What happened when I quit the Paleo diet?

What happened when I quit the Paleo diet?

First, what is the Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet is a style of eating based on nomad, hunter-gatherer times when we had the easiest access to meat, vegetables, and fruit. Food was simply picked or killed and then eaten. Today, The Paleo diet is often used as part of a holistic healing journey. Difficult to digest foods such as dairy, gluten, grains, and refined sugars are removed from the diet. Leafy greens, low starch vegetables, lower sugar fruits, grass-fed meats, and bone broths are enjoyed to support a healthy gut microbiome, and allow the digestive tract to heal any damage that may have been caused by stress, antibiotics, or the Standard American Diet.

Over the last six or seven years, I have experimented with many healing diets that all seem to be Paleo based. The Simple Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome diet (GAPS), Autoimmune Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), just to name a few. All share very similar values and practices: Eat real, whole food. Consume low amounts of carbs and sugar. Support gut health.

Over the years of experimenting with these diets, I did notice some improvement in my symptoms. The reason I haven’t had as much success as most people is more of an environmental issue… mold, heavy metal, Lyme, chemical toxicity… I need to get out of the moldy environment and detox for any diet to work optimally. A story for another day.

More subtle changes I realized later were, better dentist appointments… healthy gums and minimal cavity concern. I didn’t get as sick in the winter as I used to. I also had a lower, more balanced weight.

Why did I quit?

(Note: I’m not pointing fingers or blame. I’m establishing a timeline. I love IIN and am currently enrolled in and enjoying an advanced course they offer.) As I started the health coach certification program at IIN we were encouraged to experiment with the different dietary practices we learned about. I was in a place where my digestion was okay, and I felt like I could reintroduce some things that were discussed, like gluten-free whole grains, cacao, and potatoes.

That led me down a path of eating more starchy and sugary foods, as well as some “cleaner” junk food. For the first couple of weeks of having whole grains, I felt like my bowels were benefiting from that reintroduction. But it only lasted a couple of weeks. The more I reintroduced the worse I gradually felt. I started to gain weight, and I lost motivation to eat well.  Throughout that year of school, I went from about 115 or 120 pounds to close to 160 pounds (I’m only 5ft tall). Part of that was because of the increased amount of sitting doing school work, but a larger part was the food choices I was making.

It’s almost two years after the start of my coaching training, and I have finally gotten myself back into the headspace to recommit to my health. I am back on Paleo-based habits and my weight is slowly starting to come back down. My digestion is becoming a bit less painful and unpredictable. I am starting to notice my hormones balancing out, and my period starting to regulate again. My skin is a little less spotty. And my anxiety levels are slowly lowering. 

What’s next?

Now that my food choices feel healthier, I am incorporating yoga. Yoga helps me feel stronger, more flexible, and less bloated. The routines on the app I use give me a good sweat, which also helps with detoxing, which I need!  I am also working on getting out of my moldy environment. Once I do that, I will be tightening up the reigns on my die, even more, to help get all of the toxins out of my system. For now, I am focusing on rebuilding healthy routines.

No one’s body thrives in the same way. The Paleo Diet feels good for me at this point in my life and works well for many others. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay!  Please share in the comments what style of eating you thrive from.


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