Palate Fatigue

Palate fatigue is what you get when you eat the same foods over and over again and you don’t want to eat them anymore. It’s very real, and studied a lot because it is what keeps humans from being able to eat the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month. This is what keeps us from having the one, perfect food. Us humans like variety, and it’s more than just preference: it’s in our nature. What happens when you eat the same food, regardless of how good it is for you, day after day? You tire of it and become unable to eat it. Some people say they could eat pizza every day non-stop, but the reality is that you would get tired of pizza, and eventually, you’d grow to hate it.

Palate fatigue is one of the reasons people fall off diets. They take on restrictive diets that limit them to one type of food, or very few types of foods, and eventually, palate fatigue kicks in, and these people are forced to find an alternative. A good friend of mine was on a restrictive diet once, and he told me that he lost a lot of weight and felt good on this diet, but the food was so bland and boring that he dropped it. It’s actually the idea behind the Cabbage Soup Diet: eat all  you want, because eventually, you won’t want to eat.

This is horrible. There is no reason to hate your food. I am fortunate that there are as many Paleo options out there as there are non-Paleo options. Heck, most non-Paleo foods have a Paleo-friendly alternative. I was thinking about the food I eat today, and it dawned on me that I really enjoy what I eat, it’s delicious, filling, and I’m never bored with it. Sherry does a great job of rotating through recipes, even my favorites. Even though I tell her I can eat the meatloaf or chili all the time, she rotates those with other favorites so that I don’t even get close to palate fatigue.

Don’t eat the same boring foods day in and day out. You will be unhappy, and eventually eat foods that aren’t good for you. Check out the recipes on her blog for a starting point.

The food, it is delicious (and filling)

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One of my favorite new Paleo creations by Sherry: Paleo Buffalo Meatballs

My wife prepares our food for us on the weekends so that we can have lunches and dinners throughout the week that are Paleo (which means delicious and filling). This week, I made some pulled pork which she used to also prep our breakfasts with a pork and apple egg casserole that starts our day off right!

This past Saturday, lunch consisted of buffalo wings that she prepped and I grilled (they came out PERFECTLY) along with some sweet potato country fries that she made in the oven that had some rosemary on it. So yummy! As for Sunday, we used the fresh pulled pork in little sandwiches! Sherry made some Paleo buns and I had two pulled pork sliders! I didn’t need any sauce: the pecan wood smoked pork was delicious on its own!

This week’s prepared foods include meat loaf, chili, and quiche. Sherry asked what I wanted for lunch this week, and I started my list with those three. Since these three are favorites of mine, she indulged me by preparing and packaging them for us. I can’t say enough how wonderful it all is, and my lunches have all been spectacular! Tonight, we’re going to eat something from the prepared foods in our refrigerator, and I know I can’t go wrong regardless of which box I choose.

Sherry also made some Paleo thin mints that are about the size of a large Peppermint Patty. These are amazingly delicious, and make for a great end to our meals. The packaged meals tend to be on the smaller size, so having this little bonus serving rounds out the meal.

Eating right doesn’t have to be dull, bland, boring, or repetitive. All the food I eat is none of those things! There are recipes available on Sherry’s site and all over the Internet.

Paleo: Our New Normal

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Sherry and I in Madrid.

Something Sherry talked about in her post a few days ago about returning from vacation and getting back to our “Normal Paleo meals” really struck a chord with me. Back in September 2015, I never could have imagined that our journey would be as successful as it’s been. I never thought we’d be so comfortable with a lifestyle that is so radically different than the one we were living. I never thought I would hear myself saying, “I can’t wait to get back to eating our healthy foods” after enjoying two weeks of non-Paleo treats.

The fact of the matter is that now that we’ve returned, after only three days of Paleo food, I’ve started feeling more myself than I have for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong. The food and drinks I’ve been enjoying for the past two weeks have been stellar and treat after treat, but therein lies the problem: they were treats. I’m glad to have enjoyed them, but now, it’s nice to be back to our normal food. It’s filling, it’s delicious, and most of all, it’s nutritious and feeds our bodies properly.

I gained 14 lbs in the 11 days we were in Spain, and in three days of eating Paleo, I’ve lost 11 of those lbs. Of course, it’s all water weight, but the food I’m eating now doesn’t promote water retention in my skin. My body is back to looking lean, and I don’t have a pudgy appearance anymore. Oh, and I’m almost back to my pre-vacation weight, to boot!

Once you embrace the lifestyle and accept the benefits, it becomes the new normal. It becomes not only comfortable, but something you crave because it makes you feel so good to eat wholesome, quality foods. Don’t just take my word for it. Commit to it, stick to it, and you’ll find the same.

 

Eating within the plan is very effective for weight loss. I know; it’s working for me

All week, I’ve been eating nothing but home-made food. Everything I’ve put into my body this week was made by my wife or me. The result? I’ve hit my lowest measured weight since active duty three weigh-ins in a row. 172.2 lbs. This is great, as my weight has typically been fluctuating +/- 2 lbs over the past few weeks as it trended lower. This time, it seems I’m set for another block of lost weight.

When I was losing weight more steadily and quickly, I would notice my weight stop at a certain point for a few days before shedding a few pounds. This was a trend I discovered after four months and it continued for about 8 months thereafter. I haven’t seen this with my weight for around five months, so to be seeing it again now is very motivating.

Analyzing my intake, I have been eating only home cooked foods, and even then, slightly larger portions. Each day has been:

Breakfast

Two eggs, sunny-side up
Three slices of bacon (no salt/sugar added)

Lunch

Meat Loaf/9 meatballs with Chipotle sauce/Shepherd’s pie
Side of either broccoli, sweet potato, or cauliflower rice

Dinner

Two deviled eggs
Meat Loaf/9 meatballs with Chipotle sauce/Shepherd’s pie
Side of either broccoli, sweet potato, or cauliflower rice
Paleo Almond Joy

As you can see, my dinner was slightly larger, but just a bit. This amount seems to be the right amount for my body and has allowed for me to start losing weight again. I’m hoping to be in the 160’s soon. Then, my final goal will be in view!

Focus on Foods, not Calories

I don’t count calories. Sometimes, I will look at a label because I’m curious, but I don’t look at calories in food anymore. I look for sugar and I read ingredients to make sure there aren’t any that are bad for me.

When I hear people say that counting calories and moderation are the keys to weight loss, I feel that they miss the mark. Even at its most basic level, calories in < calories expended misses the mark. The quality of those calories is every bit as important because of the way the body handles and processes those calories.

I eat foods that are heavy on protein and nutrients. I avoid foods high in sugar, contain artificial trans fat, contain additives, have grain, soy, or beans, and that contain dairy (for the most part). Fats are not the enemy as long as they are saturated contain omega-3’s. Eggs are GREAT for you!

Here’s something novel: I eat meals that would fit into both my hands if I cup them. It doesn’t seem like a lot, and compared to how much I used to eat, it’s not, but it’s enough to fuel my body from meal time to meal time. I eat three times a day, not all through the day. I don’t snack or eat between meals unless I am going to have to delay a meal by a few hours. Then, I’ll eat a snack and eat that much less at the following meal.

I focus on eating food that fills me up, not on meeting some calorie number. Calories are typically underestimated for foods anyway, so it’s not even a good starting point when trying to determine how many calories you’re eating. Then there is the fact that different foods have different satiety regardless of caloric content. That means there are high calorie foods that don’t fill you up versus foods with a reasonable amount of calories that will. Natural foods (meats and vegetables) are typically higher in satiety, and (who’d a thunk it!) are better for you overall.

Skip the calorie counting and concentrate on eating quality foods. You will be surprised at how much better it is for you, how much better you will feel, and how much more filling it is.

Friday Paleo-friendly lunches with friends and the constant struggle of portion size

On Fridays, I usually have lunch with some friends as we celebrate the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. We typically go to Logan’s Roadhouse or Saltgrass Steak House. At these two places, I can order a very Paleo-friendly 6oz Filet steak with a baked sweet potato with regular butter. As my pre-meal food, I usually order a Caesar salad with no croutons and I pull most of the cheese off of it and set it to the side. I know that the Caesar dressing is probably not the most Paleo-friendly, but it’s a small indulgence I allow myself once a week.

When we don’t eat steak, we go to Mexican restaurants where I can order some type of fajitas with grilled onions or grilled mixed vegetables. The looks on the faces of the wait staff as I tell them I don’t need beans, rice, or tortillas is always pretty hilarious.

It is possible to eat lunch at restaurants that are Paleo-friendly. Most restaurants have some sort of meat and vegetable option unless you’re at a sandwich shop (in which case you might just have to eat a salad). I’ve had to ask for something off the menu only once, and even then, it was only a slight change.

Incidentally, today’s lunch marks an important turning point for me: I didn’t eat my entire sweet potato. I have a hard time not eating an entire sweet potato because they are so delicious to me. I often eat the whole potato which makes me feel over-fed. Today, I stopped short of eating the whole thing, leaving about 1/4 of it on the plate. I felt full and decided that I was only going to finish it for the sake of how much I liked eating them, and that wasn’t good enough. Three hours later, I feel sated and actually, I feel great about having not eaten the whole thing.

You’d think that by now, 16 months after staring my Paleo journey, I would have had this licked by now, but you’d be wrong. Sweet potatoes have been my Achilles heel. It’s one of the very few foods that, while Paleo, I have a hard time controlling myself over. Sherry is very good about only giving me one half of a sweet potato with any meal we eat, but if I’m left to my own devices, I’ll grab an entire sweet potato. It’s not good for me to eat the entire potato with a regular-sized portion, so I typically compensate by getting less protein to go along with it, but not always.

When you have a bad relationship with food, you have to always remain vigilant. The fight never ends, and you must always be looking not only at what you eat, but also how much you eat. For me, the struggle is real, and I’m always learning something new about myself and how to control my relationship with food. I feel good about today’s victory and I will cling to it to push me into the future.

Paleo Pancakes? Heck yes! And they’re DELICIOUS!

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This is what my breakfast looked like on Saturday: Paleo pancakes and bacon with some coffee. Notice that I use real organic maple syrup. I don’t slather it all over, but I do have it on there, and it’s enough to add the sweet maple flavor without going overboard. It’s really delicious, and a great (and dandy) way to start the Saturday.

One of the reasons people fall off the eating healthy wagon is because they miss foods they used to eat that were not good for their health. For me, pancakes was one of those foods. Sherry has been experimenting with recipes and has come across one that is made from scratch while we also found another that is literally a mix you can buy either on Amazon or at Sprout’s that you just need to add water to (I think). These taste like real pancakes to me, and they really help keep me from missing these special foods. Adding blueberries to them really transforms them into a next-level experience. I love ’em!

Paleo isn’t boring. It’s filled with great tasting foods that are good for your health. A lot of these foods are substitutes for foods that are bad for your health and these help keep you on the right path. There are many recipes and cook books available, both online and for purchase.