Welcome back to the Paleo Experiment blog post series, where I’ve been documenting 30 days on the Paleo diet, addressing a series of 5 questions I’d pondered close to a month ago.
I did it! I made it through week 4! I’ll post a more complete summary next week, after I’ve finished all 30 days and tested the effects of some foods I’ll be reintroducing to see their effects and decide whether to keep them in my diet at all or get rid of them completely. I’ll also be determining just how much food I have left in my fridge (pictured left) after all for my analysis for question #1.
Here are my tentative answers to the questions I posited for the experiment.
1. Is it affordable?
Over the course of 4 weeks, I spent $483.62 on groceries. This is just a touch over $120 ($120.95 precisely) per week. Although I believe my grocery bills were around $100/week pre-Paleo, I’d also spend another 30+ making trips to the grocery store when running out of food, in addition to eating out about once a week. Plus, we still have a ton of leftover food in our fridge, so we’ll see how many days worth of meals that adds up to. So the answer is yes, the Paleo diet is certainly affordable. Although I haven’t made a science of it like Anne at Paleo on a Budget (who spends $200-225 A MONTH feeding her entire family of 3) I am pretty happy at the number. It looks like the average American spends a bit over $128.00 a month on groceries, so we’re well below that range, and spent virtually nothing on restaurants save for a rotisserie chicken and some sides of vegetables at Boston Market.
I will note that the grocery bill involved primarily organic produce when possible as well as grass-fed beef. I’m sure I could cut ti under $100/week if I decided to forego these luxuries, but I feel strongly about the health of the environment and supporting organic farmers, as well as ethics of eating animals who are not cooped up like prisoners and basically tortured.
2. Will it make me crazy?
Although transitioning to this diet included an adjustment period with some lethargy, this was temporary. My mood has been very steady on the Paleo diet. It seems that only wheat triggers insane mood swings for me, but the next few days will be interesting in analyzing things further.
3. Any cravings?
I’m not going to lie. Buttered popcorn at the movies. Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Whipped cream. Trail mix with milk chocolate. Reese’s peanut butter cups. Jelly beans. Perhaps some Thai food with rice. I did not crave wheat, dairy or sugary soft drinks, however, and feel that it was more about the habit of eating those foods than the actual foods themselves–and the head games of feeling like I wasn’t allowed.
I will also note that Paleo versions of foods such as pizza, pancakes, etc. made me crave the real thing, though. I like the idea of experiencing flavor combinations I’d otherwise not get the chance to taste, but I sometimes felt a bit like a vegan eating tofu pups when all I wanted was a real hot dog.
4. Will it support my workouts and sport?
This is a really hard question to answer, since I started a new workout program right when I started the diet and I’ve also been dealing with the transition to winter so I haven’t had quite the consistency and intensity I normally expect out of myself, especially this past week. There are so many variables involved, though, so it is hard to say.
5. Am I going to lose weight?
My weight has been fluctuating quite a bit lately, but I lost between 3 to 4 lbs. on the diet. I’d like to have had a more dramatic response, but really a pound a week is decent since I don’t have all that much to lose. I will be taking some after photos to see if the change is visible or not.
6. Other lessons learned?
Although I didn’t really have health problems going into the diet, I definitely feel lighter on it and don’t have that heavy feeling after eating. My digestion is improved, and I believe I’m probably absorbing more nutrients.
I continue to be amazed by Scotty’s amazing recipes in the Paleo Solution, and by the very extensive variety. Just yesterday we had egg torte for breakfast, steak for lunch and scallops for dinner. This is a far cry from eating nothing but scrambled eggs, chicken and beef and salads. I did not feel as deprived as expected and was very excited about my meals.
I’ll be back next week with a more thorough analysis.