For the past month (from April 19th through May 19th), we have been participating in a 30-day Paleo Challenge with our CrossFit box people. And while I usually would not participate in an all-or-nothing challenge, this time I did. Well, we did. Garrett and I decided to attempt it. We started one day late and gave it our best effort. We broke about the time Mothers Day came around when I decided to order a chocolate ganash soufflé for dessert. I'll call this a gateway dessert because other things clearly followed. While we do not view this as a total failure in nutrition, we did technically fail the all-or-nothing challenge because either you did it or you didn't. Either you got an A+ or an F. There was nothing in between. And, that is ok.
What the Paleo challenge did for us was to reveal a way of nutrition that we would like to follow closely but not, at this particular moment in time, strictly. This is not to say that we will go all nutty and drown ourselves in grain, sugar and dairy products (isn't that a lovely bathtub style vision?). But, we are not going to beat ourselves up if we decide that maybe today we will go ahead and have a smidgen of raw sugar in our espresso. We will not feel worthless if a bit of blue cheese would just really make this salad perfect today. And, in the world of Paleo nutrition, we will not fret over choosing the lesser of two evils when deciding to use either cow's milk or soy milk in our espresso as well.
We have, in fact, changed our dietary intake drastically this year by no longer buying cereals or potatoes or rice. We've brought home a hell of a lot less cheese and milk and butter. No more are the days of buttered toast and sugar drenched espresso for breakfast followed by a dinner that included either a potato or a rice each and every time. We have made a tremendous start and that is good enough for us for now. We will continue to strive for better as we always do. Right now, right here, this is good enough.
Aside from just knowing that this is a better way to eat, how do we feel? We feel lighter, faster and more agile. We feel less lethargic when we CrossFit. There is more gumption and less panting. My asthma, while still a pain in the ol' gluteous maximus, feels less threatening. I can tell a difference in my total energy between when I eat Paleo and when I don't. And, I'm talking about the next day or two from when I ate. It carries over and carries on for a period of a couple days.
Here is a sampling of various meals that have happened for us over the latter half of our challenge (please note that ketchup, cheese, creamy dressings and added sodium are are not Paleo):
But, clarity came for me during this challenge when I began to receive comments about my appearance and how good or different my appearance was from the past. Things like, "I can see it in your face." or "I see a change in your shoulders, your posture and across your back." and "I just have to tell you how good you look, Dione." I'd say it is the Paleo but I would also say it is the CrossFit and the hiking. There is a happiness that all of this brings to both me and Garrett. And, lastly, I would say that it's the folks at my particular box, Paradiso CrossFit, that bring us smiles. I love this group. I appreciate how they challenge us and how they inspire us. They live the example that we are now living and through this example we rise to the challenge. There is a lot of laughing that goes on with this group and I look forward to spending many many years with them.