Paleo/Primal Lifestyle

How my " Paleo Mermaid Lifestyle" began … 

I was a chunky kid ... I was a curvy teen ... I have been curvy in multiple degrees ever since.   A couple of decades ago I decided to loose weight, so I created my own diet. That was during the low-fat craze, so I ate a very bland, dry selection offoods including oatmeal, toasted fat free bread with fat free cheese, fat free yogurt, bananas, apples, sugar free Jell-O, Lean Cuisines, and diet Mountain Dews ...  every day ... for several months. Hey, if I couldn’t have great tasting food at least I would have caffeine! The low-fat diet worked ... quickly ... but I felt like crap and  looked bad, too. People frequently asked me if I had been sick. I lost 70 pounds, but  over the course of the next year or two I gained it all back. Duh!   

About a decade ago I decided to try Atkins.   I ate lots of savory, flavorful foods   and lost 40 pounds within six weeks! This worked very well for me because I love meats, dairy, and veggies.  I managed to gain weight again, but it took several    years with several major life changes. Being female and over 40 certainly helped, I am sure! Go figure.   

Earlier this year we booked a trip to go scuba diving. This isn't uncommon for us as we often go on dive trips several times   each year. We always have several   digital underwater cameras and camcorders to review, so we carry a lot of gear   with us. It's difficult enough maneuvering airports, shuttles, and those tiny sardine-like seats.  Add to that all the extra gear and it makes for a strenuous adventure! 

Why do I mention this, you may ask? Well, I mention this because since we do fly often I was getting tired of feeling likea sardine in a can strapped in with wire ties! So, my quest began again to explore options - Do I work on losing weight?         Couple a diet with exercise? Look at options of a whole different thought process of how I think of food? Consider the health aspects of dieting? Explore nutritional  information about foods to ensure I am getting everything I need? The answer is   YES ... to all of these questions.  

I remembered how easy it was to shed pounds using low-carb foods, so I resear-ched those options again. Within a couple of days I had decided that route was   worth trying again, so I went to the grocery store and stocked up on lots of meats,eggs, cheeses, and green vegetables. I am now 51 years young and I have         always heard the older you are the harder it is to lose weight. I stuck to my new   eating lifestyle and within 20 days I had lost 20 pounds and kept going. I guess     there's something to be said for the phrase "50 is the new 30" after all!   

In addition to totally changing my eating habits I also added a brisk morning walk  to my daily activities. What I learned from  this is that the more you exercise the more you want to exercise. The more you do it the easier it becomes! I started off walking around the block. During the first few days I would have to stop half way and stretch my back. As I continued on with my routine the farther I was able to   go before I needed to stop and stretch. Eventually, I was able to make it all the     way around the block without pain and then I concentrated on varying my route,   adding longer distances or hills, then finally longer distances with hills. Before I    knew it I was walking the equivalent of a 5K again!  

After six months of low-carb eating and my daily walks, I have lost 50 pounds. I   am pretty much where I feel my best. There’s still some needed toning, but that     improves daily with walking, eating well, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep. The one thing I miss on a low-carb diet is fruit. I do not miss pasta. I do   not miss potatoes or corn. I do not miss grains or wheat flour. And, I don't even    miss sugar, but I dearly miss fruit. 

So, again, I started looking at options. Interestingly enough, one day while            browsing the Internet, I saw an ad for Paleo for the 21st Century and just HAD to  investigate! I requested a download version of the book and I got all excited to    see what foods were on the approved list. The list contained fruits, veggies, meats, fats, herbs, and spices. I was a very happy camper to say the least!  

So my Paleo exploration began. I started researching Paleo websites and found a lot of yummy recipes. There seems to always be a catch or a drawback when    one finds the "perfect diet" and, in my case, Paleo is no exception. One of the key  ingredients to the Paleo lifestyle is fish. I don't eat fish. I love fish. I love oysters, scallops, grouper, halibut, calamari, sushi, sashimi, and a lot more, but I strongly disapprove of fishing practices today so I flat out refuse to eat fish. Besides, after all, I am a scuba diving professional and a mermaid, and fish are my friends, so    they CANNOT be my food!   

As I begin my quest to explore the Paleo/Primal/Atkins-based lifestyle, my plan is to make regular entries here on my blog. I am not a food snob, but I am pretty set in my ways as to what I like, what I will try and what I won't try, so I cannot          honestly say this is a strict "Paleo" lifestyle blog. Because of that I will refer to my diet and exercise lifestyle as my "Paleo Mermaid Lifestyle." 

Thanks for following along as I write about my experiences. Please feel free to    send me suggestions and comments and share your findings so we can explore  this new journey together.
Making it through the Holidays
There is absolutely no way to make it 24/7/365 without deviating from any lifestyle. You might be invited to a dinner party where the host is unaware of your specific lifestyle. You may find yourself out with friends at mealtime and someone suggests a restaurant that doesn't have a wide variety of dishes that can accommodate your lifestyle choices. You might find yourself right smack dab in the middle of the Holidays filled with gravy, cornbread dressing, starchy vegetables, and sugary desserts and treats, or just about anything that isn't on your list of "approved" foods. We all have our likes, dislikes and favorites. We all have lists (even if it's a mental list) of foods we will eat and those we won’t. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are difficult to get through without indulging.  
With that being said and borrowing a popular phrase from Nike ... Just Do It.  Okay, do it, but in moderation. Even the most popular diets allow for indulgence days. I know that if I eat sugar, flour and other starchy foods I will feel sluggish, I will be congested, I will feel bloated, and my digestive system will go haywire, but who can resist some of the wonderful treats that have always been part of Holiday traditions?   
My plan is to enjoy my most favorites of the Holiday treats, but in limited quantities. I will drink more water and extend my walks to help offset the effects that those foods have on my body.   
Part of Christmas tradition is baking. This year I made several of the sugary varieties, but I also made a couple of sweets specifically for myself. I found a Paleo Almond cookie recipe online, so I modified it a bit and gave it a try. I also made my ever-popular Cave Girl cookies. Both contain almonds, walnuts, cranberries, spices, etc., but they are quite different in taste and in texture.  I made Conrad's favorite Swiss cookie - Spitzbuebe, plus four flavors of crinkles. I have "sampled" all four flavors of crinkles, and I must say, the ginger and the red velvet are my favorites! Luckily, I made these to give to neighbors and friends, so most of them will be out of our house by this afternoon!   
Now I have to decide what to serve for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. I’m thinking a pot of soup for Christmas Eve and a sit-down meal for Christmas day.
I love to bake, to cook, and experiment. It's safe to say you can expect to see quite a few posts of recipes and photos in the near future! 
Surviving Eating While Traveling
When you choose to eat specific foods and avoid others, it's not always possible to follow your own guidelines when away from home. Traveling for a week or more can be a real challenge, especially if you're relying on someone else's cooking  resort, restaurant, family or friends. I have found that if I take some snacks along then I know I can easily miss a meal or two without feeling drained. This way I have some time to locate foods that make me feel good and that my body approves of. 
We recently returned from a trip to the tropics where our main activity was scuba diving. This trip was another Paleo lifestyle challenge/hurdle since we stayed at   an isolate dive resort with the food being part of our package. We have been to     this resort many times, so we do knew pretty much what to expect. 

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, made-to-order omelets, bacon or sausage, an 
assortment of breads (such as pancakes, waffles, French toast, bagels, English 
muffins) cereals, oatmeal, and fruit.

Lunch is consisted of a salad bar, soups, rice and beans with tortillas, some 
sort of protein in a pasta dish, a meat, steamed vegetables, and cookies.

Dinner always has a larger variety including some sort of fish, chicken, pork or 
beef, pasta, rice or potatoes, steamed vegetables, a salad bar, soup, and a 
variety of home made desserts.

There were assorted beverages such as tea, lemonade, water, sodas, juices,     and coffee. 

Since I love meats, salads, veggies and fruits I was hoping I would be able to 
stick pretty close to eating foods that are at least somewhat close to Paleo 
Mermaid friendly!
I was able to make wise choices. Most of my breakfasts consisted of eggs and bacon or sausage, mushrooms, cheese, and other vegetables if I chose an omelet. Lunch and dinner were very similar as I always began filling my plate withsalad greens, cucumbers and tomatoes. I chose a small plate for whatever meat was served, cut it into pieces and topped my salad with it. That worked very well, even when   the meal was spaghetti. If I recall correctly, only one meal fish only was served. That night I just made a larger salad.
Eating the foods I did certainly helped me to feel good all week long. I got a lot of sleep, drank lots of water and felt like I always had tons of energy and lots of stamina. A lot of divers eat a lot of carbs while on dive trips because they say they stay warmer. Personally, I think eating lots of carbs makes me feel sleepy and sluggish even during dive trips!
The diving was awesome. I made 24 great dives during the week including two night diveswhere we studied fluorescent critters. For more information about our dive tripand on the topic of fluorescents, please read our report on our website,