And so it begins

Happy New Year!

I’ve never been one to get excited about a new year. To me, it’s just another day. It’s like when people ask “Do you feel older?” on your birthday. (No, I feel exactly the same as I did yesterday, thanks.) Because of this, I’ve never really made a resolution, much less kept one. Maybe I’m getting old or maybe I’m just bored, but this year I decided to give the whole New Year’s Resolution thing a try. And to make sure I keep it, I decided to dedicate a blog to it.

We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat,” but how many of us take it seriously? I never have. I have been blessed (or maybe cursed) with good genetics and a quick metabolism. Because of this, I have, for the most part, been able to eat whatever I want without having to exercise and without external consequence. Outwardly, I’ve always been the picture of perfect health, but looks can be deceiving. I have constantly struggled with fatigue, allergies/colds, acne and mild depression. I always assumed that these were individual, unrelated problems and I treated them accordingly. It never occurred to me that they were merely symptoms of  a greater problem: my lousy diet.

A few months ago, I began reading about the Paleo¹ lifestyle. I first came across it on a barefoot running blog and decided to do some research of my own. Adherents claimed it was a miracle cure for obesity, acne, high blood pressure, gout, fatigue and more! I was both impressed (these were real people writing about their experiences) and skeptical. Could changing my eating habits solve all of my issues? Was it really that simple? I decided to give it a try.

I admit, Paleo lived up to its promises. My skin cleared up. My allergies/constant cold disappeared. I slept better (but found I needed less). I had more, consistent energy. Life was good. However, while Paleo does seem to work well for some, I found it to be unsustainable for me. No grains. No dairy. No beans. No potatoes. No sweeteners of any kind. Ever. Forever.

While I knew Paleo wasn’t my answer, I didn’t want to just give up and fall back into old habits. I liked my clear skin, improved health, and increased energy and didn’t want to give up those benefits. There had to be something in between my old SAD (Standard American Diet)² ways and Paleo. But what?

I found my inspiration in two blogs: The Gracious Pantry (http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/) and 100 Days of Real Food (http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/). The idea is simple: eat real foods instead of the sugar-heavy, low-fat, highly-processed, chemical-laden crap that the food industry passes off as, well, food. In reality,  the closer something is to its natural state, the better it is for you. It seems so obvious! And hopefully this new lifestyle³ lives up to Paleo in how in affects my health.

So, starting today and continuing through 12:01 a.m. on April 10th, I resolve to eat only real foods (see “Real Food Rules” under Other Stuff). Also, to jump-start this new lifestyle, I am participating in The Gracious Pantry’s 14-day No Sugar Challenge (minus the daily smoothie. I hate smoothies. They are sad excuses for milkshakes.). For the next 14 days, I am cutting all added sweeteners, natural or otherwise. And, of course, eating only real foods.

Here goes nothing!

_______________________

1. http://thepaleodiet.com/

2. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/20110724_SAD_Timeline.html

3. I use the term “lifestyle” instead of “diet” because people tend to think of diets as short-term changes made to achieve a desired target weight. For me, these next 100 days are simply the beginning of permanent changes to my eating habits with my overall health, not weight, as the focus.

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1 January 2012. Just Enough.

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