Reflections on a 30 Day Primal Challenge

Well, our 30-day primal challenge is nearly over, and I’d like to put down a few thoughts about my experiences and where I’m going from here.

First, a little background: I have been on-and-off Paleo/Primal since October 2009. I fell off the wagon (so to speak) for the first few months of 2010 and have really struggled getting back on track. This Challenge was my way of giving myself a boot in the rear to shape up. I managed to convince two other people to commit to this with me, my boyfriend and a good friend. Unfortunately, my friend’s schedule included so much traveling in foreign countries over the 30 days that it proved impossible for her to keep it up. There is an adjustment period for sure, and I totally understand that, as I don’t really consider myself adjusted ;)

My boyfriend, MC, has done an amazing job with this challenge. I was absolutely incredulous when he committed to doing this with me, as his view on food has always been, “if I want to eat it, I will”. But he put in a fantastic effort, taking it seriously and forgoing free pizza and beer several times while helping friends with a house reno! It made it easier and way more fun to have him on board.

So, to sum up my experiences:

  • It *is* difficult. Eating Primal/Paleo requires planning. I feel like I’m just starting to get a handle on thinking ahead to the next meal, defrosting meat, shopping ahead of time, etc. It’s definitely a learned skill.
  • I initially started out trying to avoid grains, soy, all dairy except for cream in coffee and a little cheese, legumes, and refined sugar. We ended up including a fair amount of dairy, mostly butter, cream and cheese because all our go-to recipes have dairy in them! For the last two weeks, I went hard-line on the “no grains/soy/sugar” and just let go of any aspirations of avoiding dairy.
  • I didn’t do measurements or weigh myself before so I have no comparison point. That was a mistake. I need data… and MC would probably appreciate it even more.
  • It is so important to have the people around you on board with changing your diet. You get a team backing you up. You can cheer each other on, or provide a well-timed push in the right direction when there are temptations.

So what now? I don’t know if MC is going to incorporate any of this into his life going forward. That’s his choice. My choice: hardline on no sugar, grains or soy. I’ll stay away from the legumes for the most part, because they’re not very nutritious by weight, although I will still eat fresh green beans when I can ;)

Looking ahead to the next 30 days, I’d like to try going dairy free. There are confounding factors. These will need to be discussed, strategized about, and solutions put in place. But I love n=1 experimentation, and this is the next one.

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