Paleo, primal, caveman. Whatever you want to call it, that's what I'm working on right now. It started as a desire to quickly get through a plateau that I've hit, but I'm also interested in the aspect of ketosis that it can supposedly lead to. Let me explain- the paleo diet is actually pretty simple; no grain, no dairy, no legumes. Just meat, fruit, veg, and healthy fats. I'm ALL over that, even though I usually try to keep my animal protein consumption low and substitute it with beans, lentils, or other high-protein grains/veg. This is my fourth day and it hasn't been too bad yet. I like the challenge that it brings when it comes to cooking. It has also introduced me to some new health foods- like coconut oil, almond meal, and chia seeds. Plus, from the biological/health aspect, it seems like a pretty sound idea- to eat like our ancestors ate, taking out all of the highly accessible processed foods that are SO unhealthy for us. An added bonus is that it is supposed to reduce bloating, IF you have a minor gluten or lactose intolerance. Gluten, found in many of the grains that we eat, and lactose, found in dairy, are actually intolerances that most people have, if just minorly. This is because of our evolution- after the breast feeding stage in development, mammals don't consume dairy. And grains weren't accessible for consumption (think of how processed our flour and pasta are!) in the same way as they are today. Now, I have no idea if my body is intolerant to either of these, but if it is, the bloat caused by the intolerance will go down. Its worth a shot, right?
But really, after only four days, I haven't noticed much of a difference. I'm thirstier than normal. My hunger is different than what I'm used to... I'm guessing its a craving for either dairy or grains. The nice difference I've noticed is in feeling tired. Usually, I get tired during the day. However, I only feel tired now if I don't get enough sleep the night before. I also feel like my muscles are more willing to cooperate during my work outs. I'm thinking that has to do with the increase in protein being eaten.
If nothing else, its a nice challenge to try out. Will I only eat paleo from now on? Oh HELL no. Will I stick it out for a few more weeks- definitely. Will I incorporate it into my normal diet- most likely.
Most of this blog update is on paleo because, honestly, its taken a lot of my time. To travel out to different grocery stores to get food I can actually eat, to cook all different kinds of recipes so I have every meal covered... Think about it- there is no "fast" or "on-the-go" food you can get that would be paleo friendly. So if I want to eat a meal and not break my diet, I've got to make sure I've got food prepared. Here are some of my favorite paleo recipes:
Rainbow Asian Slaw: If you know me AT ALL, this has my name written all over it. And it is so so so delicious that I will be making it time and time again.
Tomato Soup: I was a little worried about the consistency since there is no cream, but this was DELICIOUS. And, as a side note since I'm on a health food kick, stop eating canned soups. Seriously. Not only do they taste disgusting in comparison to home made soup, but they are FULL of sodium. And that makes your heart sad. Plus, soup is possibly the easiest food to make. And if you have access to a hand blender, your options for different kinds of soup doubles. I'm planning on making a cauliflower soup and a butternut squash soup during this diet as well. Again, cream and cheese free. I'll let you know if its successful.
Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes: I'm most excited to share this recipe with you- simply because this is from my friend Caitlin's blog. Its a play on Lemon Poppyseed, if you hadn't already picked up on that. And you are probably thinking that there is no way to make a pancake paleo-friendly. BUT THERE IS A WAY! Instead of flour, use almond meal. Easy peasy, plus WAY more protein than you would've gotten with regular flour. Bonus. Now, this recipe isn't paleo. But if you sub the butter for oil and leave out the sugar, you've got a paleo pancake. Its missing sweetness, but just top with honey and you're good to go! Or maple, but I don't have maple.
Another attempt I've taken to get over the plateau and also to just add another layer of fitness is some weight lifting. Caitlin is a weight lifter and is showing me the ropes. I can now happily say that I know how to do a barbell squat, bench press, overhead press, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and assisted chin up/ pull up. My deadlift form is TERRIBLE, but luckily Caitlin knows what she's doing so she corrects me when I mess up.
Besides this new diet, life has slowed down a little bit. Work isn't just racing by, although that might just be because the actual hands on research I'm doing takes less time at the moment. Its also because I got two fantastic results last week and don't even have the opportunity to get results this week. BUT, next week will hopefully bring some interesting electron microscope results so I'm very excited about that. I've finished the abstract for the conference that I'm going to and I'm slowly making my way through an already almost full notebook of research and putting it into a Word document for my first year report. But this writing is just SO boring. Materials and methods section, WHY YOU SO BORING TO WRITE ABOUT!?!?!
Finally, a pub quiz update- I THINK I've mentioned before how my new pub quiz goal is to get third to last place, as opposed to the usual second to last. Last night, a group of us went to a new pub, Duke of Norfolk, and played. And we got third place!!! Too bad there were only four teams. Haha! But I had a record night with not only being about to answer the science questions, but I also knew some of the Literature and Soccer questions. w00t!
PS- Sorry for the lack of pictures. I know word dense entries are getting old for all of you.