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How I ended up eating like a cavewoman

August 8, 2010 5 comments

By that I mean an adoptee of the Paleo Diet.

Well, to answer that question, I came to it purely by accident. As I blogged before, I have been struggling with insulin resistance for some time. I read up on the subject and altered my diet to a Low GI diet. Although the symptoms diminished somewhat under a low GI diet, I still had problems like fatigue, stomach cramps and an inability to lose weight.

I was in a Catch-22 situation. To get healthier and evade diabetes, I have to lose weight, but I simply couldn’t no matter what I did. After reading about the Paleo Diet I realise that this is because most of the vegetables I was taking was of the starchy variety – french beans, long beans, endamame — and that I was still consuming grains such as white rice, rye and quinoa. And oh yes, I was drinking a lot of Diet Coke. Thanks to my high starch diet, my energy levels would dip around 3pm, and to perk myeslf up I’d reach for a can of Diet Coke, thinking: “Oh, at least it has zero calories”.

Well, my inability to lose weight made me go a little crazy, and I gave up adhering strictly to the Low GI diet. I went overboard, indulged my cravings for bread (I do miss it still, honestly) and sweets (chocolates, ahoy!). Weekends would be an “all you can eat” party. I would stock up with chips, a big bucket of ice-cream and proceed to sit on my ass all day watching TV while consuming the junk. That was “relaxation” for me; a reward after a hard week’s work.

At the start of this year, my insulin resistance worsened to such an extent that I’d crash in the middle of the day, unable to do anything else but sleep. Desperate, and realising that diabetes was knocking at my door, I saw a doctor. He put me on some medications and on a strict diet which was actually quite Paleo, although he allowed minimal amounts of grains.

I continued eating the way he prescribed, lost a tonne of weight quickly – about 10kg worth in the first two months – and found out about Loren Cordain and the Paleo Diet. Everything he taught echoed my own beliefs about my own diet. Adopting it – or rather, ‘continuing’ it – was just natural. The only thing I modified about the doctor’s diet was to add more protein, eliminate starchy vegetables and grains (though I allow myself an occasional three spoonfuls per day), and lots more vegetables.

I lost an additional 8-9kg on my own and I can tell you that it has been effortless. I didn’t even do much exercise (as compared to my previous efforts), and I later realised that that was exactly what I should do – not exhaust yourself with too much cardio.

Afternoon crashes are a thing of the past, though my energy levels do dip somewhat if I ate too much for lunch. I have so much energy I’m sure I’m pretty irritating around the office, bouncing around with a big ass smile on my face. Sometimes I’d work till midnight and still feel like I can chug on some more. I feel ridiculously wonderful.

And this is really thanks to the Paleo Lifestyle.

So, if you want to lose weight and regain your energy, I’d encourage you to adopt it too. However, I believe that 20% of human beings on the planet are fortunate enough to process grains and do thrive on a high carb diet. Still, that leaves 80% of the human race who still have good old Paleolithic genes, and if you’re one of the 80%, you need to eat like your great (1000x) grandma.

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