→ To answer all your questions about Paleo, we created Your Guide to Paleo
I’ve surveyed the people who have subscribed to the mailing list to ask them about their success story with a Paleo diet. I received great answers and will post a few of them here. I would like to thank everybody who were kind enough to share their experience to help inspire others.
Understanding the science behind the diet is one thing, but hearing about real-life people who’ve achieved success with dietary and lifestyle modifications is often much more motivating.
Here are the questions I’ve asked:
- How did you hear about the Paleo diet?
- For how long have you been following the diet?
- What were the biggest challenges in switching to and following the diet?
- What changes/progress did you experience as a result of following the diet? How long before you started seeing those changes?
- What does your version of the diet looks like? What do you eat on an average day?
Keep in mind that these stories reflect specific points in time. As the stories are read into the future, the people associated with them will probably have been on the diet for much longer.
If you have a story that you’d like to share with the rest of the Paleo community, feel free to contact me and let me know about it.
I heard about the Paleo diet through the Crossfit Gym. I had just joined Crossfit on October 1st and on October 24th they held a Paleo challenge. We were to eat Paleo for one month, tracking all our meals and workouts and turning them in weekly for points. Points were deducted for “cheat” meals or snacks. We all had a professional body fat test on the first day of the challenge.
I am 5’9″ and 52 years old and a size 12 most of my life–not fat, not thin. However, I had been fighting a significant and discouraging weight gain around my waist and thighs that happens a lot to women at this age. With the intense workouts at Crossfit I had dropped 7 pounds in 3 weeks even though my eating habits had not changed.
However, the Paleo challenge has changed my entire approach to eating and even though the contest ended November 24th, (and I won), I can’t quit eating Paleo.
First, I noticed within a week that I felt better and that my clothes were fitting better, particularly around my waist. When the trainer came back after four weeks, she was amazed at my progress. In four weeks of Paleo, I had lost 3.6% body fat and 2 1/4″ around my waist. I’m seeing my youthful figure coming back. That is exciting!
Second, throughout my entire adult life I have suffered noticeable hunger pangs and would get irritable and nauseous if I didn’t eat meals on time. I also had blood sugar lows that made me feel lethargic and sometimes it would drop so low I had to take a short nap. No more. Eating Paleo I found I can even skip a meal–no problem. I have more energy, less hunger.
My biggest challenge in following a Paleo diet has been coming up with meals that don’t have pastas, breads, potatoes, and rice as part of the meal. I love cooking and have always prepared home cooked healthy meals. Eating vegetables was not a problem, but now I found myself preparing 2 or 3 different vegetables in place of grains and pasta. This was a new thing for me–getting full on vegetables. I always thought I needed food with substance like potatoes and bread to feel satisfied, but meat and vegetables do the trick. It is also challenging eating out, but it CAN be done. I found most restaurants very willing to substitute more vegetables in place of the baked potato, etc.
My average Paleo day looks like this:
Breakfast – 2 egg omelet (from cage free chickens) with red and green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and a bit of feta cheese for extra flavor. 1 fresh pear and a few fresh blueberries.
Snack – 1/2 apple, handful of walnuts
Lunch – Spinach and red leaf lettuce salad with 1/4 avocado, 1/2 tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, red and green pepper, sliced turkey (or chunked chicken breast or tuna).
Snack – pecans or almonds
Dinner – Broiled blackened salmon, steamed zuchini and summer squash, steamed green beans, small salad.
During the day I drink only water or unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
Paleo has changed my life. I eat smarter now. I am hyper-aware of carbohydrates and am amazed at how many carbohydrates are in a typical American diet.
I googled MS diet after I found out about leaky gut & discovered Prof Loren Cordain.
I started in July 2010.
When I first started I followed the Paleo Diet for MS as Prof cordain advocated, I made it to day 20 & ccraved egg & butter so bad I added them back in. I soon discovered I had a food intolerance to dairy & egg and have since cut them totally out. My biggest challenge since then is boredom, I lack variety in my diet due to multiple food issues (leaky gut).
I have begun to lose weight again after hitting a plateau which lasted around 3 months. My mental function is also better as is sleep. It took about 3 months before I saw any real progress.
I eat meat & veg 3 times a day & snack on cashews, any leftover cooked meat & a little fruit. The vegetables I eat are, broccoli, green & yellow beans, sweet potato, lettuce, spinach (little bit), celery, snow peas,cucumber, pumpkin, rhubarb and a few others when in season. I grow lots of my own produce so I eat what I pick. I also eat quite a bit of coconut oil and lard, I love to cook with lard, and sometimes have olive oil. I use some fresh herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chilli, oregano and basil (when I can get it). I cheat with rice crackers sometimes and have had a little oatmeal a couple of times in the last month or so. I also make the occasional batch of gluten, dairy & egg free pancakes eat them even though they are pretty yuk, I often add carob powder fpr a different taste but any sugar gives me terrible tummy pain and poor sleep. I drink heaps of water and am having decaf with rice milk at the moment, or hot water with citric acid, due to reacting to histamines in food, I would normally drink black tea and or coffee.
I am an elite cyclist (category 1) who has been interested in the paleo diet for a while and finally motivated myself to try it in my off season which convinced me to continue the diet and see how things progress into my winter training. So far I am very impressed and will continue with the diet into my 2011 season which is looking to be my best yet.
They say that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” This is a prime example.
From a couple cycling friends who mentioned it in passing, and recently I obtained a copy of the book, “Paleo Diet for Athletes.”
For about 2/3 months now.
Breakfast. I am a huge fan of breakfast and most of the time when I am training at home I like to make a huge pile of waffles with two fried eggs on top smothered in butter and syrup. Of course, this is far from the paleo diet. I also found it very hard to give up dairy. I love milk and can drink a gallon a day, especially in the hot summers here in Maryland. I have found that Almond milk is quite tasty and quickly satisfies my dairy cravings. I have been experimenting with Paleo pancake recipes and have finally made something very tasty that actually holds together when I flip them. My co workers are even asking me for the recipe.
Another very hard part is sticking to the diet when out of the house. Many times, we will have free food in our break room at work. Things like free pizza or someone will be making some grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s very hard to pass those foods up when you staring at a salad with cold chicken. I like salads of course, but the desire is there to cheat just a little. It’s all worthwhile though when you stand on the scale and see you have a lost another 2 pounds or when you can ride for 8 hours a day, three days in a row and still have energy for efforts in the last two hours.
Now, I was not overweight when I started the diet but by professional cycling standards, I needed to loose some pounds to increase my strength to weight ratio. I studied a lot of anthropology in college and earned a minor in anthropology with a major in Env Studies. The logic of the diet made complete sense to me from all my anthropology courses.
I weighed 155 pounds when I started after my off season (race weight of 153). Today I weighed in at 144. In two months I have lost about 10 pounds of fat and gained more lean muscle.
I train at high volumes, sometimes over 30 hours a week on the bike and 7-8 hour rides outside in the nasty maryland winter weather are becoming a norm for me. I have never been able to train at such a high volume before. I feel that I recover faster and have more endurance than every before and I am only half way through my winter training season. I can say that my muscular physique have changed as well with more defined abdominal muscles and more lean muscle growth in my legs. I have never looked so good and felt so great. Even after a 8 hour ride, I will walk through the door with a smile on my face.
Today I have a 6 hour ride scheduled. This morning I had some protein pancakes with chocolate chips ( I usually use blueberries so forgive me about the chocolate!), two eggs sautéed in grass fed butter and garlic, with a huge plate of sautéed yellow and green peppers along with red onions. My lunch will be eaten on the bike, I love Laura Bars which are all paleo and taste sooooo good. And when I get home I will have a recovery meal. Whey protein powder mixed with applesauce, a banana, some baked potatoes with lots of raisins or oatmeal with raisins if I have been riding in the cold. After that has setteled my stomach I will have another meal with a lot of animal protein like chicken and fish with a huge side of veggies (broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, etc.).
When at work I bring a huge salad with a lot of veggies and usually a plate of left over meat. All my coworkers are super jealous and to quote one “Man, I feel more healthy just sitting here watching you eat that!”
I first heard about the Paleo Diet at the gym (Crossfit Instinct) where I do CrossFit. I next heard about it in The book Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.
I’ve followed the diet for about six months loosley and four months quite faithfully.
The biggest challenges were giving up grains and sugar. I was sold on the health benefits of “whole” grains. My dietary use of grains fueled my addiction to chocolate and other sugar based foods. I trusted seemingly credible medical professionals that touted whole grains as a healthy and needede food source.
I took a thirty day “Paleo Challenge” at the gym where I work out. My primary fitness program is CrossFit. I was very faithful to Paleo eating, a requirement for the challenge. In thirty days I lost 10% body fat. Everything else in my lifr stayed the same: work-out regimen, sleep, etc. The only change was eating Paleo faithfully. I won the challenge!
My eating plan is simple: Quality and clean animal protein each meal with vegetables cooked or raw and some fruit-usually quick frozen and organic if possible. My protein is graas fed beef, free range chicken, eggs, turkey, pork, bacon once in a while and all sorts of fish and sea food; try to keep a good variety going each day. I substitute some meals with Whey protein shakes with fruit, veggies, raw and rfee ranging chicken eggs and some olive oil. I snack on various nuts and seeds. I eat faithfully Paleo 85-90% of the time. I splurge on dark chocolate or Breyers ice cream occaisonally. If I drink alcohol it is gluten free beer.
I heard about the diet from a friend whose daughter had very severe cancer but she is now cancer free 4+ years. She is getting a PHD in Colorado and she and her husband are very good friends with Lorain Cordain. I have had 2 melanomas and have been striving to keep them at bay with diet and low stress and I have osteoporosis also which I want to combat with diet.
I started the diet 8 months ago.
The hardest thing I found about the diet was snacks. I had been gluten free for 2 years with wheat sensitivity. I had switched to rice and corn foods and flour and quinoa etc so with the paleo diet I had to give those up. I probably was addicted to grains! But now I eat nuts, fruits and veggies, and pieces of jerky or other meat as my snacks and I’m satisfied.
One of the first benefits I found was that I was not starving most of the time. I also didn’t get mood swings and low blood sugar feelings. I still eat a lot during the day but I could go with out food also and not hit bottom. I found I had plenty of energy and my work outs felt stronger than before. I didn’t need to loose weight (I was 5’10” 153-156 lbs) and in very good shape, but now I weigh 138-139 lbs with very little effort. I never could stay at 145 before with out being starving! This is the easiest I have maintained this weight and still eat all I want! I have also found that any joint pain I had has subsided quite a bit…unless I eat potatoes!
I started to see the above changes with in the first few weeks!
I work out (either a hike of 4-5 miles up hill or 1 hour of yoga) then start my breakfast with fruit…an apple, some prunes, a pear, or some pineapple for instance. Then I have a soft boiled egg and maybe some turkey bacon or sliced turkey. Then I make a cold or warm soup in a vita mix blender that includes ground up flax seed, coconut oil, tsp of powdered greens, ½ avocado, some veggies like celery, carrots, zucchini, and cucumber chopped in pieces, some spinach leaves and some raw kale leaves. I sometimes put in hemp protein powder also. Add warm or cold water and blend…makes a nice big bowl of soup. I also have a cup of coffee with a little milk (3/4 decaf).
I snack on some nuts (pecan, walnuts, almond, filbert, pistachios pumpkin seeds and raisin mix) and green tea.
Lunch is usually a homemade soup of beef or turkey/chicken stock and lots of veggies and some meat, and a salad of tuna and veggies or chicken and veggies, or a chef type salad. I always make sure to have plenty of meat in the salad.
Snack of a banana or apple with almond butter and some nut mixture.
Dinner is venison steaks, or roast turkey/chicken, or fish, or stews etc, with a salad and at least 2 veggies. I might have a date or a prune or small piece of dark chocolate after dinner with a decaf coffee. Occasionally I have a glass of red wine before dinner.
I feel that not only is my eating much cleaner and healthier, but it’s also informed other aspects of my life. I’ve had more energy to tackle lots of the little projects and that have started to make a difference around my home, with my family and at work. I wasn’t looking for it, but it really has turned into a lifestyle for me.
I heard about Paleo through my wife who got started in Crossfit. After I started Crossfit I began to think more seriously about dietary changes. I rolled my eyes the first time I heard about Paleo but the more I read and talked about it with people the more I became convinced it was the way to go.
I’ve only been following the diet about 3 months now. I got serious about it when our Crossfit gym had a diet challenge for the months of September and October. I had been reading about it and “trying” it for a about a month before that.
Biggest challenge was getting my head around the idea that saturated fat wasn’t bad for me and that it was fine to eat it. It was actually a fairly easy diet to follow once I committed myself to doing it. Cutting out grains and sugars really wasn’t that hard. It actually made it easier because it cut out a million mental negotiations about whether or not I could have a little of this or that. The answer was no and I was able to focus on the food that is actually good for me, and that I liked. Even though I started out with paleo mostly to lose weight I began to see it more in terms of a healthy lifestyle and that made it very easy to stay with.
The biggest changes have been in body composition. I lost about 25lbs in the first two months and am now down about 30lbs. I’d like to lose about 10lbs more. I won the diet challenge at our gym. The weight loss wasn’t super dramatic but is was steady and noticeable. Seeing success on that part of it also made it easier to keep it up. I also felt great, and still do (although I need to get more sleep each night).
I eat a little dairy – some feta cheese on salads, a glass of whole organic milk from time to time. Our family gets milk delivered from a local dairy farm and I have to admit it tastes pretty good. I’ll have balsamic vinegar on salads. Stuff like that. I try to keep my carbs below 50 grams per day – bacon and eggs for breakfast, sometimes a fritata with various veggies in it, meat and salad for lunch. I dress the salad, and meat, with a mango-peach salsa. That’s probably my biggest source of carbs. Snacks tend to be hard boiled eggs, tuna salad (not always with a paleo mayo), walnuts, almonds, the usual stuff. For dinner it’s meat and veggies, or salad. I tend to not eat much fruit right now. I’ve really gotten into looking at the paleo food blogs and trying out new dishes. My wife loves that I’ve pretty much taken over the cooking. One of the first paleo dishes I tried was the beef bourguignon from this blog. It was great. I’m going to make it again for our Crossfit gym’s holiday party. We kept Thanksgiving pretty much paleo, although we did offer a couple of our traditional dishes like mashed potatoes and a sweet potato souffle that our family and friends have grown to expect. I drink water and coffee.
I heard about primal/paleo on the internet when I was searching for low carb recipes.
I started low carb 10 years ago and lost 80 pounds. I realize now that I was following low carb more like primal/paleo though and didn’t realize it. No cheeses, dairy, and processed food and what have you. I sort of went away from it for a while and slowly began building the weight up again along with medical problems (just recently). I have just recently gone back to it because of severe medical problems (vertigo and migraines). Since I began following it strictly over the past few weeks all the vertigo and migraines have disappeared. I have since found out I have a SEVERE allergy to all forms of dairy so that makes it even easier to live this lifestyle! I also got my husband’s blood pressure down from being very high (he’s a trucker) from a 3 month health certificate and have gotten it so low that he was just this year approved for a 2 year certificate!
Giving up cheese and dairy which is no longer an issue.
I had lost 80 pounds several years ago but being back on it strictly I’ve already lost 6 pounds. My body has tightened up, my vertigo and migraines are gone, my body lost its puffy look, I feel healthy, happy and have a TON of energy. The changes happened drastically, like overnight.
Eating this way has also decreased and almost stopped the ringing in my ears. It seems milk allergy causes inflammation in the ear tubes and since I’ve eliminated it the ringing has all but stopped and decreases every day. I can even hear better!
Breakfast is usually some sort of meat cubed up with a pile of veggies drizzled in olive oil. Lunch is leftovers or a salad with meat and home made salad dressing. Dinner last night was cauliflower mashed potatoes with cubed chicken simmered in all natural, dairy free portobella mushroom soup poured over the taters (it was DELICIOUS!). We utilized spaghetti squash in place of pasta. My husband loves to cook and he loves primal/paleo. He says to me, “Let me stick the meat on the fire and feed you.” I love it. hehehe The other night we had brussel sprouts in bacon and home made rotissiere style chicken. Desserts are coconut milk smoothies with fruit or fruit heated up in a pan with cinnamon with an almond crunchy topping that I brown and crisp in the oven but we don’t really eat alot of dessert any more. We are just so extremely satisfied by the food we eat it’s not even necessary.
Photo: Top of Mt. Evans
Articles and information on this website may not be copied, reprinted, or redistributed without written permission.
All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the author, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries or health issues.