Paleo Diet Experiences

As some of you may or may not know, I just recently was told to switch my diet to all raw, organic, whole foods. This changed much more than just my bank account and I’d like to share my experiences so far.

Let’s start with my history. Just this year I decided I wanted to compete in a bikini contest. I wanted to push myself in the gym and learn what it takes to get to “stage level leanness”. Even though these girls walk on stage in a bikini and heels, I believe they are no less of athletes than football players. They train every day (sometimes multiple times a day), rest and recover well enough, and are crazily obsessed with every little thing they eat and drink. While training, I found an appreciation for the sport and also realized it just wasn’t for me. My body and mind felt lethargic, I had trouble getting through my work week, my social life went downhill, I put a crazy amount of pressure on myself to hit certain goals, and all I ever thought about was how I looked.

My diet wasn’t too extreme since I carefully chose a well-qualified coach that put me through a flexible dieting approach (lowering my calories slowly from 2,200 to about 1,600 once we got closer to show day). While calories became lower and lower, I began to compensate by having lots of additives and chemicals to reduce calorie consumption (think low carb/low fat/low sugar/high protein and what the manufacturers must do to make it that way). I would regularly drink flavored sparkling water with a whole bunch of aspartame to keep cravings lower and eat random packaged foods as long as I could track the macronutrients content. So as you can tell I was far from a raw, organic, whole foods diet. I shared my concern for this with my coach but she mentioned that for now it was just really important I hit my calorie and macronutrient numbers in order to lose fat and maintain muscle.

FullSizeRender-2
My favorite “cravings crusher”
IMG_6308
0 Calories for the sake of many additives
FullSizeRender-1
A regular protein bar with too many ingredients to count
FullSizeRender
A “protein cookie”

Fast forward to today. Not sure whether this sudden hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo could be linked with my low calorie, highly processed diet. Regardless, something had to change. After seeing doctor after doctor, being sent away with steroids or antibiotics or honestly sometimes just “bummer kid”, we were referred by a friend to a naturopath. She recommended I take whole food supplements as well as switch to a paleo auto immune diet in order to bring down inflammation and re-balance my organ system. Paleo is already pretty restrictive by nature… and then add auto immune to it and you have a whole other level. I should mention I have multiple family members who have gone through auto immune issues and found so much healing through this protocol. So we had testimonies to trust and I was willing to do anything to be able to hear again.

We get home and switch out all our processed pantry foods for organic vegetables, meats, some fruits & nuts, coconut oil, and lots of vitamins/minerals through pills with each meal. I had to be extra careful looking at the ingredients of everything I ate. My mom hadn’t even realized sometimes there’s brown sugar in bacon! There are also so many additives that we never even recognize or realize are in our daily food choices (artificial coloring, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, MSG, etc). So my diet became very plain & simple, black & white. Thank goodness I found Thrive Market – an online discounted marketplace for organic produce. I’ve never been so happy to see a dried mango or plantain chip in my life. My first shameless plug; if you want to support my expensive diet plan and try out Thrive at an even higher discount than they already offer, follow this link {Thrive Market – Premium products & prices}! Alright after you’ve shopped around a bit and added mangos and plantains to your cart come on back to my story…

So after about 3-4 days of feeling sad for myself and wanting chocolate, things started to change. I started to feel a bit more energized, my digestive system was working way too well (won’t go into detail), my taste buds and cravings changed, and I could actually start to hear a little through my left ear! Weekly ear doctor appointments showed my left ear went from completely deaf to 30% to almost 50% in two weeks. We’re not quite sure whether it had to do with steroid injections or my diet or the many prayers from friends and family, but something was working.

Let me remind you, I’m not saying all this misfortune happened just because of my diet and exercise routine – there could have been germs in the mix or some other reason as to why the sudden health shift. I’m also not saying you have to completely change your diet to paleo and go full-force raw (think no chocolate, ice cream, chips, or cookies people) in order to feel good and disease-free. But I am saying the paleo diet and switching my mentality about food has changed my way of thinking, living, performing, and being for the better.

My conclusion (through my own experiences as well as science-based research) is that the paleo diet is not necessary for purely fitness goals but is helpful on the road to long-term wellness. You don’t need to go all organic and raw in order to see a couple pounds come off or more muscle definition. It’s a proven fact that you either gain weight on a caloric surplus or lose weight on a caloric deficit, which is why my coach was not in the wrong to “prescribe” the diet she did. Many people see results that way and don’t ever have the fortune to go through what I am going through. But if you’re not feeling good and your goals are beyond just looking relatively fit, I would highly recommend putting into place some sort of nutritional behavior change (could be as simple as incorporating 3-5 servings of vegetables a day).

The saying, “you are what you eat” has never rung so true in my life and I am honestly glad to be experiencing and learning how much nutrition plays a key role in daily living. These experiences have made my study of nutrition (getting certified through Precision Nutrition) all the more real and relatable.

2 Comments

  1. Katie, that was awesome and inspiring to eat better for sure. May need to rethink the almost daily Monster and all the wonderful Splenda I consume. I look forward to spending time with you and you can share your new found wisdom. This is all for a purpose I believe and you will be able to help others. There are soooo many with autoimmune problems, we must find out what is causing! Keep it up! And wonderful writing!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s