I am terrible when challenged. My competitive streak comes out and ... I find it hard to resist.
I have to prove I can do ... pretty much whatever it may be.
This time I am taking part in an office-wide diet challenge. Paleo.
One of my lovely coworkers has been eating Paleo with her rowing club for 5 weeks now and has convinced slightly less than two-handfuls of other coworkers to undertake the same challenge. It's not based on losing weight or gaining muscle or anything like that. It's just ... eating weird.
Perhaps weird is the wrong word.
According to that font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Paelo is
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils
Maybe it's a little weird.
Essentially it seems like a stricter version of the Atkins diet? Which would, normally, have turned me off the whole thing.
But in the weeks before and since the gauntlet was laid down I have found out that 3 different people-who-blog and 2 different people-I-actually-know have been secretly eating Paleo and loving it.
Even the original coworker, the coersive one*, the genesis of all of this is signing herself up. She is finishing her rowing 6 week challenge and then heading straight into the office challenge.
We gauge accomplishment not by losing weight or gaining muscle but on a points based system. Everybody starts the day with 30 points and then points are gained or lost by eating paleo food or not, by sleeping 8 hours, by exercising, by drinking water or alcohol, and by taking fish-oil capsules.
In essence, the main points are:
x No grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn, oatmeal (also any gluten-free pseudo-grains)
x No sugar of any kind, real or artificial
x No dairy. This includes cheese, yogurt and milk (natural clarified butter is allowed for cooking)
x No legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils and peanuts
x No preservatives, processed or packaged foods (as much as is practical - look for ones without sugar or soy or dairy)
I have even managed to convince Craig to go along with this hare-brained scheme. I don't remember HOW exactly I managed to do it. But I did. Perhaps with the promise of bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Yesterday I brought home a paleo recipe book in which I had flagged the recipes I thought sounded good. Miracle upon miracle, he liked them all too.
AND! Because this is so outside the realm of our usual fare this weekend I am going to get my organisation on and plan out the meals for the week and the food we need to buy and all that mishigas.
I can't wait.
I'll let you know how it goes!
I have to admit I am a little worried. Not so much about the refined sugar and the dairy, I've given up sugar already, and I don't eat much dairy to begin with, but the carbohydrates! I'll miss bread and pasta and rice.
Also the fake sugars - Craig and I drink unhealthy amounts of diet soda. I think cutting that out will be hardest of all. But probably be the best for us.
If it goes really well, I might even share some of the recipes.
Only time will tell.
* Actually, I blame the coworker who said he would totally waste [us] all. HE I MUST BEAT.