How My Life Changed Eating Like a Caveman
Following a Paleo/Primal lifestyle transformed me completely.
When I began my journey to lose weight in October of 2015, it was for purely selfish and shallow reasons. I wanted to look good in my bathing suit because I had my first ever cruise scheduled for March 2016. However, once I started eating like a “caveman”, I fell in love with how amazing I felt and the way my body started changing for the good.
Living the Paleo lifestyle was so easy (even a caveman can do it-ha, see what I did there) and, in fact, they were the first to do so. The main staples of their diet were meats, roots, veggies, and fruits. Ok, and occasionally nuts and seeds. But, more importantly, they moved! So once I began to understand how dropping the processed foods, sugar, and alcohol started to transform my body, I also felt energetic enough to start walking again.
Before I started my journey, my weight had ballooned to 125lbs. which is big for a 4'9" frame, but by the time the cruise rolled around, I weighed 105lbs and my energy was off the charts! I learned what I did from gurus like Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple and Dr Axe who taught me what I needed to know about everything from oil pulling (the practice of swishing your mouth daily with coconut oil for healthy teeth and gums) to essential oils and what they can do for our bodies, minds, and spirits, to the proper way to eat the primal way.
To begin eating this way took real commitment, I had to throw all the junk food out of the house. I got rid of everything that came in a box or a bag, and only ate whole food. (much to my husband’s dismay) No sugar, but natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit were ok. The first three weeks were the toughest, but the weight just melted off. I met my new neighbor while walking around the block, and we became fast friends. I may have never met her had I not had the energy to start moving again, but as Mark says, “Move like Grok,” meaning, cavemen had to hunt their food and that’s part of how they stayed strong and fit.
Part of Mark’s daily philosophy, “Whether it’s the gym or a walk along the beach, it all counts.”
His advice was to move however it is comfortable for you and work up to more. Lift heavy things, go for a walk or a run. Well, I couldn’t run to save my life, but I did eventually work up to three miles a day walking. I was so proud of myself and my clothes fit better. My self-esteem rose, and even if I still wasn’t exactly svelte, I felt great in my bikini and proudly wore it on the cruise. I was 54 years old at the time. Swimming is also great exercise and I did plenty of that as well. Most every house we have lived in as a married couple has had a pool. I am blessed.
The rules of the Paleo diet were so easy, once I got rid of the junk and bought a few of the more expensive staples, like coconut oil, almond flour, nuts, almond and/or coconut milk, coconut flour, flax, chia, and the natural sweeteners, all I had to do was fill in with some meat, salad fixings, fruits and drink tons of water. Breakfast might consist of bacon and eggs, or steel-cut oatmeal with berries, lunch was a big ass salad with chicken or egg on it as well as all the veggies I could cram on there, and dinner was a small piece of meat, a salad, and a side vegetable that was steamed, or baked, with lots of grass-fed butter (my favorite was Kerrygold) and spiced just right for extra flavor.
Ideally, meat should be grass-fed but this girl could not afford that, so I made healthy choices and ate smaller portions and I always made sure I had something made ahead for dessert. Yes, I could have dessert because I made them with the proper ingredients. Dark chocolate (over 75%cacao), coconut oil, cream cheese, coconut shreds (unsweetened of course), grass-fed butter or ghee, nuts, nut butter, the list goes on and on. What I made with these ingredients varied. It might be what is called “fat bombs” one day, or low-carb cookies and candies that I made at home the next. There was no reason to feel deprived, I focused on what I “could” have and not what I thought I was missing.
Truthfully, alcohol was the hardest part to give up, but that only lasted the first month. As soon as I learned I could drink red wine, vodka, and tequila, (in moderation) the quest was on to make skinny cocktails and those were like heaven to me. So this is some diet huh? NO. It’s a lifestyle. I made bread with almond and coconut flour too. I still don’t eat bread, but every now and then I get a craving for a muffin or some pancakes, so I’ll whip out the almond flour and go to my Pinterest board, where I have a plethora of delicious recipes.
Rarely does soda pass my lips and if it does, it’s diet and it's being used as a mixer. I drink water all day with either lemon juice (fresh, not from concentrate) and/or ice tea sweetened with Stevia. However, I cannot start my day without my bulletproof coffee, which I have been drinking since I learned how to make it way back at the beginning of this thing I call the caveman diet. For anyone who hasn’t heard me rant and rave about my coffee, here is how I make it. I do not use the expensive coffee that is normally associated with the name. I brew a regular cup of dark roast, and this is what goes in it before it gets whipped up in my Ninja blender.
- 1T grass-fed butter
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1 pkt of Pyure brand stevia (yes, I’m picky)
- A dash of Ceylon cinnamon
- A dribble of pure vanilla extract
That’s it! All of this gets put into my blender cup and whipped into a frenzy and poured into my coffee cup. It is rich and frothy, the oil gives me energy and keeps me full all morning. One cup is all I need and I drink water after that. Much research has been done on the benefits of MCT oil which is found in coconut oil, so I don’t go buying the expensive MCT oil by itself. I diet on a budget yall. I make it all work for me.
I also was able to get off of most of my prescriptions and now I only take two plus a handful of supplements. I take cranberry pills for urinary tract health, fish oil, turmeric, and fiber supplements because…well, I’m a woman. Nuff said. People with high blood pressure could benefit from this lifestyle and get off their medication. Diabetics too can benefit, the diet is low glycemic and so are all the natural sweeteners I use. My mood improved, along with my gut health. My joints weren’t as creaky (but they are getting there again the older I get.) Removing sugar and whole wheat was the thing that helped the most. Every time I “cheat” or slip and have one too many or decide I can’t live without sharing that decadent dessert, my joints scream at me the next day.
Since 2015, I have made the transition to keto, back to paleo again. To me, it is more sustainable and we need to do what works for us, right? The older I get, the more my attitude is to “eat for good health and worry less about trying to look like Kate Moss” (like I ever did). Unfortunately, bad knees and other health issues prevent me from the exercise I used to get, so I do what I can. “Movement is what counts”, “sitting is the new smoking”, and all those other idioms to me mean I have to get my exercise in small bursts throughout the day. Housework, playing pool with my dad, walking around every hour or so, (since I sit at the computer a lot) neck exercises I learned after my surgery, and a short walk around the park or neighborhood is what I can manage at the moment. Maybe once my right knee is replaced, that will change, but for now, I do what won’t injure me further.
So in summary, eating right, getting a little exercise, limiting alcohol, and taking the right supplements all worked together to improve my health, maintain my weight loss, and kept me in a more upbeat, positive frame of mind. I learned how to get to my optimum weight, stay there, and by the way, my lab work is always good. My doctors and specialists all approve of my lifestyle, agree it works for me the way I need it too, and even agree with my use of essential oils. I am monitored by my nephrologist because I have PKD (polycystic kidney disease), and he gives me an A+ at all my check ups. I was able to get off my antidepressant, and switched my antiviral medication to a supplement that does the same thing. You too could benefit from my lifestyle if you care to try.
Author’s note: The photo in my profile shows me on my very first cruise where I got the dream of a lifetime and swam with the dolphins in Cozumel.
To check out my Pinterest boards, go to https://pinterest.com/Kimberlysmy0267