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My Paleo Journey or: How I Stopped Eating Poison and Learned to Love Real Food
The nutrition challenge was something I was not looking forward to when I signed up for it. I tried eating Paleo last Fall for a bit, but after a couple weeks of eating SO MUCH broccoli and cauliflower, I honestly didn’t want to see another vegetable for a very long time. A VERY long time. Why, then, did I sign up for the challenge? I’m not too sure. But somewhere between stagnating WOD performance and my love for competition/goals brought me to reply to Becca’s announcement with a reluctant, “Yes.”
The best way for me to go forward is to describe my experience during the challenge chronologically. Before I do though, I need to define two things:
- Critical Moments- these actually did happen and were either benchmarks during my journey or seemingly critical moments to choose which path I would take: The path of Poison or the path of Paleo.
- Foodmares- these did not actually happen. These were dreams (or rather, nightmares) that plagued me throughout the competition. I spent so much time thinking about food in real life that I suppose my subconscious thought it would have a great time by watching me experience failure over and over and over again.
This is how my challenge played out:
Jan 10: Critical Moment #1. I’m a little late for an all-day training session at work. I slide into the room and take a seat near the door. What’s that smell? That sweet, glorious, chocolaty smell? I turn around me and spot it just a few feet away… Our instructor made some chocolate chip cookie brownies. Not just chocolate chip cookies (my personal kryptonite), but chocolate chip cookies infused with brownie goodness. Really, instructor?? You bring this for us to eat?? It’s 8am! Who eats this at 8am!? I try to focus and block the intoxicating aroma from seeping into my brain… first chance I got, I quickly moved to the other side of the room and staved the poison off the rest of the day with my veggies and spaghetti squash. A near catastrophy.
Jan 11: Foodmare #1. I’m at a Happy Hour with some coworkers and I’m downing my second whiskey and Coke when I suddenly remember about the challenge! I’ve already messed up and I’m only 2 days into it! How could I have already forgotten?!? … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
Jan 13: Critical Moment #2. My first restaurant. I was pretty skeptical to venture out into a world where I wouldn’t control how my food was cooked or know exactly everything that was put into it. But it was a friend’s birthday so I agreed to go out. Where did he choose? A Mexican restaurant, of course. I sat politely in my seat as I tried desperately to avert my eyes from the endless amount chips and queso on the table; trying to appear to have a great time when actually using all of my effort not to just reach out and take a chip. After asking for a gluten-free menu and talking to the manager about my 3 options (only 3 options?! This is 2012! Get with it people!), I settled on grilled steak and steamed veggies (No Butter please! No oils! JUST steak and veggies!). After being that guy, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it turned out. I went home satisfied and ate some cashews to get my fat in… maybe eating out isn’t a complete enemy after all!
Jan 15: Critical Moment #3. I discovered the GREATNESS that is Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. I got Well Fed in the mail and could barely hold in the excitement as I read the recipes for Cauliflower Rice, Zucchini Noodles, Chocolate Chili… everything looked so good and I got to cooking the first evening I had free. DELICIOUS. This book GOT ME THROUGH this challenge, and I highly recommend it!! So good!
Jan 23: Foodmare #2. I’m walking to my table at Corner Bakery when I realize I’m chewing on a roll! I quickly spit it out and am thankful for not swallowing so I can continue the challenge. I sit down and eat a couple bites of my salad just to realize *gasp!* There’s Ranch dressing on this salad! … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
Jan 27-29: Critical Moment #4. I was a leader for a Youth Retreat, and after some inspiration from Coach Extraordinaire, Becca, I decided to bring a cooler of food with me. By this point, I knew I could make it! I fought the urge to take part in chocolate chip pancakes, pizza, chips, soda and donuts. Sure, every single person on the retreat showered me with questions about this crazy thing I had decided to do, but I easily defeated them as I devoured my seasoned chicken and avocados. Those donuts have NOTHING on this!
Jan 31: Foodmare #3. I’m at a restaurant, happily eating some fried fish and French fries, dipping them in generous portions of Ranch dressing. Wait! The challenge! I’ve cheated! … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
Feb 1: Foodmare #4. I’m at a Burger King hungrily devouring some chicken strips. Oh crap! What have I done?!? … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
Feb 2: Foodmare #5. I take a slow bite of cake and really enjoy it as the sugar collides with my taste buds. I swallow and take another bite. This stuff is sooo good. The nutrition challenge slowly ebbs into my stream of consciousness and I realize all is lost … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
Feb 3: Foodmare #6. I’m walking out of a football stadium celebrating a big Longhorn victory! The celebration around us sweeps my friends and me into its craze as we make our way towards an endorphin-filled swarm of partying college students. They have cake! And apparently there’s nothing like post-win cake! We take a few bites to celebrate and I instantly realize what I’ve done! And I was only days away from the end of the challenge! … I woke up with a sigh of relief.
…And that’s it! That’s my journey! I was reluctant at first, but looking back, I’m more than happy I decided to join the challenge! I discovered a passion for cooking and a love for vegetables I never knew was in me. I’m the kind of guy who likes to go-go-go and really needs to be on my game during practically all waking hours, and eating Paleo gave me more than the energy I needed to do so. Pre-challenge, my afternoons and most evenings were full of lethargy and downing empty carbs. Now, I grab some meat, greens and nuts and speed away! I am DEFINITELY keeping this up and am excited about the next new recipe I’ll get to try out this weekend!
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AndrewMoultrie 02/13/2012 13:54:49Thanks for the comments y'all! I'm SO GLAD at how the challenge turned out :) Eating right is great!
(And now that the competition is over, the Foodmares have thankfully subsided! haha)
LeticiaS 02/09/2012 10:21:46Andrew,
Congratulations on falling in Love with good food. Foodmares are scary! I know huh.
marlam 02/08/2012 08:38:50AWESOME Blog!!