If you read my last blog post, you’ll know why and how I switched to the Paleo lifestyle, and how I try to maintain it. However, as I mentioned briefly, it is sometimes hard to follow to the letter, and this blogpost is going to try and show where I bend some of the guideline – and why it doesn’t matter so much.
Firstly, I’m going to repeat that I‘m not totally convinced that the paleo lifestyle is much more beneficial for a general person than just eating a balanced and healthy diet. However, it does work for me as someone who tries to eat clean, try different recipes, and generally switch up my diet and embrace a less processed meal plan. This belief means that I don’t believe many of the paleo “truths” that are currently in vogue around the internet – the health benefits of sweet potatoes over white potatoes being just one example of this. I therefore probably have less of a “fear” of breaking some of the guidelines of the Paleo lifestyle than people who truly believe in all of the science behind them. For a great website which discusses the Paleo lifestyle, check out NerdFitness.com which has an amazing introduction and discussion of the various components of the diet – something which I’ve relied on quite a bit and referred to before deciding to make the transition.
If anyone follows me on Instagram, they’ll soon see that I’m a very keen runner (if not a hugely talented one) and a fitness freak. I normally run at least 40 miles per week, split over five days, and on top of that do 3 strength sessions of an hour at least, and go bouldering at my local centre once or twice. This means I need a LOT of food! I eat to fuel myself, but I also love food and love experimenting – something that the Paleo lifestyle allows me a lot of freedom to do.
However, I switched to Paleo long after starting to run long distances (long runs at the moment vary from 15-21 miles every Sunday) and one thing about long distance running is NUTRITION. Normally for runs of anything up to about 12 miles (basically anything under 1 hour 40), I don’t think too much about nutrition or carb-loading in particular, I just follow my normal diet. Nevertheless, I have always carbed up the morning of a long run with a huge bowl of fruit and porridge, and I haven’t been able to replicate this successfully with anything Paleo. So, for the moment, I do always eat oats on a Sunday morning before my long run to ensure success and no stomach-upsets half-way through!
Another thing that I have to highlight is that I am a college student with a limited budget who has to make do with the things she finds either in Aldi or online cheaply. For this reason, I often settle for free-range but not grass-fed meat, because I just can’t afford it. This expense is also a big factor when I’m considering protein powders. I would love to be able to afford a paleo (a plant-based) protein powder, however due to my need for a ton of protein I made the decision to take whey protein supplements from MyProtein, because it is the cheapest that I can find. It is DEFINITELY not Paleo, but the lifestyle is all about balance, and this is my way of settling for a minimally processed diet in many other areas.
Being a student means that my social life often revolves around parties, clubbing and alcohol. However, unlike some Paleo followers, I don’t have the alcohol issue – because of other lifestyle factors, I made the decision about 6 months ago to have a 1-drink maximum, and this has now been limited to a 1-drink max only on the most special occasions. I feel like I can still have a ton of fun with my friends, even if the lack of alcohol does often lead me to being sleepy and going home earlier than my friends hyped-up on the sugary mixers and vodka. Social occasions like these often don’t have a Paleo drink equivalent, so my only issue with this is that I will end up drinking processed ‘diet drink’ with no added sugar (which are also not Paleo) as otherwise I get super bored with just water.
I’m a Paleo baker, but my housemates are not Paleo and are slightly reluctant to try some of my creations (keep tuned for updates and recipes in the future). I will switch things up from time to time and bake using regular flours and sugar – principally for the cost and to keep my housemates happy! However, all these things tend to be vegan as one of my housemates follows a plant-based diet, so I still get to be pretty creative with my recipes!
Reading through these gives the impression that I don’t really follow a Paleo lifestyle 100%, but I’m not claiming to. As my blog develops, I want my followers to get the clearest picture of me, the truest picture of how I eat and exercise and who I am. I’ve written a bit about how I feel that social media is both a curse and a blessing in this respect, and I am trying to mitigate this from the outset – no one is perfect, least of all me. If you want to follow me on this imperfect exploration (I won’t call it a journey as I’m not really sure that I’m going anywhere yet!), drop me a like or a follow on Instagram where I will be posted when I update this blog with recipes, more posts of just random thoughts, or my weekly workout plans.