My paleo story is similar to my CrossFit story. After years of counting calories and attempting to limit portion sizes, I was introduced to paleo around the same time as CrossFit. I read several books and everything online that I could find. I eased grains out of my diet, and have been (attempting) to eat paleo since October 2011.
What is paleo?
Paleo (also referred to as the Hunter-Gatherer diet or the paleolithic diet) is a way of eating as we have in centuries past. We eat meat, tons of veggies, some fruit, healthy fats, and some nuts. We steer clear of grains (wheat, corn, etc.), legumes (peanuts, beans), sugar, and dairy for the most part. This lifestyle is designed to limit inflammation and minimize insulin requirements. We eat this way because it makes us feel great and supplements our training in the gym.
Wanna learn more?
Here are some of my favorite paleo references:
-Robb Wolf. Many of the scientific aspects.
-Everyday Paleo. How to successfully get the whole family on the paleo bandwagon.
-The Clothes make the Girl. This woman is a genius in the kitchen! Her cookbook, Well Fed, has changed my life!
-Whole30 (see below)
-NomNomPaleo (lots of good recipes)
-Google. There is a whole wide paleo world out there!
How I found a balance:
After easing myself into the paleo diet, and then going strict paleo on my first (and possibly only) Whole30 program, I feel that I have found a balance that works for me. The Whole30 restricts all dairy, all sugar, all grains, all food additives, all alcohol, and much more. I think it was a good experience to see how I felt without eating all of that junk, but I found for me personally, I do not react well to being so restrictive. I have no major health issues, so since my Whole30 ended January 30, I have tried to stay away from gluten unless it is REALLY worth it (hello, birthday/wedding cake) and will occasionally have a piece of cheese. Dark chocolate and fruit are now my sweet treats of choice. I would encourage everyone interested in this way of eating to read up on the reasons behind what to eat and not eat, and then find your own balance that is compatible with a healthy, yet fulfilling life!
Another source of balance is grocery shopping. In a perfect world, we would eat all grassfed meat, organic produce, and pastured eggs and poultry. However, there are some major problems with this. A) It's dang expensive. B) Many of those things are next to impossible to find where we live right now, and the ones I can find require me to go to multiple grocery stores each week. So, I buy grassfed when I can find it/am at Whole Foods, buy cage free or omega 3 eggs, and don't worry about the rest. We still end up spending quite a bit on groceries per week (mostly because Husband is a big eater!!), but I figure we save sooo much on eating out and future healthcare costs! I would encourage you to eat to the best quality which your budget and lifestyle would allow.
I would love to hear how you all have found balance in your diet!