Hello my pretties!
Hope you all had a lovely Columbus Day weekend. Mine was full of running, family, and eating entirely unsafe quantities of non-paleo food. Yup, you read that right…but I’ll get to that in a bit.
First off I’ll say I know you are probably all tired of watching me fall, faceplant, tuck and roll, or whatever you’d like to call it off the Paleo wagon-particularly on the weekends (80/20 is the only way to comfortably live), and that some of you may think that this diet is incredibly masochistic (especially living in an Italian family who owns a restaurant) to begin with….BUT, since I’ve started this diet almost 3 months ago I really learned something this time around this past weekend that I found to be important–regarding self control.
As I was writing this article, (it was SLOW at work today…wow. A Girl could get used to that.), I started to read some other Paleo Blogs and with paleo diet ratios…I stumbled upon Robb Wolf’s blog. For (many) I’m sure of you who are reading this probably have no idea who he is, here–educate yourself. What you need to know is many Paleo people take his blog and pod casts very seriously, hes a great source for Paleo information.
The article I stumbled upon–that talks about Paleo ratios hit the nail right on the head for the phenomenon that happened this weekend and intermittently since I ended the Whole 30. If your really too lazy to read (but I would read it, he’s funny too!)…essentially to sort of sum it up he talks about the Paleo ratios that people after Whole 30 try to follow–which is different for everyone. He talks about the TYPES of cheats people allow themselves, and how some people may be a little, “disillusioned” about what having a healthy Paleo ratio really means. When I read this article I felt like he was talking to me, and I was a dog with its tail between its legs.
I realized that I have (gulp) been eating entirely too many Paleo “treats” lately and calling it a diet. What do Paleo treats entail precisely? Oh, 1/3 of the things I post on my Pinterest Paleo board and pretty much anything containing coconut flour, almond flour, paleo chocolate chips and other things of that nature. Are Paleo treats worse than having the really bad stuff—pizza, pasta, cheese and ice cream? No, definitely not. But in the article he addresses three types of cheating….Making too many “paleo-ified” treats, having “a cheat day” where you pretty much eat WHATEVER you want like your going to the electric chair because you tell yourself you CAN, and last–letting that 90/10 slide to 80/20, then to 70/30…then all of a sudden you magically don’t know how to count anymore and your face down on your kitchen floor with a box of vintage twinkies. Well…maybe thats not EXACTLY what he said but when I read it that’s what I see.
This wasn’t the direction that I wanted this post to go in when I started the post, but this article was a real eye opener. Where do I fall in this category? Well its difficult to tell–I’m a little bit of everything (all rolled into one… if you get this musical 90s reference I give you a cyber high five…) After my Whole 30 I set out to create some type of balance–I was 100% allowing myself alcohol (which beer is my big gluten vice…but for the most part I save drinking for the weekends and if I do drink Wine and Vodka are the more acceptable choices…) but at the same time on the weekends I’ll allow myself the occasional splurge food wise. To me, I don’t want to become so obsessed over food that I can’t be human and enjoy certain things from time to time-especially with my parents having an Italian restaurant. (My Italian ancestors are turning in their grave….) So this past weekend I was good during dinner there–no bread, dinner was Sol fish stuffed with crab meat and veggies on the side, and a glass of white wine. Then dessert came out–homemade tiramasu, hazelnut gelato ice cream with honey and toasted pecans…and I just fricken lost it. I had like 10 bites. (Later that night I got a little bit of candy from Fairway with my sister….those damn Australian licorice are my Achilles heel. I mean I was already on a roll….)
And your all probably thinking, “Stop being insane Carly. Your human…and your life isn’t a prison.” And, like I said–I am the QUEEN of rationalization. I am pretty certain I can help a hippo rationalize buying a bikini, but this is something I can’t keep making excuses for. I can’t tell people I live Paleo and then just half ass it–its not like me to half ass anything…I’m stubborn like that. I’ve been reading a lot about Paleo and I’m trying to educate myself more, but its still really easy to not do it properly. And here is the other part of why I can’t cheat–this article about common paleo misconceptions and THIS article (again…I would recommend just browsing these articles they bring up really great points if your thinking about why gluten/sugar is bad…) Essentially, they both talk about how our “gut” or intestine takes a while to recover, and the whole 30 really rids your system of anything that is difficult to digest, and your gut begins to heal and function properly. But when you slowly re-introduce things, you are essentially beginning to eff shit up again. It starts the bad cycles all over, and you feel all the bad repercussions again.
So this Sunday…I had many non paleo treats. I’m gonna make this blog like a Sunday church confessional, your the priest and I’ll tell you all. (How lucky are you?!) Okay…my sister had a big BBQ with like 7 girls so you can imagine the spread they had going—hard cheeses from Fairway, a baguette of bread, artichoke dip, fancy water table crackers (they’re fancy cause they’re called water table. what kind of fricken name is that?), fresh grapes, deli meat, and bottles of red and white wine…and that was just appetizer. There was also pork stuffed with arugula and basil, filet mignon, kale salad–and dessert was about 8 apple pies they had baked from the apples they got that day WITH ICE CREAM on top. How does someone cope without a straight jacket in this situation?! And if your wondering what I ate of all that stuff…it was everything. I left no stone unturned. I even had like 7 glasses of wine (I topped that bitch off. When I go, I go all out.)
And what happened later in the night? (Besides an hour long much needed wine nap) I woke up feeling like crap. My stomach hurt, I felt bloated like the Michelin Man, and overall had a low sense of morale (and dignity) by the end of the day. So that was an example of me taking a cheat day way too far, but the more important thing to look at here is that one piece of cheese is definitely not as bad as 30, but it’s still bad regardless. When I look back on Sunday I realized that not only did I cheat, but the more I cheated the hungrier I got for that kind of food–particularly the bread. This I’ve noticed in general when I let myself have a piece of pizza, or cookie or whatever on the weekends (even with beer…I have to keep realized that it’s pretty much liquid gluten). But from Whole 30 to now–that is the biggest thing I’ve realized. This is a real bodily reaction (click and read the nifty little graphic below, it really breaks down what gluten does to our body)
Our bodies have this never ending cycle of insulin production when you eat gluten, and that is why you are perpetually hungry when you eat that stuff. It messes with your system people! When you logically think about when you’re at a restaurant and you blink an eye and the entire bread basket is gone but your sitting alone, then maybe you’ll accept what I’m saying haha…Since starting this diet I have never been more in tune with my body–in terms of when I’m tired, how quick I fall asleep, how much extra energy I have, and now when I eat this food…this gluten and diary, I can see the difference in how I feel. It makes me feel awful and like I have no control over my cravings whatsoever. I turn into this red eyed cookie monster and can’t stop or just have one treat.
So after realizing all this, I have decided I am going to pull the reins back on how often I make Paleo treats (Still will make and post maybe 1-2 times a month for treats haha) and also really cut back on how often I’m having treats on the weekend. Alcohol will stay the same for me (it has to!!!! haha) but I’m going to be more conscious of it. The other great point made on the blog from Robb Wolf’s website is if your gonna cheat- make sure its the best damn thing you can have of whatever your having. If it’s a cheeseburger with the bun, make sure you have no distractions and you better make it a damn romantic evening with you and that burger. Light candles, put on music, and have a moment. Anything mediocre is NOT worth having–and I’ve always believed this on the Paleo diet as well.
So whats my conclusion here? I am probably going to try leaning toward 80/20 or 90/10 stricktly if I can until Thanksgiving where its going to get tough…but the way I see this, if its making me feel really bloated and awful AND I am putting about 4-5 days a week at Crossfit and training again for the Philly Half–it’s almost a waste if I’m gonna start slowly eating things that are bad for me again. It gets really tough at times but I have a big sense of pride for sticking to the Paleo diet, for me it shows myself that I can do anything I set my mind to and that I A. am in control of what I eat, B. I don’t live to eat, I eat to live. Falling off track makes me hungrier all the time and not as happy.
Okay, that was my Paleopiphany for today. (side note…I have entirely too much fun making words with Paleo in it)
Thanks for anyone to stick around to read it. It was also probably one of the more informative of my posts….haha