What happened when I did 1 month of paleo
Summary: Eating paleo for a month had a significant impact on my energy levels, sleep quality, and mood. It did not impact my digestion, athletic performance, or body composition.
Purpose/Thesis: To test the health impacts of eating a strict paleo diet.
Structure of the experiment: A strict paleo diet was defined as: no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no added sugars or substitutes. I did allow myself: up to 3 glasses of red wine per day and whey protein.
I kept other behaviours like bed time/wake time, gym timing, travel, etc the same.
Outcome: I’ve never felt better than when I was eating this way.
My energy levels started improving from day day 7 onwards, which coincided with an improvement in my sleep quality. I was very tired once 10pm hit (around my normal bedtime) and had no issues falling asleep, which historically is a challenge for me.
Athletic performance in the gym and sports were both good. I wouldn’t say they improved more than normal, but performance definitely didn’t regress. My recovery after workouts did improve, as muscle soreness and mobility took less time to get back to normal.
My body composition remained the same, but again, I was already eating well going into the experiment. I expect people eating a more average diet would lose body fat.
I am frankly very surprised at how I responded to this experiment. I entered the experiment skeptical of the paleo movement, and while I remain skeptical about many aspects (dogma isn’t really for me, and there are a lot of people trying to make money on this trend), Ihave become convinced that this style of eating works well for me.
Additional notes: OK I know that red wine and whey protein are not paleo, but I simply wasn’t willing to cut them out for this experiment. In other experiments I have eliminated both of these and not experienced any positive benefits.
Carb flu is a real thing but wasn’t an issue for me. I was already pretty low carb, so suspect my body had an easier time adjusting to a low carb diet.
Right at the end of the experiment I got sick with a cold. I was disappointed about this initially, but ultimately I just accepted that paleo doesn’t make you surperman.
I concluded the experiment with a massive “cheat” weekend filled with burgers, pizza, alcohol, etc. I felt very rough for 5 days afterwards despite returning to a paleo diet.
My main goal with anything I do is to look and feel great. Anything that helps me accomplish this is worth considering. If it makes me feel bad then it’s a good indication to me that I shouldn’t do it.