Allison Hecht is the blogger behind Sweet Potato Bites (www.sweetpotatobites.com), which is a food blog specializing in enjoying "delicious food one sweet bite at a time." Because she has a variety of food allergies, Allison focuses on eating all-natural and unprocessed food - whether it is at a restaurant or in her own recipes. She's an avid runner and crossfit enthusiast, and just recently started experimenting with incorporating more of a paleo diet into her lifestyle.
The Paleo Diet. Chances are you've heard of it - the diet where you eat all the bacon to your heart's content and stay away from all those evil grains. While it's true that bacon is allowed on the paleo diet, the main objective of the paleo diet is to focus on natural, unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and veggies and organic grass-fed meat. While I am by no means strict paleo (I'm more 75%/25%), I will say that I've been incorporating more and more paleo-inspired meals and recipes into my daily diet and haven't felt better.
But let's start at the beginning.
For most of my life I've always had some sort of digestive system issue (ibs, acid reflux, etc.). Chalk it up to genetics if you want, but it's something I have lived with for as long as I can remember. And then the food allergies are just the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae. I've had all the major gastrointestinal tests (which are really not fun) and over the past couple of years have been battling anemia. Mid-way through 2013 I finally decided enough was enough and started re-evaluating my diet.The first thing I did was start to cut out gluten. It was hard at first, but then I found awesome recipes like the best gluten-free bread ever, gluten-free pineapple muffins and one of my personal favorites, gluten-free Irish soda bread. But since I am not a diganosed celiac, I do enjoy a piece of bread from time to time, especially if I know all of the ingredients in the bread. (again going back to the 75% / 25% paleo thing). I started to feel better going gluten-free but the anemia was still an issue. Around this time I started crossfit and began to research more and more into the paleo diet. I figured it was worth a shot, but I was going to do paleo "my way." For example, I love oatmeal. I either go for a hard run or crossfit nearly every morning and after a hard workout I need a satisfying breakfast with complex carbs (especially when I run more than 6 miles). I did start experimenting with more paleo-inspired breakfasts and some mornings I'll have a paleo pancake, or some scrambled eggs and even a smoothie. For lunch, I'll typically have a salad topped with some lean protein with some vegetables, some nuts/seeds/avocado for extra fat and maybe some goat cheese. I'll typically have a small serving of fruit with lunch as well. In the past, I used to always include some sort of crackers or bread with lunch, but since I've cut that out, I've noticed I no longer find myself feeling the afternoon slump around 3pm. And because I'm eating more protein and fat I'm more satisfied as well. Then there's dinner. In the past, my dinners used to be very wheat-based (pasta, bread, etc.). Now my dinner is some sort of animal protein, a vegetable, and either sweet potatoes, red potatoes or spaghetti squash. The meat consumption may sound like a lot to some (and is definitely not the most environmentally friendly), but it works for me. I literally have days where my body is craving red meat. Most days, lunch and dinner are strict paleo (although sometimes a little bit of cheese sneaks in there). I noticed that when I started eating more paleo meals in the evening, I wouldn't go to bed with a bloated stomach, my acid reflux disappeared and I found myself sleeping better and not waking up in the middle of the night with a stomach-ache.
After adjusting my diet, I began to notice an increase in energy levels and stronger stamina during workouts. My running times began to improve and I wasn't feeling as exhausted during the day. I had my blood-work run again and was happy to discover I was no longer anemic, even though I was still a bit on the low end of the iron spectrum for women.
Me at the Dana Point Turkey trot
The best thing about eating paleo? It has inspire to get more creative in the kitchen and come up with delicious recipes- whether it is cauliflower mashed "potatoes" or roasted plantain chips, I'm definitely much more creative in the kitchen than I used to be. And I love, love the fact that nutpods products are paleo-friendly! Each creamer is made with all-natural ingredients and natural sugars, and is free of corn, soy and all that other junk. Plus, the creamers are carrageenan-free, which is hard to find among almond/coconut-milk based products out there. It's the perfect complement to my morning cup of tea. I do want to get real for a second. As a food blogger, I love food and I love trying new food. So that means I definitely eat things that aren't paleo friendly or even have wheat. Life's too short not to eat a warm buttery croissant (since I don't have celiac) or a slice of peach pie. It's all about balance, and that's where the 75% paleo comes in. I just make sure I eat pretty clean the few days after. So what can you expect from me over here? I'll be sharing paleo and gluten-free friendly recipes and of course my favorite ways to enjoy nutpods!
Thanks for reading! ~ Allison
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