Today’s testimonial is written by one of my closest friends, Christina Grishman. She gives more proof that it TRULY is possible to eat Paleo in college and in nursing school.
Living in a city like Baton Rouge, I found myself constantly surrounded by a myriad of late-night drive-thru restaurants, a plethora of fro-yo shops and local Louisiana kitchens, all of which compose the backbone of most college students’ diets. Approximately six months ago, I decided to make a lifestyle change after I researched information regarding the Paleolithic Diet. Typically, this nutritional plan, also referred to as the “caveman diet,” consists mainly of vegetables, eggs, fruit, nuts, fish, and grass-fed pasture raised meats. It excludes grains, dairy products, legumes, potatoes, processed oils and refined salt and sugar.
Before becoming a modern-day “cavewoman,” I maintained what I thought to be a relatively healthy diet. Frequently, my eating regime would include protein, some dairy products, whole-wheat foods, hummus, pita bread, a variety of salads and fruit. (Many of these foods include hidden sugars, processed flours, etc.) Consequently, during the first few days and weeks of my transition to the Paleo Diet, my body underwent a detoxification process. I experienced daily cravings; however, I made sure not to give in to these “diet crashers.” I kept reminding myself, “mind over matter,” and after a brief period of time, the cravings for “carbs on carbs on carbs” diminished successfully.
Today, I find myself craving vegetables prepared in a variety of ways, such as roasted, steamed or stir-fried. My main source of nutrients are derived from eggs, chicken, fish, steak, vegetables, salad, water, black coffee and tea sans sugar. If I want to treat myself, I will choose a bit of dark chocolate, a gluten-free (so no dairy products or nuts), sugar-free cookie or piece of low-sugar fruit.
In my opinion, the Paleo Diet is not so much as diet, but a new mindset about food and how it affects the body’s efficiency to function. As a nursing student, I find it of the utmost importance to take care of myself both, mentally and physically. Typically, I have 14-16 hour days filled with class, group study, labs and review sessions, with little to no breaks or rest. I make sure to keep protein and a variety of fruits and vegetables readily available for my “on-the-go” lifestyle. You would think with my jam-packed schedule, I would be running low on energy constantly; however, I have more liveliness now than ever before! I am proud to say I do not rely on sugary candies or drinks to keep me going, just lots and lots of black coffee! This new way of “clean eating” speaks to me with positive results in all aspects of my life. Additionally, I try to exercise at least 2-3 times a week; schedule permitting. I am huge fan of cycling, yoga, pilates and walking. Exercise is an essential part to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
I know the Paleo lifestyle may seem daunting or intimidating at first, but I can promise you, it is the best health decision I have made in my lifetime. Do not give up. There are going to be hard days and hard nights, but the overall health improvement is 100% worth it. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose except a little weight, and let’s be honest. who doesn’t want to look better in skinny jeans?!
Last, but not least, I am thankful to share in this journey with one of my best friends, Paleo aficionado, Monica Bravo. Her expertise, support and example encourages me to continue living a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle.