For Christmas, I was gifted The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser. This book details a 3-step program created by the author for one to create a diet plan to optimize their health and wellness.
Don’t be scared by the title! I know a lot of people find the Paleo diet to be too restrictive and extreme for their needs. That is very true for many, and Kresser agrees with that in his book. His 3-step plan is not all about paleo. It is not about a “one diet fits all” mentality. It stresses the importance of creating a nutrition plan on a case-by-case basis, that optimizes the health of each individual who tries it.
So, how does one exactly achieve optimal nutrition? The 3-step plan works like this:
- The 30 Day Reset. For 30 days, one eats a very restricted paleo diet (details of this are in the book). Any and all foods that are known to cause any issues or inflammation in humans are ruled out.
- Reintroduction. After 30 days, one can begin to reintroduce foods into the diet, one at a time. This part is very important, as you see how each type of food affects your body and how it truly makes you feel. This does not mean reintroducing things like cake, cookies, and ice cream. Kresser is more referring to things that have healthy benefits, but can cause issues in some humans – like some dairy, nightshades, some gluten, etc.
- 80-20. Once you have reintroduced these foods and are aware how each affects your body, mood, and energy, you can adopt an 80-20 rule, if you like. 80% of the time, eat the foods that are healthy for you, and perhaps you can be a little lenient 20% of the time. The author realizes that food is an important part of life beyond nutrition in our society, and life is too short not to enjoy it if you want, as long as you are taking care of yourself. (Of course, Kresser stresses, if you do not wish to do this, you can continue to eat paleo for as long as you like. Even forever, if you want.)
January of this year, I embarked on the “30-Day Reset.” I thought it would be a great time of year to do it. Here is what I noticed changed for me:
- Weight loss. I am thin to begin with, but about 5 days in, all of my bloating was gone. I became leaner than normal and had new muscle definition where I did not before.
- Appetite. My appetite shrank. Before, I could eat a ton of food in one sitting. Now, just a small salad makes me full. I realized that this was part of all the sugar that I was eating before: sugar sends signals to your brain to trick you into thinking you’re still hungry, even if you’re full.
- Workout recovery. I could now do intense workouts 5 days a week in a row with less recovery time needed in between.
- Nutrition. I became a lot more knowledgeable about the food I was putting in my body from all the details in Kresser’s book. Because of the restrictions of the 30-day Reset, I had to get creative with what I was making. I taught myself a ton of awesome, tasty new recipes. It should be noted that I never felt hungry or dissatisfied with what I was eating. Kresser also includes a list of recipes in his book and on his website.
Some other things that people have noticed doing The Paleo Cure that I sort of or did not really experience include:
- Clear skin (acne, eczema, etc)
- Reduced inflammation
- Allergy reduction
- Improved mood
- More energy
Now I’m at my 80-20 place. I ate a couple gourmet cookies last week for a birthday, I had some tortilla chips last night, I drink alcohol on the weekends with friends. However, when I do so I now know the consequences of what I’m doing – that I’ll feel poor and lethargic later. It’s a tradeoff between health and fun in a couple circumstances, and that’s OK. Like I said, 80-20. And now I always love going back to my paleo meal plan because I know the joy it will bring me internally and physically during my workouts.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Paleo Cure, you can visit Kresser’s website here.
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