Four weeks of paleo

I’m going to keep at it! I’m enjoying the food, I feel pretty energetic and although I really started craving sweets in the last week I managed to push through. In the end I strayed from paleo maybe 4 times (always gravitating to sweets). But I’ve found some semi-cheat recipes that will allow me to bake using agave as a sweetener and I’ve also read that 70% dark chocolate is okay once in a while too.

Interestingly enough, I haven’t missed the breads and grains at all.

So, here’s my observations while I adapted to this new style of eating, along with some body measurements and a food galley too!

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Food costs

Food costs for the four weeks, family of four: $400 (I rounded up)

This surprised me. I thought we were going to spend WAY more on groceries. Had we not had to buy non-paleo cereal and school snacks for the kids, this would have been even less.

Meal planning was key

We would buy HUGE pork loins and cut them into sections that would feed us for 3-4 meals, thus saving money buying in bulk. We bought chicken breasts by the case and bulk beef. Being in land-locked Alberta, fish was a little more difficult to come by in large packets, so we ate less of that.

I did NOT go organic, grain-fed, grass-fed, which is likely why we were able to keep our food costs in check. I did, however, buy produce from areas as close to my city as possible (less shipping time means more fresh and less preservatives) and my dad is a beef farmer and I know exactly what he feeds his cows. I can’t get more organic than that.

Now that I know where my food costs are, I can perhaps start integrating some organic into the mix.

There was no food waste

The recipes I followed usually had leftovers, which I would immediately pack up for lunch the next day. Call me weird, but it became a challenge to make sure my fridge was empty by the time my Sunday grocery shop came around.

I wrote awesome grocery lists

If by chance we didn’t use all the produce at the end of a week, I would alter a meal plan to make sure it got used up in the next couple of days in the new week. Then I would decide what else was going to be for supper for the week, cross-reference the recipes with items I already had in the cupboards/fridge and wrote my list.

Can I just say how awesome it was to shop on the outer edge of the grocery store? The only time I ventured to the inner aisles of my store was to pick up one or two items of miscellaneous goods like olive oil or coconut milk. My grocery shops always went so quick!

When in doubt: supper for breakfast!

I’m not a picky eater that needs to have a huge variety of foods to stay happy. I was content in eating leftovers (because the food was always good) and had my staple meal of bacon and eggs if I was ever lazy to make a full supper.

A couple days of what I typically ate…

Weekdays

Gym mornings
Breakfast: grab leftover meat from previous supper in the fridge and munch on that on the way to the gym. Other options: sliced ham and an apple. (Some people can work out on an empty stomach. I can’t)
After gym: protein smoothie with berries, OJ, almond beverage, banana and a coffee
Snack: Apple or banana or paleo trail mix
Lunch: Leftovers from previous supper
Snack: Apple or banana, green tea
Supper: Fresh paleo meal. Pack up leftovers into lunch serving sizes
Snack: Bowl of berries and/or protein powder in OJ post-derby practice

Non-gym mornings
Breakfast: bacon and eggs or veggie omelet, coffee
Snack: Apple or banana or paleo trail mix
Lunch: Leftovers from previous supper
Snack: Apple or banana, green tea
Supper: Fresh paleo meal. Pack up leftovers into lunch serving sizes
Snack: Apple with nut butter and/or protein powder in OJ post-derby practice

Weekends
Breakfast: Sweet potato hasbrowns, eggs, bacon, paleo pancakes, veggie omlette
Lunch: Graze leftovers in the fridge.
Snacks: Graze from fridge.
Supper: Fresh paleo meal or finish up leftovers, making sure there is something for lunch on Monday.

When there was no leftovers to graze from: I tried to have peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado in the fridge so a quick chopped salad was an option. Having a small ham was also handy for quick snacks and meals.

You may have noticed I eat a lot of fruit. For those using paleo to lose weight, please note that fruit can slow your results. Because I’m trying to gain, I’m not so careful on consuming fruit.

Results?

I took some measurements today and here is the comparison from last month. It’s worth noting that this week I’ve made the official switch to 20lb hand weights for my weight training (whereas before I was using 15 lb weights for some exercises still).

Not a huge difference in size. But when I take into account that I weigh less and I’ve gained in some spots (grow left bicep, GROW), it’s a win in my books! I know there is a science to measuring so I’m doing my best to take measurements from the same spot month-to-month.

January 1, 2012 February 1, 2012 March 1, 2012 April 1, 2012
Weight 119 115
Waist 28.5 28.5
Hips 34.5 35
Thighs 16 16.5
Calves 13.5 13.5
Right Bicep 9.75 9.75
Left Bicep 9.25 9.5

Not a huge difference in size. But when I take into account that I lost weight while maintaining and even gaining mass in some areas, I think I’m on the right track! I know there is a science to measuring so I’m doing my best to take measurements from the same spot month-to-month.

My ultimate goal is to gain weight and increase my strength and power, which will not only improve my game play but keep me healthy overall.

Other observations/in summary

My chronic pain in my left shoulder is diminishing! I’m gaining some mobility back into it and can put on my winter coat with only a little discomfort. I don’t know if paleo is helping with that, but I don’t care. I just want it to continue to improve.

My after-supper catnaps made their way back into my life in the second half of my paleo month. I have to monitor this carefully and listen to my body. Between roller derby practices and strength training, I fear overtraining and getting worn out. We’ll see how that pans out.

I’ve noticed a change in my body for sure (taken after my 30-day ab challenge). I’ve leaned out while adding muscle. It’s kind of cool! 🙂

Are you trying paleo or another way of eating to help improve your performance? I’d love to hear about it!

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