Is your “perfect diet” hiding in plain sight?
Have you ever played hide-and-seek with a three-year-old? They are notorious for hiding in plain sight. If their giggles don’t give them away, then their cute little toes peeking out from under the curtains are a dead give away.
If only finding the perfect diet were as easy – one that does it all: nourishes our body, feeds our soul, and allows us to happily fit into our favorite pair of jeans!
We’d all love to find that happy balance, but our hectic lifestyles often drive us to make food choices based on convenience and cravings rather than what our body truly needs. As a result, we are eating too much sugar and too many grains, which causes us to store fat instead of burn it.
If you’re ready to step off the sugar cravings roller coaster ride and start enjoying healthy foods that help your body burn fat, then I suggest you try something new or rather, something old.
Confronting the Obvious
Let’s be totally honest. We all know that we weren’t designed to live and, most importantly, to thrive on a diet of pizza, pancakes, and pasta.
But common sense is pushed aside when our brains begin craving foods containing the perfect combination of sweet, salt, and fat that sends us to a “bliss point” high.
This “perfect” combination makes it almost impossible to say no when our brains are calling out for more. The perfect example is the salted caramel pecan turtles that used to be a staple in my fridge – I’m afraid I’m responsible for sharing that recipe too many times to count, so my apologies to everyone who is now addicted to those ridiculously enjoyable treats.
So now we’re left with a dilemma: How do we balance what we want with what we need?
Say Hello to the Primal Blueprint
For years I attempted to balance my carb addiction with my desire to be fit and healthy. The old calories in-calories out theory told me that I could have both, if I could only get the math right. Wrong! I ended many weeks with a calorie deficit only to find myself gaining weight gain and experiencing even more cravings.
I became so frustrated that I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to (hopefully) find answers. I learned about many different dietary theories from leaders in the health and wellness community, but it wasn’t until Mark Sisson took the stage that I finally found the solution to my problem.
As one of the leading voices in the paleo/grain-free/real food/primal movement, Sisson presented his blueprint for returning to a more ancestral way of eating and living. I finally understood why my low-fat, high-carb diet was a monumental fail.
I immediately began following Sisson’s recommendations to eat only real food, embrace healthy fats, avoid sugar and grains, slow down and reduce stress, have more fun, and exercise the primal way.
Finally, I started burning fat and saw the scale budge. More importantly, my energy and fitness levels increased, and my health markers were the best they’d been in years.
Now, I’m on a mission is to help other women experience a new “bliss point” of enjoying flavorful, healthy food that gives you the body and life that you want without having to eat boring grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every night.
How to Start Living the “Blissful” Primal Life
Whether you’re ready to dive in or just want to dip your toes into the shallow end of primal living, you can start by becoming more mindful about the foods you’re eating.
Before taking a bite, simply ask yourself three questions:
Is this real food?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but thanks to brainwashing by marketing geniuses, we’ve forgotten that real food doesn’t come in a box.
Primal foods include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and high quality fats such as coconut oil and olive oil. Unlike some paleo plans, the primal plan allows high quality dairy and beans, as long as they’re tolerated well by your body. Learning to listen to YOUR body is key!
By using healthy fats, spices, and herbs and building a plate filled with the various colors, textures, and flavors found in nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits, real food can light up those reward centers in your brain without the addictive sugar.
Does this cause my body harm?
Often, we’re unsure of which foods are causing our weight gain, digestive issues, joint pain, or mood swings. A 21-day clean eating primal reset is the perfect solution to uncovering the culprits.
In the meantime, listen to your body and avoid any food that can send you into a binge eating spiral, elevate your blood sugar levels, or cause digestive distress. Sugar, grains, trans fats, and seed oils are some of the worst offenders.
Begin swapping nutrient-dense vegetables for the processed foods in your diet. A great place to start is to swap “vehicles.” For example, instead of pasta, serve spaghetti squash with your favorite meat sauce. Swap lettuce wraps for tortillas and cauliflower rice for white rice.
Finally, what do you do about the foods that don’t measure up but that you just can’t bid a fond farewell. Simply ask:
Does this feed my soul?
Food is so much more than fuel for our bodies. It’s truly food for our souls.
It comforts us when we’ve had a bad day, it unites us with loved ones around the dinner table, and it communicates “I love you” when our special someone bakes us our favorite brownies with that extra drizzle of caramel sauce.
By adopting a more primal lifestyle and feeding your body nutritious food, you’ll give yourself some wiggle room to mindfully enjoy Mom’s mac and cheese or Aunt Betty’s apple crumble.
When you achieve that balance, you’ll finally create your perfect diet.
If you never allow yourself the occasional “treat” or “cheat,” you’ll create a mindset of deprivation, and that rebellious brain of yours will throw in the towel.
In order to avoid too many harmful foods sneaking into your diet, focus on the word “mindful,” and don’t waste your splurges, treats, or “imperfections” on those everyday foods you can get anytime or anywhere. Only foods that give you those toe-curling, warm-and-fuzzy, “I’m in my happy place” moments make the cut.
Step off the carb craving roller coaster and make the transition to real foods that work for your body instead of against it. Embrace the simplicity of the common sense answers at hand so you can stop searching for your perfect diet and start living your healthy and happy life today!
*For more on the “bliss point,” click here.