Trying out Paleo
For the past month or so, I’ve been largely following the Paleo Diet. If you’re not familiar, this diet is also known as the Caveman Diet and is based on the concept that we should only eat food that are ancient ancestors would have been able to eat. This means no processed foods, refined sugars, dairy products, grains, soy, or legumes.
I originally learned of Paleo from my brother who was active in CrossFit. As I’ve discovered from reading several Paleo blogs, there is a close association between the CrossFit and Paleo communities. When my brother first told me about this plan a few years ago I thought it sounded way too restrictive and boring! Then, as my own diet has morphed through diabetic pregnancies and a return to MDI as my “pump vacation” became permanent, I found myself eating less and less processed foods, fewer grains, and little dairy.
So, I decided to try Paleo from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. I wanted to give it a fair shot to see how deprived I felt and how my blood sugar control responded. The only foods I’ve decided to eat that aren’t technically on the Paleo Diet is peanuts (they’re a legume, not a nut), potatoes (although they’re becoming more acceptable in the Paleo community), and the occasional glass of wine or beer!
In short, this diet is perfect for me! I don’t feel deprived at all. In fact, it’s strangely liberating to abstain from certain foods (cheese!) rather than try to moderate my intake. My meal planning is simplified as most dinners are just a protein source and vegetables. Luckily, I love eggs and there’s a seemingly endless number of ways they can be prepared, so typically at least one meal a day includes eggs. Snacks tend to be nuts, fruit, or vegetables.
My blood sugar control has benefitted too. Several of my meals do not require me to inject any insulin and I’m starting to increase my Lantus just a bit, so that it covers these high protein meals better. The stability of my blood sugars has been the most exciting for me. Yesterday I had 6-7 ounces of chicken with a light Paleo approved sauce for lunch. A couple hours postprandial, my blood sugar was 116 mg/dl. I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t have an afternoon snack. Another 2 hours later, my blood sugar was 104 mg/dl. By eating more protein, I’m staying fuller longer and therefore not snacking and having to bolus those extra times each day.
Other positive things I’ve noticed is more strength, I’m able to work out harder and more easily, especially strength exercises like push-ups. I also feel that inflammation has gone down in my body. I’m more flexible and leaner. It’s only been a month, but I’m already thinking of how to make Paleo holiday foods!