February challenge: Paleo lifestyle

We are back in the blogging world! A quick run down on the challenges we faced with Paleo February and over the next few days we will be updating you on the things that have been keeping us so busy these last few weeks!

Paleo February is over for us. At first, it was a real struggle to take stock of our diet. The last few years have been a journey of experimentation and discovery for Regan and myself: Eliminating gluten, wheat, preservatives, artificial additions to food, refined sugar, GMOs, refined oils, annndd limited to no dairy.

Some of these changes were slow and gentle and some were instant decisions and subsequent overhauls. We cleaned out the things that weren’t serving us, and added whole foods that are healing and packed full of good things to feed and sustain us.

Our market haul
Our market haul

When I set myself the challenge of Pure Paleo February, I knew I needed to rediscover some truths about my views and active participation in our nutrition. It is easy to get comfortable after spending a long time adjusting and making changes; we needed to get out of a rut and view our habits objectively and with the intent to change.

The changes:

Grains were a big one! Already being gluten free, sometimes we forget that grains exist outside of wheat.

What does this mean for out paleo journey? No quinoa, rolled oats (I slipped on this one a few times), rice, corn…

Replaced with: activated almonds, linseed, pepitas, chia, and sunflower seeds.

Cauliflower rice (cauliflower chopped finely) is a great rice substitute.
Cauliflower rice (cauliflower chopped finely) is a great rice substitute

Legumes. I have been asked why legumes aren’t part of the paleo lifestyle, but basically legumes leech nutrients from the digestive tract as they travel through the GI system. Nobody wants to sacrifice nutrients to digest a few kidney beans, right?

I was using kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas to fill out a lot of our meals and as a way of stretching the good old $$. On doing research and realizing that legumes aren’t all they’re made out to be, we changed a few things.

Replaced with: added vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and pumpkin. This actually made a huge difference, not only accessing fresh vegetables to fill our meals and the benefits that came from that, my digestion is quicker and I don’t feel stodgy after meals. It is only a few dollars more than using dried or tinned beans, but the change is entirely worth it.

Extra fillers for meals
Extra fillers for meals

Sugar! This was an up-hill battle the first 2 weeks. Already, I don’t use sugar in my cooking; instead I turn to dates, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup to sweeten our foods. In the last 2 weeks of Feb, I totally cut these out as well! I thought this would be difficult when in fact, it was a natural progression. At the 2 week mark, something just clicked and it became a breeze. I wish I had a better explanation for it, but suddenly it was easy for me.

Replaced with: eating small amounts of fruit and nuts seemed to give me the sweet hit I needed, particularly in the afternoon. I also combined coconut kefir with linseeds in a smoothie bowl for a detoxifying snack when I felt like my body was searching for a bit of “get up and go”.

Smoothie bowls make awesome meals full of good stuff!
Smoothie bowls make awesome meals full of good stuff!

Extra changes: Further to these edible tweaks, I have aligned myself with the Paleo philosophy in my lifestyle choices. Small things, like slipping off my shoes and grounding myself in the earth. Taking a few minutes everyday to appreciate the small things. Thanking my food for nourishing my body. Waking up with the sun, moving more…. Just a few small things to live the life that my body is designed to live.

I am so grateful for the experience of Paleo February, my knowledge and experience of nutrition and whole foods has “leveled up”. Regan and I have tried new recipes, renewed our confidence and love of wellness and appreciate whole foods for the amazing things that they do for our body.

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