Saturday, September 25, 2010

Has It Really Been a Year!?

From my Mom's Garden

I just realized that September 14th marked one year of Paleo living...crazy!!! And, interestingly enough, I celebrated it where it all Mom's house! We enjoyed fresh veggies from her garden, freshly-laid eggs from her neighbor's hens, and the most incredible four-day hike (with my Mom and some of her sixth-grade girl friends) in the Trinity Alps. Here are a few pictures from my trip:

Me, Terri, Mom, and Holly

Morris Meadows (10 Miles In/Camping: Night 1)

Breakfast: Rehydrated Eggs w/Yams (Day 2)

 10 Mile Day Hike (Day 2)

Emerald Lake

Making/Rehydrating Lunch (Day 2)

Lunch: Rehydrated Yams, Kale, and Tomatillo Salsa (Mom and I dehydrated this) w/Wild Salmon

Camping Spot (Night 3)

You know you would've done the same... ;)

Last Day (7 Mile Hike Out)

Four days. Three nights. 34 miles. 40lb pack. And, I can't wait to do it again!

So, back to the food...after a year of eating Paleo, I'm still going strong and continue to tweak my eating so that I feel and look my best. And, speaking of learning and tweaking, Scott had Robb Wolf's new book, "The Paleo Solution" waiting for me when I got home and so far I'm loving it! His writing-style is witty, easy to read, informative, and to the point. Now, I just need more time so that I can finish it. 

A few thoughts, as I look back on my year of eating and experimenting:

As I've mentioned before, one of the the most difficult changes for me was giving up grains, beans, and legumes; with exception to my occasional run-ins with beer, I don't really think twice about them. Now that I have eliminated grains from my diet, I am able to clearly identify the negative impact that they have on my overall well-being; when I eat even a small amount of grains, I almost immediately experience the following:
  1. Bloating and discomfort
  2. Congestion and inflammation (usually accompanied by sniffles)
  3. Skin irritation (generally the skin on my hands and face will feel it's been windburned)
Since going grain-free, I have only used my inhaler (for asthma) once (during a really humid day, during an intense workout) and have not had any major skin issues. I used to suffer from eczema (primarily on my hands), especially during high school and my strict vegetarian days. 

As far as dairy is concerned, I occasionally eat raw cheeses, goat and sheeps' milks cheeses, and very rarely I have gelato. I have found that I LOVE goat's milk butter, so I use that to cook my eggs each morning. So, other than my goat's milk butter, I rarely consume dairy anymore.

Sugar and Processed Foods
I have never been a really big eater of sugar or processed foods (thank goodness!), so it wasn't too difficult to give them up. I grew up eating a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and real foods. My mom cooked for us and packed us healthy lunches...I was always that kid with the reusable lunch sack and crap-loads of tupperware...I appreciate it now. Breakfasts were generally breakfast burritos, with eggs and cheese, or something similar, so I never really had a huge desire to eat donuts, pancakes, or other sweet breakfast foods.

With all of this being said, I graduated from high school, moved out on my own, and went a little food-crazy. I ate a ton of boxed rice products, ate a lot of pasta and jarred sauce, and as a result gained some poundage and squishiness. Oh processed foods...

When I decide I want to add a little sweetness to my tea/coffee or am experimenting with a more paleo-friendly dessert option, I use local, raw honey or pure maple syrup, both in small amounts. I'm also looking forward to experimenting with coconut syrup and sugar.

Fruit and Nuts
For the first few months, I relied pretty heavily on fruits and nuts in the form of Lara bars, dried fruit and nut combinations, and almond flour-based baked goods. I quickly discovered that my body did not approve; my stomach and sides became a little more squishy than desired and my skin a little less smooth and more blotchy than normal. I began to focus on limiting my fruit and nut (almonds specifically) intake and experienced almost immediate results. Not to say that you should eliminate fruits and nuts from your diet, but rather pay attention to your body and limit their consumption.

The thing I've noticed most about this lifestyle is that when I'm eating really clean, my workout recovery is faster and I just feel better. My skin looks better, my digestion is better, I sleep better, I have more energy, I don't get weird skin irritations, I don't have asthma attacks, I haven't experienced seasonal allergies...I think I'll stick with it.


Jesse, The Body said...


I'm really curious on how you made/prepared the rehydrated or hydrated eggs, yams, and kale?

Kim said...

Jen! Great blog! I have really enjoyed your posts. I have been a xfit nut for years and was on the Zone for a long time, but am making the switch to Paleo. You are an encouragement! Keep it up and keep posting!

jencereghino said...

Hi Jesse!

I'll give you the step-by-step in my next post. :) I'm charging my camera battery and will get that up, hopefully, by today.

Thanks for stopping by!

jencereghino said...

Thank you, Kim!

I too checked out Zone, for a short stint, last year; I still refer to my experience when deciding on food portions for our meals. I have been so happy with my decision to switch to Paleo and am so thankful that I committed to it.

I checked out your blog...I love that you and your husband, also, share the CrossFit passion! We are hooked in this household and have a great little competition going. :) We've both gotten our Level 1 certification and hope to one day have our own gym.

Good luck with the Paleo fun!

Trixie said...

Jen, so great to see a new post...was in withdrawal! Love how you explain the reasons behind your food choices/ preferences. I still think my favorite post is the one where you break down your week of food.

jencereghino said...

Thanks, Trixie! I'm working on a few new posts, but have been working A LOT since I got back last week. I want to share my recipes for dehydrated food that we created for our backpacking trip (YUM!) and also have plans of doing a few more weeks of eating plans. How's your meal planning and eating going?

I hope that married life is keeping you healthy and happy!

Trixie said...

Great Jen, looking forward to them! I'm doing well thank you. I think for me, I know what foods to eat, but sometimes lack the creativity to put a daily plan together...that's why I love this site. My new husband has been great eating all the Paleo meals I make! BTW: How much butter do you use when making your 3 eggs?? I ask because I used to eat 3 hard boiled eggs in the am and was hungry shortly after, maybe by adding the fat it will keep me full longer??

jencereghino said...

When I make scrambled eggs, I'm usually cooking for the two of us. I use about 1T of butter for 8 eggs...yes...8 eggs (3 for me, 5 for Scott)! I really need to get some chickens... :)

You're getting fat in the egg yolks, but I would just play around with that a little bit. Fat helps to slow digestion and help keep you feel satiated longer, but definitely needs to be monitored. Have you made any of my frittata recipes? I feel like those sometimes keep me full longer, as I'm getting some carbs, protein, and fat. My favorite combination is:

2 Eggs
2 Bacon Strips (sliced)
.5oz Goat Cheese (or omit and add one more strip bacon)
Huge Handful of Baby Spinach (roughly chopped)
6 Asparagus (sliced)

It also mixes things up a bit. Obviously, the portions are bigger if we're both eating. You can have all of these things chopped and ready to go from fridge to pan to oven. Just a thought!

Trixie said...

Thanks Jen,this sounds easy! I think I might even have all the ingredients in my fridge now:)

Dawn said...

Jen- I have been following your blog for a while now and absolutely LOVED this post. Your food logs and WODs are very inspiring. Being a fellow Lulu lover, I also enjoyed your post regarding what you brought on your trip. Love the yam/egg dehydration idea for backpacking... Thanks again for all the inspiration!

OmegaVia said...

Hi Jen, I'm new to this Paleo thing. So I've been reading TONS of stuff about it. Cutting out sugar was easy. I used to make my own muesli with equal parts dried fruits, nuts and grains. Losing that was hard. But I've made new batch without the grains.

May be it is unrelated, but before I ditched the cereal, I had to drag my ass upstairs to go to bed at the end of the day. I didnt have enough energy to climb the stairs! Now, I'm still pretty peppy at 11 PM and have a lot more energy. I'll need the energy - my wife and I are expecting twins in a month! :-)

One thing you mentioned REALLY caught my attention - about congestion and sniffles. Every night, it's like I have earplugs in my nose! Hate the stuffiness. Even had surgery for it - no help. I still drink skim milk and have beans, legumes and I wonder if it might be one of those or something else I eat.

Looking forward to reading your blogs - just found it today. Thanks!

jencereghino said...

Congrats on the impending parenthood! will definitely need your energy.

I totally agree with the increase in energy and have recently turned a friend (former vegan and raw-food eater) on to the Paleo diet...she almost immediately felt an increase in energy and a decrease in bloating, just because of the elimination of grains and addition of fresh fish...YEAH!

As for your issue with congestion...I am not a doctor, but I would have to say with almost 100% certainty that your issues are related to your consumption of dairy, beans, and/or legume...all inflammatory foods.

My recent experience with dairy (
had me certain that I was coming down with a horrible cold, as I was majorly congested, had a sore/scratchy throat, watery/weepy eyes, and just felt achy all over. Next day, I ate eggs for breakfast, fasted the rest of the day, and felt fine the next morning.

I might recommend eliminating them all for at least two weeks, just to see if that makes a difference. And, another thing...have you tried the neti pot? I swear by mine! Use it for regular (twice daily) maintenance and see if that helps, along with the diet change.

Take care!

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