I’ve completed my two-month paleo diet trial. I’m proud to say I’ve been fairly compliant with it, although certainly not 100%. Perhaps 95%.
My major transgressions have been:
- three diet sodas
- a bottle of wine around Thanksgiving holiday
- two or three pies around Thanksgiving (I couldn’t stand throwing them out)
- other grain and refined sugar products around Thanksgiving
- four servings of salad dressing made with industrial seed oils when I had no good alternative
- a Blizzard (thick milk shake) from Dairy Queen
- on 10–15 days I’ve exceeded my 2-ounce (60 g) limit on nuts
Results and Overall Impressions of Paleo Eating
It’s fairly easy, even when dining out or away from home. Nevertheless, it requires some discipline and willpower.
My sense is that my meat, poultry, egg, and nut consumption stayed about the same as my baseline, pre-paleo levels. I eliminated cheese and didn’t miss it much. I ate more vegetables and fruit.
My wife says paleo eating is at least a little more expensive than my prior eating habits, mostly related to fresh vegetables and fruit. Grain products like bread, pasta, and rice are cheaper calories. On the other hand, we saved money by not buying wine even though I don’t drink expensive wine.
I don’t miss grain products much at all. I had already cut back on them over the last couple years as part of my experimentation with low-carb eating. I do enjoy whole grain breads but could live a happy life without them if necessary.
I miss sweet items like cinnamon rolls, other pastries, cake, pie, ice cream, diet soda, and candy bars. I don’t care for sugary soda pop and fruit juices.
I didn’t do this to lose weight, yet went from 171 lb (77.7 kg) down to 164 lb (74.5 kg). So an unexpected loss of 7 lb (3.2 kg). I hovered between 162 and 166 lb for the last few weeks so I don’t think I’ll keep losing weight if I stay with the program.
Do I feel any different eating this way? No. I’m blessed with good health, so wasn’t looking for any upgrades. I have noticed more sweetness in a few foods, such as nuts and carrots.
I take nothing away from those who report more energy, better sleep, improved digestion, increased strength, less joint pain, etc., from paleo-style eating. Undoubtedly, some of those apparent improvements are placebo effect, some are coincidental, and some are bona fide results of the paleo lifestyle.
PS: The paleo diet is also called the Paleolithic diet, hunter-gatherer diet, Stone Age diet, caveman diet, or ancestral diet.
Update December 16, 2012: I wondered if lack of alcohol for the last two months had any effect on my weight loss. For the last week I ate my usual paleo diet but added 3 fl oz (90 ml) of whiskey daily. Weight today 163 lb (73.9 kg), so no real change over the short run. That’s enough whiskey for a while.
Update December 27: After three days of unrestrained Holiday eating, my weight is up 8 lb to 171 lb (77.7 kg). Mostly thanks to pie, cookies, and candy. I’m sure some of that extra weigh is glycogen, water, and intestinal contents, rather than fat. Back on the paleo diet today, a low-carb version.
Update December 29: Weight is down 5 lb to 166 lb (75.5 kg). Amazing.