June 18, 2012
Is eating a gluten free diet enough for truly great health? I’d like to walk you through Mary’s and my dietary path that led us to trying the Primal/paleo diet. Prior to 2003, we ate more or less whatever we wanted. It was a fairly typical Standard American Diet (SAD) – which is to say, our food choices were primarily determined by our taste buds.
We went completely gluten free in 2003, and from this point we basically ate whatever we wanted – so long as it didn’t have gluten. It was essentially the SAD minus the gluten.
In 2006, we started eating a gluten free, vegetarian diet because we had heard some interesting reports about vegetarians feeling increased energy levels when they stopped eating meat. We stayed vegetarian for nearly 4 years until January of 2011 when we read the 4 Hour Body and decided to try the Slow Carb diet to lose some weight. (We both felt great initially on a veggie diet, but slowly started to pack on some pounds – largely due to the number of carbs we were eating, I suspect).
We ate Slow Carb for nearly all of last year, and had some great results. We both lost noticeable amounts of weight, energy levels improved, and we both felt that eating meat again, and getting more protein and fewer carbs in our diet was definitely a good thing.
The only problem we had with the Slow Carb diet was that we both plateaued in our weight loss after a few months. We kept eating that way because we felt that it was healthier than what we had been eating, but we both wanted to see some more pounds drop off.
Which brings us to today. Mary and I have been avid readers of Mark’s Daily Apple for several months now, and we’re finally ready to give it shot. We’ve kinda been dabbling at the Primal diet for a few months, so we at least have an idea of what we’re getting into, but we’ve never done it 100% for any length of time.
The biggest attraction to the Slow Carb diet is, hands down, Cheat Day. If you’re not familiar with Slow Carb, you basically don’t eat any sugar, grains, or refined carbs, and as little processed food as possible for 6 days each week. The 7th day is Cheat Day, and you can eat whatever your heart desires. Let me tell you, after a week of being super-restrictive in what you can eat, getting to stuff your face with biscuits, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies is pretty awesome. =D
The Primal diet is less restrictive than Slow Carb – you can have fruit and dark chocolate, for example – but there’s no Cheat Day. Sad times. =( I suspect that things are going to go fairly smoothly until Saturday evening, when my tummy will be expecting pizza.
Despite that, I’m really looking forward to getting back on the wagon, so to speak. I felt great when we were sticking to the Slow Carb diet, and over the past month or two we’ve been eating too many carbs and I haven’t felt nearly as energetic.
Today, June 18th, marks the first day of our Primal experiment, and we’re going to keep you guys updated as we go along. We’re going to follow the principles set forth by Mark in his book The Primal Blueprint. If you have any questions about the diet or what we’re going to be eating, let us know in the comments or email us.