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The Thing I Never Planned To Do, But Did

It was mid-December and life was racing along as usual at our home. Gifts were bought, cards were sent, cookies were made. You know. All of the things that we generally do in December were high on the priority list. And somewhere in the midst of all the celebrating and eating I heard the word "cleanse." And I do mean in the physical, biological sense.

It seemed that everywhere I looked there was a push toward healthier eating. Not just the usual "I need to lose weight " New Year's Resolution kind of stuff, but clinical research, can't-deny-the-proof stuff. If you know me, a healthy and environmentally responsible lifestyle is something I try to live out everyday. I'm not perfect, but since my first pregnancy I've always been careful about what I put in my body, how much, and be aware of where it comes from. But this chatter of "paleo diet" or "plant based diet" was hard to ignore. If you're not familiar with these terms don't worry... neither was I. Interestingly to me, they are not the same thing.

Generally speaking, a paleo diet is one specific to "whole foods" that includes a wide range of meats, poultry, eggs, and fish and stresses single ingredient foods. In other words, if you can't pronounce something on that can of soup that you're holding, just put it right back on the shelf. The paleo diet allows for eating all fruits and vegetables, some nuts but absolutely no legumes, grains, dairy, or sugar/sweeteners of any kind.

A plant-based diet is quite a bit more self-descriptive. If it grows from the ground, you're good to eat it. No animal based food of any kind is allowed. We most commonly hear the term "vegan" for people who eat this way. Unlike the paleo diet, the plant-based diet includes whole grains and legumes, but excludes any and all meat, eggs, or dairy products.

As of today, I am two weeks into my paleo diet. I'll admit to a "cheat" last weekend for a wedding we attended but I can honestly say I haven't had one taste of butter, one drop of honey, or a single sliver of cheese since starting this cleanse. And I do call it a cleanse, because I plan on making some diet adjustments after a couple more weeks.

Let me share what I've discovered for myself already in my own personal health:
  • I'm sleeping better than I have in years. Although everything I read promised this result, I never expected it. I'm so grateful.
  • I have the same level of energy or better than I had before and my energy level is consistent throughout my day. I absolutely do not have the dips in energy that I used to have.
  • This is not a weight loss regimen for me, but there's no doubt that my abdomen is flatter than it was two weeks ago.
I'll be excited to share my report at the end of the cleanse as well. My intention is to replace meats with more legumes - I miss my hummus!! - but continue to eat eggs. I also intend to discontinue the use of cow's milk and use only coconut milk (no soy here unless it's organic).

So much of our lifestyle journey is based on our beliefs, our faith, our health, and our convictions. Science can prove or disprove many things, but our own experiences can't be denied. This somewhat unintentional journey deep into the world of health and science makes me want to plea with you to take some time to discover for yourself what the effects of your eating habits have on your health.

Don't drink another diet soda until you know the risks.

Don't continue eating dairy products because you grew up being told that was how you had to get your calcium.

Don't be fooled into thinking that sugar-filled and highly processed foods aren't killing you slowly... and maybe not so slowly.

Wishing you good health in 2012! See you back here in a couple of weeks.

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