My big, fat, Italian Christmas holiday.

shrimp parm

I was originally going to write this post about my experience cutting out the refined sugar in my diet, but decided to save that for the next post. I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass to share my big, fat, Italian Christmas holiday.

As I mentioned in my first post, I am slowly entering into the Paleo way of eating. Not only to wean myself off of processed foods, I also have a goal to lose weight and help my fibromyalgia. I feel if I slowly segue to a complete lifestyle change, I will stay committed to it more than going cold turkey, becoming overwhelmed, and dropping it like a hot potato (no Paleo pun intended), where it will rest in the diet graveyard with the million other diets I have been on.

Back to Christmas. I feel like tackling a new lifestyle change right at Christmas would be an insane course to take. Not only that, I have been playing a “this is the last time I will have that” mantra in my head for the last two weeks. I knew that my wonderful Aunt Carol, who is an awesome cook,  was going to make her epic Shrimp Parmesan for Christmas Eve, and there was no way I was ready to miss that! Along with that we had a great Italian salad, Mussels Marinara, Salmon, Flounder, bread, and several deserts. I was in sauce (we don’t call it gravy in my family) heaven. I went home feeling all warm, cozy, and stuffed, as my friend Rosemary says, ” like a 10 pound sausage in a five pound bag”.

Christmas morning I woke up and was unable to open and close my hands for about 15 minutes, and my hips and knees were killing me. I also had the fibro beat, which is what I call the full body throb that flairs up from time to time. The first thing that went through my mind was, it has to be the food. I had already cut out about 50% of processed foods, breads, and sugar from my diet since the fourteenth of December, and suddenly, I crammed about a million non-paleo type foods into my mouth that night. And my body was providing up to the minute, accurate feedback about what the wrong diet can do to you. Oddly enough, when I had Lasagna and Eggplant Rolletini on Christmas day, I seemed to handle it well. I feel this is in part due to the fact that our bodies will adapt quickly to what we do to them; possibly explaining why people are slowly killing themselves with their diets, never knowing that is what they are doing, until, unfortunately, the damage is done.

My plan going forward is to become proficient with the Paleo way of eating; converting recipes to traditional Italian, as well as all the types of foods that I enjoy, during the coming months.  For the next holiday I will find out what is being served beforehand, and if it does not fit into the Paleo lifestyle, I will bring my own new converted recipes to share with everyone. Who knows, maybe the recipes will help me create a few converts of my own.

December 14th-Research stage.

Today I am at work ( I own an organic mattress store, Organic Mattress Haven), and let me tell you, not many people are shopping for mattresses right before the holidays.

To keep myself busy, I have spent the whole day at the computer researching Paleo Diets, because after the new year, I am going to do a complete lifestyle change and go cave-woman. Well, maybe not all cave-woman, because I love my kitchen appliances way to much. Also, I don’t think my fellow geezers in the over 55 community I live in will be too happy about me cooking over wood in the mini backyard I have. I also don’t want to die tomorrow, because I am well past the average cave-persons life expectancy.

From what I have read, the Paleo diet comes in all different shapes and sizes, from strict die-hard proponents of keeping as strictly as possible to what our millionth grandparents ate, to just cutting out grains from the diet. I have to say, going grain-free doesn’t seem too hard to do; until you start to list all the grain you eat without even thinking about it.

For instance, today I had whole wheat toast with my breakfast, a whole wheat wrap with my lunch, and just finished some microwave popcorn. Yikes, I had a day filled with GMO foods. However, I will not throw the food away, and over the next two weeks I will finish off all the grain foods in the house, replace them with organic meats and veggies, and fill my pantry with almond flour and pumpkin and many more new staples for my pantry and slowly come off the wheat and corn.

I have read on several websites that going cold turkey can leave you with flu-like symptoms. Having fibromyalgia, I do not need to feel like I am crashing, and resort back to eating bad food because of withdrawal symptoms. Every day I will incorporate a Paleo substitute and stop using it’s evil grain twin. Today, it was cutting out an organic wheat-based snack bar as a snack, and replacing it with a  Cave Man Primal Performance Blueberry nut bar.. You can find them at http://www.cavemanfoods.com. I purchased a box of 15, and am so happy I did. No feelings of loss over dropping the grain bar; these are truly delicious. You know how they say you are supposed to chew your food like a million times before swallowing? Usually, even when I like what I am eating, a long chew grosses me out. There was so much flavor in these bars, that I was able to chew away forever. No staleness, or fake taste. Yummy in my tummy.

If these bars are an indication of what I have to look forward to, I am excited to see what’s next.