• Violeta Puente-Duran

7-Day Paleo-Way


I gave myself the challenge of trying a Paleo diet for a week. Not that it's a crazy challenge or anything, but as a trendy and popular diet I wanted to see what it was all about. I'm also not good with diets or food eliminations and was curious to see how I would handle not eating bread for a week. I also thought it was a good opportunity to be able to share my experience with my clients and give them the option of trying it one day if they so pleased. I got a a few friends and family members to join me as well. The company was nice. The Paleo diet is a way of eating that resembles that of our Paleolithic, or hunter gatherer, ancestors. It includes meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and prohibits grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. In this blog post, I share my day-to-day experience on Paleo as well as my food record for the seven days and some pros and cons.


Paleo Day 1


It’s Tuesday morning. The time has come to start my Paleo diet. To start off, I’m not feeling my best as last night we had some drinks to celebrate my sister's birthday. I also had my second shiatsu treatment yesterday and, like the first time, it left me feeling slightly woozy the next day. But, as every other day, I got up to make myself a coffee. Cheating already! I made myself some sweet potato toast with almond butter. I thought I’d take a shortcut by using the toaster oven instead of toasting them in the toaster for 5 minutes as the recipes suggest. After 20 minutes in the toaster oven, the things were still tough but I took them out anyway and slathered almond butter on them. I take a bite and I miss bread already. It’s only a week. I proceed to pan-fry them lightly in coconut oil. Now I have a strange mess. But hey, I should be proud of myself for eating sweet potato first thing. How much healthier can one get? If I haven’t turned orange by next Monday I’ll be impressed

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Paleo adherence score= 70%

(Semi) Prohibited foods I had today:

Potatoes, dark chocolate, coffee, wine, butter


Paleo Day 2

I survived day 1. So today, again, had my coffee first thing. Today I thought I would try the toaster for my sweet potato. It’s actually quicker than in the toaster oven. Word of advice: CLEAN your toasters before starting this diet. I’ve set of the alarm like three times by trying to keep my sweet potatoes in there for 5 minutes. So, unlike yesterday, today I haven’t been particularly hungry. And as for my digestive complaints? Slightly better I’d say.


Paleo adherence score: 70%

(Semi) Prohibited foods today:

(same as yesterday)



Paleo Day 3

Last night I dreamt I was eating out of a bucket of ice-cream and was disappointed with myself for giving up so fast. But.... I woke up. For breakfast, I attempt to cut a giant sweet potato for my toast and feel like if I did this diet for life I would develop arthritis in my hands before I knew it. I cook my sweet potato toast in coconut oil on a pan. I don’t want to set off the fire alarm today and certainly don’t want to clean the toaster. In the afternoon, I go to the supermarket to grab some specialty flours, like almond flour, for a bread recipe. I’m pleased to find it, but…. $17?!? Holy crap! I think I’m going to have to stick to my sweet potato toast. Wait a minute. I spotted a flour called arrowroot flour which I’m sure I saw in recipes. I pull out my smartphone and confirm. Yes! I can use arrowroot flour… for only $7. Perfect. So I get home and throw some arrowroot flour in a bowl with flax and water, attempted to make a pancake or something of the like, maybe a tortilla? And, to my surprise, ended up with an edible pancake which I had with my smoked salmon. So, today I am so thrilled about my arrowroot discovery and being able to make something that half resembles a bread product. Though I’m almost certain my Paleo ancestors weren’t doing the same.


Paleo adherence score= 80%

(Semi) Prohibited foods today:

coffee, chocolate, white wine


Paleo Day 4

Today I did not take the time I have been taking to prepare my meals. Guess that’s what happens when you have a busier day. Having said that, if you want to do a Paleo diet and have a busy schedule, you have to do lots of planning and preparing ahead of time. I know that may sound obvious but it’s very true. One of the hardest things for me has been to not be able to snack on whatever is front of me, for example, a piece of bread, a cracker, etc, and have to come up with a substitution on the spot. I can’t say I’ve suffered on Paleo though. I do feel quite good. But it’s not a diet I’d be able to sustain because, well, I love my grains and dairy, bread, cheese, etc. And, though many people are able to avoid foods that give them discomfort, I am easily tempted and prefer to eat the food and suffer the discomfort (i.e. bloating and all those nice things). In the evening, my husband and I went to a pub to watch (what we were hoping wasn't) the second last Maple Leafs hockey game. It was the first time and the last time I order a bunless burger.


Paleo adherence= 75%

(Semi) Prohibited foods today:

coffee, sweet potato fries, ranch, cider



Paleo Day 5

This morning I made my pancake in a bit of a rush, packed it to go, and attempted to eat it in the car on my way to work. It was gross! It was gooey or under-cooked or all of the above. I couldn’t finish it. Overall I’m feeling totally fine on this diet but my digestive issues are making a presence today and I’m not really hungry anyway. I finish my demo (work) in the afternoon and, conveniently, I’m in a supermarket. I’ve been standing next to some guacamole for 4 hours so as soon as I’m done my shift, I grab the guac to snack on in the car on my way back home. Hm. What to eat it with? It needs to be something crunchy. F--- it! I’m getting chips. Oh, even better, they have sweet potato and beet chips. I know that’s cheating because fried foods are a no-no on the Paleo diet but, oh well. Besides, I had sweet potato fries last night.


Paleo adherence= 70%

(Semi) Prohibited foods today:

coffee, pisco sour, juice, sweet potato & beet chips, few fries


Paleo Day 6

Today I finally attempted to make Paleo bread and succeeded! I was amazed at how spongy and edible this bread is. I found the recipe online which I shared in my recipe page. I’ve tried making gluten-free bread in the past but it has never turned out like this. Now I know, arrowroot starch is the secret. In the morning I made myself some scrambled eggs and felt super happy to be able to have them with “bread”. I went to work, got back home at 4pm, and made myself a nice, big coffee with 2 slices of Paleo bread with some almond butter. Overall I’m feeling fine. We had no dinner parties this weekend to suffer at (on Paleo that is). I’m proud of myself for sticking to any sort of diet for this long. I’ve never been able to. Paleo isn’t that bad. I thought I’d be hungrier, but I’m totally fine.


Paleo adherence= 80%

(Semi) Prohibited foods today:

Coffee, chocolate, sweet potato & beet chips


Paleo Day 7

Today is my last Paleo day. I’m already thinking of the first thing I want to eat tomorrow. I went to the store to pick up some dinner and bought myself a bottle of kefir for my breakfast smoothie tomorrow. I know I know. Kefir isn’t the most exciting of foods but a good choice for reintroducing dairy. And I love it in smoothies. Truthfully, I was hoping to be able to share more in terms of having improved energy levels, digestion, etc. I don’t think I’ve been on this diet long enough to really get a sense of the long-term effects, and also, I wasn’t very strict as I allowed myself to indulge in goodies like coffee, wine, and chocolate. Also, as a pre-menopausal female certain times of the month are not as great as others when it comes to mood, fatigue and digestion. For this reason, among others, if you really want to be able to witness any changes, I would recommend trying it for longer than a week. What I did notice I improved on, however, was my vegetable intake. I realized I don’t eat enough veggies. I liked that this diet forced me to think of including veggies in my meals, otherwise, I wouldn’t have much of a meal. What I did not like so much was that without meat nothing to eat. NOT a vegetarian-friendly way of life. Overall, not a bad diet, it’s balanced, and I did feel lighter by the end. Next time I’ll have to do the real thing- the 21st century version of the real thing that is- and that is to skip the coffee and wine and everything fine.


Paleo Adherence Score- 90% (best day!)

(Semi)Prohibited Foods today:

coffee, juice


Back-to-normal Day 1

Today I got up and as usual made my coffee. I finished the almond milk in my first coffee so for my second cup I use plain ol’ pasteurized 2% cow’s milk. I made my smoothie with kefir as I said I would. Then I toasted some Paleo bread (I had a bit left and like it anyway), placed it on my plate, went to grab the almond butter, but reached for the peanut butter instead. I was planning on staying off glutinous bread for a few extra days but that only lasted until lunch time as my husband and I went out for lunch and coffee and I caved and had an egg and bacon sandwich.


Paleo adherence score= N/A

TOTAL (AVG) ADHERENCE SCORE= 76.4%


7-Day Paleo-Way Meal Plan


Day 1

Breakfast: Berry smoothie (almond milk, berries, banana, apple sauce) + hemp hearts, 4 sweet potato toasts with almond butter, 2 coffees + almond milk

Snack: Apple and almonds

Lunch: Tuna salad (greens and ½ can tuna, olive oil, lemon, salt), scrambled egg with broccoli and 3 sweet potato toasts with avocado slices

Snack: Half banana with almond butter, coffee

Dinner: Chicken breast, mini potatoes, sautéed kale, green salad, tomatoes, wine

Dessert: 2 dark chocolate squares + ‘Paleo’ cookies (made with coconut flour, eggs, and others)


Day 2

Breakfast: Berry smoothie + hemp hearts, 4 sweet potato toasts with almond butter, 2 coffees + a.m.

Snack: Apple

Lunch: Tuna salad (greens and ½ can tuna, olive oil, lemon, salt), ‘fried’ egg, 3 sweet potato toast with avocado and tomato slices Dessert: dark chocolate + Paleo cookie Snack: apple, raw broccoli and cauliflower

Dinner: Beef, mini potatoes, asparagus, green salad, tomatoes, red wine


Day 3

Breakfast: Berry smoothie + ground flax, 3 sweet potato toasts with almond butter, 2 coffees+a.m.

Snack: Apple

Lunch: Chicken spinach salad + olive oil, lemon Dessert: dark chocolate with a Paleo cookie

Snack: almonds

Dinner: Smoked salmon, 2 arrowroot pancakes, spinach salad, white wine


Day 4

Breakfast: Berry smoothie +flax oil + ground flax, arrowroot pancake with almond butter + banana

Lunch: Smoked salmon spinach salad

Snack: Paleo almond flour cake (mom’s house)

Dinner: Bunless burger, sweet potato fries (+ a teeny, tiny bit of ranch sauce), 2 ciders


Day 5

Breakfast: Berry smoothie +flax oil, ½ arrowroot pancake with almond butter (it was gross today)

Snack: handful raw cashews and almonds

Snack: Beet and sweet potato chips (paleo right?!) + guacamole

Snack: Smoked salmon with spinach

Dinner: 3 roasted chicken legs, spinach + kale salad

Eve: pisco sour, couple of French fries


Day 6

Breakfast: 2 slices Paleo bread (recipe in Foodie section) + eggs, coffee+ a.m.

Snack: handful raw cashews and almonds + Larabar (no peanuts)

Snack: coffee + a.m., 2 slices Paleo bread with almond butter

Snack: Beet and sweet potato chips + guacamole

Dinner: 3 oz beef, lightly fried sweet potato, sautéed brussel spout/cabbage/kale blend, roasted pepper

Dessert: Paleo coconut cookie and dark chocolate square, herbal tea


Day 7

Breakfast: Berry smoothie + spinach + flax oil, 2 slices Paleo bread + almond butter + maple syrup drizzle, 2 coffees with almond milk

Snack: apple

Lunch: Chicken (2 drumsticks) spinach salad + Brussel sprout/kale blend, roasted pepper, 2 sweet potato toasts + guacamole Dessert: Paleo cookie + dark chocolate square, herbal tea

Snack: 2 slices Paleo bread with almond butter

Dinner: Burger, home-made, on Paleo bun (threw together arrowroot starch, flax, coconut flour, baking powder, egg, oil and cooked it in a pan), + burger toppings

Dessert: Paleo cookie, herbal tea


Paleo Pros & Cons


Pros

- High vegetable intake

- No consumption of processed foods

- No " " added sugars

- No " "refined starches

- LOTS of beta-carotene (if you eat sweet potato)

- More creative in the kitchen

-Alcohol and caffeine intake low (if followed correctly)

- Feel good, feel light, more energy

- Not necesarily a low-carb diet


Cons

- Expensive (meat, specialty flours, nuts, etc)

- Requires prep and planning

- Limited in social settings and restaurants

- Sucks if you're a foodie

- Depressing if you love cheese

- Depressing if you love bread

- Not vegetarian friendly

- Sets you up to be a cheater

- Why not potatoes? I'm sure Hunter Gatherers were digging up tubers. And besides, potatoes are loaded with Vitamin C and potassium


#paleo #paleochallenge

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