Paleo May – The Final Countdown

So it’s the final week of the Crossfit-U Paleo Challenge – I’ve survived 27 days of eating only animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. With only 5 days to go, I thought I’d do a quick assessment of my experience so far.

Firstly – what’s been the easiest part of the challenge for me? Cutting out processed food and sugars was relatively easy, as I was already eating quite clean pre-Paleo. Preparing food myself was also not too much of a challenge, however I found I had to be more organised with having meat prepared. Pre-Paleo, I could just grab some brown rice or chickpeas from the pantry for a quick meal. Now if I run out of meat, I grab eggs instead (who says you can’t have a brekkie fry-up for dinner??)

The hardest part? Definitely giving up the grains and replacing with meat. I’ve been consuming about 150g of meat (mostly organic chicken, lamb, roo, fish and eggs) with lunch and dinner, and to be honest I’m getting over it. As I’m cooking for one, I’ve been cooking a whole chicken or mini lamb roast, and picking at the meat throughout the week, which does get boring. Preparing every meal yourself is time consuming enough without then creating a different meal every day!

Eating out is another difficult one, especially if you’re not choosing the restaurant. I have found the trickiest part is avoiding sauces in restaurant food that contain sugar, soy, wheat etc. Also, a lot of restaurants will use vegetable oils, which is bloody impossible to avoid unless you get grilled steak and steamed veggies every time (which, again, gets boring!) Anyway, here are some of the dishes I ate when dining out this month:

  • Pizza restaurant – I ordered two starters: a plate of cured meat and plate of grilled vegetables (I told the waitress I didn’t eat bread, and she said “Oh, but we have gluten-free”. I said, no, I can’t eat anything with grains. No bread. Again: “Yes, but we have gluten-free!” JUST GIVE ME A PLATE OF MEAT DAMMIT!!
  • Cafe – poached eggs with tomato and spinach, and I didn’t eat the english muffin.
  • Korean BBQ – this is an easy one if you’re Paleo. Just order meat, salad and don’t eat the rice! However, a lot of the meat is marinated in sweet sauce, so be aware.
  • Chinese – chinese broccoli, vegetable and seafood hot pot, crispy skin chicken, peking duck pancakes without the pancake…(ok, so I totally ate the pancake. No-one’s perfect.)
  • Pub – spit roast with red cabbage and salad
  • Winery – grilled prawns, beef cheek casserole, rocket salad…you get the idea.

Now, one reason I took on this challenge was to see how it would make me feel. Pre-Paleo, I had lots of energy and was in the process of cutting down my caffeine intake. In the first week of Paleo May, I gave up coffee altogether (because cutting out grains, legumes and dairy just wasn’t hard enough!). This ended after I realised I was becoming unusually unproductive at work. Since then I’ve been having 1-2 black coffees a day. However, I still have slightly less energy than before, most likely due to my reduced carbohydrate intake. And I came down with a cold, which hardly ever happens to me. So I’m blaming it on Paleo.

And physical changes? I’m not too sure. I may have lost a bit of weight in the first week, but I’ve found that due to carb deprivation, I’ve been seeking taste satisfaction in other foods like nuts, nut butter, coconut butter/cream and, oh yes, Paleo desserts. I’ve made coconut cheesecake, chia puddings, pumpkin pie and, of course, attempted my own Tim Tams. None of which will contribute to weight loss!

So yes, that’s my summary of the last few weeks. For everyone doing the challenge, hang in there, not long to go now!