Why I always come back to Paleo…my discoveries of the vegan, Keto, pescatarian diet.
I am an experimenter. I love to try new things, I love to step out of my comfort zone, and I love to be the guinea pig in my own experiments. In December of 2016 (3 months ago) I had a yearly physical with my doctor. I always go into physicals feeling VERY confident because I feel like I may be the healthiest person alive next to Jesus. (Obviously this is not true in the least bit, but for dramatic effect I said that…) I took the usual physical exam tests: EKG, Blood panels, vision and hearing, and the dreaded Pap smear (I’ll never be okay with these. I always feel so vulnerable, cold, and violated afterwards. Like I cant look anybody in the eye after lol). So anyways two weeks goes by and it’s time for me to get my results.
I think… “This is pointless. I eat paleo, take vitamins, and exercise regularly I will be fine.” WRONG…..
Just because I’m a young thriving 24 year old does not mean I am exempt from health concerns.
As the doctor goes over my blood test she reveals to me that my cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels were way too high. On top of that my inflammation levels were very high. I thought…”HOW CAN THIS BE!? I am so healthy.”
The doctor asked me how much red meat I had been eating… *gulp*…..Well, the paleo diet consist of meat, nuts, veggies, fruit, and zero grains/dairy/processed sugars. So naturally as the midwestern girl I am, I was eating red meat 5-6x a week….because bunless burgers and steak are amazing. I eat a few veggies each day, some fruit, lots of nuts, and I avoid grains at all cost. Essentially I had made myself sick on the paleo diet. Well, not sick but I raised my own cholesterol because I didn’t understand what the word MODERATION meant.
Eating red meat with very little veggies, lots of nuts, and sweet potatoes for each meal was setting myself up for disaster. No, red meat is not bad for you, but an excessive amount is. No eating nuts and sweet potatoes isn’t bad for you, but you must get more veggies than fats/carbs. So here’s what the doctor told me.
“GO VEGAN.” When a doctor tells me to do something I do it. Full force. All out. No looking back. I went from red meat each day to ZERO meat, zero dairy, zero fun. At first I thought, “This isn’t bad at all. I actually enjoy this.” Until I started getting sick. My body was going into almost a withdraw from meat, I was throwing up and getting terrible cramps. I started gaining weight because I reintroduced starchy carbs, and I was getting sick and tired of broccoli. I couldn’t do it any longer. So I added fish. I thought the pescatarian diet will be much better. And it was! I felt a lot better! Slowly after that I added back chicken. I was doing great! Until somebody told me what KETO was and I ruined everything …. I sat and did research for hours on Keto. This diet looked so promising for me. And it was!!!! I dropped six pounds in the first week. All I had to do was avoid any carb (fruit, grains, sweet potato, alcohol, etc) and eat an abundance of healthy fats and protein! Amazing right? Well it was, until I got what is known as “the Keto flu”. I started to smell…and yes I was taking showers. One side effect of the Ketogenic diet is your body starts to produce this fishy/metal smell. IT WAS AWFUL. I was getting major headaches, and my weight came back. All the articles I read said to give it 4 weeks before any big change. And that this Keto Flu would pass very shortly. I just couldn’t hold out that long though.
I messaged a friend I know that has a better understanding of nutrition than I do. I said, “HELP! I have tried everything and nothing works.” He said, “McKenzie, our bodies already know how to eat. You KNOW how to eat. You tell your clients how to eat. Why don’t you listen to your own advice?” He was right. When I was going through my Vegan to Keto stage I felt my best when eating a mainly pescatarian, paleo diet with much less red meat (no red meat, I’m taking a break) and more veggies. I was eating INTENTIONALLY!
I am not saying that vegan diets are bad, I actually believe that a plant based diet would be best for most people. And I am not saying that Keto diet is bad, but it most definitely isn’t a long term lifestyle I could maintain. I have seen people have great success on both diets. However, Eating a mainly paleo based diet, limiting my red meat and increasing my veggies, eating only when I am actually hungry has proved to be the most satisfying, healthy diet for me.
There are SO many diets out there right now and it is so overwhelming. Our bodies already know exactly how to eat. It’s our heads that need the fixing. Listen to your body. When you are full your body will tell you. Eat in moderation, don’t over do ANYTHING. And avoid the processed stuff. Just stick to what Mother Nature has given us already!
For those wondering if a pescatarian/paleo diet will work for them I would encourage them to try it.
4-6oz of fish/meat/eggs each meal (3 meals)
1-2 cups worth of veggies each meal
1/2 cup of carbs for only 1 meal a day (carbs meaning: sweet potato or butternut squash)
And 1-2 tbsp of fat per meal
This is a moderate meal plan that is easy to follow.
The earth already gave us amazing resources. Stay away from boxed, caned, tubed, bagged food and stick to what you can grow or come from an animal!
***** I want to also inform that I probably had negative side effects because I was switching up my diet so often. I am learning just like all of you. I don’t have all the answers which is why I try things out. Please leave all your negative thoughts to yourself. THese are my own personal findings. I am much more educated now.
***** I understand that the paleo diet is not for everyone. These are my own personal opinions. I have found the paleo diet to work best for most of my clients and myself.