That fad diet I’ve been on for almost a year

Some of you recently asked me if I’m still on that weird/crazy/stupid diet I talked about last year (here and here), and hey. Listen. Paleolithic humans were not stupid, you guys. They just didn’t have tractors to plow fields of grain. They didn’t even have tennis shoes. So cut them some slack, okay? Without them none of us would have been born.

The answer is yes. I’m still on that diet. Why? (WARNING: NARCISSISTIC NAVEL-GAZING DRIVEL AHEAD) Because I really like eating this way. Physically, I feel fantastic. When I was training for the marathon I had to add some bread and rice back into my diet, but that was only temporary. But then, so was the marathon. Four hours and 48 minutes of temporary insanity.

(Oh! Good news. My knee finally healed. That only took five months! VALEDICTORIAN OF HEALING.)

When I first wrote about it I think I explained that I stick to this way of eating about 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent is made up of the occasional dessert or plate of pasta or bagel sandwich. Sticking to this diet has been really easy for me, but I ate a BLT on a homemade wheat bagel about ten days ago and experienced what I can only describe as a spiritual experience where the bagel was God and I joined his church and spent three hours every Sunday worshipping him. While wearing uncomfortable pantyhose.

But I don’t crave refined sugar or bread or any of those other things I cut out. And I don’t walk around hungry all the time. I know this is going to sound trite or maybe insane, but this diet has transformed my life. I don’t feel like crap anymore! Well, physically. My emotions, on the other hand, are bloated on chocolate chip cookies, melted cheese, and a loaf of garlic bread. My emotions need to go brush their teeth.

I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and things I can add to my meals to change it up a bit, and a few months ago I found these at Whole Foods:

Tyrant refers to it as my bird food.

OF COURSE HE DOES.

I have a granola bar plus a bit of the grain-free cereal for breakfast before I workout. The company who makes these did not pay me to say any of this nor have they contacted me in any way. I just really like how these taste and they align with my diet. Plus, it’s a small American business making quality, healthy products. So if your diet looks anything like mine, you should give these a try.

If your diet looks nothing like mine, well then. Look at me not judging you one single bit. Go forth and be happy! (and give me a bite of your cupcake)

  • SarahMcBrandt

    We have been paleo since October. We feel fantastic. it is life changing…I didn’t lose a pound but somehow slipped easily into jeans I hadn’t been able to zip up for years — after one week! I must have had some major inflammation going on. One difference for me, though, is when I eat a sandwich I get sick. I guess I must have had some sort of gluten intolerance issue. If you’d like some ideas my husband and I started a paleo blog for the clients at our crossfit gym. It’s http://www.fwhuntergatherer.com.

  • Wordwright

    Have you changed your kids’ diets at all? I’ve been doing paleo + dairy for Lent and I haven’t had the miraculous energy that other people mention on the diet, but I’ve lost a bit of weight and have had the experience of not being hungry all the time. But with all the reading I’ve been doing about quality of foods and the detrimental effect of grains and sugar, I’m thinking about switching my daughters’ diets over…a bit looser than mine (more fruit, for example, and probably I’d make more “paleo-ish” treats than I would for myself), but I’m sure to get pushback from my 9-yr-old.

  • jaimieschultz

    This is awesome to read!! I’ve been Paleo for about 4 months and I keep wanting to shout from a mountain how my life has seriosuly been TRANSFORMED into the most amazing life ever!! You should check out http://www.eatplaylivellc.com (www.facebook.com/eatplaylive) on information on not only how to EAT but to PLAY and LIVE too :) Love it!!

  • AliciaMaria

    I looooove Paleo! I did The Whole 30 challenge with my friends at our Crossfit gym
    ( http://www.inertiacrossfit.com ) and lost 10 inches on my waist, 4 inches on my hips, and 12 lbs of bodyfat. My last day of the whole 30 was last Wednesday, and then we went to Miami for the weekend for Ultra Music Fest (not to do drugs, believe it or not, we were actually working, but it was awesome.) Well of course I ate Cuban food the entire time we were there, because I’m half Cuban and I felt like I needed to reconnect with my Cuban roots. Well, I did, and I swear I gained like, 15 lbs in 5 days of steak and rice and black beans, but it was worth every bite. haha

    anyway.. point being, eating Paleo has transformed my life, and just a few days of eating white rice and Ive been like.. moan groan, hurting tired lethargic and bloated feeling. I cant wait to get back on track now that we’re home again. I love that youre on paleo, and I think its so cool that so many here are also doing it! I’m checking out all the links that were posted, and if anyone wants to see my blog about crossfit and paleo, its http://www.aliciacrossfit.com Woot.

    Oh, and thanks for the bird food recommendation! I’m actually looking forward to going to the grocery store now. :D

  • chaipants

    You probably already have this cookbook, but I was recently introduced to Everyday Paleo and I love it! There is a large selection of yummy dishes, including desserts, and I haven’t yet made something I didn’t like. If you don’t already have it, I definitely recommend picking it up.

    All the best to you!

  • dooce

    @chaipants I have a copy of that book and it is indeed awesome.

  • lglendinning

    My sister-in-law is an amazing cook and she just started doing Paleo for Lent. Here’s a few of the meals she’s made, hope they inspire you! http://thejoyoflooking.blogspot.com/2012/03/eating-paleo-colorful-food-heaven.html

  • GlassofWin

    Good for you! I am so happy when people find a healthy way of eating that fits them perfectly. I think you talking about it sets a good example for those seeking inspiration to change their lifestyle eating habits. Not to sound trite either but I really do think that when we start making better eating choices and feel good physically we’re able to handle stress a bit better. Maybe not by a lot; maybe our emotions might still be running on that cookie dough, but just a smidgen that makes it just a wee less difficult.

  • Not Marlo

    YGG!

    I’m curious though what a sample day of eating would look like. Right now I’m all about the green smoothies I’ve added to my diet, but when I quit sugar/bread/etc before…I still had my cheese. It made for an easy quick on the go snack. What’s your average day of food/meals/snacks look like?

  • RSDouglas1486

    You said it best when you said, ” I dont feel like crap anymore.” Did the Whole30 detox and then I follow Melissa and Dallas’s “mantras”. I got “Well Food” cookbook, and I cook at least at LEAST one meal a week from it! The author Melissa is a serious badass.

    Livin’ in Alabama the response I get from people is, why would you give up dairy and how do you eat grits?

    As southern as this is, been praying for you and your girls!

    -Ruth Douglas
    whatuhaveidontwant.wordpress.com

  • JaneVictoria

    Your post a year ago planted the seed of the paleo idea in my anxiety/depression addled brain. I finaly went paleo 5 months later. I’m still an anxsty chic but nowhere near what I used to be. My persistent “brain fog” and depressive junk has lifted (and gets worse if I fall off the wagon for a couple of days and eat grains).
    I’m not a gushy person, but, quite simply, that crazy diet post a year ago Heather…it changed my life!

  • jenspends

    Ha…the “birdseed” comment reminds me of the movie Green Card. I haven’t tried Paleo, but I did go gluten free a couple months ago and it has been an interesting experience. I do think it has made me feel better overall, but perhaps because I have been eating more fruits and veggies instead of all the carbs I was used to. Also, not being able to snack on just anything meant that I lost a few pounds. I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon a bit recently, but I think I will try to stick with it for the most part (I don’t have Celiac, so it’s not a do or die kind of thing for me). It hasn’t solved all of the problems I was hoping it would, but I do see a difference.

  • CARRIES

    I too am eating Paleo, but not for as long! I am excited to check out the Two Moms in the Raw stuff at Whole Foods. I’m always looking for something that I can grab quickly rather than spend time in the kitchen. My most favorite cookbook right now is Well Fed. Paleo rocks for so many reasons!!

    Glad it’s working for you too!

  • SushiForBaby

    Good for you! If you found something that makes you feel healthy and enjoy life, by all means enjoy! Mmmmm steak.

  • anne_cunningham

    i love your description of the BLT experience. i’ve never agreed with any diet that “excludes” foods, but i fully believe in feeding the body what the body needs from a range that works for you. and it is fantastic when you can really appreciate the flavor of something when you are not “carbed out” or just so full of fatty food that one fatty meal tastes like the other. when the body is getting a lot of what it needs from “everywhere” available or has found it’s “set” of key components that make you feel good, the day you sit down had have something “special” it actually tastes good! p.s. the bird food looks yummy!

  • cipsi

    I’m glad you’ve found a regimen that works for you.

    I’ve decided, however, that I’m going to go on an all gluten diet.

    Given that everyone these days is going gluten free that means more for me!

    :-)

  • faeth

    It’s kind of funny. I’ve been doing strict paleo for about 65 of the last 80 days. I’ve lost 7 lbs in that time (most of it since we started a challenge at my crossfit gym in mid-feb.) I have never had so many people notice so few lbs! I’ve lost over 25 lbs in the last year and you would think these last 7 were the first 20! I’m leaner and. Paleo is definitely a huge part of it. Check out nomnompaleo.com She is awesome, has great recipes and is coming out with a kick-ass ipad app in the next couple of weeks. And thanks for the granola tip. I just discovered Lara bars (how did I not know about them?!) and they were a game changer for me.

  • big dog momma

    Your (not-so) subtle church comments crack me the hell up. Um, I mean heck. Crack me the heck up.

    That is all.

    Carry on!

  • randeedawn

    I got inspired by your Paleo posting to look more into it, went on in January and had about three days of detoxing … then felt terrific. Have been on it about 90% of the time, too, and am steadily losing weight (when coupling it with a normal amount of calorie-counting). Thank you so much for the tipoff and inspiration! I feel much better about what I’m eating *and* that I’m not wickedly hungry.

    Also: Dried figs. Food of the gods!

  • Colgate

    My favorite: people who are authentic to who they really are.

    Thank you for being genuine, Heather! I have hope that one day we will all be comfortable with who we each are. In my opinion, this is what keeps the world interesting and balanced.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    I know from my own experiences that there are elements of a Paleo diet that are very important for me. For example, I can’t start the day with carbohydrates because I’m hungry five minutes later and/or I’m falling asleep.

    It’s impressive how you’ve found something that works for you, and that you’re willing to embrace the change. So much of eating is social/cultural/religious, instead of individual, and that makes it difficult for people to step outside what is supposedly normal and find out what suits them.

    Also, now I want a cupcake at 11pm, dammit. Who is going to make me my Grand Marnier Creme Brulee at this hour, I ask you?!

  • muttlery

    That’s so funny, I was thinking this morning about whether you were still eating paleo..thanks for answering before I got a chance to even ask!

  • Just Jill

    Have you been to the Cous Cous restaurant in Murray? They have this Cajun steak and mushroom dish served over zucchini “noodles” that is absolutely fantastic. I say “noodles” cause it’s not really noodles… It’s actual zucchini cut into spaghetti shaped noodles. I need to find the tool that does that… a regular pasta maker, perhaps?

    I’ve been Paleo on and off since the start of the year, and my biggest issue lately is boredom. That, and a little bit of laziness. It’s not easy to eat this way; it takes a ton of thought and preparation. Any secrets? I do plan on checking out the websites you and others have listed here, but thanks for mentioning this today; it’s what I needed to hear.

    You rock, keep on keeping on. :)

  • giggloki

    When you spoke about this ‘diet’ before, I was intrigued and did some research. At this time, it’s just too expensive to make such a switch. So, I just try to be aware of what I eat and exercise more. Especially now that I realize I’ve put on a stone (14 pounds-ish) since starting a job 6 months ago. Eeek!

  • Squeetthang

    If I had the money I could afford to eat better. Isn’t that sad? Fresh fruits and vegetables are a treat I can get only once a month…the rest of the month I have to stick with what I can afford which is the canned variety. If I were to change to this diet it would triple my grocery budget…of course I could skip on the beer, but that is just crazy speak! :)

  • gcostaki

    Why haven’t you been posting pictures of your body like you do your hair? It seems to make sense. “Body Day 300″..etc…

    http://www.AnUrbanStory.com

  • bawb23

    I may have mentioned before that my wife’s grandfather wrote “The Stone Age Diet”. Some of it is controversial, and some of the assumptions regarding our ancestors cooking skills and predilections are being proven wrong; however the basic science and concepts are quite good and well-thought-out. Please just don’t force your kids into weird diets without consulting a physician, OK?

  • Sara E

    You said it right! This diet has completely changed my life too. I’ve been on it for about two years and feel SO much better than I felt before eating this way. It’s also changed my outlook on life and my career path. Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple recently posted my story:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-triple-threat-success-story-topped-with-chocolate/#axzz1pmBvSkwP

  • aingman

    Paleo is amazing. I started on Slow Carb/4-hour body and switched to Paleo. I too feel amazing! Loving the recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods – so delicious!

    http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Comfort-Foods-Homestyle-Gluten-Free/dp/1936608936

  • A. Rae

    I’m not Paleo because I don’t really eat meat (I eat whole, unprocessed grains and legumes but also avoid dairy, gluten, etc.), but I would like to say “hear, hear!” for trying a new way of eating that isn’t the Standard American Diet. So much of the food that is marketed and sold in the US isn’t even hardly food anymore. The best part of the Paleo, macrobiotic, vegan diets that are becoming “trendy” is that they move you away from depending on processed convenience foods which gets you away from sugar, salt, excess oils and weird, unpronouncable chemicals.

  • curryalley

    I am a victim of Heather BULLYING ME WITH HER DIET. She bullied me so hard, I lost 50 lbs. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/callie_girl/IMAG0349-1.jpg

    I had never heard of paleo before she mentioned it but the idea intrigued. I did a bunch of my own research, realized this shit made a lot of sense, and then switched to paleo at the end of September. Since then, my energy is up, I stopped having trouble with my digestion, my monthly migraines are no more and even better: my daily joint pain is completely gone. And I mean daily hip-to-ankle, talking about knee surgery now with potential for a knee replacement when I get into my 30s pain. Gone.

    I know now that I don’t process gluten correctly: cheating with a monster-sized cookie at a baseball game not only made me sick a few hours later but left me feeling sluggish for two weeks. I still have the occasional cheese and I am an absolute sucker for french fries but my life is completely different. I CrossFit three days a week now too, when that would have been impossible before.

    I might not have heard of paleo if it wasn’t on dooce and reading about it changed, and might have even saved, my life. So thanks.

  • AbbeyWrites

    I know no DoCo reader will find this too TMI . . . Last August I tried the Paleo. I so wanted it to work and I kept at it for four months. I cheated only once (US Thanksgiving) but . . . I couldn’t poop. I went four months downing bottle after bottle of mag citrate just to go barely once a week. Oh, it was so bad. I’ve always suffered from constipation and, before this, I was going fairly okay, but this just seized everything and made my stomach rock hard. I didn’t – and still do not – understand why it happened – drank tons of water, ate tons of fruit and veg, but no poops. I was miserable and I so wanted Paleo to be “the answer” (I’ve had lots of weight and health issues). After Thanksgiving, I gradually increased corn in my diet, finally I added some beans, and went from 100% Paleo to mostly Paleo too not so much Paleo (although I still read the blogs and support the “fad” diet ;) . Now I feel so much better. I’m pooping like a champ! I’m still gluten free, not entirely Paleo (I eat corn and beans but keep dairy and sugar to a minimum), but I feel better these last few months gluten free than I have in my entire adult life.

    I truly believe that food impacts every point of your health – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and I’m really happy you found Paleo to be so beneficial to you, Heather! I love Reading the Civilized Caveman! He’s really inspiring and he’s got some delicious recipes.

  • nakedjen

    my professor calls that my “fairy food”. i’m not paleo, but i have been vegan and mostly raw since my early 20′s. this is why i often see you at taj mawhole foods, we’re both getting the bird seed! but i’m also getting the kombucha and more arugula.

    i’m glad it’s working so well for you. if we sort it out and choose what resonates best for us, the food we eat really can be the very best and safest medicine for our bodies.