Halfway paleo but definitely not a cave woman!

Phew. More than halfway through my experimental month of this paleo-esque style of eating. It has been challenging, interesting, and dare I say rewarding? So, here is a break down of the main changes:

No Sugar

Now maybe I have cheated the system a bit and allowed myself fruit and palm sugar, but have stuck to no refined sugar and definitely no foods with added sugar. Did you know that dried craisins are 40% sugar?? Well I sadly discovered this after learning to read labels more carefully… this was after my ‘stocking up the cupboards with healthy snacks’ Costco trip! Bugger! But really, this part has probably been the easiest change for me. I am not a real sweet tooth and have often been known to get the ‘sugar sweats’ when eating sickly sweet food.

No Dairy

No cheese, no butter, no yoghurt…. all good. But milk is HARD (big sad face). No skim, no soy, no nothing! After a failed attempt to drink an espresso without milk (picture coffee dripping down my computer monitor after I spurted it out in disgust), I have easily adapted to all kinds of tea. Peppermint to freshen me up in the morning; earl grey for lunch; and a chamomile before home time. Good stuff.

Breakfast, however, is a different story. I have desperately been experimenting with breakfast options and settling on green smoothies has resulted in copious cans of coconut milk. But knowing that a can of coconut milk has about 200% of your daily saturated fat intake, I am starting to feel guilty about these delicious breakfast concoctions. How much  ‘good fat’ is too much fat? The internet has very conflicting responses to this question and I am still undecided as to what I believe.  I am on the look-out for some almond milk, apparently this is much lower in fat.

No Grains

This part of the paleo experiment is going OK. Now I will fully confess I am not sticking to the paleo-diet’ in the strictest of forms. If you are, you are not meant to eat anything stachy including potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and even fresh corn. I am all up for giving things a go, but my poor athletic body training 20 hours a week needs some energy from somewhere people! Hence I have allowed all of the fore mentioned starchy foods. After a big day I have been adding potato mash to dinner, and it helps to fill the carb-less void.

The hardest bit

The hardest part for me has been breakfast. Going from a massive bowl of oats and milk to choosing from proteins and vegetables kinda narrows your options and does not fit so well into a working / sporting lifestyle. Oats + milk = speedy. Poached eggs + pan warmed veggies = sloooow. So I have replaced the breakfast oats with a combination of smoothies (egg, coconut milk, spinach and banana) and cooked stuff on days where I have more time (poached eggs, spinach, mushies, tomato).

The best bit

I have noticed two very good things already, in only two weeks.

  1. I feel full all the time. Protein and fats in the morning keeps me going way past lunch time. There have been no morning tea cravings and much less up-and-down hunger protests from my tummy. Now I walk past the biscuit barrel and straight to the fridge for some ham or turkey breast. Sounds weird hey!
  2. I am recovering very well. We have put in some very big weeks lately, including a 360km round trip on the mountain bikes to Broulee, and I seem to be feeling much stronger the days immediately after compared to pre-paleo Beth. Again, I attribute this to the awesomeness that is protein.

Some minor ‘slip-ups’

I have been good, but I haven’t gone crazy strict and I know where to draw the line. I attempted to ride 360km on all natural paleo food and took some hard boiled eggs, potatoes, nuts, fruit and even oven dried bananas. Unfortunately my eggs got smushed and on day 2 I thought I would prefer a Hammer Bar (all organic with no added sugar anyway) over food poisoning. I also chowed down on some potato chips, fries and a few sips of coke at the top of the Major’s Creek climb. Then that night I ate the biggest, fattiest, milky chocolate pudding for dessert and it was great. Life goes on!

Definitely no cave woman

I have lost a couple of kg’s already, down to 68kg, so that is a plus too 🙂 I have not seen evidence of miracle skin or amazing sleep. My gut has been feeling OK, but I wouldn’t say that it is by any means fixed. So for those of you who are slightly curious, I will give a final run down in 2 weeks. Maybe I will have turned primal by then?

This is what cave women looked like, right?


3 thoughts on “Halfway paleo but definitely not a cave woman!

  1. Alex

    Hey Bethany!

    Bindi told me about your adventure into the world of the paleo lifestyle and then the directed me here to your blog. She told me I should share some of my thoughts about paleo with you. Hopefully you don’t mind the unsolicited input, haha.

    Just a little background, I too eat paleo (at least on weekdays…weekends can be tough with social gatherings and eating out!) and am a triathlete as well so I actually do paleo for athletes. This version of the paleo lifestyle encourages consuming the proper types of carbohydrates before, during and after exercise. If you would like more information about paleo for athletes then here is a good place to start: http://www.trainingbible.com/pdf/Paleo_for_Athletes_Cliff_Notes.pdf.

    As for your difficultly with giving up milk, I would highly recommended trying almond millk. It’s awesome!

    Another good find is almond butter. It’s less irritating to the digestive system and is healthier overall compared to peanuts.

    And finally, for breakfast, if you are aventurous then I’d recommend trying lentils (which I choose to include though some hardcore paleo folks do not) with avocado and salsa. So good and really filling. I’ll also mix lentils and hardboiled eggs with avocado and salsa just to mix things up.

    As I said before, I hope you don’t mind the unsolicited information but hopefully you find it helpful.

    Good luck with the remaining month of your paleo lifestyle, Bethany!

    (Bindi’s co-worker and training partner)

  2. bethany Post author

    Hi Alex, thanks for the comments and apologies for being so slack in replying. That paleo for athletes pdf is interesting. Definitely need to keep those carbs up when we are training hey. Since your reply I have tried almond milk, turns out it is actually in all the supermarkets and not too expensive. It is very sweet though. I will update in my next post soon, but for me paleo is definitely over.


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