a lot of Americans.  If I get asked about the dietary changes I have made, I tell people that I am trying to eat locally grown meats and produce, and avoiding processed foods.  There’s not a lot in that description that people can pick apart and argue with.

I am very curious to see how far I can go with improving my body composition and my health by following this lifestyle.  I’ve seen a lot of good results for men, and younger women.  I’ve not seen many  for women in my 50-something age group.  I’m sure they are out there, but I have not located them yet.  My life is busy and my research time is limited.  For now, I’ll be conducting my n=1 study of the effects of the Paleo lifestyle on this post-menopausal woman..

Coming Tomorrow:  My recipe for Paleo Thai Curry

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4 Responses to My Path to Paleo: Choosing my Route

  1. Cathy Williams says:

    Do you happen to know if there is any information out there about adapting a Paleo diet so that it works for vegetarians? I actually heard a presentation on Paleo a couple of weeks ago, much of it makes sense to me but alas I don’t eat meat . . .

    • paleopassage says:

      I have seen a few comments here and tere. It’s nigh unto impossible to get adequate protein if you don’t eat meat, an you are trying to avoid inflammatory foods like legumes and grains. I’ll be putting together a post today on “What is Paleo?” I’ll include links to anything I find regarding trying to do a vegetarian Paleo.

      I’m curious. Why are you avoiding meat? Is it because of humane reasons (factory farming) or health reasons (I’m actually thinking perceived health reasons, because I don’t think a vegetarian diet is very healthy long term)?

  2. Cathy Williams says:

    I’ve never eaten a lot of meat and have been a vegetarian off and on over the years. I recently read a book on factory farming and that did it for me, I almost went vegan over that book! I am doing boot camp and the boot camp owner did a 30 day paleo challenge and I went to hear the info and it seemed almost impossible to do as a vegetarian (although she said it was possible). It was no legumes, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no alcohol and nothing with a bar code (processed) Pretty hard core. I didn’t feel like I would have a lot of options on it and I was a bit concerned about training while on it (doing a half marathon in Nov.) She did say I could do tofu and I believe eggs are o.k. on it. I’m sort of partially doing it by cutting way back on grains, processed foods and sugar although my birthday did throw a bit of a wrench in the works but I’m getting back in order now. I’m excited to read about your journey!

    • paleopassage says:

      Eggs are OK. I have moved away from factory farmed meat. I’m buying locally, humanely raised, grass fed or pastured meat from local farmers. I can go look at their operation if I want to. Besides the ethical considerations, the nutritional profile of grass fed and pastured animals is better than that of grain fed animals (primarily due to balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids).

      The 30 day challenge is pretty rigid. The idea is for that to serve as an elimination diet. Once you complete that you can add back foods (moderate alocohol, dark chocolate, and some people can eat a bit of dairy). It would be really tough for a vegetarian to get enough protein.

      I wouldn’t make a lot of changes before your race. After that, if you want to try some dietary modifications, you can.

      I’ll post in a week or two with whatever links I can find regarding vegetarian and paleo. I know there is one very in-depth piece where Loren Cordain and T. Colin Campbell discuss the data in The China Study.

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