Happy intestines make happy people!

Today I’d like to share a couple of my current experiences with Paleo (I really like Paleo 2.0) . I fully cut out ALL gluten from my diet in January for the Gluten-Free January Challenge and haven’t looked back. Although I ate pretty clean Paleo before, I occasionally ate cake or cereal. I even bring gluten-free communion to church on Sundays. It’s been an up and down journey, but I feel like I am officially on the other side with easy sailing ahead!

The underlying theme of Paleo is to remove harmful, poisonous foods (gluten, grains, fructose, vegetable oils) and eat quality meats, fats, and safe starches.

Living by the above principles consistently I experience the following benefits:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Weight normalization… i.e. decreased body fat
  • Increased and sustained energy levels throughout the day – no hypoglycemia
  • Lack of hunger between meals – 4-5 hours apart
  • Clear skin
  • Increased strength
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Regular bowel movements, no gas or bloating
  • Decreased PMS, especially cramps (used to be moderately severe)
  • Decreased incidences of illness – especially colds, coughs, etc.
  • Increased productivity

I finally agreed to try Paleo (from my raw vegan diet) when I wanted to get stronger in my squat, deadlift and military press. I finally conceded that I needed to add animal protein to my diet to succeed. And succeed I did! Not only did I immediately get stronger faster, but fat practically fell off of me!

Happy intestines make happy people!

Constipation was a problem at first. Not two week constipation, but definitely a few days would go by. Cereal proves, to this day, to be my biggest weakness. Although I now insist on gluten-free cereals (still junk, I know), last spring I fed Kashi cereals to my husband because I thought they were healthier than his Life cereal (good intentions, but misguided). Of course I could not resist and ended up eating a bowl of cereal every week or so. This seriously messed my digestive system up! Our bodies cannot tolerate the gluten and the anti-nutrients in grains well at all… nor are we meant too!

Once I finally pulled out ALL gluten FOR GOOD, take a probiotic occasionally (Jarrow’s is great!), eat enough fat, soluble fiber (for the gut bacteria, not motility), and drink enough water, constipation, gas, and bloating are no longer problems… seriously. My husband can corroborate since he is now experiencing life without so much gas… and is upset about it (it’s a guy thing, I think).

Because of my new-found digestive freedom ๐Ÿ™‚ I never want to go back to eating gluten, grains and poisonous foods at whatever cost! It’s just not worth it! At this point, no, it is not difficult to turn down that cupcake or my mom’s Italian cream cake. The pleasure of a few moments of exhilarating gustation IS NOT worth the days of havoc that it wreaks on my digestion. Sorry. Besides, I have the same party-in-my-mouth while eating a huge grass-fed steak fresh off the grill. ๐Ÿ™‚

5-hour energy!

Sustained energy levels continue to be a huge factor as I work in the professional world. I am at a conference right now in which they fed us box lunches of a turkey sandwich with chips, an apple and a cookie. No, I did not get one…

With this sugar spike, no wonder everyone was hungry in a measly two hours! Rachael and I ran over to a nearby restaurant quickly and ate a hunk of salmon with double veggies! Quick, easy and still going five hours later without a snack.

Paleo makes a HUGE difference in my ability to concentrate and absorb information. I simply do not have to think about food all of the time. My body is adapted to run off its preferred fuel source… FAT… so the rest of me, my brain, can concentrate on more important things. This results in increased performance, too.

The bottom line

Sitting at this conference today reminded me of just how thankful I am to implement Paleo and let it work in my life. Of the above benefits, happy digestion and sustained energy levels top the cake right now in my Paleo journey. I’ve found that going back AT ALL simply is not worth the trouble it causes in the long run.

I did, however, learn all of this through trial and error, so do not be dismayed if you fall of the bandwagon from time to time! Get back up, brush yourself off and start tomorrow as a new day! Of course, it helps if you clean out your house of problematic foods AND tell your friends/family/co-workers about your journey and request their support. But you can do this!!!

 

 

What’s YOUR favorite benefit from Paleo? How have your set-backs strengthened your journey?

1 Comment

  • Sara

    Reply Reply May 5, 2011

    I am very pleased with the decrease in my cramps every month. I don’t mention it much because it’s not the best conversation topic. But during my internship in the schools (before hearing about paleo-like eating) I was concerned about cramps because in the real working world I can’t just use up sick days to lay in bed with a heating pad. I had considered birth control to help it, but I don’t like taking unnecessary medications. I’ve been staggering my way through paleo for about a year now, and I fully believe that with the decrease in gluten as well as with abdominal, lower back, and pelvic strengthening exercises that it’s helped immensely. Cramps used to put me out of commission and last 2-3 days. The overall cycle lasting between 7-9 days. Now cramps are very faint to where I’m not popping pills every 4 hours and the total flow of things (per say) is about 4-5 days. Extremely happy about this!

    I haven’t jumped the hurdle of completely gluten free. I’ve gone 2-3 weeks at a time avoiding gluten. I find the moment I fall off the wagon pretty miserable at first, and it’s strange how the mind quickly adapts to the thought that maybe digestive problems are normal. So it makes it more difficult to get back on the gluten-free train. But eventually I get back on track. Lately it’s been difficult to since I know at the end of the month I’ll be on a mission trip for 6 weeks that probably will not allow for my type of eating habits (though it is a country where kimchi is cheap, so it might have a little digestive aid). I’m already trying to plan a paleo-ish detox when I get back into the country (complete cut off of sweets, grains, and most fruits for a month).

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