The partner-paleo challenge: I get by with a little help from my (girl)friend

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Lately I’ve been finding it harder and harder to stick to my diet. I don’t know why this is, because time was when I was fanatical about what I ate and I stuck to my diet with military precision.

When I started this blog I was 100% committed to my 100 days on SCD (which I successfully completed). Then I switched to AIP, and I just didn’t have the same kind of staunch commitment. A few ‘bad’ foods slipped in from time to time, and I’ve now reached a point where I’m cheating once every week or two, which just isn’t acceptable.

Knowing what I know about myself, I believe it’s partly due to my now-ingrained tendencies to binge, which began about five or six years ago. I don’t know exactly what triggered it but I do know (or at least think I know) when it started. It’s something I’m going to have to figure out and really work on, which I am trying to do.

The other trigger – major trigger – is alcohol. When I consume alcohol I lose all self control and I binge on anything I can sink my teeth into – anything ‘illegal’, that is. Because it’s really not fun to go wild on butternut or grain-free cracker bread (believe me I’ve tried). So I’m cutting back on how much I drink (I know it sounds like I have a problem and I know that by saying I don’t have a problem it sounds exactly like I have a problem, so I don’t know what to say to convince you that I don’t have a problem but that AGAIN sounds pretty damn unconvincing so you’ll just have to trust me on this one).

Weirdly, I’ve also found lately (and this is entirely new) that even when I don’t drink, I get to that late-in-the-evening point when I’m ready to binge, so I think I’ve set up a kind of Pavlovian response in my brain and I really, really need to stop it immediately.

Last week I read this extremely interesting piece by Eileen at Phoenix Helix called Top 5 Mistakes People Make on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, and it was the last point that really resonated with me – for the first time ever. ‘Not getting the support you need’ isn’t entirely accurate in my case: my family (whom I don’t live with) and my girlfriend (who I do live with) are extremely supportive of my diet and often go out of their way to accommodate my food needs. However, my girlfriend is able to eat anything she likes, and has a well-stocked ‘treat’ cupboard (thanks in part to me), which is always the first victim of my late-night drunken binges. We’ve even discussed padlocking it!

But this got me thinking that my diet would be a whole lot easier to stick to if the other 50% of my household were following it too. And, as K is actually trying to trim a kilo or two and has recently starting going to gym, I figured that now was the ideal time to introduce her to the idea.

I pitched it, and she bought in. She’s agreed to do 30 days of paleo with me – not AIP, because that’s just crazy for someone who doesn’t have a digestive disorder – but straight-up, pure-and-simple paleo. And that’s what I want it to be: pure and simple. No refined sugar, no carbs, but plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, salads and – although this isn’t strictly paleo – yoghurt-based smoothies for her (I’m lactose intolerant). I plan to do as much prep as it takes to help make this as painless and, hopefully, enjoyable for her as possible. I also know that the competitive streak in me is likely to emerge, and if she’s able to maintain it without cheating, well then so can I!

I’m incredibly lucky to have someone in my life who’s willing to embark on this journey with me, because paleo is hard when you’re switching from a SAD (or in our case, a S-South African-D!).

Today is day one and she’s already conquered a few hurdles. In fact, she emailed me at work to say:

“Day 1.

11am

The popcorn machine stirs from across the office. Weaving its perfume from room to room and down the passage, filling every crevice along the way.

There is no escaping the scent. It follows me. It haunts my nostrils teasing my brain. “Eeeeeeaaaat meeeeeee,” its sighs echo off the walls.

“Who will know?” it whispers. “One kernel won’t hurt…” it taunts.

But I must resist.

It is only day one after all. This is the very first test. The first hurdle. I must resist.

I pull out a tub of Vicks from the draw and smear a thick layer where my moustache would be if I were Mario or Luigi.

Nothing can penetrate the menthol guard it builds.

But I can see it. I see people munching away without conscience. They are all around me.

I

Must

Resist.

I turn up the volume on the headphones and position my monitor between me and the popcorn fiends.

I can do this.”

I’m so proud of her for starting on this journey with me, and I think the best way to keep it up will be to document it right here. So here goes, day 1 of 30. Wish us luck!

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2 thoughts on “The partner-paleo challenge: I get by with a little help from my (girl)friend

    • Eileen! Thanks so much for your comment. I love your blog and I find it so, so useful. I recently used your no-pound sauerkraut recipe and I’m just a few days away from sampling it, so thank you so much for that. I wish you well, and thanks again for stopping by. Debby

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