20 February 2013

Whole 30 Challenge / Paleo Lifestyle

The husband and I are always up for the healthiest options in regards to our dietary habits.  We've been cutting out as much processed foods as possible during the past few years and trying to buy as local and fresh ingredients that we can. So the Paleo challenge was a perfect fit for the direction we were already heading in our cuisine choices. We have done the vegetarian monthly challenges before more for challenge sake (and if it helped with tummy issues, fabulous) but this experience was to see if we were interested in making more of a lifestyle change in our diet. And I am completely convinced!

I hate to call it a "diet" because of the connotation there, and this is truly a change in lifesytle for healthier, clean eating. It cuts out dairy, legumes, sugars, and grains.  The goal is also to cut out as much processed foods as possible. I know, I know, it seems like everything these days has been processed in some way, or that "natural" or organic items are super expensive, but you're talking to two of the most frugal people out there and we made it work on the cheap! The key is to be smart when you shop. {Don't forget to check out my Guide to Saving Money if you haven't already!} The chart below depicts  what the USDA suggests for livestock to produce the largest animals for the most meat (bottom left), and what the USDA recommends for human consumption (bottom right). How crazy is that? The are suggesting a diet to us that is fattening us up almost identically to their plan for livestock!  The middle (upside down) triangle shows the breakdown of the pre-agriculture (caveman/paleo) era. And that is what the dietary intake is based upon for this Paleo lifestyle change. We did a good bit of research prior to starting, and one thing stated that if you eat 3 meals a day (and you should! - don't even get me started on the importance of eating breakfast!) you would have 21 meals a week. Of those 21 meals, you could have 3 "cheats" where you could have your carbs (baked potato, pasta salad, etc. as) as a side item instead of the main dish. During the 30 day initial challenge, however, you were to abstain from all of the "restricted" items to clean your system out. 

Now alcohol is not explicitly stated as a "no-no" however beer is full of carbs. Suggestions have been made to drink a glass of wine if you are out with friends and alcohol is an option. Because let's just be honest, we're adults and a good adult beverage can be quite tasty. Well, I am pleased to say that we (despite picking the worst month possible to try this haha) finished a month of clean eating and truly love it.  We are going to do a continued modified version of the Paleo lifestyle, cutting out those items mentioned above but adding in some cheats as well. The husband adores a good craft beer so that will be added in for him on a very small scale. For me, dairy based items will be my main cheat. I need a little treat every now and then and you need a bit of sugar for that!

I will say that we both feel a whole lot better! More energy, less stomach issues, and just overall healthier. He lost 14 pounds, and I lost 9 and that was not even the goal of the experiment. In addition to the dietary changes, I also started taking omega-3 fish oil pills, and can really see a difference. For me, my confidence has tremendously increased in regards to my body image, simply because I feel good.  I'm not bloated or full all the time, and my cravings have changed as well. I'm just really a huge fan of this whole process. Of course chips and queso will always call my name, but the beauty is that I can eat it, then just watch my carb and dairy intake elsewhere. Moderation is the key to everything and this past month has really put that into perspective in regards to our food choices.

Here is somewhat of the guide that we used in our shopping list and meal planning guide.  There are a lot of great recipes out there, and really easy to get creative. Let me know if you'd like a copy and I'll email you one :) I'll be sharing some of our favorite recipes here soon as well so be on the lookout for all things Paleo in the near future!


What are your favorite ways to stay healthy and eat clean?

post signature


  1. Oh woah , I must say it's super dooper healthy . Great goal .
    My health schedule doesn't last long , but I preffer veges boiled with little salt & black pepper over weekends ;)
    1) What is your worst nightmare when it comes to lip gloss, the one thing that irks you the most?

    2) What is your current beauty staple?

  2. Hi! I bought It Starts with Food, but I got it on my kindle and can't for the life of me find this list in there. Would you please email me this shopping list?? Thanks!

    foursillysisters (at) gmail (dot) com


I love hearing what you have to say! Thanks for stopping by :) Your comments make me smile!