Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Starting Paleo: What it Will Look Like for Me and my Family
My biggest reason for wanting to go paleo is to see if we can deal with some stubborn chronic health conditions. I have many symptoms of Celiac Disease. My daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was three and has had several other immune system disorders. My spouse deals with digestion problems regularly. My daughter with JRA and I also both have weight issues. I don't know what mine are related to (and it's not overeating, btw, but that's another post); my daughter's stem from over-exposure to steroids to manage the arthritis.
That's the big picture, but I'm still wondering how the family will react. Will we really never eat tortillas? (Somos mexicanos.) Not bake anymore? (I used to run a small bakery.) Leave Nutella sandwiches on wholewheat behind? (It's my go-to substitute for dessert.)
So, while I think paleo is probably the easiest "handle" to put on this lifestyle choice, like many who practice it, I think we'll see it as something of a continuum. Personally, I plan on limiting dairy a lot. Live-culture yogurt, a little cream with coffee once in a while, and maybe cheese on a special occasion? The kids already drink as much almond milk as cow's milk, and I'll probably keep them headed in that general direction. Sugar? We fairly regularly fast from sugar anyway, but it's definitely feast or famine. I'll be happy to leave it behind for good. Vegetables: check. Tubers: they're not good for RA anyway, so we'll stay away. Legumes? Still researching. Grain? I plan on avoiding it nearly entirely myself and weaning the family off as far as I can get away with it. Meat/Poultry/Fish? Yes, as high a quality as I can afford, as a bare minimum, avoiding growth hormone and nitrites, and grass-fed/free-range as often as possible.
As far as a timeline is concerned, I plan on making a clean break from my current diet and starting fresh. I had bread for breakfast, rice noodles with lunch and pasta salad for dinner. I'm done and ready to turn the page and see how this will work for me. As far as the fam is concerned, I think it will be prudent to be sneaky. I'll ease them into it while I learn more about shopping and cooking paleo. I'd like to get them used to it in practice before I let them in on it. Since I do all the food prep and they're used to eating what's put before them (for the most part), I think I can pull it off.