Sunday, March 15, 2015

End of 2 month Nutrition challenge

I finally finished my 2 month nutrition challenge on March 1st. For the first month, I had to participate in a strict Whole 30 challenge and then have a strict month of Paleo in February. Strict meaning no cheat meals and no alcohol. Miraculously, I was able to complete two months without cheating--despite multiple social drinking events and a party bus! There were some temptations early in the challenge but that temptation gradually went away!

Healthy eating, consisting of non-processed foods, was the missing link for me to reach my fitness goals. I'm finally a believer that nutrition really does matter...A LOT! For those of you interested in living a healthier lifestyle that haven't partaken in a Whole30, Paleo or other non-processed food lifestyles, I encourage you to try one. Jump head first into a "Whole30." For me (and I believe many others), a life before non-processed food diet was an "ignorance is bliss" situation. Once the foods I grew up with were taken out of my diet, I recognized how destructive those foods can be and how awesome natural foods are. If anyone wants help getting started, has questions, whatever...I'd be happy to help.

Healthy eating does cost a little bit more, and it requires more effort and a maybe a bit more time--but aren't YOU and YOUR health worth it? So despite spending more at the grocery store (maybe about $120-$140 total a week), I actually saved money overall. I should also mention that I actually got to eat MORE food...about 50% more calories than I was eating before so that figures into the higher grocery bills. The savings were from not buying alcohol and going out to eat less. Full was also winter and I hibernated more than I would have in the summer but saving $4 a beer at a bar or $15 on a meal--you'd be surprised on how much it adds up. So if your excuse to not eat healthy is because "it's more expensive" you're right and wrong. Groceries-wise, yes it's more expensive but if you indulge a lot in Des Moines's awesome restaurant/bar scene then you probably will end up saving yourself money; in the short term and long term (health wise). 

Maybe my results below will help convince you?

Date-        Weight & BF
10/27/14- 179 lbs 23.34% (Transitioning to Paleo)
01/04/15- 174 lbs 12.72% (After 10 Weeks of paleo w/ cheat meals)
03/01/14- 168 lbs   9.68% (After 2 month strict nutrition challenge)

Yes, I'm being braggy but the numbers do not lie! Proper nutrition in my lifestyle has by far improved my body composition more than just exercise alone and it did it quickly!

Nutrition is important. Yeah I've already driven that point home but it matters more than just in weight loss. There are many articles that explain the Paleo nutrition lifestyle, the justification of this lifestyle/diet is that our bodies haven't adapted to the processed foods we've only had for a very small % of human existence. This has led to bad stuff happening to the body--digestion problems, cancers, allergies just to name a few. So if you don't want to lose weight but want your body to run more efficiently or conquer some health problems you have, this may be your ticket.

After having several cheats post-nutrition challenge: I felt awful, I got a cold (which is was always rare for me), and my performance in the gym has sucked several days after! My plan is to continue the Paleo lifestyle. Sure, I'll incorporate a few meals here or there that aren't Paleo--oh and I'll have a beer here and there. I've experienced the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle and the downfalls of not practicing it so I'm very motivated to stick with it!

Food Porn/New Recipes since the last post:

  • Breakfasts:

Apple Cinnamon Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash Props to Molly Hansen (& Stupid Easy Paleo). This was super tasty--even though I used tablespoons for the cinnamon & syrup instead of teaspoons.
Sweetness, cinnamon(ess) and creaminess with the egg yolk. OH and Bacon!

Sweet Potato Paleo Pancakes (props to Justin & Angie Huitt)
Mine tasted fine but my attempt is not pictured because mine turned out pretty ugly.

  • SIDES:

Green Bean Casserole
This wasn't bad. I felt like it required a lot of butter (I used Ghee). I may try it again or the other 2 green bean casserole recipes I have stashed away

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Paleo
This seemed like a no brainer. Pretty easy to make and I already love sweet potatoes (and surprisingly not sick of them). My only beef with this recipe is that it seemed overly buttery from the ghee I used so I may reduce the butter a bit. I don't believe this was very sweet, much more on the savory side.

  • Dinners:

Buffalo Chicken and Sweet Potato Meatzza (PaleOMG)
This was realllly good! The seasoning combo on the chicken was so amazing that I remember what it tastes like now and I cooked this 3+ weeks ago. I actually used turkey instead of chicken since ground chicken was not available.

Paleo Tex Mex Casserole
Very good! I've made this recipe twice. I love this recipe since you can never have enough veggies (in my case, I can always use more) and this recipe features a ton of them--and they actually taste pretty good.

Italian Meatloaf (PaleOMG)
Add another delicious meatloaf recipe to your Paleo recipe book. This one tastes different than the other 36 meatloaf recipes I have. This could potentially be the easiest one even.

Leave a comment or suggest some recipe ideas. Have any questions on the Paleo lifestyle?