Wow, it’s over. 31 days of the Paleo challenge done. Whew.
It’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts on how the last month went and what I learned. There were a lot of positives — more than I thought there would be, actually — but first, let’s start off with the things that didn’t go so smoothly. The things that were, well, the most challenging about the challenge. Here goes:
1. Grain-free items are difficult to find.
In Vancouver we celebrate fresh, quality food and have access to a wide range of ingredients. I found it really disappointing to find a dearth of grain-free choices in our grocery stores. And I mean stores like Whole Foods and Choices. Grain-free crackers? Forget it. Grain-free pasta? Um, no. Gluten free, sure. Grain free, no way.
2. Restaurants are minefields.
If you deviate from the salad section, it’s a safe bet that you’ll run into grains pretty fast. Wheat is everywhere. Some restaurants are accommodating when it comes to adapting dishes (like having a lettuce wrap instead of a hamburger bun) but many aren’t so friendly when you’re “that girl” with all the questions and special requests.
3. Making everything from scratch, day after day, is tiring.
I expended a significant amount of energy thinking about meals. What can I have? What’s off limits? All this thinking and planning meals within the Paleo boundaries made me a more anxious than usual. I was very grateful on the rare occasions when we could just eat leftovers.
4. I like eggs, but not that much.
Switching my well-entrenched morning routine from peanut butter toast to eggs wasn’t very smooth. I liked the egg recipes I tried, especially the eggs in ham cups, but the thought of eating eggs almost every morning didn’t appeal to me, not in the least.
5. My craving for bread is difficult to shake.
I do feel healthier eating a Paleo diet, and I think that’s largely due to not eating so much bread. But at the same time, I still crave a dense, multigrain bread and my chewy pizza crust. (Oh, that pizza…!) I thought the lack of bread was going to be the biggest hurdle for me in the challenge, and it turned out to be true. And despite my hopes of finding a Paleo bread recipe to quell my craving, I didn’t find a really good one during the 31 days. (I still need to try this recipe from Paleo Effect, which looks very, very promising.)
But it’s not all doom and gloom. To end this series, I’ve come up with the top 5 positives of the challenge and my thoughts on moving forward.
Finish line photo courtesy of jayneandd via Flickr Creative Commons.