Friday, 7 February 2014

Your Personal Paleo Code: Review and the start of My Code

I recently started reading "Your Personal Paleo Code" by Chris Kresser. Now, I think Chris is a seriously smart guy who always writes really well thought and researched articles on health. It is thanks to him that I got rid of my chronic heartburn, by reading his series of articles on GERD. So when I found out he had written a book I went straight to and ordered it!

The great thing about Chris is that he doesn't advocate a "one size fits all" policy when it comes to adopting the paleo diet. I think that is the fault with a lot of others, who say that everyone should be eating this and no one at all should be eating that because it doesn't fit with the rules. Chris acknowledges that everyone is different in terms of their reactions to food and how their body tolerates different foods. He does generally advocate avoiding grains, legumes, sugar and industrial/seed oils of course but when it comes to other gray area foods he advises that we figure out what works best for us.

So, all that said, he advises a "30 day reset" which cuts out certain foods e.g. dairy. I think you should read the book so I'm not going to give it all away. After the 30 days, you can reintroduce foods gradually and examine your reaction to them. For those with an autoimmune disease (e.g. Hashimotos which I have) there are the additional modifications of eliminating eggs and nightshades. When I first read all this, I thought that there was no way I would be able to do it and I thought I would just read the book and not actually implement the 30 day reset. But then I realised that I still have lingering problems and have plateaued in weight loss so I really want to give this an honest shot and work out once and for all what I can and can not have.

I am now on day 4. The hardest things about the reset are that you have to plan and cook so much. I have spent more time in the kitchen the past few days than I have spent out of it! But I have discovered a few little things so far:

- Cooking a big batch of a dish and then dividing it into plastic containers and putting them in the freeze saves time for later and is also handy for the days where you just can't face doing any cooking
- Meatballs or burgers are handy for breakfast. I made up a batch of pork and apple burgers and froze them in bags of 2 for my breakfast.
- Keep activated nuts handy at work and when going out, for the times when you get hungry but there's no appropriate foods available to you.
- Go back to the tradition of a "Sunday Roast" every week - and then you can use the carcass to make bone broth to drink and use for cooking that week! I am making my first batch tomorrow with a nice free range chicken.

Another hard thing is eating out. In fact, the thought of this was really getting me anxious. Like going out to eat with friends and not being able to eat anything. Or being that annoying person who is really fussy about what they eat (you know, if other people were like that it wouldn't bother me. I wish it wouldn't bother other people!!) But today I went to a cafe for brunch with my partner and his parents and I was able to get a salad of grilled chicken, pumpkin, pine nuts, spanish onion, mixed greens and balsamic dressing. I just asked them to swap out the feta cheese for avocado and I was sweet. Then I had a black tea on the side. It made me feel so relieved because I realised there are always things like salads that I can order and also steak and vegetables is able to be ordered at most restaurants. So at least now I have that anxiety somewhat alleviated.

I will give a list of what I've been eating so that others can have an idea of what it's like.

Breakfasts - I usually have a combination of these things:
- Sweet potato hashbrowns are my new favourite breakfast staple. Literally all you do is grate the sweet potato and fry it in a clump with some coconut oil in a pan, then flip it after a couple of minutes, until it's the crispiness you desire.
- Pork burgers from the freezer that I reheat
- Avocado
- Fruit

- Usually leftovers from the night before or a skillet with some meat, pumpkin, spinach and other vegetable

- Bolognese made without tomato using Danielle Walker's recipe. It was absolutely delicious and mum said it was the best thing I have made. Instead of the red wine I used 1/2 cup beef stock and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and it turned out perfect.
- Chicken Korma with Cauli-rice

- Activated cashew nuts
- Coconut macaroons made with dessicated coconut, dates and strawberry jam (a treat only)
- Cookies made with apple, coconut, ginger and cinnamon powder, coconut oil. Both these recipes were from Mickey Trescott's "Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook"

I've been drinking herbal tea instead of black tea and coffee. I had a headache for a few days but I think the withdrawal symptoms are gone now.

Another great thing about "Your Personal Paleo Code" is that Chris describes how other factors such as sleep, stress and movement can greatly influence weight loss. So I am going to focus more in making sure I get more sleep at night, make time to relax throughout the day and work on reducing my worry and anxiety through time management, and also move more. Chris says that even if you do 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, it doesn't undo the damage done from sitting all day. Luckily I have a job where I stand and walk around a lot of the time but once I get home ( and I only work part time) I tend to just veg out on my bed and go on my computer, maybe going out for a 30 minute walk or doing 5 minutes of skipping sometimes. So that's probably a good 7 hours of sitting I still do every day once I get home from work.

Instead of assigning myself a daunting task like a resistance training circuit 3 times a week, I am going to focus more on being active throughout the day and spread resistance exercises out over the day. I am going to get up regularly from sitting down to go for a short walk, do some star jumps or skipping, or do a quick set of lunges or burpees. That way I can do the resistance exercises that I desire to do, but in a much less daunting way. I am more likely to do it if I know I just have to do 20 star jumps and then relax. Or just do lunges on the way to the bathroom. Or do 10 incline push ups on the stairs everytime I go up them. I think being more active throughout the day and getting lots of incidental exercise in will really help. I think that is a much more natural way of movement rather than sitting all day and going to the gym to use some equipment for 30 minutes.

So watch this space! I am feeling very motivated at the moment. I think if I can get through 3 weeks without sugar, I can get through 30 days of this reset diet.