my paleo experiment

This is one of the dishes we served in my recent wedding: Meat and Veggies…it was Yummy!!

As many of you know, I was a vegetarian for a very long time.  After years of eating tofu, avoiding meat and consuming incredible amounts of soy milk, I had no doubt I was doing something right.  I was above all of you “meat eating individuals”, both morally and health wise.  I am all about saving the environment, and reducing my carbon print in this world.  I am also totally against the current practices of industrial farming.  I think it is wrong and inhumane to grow animals in those conditions.

I grew up in home where we would grow our own food including our own chickens, sheep and cows  During my long years of vegetarianism, every vacation I took and headed home, my mom would try to do two things:    a) Get me to eat meat again and b) find me a nice hometown girl to marry.  She never succeeded at neither of those two.

I turned vegetarian long before I became an endurance athlete and I didn’t know the difference animal protein would have in my body.   I always ate plant base protein and that is how I rolled. Branden kept nagging me about changing my eating habits.  It really got annoying.  I was a vegetarian, damn it, and it worked well for me.  However, he planted a seed of change.  I started to read about the paleo diet and it all started to make sense, from a physiological point of view.  But it didn’t make much sense, to me at least, from a moral stand point of view.   Animals are living entities that we need to respect and protect.  I finally realized that I should have one priority and one priority only, my health.  After tons and tons of reading about the paleo diet, I decided to give it a try.   I won’t go into the details here. Please talk to me if you want to know more.

In all of my readings about paleo,  I noticed that most of the examples where people shared success stories dealt with seriously unhealthy and overweight people.  The claims that going paleo yielded incredible results had me seriously questioning the validity of this. Wouldn’t just getting off the couch and into the gym make an incredible difference?  I consider myself a fit individual and I didn’t have any serious issues with my diet, so why make the change?

I would avoid Branden and his constant nagging about me going paleo. But, I saw people having incredible results because of CrossFit and their “paleo” lifestyle so after a year and a half of CrossFit, I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to track the changes I might undergo, so I went to see my doctor and explained to him what I was about to do.  We talked about the possibilities that my body and my digestive system would go crazy if I introduced meat at once.  I also decided to take some blood markers and see where my cholesterol, calcium, etc was and compare it after going paleo for 30 days or so.  The doctor was also very curious about what we would find.             That afternoon, I ate meat for the first time in many years.  Oliver and Jim took me to a steak house and my first meat dish was a prime rib.  It took me a few minutes to get the courage to do what I was about to do.  I grabbed my fork and knife and went at it; it didn’t feel gross or anything like that. It felt fine and it was so freaking delicious.  That night, I went paleo cold turkey and after dinner I headed home and tossed the bread, tofu, soy milk and … just like that, I was on paleo.  It has been a few months now already and I haven’t looked back.

 Here are the differences I have found:

·Energy level. It has gone pretty high.  I am always doing something and my energy level has increased tremendously.

·Better sleep. For many years, I thought waking up a couple of times at night and going to the bathroom every night was normal.  It does not happen now.  I go to bed and I don’t wake up until the next morning.  I actually sleep through the night now and it feels great.

·Recovery.  I do recover faster now.  For those who don’t know me, I am an ultra athlete. In the past, it would take me a few days to recover from a race or a hard workout.   I would be sore all over for days. I feel much better now.

·Memory.  During my vegetarian years, I had to take vitamin B12 and other supplements as I often forgot things.   It scared the hell out of me because as you know, I have a brain tumor and memory loss was one of the first symptoms I experienced when I was diagnosed.   It turns out that after many years of vegetarianism, I needed to supplement my diet with vitamin B complex.  Going Paleo, my brain is sharper and I am not taking any supplements anymore.  It is incredible!

·Allergies. I can sum the results with three words “they are gone”.     I used to be on a cocktail of stuff all the time, Allegra B in the morning, Claritin at night and nasal sprays among others . After I started paleo,  I forgot about renewing my prescriptions,  I don’t need them anymore.

·Fitness.  My God, where do I start here?  This is something amazing. Before I went paleo, I never did RX weights or did them seldom.  After I went Paleo,  RX weights is not a big deal anymore.  I might not be fast, but I am actually doing them.  That is the most amazing marker I have encountered.  I am stronger and fitter.  I am doing an Ironman in two weeks and I am curious as to see how I will do on my first ironman as a meat eating athlete.

·Feel good.  This is by far the most important difference in my paleo experiment.   I feel good, I feel healthy and I feel stronger.

Overall I believe that Paleo diet in combination with a rigorous CrossFit regime will change the way you feel and most likely will change the way you look,  I guarantee it.  :)

Comments

  1. Jimquick says

    Great article Luis! I am a Paleo believer myself. It worked for me as well and people should definitely try it.

  2. Dante says

    Hi Luis – really enjoyed the article. Would be really curious to hear how your follow up blood work tests come out if you feel comfortable sharing (no problem of course if not).

    Thanks,

    Dante

  3. Debra Bivens says

    Thanks for the article Luis.
    I am a 20+ year vegetarian who is contemplating going on the Paleo diet. Just want you
    to know how helpful it was to read about your experience and appreciate your insight and
    point of view.
    Kind regards,
    Debra

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