This is the question that I have asked myself over and over for the past two days.
Especially the why now question.
Halloween is a week away, we have already gone to a “Trunk or Treat” with the kids, and I have yet to buy candy to hand out on Hallow’s Eve.
If you know me, you know that I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. Maybe even Alaska. I’m addicted to carbs (physically, mentally, emotionally) and it’s not a day without a bowl of cereal or a cookie. OR a cupcake. Or ice cream. Or all of it.
I think it goes without saying that he candy chillin’ on top of my refrigerator is calling my name with a megaphone. This has got to be the worst possible time to start a change in my habits. Or is it? This time will really test my will power. It will strengthen my abilities to say “no” because I will so often be challenged. It will help me learn what is OK to eat and what to stay away from, or what I can change for Thanksgiving and Halloween.
I have a goal of losing 20 lbs by Thanksgiving but come Thanksgiving, my goal is to not “cheat” and to stick to the lifestyle. There is no cheating in a lifestyle change, and if I learn to make similar dishes in a new way, there will be no reason to cheat.
I’m struggling with what to do with the kids, though. I think I am going to take someone’s suggestion of going gluten-free with them rather than grain-free. Madilyn loves her toast in the morning and can’t live without peanut butter sandwiches (which will very soon become almond butter sandwiches). Styles loves his pasta and will eat spaghetti squash but I feel so limited in how I can prepare it. Cheese is the other thing. I don’t know how I’m going to keep cheese out of their diets right now. I plan on weaning them, not cutting it out cold turkey.
So that brings me to “Why Paleo”? I discussed that in limited detail in my post about Going Caveman. But I would like to expand on it a little bit.
I tore the meniscus in my left knee when I was 15 by doing pirouettes in gym shoes on a rubber floor. Turns were never my thing. Quite obviously did something wrong. Back then, knee surgery wasn’t an option. I was told that I’d be better off having a torn meniscus than having knee surgery. That same year, I started having debilitating cramps for 2 days every month. Pooping was also painful for me. I was told that I just had cramps at that time but 10 years later I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. When I was 17, I started getting migraines. They come in clusters (not to be confused with cluster headaches, I do get migraines). I will have several in one month but then will not have another for a few months, then have several in a few weeks, and not have another one for months. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. When I was 27, I was put on bed rest for three months while pregnant with Madilyn, and when I got off, I had gained 80 lbs, suffered kidney stones, and had extremely weak muscles. The muscles caused a problem with my knees (remember that left torn meniscus?) and in general has caused my metabolism to enter a sad state of affairs.
I recently had a bout with migraines and they won in the first round. I got up after a 24 hour headache and took a trip to the chiropractor’s office. He then told me about how grains cause an inflammatory response in your muscles which can cause migraines. After suffering with migraines for 13 years and not being able to identify a trigger, I immediately thought that the high carb diet that I was eating was probably, in part, responsible for my recurring migraines. He talked to me at Paleo and I was almost sold.
Another problem that I want to eliminate is depression. I have a strong family history of mental illness and while I have escaped the more severe illnesses, I have, in the past 2 years, suffered with Postpartum Depression. (More on that later). It is no scientific secret that the things you eat have an effect on your hormones, which cause certain types of depression. If I can cure my psyche through changing my lifestyle and not with drugs, I’m all in.
And the last thing that I am looking to eliminate is the fog that I constantly walk around in. I can’t even remember what I wore yesterday, let alone that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, or a PTA meeting to attend. It’s terrible. It makes me feel like a failure as an employee, a parent, and a spouse. I pretty much just fail at life.
The Paleo diet goes back to our roots. It is built upon the same principals with which our primal ancestors ate. They were hunters and gatherers, and ate what was seasonally available. The meat that they ate, grazed on grass, not grains. The vegetables and fruits that they ingested, were grown naturally without hormone- and gene-altering chemicals. The diet is only restrictive in the sense that you have to eliminate grains, artificial sugars, and legumes from your diet. There are plenty of other alternatives to these things but it takes some learning and planning. It is not only a change in diet, but a change in your mindfulness. It is a mindful, instinctive, and intuitive way to live your life. It appeals to me because I would love to be more purposeful with my life in general including but not limited to: raising my children, disciplining my children, keeping an organized and clean home, communicating with my spouse, and of course, preparing my meals.
So THAT’S where I am now. I’m learning and planning. I am on day 2 of my lifestyle change and feel good. I went to bed last night without that disgusting bloated feeling just under my breast. I slept well, and I am not tired today. I’m still a little hazy but I am enjoying being more purposeful with my food.
As I learn more, I will post more and I’m sure the reasons “Why Paleo” will grow exponentially. I can’t wait to share those reasons with you, and even more I can’t wait to show you how my body and life begin to change.
What I’m Reading for Inspiration: