I decided to become paleo about one year ago, during summer '16, right before my 25th birthday. It's something that has really changed my life. I have not weighed myself in months, but I know that I have lost about four pant sizes in terms of my waist getting that much smaller. I know that, even without attending CrossFit very consistently, I am very proud of how my body and my abs are looking. I'd like to try and explain and uncover why paleo dieting is so important to me.
The essence of paleo, as I understand it, is to eat in a way that makes logical sense for our bodies. If you were to go into a field and try to grab some grain growing in the field and eat it just like that, the barbs on the exterior skin of the grain would hurt your body and attack your stomach and irritate your insides. Nature designs those grain-barbs as a natural protection for the growing plant, so animals won't come and eat it. The logic of paleo says that if grain is so bad for you in a natural state like that, then it probably is also bad for you in any form, no matter what kind of processing and cooking you do to it to put it in an edible form.
So paleo dieters are avoiding grain, avoiding processed food, and avoiding things that are generally bad for the body. I remember when my CrossFit coach first explained paleo to me. He was like, "Avoid processed food." And I was like, "Isn't cooking a process?"
It's funny becuase in a way that's true. Cooking is a process, especially when you do things like add a lot of excess sugar to food or extract sugar from the fiber in fruit or things like that. I guess paleo is not this absolutely ideological pure return to nature and eating food purely as it is found in nature. If you want and are into that kind of thing, there are blogs on the internet about how to be paleo in terms of making your own shampoo or soap or toothpaste from natural materials instead of buying it from the store, but that's not an extreme that I am ready to go to--not now or not probably ever. I take pleasure most especially in avoiding grain and avoiding added sugar, the two main nutritional culprits that I feel contribute to the epidemic of American obesity.
Something that I feel is cool about paleo and that I feel is only stated implicitly, but never explicitly, on paleo blogs, is that from the standpoint of this paradigm, not only are a lot of people overweight, but even people who have what you would call a normal or healthy weight are still also visibly suffering from the effects of grain-induced inflammation. It's like if you were to eat something that was outright spoiled or poisonous, your face and your body would obviously swell up and stuff right, as your bod tries to fight off the toxins. Well that is what grain and sugar do to you on a minor level. Think about it: when you look at people who are really, really athletic and fit with low body fat, their faces are super chiseled. The rest of us are on a gradient of different levels of inflammation compared to that.
I feel like being paleo successfully is probably my biggest success of the past year. That, or getting into Georgetown and passing the GMAT. I've heard it said that ninety percent or more of diets fail. I guess I've gotten really lucky that I have found a diet that works for me, then. A diet that makes so much sense. Something I take a lot of pleasure in right now is cooking recipes out of the cookbook "Paleo Takeout." I don't recommend this book for beginners but only for intermediate or advanced level paleo people. The author is kind of a non-traditional, cavalier paleo guy. He eats rice, etc. So you will want to get a feel for the diet yourself first and know what your personal boundaries and non-negotiable limits are as far as what you will and will not eat. Then you can go forward and interpret what he says as you will.