I started a month of self-accountability this month called “No-fucking-up-vember“.

Today is the end of week 1.

Here are the highlights:

  • Even though I only set out to do this for the sake of personal accountability and not getting gross diseases when I’m older… my clothes are fitting me better. It’s not a huge difference or anything, but I can just feel it.
  • As someone who loves to cook, I really am enjoying the aspect of working with base materials that I haven’t used a lot, like nut-based ingredients. Coconut oil, almond flour, coconut milk… they seem to be staples. I enjoy finding new ways to cook vegetables I like as well, like sweet potato chips.
  • Gallon of water a day works. I don’t really see it so much in my skin, but I didn’t have a lot of skin imperfections to start. If anything, I guess my skin has a bit more glow to it now. It definitely shows in my hair though. It’s regained a lot of flounce that seemed to have gone missing in the last year. As someone who has very, very thick wavy, curly hair, I’m seeing a lot less breakage too. Yay!
  • I generally wake up feeling very refreshed and not sleepy. Part of this may be the fact that I have almost eliminated caffeine from my diet. I drink a cup of cinnamon tea first thing in the morning, but that’s it.
  • I have more time to do things that require hand-eye coordination now that I’m not drinking beer at all. Woo!
  • Doing pilates in conjunction with CrossFit has been wonderful. It helps me with core strength I definitely need for weightlifting. The increased flexibility is a nice perk, too.
  • Giving myself cheat meals, oddly, has made me less likely to cheat. I value them too much to waste them on things that are gross.
  • Cheat meals have been interesting. I appreciate the flavor way more than I did when I ate these things regularly, but also my body has picked up a slightly better intuition as to what things are not nutritious. I also noticed I don’t feel sodium bloat after eating these things now since they are rare (my first cheat meal was shrimp scampi and a piece of chocolate cake for dessert for anyone curious).
  • I often have tons of leftovers from things I make. This is great because after CrossFit, I want to do about… oh, 0 cooking and just want to funnel food into my mouth. Leftovers are a godsend for that.
  • I am far more selective about wine that I drink. Only the good stuff. No Whole Foods Malbecs for me, thanks.
  • I’m generally in a happier mood. Doing something good for myself feels good. It makes me feel somewhat more confident as well knowing I can succeed at a very difficult goal.
  • I’m not sure which aspect of it is providing this benefit (I suspect the vitamin D and omega 3 supplements) but I’ve had some rough rotator cuff pain for a long time and it’s loosened up significantly in just a week. Basically, shoving foods with anti-inflammatory properties in your mouth makes your body feel pretty great on the whole.

The lowlights:

  • Have you drank a gallon of water a day? You will pee like 17 times a day. I also gained 8 pounds of water weight in a single day. On the flip side, by day 3, I had lost all 8 pounds along with 3 additional pounds, so… cool?
  • A couple of days I did not meet my water mark. I did drink anywhere from 10-14 glasses of water on those days though (this does not include any tea I drank).
  • Also, drinking that much water will make you want to barf no matter how much you space it out.
  • It took a couple of days for my body to get adjusted to the changes in my diet. I felt a tiny bit light-headed and weak, despite feeling perfectly sated. According to several websites of varying repute, this is because your body goes through a detox when you stop eating tons of sodium, sugar, and processed foods. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I know I felt shaky here and there… and then suddenly, by day 3, not at all and back to my regular–if not more energetic–self. It was kind of like having caffeine withdrawal, if I had to compare it to something.
  • Paleo cooking is time-consuming! On my first night, my boyfriend was over and helped me make dinner. It felt like we were cooking for 2 hours. It was probably just an hour, but just imagine spending 3 hours of your day cooking. I think as I get more used to being in the habit of cooking, I’ll get faster about it.
  • Some vegetables I’m already sick of. I like zucchini, but I’ve seen recipes where it is used as bread and I don’t really enjoy find the texture of a big long slice of it to be very palatable.
  • I still am struggling to get 8-9 hours of sleep. Before this experiment, I was averaging 6-7.5. I’d say at the moment, I’ve increased that number to 7.5-8.25, depending on the night.  I’m a light sleeper and my bedroom is directly above a busy street so I’m not really surprised by any of this.
  • I’ve had a runny nose for the past few days. I like to think this is actually like my body resisting a cold it would have normally picked up. My immune system was pretty crappy. That’s another thing I’m hoping will get better with these changes.

Here’s what it all looks like:
SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

This is one of my favorite recipes I picked up. It’s granola. You put some cashews, almonds, and unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor, then coat that mixture in coconut oil, vanilla extract, and a tiny smidge of ginger honey and bake it for 18 minutes at 300 degrees. Then lightly sprinkle sea salt on it after it’s done (I added some dried cranberries to mine too). It made my kitchen smell like vanilla too, which was rad, and tastes better than any granola I’ve ever bought in stores.

SAMSUNG CSC

 

If any of these things look appetizing, the recipes for them can be acquired on Paleogrubs.com

This is my pantry. All the things on the top shelf are things I’m not eating:

SAMSUNG CSC

Most of my veggies and fruits are in the fridge. And here’s my other cabinet of cooking-related items:

SAMSUNG CSC

It’s a lot of coconut milk!

I worried that these things would taste awful and flavorless but they taste way better than things I was cooking before. I know that sounds really fake and scripted but I really mean it. I had a rosemary, sweet potato, egg, and italian sausage hash for breakfast on my first day that was unparalleled with any scramble I’ve had in a restaurant. I do miss beer though. There is no substitute for beer. I also learned from all of this that there is literally no reason to ever buy any kind of coconut product organic. It’s like the safest thing you could possibly buy non-organic and buying it organic often doubles the cost.

A lot of people go paleo and lose a ton of weight. I did not lose any weight ultimately. I don’t really expect to, though. I do see slight differences in my body’s appearance but I don’t feel like they’re noticeable with clothing on, so it’s not exactly anything I’m tooting any horn about. What I’m saying is… if you’re already in pretty good shape and try this, don’t expect much number-shifting. You’ll feel a lot better but the data evidence to back it will be slim pickings.

On the whole, I’m happy about this change. It does feel like an enormous change and food is suddenly a much bigger aspect of my life than it was before… based on just this week alone, I highly doubt I am going to stick to a 100% paleo lifestyle in the long run, but I think I will stick to the principle of clean eating.