Tomorrow is day 30 of eating Paleo. It's been a long journey in those 30 days. I started this as Paleo with Zone portions, had a lot of experimentation in the middle, and am ending it as Paleo plus gluten-free grains and no Zone. I have tried some things that don't work for me, tried some things that work very well, and had some surprising realizations about my digestive system along the way.
1. Gluten-free is the way to go even if I can tolerate gluten.
I had a hard time giving up grains in the beginning, but now when I eat them I notice that I feel a little bloated and gassy. I was so used to that feeling before that I never noticed it because that was how I felt after every meal. The more grains I eat at a meal now, the worse I feel. This really surprises me. Gluten-free grains like quinoa, cornmeal, and brown rice seem to be better than stuff with wheat. Even oatmeal feels kind of yucky if I eat more than a very small amount at once.
I don't want to give up grains completely because I feel like my workouts and recoveries are better when I am incorporating small amounts of them. This is one area where I'm not going to be 100% Paleo.
Doing the Zone portions forced me to incorporate more fat. This made me realize that I was hardly eating any fat at all before. Now I eat nuts, seeds, and avocados on a regular basis, usually a small amount with every meal. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, nut butters, Sunbutter(!), and homemade tahini dressing, and mashed avocado mixed with hot sauce are some of my new favorites.
3. Focus less on food and more on living
I have become very much in tune with the fact that a lot of my extra eating was happening when I was bored, lonely, or stressed. The Zone forced me to eat so much less food than I was used to that I learned how to spread it out through the day so I would last until bedtime. I learned that I can survive on a lot less than I thought I needed.
Although I will always love food, I am learning to stop having my life revolve around it and doing other things instead. I eat and then get out of the kitchen. When I think I want food, I do a quick body check-in - am I hungry or is it really something else? There are a lot of times when it is something else. As an alternative I drink some water, make tea, or have a piece of gum.
What am I doing to fill my time that I used to spend eating? Reading, sleeping, playing cello, learning the didgeridoo, working extra, exploring new trails in Austin, or just relaxing and enjoying quiet peaceful time.
My diet is always a work in progress but these 30 days were a great experience. I am happy with all I have learned about types of foods to eat and portions. I feel like I am back on track with my diet and am in a much better place with food in my head. I'll continue to eat this way but you know, it's just food :) Now that this is in the bag, onto my running goals.