Before I get into all of the amazing, positive effects that eating Paleo can have on your body, I want to talk first about all of the negative impacts that come from eating non-Paleo foods, especially grains. Grains are the cause of many, many diseases, yet they are on the bottom, and largest section of the food pyramid. Our government recommends that we eat 6-11 servings of grains every day, when we really don’t need any at all.
Here is what we are at risk for simply by eating grains:
- leaky gut syndrome
- irritable bowel syndrome
- crohn’s disease
- celiac disease
- ulcerative colitis
- high levels of bad cholesterol
- thyroid disease
- heart disease & heart attack
- autism (women with undiagnosed or untreated gluten intolerance are three times more likely to have a child with autism)
- gall bladder disease
- degenerative bone diseases – arthritis & osteoporosis
- bi-polar disorder
- skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- gerd – gastroesophageal reflux disease
- joint pain & fibromyalgia
- pcos – polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is one of the main causes of infertility. women who are able to conceive are usually not able to breastfeed because their bodies do no produce enough (or any) milk
There are more, but I didn’t want you to get tired of reading and click away!
But enough of the negative talk. Let’s look at all of the awesome things that happen when you start eating the Paleo way! But be warned; this might get a little TMI.
When I started Paleo, my main goal was to lose weight. Since the beginning of the year, I have lost 17 pounds. I lost 10 pounds in the first seven weeks by cutting out all sugar, white flour, and processed foods and by exercising 5-6 days per week. In the month since I started eating Paleo, I have lost an additional 7 pounds, with doing very little exercise. I actually lose more weight on weeks that I don’t exercise which I think is because I don’t eat enough calories to warrant a work out and so my body holds onto them by going into starvation mode. I’m still trying to find the balance but it’s hard when I’m eating such low-calorie foods and being less hungry than before!
I knew that by cutting out all grains, legumes, and dairy that I would also be healthier, but I didn’t know exactly what benefits I could expect. What has happened to me has been such a wonderful surprise! I have always heard that the healthier you are on the inside, the better you will look on the inside, and now I know that it is true. Our appearance is a true reflection of our inner health and well-being. In just the past few weeks, have noticed such a difference in my skin. My face, which used to be really oily and broken out, is now softer, smoother, and clearer. The redness is gone, and almost all of the teeny-tiny bumps across my forehead have disappeared. My skin has a glow to it like it did when I was pregnant. Not only is my skin softer on my face, it’s softer on my entire body. Even my husband has noticed this, all on his own, without my asking. I have also noticed that I have less hair falling out. I used to regularly clog the shower drain, but now only a few hairs come out when I’m shampooing. My hair is also less oily. I used to have to wash it at least once a day, but now I can go two or three days without it looking too greasy. I have also noticed that my nails are stronger and no longer have those white spots on them, which could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency (this has not been proven but I have always had them and now I don’t).
Like I already mentioned, I am less hungry now than I was before. I don’t always get hungry three times a day, nor am I starving in between meals. Just a few days ago, I noticed that it was after 2:00 pm and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I just wasn’t hungry. And this morning, I didn’t eat breakfast until almost noon. Again, I just wasn’t hungry. The foods that I am eating are keeping me fuller, longer, and I have even noticed that it takes less food to make me feel full. I am still in the habit of serving myself large portions, but I am usually full after only eating half of the food on my plate. Another benefit of eating this way is that after I eat, I don’t get that bloated, sluggish feeling that so often happens after eating a starchy meal. I have the same amount of energy after a meal as I do before I eat, and I don’t ever feel overly full or miserable.
Until about a week ago, I was having some problems with my energy level though. I had some good days where I felt fine, but I was also having some days where I had almost zero energy. I couldn’t muster up enough energy to go for a short walk, so going for a jog was completely out of the question. And I missed it. I missed my work outs and the rush of endorphins that come from that exercise. I did some reading and discovered that I wasn’t eating nearly enough meat. Now, I have never been a big meat eater. I always used to save the meat on my plate for last, filling up on sides first so that I could eat as little meat as possible. I knew that I needed to eat meat, so I basically forced myself to. But I look at meat differently now, and I am actually starting to enjoy eating it. I see it as the fuel that I need to keep me going. Instead of living to eat, I am eating to live.
Ok, now this is where things might get a little bit too personal, so I will try to keep this short and sweet. I am now going to the bathroom regularly, and those trips to be bathroom go much more smoothly now than before. This has also helped get rid of a problem that I’ve had since Everett was born, something that is common during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Do you get where I’m going with this? I hope so, because that’s all I’m saying about that.
Another change that I’ve noticed, (sorry men, you might want to skip this paragraph) and probably my favorite of all, is the change in my monthly cycle. I’ve had two periods since going Paleo, and while the first one was a lot easier to deal with, the second one was basically symptom free. I had no warning signs that it was coming; no mood swings, no cravings, no breakouts on my face, no cramps, no bloating, and no headaches. My face was a bit more oily than normal for a few days, but other than that, nothing. It was also shorter and lighter, lasting 3 days instead of the usual 5-6. As someone who has always had horrible cramps and migraines, this alone is enough to make me never want to go back to my old eating habits.
If you read my post from Tuesday about how I got started on this, remember how I was afraid that eating Paleo would harm my milk supply? Well, the complete opposite has happened. My body is making more milk than it was before and since my diet is higher in (healthy) fats, my milk is too. Babies’ brains need good fats to grow and develop properly. Everett is doing great and he has even started sleeping through the night, (and sometimes waking up once) which I attribute to the higher fat content of my milk and also the foods that he is eating. My Paleo baby is staying fuller, longer, and he and I are both getting more sleep because of it. (I have no way of proving that, but it makes sense since he has never slept through the night before now.)
There really have been no downsides for me since making the transition to Paleo. I love everything about it and I love the way I feel. I feel good about the foods I’m eating, and I never have any guilt about anything that I eat, not even when I eat Paleo brownies. I feel better mentally, I feel stronger and more energized, and I’ve lowered my risk of developing so numerous major diseases. What’s not to love?