My husband and I started following the Paleo Diet a couple of months ago. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Paleo Diet encourages eating as paleolithic man would have eaten — meat, veggies, nuts and seeds. No dairy, no wheat or corn, no sugar, minimal starches. We haven’t been fanatical about it — who can resist stuffing at Christmas?! — but we’ve been pretty good about it. I thought I’d share a few things I’ve noticed.
I no longer like cheese. This is HUGE for me! I was a cheese nut, a major fan! I loved cheese and it loved me! All cheese! Swiss, cottage, Monterey Jack, mozza, ricotta! The only ones I wouldn’t eat are the truly stinky cheeses! Cheese was me and I was cheese! You know what I’m talking about! I was a cheese lover and I quit cold-turkey. Actually, I still eat cold turkey. What I’m saying is, I stopped eating, buying or cooking with cheese. Almost completely, except perhaps in an omelet at a restaurant or a tiny skiff of Parmesan on roasted cauliflower.
The other day, I had some cheese and I didn’t like it. It was like orange plastic. It wasn’t the best, fanciest brand, but I don’t think it would matter. It was not enjoyable, and that was a big surprise to me!
Then the other day, I let myself have a few crackers, something I haven’t done in several weeks. And I didn’t like them either. They were like cardboard. Crunchy at first, then gummy. Flour gummy… a bit like glue. Not enjoyable! Another huge surprise! I used to love crackers! Of all kinds! Wow. I had to gradually ween myself off carbs, because I would go into withdrawal and crave them really bad. I ate carrots when I craved carbs. I don’t know why… but it seemed to work and my eyes are sure healthy!
So, I can’t help but conclude that we are pretty much conditioned to like what we’re eating, but those likes and dislikes can change. We like how this-or-that food makes us feel. Carbs are comfort food. Chocolate gives us a high. Caffeine makes us feel invincible! :) But if you change what you eat, it only takes a short time before your taste buds adjust to whatever new food you are feeding them. And you can start to feel a “high” off other foods instead of those you used to get a rush from.
You might have a food you’d like to give up. Well, let me tell you — it’s not actually that hard! Many people (and I was one of them) are addicted to carbs. But, it’s not as hard as you think to leave them behind. Just take it one mouthful-at-a-time — let yourself cheat a little once a week or so — and in a month or so, your cravings will be gone. I’ve read that it only takes 21 days to make a new habit. That’s not very long at all (the days go by so fast)! And then, maybe you’ll find that the foods you used to love don’t make you feel good anymore and don’t taste good anymore! Once they don’t make you feel good, then you won’t want to eat them anymore, and it will be super-easy not to.
By the way, we have both lost some weight, and except for occasional withdrawal from wheat products, we feel great. Oh ya — we haven’t quite given up chocolate yet. It was on sale, what can I say?!? So, uh, that might bring a little withdrawal too. Not ready for that yet! :) So if you’re thinking of eliminating a food from your life, for whatever reason, let me be your encourager — you can do it! Leave a comment and then we can all encourage each other!