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30 Day Paleo Reset: Why Do One?

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Don’t you sometimes wish life had a reset button? A big red button you could just push whenever you felt yourself slipping into bad habits, so that you could stop everything and just start with a clean slate? Unfortunately, life isn’t like your smart phone or your laptop. There is no magic “stop and reset” button, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have control. Especially when it comes to the food you take into your body – it might take some effort and planning, but it is well within your power to take the control back.

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Why am I doing a 30 day paleo reset?

I first went on a restricted grain-free diet in an effort to bring my Crohn’s disease under control and improve my over all health in January 2013 (almost 18 months ago). Since then my diet has not been stagnant but instead a continual work in progress to test out different food groups and nutrient ratios. I started out following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, then moved on to the paleo diet – including about 60 days on the full paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) as described by Sarah Ballantyne in The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmunity and Heal Your Body. That was the key to turning my health around (read all about it here) and I was happy to discover that after some healing, I could begin adding back in foods like eggs, nightshades, safe starches, and quality dairy.

Curious about The Paleo Approach? Learn more here.

I was still feeling great, so I kept adding foods back. Tomatoes and peppers, potatoes and rice, full fat dairy… all became regular part of my daily meals.

And I felt good. Pretty good. Yeah, my digestion wasn’t perfect but I blamed that on my surgical history. So I kept on adding.

I started making compromises. Since I seem OK with dairy and white rice, I decided that it was easiest to just be “gluten free” while I was traveling away from home (which I do often for work). I stopped worrying about the quality of cooking oils and indulged in things like french fries from trustworthy gluten-free sources. I experimented with ice cream… my digestion only seemed mildly affected and that was short lived. Sandwiches made from gluten-free bread started to become a treat I looked forward to. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I started buying the occasional loaf of gluten-free bread at the grocery store and having sandwiches at home.

Occasional became every week. A gluten-free sandwich with cheese (and not always grassfed) and lunch meat (sometimes with added sugar and nitrates) became the centerpiece of most of my lunches. And still I feel pretty good.

But I have also noticed a few things. The quality of my sleep has gone down hill and I have started to feel like I need a nap almost every afternoon. Coffee has become more a necessity than a pleasure. I’m less excited to take my dog on energetic walks around the neighborhood. My mood is increasingly inconsistent. I’m not as focused or motivated at work as I’d like to be. My once robust meditation and yoga practice is neglected because I’m finding it harder to focus. Nothing that I can really pin down as a specific symptom (and all things I could blame on stress and general life), but I’m just not feeling my best and I think food is part of the puzzle.

Why? I can’t say exactly, but I suspect that I am feeling the effects of a far less nutrient dense diet than I was used to eating. Those gluten-free sandwiches might not be doing me any harm but they are certainly crowding out the foods I was eating when I was gung-ho paleo.

But the worst effect of my slipping habits is that I’ve lost my joy for food. Those gluten-free sandwiches were pretty exciting at first, but once they became the default lunch they got pretty boring. Once it became easier to find something to eat, I stopped trying so hard to find something good to eat!

I realized I needed a reset button. Time to return to the basics and to fall back in love with eating real food.

What’s my 30-day paleo reset plan?

The plan is to have a plan and to stick to the plan.

I am a person who does best when she has a clear agenda. That applies to my work life as well as my personal life! But it needs to be MY agenda. When it comes to meal plans, I don’t like following other people’s (though there are exceptions – I’ll write more about that in future posts), so I’m painstakingly creating my own week-by-week eating plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve spent this weekend brushing the dust off my favorite paleo cookbooks, looking back through my own recipes posted on this site, and reviewing the thousands of dishes I’ve pinned to Pinterest and never cooked! I’m excited about the week ahead, which is designed around the fact that I have one business trip and will have no choice but to eat one meal in a restaurant as well as the July 4th holiday. I’ll do my best on those two days, sticking to basic foods and staying grain and dairy free but otherwise not getting too stressed out.

My “rules” are simple. Eat real food. The highest quality meats I can find. A wide variety of plants. Plenty of healthy fats, as little as possible of unhealthy ones. No dairy, no grains, no legumes.

That’s it. I’ll still have some treats. Some of the meat I eat will not be grass fed or pasture raised, but I’ll try to make sure most of it is. Not everything will be organic. I’m not going to stress out.

I’ll keep you posted as I continue through the next 30 days. In the mean time, in case you are curious, here is my plan (with links to recipes or the cookbooks when possible) for the first 7 days. (Sorry for the weird formatting… I’ll try to fix that later…)

  • Leftovers from last week
  • Picnic lunch before meeting (Leafy salad with LO chicken and mayonnaise, fruit)
  • Dinner out with colleagues and clients
  • Hotel breakfast (Eggs from omelet bar, sautéed spinach, bacon, fruit)
  • Lunch in car on way home (beef sticks, fruit, olives, nuts).
  • LO chicken, sweet potatoes
  • Raw sauerkraut
  • Fruit
  • Prosciutto and nectarines
  • Leafy salad
  • Burgers on the grill
  • Leafy salad
  • Fresh fruit popsicles
  • Pork spare ribs
  • Potato salad
  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Hashbrowns
  • Homemade sausage
  • Lunch out with a friend

Thinking about doing your own reset?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on social media! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see how things are going!


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Photo Credit: socarra via Flickr Some Rights Reserved.

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