5 Reasons I Love The Paleo Diet –
This is a guest post from a new friend I made at Paleo FX in 2014. Her name is Erica Spagnola and I encourged her to start blogging to tell her story and spread the word about Paleo. She started blogging over at ericaspagnola.com so be sure to keep up with her adventures.
5 Reasons I Love The Paleo Diet
by Erica Spagnola
1. MY PHYSICAL HEALTH
Think about it. I’m twenty-five years old. For twenty-four of those years, I was eating whatever the heck I wanted: bread, pasta, ice cream, empanadas, low-fat processed dairy, processed breakfast bars, cereal…you name it. Then, when I decided to go Paleo on May 29, 2013, I changed my health forever. My family still breaks my chops when I have spaghetti squash instead of pasta from the Italian deli (owned by guys from Brooklyn); or when I ask to have my sushi rolled in cucumbers and then whip out a bottle of coconut aminos from my bag. Many people would think I’m a little extreme for going to such lengths, and even breaking tradition. But is putting my health first really that “extreme”? I noticed very quickly that I didn’t have to run to Starbucks at 3pm for a skinny caramel macchiato because I had much more energy to get me through the day. Additionally, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that dropping about fifteen pounds as a result of embracing Paleo wasn’t an AMAZING perk. But when it’s all said and done, I feel like a gazillion bucks. There isn’t a darn thing that can convince me otherwise. Putting the right kinds of food into my body has not only led to increased health, benefits, but also other positive changes in my life…
2. THE FOOD
Um, BACON!? Isn’t that the obvious answer? Also, I can have butter! And I put it in my coffee! What a concept! All of those food myths about not eating fat and eating whole grains turned out to be a bunch of lies that I, along with millions of Americans, bought into. My intentions were in the right place, but who would have known that that I was actually doing things that were detrimental to my health? But, thankfully, I know better. One of my favorite things about Paleo is this: I can eat a nutritious and satisfying meal, not feel like crapola afterwards, and actually feel full much longer than in my pre-Paleo days. Not to mention, there is a plethora of resources out there, and so many awesome people within the community who have been generous enough to share their talents aka their delicious recipes. My relationship with food is now how it should be. I sit down for my meals, and really enjoy and appreciate what I’m eating. I also feel great knowing that I’m putting wholesome, nutritious food into my body, and this in a way serves as positive reinforcement for my lifestyle. It’s the most positive domino effect you could cause for yourself!
3. THE FITNESS
I lift heavy things now. Deadlifts. Squats. Good Mornings. No, not because it’s going to make me “jacked;” quite the contrary, actually. Even for women, lifting has endless health benefits, including fat loss and strong bones. After reading about tabata sprints on Mark’s Daily Apple, I started incorporating those, too. High Intensity Interval Training is great for me, since I’m trying to look leaner. Less time in the gym? YUP! Plus, after following some really awesome people on social media, I’ve learned to think outside the box and make working out fun, so during these summer days I’ve been making use of my pool and being outdoors. Plus, the extra Vitamin D leaving me sun-kissed isn’t too bad either! No more slaving away on the treadmill, or
even worse, the elliptical. Burpee challenges incorporating a 25-pound plate will do just fine. Oh, and yoga. Lots of yoga. It keeps me sane, happy, and feeling good. Personally, I enjoy vinyasa, which incorporates a lot of twisting to give extra digestive health support.
4. THE PEOPLE
The support system in the Paleo community is absolutely amazing. The sense of camaraderie that I feel with these people is indescribable. Especially after Paleo f(X) in Austin, TX, I genuinely feel that the friends I made have been so supportive, lending their advice and words of encouragement since the day I left. Many of these people pour their heart and soul into the Paleo world via books, cookbooks, blogs, small business, and seminars. I feel very grateful to have met many of them in Austin and thank them for their work. On the other hand, I’ve dedicated some time to help some of my friends who are trying to get their name and business out to the NYC audience since my trip via networking. Even at work, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting great New Yorkers living a Paleo lifestyle. Next thing you know we’re at Hu Kitchen a week later sharing our stories about how we began our respective health journeys and all the cool spots in the city that boast Paleo-friendly eats and treats.
5. TRUE HAPPINESS
Today, I realized something simple yet very meaningful. I woke up, read Eat the Yolks as I took some Vitamin D poolside. I went to the gym to sprint (like I was running away from a woolly mammoth) and lift heavy things (like I defeated the mammoth
and took him back to my village). I ate a paleo-style BBQ dinner with my family and enjoyed every moment, as we ate delicious food and engaged in great (funny) conversation. As the sun went down, I figured it was a great opportunity to pick up my book again and continue reading. As I read, I couldn’t help but notice the birds perched on my fence, chirping to each other, and the interesting (maybe scary) sounds from frogs hiding under the arborvitaes. Then, I looked up and took in the beautiful sunset. I took all of this in. I changed every aspect of my life, and I find happiness in the simplest things; things that happen on a nice summer day. Before Paleo, I’m not sure I would find the kind of peace and happiness I experienced today. This all goes back to my personal Paleo mantra: Keep it Simple. Keep everything about life simple, because, like me, you will find that there is a lot to be happy about (gratitude). Feeling great (and healthy) from the inside out has the most amazing ripple effect: increased peace and happiness in every part of your day. Have I convinced you yet?
Do you need a healthy jumpstart?
Could you please explain why flax seed is not so beneficial for our health. I noticed on your list of recommended foods to limit flax seed. I have been making flax seed pancakes for the past year, which has been concerned that it is not so healthy. I changed my diet drastically to recover from Lyme Disease. I am gluten free, dairy free, egg free and flour free. I discovered I was able to make pancakes from flax seed, a breakfast meal I enjoy, usually on the weekends.
Eager to read your response,
Caitlin Weeks says
They have phytoestrogens so I would not eat them everyday. The jury is out on how these may affect us but I would not over do it. I eat flax sometimes but not everyday.