Paleo Beginnings

Switching to a primal lifestyle was a slow change for me, one that did not happen overnight.

I have my college roommate, Mary, to thank for first introducing me to primal eating. It was my third year of university, and I was studying medical anthropology and human physiology which for me was a perfect mix, matching my interest in human health & evolution. Mary and I would eat lunch together a couple times a week, and this where she shared her paleo lunches with me. Thankfully, she was a good cook.

In the beginning, I struggled the most with breakfast. I was a long time cereal addict, and a strong believer that eating Special K with skim milk was my path to dropping those extra pounds (I tried the Special K Challenge several times, with short-lived results). However, when I started college I was too broke to afford the endless boxes of cereal, and so I began making my own ‘healthy’ granola.

I baked up big batches of homemade granola using fruit juices for the syrupy coatings. I was convinced that since I was baking the granola from scratch, and not using any refined sugars, that the granola was healthy. When Mary first told me about the primal diet, I could not wrap my head around how my homemade granola was not allowed on the diet. It never occurred to me, (or seemed possible) that the granola was making my health worse. Thankfully, Mary eventually convinced me to drop the granola and start eating protein and fat rich foods for breakfast.

The change was immediate and clear. Previously, I was waking up starving and unable to function until I had my bowl of granola. My roommates often avoided me in the mornings, since I was often a wee bit snarly to them before my bowl of granola. Typically,  an hour after eating, I would have to eat again. I joked that I was part hobbit, needing second breakfast. In the afternoons I often had to take a nap (usually in the middle of a lecture). Looking around the lecture halls, most students were also having troubles staying awake. I began to think it was normal to struggle through the mid afternoon. When I started eating primal breakfasts everything slowly began changing. When I replaced my granola with a breakfast hash of ground beef and cauliflower, second breakfasts stopped. Accidental naps in the afternoon also began decreasing. I noticed that if I ate paleo the day before, I didn’t wake up starving and could actually function as a normal pleasant human which my roommates appreciated.

I didn’t go 100% primal overnight, at first, I only ate primal when it was convenient, like when meat was on sale or when a new recipe got me excited. For me, I noticed the biggest change in my energy and mood when I consistently ate a primal breakfast, but it was also one of the hardest habits to break. It’s been 8 years and I am still working on getting my diet dialed in. I look forward to sharing these experiences with the community here!

What was your biggest hurdle when trying to improve your lifestyle?

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