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Pyramid to Paleo

So now we know a little more about processed foods.  Maybe you were already over the hump on processed foods, but were well into the athletes diet of carbs, carbs, carbs!

I was for the last twenty years.  Bagels, pasta, pancakes, a runner’s healthy diet.

Then Nicolle and Emilio introduced me to paleo.  What heresy!  No grains?  All the famous running coaches touted grains as the carbs of choice.  I truly thought that paleo was the craziest diet I had ever heard.  I turned up my nose at it and upped my intake of Quinoa just to prove it was all wrong.

But I started to think about it  in terms of calories per nutrients.   A bowl of pasta was a lovely pile of carbohydrates, and it was filling.  So filling, that I didn’t want to eat my salad or salmon after eating it.  So I was consuming 200 – 400 calories that had no nutrients.  Considering most of the time I’m a desk jockey, I don’t get to eat a lot of calories in a day.  So 400 calories of pasta is rather a wasteful portion of my daily 2000 calories.

I could have 400 calories with amazing nutrients if instead I’d eat 400 calories worth of Spinach salad with pork loin.  It would include a more reasonable balance of carbs, fat and protein and loads of vitamins and minerals.

So I gave it a try in March 2010 when the “paleo challenge” was issued.  It was hard.  I love my 5 grain hot cereal, I craved bread,  I salivated when my daughter ate her Annie’s Mac and Cheese.  But I stuck with it and weaned my palette off my daily grain intake.  It wasn’t easy.  Grains feel different in my belly than an apple.   But I told myself “You used to eat Fruit Loops for breakfast and now you  find them disgusting”, so I stared down the bagel and had some cantaloupe.

It occurred to me that my diet was a “cultural” diet.  In ‘Merica, athletes eat bagels and drink milk.  In Asia, adults drinking milk sounds about as ridiculous to them as eating chickens feet does to us.  They also don’t eat breads.   So I could change my food culture to be more Asian and less ‘Merican.

It took a while to not crave the breads and cereals I grew up eating. I felt good about myself… I was eating way more fruits and veggies.  I was on my way to yet another change in my eating habits.  I wasn’t doing paleo strictly, but I had cut out pasta, quinoa and rice, and limiting grains such as oats and wheat.

In the next post, the science about paleo.  So what’s the big deal with legumes?  Why not carbo-load on pasta before a marathon, you’re gonna burn hundreds of calories.  A spinach carbo-load party would end so quickly with everyone having go to bathroom.

What’s your paleo story? Tried it? Love it? Ridicule it?

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