I tried the paleo diet after having been gluten-free for seven years. On my journey toward even better health, I stumbled across the book Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life by Nora T. Gedgaudas.
It sounded doable. Eat what our ancestors ate. Exercise like our ancestors exercised. Lose weight. Be healthy. Feel great. I jumped in with no reservations. While restriction wasn’t new to me, the paleo diet required more than I was willing to give.
It’s expensive – Paleo enthusiasts will tell you the cost is worth it. Investing in your health now means better health later. The diet centers around organic foods and products like grass-fed butter and beef, coconut milk and flour, almond butter and flour, eggs, eggs, and more eggs, and it all adds up. But the cost alone didn’t deter me. I agreed that quality food was worth the extra cost for my family in the long-term.
It’s difficult socially – If you have a social life, paleo living will threaten to end it. Sure, you can make paleo meals and desserts for friends and family if they’re flexible. But again, we’re talking more money. My family’s favorite paleo brownie recipe (aka fancy-pants brownies) cost about $20.00 to make. No joke. Still, I cut back on desserts, and kept on.
It’s hard to travel – One trip I survived on beef jerky, almond butter, and bananas alone. I wanted to cry a little. Maybe I did. That trip is still a little fuzzy. But I soldiered on.
It’s all-consuming – Forget eating out. At all. I thought gluten-free on the go was difficult. Eating out paleo-style is worse, which means you don’t do it. You cook every meal. The cooking isn’t as awful as the repetition. Unless you have tons of time, money and energy to get creative, mealtimes become monotonous and frustrating. Maybe if I were single or childless, I would have risen to the challenge, but the truth is paleo wore me down. This is where I gave up on paleo. The constant meal planning and prep ended me.
I did feel better physically on the paleo diet, but it requires a level of dedication I don’t have. While I’ll carry lessons learned with me along with my new-found love for grass-fed butter, I’ve fallen back to my regular gluten-free existence.
I applaud those who are able to stick with the paleo lifestyle. However, for me, I won’t be returning until I’m able to hire a personal chef to make all my paleo dreams a reality.