I'm going to do my best to keep this as short as possible...
First, you guys are amazing. I've been doing the Paleo thing since mid-september, and any question I've had has either been easily accessible via an easy search, or answered immediately through this amazing community. Can't thank you guys enough!
In an attempt to bullet point my musings, I'll try to pro/con my inquiry after a brief exposé.
I've been paleo for roughly 4 months, but spend the first 7 of 2011 as a vegan (as you can imagine, ate many non-paleo foods), began re-introducing animal products from July - September (mix of paleo/non-paleo foods) because I was experiencing some odd hormonal/physical symptoms, then fell for the paleo way of life. Have spent hours upon hours devouring material from our Swedish doctor pal Andres, read Robb Wolf's book in one sitting, have read both good calories/bad calories from Gary Taubes, know the Primal Blueprint like the back of my hand, own hordes of paleo cookbooks, have checked Wheatbellyblog.com 90 times in 90 days, subscribe to Sean's Underground Wellness podcast as well as Balanced Bites podcast, et al. You might say, I became obsessed with learning everything about this way of life that I possibly could, much to the chagrin of my employer. Now, with that being said, here's what my first 4 months have looked like, pro/con wise:
For the fist time this year, I was sick... three times. First was the expected "low carb flu," second was another bout with said flu, the third was a hacking cough and sore throat that didn't subside for 2 weeks.
I can count on one hand how many normal bowel movements I've had since starting the diet. I'll go 3-4 days without so much as an inkling to go #2, then I'll either be completely constipated, or I'll have to make an Usain Bolt-esque emergency sprint to the toilet to make sure I don't have an accident in public. If digestion is any indication, I'm as unhealthy as they come.
I've not lost a single pound, and in fact, I've done nothing but get bigger.
I've had a constant brain fog that I can't get rid of to save my life.
For the first time in my life, I'm a sweaty mess. My armpits leak sweat like a sprinkler. It's one of the most embarrassing things I've ever experienced.
I guess I'm not as hungry between meals... can do the whole 16/8 fasting thing without many hunger pangs.
I gained weight/mass, but have remained pretty steady (with the help of IF) over the last 3 weeks.
- I've literally cheated one time in 4 months, and it was eating most of the traditional Thanksgiving meals during the holiday, and I consume alcohol roughly 5 of the 7 days of the week. But with that being said, they're mainly "paleo accepted" spirits like vodka, gin, rum, tequila, with the occasional whiskey drink, red/white wine, and not a single beer since beginning this journey. I suppose you could say that's the only non-paleo activity in my life.
(If you totally stopped reading, I totally agree. I would have bailed long ago myself!)
As a vegan/"normal" eater, I never ate junk food, never drank soda, exercised plenty, but did count calories like Rain Man. Was the leanest I'd ever been in my life, and felt pretty OK. As a paleo eater, I'm fatter, can't have a normal bowel movement to save my life, and I sweat like a pig. Is it possible that eliminating grains/legumes/sugars/dairy have been a detriment to my health? Perhaps consuming grains since birth has caused my body to accept those foods, despite the evidence to the contrary that they're evil?
I hope I don't sound like an ass, but it is what it is. Just trying to figure my ish out, and so far, as much as I'd like to believe paleo is the ideal lifestyle choice, my body just isn't wanting to go along for the ride, it seems...
So much for keeping this short. If anyone actually read this to the end, I owe you a box of grass fed beef jerky and a kiddie pool filled with coconut oil.
Per request, a couple of bullet points answering James' questions that he posted yesterday (link to his post here: http://bit.ly/xlvXG6)
1) *On what my goals are <-- I'm already pretty healthy. Had blood work done recently, and all is perfect. Trying desperately to shed the same visceral stomach fat I've had since I was a kid.
2) *On issues of being vegan/SAD <-- It's hard to say I was on the SAD diet because I never really ate junk, but there were no holds barred with other food items. Tortillas, bread, grains, beer, etc... all was A-OK. Would indulge in the occasional cupcake/pastry from time to time as well.
3) *On topic of upping fat <-- I have trouble with figuring out what kinds of fats to add... I mean, should one be spooning lard?
4) *On topic of whether I'm gaining fat, or lean body mass <-- Haven't jumped on a scale in about 3 weeks, but based on the circumference of my waist, I've gained three inches since going Paleo.
5) *On topic of crazy amounts of sweat <-- it's tough for me to accept this... like, I have to always wear black to cover up the insane amount of sweat?! Das crazy!
6) *On topic of alcohol <-- yeah, I know this is something I could cut down on, but it's complicated... I work a lifestyle job and it's really hard to avoid. But when I was vegan/eating "normal" and drinking before, these symptoms didn't exist. With my prior was of eating, alcohol was always present.
7) *On topic of why I'm IFing <-- Did the paleo thing, did nothing but blow up... that was for about 3 months. So I decided to give IFing a try, and it basically stopped the steady rise to fat pants.