My name is Alex and I love learning about, eating, talking about, cooking, and more eating of paleo* foods. I follow a fairly strict, low-carb paleo diet, with occasional ‘cheats’ of grass-fed dairy, natural sweeteners like honey, red wine, and high quality dark chocolate. I find that many paleo blogs focus too much on the fun foods (like paleo desserts and pancakes, so fun!) and not enough on the staple meals (meat and veggies, also fun!) in our diets. I hope to have a good balance of both while also providing some of the science behind the whole thing and hopefully some laughs. Enjoy!
*For those who don’t know, the paleo (short for, Paleolithic) diet is focused on eating real, whole foods and avoiding processed, refined foods. Meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds, and healthy oils are encouraged while grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, refined sugars and oils, and processed foods are discouraged. There is a focus on getting the highest quality foods you can find (i.e., grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, local and organic fruits and veggies, etc). There are different ‘sects’ of paleo dieters as well– for example primal-style paleo allows for dairy and brings the the ‘caveman-ness’ to all aspects of their life.
My Personal Story:
At 17, I found myself unhappy, constantly tired and stressed, very overweight (at 5’4″, I weighed 210-220 pounds), and unable to complete easy exercise routines. I struggled to get adequate sleep, had some ignored health issues (acne, irregular menstrual cycle, constant sinus infections, digestion issues, loads of migraines), and saw myself running to unhealthy food for ‘comfort’. Being ashamed and uncomfortable of my size and my state of health, I knew I had to make a change. I began on the South Beach Diet and lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. I felt better than ever and could run a mile for the first time in years. Although I’d had great success with the diet in terms of weight loss (60 pounds!), I wasn’t satisfied. I was bored with my foods, still struggling with acne, minor health issues, and some headaches. Most of all, I was scared to eat anything but the “prescribed” recipes from the books and knew that would not be a practical or interesting lifestyle for the next 65+ years.
I heard about the Primal and Paleo lifestyles from a few different people, but most of all my dad. He was a big advocate and, although was not a ‘strict’ paleo eater, had seen great results from simply cutting out grains, potatoes, and most processed foods. I decided to slowly implement the diet into my life. (‘Slowly’ because I was once that person that said “life without bread, you’re crazy”, “I cannot live without cheese”, “but, what about holiday food?”, “just like a few beers?”.) I fell off and got back on the wagon several times before realizing planning and understanding the science behind the diet were key to me sticking to it.
After about a year of eating paleo, I’ve lost another 25 pounds. I’ve begun Crossfit and find myself reaching fitness goals I never knew I could have. My skin is clear, my migraines are long gone, my menstrual cycle is regular and other health issues have all cleared up, I rarely find myself sick. My stomach is no longer bloated, I’ve lost many of my old sugar & starch cravings and have stopped ‘bingeing’, I have more energy than ever before and my sleep cycles are near perfect. I manage stress better and, most of all, I am mentally stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I have the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions for my body and I have the desire to continue to get better and help others along the way.
I do not eat perfectly paleo 365 days a year (c’mon… margaritas and chips & queso, duh), but I stick very close to the diet and feel the repercussions when I don’t (ugh, gluten babies and sugar hangovers). I spend my free time reading paleo/primal blogs (and sometimes not so paleo/primal for recipe inspiration), books, listening to podcasts, etc–oh, and creating and eating tons of yummy paleo food!
Lastly, I would have never had this kind of success without the amazing support of my family, friends, fellow crossfitters & coaches, and endless info, recipes, and motivation from paleo bloggers and writers all over the world. It’s my turn to ‘pay it forward’ with that same kind of support.