Hunting and Gathering

At some point, you have to stop researching and start eating.  Well, I’ve reached that point.  I know enough to begin experimenting. But first? A trip to the grocery store. Let the games begin!

The modern hunter-gatherer, such as myself, does not go out to the woods of course.  Instead, I go to the urban jungle and enter the chaos of Trader Joe’s. On a Sunday. *Shudder.* What was I thinking??

Previously, my awesome friend who is already on the paleo diet had taken me one calm weekday evening to a Trader Joe’s near her and introduced me to some of the basic necessities of the diet, including almond meal, cashew flour, coconut oil, 100% pure almond butter (great substitute for peanut butter), ghee, and other great items that are hard to find at your average grocery store.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you should check it out! My friend says they are often cheaper than your bigger health food stores. You can’t get everything there, but you can get almost everything.  You have to be careful.  I bought several packages of dried fruit with the TJ brand name, thinking they would be safe. However, when I got home I realized the second ingredient list in all of them was sugar!  Trader Joe’s is not Paleo Joe’s.  Something I will keep in mind from now on.

Items from Trader Joe's

Here are some resources that I am referencing when I make my paleo gathering list:

The crazy strict lists.  (Think of them like the pirate code in Pirates of the Caribbean.  “They’re more like guidelines.”)

  • Unique Whole30 lists designed for specific issues: Autoimmune, IBS, and Low Histamine
  •  The basic Whole30 list.
  • The Well Fed Cookbook author’s list.  She gives great advice on guessing how much meat you will need per person, etc.

Here’s the Plan, Stan!

Or Dan, or Melissa, or whatever your name is…

I am breaking all of the rules!  Everything I’ve read about paleo recommends you immediately clear out your pantry and your fridge, and go shopping for all paleo-approved ingredients.

Just like that. Overnight.

Well, that’s great.  However, I’m neither rich enough to just throw away food that I’ve paid for, nor am I wasteful enough.  Plus, every one talks about the “paleo flu.”  This is the withdrawal phase that most people experience for a week up to several weeks after drastically changing their diet.  (Whole30 even outlines all 30 days of withdrawal here! Yikes!) Going cold turkey isn’t bad, but it isn’t for me.  I’m sorry, but my Fibro causes my body to hurt like I have the flu all the time anyways.  Let’s not add anything to that, ok?  This diet is supposed to help me feel better, not worse.

So, I’m gradually switching over to a paleo diet. Every day for the last week, I’ve tried to make at least one meal paleo, maybe two.  I’ve also changed my snacking. No more crackers or candy.  Now, it’s blueberries, oranges, olives, dates, and other healthy items.  I even ate a salad two days in a row! I hate salad!

Someone in my family was unfortunate enough to get the real flu last week, so some of our plans have been curtailed. However, by the end of next week I’m hoping to be 60-70% paleo.  Drinks, snacks, meals, etc.

I haven’t noticed any changes in energy levels yet, but that’s to be expected. Here’s to the plan!  As they say on Meet the Robinsons, “KEEP MOVING FORWARD!”

Sweet Potato Apple Hash

We got the outline for this recipe here. (You have to scroll about half way down the page to find it.)

However, our kitchen and our taste buds changed the recipe some.  Here is what we did instead:

3 small organic sweet potatoes, diced small

2 red delicious apples, diced small

1/2 yellow onion, diced small

2 tbsp. bacon grease

1 package bacon without nitrates

1. In a large nonstick pan, cook the bacon and remove it. Remove all but 2 tbsp of the grease.

2. Sautee potatoes and onions until potatoes just begin to soften. (I was surprised that the onions and the potatoes finished at about the same time.) Cut up bacon into bite size pieces after it has cooled.

3. Add the apples, after they have softened add back the bacon pieces. Serve.

I think it would have tasted a lot better if we had followed the recipe. The green apples would have had a better flavor.  The sausage may not have overpowered everything like the bacon did.  However, I’m still not used to such rich foods at breakfast.  Maybe I can adjust… or maybe I can find something that is more to my liking.


Paleo Anonymous… Breakfast Failure

Hi, my name is Cave Girl.

Hi Cave Girl.

It has been 0 days since I last ate grains.

Shocks and gasps all over the room.

Yes, I had toast for breakfast.

Breakfast is a really hard meal! I’m used to eating cereal, toast, or oatmeal with some fruit for breakfast.  I’ve discovered I can’t tolerate eggs very well.  Who doesn’t love bacon?  However, you can’t have that every morning.  Some people like the author of the Well Fed Cookbook recommend that you give up the idea of breakfast and just treat as a regular meal. No special foods, just another dinner or lunch.  Have chicken and veggies for breakfast. You get the idea.  Is it merely psychological, or is my stomach protesting because it’s not made to eat a heavy meal in the morning?

I and a friend attempted this recipe for Sweet Potato Hash for breakfast, with some substitutions required by the limited supplies in our pantry. (I’ve also put this in the recipe section.) Here’s a picture of what it looked like when we were done:


We tried to pretend for awhile that we liked it.  But… we never ate the leftovers. Try this at your own peril!

Paleo is a Class Society

Is it just me, or does anyone else sense that there are “levels” of paleo? I’m guessing the Whole30 is about as high society as it gets, although at least those lovely folks only expect you to manage that for 30 days. After that, there are some who bake and cook with natural sweeteners and flour made with nuts.  Finally, there are people who *horror* eat white potatoes.

I also read something somewhere about people who only eat raw meat and raw vegetables.  They probably consider themselves at the top of the paleo class structure, and I’m perfectly fine with letting them think that. Aren’t you?  Let’s leave those poor people alone.

I’ve always been a middle class girl, and I am perfectly satisfied with staying there. The goal, at least right now, is to cut out those foods that cause inflammation.  Eventually, I would like to try the Whole30 but it’s going to take awhile before my body can handle that.

Whole lot of trouble!

I’ve been checking out the Whole30’s eight steps to becoming paleo.  It’s pretty intense!  They don’t allow any sweeteners, even natural ones like honey. No white potatoes, and worst of all- NO PALEO BAKED GOODS! Aahhh!  I understand their reasoning for this rule. They want people to break bad habits of eating sweets and unhealthy junk foods.

I guess I would be willing to give up everything but meat, veggies, and fruit for 30 days. The problem is that I can’t eat most veggies, even cooked.  It’s part of my IBS symptoms. I love veggies, but they really hate me. I may not be able to manage the Whole30 version of the paleo diet. I like having the info as a baseline, though, and keeping as close to that line as I can.

Where Do I Start?

I’m not gonna lie, the amount of info out there about Paleo is absolutely overwhelming!  Not everyone follows the same rules. I even read one short book that said, “Just think about what a caveman would eat.”  I have no idea what cave men ate!  I’ve been on a farm maybe three times in my life.  I’m a city girl whose idea of meat comes in a package, and vegetables are those things you buy and bag by weight.

All that being said, I’m also really grateful for all the info out there.  It’s nice to be able to read other people’s blogs, or get free kindle books on all about paleo. They have a ton!  Honestly, pinterest is a lifesaver.

I’ve been perusing this awesome blog, Cave Girl in the City.  This blog is not the first to mention something called the Whole30 or the Whole9.  What is that? Well, I’m learning that it’s basically a synonym for Paleo.  These guys at Whole30 have packaged it into a trend.  Their website is pretty cool.  The first eight steps are here.  I’m working through these right now.  Hopefully, this will help me to decide how I’m going to go about this whole Paleo thing.

Why Paleo?

Why not?

Do I agree with the theories behind the diet? Let’s just say I’m skeptical. Incredibly. Skeptical.  Even if I wasn’t, my friend who majored in anthropology would be happy to be skeptical for me.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • The Paleo diet is incredibly limiting.  Which means I can rule out a bunch of foods at once. As I slowly add them back into my diet (after 3 months without any of them), I will have a better chance of figuring out what, if any, foods or types of foods have an adverse affect on me.
  • Most of the foods on the off-limits list are known to cause digestion problems: gluten, legumes, refined sugar, dairy, etc.  All of these have been proven to cause problems in some people.  Like many people with Fibromyalgia, I have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’m also Lactose Intolerant.  Solving digestive problems seems like a great place to start.
  • I’ve run into too many people who have improved their health by changing their diet.  I’ve heard so many stories about how limiting intake of gluten or processed sugars have reduced people’s pain and increased their energy.  I had one friend who even reduced his symptoms of dyslexia by getting off sugar!! I’ve always been a skeptic of holistic methods.  I’ve run into enough quacks who have “the cure” for my Fibro to become a cynic.  However, I can’t argue with people I know, love, and trust who have seen real improvements in their life.  All of the foods they’ve mentioned taking out of their diets are foods that aren’t allowed in the Paleo plan.

Anyone else tired of doctors?

Is it just me, or are most doctors a waste of time?  They’re great for everyday stuff, but when I hand them my patient history (10 years of Fibromyalgia), it’s not long before they give up.

I’m tired of doctors giving up on me.

Fibromyalgia is not curable.  There is nothing I can do to make it go away or become white noise in the background of my life.  I’ve had it long enough to accept that.  What I refuse to accept is that I have to quit at life and just spend my time managing this disease.

God made me for more than that.

I managed my Fibro for a long time with the usual stuff: physical therapy, pain meds, trying different treatments, some exercise.  Two years ago, all of that stopped helping.  This disease isn’t supposed to progress, and yet it has.  I went from 80% functional (compared to an average person my age) to 20% functional over the course of those two years.  No one knows why, and no one has had any solutions.

I’m praying, asking God for wisdom, and the next obvious thing to do is to change the way I eat.  That’s my plan, and with God’s help it will make a difference.

I want my life back. I’m ready to do what it takes to get there.