A new leaf turned: my experience (so far) going hard-core Paleo

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

paleo map

A few weeks ago, I saw my friend Jessica post this comment on Facebook: “Contemplating doing a Whole 30 once Valentines passes. Thinking that might help me troubleshoot my aches and pains. Encourage me or talk me off the ledge?”

It stuck in my brain for days because I’d been thinking of doing one, too, ever since my friend Heidi first tried it, but I just didn’t really want to take the next step. I’d read about Whole30 (and the Whole9 group that created it), and I had added a few Paleo cookbooks and podcasts to my repertoire. Yet I still didn’t really want to go there, if you know what I mean.

But doing it with someone else? That had appeal. I’m not a fan of food fads, but joining a group of friends in camaraderie, where we could share the highs and lows of the whole process (and maybe laugh at ourselves at our weeny-ness about not having wine for a month)? That sounded more fun.

So today is Day 10 of my Whole30, and I’m floored by how I feel. It’s really pretty incredible.

What on earth is Whole30?

I know, sounds like some sort of infomercial energy drink, right? It’s actually the name of a 30-day food plan created by husband and wife team Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, who own a crossfit gym in Utah (yeah, they’re “those” types of people—healthy ones).

paleo breakfast

Basically, it’s Paleo hard-core. It’s no sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes for an entire thirty days—so you guessed it, it’s not easy. But what’s amazing is that I feel fuller than I ever have in my life because for the first time in ages, my body is getting what it needs to tell my brain it’s full when it has the food it needs. I can trust my signals again.

Its purpose is to zero in on what foods may be troubling you, often without you even being aware. So many modern-day issues, such as healthy weight maintenance, depression, skin and joint issues, autoimmune conditions, and more—all start with food. Whole30 pares down your diet to the bare essentials for a full thirty days to help your body heal from what may be hurting you.

So I’m only a third in, but I’ve already learned some helpful tips.

1. Focus on what you can have, not what you can’t.

Whole30 means I’m not currently eating some of my favorite foods—aged cheeses, red wine, and dark chocolate, for instance. But you know what I can have? Every kind of quality meat imaginable. Tons and tons of vegetables and plenty of fruits to take off the sweet cravings. Coconut products galore, which turns out are AMAZING. Who knew?

paleo lunch

There are more recipes and ideas out there than days of the year—simply search “Paleo” on Pinterest and you’ll see. (I’ve created a Paleo pinboard, too.)

2. Plan in advance.

Meal planning has made this possible for our family—there’s no way I could fly by the seat of my pants and make this happen right now. On the weekends I decide what we’re going to eat for the entire week, and I shop straight from the list.

My meal planning tool of choice right now is Plan to Eat, but I also love and subscribe to Whole Family’s Kitchen‘s meal plans, and they have a great selection of grain and gluten-free menus.

And date night—oh, date night. It’s hard to eat out. Did you know that almost every restaurant known to man uses canola oil? I had to call all over town to find a place that would let us request our food be cooked with olive oil instead of canola. But calling ahead did help us know where to go and what to order ahead of time, so we weren’t caught off-guard.

3. Roll with the punches.

Whole30 Timeline

I’m not gonna lie—it’s hard, especially at first. This timeline seems spot-on to me. The first few days, I had a mix of wanting to “kill all the things,” followed by an intense desire to just curl up and take a long nap until morning. I even had what’s known as “carb flu,” where it really did feel like I was getting sick—turns out I was detoxing from carbs.

It helps enormously to just go with the flow, let your body do its thing, and not give up when it feels icky. Most people wake up around Day 8 and start feeling much, much better.

4. Find a group.

I can’t stress this last bit enough. Our little Facebook group has been my lifeline, because I’m the type to give up early on these things due to boredom or lack of accountability. It’s been fantastic to vent, share, encourage, and learn from ladies like Anne, Jessica, Mandi, Heidi, Tricia, Katie, Sarah, and more.

So if you decide to try out Whole30, I highly, highly encourage you to form a group and try it together. Plan a start date, read the Hartwig’s book It Starts With Food in advance, to fill your head with the reasons you’re doing this, and then? Just… start. No time like the present.

paleo breakfast

I figured this—I can always go back to my former way of eating if I didn’t like the results. It’s only thirty days, and I’m not a toddler—I can totally tell my brain and my body “no,” even if I might want to throw a tantrum. But something tells me I’ll feel so good in twenty days that I may be forever changed, if my experience is anything like the thousands of others I’m reading about.

According to the Simple Mom Facebook page, a lot of you have tried Whole30s with great success, and it’s been fun to read your encouragement and questions on Instagram, too. So I know I’m not alone here. I just wish I took the plunge sooner.

Your turn—what’s been your experience with this type of eating? Are you Paleo (or Paleo-ish)?

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Comments

  1. I ate Paleo for the month of January and felt fantastic. That said, I’m in hard-core debt payoff mode and it’s just too expensive for me to do now. My grocery bill tripled that month, mostly due to the increase in meats (mostly grass-fed stuff from my local butcher). I did not find it difficult, but then I’m one of those who prefers savory foods over sweet ones. Once my debt is paid off and I have more wiggle room in my budget I may go back.

    • It definitely gets pricey. If we stick with Paleo long-term (and I think we might!), we’ll have to look hard and close at our budget and make some sacrifices to make it work.

      • It’s totally challenging, especially in our country, where organics and quality meats are priced at a premium. However, I’ve found that I can make some substitutions, in terms of what’s seasonal. (We have greens all around here!) We’ve been paleo for about a week now, but I agree, no matter where you are in the world, it’s an expensive diet! Will need to see how to make this work in the long run.

      • You may want to look at buying your meat in bulk, say getting a half cow at a butcher?? I have friends who buy that way and save$. You could maybe find someone to go in on it with.

        • Buying in bulk totally helps. I’m lucky to have family that raises my animals for me, but even if I didn’t I’d invest in 1/4 beef, some lamb and a flock of chooks. The initial outlay of cash is mitigated by the fact that your tenderloin and other premium cuts are the same price as grass-fed, organic ground beef from the supermarket by weight. Just buy a small chest freezer on Kijiji or Craigslist (8 cubit foot is perfect for a year’s worth of meat for myself and the hubby) and fill it up a bit at a time throughout the year. I get turkey/hams around Easter, chicken in the summer, lamb in the fall and beef in early winter. Spread out it’s not too bad.
          As well, for my family anywho, skip all the expensive nut butters/coconut products and fancy “flours”. Garden a little instead. Meat and veg people, it’s pretty easy.

  2. I’m Paleo-ish after discovering Mark Sisson’s blog. I’ve stopped drinking milk, consuming table sugars and limit white flour (especially breads). I say limit because I can’t get it out completely, not yet! I’m not a coffee drinker ever since so I don’t have those dreaded caffeine withdrawal symptoms…
    I would like to take this 30 day challenge! And you are absolutely right, planning is everything. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail, yes?

  3. I’m not sure I could do anything like this long-term (and my family wouldn’t). I don’t know enough about nutrition to know how to maintain a good balance.
    I worry that at the end I would be so anxious about drinking wine or eating bread or beans again that I would end up with more food issues than before.
    Having said that, I would love more energy! If anyone has any thoughts on these concerns I’d love to hear them…

    • It’s hard to go wrong if you focus on what you can eat. A serving of protein (meat/eggs). A couple servings of vegetables (2ish cups). A source of good fat (make friends with avocados!).
      You could also choose two meals a week to eat this way and not tell your family what you’re trying to do. If you tell someone what they can’t eat, they’ll focus on it even more.

    • Well, they’ve said there’s a reason this isn’t called “Whole365.” They don’t expect you to live like this long-term, and I know I couldn’t either! A girl’s gotta have wine, dark chocolate, and good cheeses every now and then. :) The Whole30 is meant to restart your system, help reveal your relationship to food, and curb your cravings. They recommend people doing it maybe once a year, or just every now and then—but still sticking to a healthy lifestyle the rest of the time, of course.

  4. When you linked to Mark’s Daily Apple over the weekend, I was curious what you were up to.

    Discovered I was gluten intolerant 6 weeks ago, so this change hasn’t just been a 30 day thing here, but a complete change. And you know what? I can’t believe how easy it is! Of course, I’ve been in Germany this whole time. Once I manage to make it past bakeries, it’s surprisingly easy here.
    I’m not sure sure it will be in the US.

    • Oh wow, Katie! Interesting. We’ll have to talk more, because I’ve wondered how it’ll be to be gluten-free when we travel in Europe…

  5. We’ve been gluten free for a few weeks, on our doctor’s advice, to see if it helps with the little girls’ issues. The surprising thing? How good the rest of us are feeling!

    It certainly makes me wonder about some of the other stuff we are eating …

    I’m not sure I’m quite there yet as far as Whole 30, but I certainly have enjoyed following along with all of you who are and being inspired by the meals you’re coming up with :-)

  6. After reading your post, I finally have a handle on what Whole30 is. It sounds like a good way to reset the body. The hard part will be getting my family on board. I wonder if I can make 30 days even if no one in my household wants to join.

    • Not everyone in my family is doing it. We’re keeping the kids gluten-free right now, but only Kyle and I are doing an official Whole30. That said, I’m not big on being a short-order cook, so they mostly eat what we eat, with a few exceptions (cheese on things, a few GF carbs, etc.).

    • Nicole – You may not want the kids to do it depending on their ages. I was just reading a post by another blogger I like a lot (I love Simple Mom) and she spoke about deficiencies kids can end up with because of their different needs and gave paleo as an example: http://www.raisehealthyeaters.com/2013/02/why-food-fads-and-children-dont-always-mix/
      Specifically: “Take the popular Paleo diet, which some parents are incorporating into family life. This diet excludes two food groups and one class of protein foods — dairy products, grains and beans. According to one assessment, a carefully planned Paleo diet can meet most needs except for calcium (671mg) and vitamin D but provides 4 times the RDA for protein and less than is recommended for total carbohydrates. Even with ideal intake (which is less than likely for, say the average teen), an adolescent would only get about half the calcium they need at a time that is critical for the formation of bones.
      But what happens when a child dislikes the texture of meat or nuts? Because this diet doesn’t allow beans or grains, nutrients important for growth like iron and zinc will be harder to come by. Parents need to understand which nutrients are missing when entire food groups are removed from the diet and how to replace the missing items with food or supplements.”

      I’m not a nutritionist but I thought this was good advice! Good luck whatever you do, and good luck Tsh and Kyle!!

      • The book Perfect Health Diet doesn’t focus in depth on kids’ nutrition, but it does talk about how they need different nutrients — such as more carbs (for growing brains). I really enjoyed that book for an in-depth look at macronutrients and health. It promotes a diet that includes carbs, but more like potatoes/white rice than processed grains. I am inspired to try something like this Whole30 plan and then go to a less extreme whole foods diet. I get so exhausted all the time despite getting plenty of sleep! Would love to see if a change in diet helps, and finally kicking gluten out the door.

  7. I have never tried paleo. This past year we got rid of most of the meat in our diet (we have chickens for eggs, and that is about it meat wise). I also have *mostly* given up dairy(cheeseaholic here), and that made the biggest difference for me. To go from daily headaches to none was absolutely amazing. And now, when I try to give myself a “treat” I find that it isn’t satisfying, and makes me feel gross, so I try not to do that anymore :-) I think a support group is definitely an asset when changing your diet.

  8. I wonder about my family as well. We eat pretty healthy, but going without breads and dairy would be a challenge. I wonder if I would lose my mind trying to do it alone? Separate meals could get very expensive and time consuming.

  9. No chocolate would be the hard one for me. You are looking at a lady that often sprinkles chocolate chips on her morning granola. Oh and I would have to give up granola too. I have been watching a friend on instagram do the Whole 30 though and I must say her food looks amazing!

    • Well, here’s what I decided—I can do anything for 30 days, right? I mean, it’s only 30 days. I admit that no chocolate is hard, and I can’t wait to bite in to a small square of dark chocolate in a few weeks. But a main point of this is to help curb your cravings, and chocolate is definitely one of them for me. So it’s been a very enlightening experiment so far. :)

  10. You’re the second group of bloggers I’ve come across this morning using Whole 30. I’m scared, but I was already starting sugar busters which is scary enough. I’ll be watching and reading to see how it goes.

  11. Perfect timing! This was super helpful. We’ve been undergoing a food revolution of sorts over the last year–focusing on whole foods and eliminating processed stuff, sugar, and most dairy and grains. But, I’ve been feeling the need to try going completely grain-free, possibly as an intro to GAPS. I’ve just seen GAPS and similar ones (SCD, etc) radically change too many people’s health to think that my family couldn’t benefit as well. One of our dear friends was diagnosed with MS and is now symptom-free due to diet change. Crazy stuff.

  12. avatar
    breanne says:

    i’m on day 13. my one recommendation is putting coconut milk in your coffee. i come from the “have a little coffee with your cream” camp, and coconut milk has been my savior! i love it!

    • I’ve heard that from people who put cream in their coffee (several in our group)! I’ve always liked my coffee black, so it’s not an issue for me. But I do hear that’s a saving grace for many.

      • I was grocery shopping today and came across “coconut sugar” – would that be an allowable substitute? My husband and I are considering trying GF, but have also looked into Whole30. I have chronic immune-related skin issues and a history of gut issues. Doing it together, I think we could make it 30 days – but I would miss milk and sugar in my morning cuppa!

  13. Yes x 1000! I recently finished a Whole 30 (my 3rd, I think) and I was AMAZED at how great I felt by about Day 6. I was stunned because it wasn’t that big a change for me, at all. I’ve been gluten-free and largely grain-free for a few years, I don’t eat much sugar, I eat a ton of veggies. But on Day 6 I felt like somebody flipped a switch: I had so much more energy, and my regular pesky headaches disappeared.

    I’m so happy to hear this is working well for you so far. Except for date night, that is. Stupid canola oil!

    • Yep! And I know what you mean—we were eating whole foods before this, so how different could it be? Enlightening.

    • avatar
      Rosie Goins says:

      I agree about the stupid canola oil. And don’t get me started on soy!!!
      I am a complete embarrassment to my grandkids since I carry a small travel bottle filled with good olive oil in my handbag!

  14. I haven’t ever tried the Whole 30 because I didn’t discover it until after already dabbling in the Paleo lifestyle. In January, I did a 10 day juice fast which left me with an amazing feeling. Since then I have been largely Paleo. It was easier to say no to foods on the juice fast. My husband is resistant a bit and still enjoys bread (etc) and sometimes it just isn’t easy to be defiant to him. Since that’s what it feels like.

  15. avatar
    Rachelra says:

    First of all, I have the same Black Dog mug and I love it!

    We already eat Paleo-ish in our family because of allergies – no corn, no wheat, no dairy. I have thought of doing the Whole30 but the no-wine rule sounds like such a bummer. :)

    But like you I have heard of more and more people doing Whole30 and I think we might just have to go for it. Again, I don’t think it would be a huge change for our family…

  16. If you really want to know the difference it makes in your body, after you’ve been off grains for awhile, eat some bread or a pastry. The first time, and every time since, I tried this, my sinuses swelled up and I instantly felt like I had an allergic reaction! It lasted a couple hours then dissipated. It really is amazing .

  17. We were on the GAPS diet for several months and while we’re off of it now we still make such healthier choices after that!

  18. I’m happy that you joined the paleo movement. I got much better after switching to a low carbohydrate diet. I’m looking forward to read about the changes you observe on this diet. Keep it up!

  19. A couple weeks ago you posted the Dave Ramsey link. We’re in FPU right now and Dave is changing the way we look at life. I’ve done Whole30 3 times. We just finished a 6 week challenge at our CrossFit gym. Congratulations to you for taking the strict Paleo Challenge. It’s worth it! I find clarity of mind to be one of the greatest benefits! Wishing you the best on this new venture!

  20. P.S. I’m teaching a cooking class at our Classical Conversations homeschool group today. We’re making 2 Paleo pancake versions. One is Paleo Banana Pancakes and the other is Coconut Pancakes. Both are scrumptious breakfast options. Going paleo doesn’t limit your choices, it broadens the possibilities!

    • And yes, that’s exactly how I feel, too. I feel like I’ve just opened the door to a whole new slew of recipes!

  21. avatar
    Kym Scolaro says:

    I am on day 4 of the Whole30. I feel sluggish and like I could curl up into a ball and fall asleep wherever I am. But, it is not hard to eat this way. I like to cook and have sought out cool recipes- the net is full of neat stuff to try. Groceries are a little more costly. I think my problem is that I don’t eat a lot of meat. I have been getting my protein from the fat category- nuts and stuff. A few eggs here and there. Maybe that is why is I so tired?

  22. Tsh, Pono Meats, up by Lowes, in Bend, has really great deals on bulk packages of some of the best meat I’ve tasted. You’ll have to call or go in to the store to get the info. Way, way cheaper and far fresher than shopping “Whole Paycheck.”

    • Thank you for sharing this! I live in Bend, too, and am always looking for ways to save money on organic, grass-fed meat. Checking into this today!

    • Oh, that’s awesome! Thanks for letting me know, because yeah, Whole Paycheck (or Whol-ier Than Thou Foods) can get really pricey.

      I also called Primal Cuts, but they were a bit pricey, too. Thanks for the tip!

      • My husband and I just completed our 1st Whole30 on Saturday. He is our cook & chief grocer. It has been amazing where he has found deals! Cosco has some compliant meats, fruit and vegi’s. Our regular grocer (Cub) has had almost all of the coconut fixings and for much better prices than “Whole Dollar”. Shop around, we found we could do this within our budget. Of course there are also a great number of items we aren’t buying anymore, so that saves money as well. We are now starting to add a few favorites! Good luck, results were amazing!

  23. I’m on day 4 of The Whole 30 – I’ve never done anything even remotely like this before…I have to admit, I feel pretty gross, but I’m doing my best to believe what everyone claims about the program. Like you said, it’s only 30 days…Thanks for sharing your experience, Tsh!

    • I felt HORRIBLE on day 4. I had a mix of kill-all-the-things and just wanting a nap. Plow through… it’ll get better!

    • Hang in there! Day 4 is still kinda rough. After that is when I found my groove eating foods I really loved. I’m on Day 18 and surviving. You can do it!

  24. Whole30 sounds intriguing. I think this may be in my future, but I need to learn more. We fast from all meat, dairy, and eggs twice a week for religious reasons. Plus we fast throughout lent – so I don’t know if this will work for us. But I am definitely going to look into it. I came across the concept a couple of days ago, but it wasn’t really explained. Thanks so much for your explanation.

    • Have you seen “Forks over Knives”? It’s a documentary on Netflix right now and they support a diet without ANY meat or dairy. There’s also a website; http://www.forksoverknives.com/
      I’ve heard some amazing stories about it (some from many, many years ago before these diets were popular). If anything, they have great recipes for your lent diet.

      • I’d like to see what the average time on a vegan diet is. The newbies and the hard-core ideologues generally are the most enthusiastic about it. I suspect most people feel better in the short term because the lose the dairy and processed foods. Long term , however, we need protein and fat. Those are best supplied by meat.

        • Thanks Susan! I have seen the movie, but I will have to re-watch it. I don’t believe they cut out all grains and legumes though, but I could be wrong. It has been awhile since I first watched it.

          I agree with Amy. I believe we need meat. But I do think we eat way too much of it. The Paleo diet intrigues me, but I don’t think it would work long term. My family is working toward cutting out all processed food, and that is a challenge:-)

  25. Oh yay – something else to make me feel like I’m not making “good choices”. ;)

    All kidding aside, I’m curious if anyone has done Paleo while eating vegetarian. Although I’m not a strict vegetarian, I’m not sure how I would consume enough calories on this diet.

    • Oh, don’t feel pressured, and I definitely recommend reading up on anything like this before jumping into it, or even feeling like you should. Don’t take my word on it, in other words. ;)

      Yes, it can be done while eating vegetarian, though they admit it’s harder.

    • You probably won’t consume enough calories without planning. As others noted it can be done, but it’s uphill. Those doing well are eating this side of meat away, relying on tofu, eggs, and protein powders. Vegetarianism is really only possible with the advent of agriculture.

  26. My husband and I want to do a Whole30 in April, and I’m finding the prospect of pre planning the month pretty daunting. Any chance you could share your plan and/or shopping list?

  27. Tsh, the biggest gain in something like this is that it does hit those cravings and helps you tune in more to your body’s messages. Ultimately you may find a nice mix that isn’t absolute. But that you have more control over what you end up eating. And you’re more aware of cravings that really inform you about what your body needs. You’ll gain an intelligence about food and your body that no set diet created by someone else can create.
    I’ve found that as I eat more consciously, I crave the dense protein of meat more than anything. I haven’t eaten chocolate for years (after being a die-hard chocoholic).
    We’re not paleo. But we eat lots of meat, but almost all our meat we raise ourselves. I don’t eat nearly as much grains as I used to . But I enjoy a bit of the wholegrain bread I bake in our woodstove. And I certainly can feel it when I go overboard with it. I crave salads and vegetables. I’ve learned to tune in more to what my body really wants and adjust accordingly. It’s a wonderful feeling to gain this kind of body-wisdom.

    • Yep – the self-awareness and the learning about my body and my relationship with food has been the best payoff so far!

  28. I’m considering trying this when my garden gets going. Nothing like free veggies to offset the cost of everything else. I am a carbivore for sure and the idea of giving up bread makes me wan to cry, but from everything I’ve read I think I would really benefit!

  29. I have been wondering what this Whole30 thing was all about. It sounds like the first week is similar to any bodily cleanse. Doesn’t sound like my kind of diet though, I gravitate towards a semi-vegetarian diet with lots of eggs and beans.

    • I thought the same thing. Except for the occasional steak, I don’t lean toward meat. But, there is SO MUCH veg on this diet, that it really doesn’t seem like a lot of meat. You can have eggs all you want. Just no beans. Check out the #whole30 hash tag on Instagram or twitter. You’d be surprised at the variety of meals posted. I’m eating more vegetables than I ever have. I run out mid week and have to go to the store for more veg!

    • Yes, I find the label “Paleo” somewhat misleading—to me, that conjures up this picture of nothing but big slabs of meat. I agree with Jessica; I’m eating more veggies than I ever have in my life. :)

      • I’ll definitely check it out. But, eating a lot of beans lately has also been a financial move as well. It’s hard to beat the cost. And, you all were right – I just kept picturing slabs of bacon and sides of beef in my head.

  30. avatar
    Sarah Westphal says:

    Wow, look forward to hearing more about this journey. A month without cheese & grain. Not sure if I could hack it (in fact, my inner brain screams nooooooooo!)…but this all sounds very intriguing. (As I just finished devouring an Oreo!) Only for a month too.
    I must ask. What drew you to finally commit? What made you shelve your reservations?
    Cheers,
    Sarah

    • Well, I’ve been wanting to for awhile because I’ve had suspicions that I have a gluten sensitivity. I’ve also been intrigued with the whole Paleo diet, though I’m not entirely convinced of the whole we’ve-evolved-to-eat-this-way bit (plus the no wine, dairy, or chocolate—that would be tough for me to sustain long-term). But in general, I’ve just been feeling blah lately and suspected it might be my diet. Then when I saw some friends deciding to do it, I thought, why not do it with them? Even if I hate it, it’d be a lot more fun with friends. I’m so glad I’ve done it so far—so incredibly eye-opening.

      • avatar
        Sarah Westphal says:

        We are now on Day 2. My man and I had a long talk that night (as he was the one bringing up this Paleo diet to me over the last few weeks but I didn’t really understand it) and I had to eat some humble pie to finally accept the fact that I am more than likely celiac. (My brother got diagnosed 2 months ago, and our father had it.) It is not normal to have an ongoing ‘stomach flu’ for a FULL MONTH! Plus being 8 months pregnant and mom to two littles doesn’t help. So my body needs this–in fact is screaming for it. Of course, I still feel awful but I was before so I knew I wasn’t going to miss out on feeling great anyway, but at least I know I am on the road to recovery and improved eating habits. (Who knew our diet consisted mainly of filler(carbs)? and that sugar is in everything and we don’t buy much processed!) Hopefully I will be tested next week to see if I am celiac or not.
        All thanks to this post!
        Thanks so much,
        Sarah

  31. It’s interesting to hear your thoughts, Tsh (as I eat some leftover popcorn–ahem.). I’ve toyed with going more paleo and the sticker shock has stopped me. Well, the sticker shock and the fact that my husband grew up vegetarian and I heavily lean that way. We probably have meat…twice a week? and it’s never the center of the plate. Honestly, it sounds sort of unappealing to have meat a lot more. (I had never heard that you could do a paleo diet being vegetarian until I read it in the comments; I’ll have to look that up.)

    • I understand the meat bit, but keep in mind that it really is a TON of veggies! Meat is part of the diet, but it’s definitely not the only bit, at all. (In fact, I had a vegetarian lunch a few minutes ago…)

  32. Over the past year, my husband and I have been steadily changing the way our family eats — very little processed food and lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts. We have reduced our milk intake and drink water with all of our meals. I have learned to make our own bread and pasta sauce. But I would find it very hard to take bread, homemade baked goods, cheese and chocolate (and, oh my gosh, pizza) away from them. And I would really miss my glass or two of red wine in the evening.

    • I understand, but keep in mind—it’s only 30 days. It’s not no wine or pizza forever (this is what pushed me over the edge to give it a try…).

  33. I guess I am doing a modified Whole30 with you. I gave up alcohol for lent and decided to try going grain free about the same time (we are already GF). I have had a wee bit of grain (about 1/2 cup total in the last three weeks) but I have just decided to take out dairy again. So far the main thing I have noticed is that physically I feel better and I can tell the difference between hormonal yuckiness and physical yuckiness, also – no more runny nose. Fun to read about your experience.

  34. Oh Tsh, I’m so excited to hear you’re having a great experience so far (minus the typical initial carb flu). Jeff & I have been Paleo since around 2008 and once we went Primal there was no looking back. I’ve lost around 50 pounds so far but that’s not even the best part, as you mentioned it’s all about awareness and what makes YOU feel good. Experimenting with the Whole30 is just the start. You’re going to be so full of energy you won’t know what to do with all your newfound time. If I can help with any Paleo recipe inspiration, just lemme know, but as you mentioned there’s plenty of resources available, now that the Paleo movement is growing exponentially. :)

    • Awesome! Thanks, Marla. Yeah, there really is a wealth of information online I’d never found before. I’m reading a whole new slew of blogs!

  35. Woo hoo! Thanks for this post! I’ve been on the Whole30 now for 4 days (4 days… 26 to go? Ah!) and am doing it alongside my husband. Good for accountability, though the temptations have been strong so far. My favorite baker in town randomly brought in a HUGE box of sweets and pastries to church yesterday. Today? Bridal shower with my oh-so favorite cake! I can’t help but wonder if God is teaching me more though the Whole30 than just eating right and listening to my body. How about self control? My husband and I are also doing 30 days of prayer alongside the Whole30 program. Replace the usual large bowl of ice cream with some prayer in the evenings- I do like the sound of that! Good luck in your journeys.

    • Yes, yes, yes. Totally agree, Melody—this has been just as much a spiritual exercise as a physical and emotional one for me. I’m learning so much in that department (I’ll write a post about it soon…).

  36. My husband and I did the Clean program for 21 days of detox back in the fall. This is basically the elimination diet for 3 weeks. But the premise is your body needs a 12 hour fast to detox and eliminate waste. So the main meal was at lunch not dinner. At diner we either juiced or had a soup, so the body has time to rest it’s digestive system. The hardest part was making food for the kids(often the same we would eat for lunch the next day as our main meal) and not eating with them. And making a different meal (soup or smoothie type thing for us). But it was worth it! My sinuses totally cleared up, I slept better and have been coffee free since then. Amazing. I need to do something like that or Whole30 to figure out what is bothering my sinuses again(runny/drippy nose, stuffed up(sometimes worse one morning than another)). We have pretty much followed a paleo diet with Saving Dinner, she has awesome tasty recipes. But I often adapt them as we can’t afford say lamb or prime rib roast. But they’re very adaptable and delicious!

  37. Has anyone read JJ Virgin’s new book The Virgin Diet? I’ve tried to start a few times and today is my first day – again. It sounds like the same sort of concept. You have to eliminate a whole bunch of stuff from your diet and then re-introduce them to see how your body reacts to different foods. No gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, peanuts and soy for 21 days.
    I’ve tried and re-started several times. (I have a really, really bad sweet tooth and love my bread)! But even with my failed attempts I’ve learned that dairy is not good for me. Now when I eat it I get really bad stomach pains. I’m hoping I get through the 21 days this time. After all, it’s a whole week shorter than your 30 days!! :)

  38. I have been on the fence about this, but I do need to do something for my sugar cravings and I have wondered about my son and gluten. We are already d-free but I use quite a few cheap whole food carbs to feed the family. This maybe be something we do (after our Spring Break trip!

  39. Tsh, this is inspiring! Wish you luck!

  40. i’m so glad you posted about the trip-ups that can come with the first week. i’m a calendar type girl and want to go whole 30 in april, so i’m really glad to have you ahead of me this month so i can glean! thank you!

    • Yes—it really helped me to anticipate that stuff in advance so much. I’m glad they posted about that.

  41. My whole family — including my twin 4 year-old boys, my 8 year old son, and my 5 year old daughter — went completely Paleo in July of 2012 and mostly still are. We did it because gluten free was not enough for my son and it completely changed his life. He is healthy now for the first time in years. My other three children get one to two meals per week in their lunches they take out of the house to school with grains in them and some oatmeal. I eat a bit of grains and even some dairy outside of the house. But we have a Paleo house and it is working for us. It is very expensive, but there are ways around that — talk local farmers about getting meat for starters.

  42. I know that I would feel so good if I did this, but I just can’t live without sugar.

  43. It was very interesting to read about your experience. Good for you for trying to eat healthier for your health.

    A couple of concerns, however. I am a registered dieitian and have quite a few concerns with Paelo eating. First, there is little to no research that backs this diet up. In fact, there is a ton of research against eating a high animal protein diet. Also, why in the world would I want to follow a diet that folks that had a 25 year life expectancy had?!?

    I am not saying these things to be mean, just to raise honest questions.

    • Though I have my doubts myself about the paleo diet, saying that people in the paleolithic had a life expectancy of 25 years is not quite true. Wikipedia: Life expectancy in the upper paleolithic: life expectancy at birth is 33 yrs, but at age 15 life expectancy is 54. This means that the people who survive the dangerous years of childhood (infant mortality due to diseases etc) have a good change of living to their 50’s or 60’s.

    • Dana, good questions. I work as Tsh’s assistant and we have been doing the Whole 30 together, so I thought maybe I’d jump in here to offer my experience. My nutritionist actually recommended a paleo diet for me. I know it sounds crazy to some people because it’s so opposite of what the medical world tells you is healthy, but there is actually so much evidence that this is a very healthy way of eating for some people. It’s actually the way most common folks ate until the advent of the mass-produced food industry. And it’s soooo many vegetables! The primary thing we’re eating is vegetables, with about a palm-sized portion of a protein such as a meat or eggs. You can google it and check out books and blogs and read the science if you’re really interested, but to me the most powerful evidence is that there are so many stories of people who have totally turned their health around by following this diet. Diabetes gone, obesity gone, high cholesterol gone, high blood sugar gone, etc. The proof is in the pudding – or the lab tests! :) For me, I have lost weight, have more energy and less sluggishness, and have more mental clarity. When I eat this way, my blood sugar is lower and so is my cholesterol. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t really think that we can simply say, “Well, they only lived for 25 years so it must be unhealthy.” There are soooooo many other factors that have influenced our increased life spans. For example, we’re not living on the run from wild animals, or building shelters to protect us from the harsh weather elements. ;) We understand what germs are and how they work and how to wash our hands, etc. To simply say that eating a lot of meat made people die by age 25 is a huge oversimplification. Overall, I am so thankful my nutritionist advised this – it has been a great choice for me. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone, but I don’t think we can say it’s wrong for everyone, either. Hope this helps a bit!

  44. I’ve never heard of Whole30 or Paleo – but this sounds great! I think I may see if I can talk a few friends into going on the 30 days adventure with me! Thanks for posting!

  45. Tsh!

    This is so funny you posted this today, because this morning I posted a similar post about how I just finished my Whole 30: http://clairediazortiz.com/what-i-learned-by-trying-the-paleo-diet/

    Here’s the problem: I didn’t like it.
    I had read SO many books before and, like you, think I’m gluten sensitive and was just really excited to restart my body.
    The problem? I had like NO energy all month and was crankier than I’ve ever been. I read some forums saying that I may be one of those people that need more carbs and so should be eating a lot more sweet potatoes…but even THAT didn’t help.
    I am SO bummed…

  46. Oh man. I’m feeling so convicted to do this. I just took my kids out to start planting this morning. We know an older couple from church who have tons of garden know-how and space for a huge garden. They just don’t have strong backs or super bendable knees anymore. They are getting some young families to come and help work in exchange for free produce. I may need to start my Whole30 during harvest time!

  47. I don’t want to read any of this because then I’ll want to do it. But I don’t want to do the work.

    So there’s that.

    :)

  48. i loved reading this! when a dear girlfriend shared her experience with the whole30 in december, i was immediately convicted and knew that this was for me. when i told my hubby about it, he suggested our whole fam do it (to see healing in our kids’ eczema and just for our whole family’s health). so we did it! january … 30 days. and like you said above, i told myself: i can do *anything for 30 days. and i did!
    i shared my experience here, http://home2learn.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/reflections-after-completing-the-whole30-whole9/.
    i look forward to hearing how the rest of your month goes – kudos to you and your hubby!!

  49. I’ve been mostly Paleo for the past 1.5 years. However, it’s even stricter for me since I also don’t eat eggs. It all started in 2010 with a blood inflammation test showing I was moderately sensitive to all grains and severely sensitive to all eggs and dairy. My health was spiraling out of control and I was absolutely miserable. At that point in time, I was getting constant middle ear infections and taking 1-2 rounds of antibiotics per month. I was also found to have severe environmental allergies. I stopped dairy and eggs immediately, started three strong daily prescription medications, and started allergy immunotherapy. I cut out grains four months later. I was extremely strict at first but now I eat small amounts of forbidden foods without notable side effects.

    I don’t find it that difficult, actually. I feel much better! My chronic health issues are a thing of the past. I’ve only had one middle ear infection in almost 3 years!

    I highly recommend the cookbook Well Fed. Incredible recipes that taste gourmet.

    Good luck on your Whole30 challenge!

  50. avatar
    mrscamacho says:

    Bend people, I also have a great resource for pasture-raised eggs. They are only $3.50/dozen. It’s an honor-system refrigerator on Swalley Road out by Tumalo. The fridge is always packed full of eggs, so I usually get about 5 dozen at a time!

  51. I’m so jealous! Paleoish is how I normally eat. But I’m going for a month right now to see if my family can follow the USDA MyPlate requirements on the USDA Cost of Thrifty Food at Home budget. So by stark contrast to you, each week I’m supposed to be eating 7 oz of grain, 3 servings of dairy,6 servings of potatoes and corn, and only two servings of dark leafy greens.
    So my question to you TSH would be what is the impact on your food bill this month?

  52. How come coffee is allowed? Can’t image a hunter-gatherer brewing a cuppa before going off to the day’s hunting/gathering…

  53. I don’t know why this post surprised me, but it did. In a good way :)
    A little more than a year ago we discovered the paleo concept, and finding a lot of it made sense, started to incorporate more vegetables, fruit, meat – and removing a lot of carbs/starchy foods – my already fit husband lost 8 lbs and saw his energy increase. I think it’s a diet or “way of eating” that you can incorporate in little ways or big ways (depending on what works best for you and your family). We still have pasta once a week and the only bread we eat (which is way way less and usually early in the day) is bread we make at home. I’ve added at least 3 or 4 vegetables to our weekly “rotation”. I think the hardest part comes with the kids, especially when it’s a week where there is (ahem) less of a plan (!) carbs seem to be the EASIEST foods to go to… any recommendations for paleo and children?

  54. I certainly would give it a go. But I think I will do the pure thirty after Red Belt testing. It is consuming all of our free time. I have several Paleo books on Kindle , but I find it difficult to study recipes on a kindle or the Ipad. May have to get the paper kind for my sanity.

    Pam

  55. I would love recipes for the images you posted :)

  56. I just completed my 13th month of eating Paleo and I feel better than ever. Even though I’ve cut out grains and dairy, I’m certain that I’m getting more nutrients than ever because I’ve replaced those items (and the gobs of sugar I was consuming) with vegetables and fruit. I originally started eating this way and joined Crossfit to lose baby weight. Vain, I know! Having a community of like-minded people really helped me get into the best shape of my life and now I don’t want to go back. Feeling good really does make me a better mom! However, I recently moved, lost that community, and lost a bit of my motivation. So thank you for allowing me to join you in the Whole30 journey. You are an inspiration! I’m learning so much from you girls and can’t wait to try some of the recipes you all have been posting!

  57. i am so excited to follow your whole30 experience!!
    our whole family (me, hubby, 12 yr old daughter, 21 month old son, and 5 month old son) did the whole30 in january … i was initially prompted (convicted, really) after hearing a dear friend share her experience a few months ago. i came home and shared with my hubby that this plan resonated (nutritionally, just very sound) and i was going for it in january. he suggested our whole family do it and immediately i knew he was right: i’ve been doing piece-meal attempts at removing certain foods in our *desperate search for healing for our kids’ eczema. this finally would – in one fell swoop – allow us to see how/if certain foods were the culprit. and my personal motivation? postpartum weight loss!
    like you, i told myself that i can do *anything for 30 days, and i did. i also had an awesome support group – a few dear sister friends and their families – and the accountability and encouragement was essential!
    i blogged about our experience … sadly, we did not see any healing in our kids’ skin :( but it feels good to know that we gave it a very solid, *no cheating month. i lost 15 lbs (5 more since then!) so that was fabulous.
    blessings to you!!

  58. I did Paleo last year too to shed baby weight. Now that I am pregnant again, well, let’s just say that I am looking forward to giving my body another re-start once baby is born!

    • I ate Paleo/low carb all the way through my third pregnancy. I was upfront about it with my midwife and she was happy with it. I had a healthy pregnancy and the only time my feet were swollen was when I stepped off the diet.

  59. avatar
    Colleen says:

    You mentioned you’ve discovered lots of amazing coconut products that you enjoy. I would love to hear what they are.

  60. avatar
    Jennifer Ott says:

    I am curious (and perhaps the answers aren’t ones you would respond to on your blog) how you reconcile the diet to your world-view? (I am assuming a Creationist standpoint, but that can vary so much, too.) I have a hard time wanting to eat like people supposedly did hundreds of thousands of years ago…

    • I’m not big in to the “Paleo” name, nor the whole we-do-this-because-our-ancestors-did bit. I’m into it because the evidence is there that it is DRAMATICALLY improving modern-day health, one person at a time. That said—there’s something to be said about how different even a simple wheat stalk is now from what it was 50 years ago, and definitely from biblical times when Jesus walked the earth. I really don’t think our bodies were made to eat so much of the food offered to us these days, especially in America (I can always tolerate bread stuffs better when I travel overseas).

      Katie Kimball recently explored the topic of how different wheat is these days here and here, and how to reconcile that when Jesus says He’s the “Bread of Life.” Interesting food for thought…

  61. You said no dairy, but showed pictures of eggs? I’m confused!

  62. I’m not a fad sort of person when it comes to food, but I do notice that I feel better and digest food better when I “fast” from gluten for a few days. Our family absolutely loves rice, so paleo eating might not be that feasible, though I’ve toyed with an experiment.

    I’m glad to hear that this way of eating has been so successful for you. Perhaps I’ll dabble and make some of the paleo recipes I’ve pinned…

    • You can always do an 80/20 sort-of lifestyle. That’s probably what we’ll do after our Whole30 if we keep feeling as good as we do.

  63. Over the last year, our family has slowly moved to mostly “real” foods and lots less processed foods. I still need to work on consistently getting more veggies in and fewer carbs. This can be difficult with a 2.5 year old. His go to snacks seem to be carb based though luckily homemade. We moved recently and I got very lax on the processed foods – it’s lots easier to pick up a frozen dinner or pizza when you have a single pan for kitchen goods until the rest is delivered. And man can I tell it. I started getting the afternoon sleepies again (those disappeared when I cut out processed foods) and I feel like I’m getting sick. Paleo isn’t necessarily appealing to me but I know I can work harder at achieving a better food balance.

  64. It sounds interesting, Tsh. What I don’t quite understand about Paleo is the amount of protein. Our paleo ancestors wouldn’t have consumed remotely the amount of meat that the modern paleo diet seems to advocate, certainly there would not have been meat or eggs at every meal, or even daily. I have to admit that it’s the volume of meat that puts me off this way of eating. Thinking about our Paleo ancestors, they would have had to work physically very hard for any meat they consumed. Do you know of any veg*ans who have managed to eat Paleo? Best of luck!

    • Not sure about vegans, but I know vegetarians have done it. I think there’s a common misconception with Paleo (that I had, too!): that it’s tons and tons and tons of meat. Yes, there’s meat. But there’s SO. MUCH. VEGETABLES. Seriously… I’ve never eaten so many veggies in my life. In fact, I had a meatless breakfast this morning, and yesterday I had a meatless lunch. It’s not all meat, meat, meat, I promise. :)

      • In fairness, though, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, Paleo does look mostly like meat. Every meal is pretty much some sort of animal product plus a vegetable. I’m guessing the ‘meatless’ breakfast and lunch involved some sort of egg product. That’s still a wide variety but it’s a total nightmare if you decided most or all of the animal kingdom is off limits for food. Vegetables simply do not supply enough calories to keep someone going.

        *shrug* I do well on a meat plus more meat and a little vegetables. I’m not sure why that’s such a terrible thing, but there it is.

    • Why wouldn’t they have eaten meat at every meal? Gathering *any* food in the wild is a lot of work period. The biggest calorie return for effort spent is large game, like bison. Do you really think the Plains Indians were thinking, nah, I rather chew on grass for breakfast today? What about those living in a traditional manner at the Arctic circle? How many vegetables do they consume? Almost all edible plants are seasonal in nature. The food that’s available year around is meat , practically anywhere on the planet.

      We live in a society that’s very far away from our food sources and nature. Meat has become an unfashionable taboo, especially with the low fat insanity that overtook everyone in the early eighties. I know it’s an uncomfortable notion that we probably do best when our primary source of calories are from animal based sources. If I could change that for the vegans and vegetarians, I would. But ultimately the concept of a vegetarian is completely intertwined with agriculture. That choice is a luxury of a the modern farming.

  65. So exciting to hear Tsh’s story and everyone’s comments! My hubby just tested gluten intolerant in January-at the same time my triathlete brother challenged me to try the Whole30. I finished last week and am still learning. What I love best is the change in my body’s ability to burn fat instead of sugar (or glycogen). No more dramatic blood sugar drops or “shakes” when I don’t eat every 2 hours.
    I think it’s important that we see Whole30 as a way to learn about our unique bodies. For some, dairy digests fine; for others, rice is great…but the Whole30 offers a way to learn what provides optimal health for each of us. For me, I love my veggies, squash, and coconut!

  66. Bummed to see you jumping on this bandwagon.

    • Why?

      • Because Paleo is a “fad”. You know, eliminating the major sources of diet allergens and the basis of most unhealthy processed food is just some wild and crazy notion that will pass. ;)

        In fairness, it is true that diet trends come and go. It would appear that Paleo/(which is low carb again) is having it’s day. It will pass out of popular parlance, unfortunately, at some point. The good news is that like low carb and any generally healthy approach to diet, lots of people will quietly stick with it because it works.

        • Most leaders of the paleo movement, including those of the Whole 30, would say that it is not a low-carb diet. There are plenty of carbs allowed. They are simply whole food carbs, like starchy veggies and fruits.

        • Amy, well, like I said in my post, I’m very hesitant to jump onto fads and bandwagons—that’s why I’m just now trying this out almost three years after I bought my first Paleo book. ;)

          It’s definitely not only about “low carb”—it’s about eating what we were made to eat, and plenty of it.

  67. I just finished my first week of Whole 30, and am loving it! Thanks for all your inspiration. I love seeing everyone’s meals and encouragement on Pinterest and Instagram. :)

  68. I am just finishing day three of my Whole 30. :) It was seeing your meals, and Mandi Ehman’s, that inspired me! One of my daughters has had issues with eczema and my other daughter has some stomach troubles…we are hoping that by paring down what we feed our family, we can help them get better.

    My issue is that I am so very hungry all the time! I have a serious sweet tooth and I can’t stop snacking on fruit just to resist the urge to lick the sugar bowl. Stay strong…only 27 more days!

    • Amanda, I would say that if you are so hungry, you are not eating enough! Make sure you are getting plenty of good fat, too – that helps tremendously.

  69. This is easily the best kind of adventure!

  70. You are the second blogger that has mentioned this recently…I’ve been tossing the idea around in my head since I originally read your post. I have 3 kids under 5 years so I honestly don’t have tons of time to research the plan and prepare for it. Overall I eat a pretty healthy diet although lately I’ve been on a cookie bender. Yesterday I woke up and decided, “I’m going to try it.” And I did. I haven’t said anything about it to anyone and I’m not promoting it in any way. I want to quietly see how far I can go. Today is Day 2 and so far, so good. I know it is early and sometimes I feel SO HUNGRY. I don’t eat a lot of meat so I’ve been eating more eggs and nuts and avocado. Luckily my 8 month old loves avocado so we always have them around.
    I hope this will be what my body needs to restart. I have so much baby weight to lose and i cannot find/make the time to exercise. I am stretched so thin as it is. I know I need to exercise too but at least I can get the diet part in line. It’s frustrating eating semi healthy and not seeing any change in weight so hopefully this will get it all going. Thanks for the gentle nudge. I look forward to more follow up posts!

  71. It isn’t true that Paleo takes your diet down to the bare minimum. You’re allowed to eat meat, seafood and eggs! A vegan diet is the bare minimum!

  72. This is a great cleanse diet, but not something our family sticks to. We found that raw milk works for us as well as traditional sourdough bread. Fermenting the bread allows better nutrient absorption as well as easier digestion and gives our kids nutrients and carbs they are more than happy to consume on picky days. Plus every fad diet phases out over time because of the lacking in nutrients due to cutting out food groups. We prefer a more moderate approach as well as a focus on what provides the most benefit for our family since we have 3 small children with different needs then the adults.

  73. A few days late on this response, but… I am a firm believer in eating a clean diet. I am also a firm believer that The Lord gave us one life on this earth and a time or two of eating grandma’s homemade goodies is okay… Better to feel a little ick than to hurt her feelings ;). Anyhow, my question/concern about Paleo is if this way of eating is so grand, why are the paleo’s no longer around? I have seen a die-hard paleo pal have disappointing colonoscopies with polyps. And I have seen my dad eat very clean/healthy w/little red meat have zero polyps. It just makes me raise my eyebrows a little at the long range results of eating this way… Simply curious. I really do wish you all best of luck with your eating endeavors! Any diet that gets you off all the processed foods has to be an improvement…. Happy eating!

  74. I. Have been paleo-ish since Christmas. My partner mentioned to me right before Christmas that (due to my dietary restrictions) I should try paleo bc it is basically all I can eat. I feel better am happier. :)

  75. Kids can do paleo. Please check out Paleo Parents, Everyday Paleo, and Paleo Mom on the web ( they also have cookbooks for kids and family friendly recipes). Check out this topic here as well : http://www.paleoplan.com/2012/09-06/is-paleo-safe-for-kids/

  76. The whole Paleo concept intrigues me, but I have concerns about the environmental impact. I know it encourages a lot of veggies, which can be local, but shouldn’t we be eating less meat, not more? I don’t see how this could be sustainable if everyone ate this way.

  77. I am dabbling and will do my full 30 starting April 29, 2013
    So far I have had excellent results in just dabbling. However, I just realize I did have the carb Flu when re-reading your post.

    The funny thing is all this food we are eating and diets we try are just that different things. We would never play around with prescribed drugs like we play around with food.

    That is why I think Paleo is good as well as advocates of Real Food eating. I mean, this stuff is going inside our children’s bodies, or loving husbands’ bodies as well as ours. we realliy should all stand up and pay attention.

  78. Do you have any follow up since you’ve done this? Maybe I missed a post, but I’d love to hear about results and how you feel.

  79. avatar
    SarahSero says:

    I wasn’t able to read all of the comments, so this point may have already been made, but I did paleo a couple years ago, fell off the wagon and am recently starting back up again, AND I am living on a really tight budget. I highly recommend making friends with a hunter! My dad hunts and if I lived closer to him I would be able to get free venison, fish and grouse. Growing up we rarely had beef. There are plenty of places where you can hunt for more than a single deer and a lot of places have fishing year round. If you are not used to the taste you will want to look up recipes, but it is worth it for TOTALLY grass-fed, all-natural food :) the biggest bonus? Wild meat is usually significantly cheaper.

  80. I’ve never liked the all or nothing approach when it comes to eating. People seem to think you need to jump in with two feet or not at all and so lots of people just don’t even try. For me, eating primal is process. First, I cut out breads, bagels, and muffins which was easy because I rarely eat those foods anyway. Then I swapped all my pasta for rice at dinner. Then I stopped eating crackers. Then I gave up rice. Basically I just finished up what was left in the pantry and then never replaced it.

    I never buy free-range meat or organic produce. I don’t buy special nuts and seeds or go to the farmers market for fresh eggs. I shop at the big, disgusting conglomerate grocery store and I’m fine with that. I still use salad dressing that’s made with canola oil. When it’s out I’ll start making my own, but I’m not going to waste it because it’s “not paleo.” We’re a single income family and we eat what we can afford to stay alive. Maybe one day we’ll be able to buy elk and bison meat from the local market, but until then, this is how we live. Just cutting out grains was change enough. Getting down to the nitty gritty things like deciding if honey, nightshades, and peanut butter is okay to eat will come later. One thing at a time.

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