This post has been in the works...oh, since about forever ago.

I've been putting it off, going back and forth in my mind and in my diet and I feel like I'm at a crossroads.  I either need to get on board with this or keep eating my SAD (standard american diet) and feel like crap off and on.

Where to start.  Back in October, I signed up to complete a 33 day challenge with my co-worker Michelle through our local CrossFit gym where she's a member.  *I would join in a second if I had the money!*  I didn't really know exactly what I was getting into.  I had heard Michelle talk about CrossFit and Paleo and honestly my first thoughts on the "diet" were, "Yeah, that sounds stupid.  You just eat a bunch of meat??  That can't be healthy."

Little did I know.  Now I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the Paleo/Primal way of eating because I'm not.  I have done quite a bit of reading since being introduced to it and if you look on my "Paleo" page above, there are several great sources of info where you can learn more.  The one thing I do know is what happened to me during that first "Eat Real" challenge.  It sucked at first.  The challenge started on a Monday and by Friday I was sitting on my couch sobbing because I felt overwhelmed with life and I badly missed my sugar, grains, and dairy.  What the heck was I supposed to eat?  Did they expect me to just cut it all out COLD TURKEY? 

Yes they did.

I almost quit.  I didn't think I could do it.  I didn't think I wanted to do it.  But I kept going with some encouragement from Mary, who organizes the challenges and who owns the CrossFit gym.  I made it to Day 25, 8 days earlier than our official end date.   Day 25 is when Ryan had his second bout with intestinal damage and we found ourselves back at the hospital.  I also got the stomach bug of my life where I threw up every hour on the hour the night before he had surgery.  I didn't feel like eating anything, much less meat and veggies.  I drank an entire 2 liter of gingerale and had some toast.  Good times.

After all of that, I meant to sit down and talk about my experience eating Paleo but life got crazy and I had a husband to tend to.  And then Christmas came, yada yada.  But here's the deal. 

The challenge changed me.

It changed how I felt, how I looked, and how I thought about food.  It changed my moods, my digestion, and my cravings.  It changed my outlook and now I can't ever un-learn or un-experience the things I did during those 25 days.

What exactly IS "Eat Real?" 

For starters, read this.  For 33 days, you go without DAIRY. SUGAR. GRAINS OF ANY KIND. PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING PROCESSED.  NO SALT.

What can you eat?  Meat. Vegetables. Fruit. Healthy Fats.

I've had a passion for health and fitness ever since college.  I've always been fairly healthy and I've never really had issues with my weight.  I like to workout and I enjoy eating what I always thought were "healthy foods."  Oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, PEANUT BUTTER.  Did you know peanuts are actually legumes??  Which means you can't have them during the challenge or the lovely nut butter they create... which I've always consumed regularly.  Did you know they are a gut irritant and can actually cause your body to NOT absorb other key nutrients that it needs?  Boo.  I love my PB!

Despite being what I considered "healthy," I've dealt with other issues.  Cravings, pigging out on sweets, mood, anxiety, and depression struggles.  Trouble sleeping.  Low energy.  Mood swings.

During "Eat Real," I very quickly felt more balanced.  I felt calm and my mood seemed to steady.  After a meal, I didn't crave more.  I slept great.  And even on nights when I didn't, I didn't have to nap the next day.  I felt GOOD after a meal instead of hungry for more.  I honestly felt fantastic some days.  No, every day wasn't rosy but I could tell a difference.  My digestion was awesome.  (Read: super regular!)  Sorry, but I want to list all positive aspects.  I lost a few pounds which wasn't even my goal.

You may be tired of reading, so I'll sum this up.  After the challenge and over Christmas, I stopped eating strict Paleo.  I let desserts and cereal and just crap creep back in.  I kept telling myself, go back to what you were doing.  It worked!  But I haven't yet. 

CrossFit Rockwall is offering their 2nd "Eat Real" challenge that begins February 13th and runs through March 16th.  I'm 99% sure right now that I'm going to do it.  I need to get back on track.  I'm wondering if there's anyone else who would be interested??  Let me know if you are.  It would be nice to have each other for encouragment!  You will have others on your "team" as well and you don't have to live locally to participate. 

You never know.  It could just be the best $30 you'll ever spend.


The Young's said...

Kati, are you eating grass-fed meats only? If so and you know a less expensive method of doing this, let me know!!

Kati said...

Lauren, I'm not. :( Unfortunately, I don't really have the money right now to do so. When I can though, I want to!

The Young's said...

I hear ya! It's pretty costly. I've been looking at some local farms around here that deliver to natural health food stores n' such.. so we'll see. Grass fed meats taste so much better. Would love to if we could find something that wasn't so darn expensive! We're getting a Trader Joe's soon, and I know they carry healthier option. I'm excited!