We've officially completed the Primal Challenge, and I think I can say with some confidence that it was a really good experience for us. We've learned to cook some really tasty, healthy meals without a lot of empty, hard-to-process components like refined sugars, grains, and beans and I think we've benefited for it in several areas.
Just the fact that we've had to get creative with out meals meant really thinking about what we eat. When hunger sneaks up on you, it's not really an option any more to just throw a sandwich together. You really need to figure out what sounds good, what do you have available, and what can you do with the ingredients you have. So really, even just looking at it apart from the diet itself, it was a good exercise in getting to know our ingredients and tastes again.
Our energy level has definitely increased over the past month, as well. Sure, sometimes we're up earlier than we like and an afternoon nap sounds really great, but the "3pm crash" isn't a daily occurance anymore. I think as we approach the fall and winter months, and the days get darker sooner, this is going to be especially important for us. I'm hopeful that this change of diet and increased energy will have an added positive effect on my seasonal affective disorder.
Finally, there's the health aspect; As I mentioned in my first update, we have seen some definite physical improvements over the course of this month. The first week really saw the biggest drop, but I've continued to lose a few more pounds over the past week. The biggest shock, though, came last night when we went out to by some new clothes for our upcoming trip to Prague (more on that later!). I knew that my pants have been a little loose lately, but it turns out that I've actually dropped two whole pant sizes since I last went shopping -- I'm actually down to the same pant size I wore when I first met January seven years ago! While it was awesome to find out, we stuck with the optimistic route and only bought one pair. I mean, who knows how long it will be before these are even too big for me?
So really, despite my initial skepticism, the primal / paleo diet has been a big success over here. It really hasn't been hard and the effects have been overwhelmingly positive. Consequently, I think we're going to stick with this dietary philosophy going forward and try to keep the refined sugars, grains and beans out of our meals. If you're intrigued by hearing our success, I definitely encourage you to give it a try. It's only a month, and I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed.