By Meri Mayes
We had the NYC "Marathon" Recap, so now it's time for the Paleo Diet Review. It wasn't 26.2, but it was 30 days of no sugar, grains, cereals, legumes, or dairy. Almost as hard if you ask me.
Again, my sister Melissa and BFF Kerry joined me on the journey, but I'll just share my personal experience. Because I only committed to the plan for a month, I didn't cheat at all (except a little cream in coffee).
At the end of 30 days, I still hate diets! They make you bingy, irritable, and simply aren't effective when they are too strict. But sometimes the best lessons come when you face the things you dislike most.
Gluten-Free Changed My Life___
As I mentioned in my first post introducing the diet challenge, I have suffered from stomach problems for 20+ years. Then in my 20's, I developed additional autoimmune problems that have only seemed to multiply.
Very shorty after starting Paleo, I noticed that my digestive problems (no need to recite an Activia commercial) started to diminish. About two weeks into the plan, I saw a Dr. Oz show talking about Gluten. I already knew I didn't have Celiac Disease (tested a year ago), but I teared up as I listened to the guest discussing her symptoms and how gluten-free cured them.
Dr. Oz said as many as 20 million Americans could be affected by a gluten sensitivity and not know it. Could I be one of those people? I took the sensitivity test below and sure enough my score indicated an issue.
So What's Next____________________
No one wants to have an intolerance for yummy foods with gluten, but I feel so hopeful that this could be the answer I have been looking for.
Immediately after the 30 days ended (Oct. 31st), I reintroduced dairy and legumes back into my diet. Giving up dairy was actually the hardest part of the plan for me, so I was really scared that along with gluten it might be a problem. After a week, my stomach is still great so I am thrilled. I just can't be convinced that greek yogurt and hummus are not super good for me.
Instead of a "diet", I plan to continue my lifestyle of eating mostly unprocessed foods that provide nutrition and energy. Of course I will be watching my gluten very carefully and only indulging on occasion when I am willing to accept the consequences.
Overall, I love Paleo's focus on food from nature rather than machines, and I would recommend it for the following reasons:
Health - To learn more about the way your body interacts with food. You really are what you eat. Eliminating dairy and gluten alone can give you some great insight. My hair has never been better!
Weight Loss - Seems to work very well. I lost 3 pounds even though I was not trying to. Girl likes her curves : ) The other girls also had significant weight loss
Maintenance - I would like to do strict Paleo for at least two weeks per year. I think it's a great way to reset your taste buds so you really savor food. We all agreed that sugary things seemed way too sweet after 30 days without any.