As an intellectual, reasonable individual, I know that Paleo living is most likely my best bet towards being physically and mentally healthy. I know that the pros—increased energy; the mental clarity; the reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders, and a slew of other illnesses; plenty of shallow appearance-related perks—far outweigh the cons. I know why I should go Paleo. But I am only human, and jumping into this new lifestyle with two feat is intimidating.
Rather than taking one giant leap I’ve been making baby steps. The first one was EATING ANIMALS, and I’m pretty much there. But sometimes I just forget that I eat animals. I’ll go to the store, spend $50 on groceries, and then get home and realize I forgot to buy my MAIN INGREDIENTS. Ugh. It’s happening less and less, but just this week I ran to Kroger for a few things, number one on the list being a lovely flank steak to grill and I just…spazed. Not that I don’t feel thin after a meal consisting of solely roasted cauliflower and a few boiled redskins, I just know it isn’t feeding my body what it really needs.
Other steps I’ve taken is cutting out bread and rice almost completely. It’s not hard considering I don’t particularly like those foods—bread, really? It’s bread. Gimme a well-seasoned, perfectly cooked salmon fillet. Gimme grilled asparagus with lemon butter—and they make me feel less than great after eating them (carbs expand, leaving me feeling too full). But every once and a while I feel a little lost. No sandwiches? I don’t mind rolling ingredients in lettuce leaves, but there’s a texture thing that’s amiss. And eating spicy Szechuan stir-fry without rice? How do I even attempt that?
This Italian girl who love, Love, LOVES pasta has cut her pasta intake to once a week. That is sucking less and less. But that was always my fallback food. No time to make a real meal, or not ingredients? Pasta. Easy. But now I always have to have ingredients on-hand.
And I’m still banning sugary things. I’ve had a few ugly binges (I’ll get to that post next), and Easter’s arrival meant that I have a whole basket full of temptation thanks to my mo—I mean the “Easter Bunny,” but for the most part, I’m trying to limit myself to three sweet treats a week. And that includes the usual suspects like candy, cookies, ice cream, but also under-the-radar sugar demons like sweetened coffee or tea, non-homemade salad dressing (there is SO MUCH sugar in bottled salad dressing), and yogurt.
I haven’t yet started to worry about my omega-6 intake (vegetable oils, nuts, etc.) or eating the sugar that is in fruit. And I eat dairy, which, to my understanding, is neither a friend nor foe when it comes to Paleo—it simply is. I have also decided that due to my seriously low potassium intake as well as my remaining carbohydrate desires, potatoes are totally fine. For now.
I’d like to go all the way. I really would. You see, nothing frightens me more than losing my mind. My grandmother has full-blown Alzheimer’s. If you don’t know, Alzheimer’s doesn’t just mean forgetting things: it means making up things, mistaking dreams for reality; it means aggressive angry outbursts and some violence; it means sometimes drinking dishsoap and eating whole sticks of butter in the middle of the night, then other times not eating or drinking anything at all. It’s terrifying. I don’t love the woman my grandmother is now, but I loved the woman she was, so I do my best to see her occasionally and be patient with her when I do see her. But it is work, real work, just being in the same room with her. And my mom, well, I am so afraid sometimes when she calls me several days in a row to have the exact same conversation with me that we had the day before that she is following in her mother’s shoes. I NEVER want to be a burden on my family. I will NOT go the way of my relatives. I want my sanity until the very end, and the way to ensure that is to forgo all grains, sugar, and other toxic foods and feed my body only the things that keep it in the best possible working condition. The way to ensure that is going Paleo all the way.
But I don’t know if I’m ready.
I know these things shouldn’t matter, but here’s all the things I’d be giving up:
• Ever making my grandma’s monkey bread.
• Sushi (My God, I fucking LOVE sushi!)
• Ben and Jerry’s Karmel Sutra Ice Cream (It’s orgasmic.)
• Hot dog buns
• Hamburger buns
• Cinnamon buns
• Chai tea lattes with honey
• Triscuit crackers
• ALL CEREAL (my FAVORITE food group, by the by)
I could go on forever, but you see what’s standing in my way? A lifetime of weaknesses and cravings. A lifetime of little morsels to which I look forward. I’m having trouble letting go.
I know I’d be gaining so much by giving this stuff up, I just need some time.
I’m doing my best to make that amount of time small.