The Paleo Diet: From A Novice Perspective (Part I)
I could approach this topic in an information-heavy manner, citing facts about the pros and cons of beginning the paleo lifestyle change. However, I think it’s best to approach this topic on a more subjective level since lifestyle challenges, such as dealing with diet, are intensely personal. The paleo lifestyle, an approach to eating focused on the dietary patterns of the hunter-gathers in the paleolithic era, is allowing me to transform my life in a way that helps me to be both satiated physically and financially.
I began officially dieting at twenty-three. This was the first time I had ever sought out a trainer. In addition to having a strict expert telling me how to exercise, I made the lifestyle choice of becoming a vegan. Veganism was fun in many ways. For example, I could always humble-brag to friends and strangers that I didn’t eat anything containing meat products. That meant no dairy and even desserts containing this substance. I felt empowered. However, as a perennially broke college student and one focusing on strict macronutrient levels, it was difficult to sustain this new lifestyle. After my trainer, a soldier in the army, was re-stationed, she helped me choose someone else to replace her. With my new trainer, we discussed the feasibility of my vegan lifestyle and in less than an hour I converted to the ketogenic plan. Unlike veganism, an availability of meat opened up to me but similar to veganism, I continued to count calories and map macronutrients. I hated it.
Almost two years later after regaining some of the lost weight, I began searching for a different dietary lifestyle plan. I am someone whose weight loss journey looks like a scatter plot with the correlation of my weight gain having to do with some major life event. Over my adolescent to young adult years, I’ve had three. Honestly, I chose the paleo lifestyle after light research. I made up my mind upon realizing that as an African woman, managing this lifestyle would be easy. Cooking with meats, poultry, and fish is something we naturally gravitate towards. Although there is an abundance of carbs in the African diet, it’s also easy to find baked fish and chicken, for example, at any Cameroonian (and in extension, African) home. With seasoning and spices being low in calories (and price), I found it affordable to maintain this lifestyle.
The differences in these lifestyle changes was this—-while the vegan, ketogenic, and paleo diets have enabled me to lose weight, the paleo diet did so in a manner that resonated with my finances and body type. While veganism and the ketogenic diet kept me perpetually hungry, the paleo diet allows me to eat as much as I want. With that came the change in my appetite. I don’t need to overeat or pile heaps of food on my plate to feel satiated. Likewise, gone are the days of calorie counting and documenting macronutrients on frustrating apps. Finally, even with the paleo diet, I am able to eat carbs in addition to my lean meats. The only problem with this diet arises for carb-lovers who have a hard time letting go of bread, sweets, and pastas, in addition to other carb-heavy foods. However, for those of us who like meat, it’s one of the easier choices to come to terms with.