This is a great topic for our monthly No Grains, No Gains blogroll! Because it really fits in to my pursuits this year: HEALTH!
If you've read for a while, I obviously am a big proponent of total health: body, mind and spirit. I believe that if you heal your body (and mind, and spirit), then your weight will normalize to a healthy range and you will be filled with all types of energy.
So what health benefits have I experienced since going Paleo two years ago?
Well, I had been maintaining my weight around 135 before Paleo. I was still eating grains, though I had eliminated fast food and reduced the amount of processed food in my diet. So I wasn't what you might consider eating the Standard American Diet as I had cleaned it up a fair amount.
However - my weight trended higher than I wanted and I had excess belly fat. I was pretty fatigued all the time. I also had itchy rashes on my legs CONSTANTLY. Literally scratching my legs at night till they were raw because the rashes were so bothersome. I would put all sorts of topical creams and oils on it and nothing helped. Why? Because there was nothing external causing my rashes.
The real culprit? INFLAMMATION.
Inflammation inside my body, deep down on the cellular level. Making my face break out in pimples, causing rashes, making me hold onto excess weight, bringing down my energy levels, etc.
Then, early in 2012, I tried the Whole30. Strict Paleo - no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no sugar aside from fruit juice.
By the end of that month, my rashes had COMPLETELY disappeared, I was experiencing energy levels higher than I could ever remember, I had no pimples on my face (though they do come back because of hormones when I'm menstruating), AND I dropped 10 pounds.
I've been maintaining a weight under 125 pounds since the day I tried Paleo, because I've never gone back.
I do slip up occasionally. When I do, in a matter of minutes or hours, the rashes on my legs come back. If I eat white potatoes, I get hives on my arms. My face breaks out.
Those things are not psychological. They are real effects of introducing modern wheat/potatoes/other grains into a clean body.
I never noticed these things much, even though I lived with them most of my life. The only time I noticed the incredible inflammation in my body and the symptoms (weight gain, rashes, pimples and fatigue) was when I stopped ingesting grains (wheat especially). I also strongly limit alcohol and sugars. I have dairy every once in a great while (but I am lactose intolerant, so I need to take lactaid if I do, ha). Legumes haven't made their way back into my diet, either.
So - do you suffer from a host of problems that can be attributed to basic full body inflammation???
Give Paleo or Primal a try. Just a try. A month. Why not? It can NOT hurt you - eating a diet focused on a whole, clean foods, mostly veggies with nuts, seeds, fruits, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, etc) and lean protein will NEVER, NEVER hurt you. It might be a hard diet to follow, but you will get all the nutrition you need.
And if your symptoms go away? Huge plus! Lose a little weight? Why not!
And if it doesn't work for you (even though you didn't cheat at all!), you've got nothing to lose. :)
I would also caution people to keep a keen eye on the quality of their food: keep it organic when possible, eliminate nitrates TOTALLY in your meats, keep added hormones and antibiotics out of your food. No processed foods or minimally processed if necessary (like frozen veggies or someone mixed up the baba ganoush for you, etc).
Eating HIGH QUALITY vegetables, fruits, meats (keep red meat to a minimum) and fats is the way I got to maintain a low body weight, eliminate my rashes and pimples and start living life with energy!!
Enjoy your day, my friends!!!
If you want to see how other women who follow a paleo/primal template heave experienced health benefits from their diets, give my fellow bloggers a read: