My Personal Journey to a Better Life
Real Health in a Real World
You may want to plan out a week or a couple days ahead and meal prep. Meal prepping will be your friend, and probably save you a lot of time. Dedicating one day, or half of a day per week to outlining meals, planning recipes, shopping for items and cooking meals may the best approach for you. When the initial hunger pains hit, having premade healthy food ready to eaten or warmed up will help curb the temptations to cheat or fall back on old habits. This can also eliminate some of the stress from the initial change in routine. Coming home from a long day at work and not knowing what to eat can be added stress which we want to avoid.
Keep reminding yourself that it gets better, your metabolism and appetite will change and adapt to your new diet and lifestyle. Many people who have given up grains have reported less hunger pains, and the ability to go longer periods without eating. I frequently have mornings where I don't eat breakfast at all, or will only eat breakfast and dinner. Sometimes I will have small snacks throughout the day instead of full meals, nuts, nut butter, beef jerky, olives, cucumbers and carrots, etc... You will have to experiment to see what works best for you, and the best advice I can give is to listen to your body. What is it telling you? Are you really hungry or is it just craving some sugar. Are you really hungry or just bored? Are you really hungry or maybe just thirsty? Over time you will be able to distinguish between real and fake signs of hunger.
This is where Gluten Free has become a fad…a Gluten Free Donut, or Paleo Donut, is still a donut. It still has sugars and processed carbs even if it is free of wheat flour. They should be considered as only a rare treat, not a daily staple. Here is an awesome blog post by one of my Health Heros Steph Gaudreau on why Paleo Donuts Suck.
From photography, to gardening, to martial arts, to technology and entertainment, we all need to relax and take time to enjoy things that make us happy. Here are some of my interests.
Another Paleo myth is that it is a diet void of any carbs. I hear this all of the time. That is not true at all. Yes we are reducing our carbohydrate intake, but we are still eating them. Instead of empty processed sugars and carbs, we are replacing them with nutrient dense sources of carbs that come packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Good carbohydrate substitutions will be sweet potatoes, plantains and squash for example.
Ok so you’ve decided to give them up for a trial period, but they have been a huge part of your diet and life up until now, so how do we do this? I wasn’t shy about telling you this is probably going to be the hardest part. With a couple quick google searches you can find all sorts of “Gluten Free” this and that, substitutions so to speak. While I believe these have their place in a healthy diet, I don’t necessarily believe “gluten free” bread is the answer. We have to remember that we are changing our approach to our eating habits. We are leaning away from processed multi-ingredient foods, to buying whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
If you’ve heard anything about Paleo, it’s probably this: No breads, pastas or cereals. Pretty much all grains are the no list. Along with eliminating and avoiding refined sugars and sweeteners, this is going to be tops on the list of difficult transitions. You may fight it, you may disagree with the reasons and the science, and to be honest, some people can tolerate grains very well. But many can’t and don’t even recognize the negative effects grain products are having on their body and its functions. Answer these questions honestly…after eating wheat or grain products, do you feel bloated? Do you feel tired often desiring a nap? Do you experience any digestion problems like gas? Do you become hungry within a couple hours after, possible moody and cranky if you don't eat something? You probably answered yes to at least one of these, and if you didn’t, you just may not have put the 2 together yet. Next time you eat a sandwich or a bowl of cereal, pay attention to what happens to your body shortly after and for the next 24 hours.
The information on this website is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is an opinion blog based on personal research and experimentation. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult with a licensed professional healthcare provider before undertaking any diet or lifestyle change.
WithorWithoutBacon Copyright 2015
Charlotte, NC United States
I've put together some great information on Wheat, Grains and their dietary effects on our bodies here. There is an abundance of scientific data pointing to our increased consumption of the modern wheat plant and other cereal grains as a major culprit in the rise in dietary based diseases and illnesses that our society is experiencing. Please check it out, and if you're somewhat convinced and would like to try a cereal/grain/gluten free approach to your diet you won't be disappointed. Some say "Oh I couldn't do that" or "I could never go without...", I hate those statements. How do you know you can't do something unless you try? And is giving up a particular food item or category for a short period really going to be the end of the world? You can always go back and eat it again. But let me ask you something, How long have you not felt "good"? How long have you been "unhappy", "overweight", or "ill"? Months? Years? Will going 20 or 30 days without something really be the end of the world for you? Probably not. Hopefully you are up for the challenge, and I promise it gets easier as the days go by.
You have to be careful with gluten free items, often times they have harmful ingredients in them to mimic the effects of gluten, or added sugars and salts to improve the taste. This goes against what we are trying to do. They are often more expensive, no more nutritious and sometimes less nutritious than their wheat-based alternative.
As your recipe database starts to fill up, remember that there is no law that breakfast has to be cereal, bagel, or a muffin. Eggs are fine, a salad is fine, and leftovers from dinner are fine. In fact, the more protein and fat you have for breakfast the less hungry you will be around late-morning/lunch time and your brain function may even increase. When I cook dinner, I usually make more than one serving. This is very convenient as I have a pre-made lunch or breakfast option waiting for me in my refrigerator. Leftover stuffed bell pepper for breakfast? Why not? Leftover Brussels Sprouts with bacon and an over-easy egg? Hell Yeah!
As I’ve mentioned, our bodies were designed to burn fat for energy, and to store sugar and carbohydrates as fat reserves to be used during periods of nutritional scarcity; winters, droughts, sickness, etc. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers, not bakers and pastry artists. They ate wild game, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and the occasional insect or worm. Wheat plants on the other hand are inedible in their natural form. It wasn’t until modern times when we developed the tools and knowledge to cultivate grains in mass quantity, and process them into an edible form. In the early stages, these were healthy grains. Wheat and rice were grown in fertile soils, they had an abundance of vitamins and minerals, and were arguably the reason our species was able to thrive and multiply in the astronomical numbers that it has. But over time, these grain plants have been reduced from a tall and proud 4 foot plant, to a little 2 foot plant filled with empty carbohydrates and harmful proteins.
Think exercise is a chore? Don't have time? No more feeling like a hamster in a wheel for hours on end. Get results with functional strength training.
Foods you should definitely be eating to those you should avoid at all costs. Get to know about Protein, good and bad Fats, and how to manage the very tricky Carbohydrate intake.
All pictures are property of withorwithoutbacon, jrsphotography, or have been used with permission, and may not be copied, printed or published without written consent.
A collection of recipes and guides to some of my favorite meals, sides and snacks. Real ingredients, satisfying and healthy.