Monday, February 11, 2013

Going Nutrient Dense-Whole30-Paleo

I had been thinking of going to see a nutritionist.  At this point, working out, while not easy, was something I knew I could do consistently.  But the ingesting was something I found more difficult than waking up early to go to the gym.

Enter MindBodyHealth.  In partnership with my bootcamp, they brought in this Nutrient Dense Challenge.  We would be changing the way we eat, with a focus on eating real and healthy food as opposed to the overly sweetened, salted, chemically-altered foods.

I had already started focusing more on eating more vegetables, more fruits, less of the processed stuff.  But my downfall is ultimately sweets.  Give me a piece of chocolate to satisfy my craving any day.  Any. Day.

So, when I saw the list of foods to enjoy vs. foods to avoid, I decided I would take up this challenge.

I can get behind all the foods in the "Yes" category.  The idea, really, is to eat real food.  It's based on what is now known as the Paleo diet, called so because it's going back to the basics.  But it's refined by the folks at who focus more on the science and not evolutionary theory.  I bought their book, It Starts With Food, and I can honestly say I'm getting behind the stuff they're talking about.

I'm still in the first chapters of the book, but I'm feeling really committed to what they're throwing my way.

So let me address all the thoughts I had about the "No" items.

Not eating dairy is fine for the most part.  I only really crave ice cream and cheese when it's in the house and I know it's in the house.  But I also know that if I eat too much of it I get a little gassy, and that's not good for anyone involved.

Not eating soy/tofu?  Well, I've been living off soy milk for a while now.  I tried almond milk and I definitely disliked it.  I've decided to give coconut milk a try.  I like it so far, but I have to be careful about any added sweeteners.  Now, there's also soy sauce.  How am I supposed to make chicken adobo???  After a Google search, I found Coconut Aminos (which I bought at Whole Foods), and I'm more than willing to try to make chicken adobo with this.

No beans of legumes might be a bit difficult, but I don't have too much of an issue staying away from beans.  Of course, I'm kind of wondering where the plant protein will come from in this diet, but I'm assuming that the answer is "another vegetable."

No grains means no bread, no rice, no quinoa.  That also means no pancakes, no pastries, no English muffin with my bacon egg and cheese (not that I get that too often).  But wait, I thought, how do they make those vegan pancakes at the All Night Costume Dance Party every year?  I knew there had to be a way!  So, for rice I will take some cauliflower and stick it in a food processor.  For pancakes, the base will be bananas.  For pastries, there's almond and coconut flour.  Thank you, Google and the multitude of resources out there!

No alcohol will be tough on tough days.  But I can get behind that easily.  I will miss wine a bit, though.

No processed foods of any kind include no artificial sweeteners.  That means no sweets, no candies, no sweetened chocolates.  This one is probably going to be the most difficult next to no grains.  I got me a major sweet tooth.  But, I do know that I can have unsweetened chocolate, which Trader Joe's has.  Basically, anything that has a long ingredients list that includes more real food is on the No list.

For the next month, I will try to be as hardcore as possible on this new meal plan.  I refuse to call it a diet, because my main focus will not just to eat less - but eat less bad stuff.  I decided to go for the group challenge in addition to some individual coaching, for the times when it feels tough or for when I have questions.  I will be relearning how to eat, and how to make better choices.

In the second month, we get to reintroduce the different categories of foods one by one.  This way, I get to see what food groups my body doesn't like or doesn't react well with.  I already know that dairy and beans make me gassy  I already know that all that processed sugar makes me extremely tired.  So, if I know these things, it's time for me to follow through.

This challenge is going to be hard.  There will be times when I might inconvenience others, and there will be a lot of work in terms of planning meals, snacks, and eating out.  But I want to change my eating habits.  I want my body to change.  And as many a wise person has said:

I'm ready, and I know I have the love and support of those around me.  Let's do this.

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