So far, I think everyone is on the right track. We've had a few people succumb to the "carb flu", feelings of sluggishness that are common in the first few weeks, but usually subside as the month goes on. We are trying to become more "fat adapted" and shift our metabolism away from being a "sugar burner". For more on this, Mark Sisson has a great article and so does Nora Gedgaudas from Primal Body Primal Mind. You can find her article here. I just want people to be reassured that this decrease in performance, tired, sluggish feeling doesn't last forever.
I think the biggest problem people have is trying to figure out what the heck to eat since the grains and dairy have been removed. Wheat is in everything! But with some creativity, some good recipe websites and some planning, you will find that your effort pays off in spades in the way you look, feel and perform. I have to use my sister-in-law as a prime example of how much better you can feel once you ditch the grains, especially wheat gluten.
Natalie (not her real name) and I have been tennis partners for years and I've also encouraged her to join our CrossFit gym to work on strength and endurance. She has complained about her knees bothering her and would find lunging, squatting, and deadlifting painful. It was frustrating as a coach, because I knew she needed to do these movements to strengthen up her quads and hamstrings, but with limited mobility our strength gains were at a standstill. I talked to her about changing over to more of a paleo type diet, but she, like so many other people, didn't really attribute her joint issues to anything else but age.
Finally, after one particularly sugar and flour laden Easter, she woke up the next day in full body pain. She said even the joints that normally didn't bother her were hurting. I told her that she had a choice...cut out the gluten, which is a known gut irritant and plays havoc on your immune system and adds inflammation to the body, and cut out the sugar for just a WEEK, or continue to be in pain all the time. "What have you got to lose?" Long story short, she did as I asked (FINALLY!) and has since sworn off gluten. She is a new person. She is almost pain free. She doesn't even need the knee brace she used to wear to tennis. And I don't have to her her whine! hehe
So now Natalie is my new spokesperson. She isn't completely paleo, but the changes she did make work for her and have allowed her to continue the activities she loves without the joint pain.
So there you have it. You really don't have anything to lose...except maybe that tire around your middle, and the acne on your back, and the joint pain...the list goes on! Here's to all of you challengers brave enough to embark on this nutritional journey and to ask the hard questions about what is really healthy. We don't need no stinkin' food pyramid.
10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds total, sliced 1/2-inch thick and salted if time allows
4 red or yellow bell peppers, stemmed, peeled if desired, seeded and sliced into 3 or 4 pieces each
4 ripe red tomatoes, cored, skins and seeds removed and cut into thick slices
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, rosemary or savory leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, basil or chervil leaves for garnish
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
WHAT YOU DO
Make a layer of onion, followed by one of eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper and garlic cloves. Repeat.
Drizzle the ratatouille with oil and place it in the oven. Bake for about an hour, pressing down on the vegetables occasionally, until they are all completely tender.
Garnish and serve, hot or at room temperature.
(I also make it with thin slices of zucchini cut length wise as an added layer)
This is a great recipe, especially this time of year when the produce is so wonderful. Fit as much as you can into your baking dish as there is shrinkage when you bake. It is also better the next day!