An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Wherein I go a touch more insane

You know, it’s been a little too quiet around here lately, and I’m thinking that I need some people to start yelling at me. So you know what we’re going to do! DO YOU?! No, I’m not going to admit that I put Diet Coke in Marlo’s sippy cup. But close!

We’re going to talk about my diet! Because no one has an opinion about food! Certainly no one who reads this website. Especially those who would never admit to reading this website but refresh it every hour and then judge me publicly without ever mentioning me by name. So sneaky!

Yeah. I drastically changed my diet almost three months ago. Why haven’t I mentioned it earlier? Because I know better! If I had said then that I was going to cut gluten, sugar and dairy out of my diet you guys would have told me that I was going to die! And I always believe everything I read.

Actually, it wasn’t just gluten and sugar and dairy. I don’t eat corn or beans anymore. Or rice. It’s what they call the Paleo diet, one that is based on what humans ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution. So I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meat, and seafood. Sometimes I eat small children, but only if they’ve been grass fed.

Why? (Actually, you’re thinking WHAT THE HELL.)

Well, I’ve told you guys that I’ve been maintaining a pretty vigorous work-out regimen for about eighteen months. And in that amount of time I’ve put on fifteen pounds, most of it muscle. I know a lot of exercise routines out there are formulated so that you’re supposed to shrink, but that’s not why I wanted to get in shape. No, I wanted to be able to crush things. Things like blocks of concrete. To save money on contractors!

I wanted some muscle definition, and I was getting there, sort of. I knew the muscle was there, it just wasn’t appearing on my body like I had hoped. And when you work out as much as I do, your appetite sort of follows suit and there were days when I could have walked out into a field of wheat and plowed the entire thing with my mouth.

Hungry. All the time. No matter how many times I ate during the day I was still hungry. And bloated. And tired. It was like pregnancy without getting to blame a tenant in my uterus.

So I did some research, and then some more research, and when I read about the Paleo diet a lot of it made sense. And I thought I’d give it a whirl for, oh, a good seven days. Because there was no way I was going to make it more than that without cheese. You can take all the cookies you want JUST LEAVE ME MY HAVARTI.

So I did it for seven days, and then another, and then another. And then I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t eating cheese anymore. In fact, it wasn’t until I went dancing with Cami and her friends for my birthday that I finally broke down at two o’clock in the morning, drove to the greasiest Mexican fast-food joint in town, and ordered a tostada “with as much cheese as you’re legally allowed to put on that thing.”

That was the best damn tostada a person has ever eaten.

I’m basically eating Paleo about 90 percent of the time. In that other 10 percent is a daily cup of coffee I cannot give up (splash of skim milk), red wine, and the meal I eat when going out with friends. Because I do not want to be That Person whose dietary restrictions infringe on the good time of everyone else in the group. Y’all want to get some pasta? HERE IS MY TEN PERCENT.

The results? Unreal. I’ve lost seven pounds, and I’m starting to see my muscles taking shape. I can already see an incredible amount of definition in my legs and shoulders. I’m never bloated. I have an enormous amount of energy. And, the best part? I’m never hungry. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat anything. I eat A LOT. But I’m never panicking because I’m so hungry that I might eat my own arm.

It’s been a huge game-changer for me, and it hasn’t been difficult. I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t miss bread or pasta or chips. I don’t even think about cookies or cake or candy bars. Am I forcing anyone else in the home into this crazy-ass diet that you’re totally going to debunk in the comments? Totally! In fact, I stand at the dinner table with a whip and tell Leta that if she doesn’t eat that slab of tuna on her plate I’m going to make her sleep with it.

  • lynchh1

    Peeps! You can get basic info at, he has a great book called The Paleo Solution. Heather, I’m so freaking excited you posted about this. Freaking awesome. This shiz is totally going mainstream!! I’ve been strictly Paleo since July 1 and feel INCREDIBLE (strictly = 100% = I did the Whole 30 program). I loved it so much, it broke me of my sugar addiction and emotional eating. Squeee!

  • OhBlahDah

    Good for you! I’ve been on Weight Watchers for more than a year and it sounds similar — tons of fruits and veggies (and lots of grocery shopping).

    I discovered that Soy Creamer is excellent in the coffee with half the fat of dairy. Try it!

  • SarahCarrato

    Sounds intriguing, and you can’t argue with the results people seem to be getting. My hesitation would be all the meat. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ve never craved meat. I eat it off and on. After reading “Eating Animals” my brain is riddled with images of factory farms. It almost made me a vegetarian, but I value the protein the meat provides to completely go off of it. Heather and others, have you read this book? Do you try to buy only from farmers in your area?

  • meowsie

    I’ve been toying with the idea of going gluten free. I know I’ll feel better and my body will thank me. Thanks for sharing your experience of Paleo!

  • kmo0678

    Cheers to good food. I did the same lifestyle change for a month and the change in my energy level and hunger was insane (in a great way). Then I went to the east coast for vacation and it all went to shit. Thanks for the motivation to hop back on the wagon.

  • Starla Dear

    This is all well and good and all, but I’m sure the question on everyone’s (or at least certain readers’ minds) is, “how is this diet affecting her poop or lack thereof?” Although I could be behind (ugh–no pun intended) the times and maybe constipation is no longer an issue for you, I’m still curious from a personal level whether this diet would help with that aspect of one’s life… 🙂

  • BecTO

    This blog has some good paleo recipes:

  • Rainyday

    Very interesting! For a variety of health reasons, I’m supposed to be dairy, gluten, sugar (only 1 fruit a day, even natural sugars don’t work for me), wheat, alcohol and caffeine free. So far I’ve only managed to stick to the dairy and caffeine aspects. I’d say we’re a “gluten-light” household. And now my youngest is reacting to eggs and soy, so those are limited as well until they finally take him in for allergy testing. I’m finding it hard to stick to it, mainly because I get frustrated at the limited selection and high cost of the foods I’m supposed to be eating.

  • honeydunce

    that is awesome–congrats! I’ve recently(about 7 months ago) started amping up my exercise. I do spin class about 4 times a week, plus I bike to work. So yeah I can relate to being hungry all the time.

    My question for you is: how did you make the leap? Was it a gradual change? If so, what did you start cutting out first? I’m interested in changing up my diet but I’m not sure where to start. I’m vegetarian + lactose intolerant(so pretty much vegan by default) but I can’t imagine life without rice. If you can share some more about the transition into this diet, that would be awesome.

  • barbara

    I was unfamiliar with the Paleo diet until now, but it seems like it makes sense. Glad it’s working for you!

  • Indiana Lori

    I started a version of this last February and I’m down 14 lbs. Gut problems nearly gone. Energy returned. Sleeping better. I actually look younger (screw you 39!). I still eat about 1 serving of grains/corn per day, but more than that, and I feel like crud. After you figure out what to eat, it gets much easier! Congrats! Processed foods/food dye/GMO foods are killing our country.

  • HungryGrad

    @Dooce, yeah, I get that. I buy hormone-free dairy and meat products. The part that actually made me think this diet may have some merit is that you said you don’t get crazy hungry. I’ve had that problem my whole life, since I was a little kid. Especially when I was a kid. My fasting blood glucose has always tested out fine, so I never felt compelled to alter how I ate. I remember the first time my dad took me to get a blood test in high school before breakfast, and I was SO. ANGRY. I’ve always figured hey, this is how my body is… carry snacks. Definitely some food for thought, though… 🙂

  • famousamy

    Awesome! I am on day 4 of the Whole30 program, which is basically a slightly stricter Paleo diet. I found out about it through the Finslippy (Alice’s) blog. It’s been wonderful so far. I definitely feel less bloated and already more energy than I did.

  • jess_freedman

    Hi Heather, I have been reading up on this diet and I’m considering giving it a shot. What were some of the difficulties you encountered and what were your favorite resources for information?

  • CathyJean

    Heather, I’m glad you are making progress on your diet and feeling better, and leaving the dairy behind. I dream of a time when more people realize that we don’t need meat (and other animal foods) to be healthy and strong. I’ve always been struck by the bumpter sticker, “If we love animals called pets, why do we eat animals called dinner?” All animals want to realize their roles as mothers and fathers and kids just as we do. Dairy cows cry out when their babies are taken from them soon after birth, to begin the process of impregnation and mechanical milking all over again (a cow must remain pregnant in order for her to produce milk). It breaks my heart. My guess is that even free-range and grass-fed animals would choose (if given a choice) to live out their lives naturally instead of becoming someone’s dinner. Thanks for all your great writing and for standing up for what you believe in and making a difference in so many ways. 😉

  • Glorysgirl

    So glad you found something that works for you! I have a lot of friends who do the Paleo thing as part of their crossfit obsession. Sounds good to me but as a vegetarian I can’t imagine being able to follow it. I eat all the same as Paleo but have to put back in legumes and certain grains (quinoa, brown rice) in order to cut out meat. Either way – I think it is great to find something that makes you feel good and healthy.

  • daisy janie

    Good for you! Not insane at all!! Our diet is a blend of things we’ve learned from Paleo and 4-Hour Body, and it closely resembles what you’ve described. We were motivated by many of the same reasons as well. I got to a point where the bloating and cramping was out of control and prevented me from getting the most out of my workouts and life! Cutting gluten was key! I love the for baking recipes. We also workout hard – I’m in the best shape of my life at 41. Functional fitness via our gym Corps Fitness, which incorporates military training and CrossFit concepts. My husband is CrossFit and kettlebell certified, and he’ll always throw out food or fitness challenges for the gym – so much fun and keeps us all motivated! He just posted about a guy who lost 85 lbs. following Paleo and taking regular classes. Good stuff!!!

  • gomerel

    Another vote for the Primal Blueprint version of paleo. I would not do strict paleo, nor do I think it is necessary. Primal is a whole lifestyle designed to produce happiness, not a set of rigid rules. I eat dairy, potatoes, some white rice, beans and corn tortillas. And at 68 I have lost tons of fat. Primal has improved my health and my life in a dozen ways, at least. I have been on Primal for more than a year and I expect to be on it the rest of my life.

  • tallnoe

    I’m thinking that this might be just what I need. I think that the carbs are having a big effect on my cholesterol, so… this could help.
    I’m glad to read of someone else who’s done this.

  • emptynesster

    So I’ve been thinking about this now all night and keep wondering how does a daily day go – Can you give a sample day – what’s breakfast, lunch and dinner look like – it sounds good and very interesting. I haven’t heard about it before now, very intrigued.

  • slry

    Wow interesting diet……. We have been gluten/dairy free for about 15 mths now… never felt better and now when i get a bit of dairy or gluten to much- eh i feel awful!!!! We will be sticking w/this at least for a long time to come.. i haven’t given up corn though- we are chip a-holics!!!!!! there really is about 10 different kinds right now in our pantry….. i’m sure there’s a group for this addiction somewhere – just not ready to join it quite yet — congrats to you though on such a great job sticking w/it!!!!!!

  • Absent Minded Housewife

    I recently went on a juice fast, as inspired by a crazypants documentary and a urinary tract infection. I lasted three days before my body told me that I must lick my salt shaker and that juicing one of my cats might be a good idea.

    I didn’t expect to feel full on it though. I did. I didn’t feel hungry and didn’t miss carbs, but in the end I did need protein. My body felt cleaner than it had in a while and farting became a good hobby.

    Juicing also made me dehydrated. It’s an odd side effect, but it was like there was nothing solid for the liquids to cling to. I peed a lot.

    In summary, farts and pee, thanks.

  • subjectivitis

    As long as you’re healthy, eat whatever the hell you want and ignore everyone else. Kudos.

  • Caloden

    In the last two years I’ve come to believe wheat is the equivalent of Satan’s Cheeto’s. It’s bad news. Since I cut it out my migraines are down, the bloating gone -which has limited fart play quite a bit- and I’m slightly less bitchy.

    Yay for you for following this.

  • SarahMcBrandt

    Thats so awesome! We do this about 90 percent of the time as well. Do you do CrossFit? My husband and I own a CrossFit box in Fort Worth, Texas called Brandt Fitness and Self Defense. Paleo is really popular among CrossFitters.

  • carolinebodkin

    I am totally envious! Right now, the only thing keeping me from going totally insane is the simple carbs that don’t make me want to wretch all over my desk. If someone showed me a plate of broccoli and fish right now I’d throw them out the nearest window. Please tell me the extreme pregnancy nausea I’ve been experiencing for the past 2 weeks and expect to endure for 5 more (god willing – I’m in my 8th week) will pass and some day I will be able to eat what I know is good for me like you are! I’m happy for you but I think I need to stick to your pregnancy archives for now; sharing your moment in the lobby of Kentucky Motherfuckinfried Chicken made me feel a lot better!

  • acm

    I think I could almost do this (crappy off-season produce permitting) except for breakfast — I think my system would collapse without a bowl of Cheerios. Especially given how rushed morning time always is, how does one manage a carb-free, dairy-free breakfast?!?

  • MollyCT

    My general rule of thumb is to wriggle out of anything that could be called a diet–anything that turns food into a game of restriction. It’s hard for me to de-invest food with a game of willpower or a source of self-judgment, which is what I’m working on. I’d love more women to join me in that–food is neither good nor bad! Among my circle of friends, that’s weirdly anathema.

    That said, I like your approach, especially the flexibility and the fact that you’re not denying any hunger, and I’m glad it feels good. I also thought I’d share what I’ve been interested in lately, because it basically amounts to the same thing of focusing on non-processed food…local eating. I mean, whenever I can. We joined a CSA this year and make all the meals we can out of that. And I bake my own bread, and make my own treats if I want them, and I feel like I’m enjoying the process of making food, and making my little place in the world better by supporting local organic farmers. I try to tell my inner perfectionist to back off, and just do as much as is feasible. Next stop: canning!

  • heatherly51074

    So I’ve gotten a Kindle recently, and have been reading a ton more books than before… not sure quite why that is, but that’s another story for another day.

    My reason for bringing that up is, I see all kinds of books on Amazon touting that diet. Is there one (or 50) in particular you read that helped you make the decision? I’m all about research and have heard lots of good things about this. Plus, for some people who are pre-diabetic (like me) or who have full blown diabetes, this is supposedly THE way to eat and cut your chances of complications. The diet itself is very similar to diabetic menus you see in books related to that disease.

    And by the way, you’re not crazy. Glad to hear about this and I’m looking forward to hearing more about your progress. Good luck to you!

  • bephare

    More power to you! I’m not doing the full paleo, but I have cut gluten out and am slowly on my way to cutting out dairy & refined sugar, too, and I’m only eating lean proteins. It seemed so overwhelming at first – I share your obsessions with cheese and have basically been on a meat/cheese/bread/pasta diet most of my whole life, but now that I’ve made the switch it doesn’t seem that bad at all! I’ve not only lost weight but I’m feeling better emotionally and physically. I’m learning how much about your well being food is responsible for. Oy! It’s crazy!

  • Gina47

    If you eat what makes you feel better, then who should tell you different? I do believe in talking to a doctor before you start, particularly if you are on several medications, as some stop you from absorbing certain nutrients. After several bouts with IBS, I started eating a gluten-free diet, and it helped decrease the number of episodes.

    One thing I wonder about your diet…and please feel free to tell me to mind my own business, but your blog is all about poop! Are you regular? Cuz…mine kills me without citrucel on a regular basis.

    Congrats on feeling better!

  • dzymzlzy

    My husband and I are undergoing fertility treatments because (among other things)I am not ovulating. I am also hypoglycemic and my doctor thinks that the extra insulin is what is is causing the annovulation. He put me on a special diet called the EZ Diet (EZ are the initials of the doctor who came up with it). Basically the only things I can eat are fruit, vegetables, lean meat and nuts. I’m constantly eating but I’ve lost 20 pounds in two months and I feel amazing!

  • DoubleD

    AS IF I COULDN’T LOVE YOU ANY MORE! My husband and I have been Paleo since January and I can’t imagine going back to the way I used to eat. We also participate in Crossfit, not sure if you’re familiar but they push Paleo as well. In fact, if you’d like to see the FITTEST athletes in the world, check out the Crossfit Games ( that were held in CA last weekend. All of these specimens do Paleo. Don’t get me wrong, I miss ice cream, but I enjoy being able to go #2 more. TMI? YAY for MEAT!

  • Janice

    Sounds awesome. Two questions: Has this lifestyle change affected your meds by decreasing or eliminating any psych meds? Is Jon participating and if so, how is it affecting his recent gallbladder surgery? (had mine out ten years ago, projectile poop ever since, not real popular at parties) (sorry but it seemed such personal questions needed a ‘poop’ reference)

  • jkkasper

    Ijust started the Paleo diet 4 days ago! It’s not quite easy or convienient for me, but I’ve done it in the past too, and my Iknow I feel great, and have so much more energy when I eat this way. Keep it up, and let us know if you try any easy, awesome recipes. Congrats!!

  • MichelleD

    I don’t think you’re crazy, just susceptible to fads.

    The Paleo diet is a fad diet just like Atkins, Blood Type, etc. They ALL make “sense” because if they didn’t they couldn’t con the public into buying into another fad diet. In reality though, with ANY restrictive diet you’ll lose weight, and with any restrictive diet you’ll feel better because the diets prevent you from eating processed crap and encourage more vegetable eating.

    What’s funny about the paleo diet is a) the average life span in that period was 33 years old and b) the paleo man ATE GRAINS including GLUTEN based grains. That part is just total b.s.

    One study/find(and there are more out there)

  • cbermom

    My husband convinced us all to go with the Zone diet a few years ago. I was amazed when 20 lbs simply FELL off my body with NO exertion on my part. Sadly, I’ve not kept up with it and a few years later, I’ve found that 20 lbs. He has also talked a lot about going paleo but I’m not sure I can do it. Zone wasn’t so bad, though, and I need to do something again. I’ve read some of the paleo research; my husband has read A TON. He is convinced it’s the way to go, but like you, only about 90%.

  • lynnecaren

    Hey Heather – very interested in going gluten free and the whole Paleo diet (particularly after your post). Haven’t bought the book(s) yet, just googled. What’s the story with potatoes? They’re roots like turnips/parsnips/carrots sorta, right? Are they allowed, obviously in non-fried form? LMK?

  • southerngirl

    Paleo sounds good to me because I’m looking for a better way to eat and I could use more energy. Would you post what you eat on a typical day. Seeing how someone eats on this program in the real world is much more helpful than the idealistic menus presented in a book.

  • amyflood

    i do something similar to Paleo, it is called “Eat Right for your blood type” created by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. If you are blood type O then you are supposed to follow basically the paleo diet. If you are blood type A, B or AB then your needs are different. It has been life changing for my family and I. my children all suffered from asthma and chronic sinus infections. since following this diet, no one has been sick including myself. energy is increased and my head feels clearer. good for you for the diet change and don’t listen to the nay sayers!

  • jsides

    Chocolate…please tell me you can have chocolate!?!

  • sassypants

    I’ve been gluten, dairy and egg free for 2 months. Not eating dairy has been somewhat of a revelation for me. The few times I’ve had dairy, I start to feel tightness in my chest, difficulty taking a full, normal breathe and then I start to feel anxious and panicky.

    Basically, dairy makes me feel emotionally and physically BAD.

    Crazy, huh?

  • Mandy


  • Alice_S

    I’m glad that it’s working for you! However, as someone who has to avoid gluten 100% of the time (even in small amounts like crumbs & ‘natural flavors’) or I get 3 days of being ridiculously sick, I’ve often wondered about the # of diets that are singling out gluten. In most cases, it sounds like you’re avoiding all refined carbohydrates, but correct me if I’m wrong.

    I won’t lie – I’m partly just curious, but I’m also wondering because it’s getting frustrating to have waiters and acquaintances push against my need to not eat gluten. Some of them are simply assholes, but they often mention some friend of theirs who’s ‘gluten-free’, but who has that 10% kind of flexibility, so why can’t I loosen up? While avoiding gluten 90% of the time is still avoiding gluten, I wonder why gluten becomes the key phrase used, if people are really avoiding a lot more than that.

    As a vegetarian who can’t eat gluten or mushrooms, and who needs to avoid soy and corn as much as possible, I *am* that person out at dinner who just has a drink a lot of the time, so I cast no aspersions on anyone else’s choices! The bottom line is that finding out a way to live that makes you feel good is wonderful, and here’s to more of us achieving that.

  • msjessms

    Awesome! I’ve been looking into lots of “natural” diets myself. It’s good to have an opinion from someone’s who’s actually tried the diet…and with good results, too. Thinking about putting me and the hubs on the Paleo for a week…or so!

  • maille_k

    Uh, the paleo diet isn’t ‘new’ (duh) and those who think eating GMO corn and refined sugar all day is the way to go are clearly on that other evolutionary path. You know, the one that does not end in living apres the Day After Tomorrow. Your next challenge is sustainability.

    Animal heavy diets in America are riddled with hormones and antibiotics, and require a lot of resources to maintain. What kinds of fish are you eating? Chances are, they are farmed and full of plastic. A real paleo diet would mean foraging, hunting and preparing your own food from start to finish. And that, my friend, is where the truly fun insanity lies.

  • Oryx

    Kudos on your diet success! Spreading the word will only help people!
    Ive been sick for a few years now and recently Ive been seeing a naturopathic doctor who has put me a dairy free, no sugar, no refined carb diet. Ive never felt better, and my damaged digestive system is starting to heal. It was hard at first, I admit, I cried (sugar is like a drug), but it has been the best move I made in along time.

  • dinak

    What great timing on this post. Over a year ago our family switched to an all natural diet free of preservatives and artificial ingredients and it completely changed my 6 year old son’s behavior. His rages, emotional breakdowns, anger, “spinning”, ADHD, inability to listen – ALL went away depending on his diet. To find out more about our story go here:

    Because of our journey I am convinced that food is the cause of so many of our society’s ailments, inlcuding arthritis, migranes and more. But. . . even with eating all natural, and after losing 20 pounds with exercise, I have that damn belly that just won’t go away! Your post has convinced me to go one step further and remove the processed grains out of my diet and eventually out of my family’s diet. In our food journey we have already found that we enjoy food so much more now than ever before because it is all fresh and delicious. Can’t wait to see what this may do for us.

    Love your blog, Heather!

  • Spendthrift

    I absolutely agree that we have to have some kind of dialogue about food, given that there are things that I think everybody agrees are unhealthy, that too many people are eating in too great quantities, either through lack of education or other constraints – witness the push to have fresh produce available in urban ‘food deserts’. Good use of food awareness.

    But I am at the point in my life where I don’t really want discuss what I eat with people, nor do I care what other people eat, as a topic of conversation. It seems to be less ‘let’s address a large health problem’ and more ‘let’s talk about ME’.

    Just sayin’.

  • karnicwar

    There are few things as banal as one talking about their diet. Correction: BRAGGING about their diet and how it is the MOST! AWESOME! THING! EV-ER! Because really? REALLY? I went to pilates last night and my dinner was vegan broccoli soup and two beers. I just ate some Doritos out of the vending machine and I’m contemplating some avocado rolls for lunch. The difference is that I know no one gives a shit about what I eat and would sooner describe the clouds outside my office than my righteous food and exercise regimen.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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