After some research and hearing several trustworthy people swear by the paleo diet, I decided to make the switch a couple months ago. So far, it’s not the fat-burning marvel I hoped it would be; however, I’m sticking to it because the massive amounts of fresh food are making me feel pretty.
Like so many women, I struggle with body-image issues. Pair the intrinsic nightmare of being a teenage girl with having a Russian mother who points out even the tiniest weight gain and you’d be surprised that I bypassed developing an eating disorder in high school. I know Russian mothers who have had their daughters on a diet from age four. As extreme as American standards of beauty are, Russian standards are even more so.
For the most part, I like the way I look. I also really like the attention and completely undeserved privilege I am served on a regular basis. I’m not going to lie; being conventionally attractive is easy living.
But even though 90% of me is secure with how I look, there’s that 10% that likes to repeat the Patrick Bateman mantra: “You can always be thinner. Always better-looking.” So when I found out that people who do a paleo diet just eat healthy food and work out all the time, I was sold.
So here’s the deal: You basically eat similarly to a caveman. Instead of making the list of all the things you can’t eat, I’m just going to tell you what you can eat (let the glass be half-full): fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, meat, fish and bacon! Some choose to eliminate caffeine (which I did) and alcohol (which I didn’t, because I’m me).
I still eat hummus because I like to break rules. I also give myself a cheat day every week where I gorge on gourmet cheese, because a life without truffle cheese is not a life worth living.
Instead of getting your carbs from bread, rice and pasta, you get your carbs from fruits and vegetables. You get your fat from meat and fish. You can also get your fat from bacon (which is the best part of this nutrition plan, in my opinion).
After about a week, I noticed I had so much energy. I didn’t miss coffee. My anxiety attacks subsided, and I had a strange urge to go to the gym every day. As the weeks progressed, I noticed I stopped feeling bloated, I no longer craved wheat products, and I even stopped smoking.
My friends keep saying my skin looks great (the most important part is the compliments), and honestly? They're right. I don’t have to blot my forehead as often as I used to. My forehead completely cleared up, actually. In fact, people have said that I'm glowing, even at nine in the morning.
Pretty much any regimen that will keep me looking better than most people is a regimen worth keeping. My proccessed-as-hell hair is softer and fuller, and I even noticed less breakage in my nails, which are growing faster.
Aside from all the physical benefits, I feel like I must add that the lifestyle change has affected me psychologically, as well. For instance, instead of snacking on potato chips, I snack on carrot sticks, which makes me feel better about my body. Whereas before I’d emotionally berate myself for eating all the chips, I’m now congratulating myself on making a smarter snacking choice.
I am in no way advocating paleo for everyone. Eat whatever you’d like. I’m just saying that this plan has opened up a whole new way of living for me that is more active, health-conscious and happy, and it just happens to make me feel pretty freakin’ gorgeous.
Have you tried a paleo diet? Is there another one I should know about that made you feel awesome?