No, this is not a recipe for some magical bread-substitute for those who were previously addicted to Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chip goodness. This is about the major downside of being a mostly-Paleo person: It’s a Pain In The Ass!
For those who are regular readers and didn’t stumble onto my blog while seeking out Paleo recipes, you already know that I’ve been going through a period of transition. (For those who didn’t know, now you do.) This weekend I complete post-divorce move #2, which will last 6 months or until I buy a house, whichever comes first. Obviously, I’m hoping for the home purchase.
With transition comes changes and upsets in routines. And stress. Which leads to not a lot of time or enthusiasm for cooking – let’s face it, I already hated cooking before things got complicated – and a not-so-healthy dose of stress eating and grabbing convenience food. It started out innocently enough, one or two minor cheat meals in a week, a rogue whoopie pie thrown in the mix. Then things started to creep up on me.
Paleo food doesn’t come pre-made in a wrapper. It’s about whole food that you have prepared or cooked. People who plan well set up make-ahead meals or freeze things for the future. But I’m not a stellar food-planner to begin with, then you add all this transitional churn in and forget it! Having something for lunch 3 workdays is practically an epic feat. Forget knowing what I’m going to eat on the weekends. I’m fidgety and not interested in just vegging around the “not my house.” I’m out on a date, or at an event, or grabbing something that hopefully won’t totally hate me while I’m out running errands.
Here’s the thing that really sucks about finding out how food effects you – you know what the “bad” food really does and how much better you can feel when you stay away. I am not super strict about the other parts, but the two I am strict about count out enough options to make things difficult. Dairy and grains are my top offenders and things go downhill fast when I don’t reel myself in.
Now before everyone starts thinking potty thoughts, let me explain something. While good health may start in the gut, the changes that I feel have nothing to do with the bathroom. It’s a whole body effect, with some bits complaining more loudly than others.
First, there is the immediate reaction. If it’s dairy, my mid-back tightens up (kidney points). For grains, I get a wicked carb coma. Both of these fade in intensity if I’ve had a long string of eating poorly, but only because my back is constantly a little tighter and my energy is a bit lower.
My allergies are also a near-immediate reaction. I’ve got year-round allergies and have had to use “decongestant” formula meds since I was a young teen. The thing is, if I’m actually behaving with my food choices, I can get down to a quarter dose nearly any time except peak ragweed season. A full dose was necessary to keep me comfortable probably more times this month than I needed it for the entire year proceeding it. I’ve only cut back to a half dose because the weather is changing (enjoy the frost, fucker) but I can still feel that I’m more congested than I should be. There is a constant low level of congestion in my head, ears, and eyes that is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, but it still sucks.
Then there is a whole list of smaller irritations – skin getting more sensitive/itchy, zits cropping up on my nose and chin, dry lips, bad sleep, canker sores. I could go on, but you don’t really want me to, right? Probably TMI already.
So if it feels so shitty, why haven’t I sucked it up and reeled it in already? Because the other part about Paleo is that all the big calorie filler foods are gone. I’m keeping busy, training in Jiu Jitsu more and more, and I can’t afford to run a calorie deficit. My body (without carbs) runs from lean to skinny. I run hot and burn a lot of calories even when I’m not on the run. If you add two hours of rolling around at the gym 2-3 times a week – especially the classes that require a gi, which I’ve dubbed my personal sauna – and it’s far too easy to lose the calorie battle. Sometimes I grab a Synergy Kombucha with Chia to try to counteract all the crap food I’m eating, but at a whopping 150 calories a bottle, it isn’t helping my calorie count.
So for now I’m trying to be good, trying to undo some of the damage that I’ve done in the last month or so. At least mostly good. Until Friday night, when all bets are off. By Tuesday, when I’ll be in the next house and I’ll have my dogs for the first time in three weeks. Then it’ll be time to start the be good process all over again.
If you’re wondering what the point of sharing this was – in part, the vent. But also to let people know what following this way of eating isn’t about looking good in my workout gear (even though I totally do), it’s about feeling good. If I get my shit together, at some point I’ll write more about the body-image aspect of my life. But for now, it just felt good to get this diet frustration off my chest and out of my brain.