Abbe Pannccci goes paleo for a week to continue her diet series

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By Abbe Pannucci, Round Table news editor

If there was a camera in my kitchen, every day at 2:45 (when I get home from school), it would see me standing at the pantry with my book bag still on and purse in hand, chowing down on anything with salt or sugar that I can find. Unfortunately, in my house the most sugary option might be a bag of Goldfish or a Kind bar and the saltiest thing is a carton of cashews; however, that doesn’t stop me from inhaling all if it like one of those massive industrial vacuums. This habit always presents a problem when I start up one of my experimental diets, especially most most recent paleo era.  

I needed another success after the gluten-free diet debacle and I needed it to be super. For this reason I went on a paleo diet for a week. What is paleo, you ask? Well, so did everyone else. Luckily, I did a little research this time about it before I started the diet, so clearly I was an expert.

The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet. The diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and nuts. Nothing else.

Many people argue that eating paleo is the healthiest way a person can eat because nothing processed or with any extra or artificial sugar is put into the body. This cuts back on risks such as diabetes, obesity, or high cholesterol from eating those foods. Research has indicated that it is our modern diet full of yummy refined foods, scrumptious trans fats and everyone’s best friend – sugar – that is the root of unhealthy life styles, as well as degenerative diseases that come with eating foods that contain those appetizing ingredients.   

As I have said before, I am a generally healthy eater. Probably way more healthy than my peers. I don’t usually snack on chips and cookies and cake. I eat one huge meal a day, usually dinner, but besides that I’ll only have an apple or a granola bar during the day to silence my hunger beast. I honestly don’t have enough time in the day to sit down and eat a meal three separate times and I also find it more enjoyable to have one huge meal at which I can just keep eating and eating and eating and eating for like an hour.

I digress. When I do eat, rarely does it consist of basic processed or packaged foods. The only things I eat that are conjured up and shoved into a plastic package in some factory across the country are protein/granola bars, the occasional handful of pretzels and – once in a while – cereal. However, before going paleo, it didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t eat bread, dairy, sauces or PEANUT BUTTER.

To sum it up, I couldn’t eat anything processed or packaged. I was going gluten-free and sugar- free all at the same time. To be honest, the thing I thought I would miss the most was my peanut butter. I was right.

On Monday my mom roasted pork loins for dinner. Typically when I eat pork, or any meat for that matter, I dump like half the jar of barbecue sauce on it. Unfortunately, condiments are not paleo, I looked it up… extensively. So in a strange turn of events, I got a little creative. I mashed up an avocado and mixed it with some garlic and lemon juice and ate that with my pork. I also had a salad with tomatoes and cashews. I left the table feeling pretty unsatisfied without my daily peanut butter.

Tuesday was a much better day. Not that Monday was bad, but Tuesday was just better. For dinner we cut up the leftover pork and put it into a tomato sauce my mom made from scratch. And, of course, a spinach salad on the side. Finally, I ended my meal with no peanut butter.

I’m going to preface Wednesday by first apologizing to my mom: sorry mom. I’m doing this because on Wednesday, I had a slight lapse in my diet. I had a track meet directly after school and all I brought to eat was an apple and a banana. As I was eating my processed-free fruit, my best friend was sitting next to me eating her very processed, very yummy peanut butter. I probably don’t even have to explain what happened next, but I will. Pretty much the little voice in my head said, “You have to run the two-mile today and you need your energy, and a singular apple isn’t going to do anything and she has an huge thing full of peanut butter and it’s sitting right there and after you eat it you’ll go right back to not eating it…”  So I ate it.

Mom, the reason I apologized to you was because I straight-up lied to your face about not breaking my diet and I feel bad. At the time I figured I could just pretend it didn’t happen and put off telling you until now. The reason I didn’t tell you before was because you were trying really hard to help me with my diet and I felt like telling you that I broke it would make me feel like I failed you… Again, sorry.

Thursday was a much better day. My amazing mom made spaghetti squash. I had asked her to make it for me during this week because apparently it is the “new healthy pasta” and it bleeding paleo. To be honest I had no idea what it actually was, I just knew I wanted it. Turns out, there is an actual vegetable called spaghetti squash that looks like a regular squash, but it’s fat and when cooked, it’s stringy like spaghetti. Boy, did I eat that one right up, with a salad. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat any peanut butter on Thursday.

On Friday we made another pork roast. I began to wonder if my family knew something I didn’t or thought pork was the only meat that’s paleo. I did a quick search on the goog and confirmed that I was indeed allowed to eat beef and such. But, pork was what was cooked, so that is what I ate, along with the leftover spaghetti squash. It was a surprisingly solid end to my week.

My quest for a success was truly a success, which is a happy surprise for me. I didn’t think that I would be able to do it. Technically, I didn’t actually do it because of my slight lapse on Wednesday, but I’m just not counting that because the amount of failure that occurred during my gluten-free diet was enough for like 12 diets.

I’m thinking about doing some kind of food type diet next instead of not eating a certain food. Asian? Or Mediterranean, maybe?