Now that you know how I feel about the word "diet", I want to dive into two "diets" that I do support from both personal experience and expert advice. The two diets, of which you may be familiar, are The Zone and Paleo/Primal.
First, I want to give you a little background on my personal experience with these two diets. When I graduated college it dawned on me that I had packed a bit extra baggage to take home. I moved back home and started a cardio kickboxing program at the karate school I attended as a kid. I also started training for a half marathon in November. I switched to eating mostly whole grains and lower fats since that was what most of the articles I found on MSN health and other sites suggested. Also, continuing with the "carbo-load" mindset from high school track, I ate tons of pastas and breads before a long run along with high carb "recovery" snacks after cardio class. October hits and I realize that I haven't lost a pound; if anything, I had gained more. So I started counting calories. I found an awesome app on my iTouch called Lose It!. It had me enter my weight, goal weight, and birthday (as a goal completion date). Soon I got the hang of it and slowly started losing weight. At first I tried to keep my fat intake below 20%, protein around 20%, and carb around 60%. After 5 long months I was down about 15 lbs. I was also super agitated, irritable, not quite approachable...
Two months prior, in February, my brother and I took a trip to our sisters. He started telling us all about this new training programing he was getting into called CrossFit. He talked a bit about the theories behind it and I read a few of the "getting started" journals. It seemed really interesting but I left it there. Soon after he completed his Level 1 Cert. In April my family took a trip to Virginia for Easter and I completed my first WOD. I was hooked. I got home and engulfed myself in the CrossFit.com site. Enter The Zone. Within weeks I lost the remaining 10 lbs I wanted to lose. Still slightly irritable, I kept on the Zone proportions and had no troubles keeping at the weight I wanted to.
Another back story: Most of my life I have been struggling with a skin irritation that was present on my underarm, thigh, and feet. I hated it. It was uncomfortable and ugly. However, I never took the time to get it checked out. I guess I had learned to live with it for so long I just took it for what it was. Then one day I was reading an article that mentioned a wheat intolerance may be to blame. Interesting, I thought, since I had been inundating myself with articles and sites from CrossFit and had come across this idea before. I jumped on a few sites and read more about the Paleo/Primal diet. I decided to give it a shot and cut out wheat for a week. Within days the irritation subsided. A week or so later I ate some pasta and WHAM!, skin irritation. Bingo! No more wheat for me! Just like it. I kept reading more about Paleo/Primal and also cut out peanut butter (replaced with almond butter), white potatoes, oats, and rice. Remember that agitation, irritation, and non approachable-ness I mentioned earlier? Gone. I was sleeping better, had more energy, and just overall much happier.
So that's my story. Zone helped accelerate the weight loss, but Paleo/Primal kept the weight off, improved my mood, improved my health, and tastes d@mn good. That being said, I do tend to stick to Zone proportions using all Paleo/Primal food. So now that you know my story, think about yours. Are you happy with the weight you are at, or do you want to lose or gain weight? Do you have issues sleeping, with allergies, or irritability? Are you willing to give up conventional diet staples like breads and pastas or are you stead-fast on keeping them?
Next post we will review The Zone diet. If you'd like to review some of it beforehand, this is the CrossFit Journal article that started it for me. I will base most of my information off of this article.
This recipe (adapted from the Student Savor blog) is good 3 block carb/3 block fat side dish. Easy to make, it is delicious as a side for a nice pan-fried or broiled 4.5oz white fish to finish out the 3 block meal.
Sweet and Sour Celery and CarrotsThe Food
- 4 stalks celery
- 12 baby carrots
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbs oil
- 1/2 tbs honey
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- Salt and pepper
Cut up celery into 1" chunks
Cut up baby carrots in quarters (length wise then in half)
Add water, oil, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper in a medium pot
Mix at a simmer until honey is melted and all is combined nicely
Add celery and carrots
Cover and cook until vegetables are tender to your liking (I cooked mine about 15 minutes)
Remove the celery and carrots; if there is any liquid left you can turn up the heat and reduce it down a bit
Pour juices over vegetables