Wednesday, October 12, 2011

officially out of the Paleo closet

So before I left for El Salvador, I mentioned taking on the 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge, which just ended yesterday and went pretty well. To confirm that I shouldn't be a hypocrite and keep eating well, the latest issue of our local Wilmington magazine, Out & About, came out last week. And hot off the press, there I am in a feature article about what I eat!

You can access the digital version at this link to read the full text:

I am pretty excited because it's the first time there's a ginormous photo of me filling up an ENTIRE PAGE in a magazine! Also because the interview is on a topic that I've become pretty passionate about, but have been a bit apprehensive about shouting it off the rooftops.

So yeah, it's official. I'm out of the closet now. The Paleo closet. I've been gravitating towards the Paleo Diet for the last few years after first dabbling in it during college back in 2001-ish. (Oh god. That was A DECADE ago. !!!) I haven't really blogged too much about it because talking about food and diet can be as controversial as religion and politics. I've met plenty of [insert religious group here] and um *cough*vegetarians*cough*, who either try to convert you and/or act like they are so much better than you. And I never want to come off that way.

I'm not going to pretend like I have it all figured out yet, but I do feel like I've been moving in the right direction. Some people call it eating like a caveman, or eating primal...I sometimes just call it my "cavegirl" diet. :) There are all sorts of variations on the Paleo Diet, like how the top of the pyramid above has the "optional" categories. Dairy or no dairy (I'm currently in the "no dairy" camp), nuts or no nuts (experimenting with no nuts right now since I can eat a whole bag like it's nothing), and macronutrient %'s for carbs vs fat vs protein. Food Coach Amy has really helped me dial it all in and move towards optimum race weight & body composition. When I'm training more (which is not right now), there are more carbos (from sweet potatoes and bananas).

It's been kind of an on-and-off relationship I've had with Paleo over the last few years, as I felt kind of like a foster kid moving from home to home: living out of a suitcase at training camps, jumping from homestay to homestay when I did that USA Ironman tour last summer. The food available in different countries and cooking facilities always varied, and at homestays I wasn't always comfortable voicing my dietary needs and preferences--when someone welcomes you into their home as a guest, you already feel like they are offering you so much...and that you shouldn't be so "picky." But I've finally started to see that it's completely reasonable for me to have a "special diet." After all, I'm a professional triathlete. Duh. It's part of the job description to eat what's best for me.

Dating a Sherpa who eats the polar opposite of me can also be a challenge, but we make it work. (I am in charge of groceries, which means I make him eat more veggies.) What's helped the most is finally being able to stay somewhere long enough that I can get into a routine instead of having to change Wongstar HQ every 2-3 months. Oh yeah, it definitely also helps to have a regular paycheck so I can afford to buy organic and higher quality REAL FOOD!

Anyway, people are always interested in what I eat and I know there are others in the Paleo community who are endurance athletes trying to find their way. Like I mentioned in the interview, "I love food and I love to eat" (hahaha) so I'll be posting more about all this. In the end I think it'll also help me not feel like such a weirdo when I eat burgers with bacon but not the buns. ;)

I'll get into more details later, but one of the primary reasons I eat this way is because it's an anti-inflammatory diet. Of course after getting beat up by that minivan in Korea, I have more reason than ever to stick to this. Magical healing properties? Sign me up, please!

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