The paleo lifestyle means different things to different people. For Laura Epps, it’s meant freedom…
Laura has struggled with her weight since high school. But after going paleo two years ago, she’s finally been able to free herself from constant dieting, questionable weight loss pills, and killer cardio routines.
In her insightful post below, Laura talks about why diets are a trap we set for ourselves, and how to break free following the paleo lifestyle.
A busy wife, blogger, and mother of two small boys, thank you so much Laura for taking the time to write this wonderful post that’s loaded with great insight as well as tips for paleo pros and newbies alike!
Be sure and check out Laura’s blog and awesome recipes at Paleo in Comparison. Thanks again Laura!
I have been through a lot in regards to my health and weight over the last 12 years, and I have learned so much over the last two years that I found I have a million things to say about it all!
But I thought this would be a great place to talk about fighting the “diet” mentality. It is something that has been on my mind recently, and I know it’s something so many people who want to switch to the Paleo lifestyle struggle with–including myself.
In our modern society and culture, we are programmed to believe that we must diet to lose weight. Every new weight loss program out there calls itself, “The (insert clever name here) Diet.” Everyone is on a diet of a different color.
The idea of dieting is not inherently bad. Even with the Paleo lifestyle, if we wish to lose weight we must control our portions. We can’t eat all the sugar we want, even if it’s natural. Some people must eat fewer carbs than others to make the scale move. No matter what any weight loss program out there says, there will have to be restrictions to lose weight. The problem with the diet mentality is that we have tricked ourselves into believing that healthy eating must only be temporary. The word diet implies that once we reach our superficial goal of looking a certain way we can go back to eating how we want.
Over the course of my short 31-year lifetime I have been on a lot of diets. Everything you can imagine. What attracted me to Paleo was that it wasn’t a diet. I was losing weight, but it wasn’t promoted as a weight loss program. I would read articles and blogs and I discovered that this was a way of life for people. There were people who started Paleo to lose weight, but there were many people who ate Paleo just because it was good for them. They were already thin and fit, but they chose this lifestyle anyway. That blew my mind! I knew there was something to it because I noticed the difference in my own body, but it was foreign to me that people would choose to eat healthy for life, not just to hit a weight on the scale.
As someone who struggled with weight, food addictions, and eating disorders for years, I didn’t find true freedom until I realized that how I eat is not about looking a certain way or weighing a certain amount. How I eat is about fueling my body as best I can. Paleo gave me the tools I needed to find that freedom. It helped me form a healthy relationship with food. I finally learned what it felt like to sit down to a meal and not have every bite be an internal emotional struggle.
I have adopted the Paleo lifestyle because I know how I feel after living this way. I have felt the effects and I have no desire to go back. However, I would be lying if I said I don’t constantly fight the diet mentality. It is engrained in us. The more mainstream Paleo becomes I see people saying things like, “I’m on the Paleo diet,” or “I’m trying this Paleo diet.” I cringe when I see or hear it! I love that people are curious about it, and that they are going to try it; but if we see it as a diet, we’ve entirely missed the point. Paleo is a lifestyle in the truest sense of the word. It’s not just about eating certain foods. It’s about knowing where those foods came from and how they are prepared. It’s about giving our bodies the proper fuel to accomplish our day to day tasks with adequate energy and brain power. It’s about being active in a way that is more natural for our bodies, and not subscribing to modern machine exercise. It’s about connecting with nature like our pre-historic ancestors and realizing that we were created to be outdoor beings who consume whole foods as often as possible.
I am the first to admit that in our modern American society, eating and living Paleo is not easy. It is not normal. It is not convenient. We will never live it 100%. That’s impossible. But, we’re committed. We want to live this lifestyle to the best of our ability, so how do we fight the diet mentality that creeps its way in from time to time?
I’m a normal person. I’m not a Crossfit athlete. I work out at a normal gym with my own routines. I am a wife and homeschooling mother of two boys. With blogging, recipe testing, church, music practice, karate class, and a husband who travels I understand what it’s like to try and live this lifestyle with a busy life–it’s not easy! I want to give you some tools that have helped me tremendously. Implementing these three things into my life have helped me stay committed, and helped me get through those tough moments when I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits.
First, we must change our focus. Our culture places too much importance on physical appearances and very little on health. As a result, we ourselves tend to do the same thing, which is why we stop eating healthy when our scale or pant size reaches a certain number. We must remember that health is the reason we choose to live this lifestyle. We can be thin yet still be unhealthy, tired, and inefficient. We eat this way to better function in our lives. To have energy. To be more focused on our tasks. To enjoy food without negative physical ramifications. Ultimately, no matter what size we are, we live Paleo to FEEL GOOD.
Second, we must create a steady routine in our kitchen. That means different things for different people, depending on your lifestyle. We need to know what foods we enjoy and keep them stocked. It might mean weekly routine grocery trips, making food lists, meal plans, and food prep. It takes four to six weeks to develop a habit. Commit to a kitchen plan for six weeks, and you will find that at the end of the six weeks it has become second nature. That is the ultimate goal. After two years, Paleo is second nature to me. It’s just the way I live, but it took a lot of commitment and planning at the beginning to keep me focused.
Lastly, we must accept that we will never be perfect, and that’s ok! So many people give up after a bad week or two. Things get crazy. Life gets in the way. We don’t need to be looking for excuses to eat a giant delivery pizza and brownies for dinner, but if that happens, forgive yourself, and move on. As much as I believe in the Paleo lifestyle, I also understand that we live in a modern world. Also, as a cook, I believe all foods are delicious and should be enjoyed responsibly from time to time. For me, that means the occasional gluten free foods I love –chips and salsa, gluten free pizza and store bought coconut milk ice cream. I don’t advocate eating non-Paleo foods often–especially for those with food aversions–but once a week I enjoy a gluten free treat meal that isn’t entirely Paleo. We need to enjoy our vacations, and the occasional special event without guilt. Pushing aside the guilt, and enjoying the occasional treat or accepting the occasional slip-up allows us to get back on the wagon more quickly. When Paleo is a lifestyle, the treats and slip-ups don’t derail us because we appreciate that regular healthy eating is what best fuels our lives, and giving it up permanently isn’t an option.
The Paleo lifestyle is all about getting back to our ancestral roots–living a holistic, active, healthy life. In today’s world that requires some balance and a little more work, but the pay-off is incredible! Dig yourself out of that diet mentality and fully commit to a life of health and wholeness. You will thank yourself!
SUPERWOMAN MOCHA LATTE RECIPE
As a busy homeschooling mom I don’t have much time in the mornings to make a big breakfast. I struggled with breakfast for a long time until I discovered Bulletproof coffee. Loaded with healthy fats and calories, bulletproof coffee provides a quick nutrient rich breakfast you can have on the go! All of the healthy fats are very filling and it keeps me satisfied until lunch.
Here is the recipe for what I call my “Superwoman Mocha Latte.” SuperMAN for all the men out there. All of the healthy fats combined with the super food raw cacao, and power spices like cinnamon and turmeric make this so much more than just a cup of coffee.
*Note: This recipe is unsweetened, as I try to stay away from sugar as much as possible, but the addition of a bit of raw honey or coconut sugar would be delicious!
Superwoman Mocha Latte (for one large cup of coffee)
- 8-12 oz hot coffee
- 1-2 Tbs grass fed butter or ghee
- 1-2 Tbs MCT oil or coconut oil (I recommend MCT oil which is simply a concentrated form of medium train triglycerides–the beneficial fat in coconut oil).
- 1-2 Tbs full fat unsweetened canned coconut milk (or unsweetened coconut cream).
- 1 Tbs raw cacao (not cocoa– cacao loses all of it’s nutritional benefits when processed)
- Dash or two of ground cinnamon
- Dash or two of ground turmeric
Put all the ingredients into a blender (I just use a magic bullet), and blend until it lightens in color. It will pour out with a wonderfully frothy texture. You do not have to use a blender. Sometimes when I am in a rush, I just mix it well with a spoon; however, the cacao and spices can settle to the bottom if it sits for a while. The blender just mixes everything together more thoroughly and gives it the frothy texture. How much fat you use will depend on the size of your cup of coffee. I usually make closer to 12 oz of coffee, so I use more fat. This makes for a more filling meal. If you make only 8oz and use less fat, you may need to supplement the coffee with other foods.
Pour into your favorite coffee mug or reusable to-go cup and enjoy!
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