Adventures in Paleo (aka A Newman New Year)

I’m not one of those people who takes pictures of my food. I mean, it really has to be spectacular for me to whip out my phone and take a picture of it. So, for those who clicked on my link to see a picture of my amazing paleo cooking skills this evening, I regret to inform you that no such pictures exist.

What this post does contain, however, is a pseudo-New Year’s update on the Newmans, and one of those New Year’s things is that we’re trying out being somewhat paleo. For those who do not know, the “paleo diet” is one in which you restrict what you eat to whole and natural foods that you would likely eat if you were a caveman (or woman). That means — NO grains, NO dairy, NO processed foods. (Here’s a link to a blog called NerdFitness that explains it better than me that I found when I was researching this latest diet phenomenon during my Christmas vacation.)

Now, we’re being somewhat paleo, meaning that we are still eating dairy (I cannot live without a little cheese and Greek yogurt in my life), and we don’t eat paleo on the weekends. Call us cheaters if you must, but I feel like life changes happen best in small increments than in drastic shifts. At least for me. I’ve also committed to trying this diet and time table for January/February.

Why small increments? It’s in part due to a recent article I read around the New Year about the failure of setting goals. (For those of you who missed it on my Facebook – if anyone who reads this doesn’t also see my stuff on Facebook – here you go: Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead). The article talks about the importance of changing personal systems as opposed to setting goals. Now, I slightly disagree with this article in that I feel that goals are still important. Without a goal, what is the purpose of changing your systems? However, as someone with “Achiever” in my top 5 StrengthsFinder results, whenever I set a goal it goes like this: Exhilaration! Motivation! Winning at life! But about a week or so after the novelty has worn off (and I few excuses are made here and there), it quickly becomes: Arduous. Guilt-driven. Defeating.

So this year I’m focusing on changing my systems. And one of those systems is eating too many carbs and letting life get in the way of my exercise routine. Specifically, the two systems I’m working on this month and next are:

  1. Working out whenever I go into the office to work — no excuses.
  2. Reducing my carb intake by focusing on eating paleo.

The good news is that I’ve already lost three pounds, which is exciting! The bad news is that I’ve only lost three pounds. But it’s a start. It’s probably because we’re cheating by not being paleo on the weekend, but I’m not after immediate, drastic results. I’m after changing my old normal — which was to eat whatever I wanted whenever and only go to the gym when I felt like it — to a new(er) normal of making meals at home and working exercise back into a weekly habit.

I’m also a big believer in easing yourself into diets (hence the necessity of keeping cheese in the diet. At least the stuff we buy is made with skim milk). If putting a bit of chunky peanut butter on my celery sticks will make me actually choose celery sticks over chips and guac for a snack, I think it’s worth it. Keeping all those bad foods out of the house is good too.

So, back to my adventure in paleo for this evening. I am a rare Pinterest-er, despite my many friends who routinely use its boards for planning life and meals and crafts (I still have trouble understanding the whole “pinning” to boards thing. I just don’t get the appeal, ok?). But I found this recipe for Walnut Pesto Chicken there, and it was delish. It also had the bonus feature of conveniently using up the rest of the frozen pesto from my freezer that was loving made with the last of our CSA basil, which reminded me of summer and how wonderful it was when I didn’t have to wear finger gloves while I working in my home office (this feature in addition to running my birthday-gift space heater at my feet).

I also roasted some brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt and garlic. That was also delish. The whole meal was carb-free. Take that.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been meaning to write an update since last June, but it hasn’t happened because it was a self-defeating goal. Now I’m striving for systemic change by blogging more regularly. I say that every time I post on here, but this time I mean it. 🙂 It’s about changing systems, so the new system is posting the blog at least twice a month so you all know what we’re doing with life.

And for those of you who read the recipe, yes, I did add the Parmesan cheese. 🙂

3 Responses to “Adventures in Paleo (aka A Newman New Year)”

  • Lorene Brown

    I certainly can attest to the fact that Paleo makes me feel better, less like I am 56 an more like I am 39, again. Less achey, more energy and after being strict for 5 months, I am much less tolerant of gluten,dairy and sugar. After experimenting, one must cherish beer. It has grains. Rats. Even the developer of the Paleo diet, Loren Cordain attests to healthy results when adhering 85%. I am not calculating it. M-F for me is 85%. Just a note Kaari, if true Paleo, beans and legumes of any kind are not included, and unfortunately that includes peanuts. Walnut, almond and hazelnut butter are awesome though. I have a carrot cake recipe that I adapted and is totally awesome.
    All I can say is that I lost 12 additional pounds after starting Paleo instead of gaining the 30 they predicted while on my Prednisone with BOOP last year being an absolute couch potato literally. So ,for me too, back on track and vegetable prepping Sundays in portion controlled containers for work and home have returned. Roasted garlic mashed cauliflower. Awesome. We will compare notes. Send me your winner recipes. Love you Aunt Lorene

  • Kate Dahlman

    Love it, Kaari! You go girl (and guy, too!) And, I am going to go right now and look at the chicken-walnut recipe thing… you!!

  • Hol

    I love this, Kaari! I’ve been doing a paleo experiment for the month of January called the Whole30. I’m learning a lot about my eating habits and trying some new recipes! Can’t wait to see what you and Zach make next!

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