Welcome to Paleodelphia!
PALEODELPHIA is all about living the Paleo lifestyle in Philadelphia, PA. People who follow the paleo lifestyle eat delicious whole foods, have a great deal of energy, and stay in shape with minimal exercise. The paleo lifestyle is a radical departure from the conventional food pyramid where grains and dairy reign supreme. It’s simple and emphasizes lean protein in the form of meat, seafood, and poultry, along with lots of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Some people try it out for weight loss and find that it is more than just a diet, its a way of life that is sustainable. I find that it is balanced, doesn’t leave me feeling deprived, and has improved my life greatly in the few years that I have been at it.
I’m a thirty-something marketing and communications professional living in Philadelphia, PA. I grew up here, went to school here, and thought I had life figured out as a vegetarian turned vegan. I just wanted to be healthy so I embarked on a journey chock full of whole grains, processed soy products, mock meats, fat-free low calorie sugar laden products and other nutritionally deficient products you find in those “health food” aisles of the grocery store. If a new Kashi cereal with 12 grams of fiber came out, I was the first one at the store to buy several boxes of it (because fiber is part of a heart healthy diet). If a new flavor of fat free ice cream or frozen yogurt emerged from the frozen cases at my local Superfresh, I had to have it. Soy cheese? Yes please! Fat was evil, fiber was king, and protein was lacking. Although I was also eating tons of salads and fresh fruits, I had essentially become what I now like to call a “junk food vegetarian” since most of what I ate was processed or manipulated in some way in order to be edible (Tofurkey anyone?). Soy, artificial sweeteners, and whole grains (the so-called holy grail of health according to conventional wisdom) ended up being so detrimental to my health that I had physical signs of being malnourished. I was thin to the point of looking sickly, my hair was brittle, my skin was pale, and my fingernails had ridges on them that I couldn’t buff out. I used makeup and hair products to overcome these physical issues, but also struggled with depression, anxiety, ADD, and mood swings. Doctors had prescribed antidepressants, mood stabilizers, ADD medications and the like to “help” my situation and I followed their prescription drug cocktails for a long time with marginal improvement in my mood. After close to a decade of living on chemicals, I decided there had to be a better way.
I started to experiment with different ways of eating starting in late 2009, with a low-carb, high protein / high fat diet similar to the Atkins Diet. I gave up eating bread, pasta, and whole grains and started eating eggs with butter, loads of peanut butter, meats, and Atkins protein shakes. My energy levels started to balance out and I slowly started to taper down the antidepressants I was taking. Low carb was working for me, but I still had some way to go in finding balance in my diet. In early 2010 I discovered a blog called Mark’s Daily Apple and my Atkins inspired brand of low card eating turned to something a bit more balanced. As I started to add more fruits, veggies, good fats, and quality animal protein to my diet, I no longer had a need for the antidepressants. The ADD medication, sleeping pills, and mood stabilizer were no longer necessary either. I convinced my doctor to let me taper down the prescriptions to the point of not taking them anymore. By June of 2010 I had divorced my doctor, stopped taking all prescriptions, and felt great. I read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain and found that their approaches to eating suited me well.
To this day, I still have friends and family who think I am nuts for giving up bread and dessert, but I don’t let it bother me. I do my own thing, whether I’m cooking up some eggs with duck fat, walking to the farmers market in my funny looking Vibram Five Finger shoes with my pug dog, eating coconut oil out of a jar with a spoon, or experimenting with chia seeds, I do it because it works for me. My enthusiasm for the paleo lifestyle and love of good food were the inspiration for this blog. Supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and food co-operatives excite me (I’ve become a known regular at my local Whole Foods), I love to watch documentaries about food and how to remedy obesity, and am an avid reader of all things paleo.