After a fun afternoon and evening with friends at a pool party, which was decidedly not Paleo but very delicious, I get to start my first day of Paleo with a bit of a food hangover. I’m sure having 5 beers over 8 hours may be contributing a little bit too it, but that’s hardly the stuff of hangovers over embarrassing internet photos. The food on the other hand, especially with the dessert selections that I made sure to try one of each of, definitely put things into high gear. Try this, I ate over 3300 calories over the course of the party and that wasn’t with a bunch of grazing or drinking high calorie cocktails. Ouch! But today is the beginning of one of the “clean” diet phases so I can pretend to be detoxing or what not. So what are the steps for getting this week kicked off?
First order of business is getting some sort of meal plan squared away. It looks like breakfasts are going to consist of a lot of egg dishes or these tasty looking (but we’ll see about the flavor) pumpkin pancakes. Lunch is going to be at work so I’m going to just have to improvise there. I foresee a lot of Tuna Tatake salad or custom made salads in my future since even Paleo sounding things, like stir fry, are going to have soy sauce added which is verboten. Dinner is where I’m having to make sure I don’t go off the rails. I have to do dinner tonight through Thursday night, and may have one additional dinner night out with a friend. So far I think I’m converging on a beef stir-fry dish, a spaghetti squash Bolognese, mustard chicken with a sweet potato hash, one of my huge salads and some leftovers for the above. Snacks are going to be a bit of a sticking point. All of my go-to health bars have grains in them. I’m going to whip up some Paleo-friendly snack bars using dried fruits and ground nuts called “Caveman Bars” (references to recipes for all will be posted). I have a few “Primal Pacs” left behind from my last trial. I guess beyond that I’ll be backing some vegetables to go along with that as well.
The two biggest hurdles in my way for this week are Friday night and the diet soda. Friday night we are going downtown for happy hour and dinner. This is a strict Paleo diet so that means no alcohol. While I would never get wasted at such an event, I would certainly enjoy a few beers and perhaps have some wine or a cocktail at dinner. The good news is that it makes me the defacto DD. It will also give me an appreciation for the environment people struggling with alcohol addiction are subjected to. Thankfully neither my partner nor my friends require babysitting at things like this. Such activities usually require a little alcohol in one’s system to help tolerate the BS too. Dinner is going to actually be the biggest challenge of it all. We won’t be going to a specifically Paleo friendly place, so I’ll have to navigate the landmines that I’m presented with as they come. Being the end of the experiment week I can’t buckle at the last minute though.
The diet soda on the other hand, or more to the point any artificially sweetened beverages, is going to be the biggest challenge by far for me. I’m three weeks into my ramp down and I’ve successfully stayed under the daily limit of soda for each day. However my actual consumption is all over the map, peaking just a couple days ago at 7 cans. Now, that’s actually an improvement over what I was doing before. By not unconsciously pouring can after can of soda into my face I’ve actually probably cut back from a 12 pack a day habit to a mere 4-7 cans. However the goal is to get down to zero. That’s not supposed to happen for several months. On the Paleo diet however no artificial sweeteners are tolerated. I’m therefore going to give a go at going cold turkey for the next week on all artificially sweetened beverages. Considering the best I have been able to do with trying is 3 in one day, I say I have my work cut out for me. That’s all part of the experiment week however! Better to get the problems identified over one week than over 1.5 year time span.