How the Paleo Diet Has Changed My Life Physically and Financially

Russian saladI’ve been overweight most of my life.  I became a chubby kid because I was given desserts as an expression of love. (Every time I visited my grandma, she gave me a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll.  Even though she’s been gone 10 years now, I still think of her when I see those in the store.)  Then, as a college student, I ate my stress away.  After my first child, well, I thought I would never be less than 200 pounds again.

But then I started having digestive problems, and after a few years of suffering, I discovered that I had a leaky gut that had caused multiple food intolerances including dairy, legumes, gluten, eggs, and most grains.  By default, I found myself on a Paleo diet.

How My Health Improved on the Paleo Diet

I’ve been on a Paleo diet for almost three years, and I’ve been astounded at how much my health improved.

When I was just 34, I went to the doctor for a physical and discovered that my cholesterol was 240.  My triglycerides were also way too high.  I was about 100 pounds overweight, my BMI was 41, and I was miserable.

Now, at 43, after almost 3 years on the Paleo diet, I just came back from a physical and was shocked by my results.  My cholesterol was 152, and my triglycerides were 56.  Now I’m only about 20 pounds overweight, my BMI is 27, and I’m feeling much better.  (I lost almost 80 pounds the first 8 months on the Paleo diet.)

I’m still healing my leaky gut, but I know I’m on the right path.  I’m sure the Paleo diet helped me turn my life around physically.  I had tried to lose weight many times before, but when I started following the Paleo diet, the weight just fell off.

Happy Animals

When I started the Paleo diet, I gave up eating supermarket meat.  Instead, I started eating grass fed and pastured meat that I bought direct from the farmer.

As I learned more about where our food comes from, I was appalled by the way animals that are raised and killed for conventional meat sources are treated.  I have a bit of a guilty conscious about eating meat, but seeing how I’m intolerant to most other non-meat protein sources, I don’t have much choice.

However, I do have a choice to spend more money to eat meat from animals that are free to roam and that are eating their natural diet.  Healthy meat also makes my body healthier.

It’s Not All About the Meat

Contrary to popular belief, the Paleo diet is not all about the meat.  While I eat about 1/2 pound of meat and fish a day, I also easily eat 10 or more servings of organic fruits and vegetables a day.  At any given meal, three-quarters of my plate is filled with vegetables, and 1/4 is meat or fish.  I eat fruit once or twice a day.

Unlike three years ago, I never eat grains or sugary foods.

You Have to Spend More to Eat Better

Since changing my diet and, by default, my family’s, our grocery bill has more than doubled.  Before I went Paleo, I was fond of couponing.  And what couponing netted me was a lot of processed foods that did nothing for my health except contribute to my high cholesterol and triglycerides.

If you want to eat better, you have to spend more money, period.  I’m thankful that my family is able to financially afford a better diet, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice.  We drive a 10 year old car, we buy our clothes used, we never have date night or go out to eat, we don’t pay for entertainment outside the home.  In short, we sacrifice a lot to eat this way (groceries are our highest monthly expense behind rent), but we all find this lifestyle worthwhile.

You know the motto, pay now to eat healthy, or pay the doctor later.  I’ve paid the doctor when I ate poorly; now I’d much rather pay for high quality groceries.

Have you ever tried the Paleo diet?  Would you be willing to, or do you think it’s just a fad that will fade soon?


How the Paleo Diet Has Changed My Life Physically and Financially — 8 Comments

  1. Good for you on naturally treating your health issues. So many people would opt to take a pill. What I like about the Paleo philosophy, is that it is actually the most environmentally friendly eating plan because it advocates organic foods and naturally raised meats. It also limits the grains that come from the biggest monocultures and industrial farms like corn and wheat.

  2. I’m a bit of a student of nutrition, and one thing I’ve learned about diet is that definitely ‘one size does not fit all.’ There’s huge variation among we humans. My diet is almost the mirror image of yours. It’s a plant-based / whole food diet. I eat no meat, no dairy, no processed foods, and lots of complex carbs. My total cholesterol is 110 and my LDL is 49. BP = 105/75 and BMI = 20.8. All blood tests look good. Clearly your diet is working for you, and I think if we swapped diets, we’d likely both be worse off. Amazing! Each of us has to experiment to learn what works best for us to promote good health.

  3. I don’t subscribe to one diet style or another, but as I’ve gotten older (I’m 43 too), I just tend to feel a lot better with lean protein and a little less of carbs. I don’t eliminate anything entirely, but cut WAY back on carbs, processed foods, and sugar. Alcohol is another things I can’t have a lot of anymore…sniff. I also have a higher grocery budget than most, but like you I think it’s worth it for feeling good, and luckily I can make it work in my budget too. I could save a lot more by eating pasta every night, but my health would be greatly affected. Not worth it. Congrags on taking steps to get healthy!

  4. I’m vegan and our grocery bill is also huge, but going vegan stopped my debilitating migraines, so I definitely think it’s worth it. And I’m with ya on couponing – when 50% of your cart is filled with produce items, and the rest is beans and rice and quinoa, you are looking at the stuff that rarely has a coupon!!

  5. My grocery bills have also gone up slightly since I switched to a high protein diet, but you know what, when you decide what’s important in your life, the rest of your spending follows suit!

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