Monday, July 1, 2014 marked the beginning of a 30 day Paleo Challenge that a few people at my CrossFit box decided to start. This couldn’t have come at a better time as we’d just spent the past week visiting our family for the 4th of July holiday and eating foods that were literally making me sick.
I’ve always been “lactose sensitive” (I put this in quotes because I actually think it’s whey that bothers me, not lactose) and have gone through different periods in my life that it has bothered me more than others. After I had Harper my wrist joints also started bothering me. Both of these symptoms, as well as some skin issues, totally disappeared when we started eating Paleo last year. Conclusion – my body just doesn’t process dairy or gluten/certain grains very well.
We got back into town late Monday afternoon so breakfast, lunch, and dinner were just complete Paleo survival mode – eggs for breakfast, a salad a Chik-fil-A for lunch, and ground beef with sauteed veggies for dinner. As soon as we put Harper down to bed we worked on meal planning, scouring our two go-to Paleo cookbooks, pinterest, and whatever I’d clipped into evernote over the last year. We spent a crazy amount of time trying to plan out each meal for the first week and thankfully, with some help from friends on facebook, we have a better plan for the coming weeks.
Here are our favorite cookbooks and their blogs
Why we love it: Melissa does a FANTASTIC job of explaining how to simplify meal planning (that I didn’t listen to this time, but that’s beside the point). With each recipe there are also tips for other ways you could change up the meal (to make it Italian, southwest, or Asian, for example) and even sides to pair it with. I love the sides option because when I’ve already spent time to find the perfect meal it also takes time to figure out something (other than plain veggies) to go with it.
Why we love it: Carl’s aunt gave us this for Christmas and it has been AMAZING! Nearly every recipe that we’ve tried has been spot on in flavor and texture to some of our favorite “non paleo” foods. The blueberry waffles (that I can’t wait to have again once this challenge is over!!) are seriously the best waffles I’ve ever had! I also love that there is a recipe index WITH PICTURES at the back of the cookbook.
I also decided to up our grocery budget this week from $140 to $200 because I wanted to stock up on things like coconut milk, shredded unsweetened coconut, coconut aminos (to replace soy sauce), olive oil, etc. I know these things aren’t completely necessary but they are important additions that allow our family to do a Whole30 without pulling our hair out. I shopped at Whole Foods (which actually has some better prices for their 365 store brand than Publix regular brands!) and Publix and Carl picked up some shrimp (that put us over budget, but that’s another story for another day…) at the seafood market.
I spent most of Wednesday making sauces and other goodies to get us through the week. I was totally exhausted by the end of the day but it was all worth it when Harper was eating the food by the fist full!
Notable, amazing food we ate this week:
- Ginger-lime grilled shrimp with coconut-almond green beans (Well Fed p. 75 and p. 125)
- Mexican chicken chowder (Against all Grain p. 92)
- Spinach sausage lasagna (Against all Grain p. 168) – This was LIFE CHANGING good, guys! I mean, amazing! I do recommend using this crepe/tortilla recipe instead because the one in the book tasted a little too much like coconut and the nut cheese (p. 304) was a perfect ricotta substitute
- Sausage quiche with sweet potato crust (Against all Grain p. 38)
- Banana porridge (Against all Grain p. 50)
- Tuna Waldorf (Well Fed p. 67)
- Plantain chips (I didn’t make these nachos, but I may soon!)
- Paleo olive oil mayo (Well Fed p. 43) – I can eat this straight out of the jar. It’s seriously that good. Don’t be cheap on your olive oil, either. I recommend Bertoli extra light tasting olive oil. It makes all the difference!
- Caramelized coconut chips (Well Fed p. 153)
Now that the first week is over, how are we feeling? Honestly? We are feeling amazing! I know that the cravings will come and be harder to ward off next week once the honeymoon phase of feeling better is over (maybe?) but I just can’t get over how drastically different I feel at the end of this week compared to how horrible I felt before we started! I’m less bloated (because you wanted to know about the state of my digestive system), my skin looks awesome, and the skin irritations that I get from eating dairy (or gluten/grains?) are almost completely gone!
Lots of people hear “Paleo diet” and think it’s just a fad or a crazy restrictive way of eating. I guess if you look at some aspects of it, it can be. But I know for me and my body, it’s a healer. There is power in the food we eat and the choices we make, friends.
Do you think there is power in the food we eat?
Are there foods that your body can’t tolerate or process very well?
Edited to add: This week also marked our one day return to CrossFit. Notice I said, “our”, which means that Carl is starting back too! During this workout on the “active rest day” we were to work on some gymnastic movements in between rowing 250m, 500m, 1000m, and 2000m (I ran instead because we ran out of time). I decided to work on my toes through rings that I couldn’t get for Rep Your Box (recap coming soon!) and I GOT THEM! Two of them in a row, two separate times! Yes!