Going Paleo: my journey from whole-grains to no grains

17 Jul

My name is Carly, and I’m a serious foodie. My life revolves around food. I’ve always loved eating it, I love cooking and baking, and I went to culinary school so I could make a career out of it. I’ve been working as a pastry chef since 2010 and I love my job. I spend my days dipping my hands in buckets of flours and sugars.

Oh and by the way, I’m paleo.

This is a fairly recent development. Prior to fall 2012, I was a happy gluten-eating, whole-grain advocate. I believed that eating grains was what we, as healthy humans, were supposed to do. The recipes on my last blog, Tart to Heart, were all about recreating tasty treats with a blend of 100% whole grain flours. I was trying to do something good, and it never crossed my mind that I could be doing my body harm. Sure, sugary baked goods are always an indulgence, but at least I was making them with more fiber-, vitamin-, and protein-rich whole grain flours! In my opinion, I felt great– I didn’t suffer from stomach cramps or intestinal problems or any chronic health conditions. So why should I change my eating habits?

Meanwhile, my mother started following the paleo diet and I thought she was CRAZY. You’re not eating what?! You’re telling me grains and beans are bad for me? That everything we’ve ever heard about what’s healthy isn’t true? Cholesterol isn’t all bad, saturated fat isn’t a death sentence? I questioned all the facts she quoted from Rob Wolf and Loren Cordain. Hey, my minor in college was Biology, I needed some scientific evidence here!

So I fought this paleo premise for quite some time. I strove to be a healthy, happy person based on the conventional diet wisdom we all hear all the time– low fat, less calories, fewer meat products, more whole grains. But then it stopped working. Weight was creeping up on me, I went through a series of sugar highs and energy crashes all day, and came home from work starving even though I wasn’t truly hungry. I needed a new approach.

Reluctantly, I borrowed books about the paleo diet from my mom. I ordered a couple more online. I read a lot and then I started cutting non-paleo foods from my diet. Out with my daily bowl of cereal or oatmeal, goodbye sandwiches, no more sides of quinoa or brown rice with dinner. I stopped eating beans and legumes and I swapped out the canola oil with olive and coconut oils.

Long story short, I felt awesome! My energy levels were more stable, my cravings more manageable, and my digestion more regular. I completed a Whole 30 challenge and dropped 5 pounds even though I was eating way more fat than I had for years. Okay, mom, maybe there’s something to this whole paleo thing!

But I still love to bake! I realized that if I still wanted to eat muffins or cookies or pancakes I needed to learn how to re-make them with paleo-friendly ingredients. My old blog fell by the wayside for nearly a year, and now it’s time to start fresh! I’m excited by the recipes I’ve created and I’m ready to share them with the world. Whether you’re paleo or not, I promise everything I post on The Lucky Clover Kitchen will be delicious!