I’ve completed month 2 of my challenge, and sit writing this on the first day of March, having absolutely demolished a Five Guys.
This maybe one that lots of you haven’t heard of, but I think you might enjoy it!
Back to basics. Enter the mind of a caveman, think about the sort of foods that you would have been able to hunt and gather, that’s what you’re after. You can eat meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts seeds, eggs (and a few other things, but they’re the main ones). No grains, cereals, legumes, dairy or added sugar.
Essentially, you’re cutting out the stuff your body genuinely does not need. It’s simple to follow, and there’s a great app called Paleo Buddy which it’s worth downloading if you’re going to try this, as you can search for pretty much any food and check if it’s within your limits.
What I liked…
I feel great.
Not only have I lost weight, this has definitely benefitted me all-round. I’ve had people tell me I keep banging on about it, but I have enjoyed it. My skin feels better (I’ve had my period this month and not a single spot!), my hair has grown, and my nails are stronger. Plus, I’ve lost 5lbs!
If I was to stop my 12 month challenge now, I would carry this diet on for sure. I don’t have the dedication to do it every single day without a break, but this diet is truly a change to your way of life, and I do think more people will begin to pick it up. It is genuinely healthy, and although I don’t necessarily believe in cutting things out, this one simply makes sense.
I stuck to this the majority of the week, but did allow myself 3 cheat meals. If I was to go back to it, I’d do the same, but perhaps just have one cheat day a week, as I tended to save up my cheat meals for dinner, which probably meant I ate more.
I loved how much I learnt – especially about the amount of sugar in food! If we’re cooking at home, I’m now far more likely to make my own fresh sauces, than reach for a jar of Dolmio.
What I didn’t like…
It’s not a ‘recognised’ diet. Aka – when you go out for dinner, it’s really hard to find things to eat. If you’re able to overlook how things are cooked (ie what oil they’re cooked in) then it’s fine, but it’s certainly not like you can walk in and find a menu which states paleo meals!
I did miss dairy, but I think that’s probably the food group which benefitted me most cutting out.
I’m (as you may know) quite fussy, and am not a fan of some of the key foods that will help you through this diet – nuts, seeds and eggs. I do think this may have helped me loose the weight, as snacking on nuts, whilst healthy, they are quite fatty.
The sugar headaches. Just for the first week – we are all addicted to sugar (apparently its more addictive than cocaine), and it was painful cutting it out. But so worth it once I’d gotten over it.
Good for you if…
You want to improve your overall lifestyle – this diet will help you loose weight, but it will make you feel better in yourself. If you’re after a detox, this is definitely one of the right paths to go down. You won’t feel bloated, and as I said generally your body will be happier for it.
This was certainly the tricky part. You need to find places that do lots of meat an vegetables, and no sauces. Indian is out (although you can have coconut milk, but there’s generally lots of sugar in their food), Italian is not great, but Prezzo have some really good salads (I recommend the steak salad) – if the place does a chicken dish you’re onto a winner. I went to San Carlo at the beginning of the month and had a great piece of chicken, with a broccoli side. Broccoli was my addiction for sure. Tortilla was a go-to for me, the naked burrito bowl with chicken (and no sour cream / cheese / rice) is made completely from fresh ingredients. Leon do a “Paleon” bar, which I wasn’t a massive fan of but it’s a good snack, especially if you like seeds, and you can have their Vegan Millionaire’s shortbread. Pan-Asian restaurants are a good shout, as long as you avoid the rice and noodles. I had some great dishes at Wagamama, Roka and Sabai Sabai.
Hints and Tips
- Stock up on Naked Bars. Some are better than others – the Lemon Drizzle bar (available in Waitrose) was my personal favourite.
- Eat lots of fruit – it will keep your sugar levels up
- You can still enjoy brunch at the weekend with bacon, avocado and eggs (just cut out the bread!)
- Violife do some very good vegan cheeses made of coconut oil which you can have. Make sure to check the packet for ingredients, as not all of them are included
- There are vegan yoghurts out there, once again made of coconut oil. But they’re not all good. My favourite was the Nush Strawberry yoghurt, add some raspberries and you will not able to tell the difference – apart from the cost!
In all honesty, this diet is going to take some beating.